My apologies to anyone who read the first version of this post, which I took down last night, after a phone call from a reader who convinced me that my perspective was somewhat skewed. I thank that reader for her care and concern.
Here’s a new version (which, like anything finite in an infinite expanding universe, is also bound to mutate eventually):
I was struck, yesterday, by the fact that the term “exopermaculture,” so recently spawned, has already precipitated two websites. What used to take years, then months, then weeks, now takes days. What’s next? Hours? Minutes?
The running theme of the story I tell here is that of a series of shocks to my system. Hopefully, my story will help others learn how to quickly and thoroughly process shocks to their own systems. This “skill,” (for want of a better word) will become increasingly valued in a world where sudden, unpredictable events of great and thudding magnitude are coming a mile a minute, and accelerating.
How do we personally learn to be truly resilient no matter what? May all beings be happy. And may we, who have had our fingers to the wind for a while now, be equipped to serve as stable centers of awareness and equanimity in this climactic period of unprecedented turbulence.
Here’s the story.
I had been intensely contemplating the split within myself between above and below, and wanting to bridge them. On January 22, 2011, I published the background for this recognition of the split within me in my M’Entendre blog (“entendre,” in French, “to mean.” “m’entendre,” my meaning) on the Tendre Press website. That blogpost told the story of how I had just that week, almost, but not quite, joined another author, Steve Beckow, on a site that he runs, one which I still very much enjoy — and in fact, for a while there was checking before I checked my email!
That experience with Steve precipitated an acutely conscious recognition of both my internal split and the need to heal it.
On the same day that I published that post, it turns out that Keith Johnson, a permaculture teacher and friend with whom I had been talking about the “above” material and lending him DVDs from the two recent UFO congresses that I attended, had already republished my post, as the first one on a new exopermaculture site that I had asked him to set up!
That he had already set up the site was the first shock!
I wanted to move slowly and deliberately. That is not his way. I knew that from earlier exchanges with him. His fiery Aries brings in something out of nothing regularly, with a piercing, almost breath-taking urgency.
So why was I shocked?
Well, I had wanted to partner with him in this endeavor since, to me, partnership is a much more fun experience than working alone. I had been becoming more and more enthused with the idea that the DVDs he had borrowed were beginning to alert him to the immensity and richness of what I’ve called on this site, “the above,” as distinguished from permaculture’s creative focus and concentration on “the below.” I had told him that I wanted to bridge the two worlds. For example, how permaculture’s principles could be used to study and work with the above, and vice versa; how various experiences and theories about the above could perhaps enhance and even reconfigure the way permaculturists go about their work below.
So, all of a sudden, there it was, this website on exopermaculture with my piece on it!
I found this out the day after it happened, when I ran into Keith at the indoor Farmer’s Market here. I told him that I was trying to figure out what to call this new field that would crossfertilize above with below, and mentioned “cosmic permaculture.” He said, immediately, “No. Exopermaculture.”
I had considered this name, and yet drifted away from it. Not sure why. But when he said it, instantly, I agreed. First of all, it was simpler, and secondly, the word “cosmic” has been so popular (and thus co-opted) for so long that it’s hard for me to even pronounce the word without wincing.
We were standing there, in the midst of the crowded market room, and it was as if we were all alone in the universe, saying yes, in concert, to what had to be. So that’s how I processed the first shock, by coming into mental and spiritual communion with Keith. When he said it, it felt obvious. Shock, that he had already set up the website, was instantly replaced with delighted expansion into oneness.
When I checked the site later that afternoon I saw that he had added a few more posts, things he had found from the internet that apparently he found relevant to the topic of exopermaculture. Once again, shock! Hey, I thought we were partners! Let’s communicate about what we’re doing!
In each case, I could see why he added them, but felt that for anyone not privy to our conversation might find them puzzling as to their relevance.
I emailed him to ask that we agree upon a few groundrules; and that if he was going to include certain pieces from the internet, then I wanted to write introductions to them, to clue the reader in to their importance re: exopermaculture.
So that’s how I processed the second shock. By trying to communicate.
I didn’t hear back until the next day. He emailed that he didn’t like the idea, that he didn’t want to be controlled, and moreover, that he didn’t really know enough about the “above,” wasn’t steeped in the material like I was; so he’d better just beg off, and take the site down.
I, who had gotten excited about our partnership, then had been shocked to see how that “partnership” wasn’t working as I had intended, now received a third shock. This one shuddered right through my heart and out again. For in the very next second, I felt relieved. It was as if our short partnership had pivoted me in place and landed me where I was before but with new resolve. Okay! I didn’t need him. I would learn how to do it myself, set up my own exopermaculture website. He could join me when he felt ready. This I did. That was three days ago.
So . . . when Keith stopped over two days ago, to tell me that he had left his site up after all, because he kept finding stuff he wanted to put on it, I was shocked for a fourth time. This time, really, really shocked. And then, shocked that I was shocked! Flashing through in less than ten seconds, the whole intellectual property business caught me in its vicious trap and then let go. My ego rose, flushed through my forehead, and dissolved. That first flush of territoriality transformed into laughter.
Okay! We’ll have two sites, reflecting our divergent points of view! For while Keith is not as steeped in the “above” part, I’m not nearly as steeped as he in the “below” part. What was shocking when he said it, now seems obvious. This time shock seemed to have loosened all the bones of my body, flashed its illuminating waves through the cells and expanded them. Ego stuff be damned! This is much more fun than identifying with and protecting so-called private property.
He and I hung out drinking tea at the kitchen table for quite a while after that, riffing on how to bridge above and below, what kind of language captures its essence, — and marveling at the fertility of this field we are just beginning to feel our way into. I said I would link his site to mine. He said he’d already linked mine to his.
So, dear reader, within only days, we are already doubled blessed with two exopermaculture sites. Who knows what’s next! As a very strong inner voice once commanded me, when I was 26 years old and in the throes of a personality breakdown (break through), “Just keep going. Don’t get stuck!”