So, I have realised today, that it’s about time I started digging again. Digging properly, digging for me, and for the sake of future flowers/food.
I also need to begin writing again. Writing properly. Writing for me, and for any others who are interested, or happen to relate to any of the issues I find myself blogging about, over the months.
Months, in the past tense, being felt by their very own- memory hoarding piece of Neurological equipment, if you like- as though having passed, in the way of being ‘lost at sea’, and totally at the mercy of the waves.
See when I try to remember, in any kind of meaningful, contingent or chronological manner, the streetlight like glow, of the traumatic events which turned last year into a living nightmare for me, it isn’t exactly a straightforward process.
Perhaps with more time (admittedly, time truly can prove to be a fairly decent Nurse), those memories will begin to feel less raw. Then, perhaps, they could manage to form some kind of structure. Such as a pattern of rocks, washed up on a beach.
Until then, it would appear, my life and the words which seem to need writing, will have to crack on. In a positive, and productive way. So, let’s begin with the latest Dig for Victory style project!
Over March, and now that the so called ‘beast from the east’ and other snow related weather events, are seemingly hushed for now, I intend to try my luck at creating as much ‘garden’ and growing space, as possible, using only a very limited space, which is technically just a balcony.
I will have to think of inventive ways, to build what should look, feel, and hopefully, function as, a small garden, upon something which feels more like a windowsill, than an allotment, let’s face it.
Watch this space, I therefore add!
For there will be pictures of an on-going process, which hopefully can succeed, in turning a canvas of predominantly, grey emptiness, into a vibrant and green honey bee’s playground (sorry neighbours… Bees were here first, and the honey they make is well worth having to see more of them ‘buzzing around’).
I stumbled upon some writing about the emergence of a wonderful, off-grid, alternative and ultimately natural, human gatherings of a ‘Rainbow Family’ or ‘Rainbow Warriors’-Whichever you prefer to call the collective movement. Here is the low down:
‘In the isolation of the woods gather tribes of the miscellaneous and open-minded. From gays, punks, Christians, sectarians, nudists and Krishna followers, to Nomads and conspiracy theorists, like a vivid palate of paint; they meet at the annual Rainbow Gathering.
30,000 people attended the largest Rainbow Gathering in history, which took place in Washington State in a publicly-owned national forest. When this large, rainbow gatherings become something like a micro society; a utopian city that even has neighborhoods, where everyone is welcome.’ (Source:Rainbow gatherings)
“Some say we’re the largest non-organization of non-members in the world. We have no leaders, and no organization. To be honest, the Rainbow Family means different things to different people. I think it’s safe to say we’re into intentional community building, non-violence, and alternative lifestyles.
We also believe that Peace and Love are a great thing, and there isn’t enough of that in this world. Many of our traditions are based on Native American traditions, and we have a strong orientation to take care of the the Earth. We gather in the National Forests yearly to pray for peace on this planet.”
I am personally convinced that the way we live now, that is- humans in the modern society of Westernized culture in particular- is not only disharmonic, rasping and stressful. It is also dangerously out of tune with the way the human mind and body is programmed to survive and thrive. We are by nature social beings. We are by nature, part of nature itself; and this means we should by no means fall under the oppressive fallacy, that we are agents without choice, and we MUST work as essential slaves to generate profits for faceless organisations, day in, day out, without being free to choose otherwise, because money is the trap which keeps us dependent upon ‘earning a living’; in order to keep ourselves fed, sheltered, existing by record and name- and therefore with ‘identity’.
A person once shared some valuable insight with me, when I was going through a period of mental strain and precarious balancing between the state of breakdown, and the illusion of ‘sanity’ and ‘sound mind’. She told me that one of the reasons regular bouts of intense exercise, and outdoor venturing, was so fundamental to maintaining a healthy frame of mind, body and function, was because of how we are by nature and evolution, programmed and hardwired to respond to stress triggers. So as many know, stress causes an increase of Adrenaline pumping through the body, muscles and blood, because a stressor would naturally indicate it was time for ‘fight or flight’. A perfectly reasonable and effective reaction which has enabled humans to survive and evolve to their current state.
However, the way we live now (in the Western world) doesn’t usually necessitate fighting off predators, or fleeing for your life on a daily basis. The hardwired cognitive response to stressful and challenging situations, however; for example in the workplace, meeting deadlines, managing debt, bullying, discrimination and demoralizing conduct etc., is still well and truly active as it ever was before, and so despite the different nature of the stressor itself, the physiological response to the stress remains the same. Adrenaline levels surge, producing anxiety, panic, sweaty palms, raised heartbeat and general discomfort.
The problem is, all this discomfort would once have had a productive outlet; the fighting off of the stressor, or the sprint for your life, heightened sensitivity to detect the nearness of the threat. Now, the stress will often occur sitting in an office, getting a bollocking in a meeting at work, being stuck in traffic, being panicked by financial problems, debt, social and relationship conflicts, etc. What is the missing ingredient to the new type of stress and response?
It is the utilization of the excess adrenaline. Without burning it out, by exercise and exertion, or even just walking and dancing, the balance of these neurotransmitters in the brain (and therefore body) is not reset. This is one of the things which leads to stress and anxiety as a more Chronic condition nowadays, and a huge contributing factor to increased levels of mental health illness, physical illness, and distorted thinking which inevitable leads to the paranoid, unhappy, anxious and easily rattled social circumstances which make up societies which seem plagued by distrust, unease, violence and intolerance.
The modern world seems to me to be the beginning of the end of human social well-being, health and prosperity. It is nature and gatherings within nature, which we need to return to, in order to regain our understanding of what it is to be human, and what it feels like to live beyond the cage.
This brings me back to the main point of interest which triggered this post: Rainbow Family Gatherings, as one of many off-grid, eco friendly and nature driven alternatives to the crush of the way human societies have come to exist in an insidiously oppressive form.
Rainbow Warriors, and their open to everyone gatherings, offer a means of escaping the trap. Within the community of like-minded people that practice the ideals of peace, love, respect, harmony and freedom. Participants widely believe that the modern lifestyles and systems of government are unsustainable, exploitative, and out of harmony with the natural systems of the planet. The rainbow family is an expression of Utopian impulse with an added touch of bohemianism and hippy culture, which refer to mainstream society as “Babylon” and consciously express an alternative to consumerism, capitalism, and mass media. These gatherings happen annually all over the world, and have proven a durable phenomenon for over 40 years.
They wake up with the sun, and several sacred ceremonies begin to take place. There are discussion circles where all ideologies and beliefs coexist in harmony.
It is worth checking out more about alternative living technologies, communities and eco-conscious movements. Check out Rob Savoye’s (A Rainbow Focalizer) home page here for more information and resources about how to get involved:
Promising ideas to bring forth ideas for improving and expanding upon our city’s urban greenscapes, sustainable and overwhelmingly positive green city of Sheffield! Proposals include two massive biodomes at Parkwood Springs MTB trail, increased dirve towards bringing allotment and growing spaces to a wider range of the Sheffield community… In all, green, sustainable, adaptable and innovative moves in the right direction for revolutionizing the way Sheffield businesses, urban development projects and economic revival can take root and thrive!
In short, this is the gist:
The ideas put forward by the students and scholars at Sheffield University, which will be showcased during this year’s upcoming Festival Of The Mind; ‘Fifty Ideas For A Better Sheffield runs at CADS art complex in Smithfields from September 20 – 30. Entry free.’
Some of the comments in the Star’s article hint at a troubling underbelly of pessimism (or realism, call it what you will), which comes across in a somewhat skeptical tone as told by Ivan, 24, who is running the project through the Shalesmoor, Kelham Island and Neepsend Network development agency which he manages; “The trouble is once the course work is finished, it’s marked, put in a drawer and no-one ever thinks about it again.”
However, an obvious mind for practical solutions to realistic obstacles drives his reasoning behind deciding to invite a much wider audience to take a look at these project ideas and discuss, and indeed there will be an abundant supply of useful, inspiring and thought provoking information on offer at the exhibition. Ivan has concluded: “This exhibition isn’t just a mine of ideas, it’s a mine of information as well.”
One reason I know I will be attending, is to gather ideas and invite feedback about how some of the showcased proposals can inform and help shape the future for my own aspirations about restoring Sheffield Ski Village, by turning parts of it into an ‘edible park’, community hub of leisure which can and should be laced with gardening and green spaces.
I know that here in Sheffield, We all cherished the spirit and communal joy Sheffield Ski Village once brought to our city for folk to enjoy, and likewise, we still take great pride in being called ‘the greenest city in Europe’… What is NOT valuable and equitable about a city determined to fight to remain Green, Socially Innovative and Creative?
Assorted gardening and allotment snippets!
Source: Digging for victory