Morals or societal pressures?

Yesterday I pulled into a fueling station near the YMCA. My intent to merely get a snack so that I didn’t fall over from hunger during my workout. 

As I sat enjoying my salad I  noticed a man seemingly homeless take a seat on the ground.  I knew I didn’t have any cash,  and I realized he was watching me as much as I was him.

I walked over,  and had a short conversation. 

He admitted he’d just gotten out of the hospital,  and they’d given him a one way bus ticket so he could get anywhere in the city he wanted. He mentioned that he had been treated for alcohol abuse and dehydration, but said he also had cancer and only one kidney.  He was a veteran that had been discharged dishonorably, but didn’t elaborate as to why.

I told him I had no cash,  and not much for resources,  but I offered to get him something from inside so he would at least have a full belly. 

His request was 2 corndogs & a beer.  I said I’d do what I could. 

As I entered  the store,  my knee-jerk-reaction was skip the beer. I bought him the corndogs,  a bag of chips, a candy bar,  and a tea. 

I justified not getting the beer because he’d been in  the hospital because of alcohol; besides society insists that alcohol is the reason that homeless people are homeless (though I have more than a few doubts about the accuracy of that simply based on my own life experience).

As I took him the drink and bag of goodies,  I could see the disappointment over the beer.  As I stood there apologizing for my choice, 2 other people walked up and gave him change.  I was glad my action triggered generosity and said he probably now had enough to get his cold beer should one of the ones in the store meet his liking. I told him good luck and that I needed to be going. 

As I headed down to the Y, my decision over the beer haunted me. 

On one hand he’d been in the hospital,  the last thing he needed was something to trigger another trip there.  Or was it?

He said he had cancer and one kidney.  He confessed to not eating  much ever.  The hospital was probably the first real meal and shower he’d had in months, most likely the most fluids he’d imbibed in months as well. 

Beyond that,  I,  nor anyone there that day, was in a position to do him any lasting good.  He knew his fate was to return to his destitute wanderings, until one day he would just sit or lie down and never get up again.  There is no cancer treatment for the homeless, even when they’ve been diagnosed through an ER trip.

I had to stop and think.  If I’d been in his shoes,  I’d have probably really wanted a stiff drink myself, hell, I’d have wanted lots of stiff drinks.  Let’s face it, I’ve drank much more than one drink over much less in the hardships department. 

I simply can’t imagine knowing that I was going  to die alone destitute on the streets. It was heartbreaking for me. That is exactly the person I want to be able to create real change for. To at least give  them a fighting chance. 

I prayed to the divine.  I asked forgiveness for failing to meet his only request.  I begged that someone else would overcome societal pressures, the stigma of homeless and alcohol, so that he’d get his temporary reprieve. I then prayed that he might find more continuous relief,  or simply a peaceful quiet transition with minimal suffering. I prayed that our society let go of judgements, assumptions,  and stigmas surrounding the homeless.  I prayed that people open their minds and hearts to find lasting  solutions for people like him.

 I think if only I could build Atira and give him and many others a fighting chance, a reason to live,  I could make a huge impact on the world and our society. I prayed that God  might grant me the ability to do that, or at least someone soon. It doesn’t really have to be me, as long as someone starts putting our own citizens,  our own veterans, our own lost-&-forgotten, first. I prayed that a way be made, to accomplish that, and offered my hand in the process, in whatever way the divine sees fit.

My challenge to those reading this,  is evaluate: 

What assumptions have  you made?

What beliefs do you hold that may not be so accurate,  & where did you learn them? Can those beliefs be overwritten in your brain?  

What could you do differently in the future? 

None of us are super-human, but what else could you be doing to help, not only our society as a whole,  but individuals like that man?

Be the change you wish to see.
– Ghandi

 

Image from: 

http://totallyfreeinc.org/services/housing-for-the-homeless/

Sad selfie shortie

So after all that work I showed in my last post I’m super sore again.  5 Advil & 3 liters of very alkaline water later… I’m achey but functional. I put on back support to help reduce pain & aggravation from movement.   Then I decided to try & feel better through the effects of cute.  Red sun dress & matching cowgirl boots, I decided.  I’m not sure the cute factor is working on pain relief, but I have appreciated the comments on my boots & dress- it helped my mental state at least. 

Hard labor weekend…

So this weekend we finished filling the dumpster.  A fair amount of stuff from under the trailers didn’t fit, but the dumpster is overflowing.  

Burned the burnables- that was fun!

 I made a new fire pit so the old one could get the metal bits sifted out. 

Trampoline got moved where the main pile of trash used to be. 

Swing moved by the fire pit. Umbrella deployed over swing.  Aquarium turned table to one side of the swing (planning on putting lights in it). Ice bucket table on the other side of the swing. The tires behind the swing will be squash/watermellon/pumpkin planters, but I ran out of steam. That’ll have to happen next week sometime. 

Gardens got planted. Some stuff from last year’s garden came back:  bulbs,  sage, thyme, a small cilantro, parsley, yucca, & a few of the flowers.  I planted seeds in new dirt for everything else. View of Gardens from the swing:

Part of the yard got mowed & general cleanup started. It feels so much better out here! This is progress.  I love progress. 

Abuse, forgiveness,  and love offerings. 

I’m drawn (though I don’t really know why) to write again about a mildly uncomfortable topic today.  It’s one that I’m not sure my parents even know about to this day, even though the first time I wrote of the experience was highschool.

Yet, it is an experience that has partly shaped my life and created a vastly different view of abuse and abusers for me, much like my views on death.  It is a part of me and one that I’ve accepted not as a victim,  but more as an experience I’ve had to learn from. 

I’m referencing a situation that I’ll call attempted molestation. 

I was about 8 years old,  and at the time my family was  living in a large mobile home complex in Indiana.  There were many kids of a wide age range in the neighborhood that my brother and I played with.  One boy typically asked to play with my brother, but occasionally would invite both of us,  especially if his younger sister was tagging along.

I remember thinking that something was just slightly off with him, the day that he took the 4 of us out to the field behind an excavated pile of dirt, in an attempt to show us how cool smoking was. He literally pulled out a pile of cigarette butts explaining how he thought they helped him and saying we should try it. After one puff I knew it was not good for me, and to this day I still hate cigarettes and cigarette smoke. I never could understand how someone who was older than me, but still quite young (12 or 13) would want to do that.

Later that summer on several occasions he would stop by our house asking if my brother was able to come out & play.  The first occasion that my brother wasn’t able, he took the opportunity to persuade me to follow him. I still wish I hadn’t been so naive.  He took me into my family’s storage shed and tried to convince me to do what I now as an adult, know to be called a “blow job”. I distinctly remember thinking ‘eew that’s gross’ and leaving.  The boy proceeded to play the ‘same game’ twice more,  and in the 3rd attempt right as I was about to give in, despite protests,  my brother found us and ran him off.

I found out later that my brother punched him several times,  hard enough that he got the message to leave me alone.  For that protective influence I’m still very grateful. 

That fall as school was starting I overheard moms talking at the bus stop. They were discussing that he’d been caught molesting a girl and was in juvie and wouldn’t be in school. I thought surely it wasn’t me, I didn’t tell, and I hadn’t thought my brother had. That means he did the same thing to another girl.  Then one of the mom’s said something to the effect that ‘you know his father had been in prison,  and maybe apples didn’t fall far from the tree’. Later I asked his sister about it in a private secluded location. She demanded that I not tell anyone, and admitted that the dad had been doing similar things to them. I tried to convince her that it was bad & she should tell, but she refused saying it would cause more trouble than it was worth,  they were better off just dealing with it.

This was before reporting laws were in place,  and before interventions were widely accepted or available. All I could think at the time is how horrible it was that they were being abused and couldn’t do anything about it without servere reprecussions. I was determined not to let the experience affect me as severely as it did them. 

With that being said I don’t think it has, affected me- severely that is. I’m not really a victim,  I was naive, and know that in that situation my lack of knowledge was what made things uncomfortable, and was what caused being duped and having difficulty extracting myself from the situation. However,  when I look back I can see that nothing really was accomplished and though I was uncomfortable,  I ended up safe & sound. Be it divine intervention,  or just my big brother being in the right place at the right time,  I was unscathed with only slight mental trauma from the confusing situation. 

As I got a little older,  I wanted to know why this boy thought it was a good idea.  I knew the answer lie in knowing about sex, but that was all I knew. So I went looking for answers.  I started with dictionaries and encyclopedias because that was how I was taught to glean data or useful information. I learned what sex was,  it’s technical names,  that it usually occurred between people of opposite genders, that even gender was referred to as someone’s sex.  However,  none of that really answered my question as to why a boy wanted me to do very specific things to his penis.  Essentially, even as a young child I was acknowledging that knowledge is power and that was why I felt powerless in that situation. 

However,  my need for an answer meant I kept digging.  By the time I was in middle school I was sneaking pornos from my dad’s “secret” collection (he thought he’d hid them well). Let’s just say it not only finally answered my question about the boy,  but it also answered questions I’d had about my own father.

My father was a fairly intense man, often derrogatory toward women,  but would blatantly watch women in public. He was verbally abusive, to us kids and my mom, even in public.  Seeing his porn collection at a young age made lots of his actions make sense. Again, I acknowledged that my father was only perpetuating what he was taught.  It took me years to get to a place of forgiveness with my father. 

As a result I made decisions about sex, relationships,  and interactions with people without really realizing it.  I just thought I’d informed myself.  Hind sight being 20-20 I can see that most of my decisions through informing myself have been beneficial/good, but perhaps not all.

By highschool I told friends in a conversation about sex that “I’d never had sex, but thought I would like it”. Those friends still teased me about that years later. I never did though, I just didn’t want to rush it, looking to have both control and meaningful interactions in that department. 

I finally had sex half way through college,  and even then it was with a couple that I’d chosen because it was safe. I had grown impatient and even though I suspected my relationship with Nathan was growing- heading that direction, I was just ready.  I acknowledged that the couple probably thought they’d found a young chica to gently pry open with wine & a good time,  but I went into the evening with the awareness that they wanted sex,  & I wanted the experience to learn how to handle myself well and interact in that manner.  I knew it wasn’t anything more, I didn’t expect a 2nd night or any kind of relationship. 

 Later Nathan expressed disappointment,  but after discussing it in depth he understood where I was coming from. He had wanted for my first time to be with him & very special. I let him know that I wanted to know what special was by experiencing not special first. I told Nathan that I might not have known he was different/better/special if I had nothing but the attempted molestation to go by. Anything is better than that.  Giving myself a more normal generic sexual interaction gave me a better idea of what was just normal physical interaction and what was the spiritual connection which Nathan and I shared. It helped me feel the difference in the most respectful way I could find. I knew it was appropriate and a positive choice.  I think Nathan agreed in the end. 

Years later,  the boy of my childhood still occasionally comes up, and every time it seems I realize something new. 

At this point I not only forgive the boy for his trespass against me, I understand that the boy was far more a victim than I was.  My heart now goes out to him and I do my best to send him healing energy and love when the experience crosses my mind.  I can’t imagine how his life played out only knowing how to manipulate and force women to interact with him.  Never knowing what real love is like, and probably spending  years in and out of detention centers. His life was essentially ruined before it even got started because of his father, and it’s probably a generations old cycle in that family.  One traumatized person acting  out and creating another traumatized person,  over and over again.  It’s really very sad.

Yet a cycle I managed to escape. Now the experience leads me to choose respectful partners.  I usually prefer to be at least somewhat in control,  or at least on equal ground. I look for proper language,  I look for questions and request for permission. I look for gentle people.  And I do my best to reciprocate in all respects. I don’t expect every interaction to be permanent and extra special, but that’s always the goal: to find my special polyamorous life partners.

Nathan is all of that and more,  without him I’d be crushed & wouldn’t know what to do. I had glimpses of that kind of special with people which ended up being short term relationships,  those people are the ones that still have space in my heart.  My other interactions though not negative, and fully respectful,  were just not quality enough to maintain as relationships,  and that’s ok. I was informed,  I made those decisions willingly,  and I respect the results.  They all served some purpose in my life,  if only to teach me something about myself and my desires and goals. There have been many many people I’ve turned down or flat out ignored because they didn’t show respect and I simply have no tolerance for that. 

You may think that this implies some long list of lovers over the years,  but not really.  Nathan included I’ve been intimate with 16 people and platonic with 4 (Nathan’s other others).

 I cherish each and every one as a valuable learning experience.   

I am grateful for the experience with the boy because it taught me to be as preemptively informed as possible.  It also taught me to step back and evaluate seemingly negative situations to see what I could learn for the future. Additionally, I do personally feel it was a lesson from the divine because of the fact that it could have ended much worse. 

I’m grateful to both the boy and my father because they taught me what not to do (in a do your best kind of way) . They taught me what to look for to avoid more situations like they provided. They taught me how to tell if someone is respectful by their individual distespectful deameanors. I have a strength and confidence now that I might not have had otherwise.  I know that I can deal with a lot,  and what I can’t deal with I can usually escape. I ensure I have enough control in my life to accomplish that at least. 

So yes, those experiences – though negative in nature,  did better prepare me for the world.  They did make me a better person,  and they did make me want to make informed decisions as much as possible.  So, I  not only forgive the trespasses, I give thanks for those experiences and send healing and love to both the boy and my father. I think my father has started to see his errors and I hope that boy has too.

My only wish is that we all see things in this manner and forgive others,  but especially forgive ourselves. Give yourself some love for your learning and growing and in embracing those negatives,  share the love to encourage healing in this big wide world of ours. 

Burn f*^#er Burn

So today was a “miss work to get some home work done finally” day. I succumbed to renting a roll away dumpster since it seems I’ve permanently lost my utility trailer to the hauling of water.  The roll away cost as much to rent for a week as the utility trailer cost new at Harbor Freight. Oh well, what’s $400 dollars anyway, right?!

New utility trailer last spring ($460)- got used to haul trash twice & otherwise has been restricted to water. 

Dumpster today ($400) 4x8x10 ft (only 4 feet longer not quite 2 feet taller than the trailer)

Furthermore,  I spent the morning distracted so actual labor finally commenced at 11am, despite receiving the roll away at 8:30. I’m prepping to head to choir/orchestra practice now,  so we had to wrap up at 3:30.

This is what it used to look like, before burning our contribution of remodel remnants:

& this is from while we were burning before,  but is a better idea of where we started  today: 

So, that makes 4.5 hours of labor, of which Nathan and I both busted ass to get as much done as possible, so it was really hard labor. If I was able to pay myself what I get paid at work, I’d have made $180, and Nathan would have made $90. 

Oh well…. $400 dumpster and $270 lost wages, just to remove mostly other people’s trash. *scowl*

(Notice my horribly mismatched clothes – that was because they were garments I wouldn’t be afraid of trashing if need be.)

The up-side is we’re  finally seeing it disappear. Over a year later,  with no help from the family that caused the pile. Can you tell I’m having difficulty finding gratitude over that one?

This is what it looks like after the 4.5 hours, almost complete with giant burn pile started:  

I am grateful it’s going away,  and it feels much better without the litter on the land. I am very glad we’ll have a yard again. 
What’s left when the cleanup is done will be a very large burn pile of wood products, and an equally large pile of scrap metal which I’ll probably end up hauling off inside the van. 

 I very much look forward to watching the wood burn this weekend.  THAT will be a good time.  THAT will feel better too. THAT makes me happy. 

In the midst of all of it, I got to stop & play with a Red Bellied Snake, & at the end of the day whilst cleaning up, I got to take a few min to absorb some wonderful sun on all my skin. THAT makes me happy as well. 

 Finally,  the purging has already begun.  We started the day by putting our mattress in the bottom of the dumpster, along with some soft goods. Sunday was wash everything we own at the laundromat day, and we’ve sprayed our bedroom and bathroom with horribly toxic chemicals which I got at home depot just for bedbugs.  I got 3 different gallon spray containers,  and we’ve used one and a half so far,  plus a quart & half of rubbing alcohol.  I’m pretty sure the house is extremely flammable right now,  & Nathan agrees,  so he’s asked me to quit talking about wanting to burn it down. I said fine,  with the qualifier that the dumpster needs topped off with anything that will fit (which might not be much because of the massive amount of trash we cleaned up today).

*sigh* Relief sometimes is difficult in the arrival. 

On Ice

I’m quite literally on ice today.  My low back & hips are screaming from lots of inflammation.

  Wednesday,  I resorted to a grilled chicken sandwich when we were in a hurry.  I was already late for work and very hungry.  Burger King was the closest option to the highway that I could stop & there would be a vegetarian option  for Nathan. I remembered to have them hold the tomato, but didn’t think about the bun. I’m certain at this point that it must have had either corn or potatoes or both in it, because I never have this bad of a reaction to just gluten. 

Though I do admit that  I have had gluten and dairy this week as well, so the inflammation is rampant in my body. 

My knees hurt, my hips and low back are on fire, and I’m holding probably a gallon of water weight.

I’ve taken extra fish oil,  extra curcumin, 800mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours,  and even with the ice pack on my low back, I’m still hurting. 

Last night I hurt so bad that I  barely  managed 20 min of lap swimming with generous hot tub before and after.

I was doing so well that all I can say is: I know that this is a direct result of my “minimal” lapses,  and it’s only encouragement to do better.

I want more hot tub, but I have to try & finish working early enough to get that.  Needless to say it’s very difficult to drag yourself through working when you’re in this much pain.  It makes for a very long and exhausting day. I look forward to ending my day at the Y in their wonderful hot tub. 

Last night and during my breaks today I tried to distract myself with my languages learning.  It’s a challenge to focus,  but it seems that has helped with things sinking in.  A nice bonus since I’m learning 3 at once. The 1st I started last year to relearn what I’d done in college, and DuoLingo informs me I have a 21% profeciency- French. 2nd I learned in highschool and just restarted a couple of months ago,  it’s going a bit bumpier @ 3%- Spanish. The 3rd I just started- really to attempt to impress myself & my friend – Telugu (DuoLingo does not offer this one,  so I’m using a cluster of other apps to teach myself with aids from YouTube). 

It’s a challenge to learn 3 languages,  but one that I’m willing to try,  and bonus it’s distracting me from my current pain!

Here’s to becoming multilingual and pain free! 

Atira; Diversity

So apparently, I am on Installment 5 of the Atira writings. For this one I desire to write about all of the diversity in Atira that I wish to create. I wish for Atira to have diversity in a lot of respects: people, living plants and animals, energy sources, and housing. However, none of those will be possible if Atira can not sustain itself financially.

Ultimately, I feel that the business side of Atira is the most important solely because the funds earned through the businesses will sustain the humanitarian and charitable efforts of the community. Without something to generate profits and income, Atira would essentially be a finite limited project that would burn out in a set amount of time and would thus limit the amount of good that could be done.

Now, you will never hear me compare myself to the likes of our current president or the sharks of Shark Tank- I am definitely not on their level business wise, or strategy wise for that matter. However, having managed to be self employed for 4 years and having voluntarily opened and subsequently voluntarily closed an office, as well as having all but 2 classes of a business minor- I do understand the basics of business.

The most important tenets of business that I was taught were as follows:

  • Do something you are passionate about- it’s easier to keep motivated and expend the energy to build the business, it can also help in convincing others to be passionate about your business, which will only help to grow the business.
  • Make sure that you have adequate funding to maintain the business for up to 5 years. Most businesses fail if that concept is not met.
    • Include in your budget resources for both adequate assistance (employees) and adequate marketing (people need to know all of what you have to offer, where you are, and when/how they can spend their money with your business). If you don’t market your business well enough it may make reaching that magical 5 year mark much harder.
  • And finally diversify- if all of your financial eggs are in one basket, essentially you’re relying on one magical thing to ensure you make it, you are more likely to fail. If you have a variety of products or services that you offer, then if one fails horribly you are not doomed.
  • A business plan helps to ensure you’ve accounted for these things and also your physical resources, inventories, time and space needs, and even organize the progression of building your business from scratch including supply and distribution concerns.

I’m betting that the Sharks on Shark Tank would agree with these. They might mince words, tell me I need to expand on the concepts more, or scold me for failing to provide other supporting concepts and details, but then I would say- this is just a blog about what I’d like to see happen! Additionally, I would say that my concepts of Atira definitely meet both passion and diversity. What I lack is the official business plan and funding. The former being relatively easy, the latter being much more difficult.

So, I’ve already discussed that this is a passion that has been festering for over a decade. The first failed attempt at starting Atira (we hadn’t even named it yet) small scale was done in 2006. We’d already discussed Atira for a couple of years when we tried to make a small go. *Nathan’s bad divorce was ultimately a huge cause for the first fail, as we didn’t factor doubled child support payments into plans not knowing it was a possibility. When the divorce finally completed his obligations were over twice as much as we thought they would be. We stalled out quickly.* After that fail, we became hesitant, and life encouraged that hesitation with set-back after set-back. We never quit talking abut all the things we’d like to do.

In 2008 we were having a discussion about Atira- making a mock map and discussing how we wanted to arrange things- when the word Atira popped into my head. I googled the word not knowing it’s origin or anything, even guessing on the spelling, merely going by what I ‘heard’. Google results returned that it was a Hebrew Girl’s name meaning prayer (I liked that concept and felt it fit), and also it had some native american context. There wasn’t much to be found with that word in 2008. Now there is much more information available.

The point of that, is that this is most definitely not a new concept, and the concept itself goes back further in our history than even having a name label for it.

So what is that concept? Help people make their lives better and the world better through a diverse business and community structure. I’ve described a bit of that in previous posts, but lets focus in on the business. I’ll break down each aspect that I brought up previously, as follows:

Festivals:

Nathan and I have both attended a variety of festivals in a variety of settings. The reasoning for having festivals is 2 fold. 1- We wish to have those wonderful experiences right at our doorstep. 2- We wish to make Atira a destination place for people all over to come and see what we’re about. The more people see what we’re doing, the more likely they might wish to create Atira Jr. and spread the love and assistance.

As for the types of festivals, we want as much diversity as the business structure itself. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2/3’s of which would be in ‘fair’ to ‘good’ weather. That’s roughly 34 weeks of available festival space/time. We have envisioned having film festivals, music festivals, art festivals, and yes pagan-clothing-optional festivals. We would like to have art and film festivals for each good season, so 3 times each per year. That’s only 6 weeks out of the 34. The rest of the weeks available would be divided between music, pagan festivals, and private gatherings (alternate groups to utilize the festival grounds). I personally would prefer that music festivals dominate, but Nathan and I have compromised to allow for the remaining 28 weeks to be divided relatively evenly with 10 weeks music, 10 weeks pagan, and 8 weeks private/for-rent.

That’s a lot of festivals. From having been on the hands on crew for planning/implementation of a couple of festivals, I am aware of how many hands on deck are needed to pull such endeavors off once, let alone year round. Lets just say, it would be a full-time crew of about 100 people, with another 50-ish others being part-time. Yet, entirely possible. Festivals are usually run Friday, Saturday, Sunday, with setup Being Wednesday/Thursday and tear down being Monday/Tuesday. Thus, needing both full and part-time crew. What would reduce staff needs is if there were permanent structures to facilitate the events with a minimum of set-up and tear-down. I think of classic Ren-Faire environments, when this comes to mind, where they have merchants literally rent permanent structures that are small basic buildings. I prefer that Atira would have a more modern rendition of that concept.

There would have to be a few staff members to divide up festival planning (2 to 3 professional event coordinators) and marketing (2 to 3 marketing pros) of all events.

Arts:

The studio I referenced in Installment 4. Studio Rental space, gallery space, arts council, and store for locally produced crafts, textiles, and fbre wears (handmade papers).

Healing:

This is the office where medical and complimentary alternative medicine cooperate for whole body health. I foresee the providers there being hired and helping all of the incoming transitional cases to find stable health, both mentally and physically so that they can begin training for opportunities elsewhere in the community. I wish there to be at least one of each (maybe more) of the following: General Practice MD, DO, DC, PT, OT, Speech Therapist, LMT, Acupuncturist, NMD, Chinese Herballist, Psychologist, Medical Certified Nutrition-Scientist, Personal Trainer, Reiki practitioner, and Yoga (&/or pilates) Instructor.

Energy:

Atira needs to run on Green energy sources, but I want it to be a ‘go to’ for planning and installing green energy in other places. I want people outside the community to come to us for help turning their home green, for turning their small businesses green, and I want the word to spread well enough that even larger businesses and corporations take note and start following suit. I want Atira to push for greater efforts in the world at large to go green. The pioneers are already out there, I want Atira to push the edges a bit further.

Grocery/home goods store

Again, this is to be a store that sells it all. “Buy Fresh Buy Local”, Organic (especially from Atira crops), Alternative Fiber goods, Hand crafted housewares, and a variety of other socially responsible products. The best of the best equivalent to whatever you could find in any ‘regular’ grocery store. It may be idealistic to think that a store could exist that only sells those types of items, but it’s an ideal I want to attempt. I have this “If you build it, they will come.” mentality. I think people want to shop responsibly but when it becomes difficult (having to do research, read labels even more, etc.) they give up. If you make it easy by telling people through adequate marketing that anything they buy at the store will be socially responsible, they’ll want to shop there. Then there would just need to be adequate signage in-store to show people which products are local, and which might be non-local but still socially responsible, and signage explaining all edibles are organic, etc. Make it easier for people to find what they need and still feel good about their purchases having a positive ripple effect on the world.

Bakery/cafe/restaurant:

BAKE: Sprouted and fermented grain goods, No-grain baked goods, gluten free, nightshade-free, corn-free. Something tasty for everyone. Baked goods sold through both the Cafe and Grocery.

Cafe: Heavy on the teas, light on the coffees and espressos, fresh made juice-cocktail bar. Always with vegan and vegetarian options. Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, Caesin free and RAW. Wi-Fi for all, regardless of purchase. Nathan and I want the cafe to be the gathering place where people want to be to discuss and create. A modern Salon (before it meant hair-cutting, it was a gathering place).

We envision the cafe and restaurant being attached, like 2 halves of one space, maybe a short wall for delineation.

Restaurant: Foods for all. Meat to vegan, Allergies considered. The menu would have subsections for allergy restrictions. (I am very cognizant of this with my long list!) The restaurant would also have a great salad bar and alcohol bar.

All together it means happy eating and drinking any time of day for any person that walks through the door.

Crops:

Finally, the crops I wish to have are for both financial and personal reasons.

Cash crops:

Hemp:

For fibre, milk, seeds (food), and protein (powder drinks)

Cannabis:

For medical and/or recreational – there would have to be significant land mass between the hemp and cannabis to avoid cross pollination…. so grown on opposite sides of the property, with everything literally separating the 2.

Herbs:

Herbs are actually a lucrative cash crop for 2 reasons:

1- when you go to the grocery store, answer the question: how much am I getting for my dollar compared to a loaf of bread or a pound of meat. You get a half ounce of herbs for the cost of a loaf of bread, maybe an ounce or two for the cost of a pound of meat.

2- Have you ever compared organic herbs to regular (Tones or McCormic), the organic is usually double the cost.

Herbs can also be used to create designer teas at high dollar value, and even extracted to essential oils for even higher dollar value. Plus they are full of great nutrition in any form.

 

No quite such a cash crop, but equally important are all the vegetables I wish to grow large scale.

Cucumbers, Squashes, Mellons, Berries, Greens/Lettuces, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Fennel, Onions/leeks, Garlics, tree fruits, etc…. everything except what america tends to grow (no corn, soy, wheat, or nightshades).

Yum!

I’ve even considered growing non-edible plant crops: trees, shrubs, flowers… though those tend to take more space, so it may boil down to an acreage and climate issue.



 

The many things I long for. I write of these things to take the sting out of reality. I write of these things to cling to my hope for making the world a better place. I write of these things hoping it will bring an energy of abundance into my life. I write of these things hoping for better: for me, my family, my friends, and the world at large.

  • I am not ignorant of the news. I choose not to focus on it because it causes great fear and concern in me. I wrote months before the election (perhaps in another outlet) that I thought we were already technically in WW III because of Bush Jr’s meddling in the middle east and creating the war on terror. Obama merely failed to end that escapade. Now we’re faced with a dumb-ass president that seems may have put the final missile into WW III. I just can’t devote too much mental energy into dwelling on that because I’ve already had dreams of being in a nuclear blast and loosing my family and everything. If I dwell I might fall really far back in the abyss of depression, and that is simply not acceptable.

 

Header Image Citation LINK

This week’s lessons…

So, I’m totally going to blame the emotional nose dive on my hormones. It rained all of the days this week. and I got my usually workouts in, and mostly I ate well, with few minimal slips.

I did herbally self-medicate this weekend to deal with the worst of my anxiety and negative mood, and though I know that is less desirable than being fine, it’s also a bit better (in my opinion) than being the monster that my dysfunctional brain is capable of. It’s literally my break-in-case-of-emergency to-keep-from-rampaging fix. It worked, and now I’m on the upswing again.

My work-week is starting okay, the messages and love are flowing again, and I’m feeling okay.

Post-self-medicating last night, and before falling asleep, an email notified me one of the blogs I follow had posted again. The blog has multiple authors and occasionally inundates me with email notifications, but last night one caught my eye and I started reading before falling asleep. It really, really resonated…. read here if you like. I have to say that everything that he wrote about had crossed my mind at some point. I did resonate with “The Matrix” and I have tried to wrap my brain around “There is no Spoon” a thousand times.

I don’t know if it was Fillipe’s perspective, or the state that I was in after my weekend, and so close to drifting off to sleep, or if it’s just starting to click. I simply don’t know, but it somehow is.

So, this morning on the way to work, it hit me this week has been full of epiphanies. I texted my husband: “Do EVERYTHING: with love for the divine, as if there is no spoon, and as if we’re moving into Atira with (him [and his wife]) in September…. my lesson for the week. We still have to eat, sleep, and function, but would certain things become more priority if that was the perspective. & would likewise other things fall away being less important. Like I’d be planning for a giant fire!”

Realizing I tried to cram a huge concept into a small text, I thought I better expand on it for myself and my husband.

1st My Do EEVERYTHING statement:

Literally everything gets some love put into it:

For instance I found myself saying to myself this morning that I am getting up and going to work because I love my family enough to support them. I really picked my outfit (something I do a lot anyway) because I wanted to love myself by looking cute- I really do enjoy when I look good, especially when I look good enough that others notice and compliment me. I drove to work knowing that my miles may be many, but it takes me to residents I’ve worked with for several years and whom have come to look forward to my visits and really appreciate what I do for them. Acknowledging that, I then gave myself love for wanting to help others enough that, it shows in my interactions enough that, they do want me to keep coming back. I then sent that love to the residents because I appreciate that they appreciate me. A little love makes the day go much better- it even helped when the few crazy moments happened.

During my 1st session, the resident had on Rachael Ray and she was interviewing Craig Ferguson. He made a comment in regards to the query of the worst job he’s ever had; about how even when he’s interviewing someone he doesn’t particularly want to, he just reminds himself “it’s not as bad as delivering milk in the snow in December”. That’s the funny way of looking at the fact that there’s always something that you could be doing that is worse. I HEARD THE MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR. Because he’s right (both Craig and God) there is always something I could be doing that’s worse. I immediately remembered my days driving for First Student- by far my worst job ever. It made me appreciate today that much more. Today was easy compared to a day on a school bus, especially when roads are bad due to weather. The love flowed just a bit more.

Then there’s: as if “There is no Spoon”.

This is just one big illusion cooked up by our brains, set in place with preconceived notions and patterns of expectations. I usually expect my days to be boring, but today I was startled by a resident suddenly taking a leak in front of me, and followed by another resident wishing me luck as her version of “have a good afternoon”.  Neither of which I would normally expect to happen, but I was so busy thinking about other things they both caught me off guard and I thought to myself should I be running for the bathroom, or buying a lottery ticket, or both!

Acknowledging the illusion then seems to open doors for messages every time I allow it. Between Craig’s statement and and a billboard I saw with bright orange and a boy wearing a green shirt (a reference for me to flag colors), and several other smaller things. I knew the messages were flowing. The billboard was so obvious for me that I actually laughed and said “well played, good one”, which I then got the tingles down my spine that tells me I was heard. I still don’t quite think I’m getting all the messages, but I think I’m starting to get enough of the messages that “they” are attempting to send more and more.  I feel like I am inundated with messages, and I’m just not comprehending all of them yet.

So my side of “There is no spoon” is thinking about all of the things that I’d rather be seeing. I’ve started, but not yet completed the next installment blog post of Atira to expound on that.

For now I’ll just give an example. I got upset again about dishes piled up this weekend, after a few minutes of fuming, I flipped my thoughts to “Why am I mad, what do I want to see?” Ultimately I want to have a really good dishwasher so that no one has to invest any significant time into  doing dishes. I want running water so that the dishwasher functions, and I can easily wash hands, take showers, have a bath, and do laundry- all things that have been not only time consuming and difficult this year, but have been mentally taxing because of all the thought that goes into completing them without running water systems. I then started thinking of related topics and how many things would be easier or simpler, definitely less time consuming if we had all the modern amenities. I realized that really my anger and frustration is a lack of acknowledging the appreciation I have for the other side of things.

So I’ve been working very hard on focusing on the appreciation for the other things and letting the anger and frustration go. I simply think about the opposite, what is the opposite, why do I like the opposite, what would be benefited by having, using, and/or doing the opposite, what ripple effect would that possibly have in my life. Then I acknowledge to the divine that yes I do want that, and no- I have no idea how to get there, and please help me to bring that back into my life, I will honor you for your help in my life by helping others do the same.

So far, it’s only really alleviated my mental state, but it seems like the messages I’m getting imply that: I’m being heard and help is on it’s way. I’m still holding onto that energetic Hug that I got on Thursday. I really hope that help is the BIG multi-purpose, multi-functional help I’ve been asking for. I have such big dreams, I’d love to see them come true.

And that leads me to my final: Do EVERYTHING as if you’re moving in September.

I don’t have the resources to do even a tiny fraction of what I’ve dreamt, at least right now. So, thinking about moving tomorrow or next week is unbelievable. However, I’m getting messages, I know someone (I believe the divine) is hearing me, and the messages have implied good things headed my way- even implied by the end of the year. So, thinking about receiving a miracle that enables big and good changes by the end of the year is much more believable.

That is faith.

I’m having and holding faith that help is on the way, and that my dreams are much more within reach than my brain previously believed. I am allowing my previously held constructs to fall away to enable lots of new things in my life. Or at least as much as I’m able to at this point in time- baby steps. Sometimes it’s easy, like when I saw the billboard and laughed. Sometimes it’s hard, I have to work on convincing myself: like when I used my healed burn to reinforce that my body can and is actively working on healing other more major things such as my thyroid issues.

One of the ways I am doing that is by evaluating activities based on my desires. I think, if I had the resources to start Atira by the end of the year, how would this activity be handled. Sometimes the answer is the same because that is then, and I’m in the now. Dishes and laundry are a good example of that. I need them now, so I have to function in the construct already in place. In which case I take a moment to think of how it will be eventually- the what I want appreciation conversation.

However, things like finishing off the trash pile, and working on the remodel are now under new light. If the resources are manifested miraculously, then both would have drastically different outcomes. I’d pay for a roll-away and a couple of young men to do the work on the trash pile, and if the trailer did get finished (to be one of the tiny homes in Atira), I’d pay someone else to do the work. So then, I have to sit back and evaluate each and every thing that is on my GIANT To Do list and see if things need re-arranged, taken off, or re-thought as far as how to accomplish them. It doesn’t mean I’m just going to quit. It means rather that I’m attempting to work smarter not harder and do things in the most logical way assuming that my dreams are indeed on their way to reality.

At this point it’s all I’ve got. Faith and myself. Make the best of it, right?

Finally, the fire comment is more about a practical issue.

We’ve been battling the bed bugs again. Apparently despite spending thousands of dollars over the last 3.5 years fighting them, some have survived. We thought we were meticulous in treating things that were moved, especially if we didn’t put them into storage. Yet, we still have the damn bugs back. I hate them, detest them. I’ve sprayed gallons of toxic chemicals trying to kill them, done loads and loads of laundry for the same purpose. Yet, they persist.

So, in acknowledgement that I simply can’t win that war, I now know the only way to win and truly kill the bugs is to burn every soft good and even some of the hard goods that we own. If I try to donate any of it, I risk giving that horrible infestation to someone else- something I can’t bring myself to do. I normally would abhor such blatant wastefulness, but the damn bed bugs are insidious. I have sprayed every crack and crevasse hundreds of times, we’ve treated and washed and dried every soft thing we own dozens of times. And “They’re Back!” Like the evil spirits from “Poltergeist”. Thus like felling the house in “Poltergeist” I perceive that to be the only way to ensure neither us, nor anyone else, ever has to deal with our batch of bed bugs again. Curse that damn apartment complex for sharing them with us!

SO, that is how I’m proceeding: giving LOVE, SEEING the ILLUSION, having FAITH, and planning for A GREAT FIRE and MOVE.

Wish me luck and send your prayers that all works out in the end.