Friday, August 7, 2015

which wolf will you feed...

There is a battle of two wolves inside each of us.

One is evil. It is anger, jealously, resentment, fear, insecurity, greed, lies, inferiority and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, kindness, compassion, humility, truth, faith and love.

Which wolf will win? The one that you feed.

I have been sitting with this proverb a lot  lately (thanks for reminding of this one nahko bear <3), and i think it is a beautiful story for us to consider. As with any words of wisdom, this tale has many layers to it, and the truth it illustrates can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Really in each moment we are choosing to either energize our feelings of joy, peace, compassion, and the like, or to focus on feelings anger, fear, inferiority, and evil. I like that word "evil", many people i know have a charge about it, or a resistance to it, but to me it shows very clearly that evil is what happens when we live backwards. Which is to say, evil is what happens when we harbor the belief that our inner world of thought and emotion is entirely dependent on our outer world of environment and perception. When we operate from this belief, our abilty to be happy is determined by how effectively we can shift and shape everything (and everyone) we encounter, to suit our desires. This is the kind of thinking that leads us to manipulate each other, and compulsively chase after pleasure and avoid pain. Thinking in this way, we can continually blame our unhappiness on any number of environmental conditions, from rainy weather, to unrequited love; from a traffic jam to losing a job. This approach to life absolves us of any responsibility for our own emotional well being and weakens the spirit immensely.

A lifetime is short, and it would be a shame to waste it on compulsion and judgment. Besides, it is far more enjoyable and satisfying to put our energy into the things we love, the aspects of life that make our hearts sing and dance. I know it can be tempting to let fear and uncertainty muddle the mind and bring uneasiness to the heart, western culture has steeped us in these conditions and seems to be fixated on reinforcing ideas of scarcity and competition. With this in mind, i feel called to share some of the ways i like to feed the good wolf ;)

1. Watch the way you breathe.

Breath is the basis of all life, and the most fundamental aspect of our own lives, physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we watch the way we are breathing, we can see how we are living, moment to moment. By paying attention to breath we are paying attention to life. If we breathe well, we live well. For every way of breathing there is a corresponding way of thinking, feeling and living. Calm and steady breath brings a calm mind, calm feeling, and calm way living. Conversely, shallow erratic breath brings a shallow erratic mind, feeling and way of living. So by taking more notice of our breath, we can more clearly understand who we are and who we are becoming. Baba Hariharanda always says "Breath control is self control. Breath mastery is self mastery." I would add that breath awareness is self awareness.
Breathing deeply and sweetly is the most powerful way to feed the good wolf.

2. Give thanks!!

The good wolf loves the taste of thankfulness! Cultivating an attitude of gratitude and appreciation has a profound effect on the way we think and feel. This is an especially easy practice to get into, because there is always so much to be thankful for! No matter what is happening in the world around us, we can always be thankful for our breath and the countless opportunities it offers. We can also give thanks for our imagination and its ability to dream up new potentials. And we can always feel deeper gratitude for the plants that are continually supporting us in this human experience...which brings us to the next delectable treat we can feed to the good wolf :D

3. Plant a garden!!!

Geoff Lawton says "All the worlds problems can be solved in a garden" and i wholeheartedly agree! Everything that we need to thrive on this planet comes either directly or indirectly from plants, so if we develop a loving relationship with plants, we will want for nothing. Helping plants to grow is easily one of the most rewarding practices we can put our energy into. Depending on the plants we choose, we can surround ourselves with beautiful flowers and fragrances, exotic fruits and nuts, or create native habitats for the indigenous wildlife (there are few things more magical than a garden buzzing with hummingbirds, butterflies and bees). If we cultivated the 27 million acres of lawn in this country we could feed everyone from gardens that grow within a short bike ride of where they sleep. Aside from the more practical aspects of gardening, it is simply magical to watch the process of a seed growing into a tree, and scattering seed balls makes me feel like a wizard *pOoF** beautiful flowers and thriving habitats everywhere i wave my hand!! :)

4. Take a walk in the woods.

The good wolf is a wild one, and loves to spend time in the forest. Even a short walk in a small patch of trees has a wonderful way of settling the heart and calming the nerves, even more so if there is a small creek or body of water to sit beside. Kick off your shoes, put your feet on the earth, and listen to the forest sounds. The whole forest knows you're there. It can feel your heart beating and taste the scent of your skin.

5. Eat something wild everyday!!

Anything we can do to empower our wildness feeds the good wolf. The old adage "you are what you eat" comes to mind. When we eat domesticated highly processed foods, we end up with a domesticated highly processed body. When we eat wild food, even its just a few dandelion leaves, we become more wild.

6. Watch the sunrise or sunset.

The sun is the source of all the life on this planet. It is wise, generous, and brilliant. Gazing into the soft light of sunrise and sunset is like giving the good wolf a bowl full of buffalo blood. The sunlight absorbed through the eyes invigorates every cell our bodies, and shifts our hearts into feelings of expansion and interconnection.

7. Sip some tea, very slowly.

There is an old zen saying "it is better to go a week without food, than even a single day without tea". There is much wisdom in this, especially considering the nourishing herbal tonics they call tea. I highly recommend daily consumption of tonic herbs like reishi, tulsi, and chaga, and highly nutritive herbs like, stinging nettle, dandelion, and burdock. These teas calm the mind and strengthen the body, making it that much easier to continue feeding the wolf of love, kindness, and compassion.

Both the good and bad wolf are with us everywhere, eagerly awaiting the next meal. Share your food wisely <3

...and keep on being the love family _()_

Friday, May 15, 2015

calling in the new world

when i close my eyes and settle into the vision of life i am manifesting, i see myself waking up slowly in an earthen home, taking space to remember the "I/eye" that is awakening into the world of 3 dimensional forms...stretch, breathe deep. peek outside the bedroom window to see barefoot children already chasing the chickens around the garden and playing with pigmy goats. i step into garden and gather some herbs, veggies, and greens to juice up for a green drink. pee in the compost pile or on the fruit tree that needs it most. stroll around the garden to see what is calling to me for my day's energy and love, while gathering veggies and herbs to fry up with some eggs for second breakfast.
after second breakfast i take to the garden, building soil, and increasing biodiversity, tending to the established beings that need care, and fertilizing the hungriest plants. in the afternoon, break for yoga by the creek, a quick dip, and snacky vibes (maybe kimchi and raw cheese, on spinach, or dolmas made from sweet potato leaves...and always mushroom jerky...lots of pesto, hummus, and sprouted raw crackers too). in the evening i teach workshops (always open to all ages), or play around with natural building, energy production, or other random side projects (maybe work on some writing, or music making).
dinner is a nightly celebration, full of gratitude, abundance, and bliss. after dinner we improvise jams by the fire circle, which is conveniently located right next to the outdoor spring fed hot tub (epsom salt, and essential oils are a must...selected crystals too). after a good soak, we share massage, make love, study scriptures, recite poetry, dance in ecstasy, or do whatever else the flow may inspire us towards. all that we do is a celebration of life, and carries an undertone of reverence and gratitude for all beings.
this community of 30-300 people doesnt exist in just one place either...there is a grid of places like this, all throughout the world. they are in such close proximity that the longest walk from one to the next, is just a couple days, or a half day's bike or horse ride. as such, many people choose to migrate south in the winter, or north in summer. much of the world is covered in old growth forest, and as we travel, our paths meander through ancient trees. some people rarely travel, and others are always on the move, in any case, everyone is always home, wherever they choose to roam heart emoticon
lovin you family _()_

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

the life of a high grade hippy part 2

we love to build gardens which often involves moving lots of mulch and compost around. this is will sweeping off the last bits of a truckload of mulch with his tough guy broom ;) this was for a project we helped a friend with in hyattsville md a couple weeks ago.

we like to promote native perennial vegetables, and gardening in guilds...this is a picture of an experiment last year where we planted 2 groundnuts (apios americanna), and 3 sunchokes (helianthus tuberosa) in suburban clay soil. without any amendments, or fertilizers, and only a half day of direct sun, these generous beings produced well over 20 pounds of food, with the dainty purple flowering vines of the groundnut, climbing gently up the strong stalks of the sunchokes. the show of flowers was beautiful, the roots were delicious, and these are both native plants. talk about a win-win-win :D

in the evening we play around with processing our harvests...these are japanese knotweed (polygonum cuspidatum) shoots we harvested last week, pickling in apple cider vinegar with onions. knotweed is a good source of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that pairs well with quercitin which is very abundant in both raw and cooked onions. right we have mushroom jerky going, and next week will time for more pesto making/nettle harvesting ;)

here's what dinner might look like (depending on who we're cooking for :p) local grass fed, pasture raised burgers, on a bed of frissee' greens, topped with sauteed oyster mushrooms, asparagus, and onions, (in og sunflower oil), and seasoned with black pepper, tumeric, tamari, and bit of mustard, all local except the onion and spices...gotta get more onions living with us :p

on saturdays i lead workshops at chesapeake's bounty, and any day of the week we may take a stroll down to the beach to blaze up a fire, sing some jams and sit with the moon, or wander around the woods in search of mushrooms and other fine forages.

 when we part ways, we will often join in a big group hug and chant 3 oms together to deepen our feelings of connection and oneness, and go our separate ways with a sense of peace and communion. this picture was taken at a medicine for the people show we went to last year...easily one of my favorite bands of all time, if you dont know, click the hyperlink and get hip right now lol, this music truly is medicine <3

overall, the circles i gravitate towards are full of beautiful, creative, compassionate, loving souls, who are constantly learning, growing and nurturing each other in so many ways.

i offer this glimpse of hippy living in hopes that it may inspire us all to keep getting more hip, and to always follow our bliss.

loving you family _()_

the life of a high grade hippy part 1

a dear friend, asked me yesterday if i had any intention of adding pictures to my blog, and although i hadnt thought about it previously, upon hearing her suggestion i immediately loved the idea :D (thanks shelby <3)  as such, i decided this blog will be a series of photos that offer a glimpse into the day to day workings of hippy living.

these photos come from a variety of times and places, and though each day is different, these images highlight some of the more common happenings of my everyday life.

before we get started, i feel called to mention that when i say "hippy" and choose to identify myself with that culture, i am referring to the root of it, being "hip" to what's going on. to me, a hippy is someone who knows, and notices aspects of life that other people are either oblivious to, or choose to ignore.

a hippy, recognizes first and foremost, that life is all about bringing more love, bliss, and abundance into the experience of all beings, everywhere. real hippies are constantly deepening their relationship with the natural world, and encouraging others to the same. real hippies are slow to judge, quick to forgive, and do their best to let everyone walk their path without shame, or guilt.

so lets see what a typical day looks like in my world....

(handcrafted crystal mala made by talia ramey, founder of love drops jewelry)

my first priority upon waking is always to give thanks for another day above ground, breathing, perceiving and interacting, sharing in love with all life...
my practice changes depending on the circumstances, but there is always self inquiry, some japa (repetition of a certain prayer/mantra), and kriya yoga.

 after my prayers, i get breakfast going, usually local eggs, mushrooms veggies, sunflower oil, (all from the lovely folks at chesapeake's bounty in st leonard md), some foraged wild greens or shoots (mainly devil's walking stick/aralia spinosa, this time of year) and some grocery store spices, maybe an onion and some seaweed flakes, or a bit of tamari. im working on creating more habitat for tumeric, cayenne, and ginger this year, so hopefully come fall i wont need the grocery store spices ;)

a really right on brother named will, has been hosting me at his house, and giving me some room to play with various garden experiments at his farmstand in calvert county, during the spring season. so, sometime around noon (rainbow noon lol) each day i head over to chesapeake's bounty to play around in the garden.

here's a prime example of one my experiments!! the small tubers in my hand are from oca (oxalis tuberosa) a south american staple food that is highly praised by gourmet chefs. to the right, planted in the raised bed is another andean staple food called yacon (smallanthus sonchifolius, formerly polymnia edulis), that is loosely related to the sunchoke (helianthus tuberosa) and reputed to be extremely productive. at the top, planted near the edge of the raised bed is one of my favorite foods of all time, chayote!!(sechium edule) a cucumber family member from the hills of mexico that is very productive, versatile, and delicious, plus it is super drought tolerant ;) all of these plants are perennial in zone 8 so we set them up in the greenhouse to see if they'll over winter with a simple high tunnel.

Chayote spiderweb trellis!! :D

the asparagus beetles have been feasting and laying eggs on the fresh asparagus shoots, so i have been harvesting every tip, everyday, to see if we can avoid more neem oil applications...

we're also experimenting (quite successfully i might add!!) with cultivation of stropharia rugosa annuata, aka wine cap mushrooms...we've got a 100 gallon batch of wood chips completely run through in 3 weeks. in fact, todays job will be to spread this first batch and get a second larger batch prepped for inoculation. the mushroom in this picture was taken last year from the mother patch that started the culture we're working with now.

gotta stay hydrated ;) i use an old greenman growler for my water, so i can carry up to a half gallon of water, without having plasticides end up in my drinking water (many of them are endocrine disruptors that have not been thoroughly studied so their long term side effects are still largely unkown).

blogger isnt letting me post anymore pictures :p i guess this will be a 2 part entry ;)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

a message to all people everywhere, make the movement move

i imagine most people are pretty well aware at this point, that we are in a time of powerful and rapid transition, a time where individual choices have far reaching ramifications. there are over 7 billion people on this planet, many of whom rely entirely on fossil fuels to meet their most basic needs. industrial technology is rapidly degrading the air, water and soil, and people are more disconnected from nature than ever before. chronic disease and cancers are steadily on the rise, and for the first time in a long time, we are seeing a generation who has a lower life expectancy than that of their parents. the potential for sea level rise, extended droughts, and antibiotic resistant super bugs continues to increase, along with the potential for catastrophic system failures of our food production, and energy distribution networks, not to mention the possibility of economic collapse.

with all these challenges we are facing as a people, i still remain hopeful that we can turn things around. the single most encouraging thought to me, in the midst of all this chaos, is the notion that everyone wants to be happy, and we are all doing our best to be as happy as possible from moment to moment. i also feel that more and more, people are taking joy in doing what they can to help these various issues. mostly importantly, naive though it may be, i feel that the solutions to all of these problems are very simple and accessible to all people (in varying degrees).  

i feel that the biggest key to overcoming all of these challenges lies in an effort to form a deeper relationship between people and plants. 

plants provide humans with everything we need to thrive! food, shelter, fire/fuel, clean water, clean air, clean soil, even companionship. in every breath we breathe, in every bite of food that becomes our bodies, every time we turn on a light switch or drive to the store, plants (young and fresh, or ancient and decayed) are supporting us every step of the way. unfortunately however, this continuous flow of support from the plants is often taken for granted. our dinner is seen as "food" rather than plants, our fuel is seen as petroleum, rather than ancient forests of botrychium and equisetum, and our breath is completely ignored. 

if we can begin to remember this simple truth, that everything we depend on comes from plants, we can begin to build a more conscious re-elatioin-ship with the plant beings of the world. if we surround ourselves with loving and supportive plants, we can have all of our needs met from the habitats where we reside. 

here are some direct actions you can take to help deepen the relationship between people and plants:

1. Eat something wild everyday!!

these words from my favorite plant person, frank cook, have the power to transform everything within and all around us. most of the food consumed in first world countries, is highly processed, factory farmed, poison, and even the most wholesome local organic produce is pampered and domesticated. as such, wild plants tend to offer a much broader spectrum of nutrients in a much higher density, that means you get more nutrition from less calories. wild foods adapt to a variety of conditions and have developed very clever survival strategies. in short wild plants are wise, and the wisdom they have gathered and stored in their cells becomes the wisdom of our own cells. whether it be a dandelion leaf, or an american lotus root, eat something wild everyday. (always consult a skilled forager to meet a plant face to face and be certain of a proper identification before consuming any wild plant)
"if you eat something wild everyday you become a wild person".

2. Grow more vegetables!!!

this message is especially directed at single family home owners. food production is easily the single most destructive industry of our time. soil is being depleted, biodiversity is being lost, water is being polluted, sea life is suffering, and we dedicate close to half of all the worlds petroleum each year to the production, distribution, and preservation of food. by cultivating vegetables and learning how to care for them well, we can simultaneously save time, money, energy, and eat fresher, more nutrient rich foods. 

3. Plant fruit and nut trees! 

fruit and nut trees can provide food for hundreds or even thousands of years if properly cared for. they can be extremely productive and require minimal maintenance once established. a single chinese chestnut can yield an average of 100 pounds per year, which would account for around 10% of a person's calorific needs for the year. to put it another way if we covered all the lawns in america with chinese chestnuts we could produce 60,000,000,000 pounds of chestnuts each year and meet the calorific needs of over 80,000,000 people (based on a 2000 calorie diet). not to mention, pine nuts, blueberries, cranberries, and shade loving vegetables can be grown underneath of them. this brings us to the next action item ;)

4. Lose the lawn and create an ecosystem!   

although i definitely think petrochemical agriculture is the most destructive practice of our time, the american lawn is certainly a significant contributor to the degradation of our environment. here's some fun facts about american lawns from

U.S. Lawn Care Facts as Annual Totals & PercentagesFrom Redesigning the American Lawn by F. Herbert Bormann, Diana Balmori, Gordon T. Geballe, Yale University Press, 1993
  • A lawnmower pollutes as much in one hour as does driving an automobile for 350 miles. (We have found that this information, though valid at the time of publication, is no longer accurate. Based on current calculations, EPA estimates that the amount of pollution emitted by a lawnmower operating for one hour is equivalent to the amount of pollution emitted by a car driven for approximately 45 miles.)
  • 30 to 60 percent of urban fresh water is used for watering lawns (depending on city).
  • $5,250,000,000 is spent on fossil fuel-derived fertilizers for U.S. lawns.
  • 67,000,000 pounds of synthetic pesticides are used on U.S. lawns.
  • 60,000 to 70,000 severe accidents result from lawnmowers.
  • 580,000,000 gallons of gasoline are used for lawnmowers.
  • $25,000,000,000 is spent for the lawn care industry.
  • $700,000,000 is spent for pesticides for U.S. lawns.
  • 20,000,000 acres are planted in residential lawns.
you can stack functions here (a commonly emphasized practice in permaculture), and eliminate the lawn while cultivating edible plants, but even if you simply desire to fill your yard with ornamental flowers and shrubs (not that the two are mutually exclusive, many ornamental shrubs offer very tasty fruits and nuts) you are taking a wonderful step in removing toxins from the watershed and saving energy. remember to garden organically and be careful not to overfertilize, even organic fertilizers can do harm to rivers and streams.

5. Teach everyone about the plants you love, and get to know those plants on a deeper level. 

every plant has a rich history and many secrets to share. as you spend time with them, you will learn more and more about who they are and what they enjoy doing. anytime you feel appreciation for a certain plant, it is important to share that appreciation with others and help them to love and support that plant in their journey, if they feel called to. on a practical level, if there is a plant you enjoy cultivating and eating, share it with others. if you find an herb to be helpful in recovering from some discomfort or disease, pass that knowledge on to people who may encounter the same discomfort in their lives. if you discover an effective way of building soil, or increasing your vegetable production, or maybe a particular group of plants that work well together and maximize space, inform your friends so they can enjoy the same harvests. 

6. Grow mushrooms!!

its not only the plants that are here to help us...we have many fungal allies that are eager to help us clean up our habitats and keep us well fed in the process! if you want to learn more about how incredible mushrooms really are, i highly recommend watching paul stamets ted talk "six ways mushrooms can save the world", suffice to say that there are easy to cultivate species of fungi (stropharia rugosa annuata & oyster mushrooms/pleurotus spp.) that can clean fecal coliform bacteria, and hydrocarbons (toxic petroleum byproducts) from the water and soil, and they are edible (although i dont know that i would be too inclined to eat the ones that to the bioremediation work). 

7. Breath more consciously _()_

this might be the most profound way of honoring the plants and appreciating their support. breath is chronically taken for granted in "modern" society. all too often i think we forget that we are only one breath away from being compost, and that without breath we are not capable of experiencing anything, or accomplishing even the most simple task. we owe everything to our breath, and to the plants that fill the air with life. 

aside from these external activities, direct more energy inward towards cultivating peace, patience,compassion, kindness, and joy in your heart. weed out thoughts of judgment, jealousy and fear. and whatever you do, do it with all the love and gratitude you can conjure up.  

links to explore:

expected yields from various crops:

Friday, April 17, 2015

sacred relationship

so lets get right into it...what is all this hippy living really about? for me, it all comes down to sacred relationship. when i say relationship, im not talking about an object or something to be possessed, like my girlfriend, my boyfriend, my brothers, sisters, family, etc. no, im talking about real relationship, the dynamic process of connecting deeply with other beings. im talking about interactions that soften our hearts and expand our minds.

just look at the word itself "re-elation-ship". the core of it is elation, from the latin word elat, to raise up, to elevate, buoyancy, joyfulness...relationship means that our interaction with another has lifted up our spirit, and brought us into a higher state of aliveness. every time we encounter another being, we are faced with a choice to either open up and connect, or to shut down and disconnect. of course things arent so black and white, infinite shades of grey exist within every spectrum. we play with each other in our interactions, sometimes in a calculated way with a certain goal in mind, and other times simply because our desires and interests are constantly changing and we feel obliged to honor the ebb and flow of  our thoughts and emotions.

with real hippies you can let down your defenses and be just who you are...we are all here to explore, and what better territory to navigate than the heart? relationship is all about choosing to lift our hearts into a space of loving kindness and resolving to contribute to the upliftment of all beings in the most effective way possible. relationship means doing everything we can to bring more love, bliss and abundance into the experience of every being we encounter. relationship is the most reckless kind of love, because in it, we lose all fear of consequence. our sense of separateness becomes distant and we begin to dissolve into the "other".

relationship is not an object, it is a process, and very difficult one at that. there are so many reasons to keep our defenses up, to keep others at a safe distance, and preserve our sense of identity...but if we carry on in this way, can we ever really live?

put down your guard. dance like no one is watching. walk naked through this world without an ounce of fear. you are life and life is all around you. if you feel hurt by the actions of another, take heart in knowing that they are only doing their best to be as happy as possible, and we are all finding our way together. every interaction with another being offers the opportunity to enter into sacred relationship, to lift up our vibes and share some sweetness with life.

keep on being the love family <3    

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Real Hippies Dont Play

This blog is dedicated to all the high grade hippies that live close to the earth and in harmony with each other. we make kraut, grow food, restore habitats, and do everything we can to bring high vibes to all beings everywhere.

hippies have gotten a bad rap over the years, but really, hippies are just the people who are hip to what's going in life. we know that our body is made of microbes and plant matter. we know that all beings (even subatomic particles) are conscious and responsive to the energy we put out. we know that no matter what the problem may be, love is the answer.

how do you know if a hippy has been at your house?

there's footprints on the toilet seat, the dishes are done, and the whole house smells like kimchi and stir fried veggies...real hippies dont play!!