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Cultural Butterfly


Coming Home To Myself In a VERY Different Life: It doesn’t look like what I thought!

In my 9/25/21 blog “Moving Into a VERY Different Life: Unpacking myself before I can unpack my things”, I described how the house that I recently moved into doesn’t have enough storage for all my things to fit in the ways I’m used to, how I can’t just take everything and stuff it in to this new place like I’ve done in the past, how I’m embarking on a VERY different life, and the inner consciousness shifts I started to make to address my blocks to unpacking.

So, here’s the next chapter:

This is a house with a yard that I felt strongly drawn to, resonant with, led to, and is a miracle on so many levels. When I first looked at it, I saw that both the yard and house had been seriously neglected, disrespected, and abused, with much deferred maintenance and repairs needed. (Does this sound familiar, collectively/culturally? Not just in our physical world, but in the human world?)

However, standing in the back yard I had these strong, clear inspirations: “Oh, good! I can transform this into a vibrantly alive, thriving space using permaculture.” Then my immediate second thought was, “Oh, good! I can involve the high school. Surely there is a teacher with a class there who would like to have a community project to learn and do permaculture with me. And the community college, and 4-H, and the community at large. It will be a community-building focus in a different way.” That was the basis for my saying a strong “yes” to this place.

When the work started on the repairs and deferred maintenance that was required before I could move in, we immediately ran into a big OOOPS! There was unexpected water damage in laundry & bathroom, rotten three layers down to the crawl space and had black mold. All of that had been covered up, layer after layer, year after year. (Again, sounds familiar, collectively/culturally, right?)

Not surprisingly, this process kept unfolding, taking much more time and money, and delayed my moving in by two weeks. I had to “piece together” temporary places to stay for those two weeks.

Then when I was finally able to start unpacking boxes, I discovered that the previous occupants had left dirt, grime, and trash in all the cupboards, drawers, shelves, and counters. Surprise! Ugh. Ick. I couldn’t unpack and move in on top of that!

Because I had had new carpet and flooring installed and the interior totally painted, I had assumed the house would be clean and ready to receive me. (Again, this sounds familiar, collectively/culturally. We “cover” the obvious structural externals and assume it’s taken care of. Right?) Nope, not even! It had to be cleaned first, all the surfaces, everything except the floors and walls.

Boxes were stacked everywhere, suitcases not able to be unpacked, I didn’t know where anything was and couldn’t find what I needed. It was chaos and I felt overwhelmed (Does this have a familiar sound, collectively/culturally?)

I reached out for help. A friend came and cleaned kitchen cupboards and shelves, unpacked some boxes, and gave me “enough water to get over the dam”. Again, I assumed that would take care of at least the kitchen so I could function. Nope again!

The next block I faced was that things were still not yet organized in way that worked for me. I was still in big chaos and big overwhelm, and had no energy or clarity about how to begin to move this. (You see the familiar pattern, collectively/culturally?)

I got sick to my stomach, with no energy or even desire to care about it. I had to surrender my discomfort with chaos and the “need/push” to get things organized in the usual way. I focused on healing myself instead of trying to change the external environment because I know that change always starts from the inner consciousness.

I kept “staying with” myself and all those various uncomfortable feelings for days and days (it’s been 2½ weeks so far), with all my judgments about “not making any progress” and the definite dislike of not being able to function in a usual way in daily life. And yet, somewhere inside this felt like absolutely the right path.

In the past few days I’ve had some transformative awarenesses. For as long as I can remember, I have been “ill at ease” with living in this exploitive, extractive culture, so being at home in this physical/material world seemed impossible without violating and being out of integrity with my deep knowing of right relationships. Ugh. Ick. Sick to my stomach.

Then, as I kept “being with” this seriously neglected and disrespected house and land, I realized it is a reflection of how I’ve done that in my material life in so many ways--all the situations in which I’ve treated my physical things and world in unconscious, uncaring, cavalier ways with an attitude of arrogance and privilege. Oh, my! As the saying goes “What goes around, comes around.” (Again, do you hear a familiar ring, collectively/culturally?)

This was very humbling and needed awareness. I felt deeply sorry and remorseful for how I have unconsciously abused the Earth by all the ways I’ve treated myself, others and the planet as just commodities to be used and consumed.

That opened me to feeling a much deeper connection with, love for, and being loved by Mother Earth and a deeper commitment to be a good steward in partnership with her. With this, I feel the joy and privilege of life, of being here in this physical/material world.

With this consciousness shift, I can tell that I’m in a different relationship with the land as I work to create a vibrantly alive, thriving space. I won’t be “doing” permaculture (or rewilding, or whatever else I choose) “to” the land. I’ll be “being” harmonious balance and right relationships with the land and all the people and beings involved.

In "The Difference Between Healing and Curing", Dr. Michael Lerner expresses the philosophy I’ve lived by for many years, including during this process. He says, “I've seen a profound distinction between curing and healing. Curing is what a physician seeks to offer you. Healing, however, comes from within us. . . . Healing can be described as a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual process of coming home {emphasis mine} . . . and it's a continuous rediscovery of what it means to be alive. "

In Dr. Lerner’s framework, at first I was definitely looking for a “cure”, for external ways to “fix” this and get it done. Instead it has been, and continues to be, a living, organic, healing, birthing process. I did get help for my physical body’s distress and discovered it was a serious imbalance in my gut, liver, and circulation. (“Serious imbalance” sounds very familiar, collectively/culturally, right?)

This also mirrors Deepak Chopra’s statement: “If you restore balance in your own self, you will be contributing immensely to the healing of the world.”

This certainly is a continuous rediscovery of what it means to be alive!

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