Gotta love Mel Robbins. How could you not? She’s gives a super-easy to-the-point 5 second trick (technique) to change your life. Plus, she reminds us not to use the F-word. No, not that F-word! The other one.
There is so much I want to say about the video that I am posting today — but I can’t. I am flying out the door to meet my sister for a camping trip. I’m excited to see her, and I’m also exited to be in nature. Where I live is natural and quiet, but I often like to go deep. I love cool breezes and silent surroundings, and if I can get it on a deeper level, I will go for it.
Back to the video. Don’t let the soft sounding title fool you. The Possibility of Relationship doesn’t have much hook or bait. But I will tell you, if there is EVER a video to watch (rather, listen to) that can change and transform any relationship (even the one to yourself), this is the video to do it. I can’t get enough of it — and it’s over 3 hours long! Each time I view it, I get something new. I hear something I haven’t heard before. I hear it as a piece to the puzzle or an ‘ah-ha’ — I hear it intimately and profoundly.
In the near future I will write a blog post dissecting the video a bit. But for now, acquaint yourself with it. Allow it to marinate for while. The longer the video plays, the more interesting and intriguing it gets.
Last weekend I was on a mushroom foraging tour in Connecticut. This weekend I was on a similar wild edibles walk in Manhattan. Yes, Manhattan. It was held in Central Park. And believe it or not, there are all sorts of things you can eat in Central Park. Some of the things are more known, and you might be able to find them in stores or open markets. Other things are more rare, but only because they fell out of use in our modernized monoculture that corporations have established for us. This is why I am learning about wild foods, foraging and medicinal plants. I want to unplug and remove myself from the corporate monopoly. I’m not going to totally or abruptly unplug from society, but to slowly transition physically & mentally into a more independent, but ironically more ‘connected’ way of being. Instead of being connected & tethered to big business, I’ll be connected with people, animals & plants — nature.
This weekend’s wild edibles & medicinal plants tour was lead by ‘Wildman’ Steve Brill. He is famous in New York for his foraging tours, and for his vast knowledge of this subject (he has been teaching and leading in the northeast for 31 years). I have to say, the suggested donation for the tour was 20 dollars and it was the best 20 bucks I ever spent! I walked, I laughed, I had a great time. But in addition to that, I learned a lot of valuable information and I even got to take wild edibles home with me. Some of the goodies I got to take home were: Black Birch, Sassafras, Black Walnuts, Lamb’s Quarter, Kentucky Coffee Tree Seeds, Dandelion Greens, Poor Man’s Pepper, Wood Sorrel, Common Evening Primrose, Spice Bush Leaves, Ginko Berries, and Asiatic Dayflower. Some of the things I collected can be used to make tea, others can be eaten as is.
When I got home after the tour. I felt so good. I felt more connected to the earth and to people, and more importantly, more connected to myself on a deeper level. I also felt inspired to continue learning and felt like I was on the right track. And, I got to make myself a wild salad! I used my Lamb’s Quarter (tastes like spinach, but better), Asiatic Dayflower (tastes like string beans), Dandelion Greens (tastes bitter & yummy in moderation), and my Poor Man’s Pepper (tastes like lettuce with pepper). Along with other plant veggies (Romaine Lettuce, Cilantro, Green Lentils, etc.) and sea veggies (Wakame Seaweed) I already had in the fridge. It tasted great! I really enjoyed it. Tomorrow I plan on having Black Birch tea for breakfast from the leaves I collected. I’m excited to try it.
I’ve you want to meet me on one of Steve’s tours, I plan on going to the following tours: October 5 & 19th, November 3rd & 30th. You can also check his calender for other dates that might suit you better. These tours only happen as weather permits from March to December.
And if you know of any walking wild edible tours I should check out, just email me or leave a comment below.
[Wildman Steve Brill photo snagged from Kid Champ.]
Over the last few weeks, I planted my first seeds of being The Rainbow Farmer. The name was given to me by my partner & friend, and it’s basically a term of affection/poke-fun-at-Aimee tease. The rural land that I hope to move to (not sure when, maybe in the next year or so) has the name Rainbow. It’s the land’s legal name. So since I plan on cultivating and living on that land, hence the name The Rainbow Farmer.
As I make a transition from city dweller to country farmer, there is a whole list of things that need to be put into place. I’m slowly working with each to-do item on the list, and doing the best I can. The items on the list vary greatly, some are things I can do and cross off rather quickly, while other items require more time. Some of the things are also experimental, and are in place just to see what happens and where they might lead to next.
I started a new blog, and I opened a vintage shop. Both of these things are crucial parts of the city to country transition. On the new blog, (appropriately titled The Rainbow Farmer), I will share whatever I’m interested in or inspired by, as well as how my projects and experiments are coming along. And hopefully the actual move from city to country, featuring the process of setting up a self-sustainable off-the-grid home.
The vintage shop (The Rainbow Farmer on Etsy) currently features all of my personal things that I want to sell. These are things that I am not taking with me on the move. And I will continue to add to the shop as I continue to evaluate my things and reduce my belongings to the bare minimum. The shop is also instrumental in other ways, it helps to raise money for the move and for The Rainbow Farmer projects (like creating ‘how to’ & DIY videos, as well as helpful digital books, and possibly if the store really takes on a life of its own, it will help fund meditation retreats on the land — helping people get in touch with nature, each other, and themselves).
Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, what I’ve planted are only my first seeds, just a small sprinkle, the tiny beginnings of a few ideas/projects. I have no clue what might come of it, or in what direction it might grow. But in whatever direction it grows, and whatever fruits it may bear, my goal is to pass it on. To continue to share how I am living and what I am learning in a practical way, so that anyone that wants to live a little closer to the ground can do the same. You might not be able to move closer to nature, but you can be reminded of your own true nature. Your innate intelligence. What is always with you and in you, but forgotten in the hustle & bustle of city life.
When I was visiting the land in July, I thought, “I’m not sure if I can do this, I have no idea how! I’ve been in big cities my whole life.” I had to calm myself and reassure myself that it’s very much like riding a bike. The balance is already within you, you just need to surrender and work in harmony with your surroundings. Sometimes you need training wheels to slowly build your trust. Sometimes you need to fall to learn. Sometimes you just need someone to cheer you on, and tell you you can do it.
We can all benefit from a similar process/practice, to get us back in tune with our own innate intelligence and abilities. Finding our own sense of balance, and what it means for us (individually) to get back in touch with nature (with our own nature, and nature itself). I learn and benefit from you, and you from me, everyone from everyone. Before we know it, if we continue to trust & try & fail & cheer, we’ll all be experts in what it means to live more sustainably, more naturally — and what it means to have fun in the process.
When I look around, I see more diversity. I don’t think this is just because I live in New York. I know what it was like here 20 years ago, and I feel like there is a closeness that wasn’t here before between living beings: various animals together, various people together, and various animals & people together. It makes for a beautiful landscape. I myself am the result of a mix of races, and I never felt more common or more accepted than now. I’m not saying there is not racism or speciesism. There definitely is, and it’s heartbreaking — but slowly healing and getting better.
I saw the most wonderful movie recently. I saw it on Netflix (but you can watch the full movie on PBS for free I believe, via this link). The movie was called Odd Couples. It’s not referring to romantic partnerships, it’s about friendship partnerships. And it’s not about people, it’s about animals. Judging by the cover, it looks like a boring and odd movie, but I will tell you — it’s not boring and it’s a gem. Please see it if you can. It’s very heart warming, entertaining and inspiring.
This week I was telling a friend about the movie. He asked me if I knew the work of Richard Renaldi. I said I didn’t, and he told me I should check it out. That it too is about odd couples, but ones that the photographer brings together as art. Well, I did check the photographer and his work out, and it definitely is thought-provoking-mind-opening-awareness-raising art. Watch a CBS video of the artist at work with his subjects, click here to view. (PS, Richard Renaldi just finished his Kickstarter campaign. He attempted to raise 10,000 dollars to produce a fine art photography book titled Touching Strangers. Instead of raising the 10, 000 he planned on ….he raised 80,000 dollars. Obviously people resonate with this topic and want to see more of it in the world.)
The world is changing. The weather is changing. The unknown is becoming a known and widely discussed topic. People are questioning their lives and their future. It really is time to join forces. To realize living beings (animals, people, everything alive) are not independent of each other. They not only depend on each other, but thrive when they realize that they actually are each other — all spinning on the same planet, all relying on the same cycles, all vulnerable to birth aging death, all wanting to feel good. When we realize this, we are free. Free of mental constructs, ingrained beliefs and genetic predisposition.
Let’s continue to open our hearts and expand our awareness. Let’s continue to leave behind old ways that no longer serve us. Let’s see and envision a new world. Let’s support those who are working towards creating a united compassionate world. Let’s live it fully in our own lives more and more each day. Let’s have fun pushing boundaries. Let’s laugh and love while making the impossible possible.
[All photographs of people are by Richard Renaldi, all photographs of animals are not. I put the photos of animals & people in collage form just for this blog post, to enable the reader to see more than space would allow.]