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At our start in 2006 living gently on the earth was not yet trendy, neither was a decommodified lifestyle. After the 08’ stock market crash and new evidence that climate change was real, movements started up. Green trends followed. People gardened and learned who Monsanto is. But just a few years’ later and inspiration lilts. We are weary from the weight of the disaster that may be our fate. Greener products won’t save us. We return to shopping with a few better options like organics.
Why weren’t we transformed? Where was the escape hatch to a world we are capable of imagining? While on my book tour I noticed that people see a clear image of a better world and they describe it similarly, a healthy and vibrant planet, an economic model that abolishes poverty and distributes resources to all, meaningful work, having enough to live, harmony between nations and people. I wonder about why this dream is so hard to get off the ground.
While driving back from Albuquerque the other day I listened to a TED Talk about creativity. People like Sting were interviewed and so were scientists who were trying to pin down creativity by aiming MRI’s at the brains of improvisational musicians like Keith Jarrett. All agreed that creativity is the result of turning off the part of the brain located in the frontal cortex that identifies with self. It is the part that says things like, “what will people think?” or “what if I fail?” Sting said that creativity is the result of being willing to fall on your face in front of everyone. They know that willingness to fail is an act that requires trust in something unseen and belief that something not yet created may become because of you, through you.
Some people thought my book was philosophical. My publisher categorized it a memoir. They also called it gifty. When The Good Life Lab book won the Nautilus award it was for sustainability. The Los Angeles review of books compared me to Aldus Huxley and what I wrote to Walden. People find it in bookstores filed under building. On the surface my book teaches how to make bio diesel, clothing, building materials, power, and food. I share what I know about how to live out of the waste stream and find new income streams. The lessons and stories are structures for the telling of something more significant. The Good Life Lab is about making a promise. A sacred promise is different from promising to recycle, or reduce carbon emissions by riding a bike to work. A sacred promise involves trust in something that there may be no concrete evidence of, something that is perhaps imaginary. We did this when we chose an ideal and then lived by it. Then we listened, not with our brains but with our hearts. When wisdom came we trusted it even though it was not a match with the cultural milieu.
My book is written and I’m done touring to promote it. My homestead is less interesting to me than it was before I wrote it. Built and functioning it needs me less. My heart looks to wilder terrain in order to connect to nature, things like backpacking and trail running. I’m considering starting up a new non-profit project. Unlike the green movement that left people weary and reluctantly returning to unhealthy habits head hung low still gripping a lilted wish for a better world, Mikey and I continually grow in the direction of our original wish. Our energy is ever increasing. We are interested. I believe that this is due to the wish we made. Hazrat Inayat Khan once said, “The one whose desire is not fulfilled did not know how to desire.” His son Pir Vilayat taught that wisdom arises from the interaction between inherent knowledge or truth and acquired knowledge from embodied experience (among other things). This is a match for my own experience, which tells me that the rationalists were wrong. Truth is sensory. Without human imagination and heart we cannot get to the world that we are capable of dreaming of because our ideas cannot take flight. When Mikey and I dreamed aloud (at risk of falling on our face) our promise (to preserve life) led to knowledge from within and without. I believe this is so because our wish was for life, of which we are a part. Once connected to life a living being may claim their dispensation of it, their common sense. Real wisdom, we soon discovered, is not subject change due to trend, and it does not tire under the weight of the world. It does not run out.
This post is long. I apologize. My aim was to share a secret. It is true that The Good Life Lab is a book about being a maker of things. It will show you how to decommodify your life at a time in which the whole world is for sale. But the heart of my book is about desire. Its real aim is to show you how to make a wish that will be fulfilled.
While I was on my book tour folks six or a dozen copies of The Good Life Lab as gifts for friends and relatives. My publisher was right the book is gifty. To encourage you to share The Good Life Lab with your loved ones this holiday season I’ve come up with ways to thank you by giving you gifts.
Each week leading up to New Years Day I will pull a name from a hat that contains the names of those who’ve placed an order that week. Winner chooses from the below prizes (until they run out).
One of four color illustrations from The Good Life Lab 11’X14” mounted on foam core board.
The Groping Woobie - a wearable spooning blanket from pg. 45 in the chapter Broken Heart Meets Giant Band Aid 64” X 80" handmade by Wendy.
Hangable paper prayer flags that read “holy scrap.”
Battery desulfator handmade by Mikey.
One of three Holy Scrap gift packs containing botanical medicines wildcrafted from medicinal plants of southwest handmade by Wendy.
Ways To Enter (click drop down for three options) Buy 2 Copies Get 1 Drawing Entry - Free Shipping $37.90 USD Buy 6 Copies Get 3 Drawing Entries - Free Shipping $113.00 USD Buy 9 Copies Get 6 Drawing Entires, + 10th Copy Free - Free Ship $170.00 USD
(one ship to address please, if you need items to ship to multiple addresses shipping will be added)
I’m happy to sign and personalize books and the illustrated art pieces. Just include a request with your order. Good luck, and thank you for your tremendous support.
May all of your wishes come true! – Wendy
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