Category Archives: Ethos

Make your community a better place ?

If you could do one thing to make your community a better place what would you do?

via J.T. @ https://www.facebook.com/jerome516/posts/1082094282191807

This is a great question Jerome, thanks for sharing it and your thoughts.
I would prioritize healthy, equitable agroforests through urban and rural landscapes. Trees that can help meet people’s basic needs (fiber, fuel, food, farmaceuticals, fun, +), in public parks and sidewalk green spaces, in yards, serving as bountiful fences, and texturing our agricultural landscapes, diets, and cultures. Acts of restoration, relinquishment, and resilience which ripple mass reforestation and good health.

Much love to the trees that have been with our northern climate ancestors who I’d hope to see in my area: hazelnuts, birches, maples, honeyberries, chestnuts, acorns, hickories, walnuts and pecans and that whole fam, elderberries, willows, spruces, and so many more.


More specifically, if it needs to be one single thing: cultivate a cooperatively-owned tree crop processing facility that can be used in the community and potentially as a regional hub, to help people meet their basic needs using trees. Areas of primary interest would be:

  • food (for biocultural restoration),
  • fuel (to heal fossil fuel addiction), and
  • fiber (to build resilience in the face of social environmental, and economic disturbances).

Interested in this also? Let’s talk and collaborate, let’s walk and exacerbate our own nuttiness, let’s squawck and walk the talk and elaborate on a way to initiate … do great or forsake. People ate acorns for millennia before they ate candy corns. Let’s make it happen.


Album playlist: Nate – Make It Happen

Predation & Evolution

I poem I originally shared July 15, 2014:

wild cat catching a fish

SPLASH
FIGHT
BITE
All was alright in the world, as I was moving toward the light
Looking for some food so I’d sleep well through the night
And awaken another day
My mouth becomes open
!!! Woah I am awoken !
I spread my wings and make like a cross
Then my world is tossed – tension to release; anticipation to closure; potential to kinetic
So,
It is written
Now I make like the moss (gratitude to the roots, foundations of the Kingdom)
Growing slowly through the churning fires of Time
Now at the turning of the rhyme, I ask:
Have I eaten or been eaten?

Slow and steady thoughtstream

Lessons from sleight of hand and spirituality: take it slow, do it smooth.

Slow gives the appearance of smooth

Smooth gives the appearance of speed

Speed gives the appearance of magic

via paraphrasing from R.I. sleight of hand magician

Slowing down thoughts is one of the most effective methods for changing negative habits of thinking. As long as the mind is working furiously, it’s not possible to stop it; it’s not even possible to make a turn. But when you are able to see thoughts going by in single file, you can recognize them and say, ‘Hey, you’re no friend!’ You can choose not even to say hello to a negative thought, and its power to agitate you will be completely lost. This is how we learn not to identify ourselves with our thoughts, which means we have the power to pick and choose which thoughts to think.

via Eknath Easwaran, from chapter 9 of “Like a Thousand Suns,” vol. 2 of “The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living

Visions of Love, Gardening with Theurgy: An Imaginative Practice to Empower Plants

Plants are people that participate in our world in wondrous, mutualistic ways. Plants serve as the foundation of our human lives, in so many ways, grown by Solar rays of a very high Source. Plants bridge us and the Sun. How can we serve plants? A mystical practice, known as a type of theurgy, is one way to empower plants to give greater gifts as they go forth in life, using the power of human mind to imagine and visualize colors and light.

Definitions of theurgy tend to be vaguely described, as hints of it seep out from the mysticism of various traditions. Definitions often include compelling or querying supernatural beings and deities. I offer this definition based on my learnings and experiences on alchemy:

Theurgy is the mental animating of matter, so to bring out more of matter’s inherent qualities and potential capacities, without imposing a state or process on the matter that is not in harmony with its nature and natural laws of cause and effect [1].

There could be a lot to unpack here, but I will leave that to your own inner and outer inquiries. I raise this work to share an ecological application of it. Based in imagination, it is the use of visualization and color to enliven objects with their vital three-part nature.

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Can industrial technology save civilization from industrial civilization?

Industrial-scale green energy (including distributed small-scale technology developed at industrial-scales) is more of the same industrial, fossil-fuel addicted rise to heights out of the bounds of first principles. We need appropriate technology at appropriate scale to succeed in the water-food-energy nexus.

Documentary on “green technology” and the dissonance of many modern environmentalists..:

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Breathing Exercises for Wellness

Breathing is an essential element of health. The following breathing practices improve body, emotion, and mind. Practice a little bit regularly, and stay grounded.

Full Breaths

Full breathing:
Breathe easy, be content.

Inhale slowly and fully by letting your chest rise, then your solar plexus, then expand your belly (pull your diaphragm down) to pull air deep into your lungs. Air will fill all the way down to around your naval all the way up to your throat.

Exhale slowly and completely by relaxing. Let your diaphragm relax and rise naturally, your lungs will release air. To remove stagnant air and exhale completely, compress your abdomen gently at the natural end of your exhale so that you force out any remaining air you have (be gentle so to not disturb your insides, you are doing this to help refresh them not stress them).

Four-Fold Breathing

Some call this square breathing, 4×4 breaths, four-way breathing, grounding breaths.

Begin by exhaling completely.
Inhale as described in the full breathing comment. As you do count to 4. This count should be comfortable for you, it is not 4 seconds, it is just breaking up the natural time it takes for you to inhale fully into 4 sections. 1, 2, 3, 4 at your pace. Whatever the pace is, keep this same pace throughout this exercise.

Hold your breath in for the same pace count 1, 2, 3, 4.

Exhale as described in the full breathing comment. 1, 2, 3, 4.

Hold your exhale out for the same pace count 1, 2, 3, 4.

Repeat this process 4 complete times with your awareness following the breath and the count. This will help you with energy.

Basic Qi’gong Form for Four-Fold Breathing

Mindful body movements can be added to this ‘4 square breathing’ as in Daoist qi’gong exercise.

Begin in basic qi’gong posture. You can learn simple and comfortable qi’gong forms in videos or local instruction. Legs shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, feet straight forward or slightly angled. Relax and practice good posture, as if a golden string runs from your tailbone up through the back of your head and out the top of your head to support you.

Inhale as you bring your arms from resting position up to shoulder-height with relaxed full arm length outward. As you raise your arms, also raise your body by straightening your legs, but keep your knees at least slightly bent at all times.

Hold breath in as you gently drag your hands close to your chest (near where your chest and shoulders meet), letting your arms calmly fold at elbows to do so. Try to keep your hands at a constant elevation – comfortable shoulder height – as you draw them near.

Exhale as you smoothly lower your hands from near your chest to near your hips, keeping hands near your body (~1″ in front of you). Let your body ease into gravity, bending your knees as you sink into a slight squat.

Hold breath out as you move your hands forward, near hip-height, until your arms are in a relaxed full extension.

As you begin the next cycle with an inhale, raise your arms in front of you to shoulder-height as in the beginning. Continue with four fold breath and hand motion, slightly straightening upward with inhales and squatting downward with exhales.

Complete the practice with an exhale that presses your attention and qi into the ‘lower cauldron‘, storing energy in one’s center of gravity, at the location three-finger-widths below one’s belly button and within mid-way between front and back. Relax as you release that exhale and continue relaxed, down-to-Earth breathing. Feel gravity and peace, and give thanks to all practitioners of all time in service to all.

Daoist Microcosmic Orbit diagram
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The Buck Stops at First Principles

One idea for ‘where is the real limit’ is ‘first principles’, meaning the phenomenon studied by natural sciences.

For example: according to the patterns (we sometimes call laws) in physics, biochemistry, and agroecology, is it feasible to grow food in monocultures that rely on external inputs and petroleum products? Not for the long haul, not at all. Yet we do it, and further, we rely on economic systems (e.g. multinational corporations, global prioritization of financial profits) that make it difficult to do the opposite! (Opposite being, for example, ‘restoration agriculture’ or cultivating highly productive, highly diverse agro-ecosystems that mimic natural ecosystems in structure and function over time and space.)

Economics (as in, how we manage our ‘households’ at different scale) and political will is often where we stray from first principles (for some time). We can economically incentivize all we want, we can make all the political noise we want, but eventually we get constrained by higher and broader drivers. “The buck stops”…here and now, in accordance with natural trends and constraints.

We’ve pushed well out of bounds, so it will take some change to get back ‘within our limits’. A framework to work on is ‘relinquishment, resilience, and restoration’ a la deep adaptation (https://jembendell.com/2019/05/15/deep-adaptation-versions/). May peace be upon you.

Spanning the Gamut of Ecological Restoration to Food Forests

“Edible Forest Gardens: an Invitation to Adventure” – a useful text by northeast permaculture wizards Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier:

http://www.cepta.sk/attachments/article/467/Food%20and%20Democracy.pdf#page=109

Spanning the gamut of forest garden examples and giving an overview of opportunities, applications, and implementations.