Signs of life

Life has been a bit tough lately. It has been amazing, too, but also a challenge. Yes, there are profound changes, wondrous gifts, surprising connections and reconnection. And I am grateful, yes indeed.  There has also been a rising intensity and sometimes overwhelming examples of just how out of balance our existence is here on the planet. It can be painful to witness these things, to feel them – especially when they are glaring examples that show up from inside our own selves…

And so, inevitably, a humbling reminder comes of my own  imbalance, which has been growing for a while. First as a quiet unease, a sense that something is not quite right. When ignored, it gets louder, the unease is almost unbearable. I finally stop, let life come to a halt, sitting in the car, completely exhausted, unsure what to do, where to go. I remember – when unsure of where to begin, start with the breath. Yes. This always works. So, breathing, becoming conscious, slowing down to center. And in the center is: surrender. And in the surrender is: truth. The message that wants to be heard. There it is. Small, a delicate thought, a shift, a letting go, a new view – subtle, yet so necessary and powerful. Yes. Embarrassing, humbling, yes. Also there is relief in the knowing of it, a chance to stand on a clear foundation.

So, I am sitting there, still, slowly adjusting, beginning to see the world through new eyes. Any hardness is softened, no need for protection. I ask – is this what you have wanted me to get to? The answer – yes. Ok then. Here I am, ready to start over from a place that truly matters.

And then it comes, finding it’s way through my partly opened window, nudging it’s little self into my tired awareness… a tiny bird somewhere in the tree next to me, singing her heart out, singing as if her life depended on it, singing — for me. One moment, one deep breath of surrender, and there it is – a sign of life. My day is changed. I chuckle in spite of myself, and I say Thank You.

 All Content Copyright © 2012  Photos/Words by Amy Allis

Advertisements

We love the dirt people

I have an old friend who would cringe at my using the word “dirt”… I can hear her saying “soil, it’s soil you are talking about – a living, breathing, rich and living substance, that makes our plants grow!” Well, OK, those last few words are probably mine, but, that is the idea. I asked her once what her favorite animal was – her answer: worms. Of course! She loves growing things, and she loves teaching all kinds of people about growing things. And not just growing things, but doing so in ways that allow all beings here to thrive together.

We humans are not the only ones on this planet who wish to live a vibrant and balanced life. We are surrounded by living beings on so many levels who are more than willing to collaborate, and teach us how, if we want to listen. So many of the people I have met who love to work with their hands in the earth, are these kinds of people. They want to discover and practice how to truly live in balance with other species, and to welcome the support and innate wisdom of these beings, communities, living systems who we are really just getting to know. Maybe you are one of these people? If so, I salute you!

Me, I am one who loves nature, and growing things can be a delight, yet, there is something about the real dirt-lovin folks that I do not have, something that many of us do not have. So, let’s take a moment to say some things out loud right now!

Here is a profound Thank You to all the Farming Folks, the Gifted Gardeners, the Get Down in the Dirt With Feelin’ People for your love of earth and living things and for growing them with a dedication to harmony and true collaboration, for a patient kindness that we know makes a difference. Thank you for your stamina, your willingness to hang in there, your ability to get creative with solutions and finding ways to support each other even when it seems crazy to want to keep on. We love you, we celebrate you, and we are dedicated to finding ways to honor and support all that you are and do. Yes, indeed.

So, my friends — below is a list of easy and wonderful ways we can support our own health, the health of this planet, and show our profound thanks to the ones who play in the dirt and grow things with heart — we love the dirt people!

~~~~~~

Find a Farmer’s Market, or maybe start one! (Few of my favs – Marin, SF Bay Area, East Bay, Davis, Madison )

Vote for your favorite market! (And support farmland conservation while you’re there…)

Volunteer at your local Organic Farm – great fun, great food benefits, great exercise

Join a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture (lots of listings by each area – have some fun!)

Donate to your local Open Space or Farmland Trust – great community folks here as well. (Examples: Sonoma, MALT, Yolo, Solano, many more!)

Learn about the many benefits of local and Organic Food  (Slow Food, Slow Cities, Organic Food, Organic Health Benefits.)

Try it yourself, grow something with love, and maybe eat it! (Many ways to do this – Apartments, Small Space,  Urban, Aquaponics – a personal fav! Great Aquaponics class, and Online Community here.)

And last, but definitely not least – Hug a farmer, or anyone else who would love a hug… never too many of those to be had.

Blessings Be!

~~~~~~

 All Content Copyright © 2012  Photos/Words by Amy Allis

The Guardians…

“Thank you… for everything”

We are only beginning to understand the powerful gifts trees offer us every day of our lives. Perhaps it’s time to take a moment, and say this thank you from each of our waking and breathing hearts, to open to a very real and important role available to us at this time – to step up as true Stewards of this living Earth. Please enjoy this short film, created as a collaborative gift for the trees, text and narration from the book “The Trees”.

The Guardians

winner of the Films for the Forest 2012 Professional Category.

 All Content Copyright © 2012  Photos/Words by Amy Allis

Aquaponics – again!

So, guess what?

Fish love plants, and plants love fish!

Yes, it’s true. And you can learn more about it here, at this four-day intensive Aquaponics workshop coming up in Santa Rosa, CA  — learn about growing your own food in a system that harnesses symbiotic relationships in the natural world in ever-evolving ways. Keep it inexpensive and simple, or make it as beautiful and complex as you would like. The possibilities are truly endless, and you will find some very creative and supportive community along the way!

Closed-Loop Aquaponics

With Applied Permaculture Design

Backyard, Family & Commercial Systems

September 13 – 16, 2012  

Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art & Politics

Santa Rosa, California

I recently attended the same workshop in Santa Cruz, CA a couple of months ago, and I highly recommend it! More info about the workshop here. More info about the key instructor, Max Meyers of NorCal Aquaponics, here. I do believe we are going to be seeing and hearing much more about this way of growing food in the months and years to come. Now is a great time to dive on in and join the evolution!

 All Content Copyright © 2012  Photos/Words by Amy Allis