People come, and people go. Plans change, and plans fail. I have had my fair share of failed ventures in the past months. The Salon I was working to open — a place to gather and talk, not a place to get your nails did — failed to get off the ground. The integrated bed I designed lies unfinished. My Beaver Den has seen little-to-no modifications since the early spring and those torrential rains.
Appropriate vision, consistent motivation and follow through, assistance and community support. These things are all necessary for most plans to succeed, and were all missing to some degree. Being able to follow through with stated plans here without changing my mind or losing interest has one of my most aggravating limitations. I’ve coined the term “Existential Continuity Defficiency” to describe this lack.
A friend of mine likes to reassure me by saying, “Everyone has a different work ethic. Everyone has a different way of doing things.” She’s right. I have a different way of doing things.
Sometimes this works out for me, as when I work hardest right before a deadline and somehow pull through, not with bare minimum success, but with an inspired design and skilled craftsmanship. Sometimes this doesn’t work at all, especially when people are counting on and judging progress along the way, not knowing how it is I most commonly operate.
Six months ago, I pledged to be here for a year, doing what I was doing (which wasn’t much), and trying to make enough money doing odd jobs and gigs to meet the minimum payments of my student loans — not much money, to be sure, but difficult to do without a job.
So what have I learned, being out here? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and talking, talking and thinking. People ask me what I’m doing out here and I’ve told them that I was having a “Thoreau” moment, but where’s my Walden’s Pond? I suppose it will have to wait. In short, though, what I’ve learned is that nothing that I want to do, nothing, is possible without a community to do it with and do it for.
The stated purpose of this blog was to explore how I started to “Be the change” that I wanted to see in the world. I wanted to see a culture that refuses to enslave the beings around it to meet its own ends. I wanted to see a people who manifest in their daily acts what it means to live rightly. I wanted to see a world that is long on love and short on exploitation. I still do.
So where are these people? Where is this culture? Where or when is this World that I want to be a part of?
I thought I could be here, in this great Valley and help foster greater community connections. I thought I could help support an alternative economy that actually follows Natural principles, instead of warring with them. I thought I could help build the world of my dreams. And I have, to some small degree. But my tendency has been towards lax inaction. Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics has this to say about so-called laziness.
“Addiction, self-sabotage, procrastination, laziness, rage, chronic fatigue, and depression are all ways that we withhold our full participation in the program of life we are offered. When the conscious mind cannot find a reason to say no, the unconscious says no in its own way.” ~ Charles Eisenstein
I need to know what people are doing towards changing the program, for I know that they are out there. I’ve read enough, seen enough, listened enough, to know that I am not alone in my aspirations for a just culture and a healthy existence. I know that I am not the first or last to ask the question, “But why?”
But why does it need to be this way?
But why aren’t more people turning away from what they know is wrong?
But why is it so much harder to work for the good of many than for the good of oneself?
So many Whys; so few satisfying Becauses.
Here’s another Why that will likely not have a satisfying Because:
Why am I leaving?
I am leaving because the density of like-minded people here is not enough to foster a day-to-day community of people working together towards a common vision of common decency.
I am leaving because I have too few peers who see things my way, and although diversity is key to the health of any community, without support and without people TO support, nothing that I want to do is possible.
I am leaving because money being made, no matter how righteous it’s Cause, is still money being made to be used for purposes and ends I don’t condone.
I am leaving because the water is drying up, and people are asleep at the pump.
I am leaving because I am lonely and bored and tired of having nothing to believe in.
I am leaving because I have failed to meet my goals here.
I do not know enough, I do not have the skills necessary, nor the habits formed that would make my goals achievable. One may argue that leaving is running away, but I really feel that it is more like a study abroad program. Go to where the knowledge is to learn the things you need to know. No one here is living in the kind of community that I desire to live in: one made up of hundreds or thousands of individuals, where the medium of exchange is trust and not capital. Where people work together to meet shared goals and cover shared needs.
So what to do?
Go to where it IS happening. And have a fun time doing it.
Our Trash Raft is called the Pure Whimsy and we will be literally “going with the flow”.
What is a Trash Raft? It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a raft…made of trash. Or at least, what people call trash. Or salvage. Or recycling. Whatever you call the materials we are using to construct our craft, they are the refuse of our material culture, relegated to salvage yards and dumpsters. Plastic drums and feed-bags filled with sealed plastic bottles will form the basis of our flotation. Variously called Trash Boats or Junk Rafts, these hand-made floating art pieces are not new, nor are they my idea alone.
And so we leave this Valley, this sedentary lifestyle, in search of many things, both in ourselves and our environs.