Our first five years here at Charisma were more about UNlearning than physically building our dream. We UNlearned so many beliefs and hard-earned knowledge that we brought with us and used to plan our life here. I'd say that at least 60-70% of our preparations, plans and what we thought we knew, had to be UNlearned and rearranged. They were ideas and plans that didn't apply here as we thought they would. Just because an idea is considered an off grid element or is something really cute does not mean it's harmonious with life and love, and not with the particular conditions of our domain. So many ideas seem good but don't serve the transition to harmony here with the nature and expansion of our Space of Love. Most of the ideas we discovered and loved while living in the city fell into this category and had to be re-aligned with our expanding awareness, or even let go entirely. The majority of equipment and supplies we bought in preparation were of little or no use here, at least as we planned. Some could be repurposed to fit into our unfolding dream in a different way.
We UNlearned what we thought we knew about gardening. We promptly discovered that our beautiful gardens in the city were made possible by a garden hose or drip system attached to a never ending supply of city-pressurized water with electrical timers and by composting methods that continually damaged or interfered with newly formed fungi and worm communities. We UNlearned those ways and slowly experimented with new possibilities that were more in harmony with the lifeforms and earth of semi-arid land with its sandy silt instead of typical garden loam.
We UNlearned most of our ideas and plans about the kinds of trees we would plant in our living fences, forrest and orchard as well as where on our domain these should be located. In the first two years we bought and planted well over 1000 trees and bushes in our planned forest, orchard and living fence areas, and another 500 in the next two years. Of those, only 12 or 13 survived. However, we now know what tree varieties will thrive at this time with only the water Nature supplies in our area. We've learned the varieties that need a little additional water to survive until their roots go deep enough, and the varieties that simply can't grow here without far more water and attention than we can give. We have learned from the Nature of our domain how to plant our beginning forest according to where the rain and snow melt runs and doesn't run. We learned that our orchard trees need a lot of early attention to survive here and can't be tucked into a place where we don't see it daily in order to note it's progress or problems. We know which trees the herd animals will leave alone and which ones need protected in order to mature. As a result, we now have over 60 thriving trees building our forest.
After deep study and trial of every idea and theory we could find (internet and permaculture experts) and three very expensive failed attempts to establish a living fence, we've learned from carefully examining the naturally growing trees and bushes on our domain that in this particular place it requires a deep trench filled with heavy organic matter and a close uphill trench filled with loose organic matter to catch and hold the runoff moisture. That is a long term rather than one season project.
We UNlearned what we thought we knew about community building. In the process we discovered and learned to recognize and operate our own mental levers (thought patterns) that held or released unconscious anti-rational thought patterns. That was a priceless learning.
We UNlearned what we once thought was a harmonious relationship with Nature and learned that Nature is not only powerful beyond any previous imagining but also responsive to us to the degree that we have expanded our awareness and use of our own natural power as Man. Nature's responsive character helped us to UNlearn our limited and illusory concept of love so we could begin to discover it's true nature. Then we learned how to increase or diminish Nature's responsiveness by changing the quality of our relationships in the degree of love or anti-love that we allowed to live in our daily thoughts. In this way Nature helped us begin to purify our thinking to begin building the space of love we didn't even know to imagine when we first came. That was quite a learning curve and precious beyond describing.
We UNlearned our unconsciously programmed lazy thinking and habits in terms of polluting our own domain. We do not use trash pickup, preferring to become responsible for all our consumption decisions. Within two years we were shocked at the amount of trash (small mountains) we and several others who had joined us here had scattered around in hidden places waiting for a solution "someday" when more time would be available to devote to the problem. It's taken us five years of intense cleanup but we've finally perfected the last of the systems for processing the residue of our consumption of things that come with plastics, glass, metals, cardboard, worn out fabrics, old wood, etc. Nearly all of it now has been put into excellent and beautiful service with a smooth flow into our space of love without polluting it or the world around us.
That gigantic 5 year cleanup task of our old "system" habits and lifestyle opened our thinking more than any other activity, to the reality of the destruction our modern lifestyle creates even though we hide that from ourselves with distant landfills and social acceptance. This cleanup has not been only an exterior work. It has required that we learn to think deeper into both the future and the past. This task was key for us in freeing our thinking from life-long patterns of limitation that are only illusion. The outer cleanup of the destructive residue of our lifestyle corresponded fully with the inner cleanup of limiting belittling beliefs and their resulting emptiness. This expansion, like the others described here opened new potentials for us that were previously only a dream but unreachable.
We UNlearned our plans for building our "dream house" and learned how to live the dream apart from the house, with the house serving the dream rather than being it's own dream. To minimize further damage to our space of love we converted our storage barn with loft into a cozy cabin with a two story two room earth wall addition. It is far more harmonious and comfortable to us and to our domain than the plans we brought with us.
We UNlearned our beliefs about our relationship with weather extremes allowing us to discover our bodies' ability to adapt with Nature's seasons. As we adjusted through the seasonal changes we fell in love with subzero winter even with only light insulation and low heat. We also fell in love with long hot dry summer days and barely notice our annual adjustment to the blazing heat of July, August, and September.
Each of these UNlearnings and more were difficult at first and some were terrifying but they are all cherished treasures as they make possible the greater and greater realization of the dream that brought us here, a space of love. We are known and loved by the life forms of our space of love and every living thing here is loved by us in the degree that we have unlearned our old habits of being subtly distracted, stressed, controlling and needy. We are certainly not finished with our transition. We are still very dependent on many elements of the modern world lifestyle, but each year we take our transition farther.
Before ending this post I must express my deep gratitude to the people who have helped us build and continually perfect our space of love. Some are family, some are kins domain dreamers who temporarily joined us, and some are workawayers and other strangers who stayed awhile. They are each very important to perfecting and building our dream in both easy and difficult ways, but each one contributed to the continued expansion of the love that fills this space we call Charisma. I thank each of these important Co-creators.
at Charisma, becoming
one of Earth's most beautiful spots.
at Charisma, becoming
one of Earth's most beautiful spots.