Our blessings to you all for the New Year, 2012.
Though, sometimes I wish time could stand still…Life is so fast – there’s too much information – every moment I question how to most effectively be of service. Is it better to ignore the news and just celebrate the beauty? Staying close to each other and nature, learning how to live, using our hands to create and nurture - singing, dancing, drawing, thinking, loving - all with the intention for life to continue?
We had a lovely Christmas and New Year, with family and friends and glorious weather. Last week, Pacha, Yani and I went along with my nephew Finn to Australia’s biggest alternative festival, the Woodford Folk Festival, where I spoke and sang about our lifestyle and home building. There was great interest in the topic and the audience was full. You can listen to the presentation here:
The presentation was titled ‘How to build your dream home for $25 000’, which meant many people were mostly interested in how to build a ‘cheap’ house. I tried to provide some of the thinking behind the concept – the parameters that help liberate us from the idea that it is only the amount of money you spend that translates into comfort and happiness. I started by explaining our lifestyle experience in Ecuador, an hour’s walk from the dirt road, with no electricity, in hand built mud and stone houses. What we lacked in material convenience was made up for in the priceless treasures of pure air, water, and the most incredible beauty and diversity of nature. The concept of true ‘wealth’ has to be shaken up.
In building in Australia our base line was limiting our ecological footprint – attempting to live on ‘one planet’, so it seemed natural to try to build from what other people had thrown away. It still seems pretty luxurious. Sometimes I feel embarrassed that we have too much - even as the kids are slightly teased at school sometimes for our simple solutions like the compost toilet...
More than anything else I hope people felt the attraction to a life of freedom. Living simply means living without a massive debt that means choices in every moment and the capacity to follow your heart.
For most of the festival I followed the children, allowing them to make the choices about what we should do. I let go of participating in deep discussions on the ecological and social issues, I didn’t worry about making sure we got to see every famous musician or performer, we were pretty spontaneous in our decision making, except our commitment to sing every morning. We started every day singing with Mr. Percival, spontaneous, open-hearted harmonies and then learning a song we would share with the 10 000 or so observers during the evening procession.
How simple it is to experience pure joy. This was no doubt the highlight of our experience at the festival and will help shape the year to come, continuing our free-spirited vocal expression!
We camped in an uncomfortable, sloping, noisy site, eating the basic, un-refrigerated food we brought along (no budget for eating out!) – and there was not a single complaint. I guess there’s a hint; live joyfully and personal comfort becomes a secondary consideration…