Our friend, Arjuna da Silva, lives at Earthaven, an aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville, North Carolina. Everyone living there is dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture. Arjuna helped start Earthaven in 1994, where she’s lived for the past twelve years. She just moved into her earth & straw temple of a house there. Everyone who knows this beautiful woman over 50, celebrates her spirit. Here is what she has to share…
Originally, I wanted to write a piece about what a joke it is to work my way through a day of living on the land, off the grid, learning to grow food, and recycling my waste into valuable (fertilizer) resources. But after several tries, I realized those choices deserve much more credit and that my inner voice is the one who’d rather let someone else do all the hard stuff.
So, yes, I do start my day by (sometimes anxiously) checking the meter to see how my batteries held up overnight storing solar-accessed electric power; and I do pay attention to the weather report regarding the day’s anticipated power access. I even pay attention to the calendar that tells me if the stars would treat my tomato seedlings better today than if I waited to plant them on Friday.
When I first started to write this piece, I called my draft, A Drop in the Bucket, intending to convey the double meaning of the “sustainable” life I choose to live.
- Meaning 1: peeing and pooping in containers so those resources can be utilized as soil amendments (instead of depending on fertilizers that have to be bought and shipped, possibly scraped off another part of the earth).
- Meaning 2: then there’s the more cynical reference being the effort us folk (who live in this valley) put into recycling, preserving, using renewables, etc., which is just a drop in the regional (let alone global) bucket.
But, today I’d rather tell you I’ve found ways to minimize the things I don’t like (carrying what’s too heavy, smelling what’s too foul, etc.), and feel pretty happy refining my rugged life into something that even fussy people might be able to handle. In fact, I’m thinking others might choose this path if they could feel the inner rewards that come from paying attention to what we do and what we use to do it.
The choice to take risks (as if anyone lives without them) and move in what looks like “the right direction” for oneself, one’s neighborhood or the planet, is such an uplifting choice! The experience of following through on the nitty-gritty details of trial and error with new systems and organic self-reliance is exhilarating at times and is mostly just deeply satisfying. Maybe you’d like to try it?
Please post your questions and comments here so we can have an open discussion. Arjuna’s workshop, “Your Enneagram and Your Sub-Personalities” airs August 10-21 at Earthaven. For more information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All power to the people! Make your own, grow your own, and use your own!