11 Jun 2009, 3:35pm

village building

the rest of tuesday was amazing, too. so emotional and so straightforward.

so there is this organization in portland called city repair and every summer they organize the village building convergence. i have been aware of city repair for a couple years, ever since i stumbled across share-it square in sellwood and googled it. (they’re responsible for sunnyside piazza in the intersection behind the pied cow, too, but i think i sorta figured that was a sunnyside neighborhood thing rather than a piece of a larger project. i am learning… the project is so much bigger than that. changing hearts and minds, feeding souls.) maybe last year i was vaguely aware of the vbc, too, but not interested enough to do much (or any) investigation. the other day i wrote: “HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS STUFF FOR SO LONG? i know the answer to that question; the answer is, i didn’t care. that’s okay. now my job is to help other people care. and to keep learning and caring.”

so on sunday i went to a permaculture for renters workshop with a.’s mom and got really excited about making a container garden and losing the “i move all the time so i can’t garden” excuse. on sunday evening a. and i went to the evening events and listened to speakers talk about how to change our culture. on monday after work i met a. for another workshop, with nala walla, who had spoken the night before, about “ecosomatics” and embodied arts (arts that we can do with just our bodies and each other) and body awareness on three levels: the individual body, the community/social body, and the “gaiac body”/the earth. according to nala, only 1/10th of the cells in our body contain human dna–we are everything else, too; the universal is within us. at the workshop we played theatre-y movement games and made faces and touched strangers.

on tuesday i sat at home exhausted from my emotional bike ride, and 5:30 rolled around and i thought about lying down to sleep and then i thought, “yes. i should go.” and i went to the vbc evening events by myself.

i took some notes; they look like this–

the second speaker was starhawk. she ended her talk by inviting us all outside to participate in a spiral dance. i am really bad at estimating numbers but we filled the street, hundreds(?) of us holding hands in a big long line and singing and pulling one another along and being pulled. “take this dream and make it real.” she talked about how we are here because we can help each other and the earth through this.

then these great bands played and i found it in me to dance and dance and i felt a certain way i hadn’t really felt since sunday morning ecstatic dance at kalani in hawaii (google sez medicine for the people is a big island band–hah! aha!!). medicine for the people played a song about “how did i get here?” and i cried until they sang “look around–this is how you got here” and i cried a little more, differently, happily, put my palms out to the energy around me and felt blessed. a. appeared right before their last song and danced with me and then we walked home together.

it’s like all the apocalyptic horrible we’re-doomed stuff i’ve been learning and reading about and thinking about and talking about (and more than that–my “accident,” finishing school, all the big things and changes in my life these past few years) cut a hole through me to my soul so that this beautiful community we-can-heal-ourselves stuff could get to it and FEED it. it’s soul food.


says derrick jensen (from endgame)–

People sometimes ask me, “If things are so bad, why don’t you just kill yourself?”

The answer is that life is really, really good. I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time the understanding that life is really, really good. Not because we’re fucked, obviously, nor because of the things that are causing us to be fucked, but despite all that. We are fucked. Life is still good. We are really fucked. Life is still really good. We are so fucked. Life is so good.


here is one way permaculture was presented to me this week: imagine a continuum. the way mainstream culture lives is somewhere off to one end. sustainability is in exactly the middle. permaculture is to the other side of the middle line. it’s not about sustaining things–it is about regenerating things. believing in and creating the future.

i wrote this in response to a comment on “apocalypse soon” a few entries down–this is what i am believing–

i think that in your example, the person’s love for the earth is not a real love but an abstraction. i think that our cultural norms OFTEN (or even always) make it impossible or very difficult for love to be more than an abstraction or even pastiche of love… maybe. my point is not that people do not feel intense, positive, enormous emotion towards one another (and the earth, etc), because they indisputably do, but that we are so wrapped up in professions of and symbols of love that we are not actually loving. one can say “i love the earth” but to actually love the earth would be to improve it, to regenerate it, to protect it, etc… love as an action. it’s sort of like standing at the opposite end of a room from someone and saying, “i touch you,” instead of walking across the room and hugging the person. only in the latter scenario does the person really receive the warmth, strength, etc in the touch. with regard to love it’s almost impossible for us to understand the difference, especially since we’re so inundated with pop culture and other stuff that tells us that sentences like “i love you, that’s why i had to hurt you” are not semantically impossible. i also think that because people think of love as that intense emotion, instead of that hard work of support etc, that they are really sensitive to and defensive of implications that one can love better, etc, which makes this sort of a hard topic to talk about.

i think it’s a really difficult thing to do, and yes i think that learning to appropriately love one another is really important. i think that as we practice loving with each other, it will get easier to love the earth and all the life around us, too.


mom gave me some gorgeous flowerpots she doesn’t need. i want to grow:
a small fruit tree
the columbine i got at the workshop i went to
sugar snap peas
and lots more…

wonderful journal! im so glad that you enjoyed the vbc. that was such an amazing night. especially that moment when all the music started building up and we all found ourselves shouting and screaming and crying. great permaculture insights!

City Repair is amazing! I was planning on going to the one on Sunday with Corey–maybe we’ll we see you and Andrew there?

15 Jun 2009, 8:21pm
by lauraliz

omg gardening is the best thing ever! i love being all sweaty and dirty while wrestling with weeds, drowning in the wonderful smell of my tomato plants. my plants are my children, it borders on creepy.

that org you described sounds amazing!

[...] and how i don’t know what’s going to happen in my life after that, and about how much last year’s vbc affected me, and how whatever happens in my life after that will be affected by it as well, and how [...]



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