Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Teach Man To...Sound

Lately I've been toying with the idea of how people talk. Not just what they're saying but the sounds that come out of their mouths when they say whatever it is that is on their minds. In my brain I realize I must listen to the words but when my attention shifts it moves towards sound. The sounds we make are like the actions of our speech. The deliverance of whatever was chosen at that moment. 

This to me becomes profound in just knowing that our words have such impact in regards to their packaging. They directly influence how we're being heard and thus a possible end result to our self engaging conversation. My point here is that if we could shift our attention more towards the flow of the words rather than the literal words being spoken, we could actually be engaging in a completely different conversation. If "first was the word, and the word was G0D", then their must be some sense that "was the word" is different from "the word was". If we consider the concept of "was the word" we can imagine that the the word existed before it became something else. This implies the existence the something before meaning is given to it. This is the idea of Being.  

In this blog I will use the term Being quite a bit as it pertains to the self, or someone's absolute state of being. It centralizes not on the doing of that person (we'll stick with communication among people for our purposes), or the literal words of speech, but rather on the being of that person- they're complete state of consciousness. Awareness of consciousness is something I will address in later episodes. 

Stay tuned. Stay sound. 


Monday, September 27, 2010

Creative Cunstruction on a Saturday Afternoon

I am reading a book about Gaviotas.  It is a physical place, a community located in the llanos of Colombia, but more importantly it is a unique space.  In Gaviotas innovation, creation, rehabilitation, and regeneration are integrated into the very core of being.  An anything-is-possible and a you-don’t-know-until-you-try-it atmosphere create characterize this community where people act upon their creative whim; channeling their thoughts into actions.  Its members have creatively attempted to solve questions and have successfully forged a community out of a barren landscape.  Their mentality is that problems do not exist, just questions.  Limitations are mental constructs that create the idea of failure.  It is a child-like desire to discover, the conscious choice to redefine failure as opportunity, and a creativity that knows no limitations that has captured my attention. 
            I am inspired to engage with my surroundings, let my creativity loose, and play with the available materials.  I read a pamphlet about constructing a hanging planter out of recycled goods that maximizes growing space.  This seemed like a creative way answer my question of how to grow more with the space available to me.  The pots are perfect for fresh herbs, whose pungent flavor and aromatic smell are not needed in large quantities. 
            The distinguishing characteristic of these potted plants is that they have widows cut out of the sides so that seedlings can germinate from the top and from the walls of the planter.  The important thing to remember is to give each plant’s roots enough room to grow.  If you are using a particularly large container, it may be necessary to insert a PVC pipe with holes drilled in it in the middle of the container to allow water to reach all of the roots. 
            The materials needed are plastic containers, potting soil, a saw or very sharp scissors to cut the plastic, and a drill to punch holes in the PVC pipe (optional) and the containers to thread either wire or hemp to hang them, and seeds.  The plastic containers where generously donated by Epic CafĂ© and Raging Sage while the potting soil was purchased at Home Depot.  I would have preferred using compost soil combined with dirt excavated from my yard, but the compost is still in decomposition phase.  A friend of mine conveniently had all the necessary tools and volunteered his house for site of our construction project.  It was an afternoon of experimentation.  I discovered the fun of playing again while enjoyed the opportunity to create something tangible.  We create a lot in our daily lives, but many of us have so-called intellectual jobs that don’t produce actual material results.  I found using my hands to build something useful to be incredibly satisfying and, unfortunately, quite out of the ordinary. 
            Each person lent their own creativity to their creation.  We decorated the containers using spray paint, beads, seed pods, and a little bit of gravel.  This project was relatively simple (I created a web of tangled hemp while trying to string the containers together) and has given me the confidence that I can create useful objects with my hands.
            My inspiration comes from reading about the creative people at Gaviotas who set about transforming a barren tract of land into a bountiful and thriving community.    It is so important to just BEGIN, without judging the “success” of the product.  Condition yourself to leap on your ideas and give them your time and energy.

*For those interested in more information about Gaviotas, the book is titled Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World by Alan Weisman. 

Here is to creation--in any way, shape, or form!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Introducing Annie

Who am I?  I am complex.  For the purposes of this blog, I am a curious person that is focusing on FOOD, every single aspect of it.  I am in pursuit of knowledge on how to prepare land, plant seeds, protect, harvest, and prepare abundance.  Food becomes a meal when it is shared with others in a community that nourishes the soul as much as the nutrients from food give strength to the physical body.  The beauty of this project is that my two fabulous, intelligent, and innovative partners in this exploration will be contributing their thoughts, research, and insights on the topics of community, creation, and implementation.    

I will be conducting experiments on my own small piece of land in urban Tucson, although my project is farther reaching than my backyard.  Just as this blog is an expression of my thoughts, my garden will be an expression of my actions.  It will be a place to apply the knowledge that I am collecting and sharing.  Innovation is what characterizes this project guided by creativity and empowerment.

How can we learn to enter a partnership with our natural surroundings so that we exist in a mutually beneficial relationship that keeps both us (humans) and nature thriving?  
I am looking for methods of creating abundance that can be implemented by anybody using materials that are easily accessible.  This project will also be shaped by my intention of featuring techniques that require minimal energy use. 

We all have unique situations in our current urban and rural living.  There is a huge gap between what currently exists in my “backyard” and what I would like to be there.  I place backyard in quotations because a more accurate description would be a corner of baked and cracked earth overgrown with weeds that surrounds my elegantly decaying triplex.  Facing this gap can be intimidating to the point of paralyzing.  While I intend to research methods of durable agriculture and food production, I may not be able to mirror them in my own space.  I will parallel my research and my actual implementation with the hope that reality will more closely resemble research as the project progresses.

The message that I hold within me is that empowerment begins with action and grows with experience.  So cheers to beginnings and to a space of shared contributions, experiences, and anecdotes.  I welcome all feedback asking that the author have respect for themselves and for me while pressing the ‘post’ button. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why (I) We Communicate

Hello all.

My name is Niki and I'm a senior at the University of Arizona completing my bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies with focuses in environmental science, plant science, and topian societies. My two friends/ fellow students and I set out to, after visiting an almost completely sustainable off-grid community in the southwest region, create somewhat of a manifesto of: How to create, live in, and sustain a community that is not only geographically and environmentally ethical but that is also educationally and socially inviting. The three of us- Annie, Tiernay, and myself decided that we would each address a specific portion in the "how to's" of building such a community as part of an independent study we would each be initiating through the university. For my portion of the project I wanted to focus on the education in, of, and through communities. How do we relate to each other as people given time and space? What does it mean to be human, with ourselves and with others and what really is the difference (in relation to community)?

All of these questions are concepts that I wish to find answers to through research, observation, and personal interpretation. My interest for this stems from my own desire to know what clear and honest communication looks like in this day and age, and to know if it's possible for myself and the "topia" I will hopefully help to create. The word utopia translates to "no place", where the concept of "topia", as proposed by Alan Weisman author of Gaviotas means that it is or that there is such a place.

I am committed to sharing and speaking the truth (as I see it) with my team members and with all of you and am inviting you to be a part of this process and exchange. In other words- don't be shy and let's start communicating :)

Much Gratitude,