Transitioning away from the nuclear family

9 06 2010

I think a lot about the nuclear family, because I am in it.  I have a child, a home and, up until a little while ago, a partner.  We lived in a house, strove to save money, accumulated stuff and generally played out the role of the nuclear family.

And I definitely don’t define myself as a person who is caught up in mainstream society.

However, there is little alternatives.  The nuclear family is what we are offered.  I have, in my past, lived in community houses, on intentional community land and in different communities around North America.  I loved it, and, after having a child, moved away from that dynamic, as I found that there were little skills, inkling or knowledge within those particular communities about how to be the village that raises the child.  I reclused into the nuclear family because the nuclear family structure was what was really at the bottom of the hearts of most of the community members I was working with.

I look at the nuclear family structure as comprising several distinct elements:

1.  Social isolation from others in the community/neighbourhood

2. Private ownership of things

3. Need to deal with/hide “family matters” from others

4. Hierarchical structure of family and, often, into community

When we all live in little boxes, with fences between them, with just our immediate family of two adults and then any children that come along, many issues occur.

We get children who, often, do not have their emotional needs met, as the needs of one child are so great.  So, we get children who are then becoming increasingly more stressed, ill, apathetic and disconnected.  As children are only exposed to the viewpoints of their parents, they are often sheltered from other viewpoints, and this causes greater prejudice and judgment to occur in little minds.  We get mothers and fathers who need help but are afraid to reach out to the greater community for child care, emotional support or any number of other things.  We get a network of segregated, isolated and disempowered people.

But, wait you say, this is supposed to be a post about moving away from an oil dependent society, as that’s the theme this week and you haven’t even mentioned anything about it.

Oil dependency, consumerism and the rise of the nuclear family can all go hand-in-hand, I would say.  When we transition away from any one of these things, we transition away from all of them.

We have the ability to be physically comfortable in a nuclear family model only because of our oil dependency.  In countries where there is less abundance of oil, less consumption and generally less income, there is a higher rate of community togetherness.  Why?  Because no one can afford to do things by themselves.  They must help each other, because together they are stronger and actually able to acquire resources and get things done.  They build homes together because no one hires help to build homes for them.  And because of this, they have homes, and they are stronger as a community.

Our consumption and affluence allows us to isolate ourselves from each other, because, if we can afford it, we can get a faceless-nameless someone to do it for us.

So, how can we transition ourselves away from the nuclear family model, to allow us to support each other and our children, more amazingly?

Luckily, it’s pretty easy, though it does require a little bit guts to approach strangers.  I always think this: “strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet.”  That usually helps the process.

So, here’s a list, as I like them and find them helpful.  This is by no means comprehensive, but just gives you an idea of what you could do.

1.  Meet your neighbours.  Knock on doors, stop and say hello when you see them outside, wave at them in their living room when you’re passing.  Remember your winning smile.  See who they are, what they like doing, where they work, all that good stuff.

2.  Gather with your neighbours.  Once you’ve met them all, invite them all over for dinner.  Or out to coffee.  Or to a movie.  Whatever floats your boat.  I always like potlucks, because sharing food is such a powerful symbol and, is a great common connector.  Everyone eats right?

3.  Talk to strangers on the street.  Saying hello and opening up conversation with people on the street can spark the most wonderful connections.  You just never know who is walking down the street.

I remember once, I was walking down the street in Toronto and passed a man, said “hello” and ended up getting a series of healing sessions from him for free and did several massage workshops with him.  It was an instant connection that happened because I took a step in connecting.

4.  Share your things.  If you have something, like say, a lawnmower, and you don’t use it everyday, offer it to the neighbourhood to use.  This way, there is something that can be used, consumption is lowered and you make closer connections.  I have a mom friend that says “a great way to make friends is to share your toys.” and it’s true for adults too.

5.  Ask to borrow.  Before you run out and buy that thing that you only need a tiny bit of, like WD-40 or dried tarragon, ask your neighbours if they have any.  Then let them know if there’s anything they need, to feel free to ask you.  It saves you all, most people don’t mind sharing a teaspoon of tarragon (or whatever) and it creates stronger community bonds.

6.  Start a buying club.  Do you buy food?  Would you like for it to be cheaper?  Then you can join or start a buying club.  These are people who buy the same sorts of things and, when bought in bulk, are cheaper.  You could go in with two other people on 50lbs of flour or rice or whatever it is you eat.

6. Share your feelings with others.  When your neighbours ask “how are you doing?” open up.  Let them know that your dog just died, your grandmother just remarried at age 96 or that your child just discovered the word “mama”.  These things open up deeper and more meaningful relations.

7.  Share your backyards.  Take down the fences.  Explore the joys of seeing your neighbours, throwing a burger on the barbeque together, letting the kids play together etc.  It removes the isolation and allows our children (and ourselves) to create meaningful relations with those immediately surrounding us.

8. Create a child care collective.  Share your kids.  Meet others children and allow yourself to take some time away.  This builds a network of mutual support for children and parents. And saves money on child care.

9.  Read community building books like “the great neighbourhood book“.

10. Co-house.  Live with other people, either in the same building all together, or in the same building in separate units.  Co-housing options are amazingly diverse, for every type of person.  Research what might work best and pursue.

In short, there are so many ways to come out of our nuclear family bubbles.  All of these will help transition us to a more caring, cooperative and resilient society. And, we might just all find the village that it takes to raise our children.


Transitioning away from Oil Dependency – Part 2

8 06 2010

Today we’re going to look at action! YAY!

This is my favourite part.  We’ve decided we want to do something and now we actually get to do it.  How exciting!

In his book, Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change, Pat Murphy outlines three specific areas that we, as individuals, can focus on to drastically reduce our carbon footprint (80-90% reduction from current usage, which is inline with global targets of 350 ppm CO2 concentration in the atmosphere).

The three areas are: food, transportation and housing.

Today, I will focus on food.  First, because I LOVE food and secondly, because food is something that every one of us can start changing NOW.  This is more focused on consumer choices, rather than lifestyle choices like gardening.

Here is the run down of things you can do, in case you are the kind of person who doesn’t want to read a 1000 word post today…:

1. Choose local foods and eat in season

2. Stop eating factory farmed meats.

3. Buy organic

4. Cook from scratch

5. Eat at home

One of the major ways to reduce our oil consumption is to choose local foods and eat in season.  This isn’t to say that you can never eat chocolate again, or that mango smoothies will never again grace your lips.  Eating locally and in season means spending the majority of your food dollars within a 100 mile, or less, radius.

Localizing our foods and eating in season is useful for many reasons.  First, it reduces the need for highly oil dependent transportation of goods, like transports and airplanes.  In Canada, the average fruit or vegetable travels 3800 kms to our door step!  OUCH! This is a Hellman’s advertisement, that outlines the current situation in Canada:

It may seem cold in Canada, but we do have the ability to grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, legumes and berries here.  Besides tropical fruits, we can grow most things here.  If we have the proper greenhouse we can even convince oranges, lemons and avocados to grow here!  So, climate is really not a barrier.

The best place to find locally grown food is at your farmer’s market.  There are hundreds of farmer’s markets across this country (and in America, for that matter) that offer farm-fresh, seasonal produce.  One word of caution: a lot of vendors at markets, posing as farmers, just come and resell imported produce.  Ask if it is imported and where the farm is, if you can visit and if the answer is yes, it usually means that all the produce was grown locally.  Failing that, you can ask your local grocery store to stock local foods.  More and more grocery stores are seeing the local food demand increase and, as a result, are finding ways to supply that demand.

Eating with the season keeps us in a really wonderful alignment with the natural cycles of the Earth and increases the nutritional value of our foods, as it is coming as fresh as can be to our tables.  We get to experience the incredible juiceness of fresh strawberries and eat them in abundance and not again (unless frozen or canned) until next year.  It gives us a real appreciation for the foods when they come.

The next thing we can do in our food choices is to stop eating factory farmed meats. Again, this is not to say that you can’t enjoy the nutritional benefits of eating healthy meat.  Just not factory farmed meat.

Pat Murphy estimates that the sole movement of eating local, organically raised, pastured meats can cut our carbon emissions (and hence oil consumption), in the area of food, by 50%!  WOAH!  you don’t even have to go vegetarian for that. 🙂

The reason being that the majority of carbon emissions and oil consumption in regards to our meat does not come from the animals themselves, or even transporting them.  It comes from the masses and masses of corn and soy that is grown to feed these animals.  The majority of farm land in North America is devoted to growing feed for animals!  This adds up to a lot of petroleum through the use of pesticides, fertilizers, heavy farm machinery, processing energy and then transportation to the farms where it is fed to animals who were not created to eat these high protein foods.

Local, pastured meat can be a little harder to find and a little more expensive.  If you want to continue eating meat (which I truly recommend, at least in small quantities), then look at going in with other people to buy a large quantity of meat.  This saves money and allows farmer’s to have a more stable source of income.

Another thing you can do, is buy organic.  Organic practices do not have large petroleum inputs of fertilizer and pesticides.  Buying from small-scale operations, you will generally avoid the use of large machinery as well, further saving fossil fuels.

Once you have purchased all of this beautiful, local, seasonal organic food, the next thing you can do is cook from scratch.  Removing processed foods from our diet is not only cheaper, healthier and tastier, it reduces the consumption of oil.  If you think about the amount of energy that goes into making a processed cookie: shipping the grain/sugar to the factory, grinding it, refining etc then shipping it to another processing plant where it is combined into cookie form, then wrapping it into a package that must be disposed of, THEN shipping it to a grocery store where you drive to and buy it, bring it home and consume it.  It’s a massive amount of energy, compared to buying the raw ingredients yourself and making it in your home.  It also reduces the amount of plastics that are in your life, another petroleum product.

Cooking from scratch may take more time, but it saves on money, so think of the time you’re using as money you’re saving.  🙂

There are many more ways that you can reduce your energy consumption through your food choices.  But, as I’m nearing 1000 words on this post, I’ll limit it to the major choices above.

Remember to start with what you can manage, and continue to move in that direction.  Though I’ve been working consciously to go completely organic and local for years now, I am not yet totally there.

Transitioning away from Oil Dependency – Part 1

7 06 2010

In light of my post yesterday I have decided to spend my efforts in looking at solutions to the oil disaster in the Gulf.  I feel that the biggest issue we can look at, in this situation, is oil dependency.

This is going to be a week long (maybe more) series on ways we can move away from oil dependency in our lives.

First of all, let’s look at our oil dependency.  The word dependency is really key in this term.  When we look at our usage of oil, we really are dependent on it, much like an alcoholic is dependent on alcohol.  When we are looking at ways of moving away from oil, we have to treat it as the addiction/dependency that it truly is.  This not only allows us to deal with the dependency effectively, but also gives us an opportunity to be more gentle with ourselves.  Like an addict might get really hard on themselves for going back to tobacco again and again, we might feel that way as we go back to our cars, high consumption rates and imported foods.  In breaking the addiction it is important to recognize it as such so that we can be easier on ourselves as we move through it.

For more information about the psychological background on our oil dependency check out:

An article proposing oil addiction as a psychological diagnosis with supporting theory

Transition Town Handbook – Chapter 6 Psychology of Change

The first step in overcoming our addiction is recognizing that we are addicting.  If you think you are not, spend a day not consuming any oil: that means no car, no imported foods, no non-organic foods, nothing made from plastics, nothing that has been made outside of your town…. OK.  So, we see that we, as individuals, and as a culture, are pretty dependent on oil.

And that’s where we are at.  So, we must accept that and move forward.  Which can be an overwhelming process.  Acknowledge that it is a huge movement away from oil dependency.

In the Transition Town Handbook, a book written by Rob Hopkins outlining a series of community oriented strategies for transitioning away from oil dependency, it is recommended that we look at a model of stages of change in order to see how we, as humans, psychologically move through the process of change, in this case, breaking the oil addiction.  It is helpful to use this model so that we can understand where we personally are at, and how we proceed through the process.

Here is the model of the stages of change:

As you can see, we enter in the pre-contemplative state.  This is where we either don’t realize there is a problem but others around us do, or  realize there is a problem occuring but haven’t yet decided if we are going to do anything about it.

The second stage, once we’ve encountered, either through our own information, or through external pressure, the urge to change, is to weigh the pros and cons of changing our behaviour.  Ideally, this is where we discover lots more pros than cons.

I feel these first two stages are where the vast majority of North American citizens are at.  If you are at this stage, that’s fine.  I encourage you to research climate change (a direct result of excessive fossil fuel use), peak oil, the oil disaster in the Gulf.  Maybe watch “The story of Stuff“, “End of Suburbia” or any number of new and pertinent eco-documentaries that cover the topic.

I feel like I’ve spent a good many years of my life working in the area of information dissemination, as I was learning the information too, and am more suited to be working at stage 4.

But we’re not there yet.  Stage three is the model of change is Determination.  This is when you look at the pros and cons and determine what you are going to do: choose Life or choose Oil, in this case.  In the figure above, there is a little arrow exiting the cycle, but I would encourage anyone in stage three to just ignore that little arrow and continue on to stage four: Active Change.

Active change puts into practice the decision to change and move away from an oil dependent life.  I find this stage to be the most challenging as there are just SO many areas that need to change in order for us to not be oil dependent.  We must change our modes of transportation, not just of our bodies but of our goods as well.  We must change what we eat, the way we eat and how that food is grown/raised/processed.  We must change our consumption patterns to something drastically less than what we currently have.

I like to note here that active change is not worded “giving up *x* thing that you are addicted to”.  I like to focus more on what I am getting out of the process than what I am losing.

Yes, I am losing the ability to have quick meals out of a box, but I am gaining the ability to have healthier, more nutritional food.  Yes, I might be losing my car (if I had one, which I don’t) but I am gaining the $8000 on average that Canadians spend on their vehicles every year.

It helps keep things in perspective and stay on course for stage five, which is maintenance.  Maintenance is keeping up with your changes, finding more ways to be more aligned in your decision and sticking to it, through challenge.  As you see, in the diagram above, there is a little arrow out here, as well.  I think that would be great, and is a more realistic expectation for us in about ten years, when more options are available, structures in place and support forthcoming.  Right now, stage six, Relapse, is pretty understandable.

Yup, though I am an active part of the Transition Movement, and spend most of my “free” time devoted to creating the transition, I still get the hankering for cheap pizza.  I still would rather get a ride than walk in the cold.  I still turn up my heat on cold days sometimes.  (ducks from the thrown pillows from fanatic environmentalists).  So, relapse happens. And it’s OK.

Because, we start again.  Each time it becomes easier.  We find more ways to support ourselves.  We find alternative solutions.  We become more empowered to choose Life and less drawn towards the empty promises of Oil Based Society.

Through understanding the psychological implications of oil addictions, and the ways that our psyche moves through in order to change, we can be more compassionate with ourselves and more effective at creating change in our lives.
The rest of the posts this week will surround Stage 4: active changes.  Just what can we do to move away from oil dependency?  How can we find the support and empowerment to do so?


Time to talk about Oil

4 06 2010

PLEASE NOTE:  I have edited this since my original post because it was pointed out to me, graciously, by some dear friends, that I did, actually fail in not becoming some sort of doomsdayer.  So, I have edited my post to be less sensational.  Thank you to friends grounded in a reality where doom doesn’t occur.

I’ve been avoiding it for a while.  And, yes, this is a short post.  There is so much I could talk about right now that I’m limiting my post so that I retain coherency and don’t become some sort of raving doomsdayer by the end of it.

Let’s talk about  The BP oil “spill”.

Wait. Spill?  Isn’t that what happens when you drop a cup of water on the floor?  To gain the scope of how far the oil has currently spread, let’s look at this little map.  Just type in your location at the top and see how big the oil spill is relation to your area.  So, now, let’s properly name this: Oil Eruption perhaps?  Perhaps Oil Disaster?

BP and the American government are doing their best to control outcry, renege responsibility and play down the event, that we are unsure as to the real numbers.

We do know some things though: we know that it is not, and will not be, easily contained.  We know that the oil geyser still not controlled.  We know that there is not just surface oil, but oil that is moving deep below the surface in plumes of oil.  We do not know the effects of this.

So, that’s the doom-and-gloom of it. And yes, I am scared.  I am horrified.  I am saddened and grieved.  I am angry.  I feel powerless.  And I know that it’s OK to feel these things, because allowing myself emotion gets me out of paralysis, out of panic and into amazing action.

I can find ways to use my personal skill set to deal with the problem and move towards something more Life affirming.

In relation to the oil eruption/disaster, specifically, there’s little that I can do.  I can pray.  I can encourage government and BP to find ways of containing it, and encourage them to stop the usage of dispersants (which aggravate the problem, not lessen it).  I can encourage my local salons to send the hair they cut to the clean up effort. I can encourage governments to not allow offshore drilling anymore, so we don’t encounter this again, once we’ve gotten through it.

But really, my personal skill set is not able to stop the oil spill.  My personal skill set can not stop the Gulf Stream from moving air and water around the globe.

My personal skill set lies more in creating self-sufficiency, away from oil dependent life.

I am learning how to grow my own food.  I engage with my community.  I have gotten rid of the car.  I buy less things.  I buy my food locally. These are things we all can do.

In the end, whether this is an extinction event or not, it is happening.  We can’t make it un-happen.  And it is unfolding as it is.  Let’s use it as an opportunity make a choice to value what is important: oil or Life? and move on from there.

In the coming days, I will be doing a series on transitioning away from oil dependency, and how that might look in everyday life.

Burdock is so gentle

15 04 2010

This morning little A and I went on a nice walk down the river as part of my commitment to getting into more wild places within the City.  I find it rather strange, city living.  It’s not what I was raised in, and definitely not something that I find easy to balance, at this point.

I thoroughly enjoy running into people, meeting new friends, going to nice little cafes and all the wonderful activities that go on in the City.  However, I miss the silence, the darkness and the stillness of the forest.  Even walking today, in a “wild” place, there was the sound of big trucks going up and down the main drag not too far away.

But, I am going to take what I can get, and hopefully be led to more, wilder and quieter places in the City.

This morning, we took what we could get: a nice path along the river about a 10 minute walk from our current house, about 5 minutes from our new house.  There is so much I don’t know about in the forest.  I can’t name all the plants, and certainly not all the trees.

However, we did spy some nettles coming out, and a few really good patches of motherwort (which I am still very grateful for) and a couple little patches of maple sprouts.  🙂

On Monday I will go foraging with women much wiser about these plants than I.  I am so excited to bring little A with me to learn about what we can eat (and not eat) in the forest.  I wish it would rain, and then we could have a mushroom feastival as well. YUM!

While we were in the forest, we passed a bunch of old burdock.  Little A was very interested in the spiky little leftovers from the past winter.  I asked her to not go near them, as they were pokey and might prick her fingers.  She was very intent on figuring this out for herself and walked up to them and pet one.  I asked her if it was pokey and she replied “no mama, burdock is so gentle with me.  Burdock no pokey me.”

Burdock is a wonderful cleanser.  It cleanses the blood and is a diuretic, allowing toxins to be removed through the kidneys.  It acts gently with the body to increase perspiration and allow toxins to be released through the skin, as well.

Most of today was spent in the sun, enjoying the balmy 26C April weather.  I was able to get lots of embroidery done, as little A wanted to spend a lot of time in front of our house (we have no backyard) pushing her new baby-car (aka stroller) and riding her trike.  The piece that I am making for little A’s meditation cushion is actually starting to look like something now that I’ve finished all the green and have started into the flowers.  It’s so wonderful to see it unfolding, as in the beginning it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere.

I started losing the faith in embroidery for a moment, or rather, losing the patience.  Which is hilarious, because I took up embroidery partially as a spiritual practice of patience.  After having a good laugh at myself, which is the best medicine of all, I started back into the piece with a new fervor.

I still have more to add to the leaves, as I want to “whip” some of the stem stitches in the outline to make them stand out a little more.  Here is its current state of being:

It’s almost the end of the week and I’m not near completed what I wanted.  Of course I also have not completed nearly any packing.  Which should be more of a priority than embroidery.  However, packing is not nearly as fun!  I’ll get to that soon enough.  For now, off to hot yoga and then a good night’s sleep. AHHHHHHH!

Stillness and silence – lessons in the forest

30 03 2010

Just as a housekeeping note, my posts for the next week or so will be fairly photo-free, as I forgot my camera at home.  So, no pics for now…

I decided to leave the city, my “home town” and go back to the country, to the land where I grew up, for a day.  I had this feeling last night that I had to come back to the country, to ground.  I even picked an oracle from my mother’s little sayings chest and it said “listen to the wind, the trees and the animals.”

So, back to the forest I went.

I grew up in the country and sometimes forget that this is an integral part of my existence.  I was raised with real darkness, skies full of stars, and silence.

In the city, it’s easy to forget these things.  We are constantly bombarded by sounds, lights, smells and motion of all sorts.

This morning I went into the forest with little A.  We walked to a big beech tree, gave it a hug and turned back towards home.  On the way, little A stopped, found a dead fern and proceeded to explore how to remove its stem and leaves.  While she was doing this, I took the opportunity of her engagement in something else, to just BE.  I leaned up against a balsam tree, thought briefly about the ensuing stickiness and then settled into the stillness of the forest.

The forest is far from silent and far from still.  The movement and sound that comes from the forest, though, is so unintrusive.  It is the sound and motion of harmony: a wind blows, trees moves, a bird flies.  I looked around me and saw dead trees growing new moss and fungus, new life sprouting from death.  This is motion as well.  But this motion happens at a pace that has no time limit. A forest has ultimate patience.

Just leaning up a tree and observing the world, I felt all the cares falling away from me.  I felt the patience of the forest entering me.  I felt my pace shift from rushing around to experiencing how I feel about things, and allowing those feelings to flow out of me, instead of bottling up inside.

As I type this, my daughter is also “unwinding”.  All day she has been really screaming at me.  It seems that certain things that involve my discomfort are absolute necessities to her, for brief periods.  I know that she has had a lot of energy to process, with her daddy and I breaking up.  The stillness and silence has allowed her space to express herself now, and there’s a lot there.  Much of it is directed at me.  I feel that she is trying to force me into discomfort (not allowing me to eat, scratching at my body, kicking me out of seats etc) to show her discomfort with how she has been feeling.

Stillness and silence allows us to be, without distraction, in the space that we truly are.  If emotions arise or thoughts enter, the stillness and silence allow us to truly experience those things.  The forest is a perfect place for this process: in the midst of the cycle of life and death, the provider of the water we drink, the soil we need to grow our food, the air we breathe and the provider of countless products, foods and medicines.

I find the metaphor of the Mother so helpful when looking at the forest: the provider, the unconditional Lover, the nurturer, the spacious comfort, the cosmic “it’s OK, let me help you, I can take it”.

In the arms of the Mother I find more strength to mother.  In the stillness of the Mother I find the answers that I need coming back to me: patience, commitment, worship, surrender.  I find trust.  I find nourishment.  I breathe more fully, I accept the gifts of the songs and sounds and motions of inter-connected harmony.

And I know we’re going to have to fix the roads….

28 03 2010

There’s a great Sarah Harmer song called “Escarpment Blues” and it goes:

“If we blow a hole in my backyard, everyone is going to runaway

The creeks won’t flow, from the Great Lakes below

will the waters in the well still be OK?”

The title of this post is a line from the song.  It was running through my head today as I drove up North with my Dad, step-mom, daughter and little dog.  We were on our way from southern Ontario to a little village on the Canadian Shield, in Northern Ontario.

From Guelph to Commanda we traveled down major highways, highlighting the car-centric culture of North America: huge box stores, vast expanses of grey pavement, warehouses to receive products from trucks and store them before they are picked up by other trucks to go somewhere else, suburban communities of identical houses etc etc etc….

From my community-oriented neighbourhood, within walking distance of downtown, I can sometimes forget the vastness of the system of cars.  It stretches farther than I can conceive and touches life in ways that I feel I can’t change.

Entering Northern Ontario via Hwy 11, you encounter a 41 km stretch of construction: expanding the two lane highway to a four lane.  We saw it in different stages of completion, from the initial clear-cut to blasting through 400 million year old rock, to filling in wetlands for roads.  There are line ups of huge yellow machines, ready to plow over any earthen obstacles they encounter.

I realize that the system builds the system builds the system.  It perpetuates itself like any other organism – reproduces to create more of itself.

And, I accept, in some deep, spiritual sense, that this is part of the perfection of the whole of creation.

Sometimes the saying “ignorance is bliss” comes into my mind.  I feel like I know too much and my life is bombarded with things that are way out of my control.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t know that MSG was poisonous, or the extent that our bodies are being poisoned.  I know that information brings empowerment, and by being educated, I can make choices that are beneficial to the whole of existence.  I believe in conscious reality creation, through informed and conscious decision making.

And I also understand the co-creative factor.  That’s the part that I can sometimes get stuck on.

How am I going to explain it to my little A, sleeping beside me in the car seat.  How do I tell her that we pave over wetlands, even though they are integral to clean water to drink?  How do I explain cars, with their polluting, consumptive and destructive tendencies?  How do I explain that arable land for food growing is being paved over to make way for stores that offer foods that poison us and products that enslave humans around the other side of the world?

Everyday I give thanks that Ariadne hasn’t started asking these questions yet, because I don’t have an answer for her.  “Life is the great mystery,” is the best I can come up with.  We keep moving forward, keep working towards balance, harmony and Love.  We do our best.

I want to be able to tell little A that I did my best.