Thursday, October 13, 2011

How I Deal With Our Converging Challenges.

I can't (nor should I) hide it... Resource depletion, nuclear insanity, economic turbulence, natural disasters, political malfeasance, cosmic anomalies and other challenges have been really difficult for me to handle since about 2005. Sometimes it seems like everything is going nuts at once. Just when I thought I was on the right track with my response(s) to the world situation, I found more holes in my approach. The truth is that there will always be things that we cannot know or anticipate or prepare for or counteract.

What's a human to do? Here's my current take...

We are all part of the same whole. There aren't really any separate things, humans just tend to have inflated senses of self and like to come up with lots of names and distinctions. My personal human experience had a beginning and it will have an end. I think about a battery. You put a battery in a device. The battery has a life span. Batteries release their energy and allow work to be done, then they "die." Are humans really that much different? Doesn't seem like it to me. We do things over the course of our lives, then our individual human lives are done. It's not sad, it's not noble, it's just the way it is. If you look at yourself as a battery, what work will you put your energy into? It happens naturally, if you let it. Pay attention to the way your life flows, has flowed. Be able to quiet your individual mind and see your life as if it were a drop of water rolling down a parked car's windshield. It goes where gravity takes it. It encounters specks of dirt, bird droppings, whatever, merges with other drops, continues to flow downward, blah, blah, oozing off the car's wheel, eventually reaching the ground full of who knows what, evaporating, leaving what it accumulated during its life, merging with other vapors and coming back down again as a raindrop...

"I do my utmost to attain emptiness; I hold firmly to stillness. The myriad creatures all rise together And I watch their return. The teaming creatures All return to their separate roots. Returning to one's roots is known as stillness. This is what is meant by returning to one's destiny. Returning to one's destiny is known as the constant. Knowledge of the constant is known as discernment."

...I like the Tao Te Ching a lot. This verse above talks about various "manifestations" emerging and then returning to "the source." It sits really well with me. Another translation reads, "watch the turmoil of beings, but contemplate their return." Looking at what we know of the universe, looking at Earth history, human history, I end up with the image of a bubbling, swirling mass. Lots of eddies, flares and other events, but ultimately it's the same, single everystuff.

I think that's all I have for now. Bear with me. I'm feeling wide. I hope this makes sense to someone. Take care and be who you are. Do what you naturally do. You'll know it's happening when you're not trying as hard as you were when you wanted to give up.

It truly is all good.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seedbombing For The Afterculture.

You can make seedballs packed with solid choices for no-maintenance, aftercultural perennial crops in your bioregion! As the established machine order becomes less and less reliable, these guerrilla-gardened "crops" can be harvested and enjoyed as they spread about the post-collapse landscape.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Primitive Innovation.

I think we should avoid any sort of dogmatism in the world of wilderness living skills.

For example... One of my teachers frowns upon the use of two-stick hearthboards, but they work, and their use in a wilderness situation could mean the difference between life/death/thriving/having needs met, so it behooves us to know the technique, eh?

The basic principle in primitive fire-starting is usually to make a pile of hot, dry dust from natural materials, which becomes a coal, which you put into a tinder bundle to start a righteous fire. Hand drill, bow drill, fire plow, whatever.

It's ALL ABOUT having a grasp of the basic principles!!

I've talked about fire, but the same applies to other aspects of wilderness living, like shelter...

With shelter, you primarily want to shed water/moisture and retain body heat. If you're really awesome, you'll leave an open space up top to vent exhaust from an inside fire. WOOT!!! Take this understanding and use your own creativity! It's downright fun.

Learn WHY a certain method works and you're free to experiment and innovate!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stick To Your Principles Despite Apparent Outcome.

Nobody knows EXACTLY what's gonna happen throughout The Unveiling. There will be surprises. Unexpected plot twists. Live according to your highest ideals as much as possible. I feel better when I do this. Much better! Don't grind your teeth because of how you think things will play out. Details will elude your ability to predict them. You just can't know. Unless you have a crystal ball or something. Simply do you. It's all cumulative. Play your part in the universal symphony. It adds richness. Thickens up the soup. Yum.

I would not have predicted that an Oak Park gardener would end up in Time Magazine and draw national attention to the right to garden on your front lawn free of interference from city regulations.

Everybody dies. It's the quality of living that matters. How will you live?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Long-Term Grid Kill (Solar Storm) + Nuclear Plants = 442 Meltdowns Worldwide?

The Fukushima nuclear disaster has brought attention to the fact that nuclear power plants become ticking time bombs if the grid goes down for an extended period of time.

Do an internet search for "solar storm nuclear power plants." Sift through the results and ponder how we might avoid the premature end of planetary life if something like a solar storm were to take out the electrical grid. Many experts on space weather & whatnot say that another 1859-style solar storm (or greater) is a given. Not if, but when. Most likely in 2012 or 2013.

Is this something we should leave up to our leaders? Can we trust them to take care of this imminent problem? What should we do as conscious and compassionate humans?

I wish more people were willing to talk about this and work toward solutions together. Modern society has harnessed the energy of the Sun through nuclear power generation, and now the Sun is poised to eliminate the control we have over this energy.

I'll probably come back to this topic later.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Foraging On Organic Farms.

Hot tip for foragers: Establish relationships with organic farmers and ask if it's okay to take some of their wild edibles. They'll love you. They pay their workers to remove these plants and consider them weeds. We know better than to dismiss them. We treasure them! Organic CSAs are especially friendly. They deal with the public a lot more than non-CSA farms. Good luck. I'm about to start doing this ASAP.

Just remember to have some empathy for the farmer. Remove entire plants, including roots. They don't want these plants to compete with their crops. You could either process harvested plants right away or save live plants in pots or planters and establish them in the area of your choosing. Transplant some to your yard to start your own wild foods garden.

I've become more familiar with many new wild edibles through my work on farms.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Taking Primitive Principles & Running With Them.

The world of primitive skills is a freer world than we are used to. No zoning issues or neighborhood association troubles. No regulations or standardization. If it works and makes sense, do it. Pay attention to the principles behind your primitive projects. Once you learn the underlying principles of the projects you're working on, you can adapt them to the situation you're in and tailor them to your preferences.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Surviving or Wilderness Living?

I don't always like the term "survival skills." My favorite term for what I practice and teach is "primitive wilderness living skills." When I hear the word "survival," I get an image of someone barely making through a rough situation and not enjoying life very much at all. When I hear "primitive wilderness living," I get an image of people being self-sufficient in amazing surroundings - with none of the excess complexity and soul-suffocating concerns of modern life.

What do you think when you hear these words?