Savoring the Summer

I am very much in favor of perpetual anything (my kombucha crock on the counter being a prime example), so this suggestion for perpetual pickles from the latest Farmer’s Almanac enews in my inbox sounds just divine.  It does help that I found dill sprouting up voluntarily in my garden this year!

Create a “perpetual pickles” crock for summer snacking. Partially fill a large jar or small crock with half water and half vinegar, a few peeled garlic cloves, a few sprigs of fresh dillweed, and pickling salt to taste. Add new vegetables every day or two.



tiger lily
Our yard’s first tiger lily. The beauty never stops here at Namaste House.


Right Now I’m Reading: Sacred Economics

Sacred EconomicsAnother brief interlude from my Internal Audit posts, but a necessary one because this book is deeply changing my worldview, my ideas on what is possible.  Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, writes of the story of money, the mythology we’ve created over time of value, growth, and currency, and how we can move into a more positive, sustainable, and loving future with a renewed idea of money.  And he has the book under a Creative Commons license to boot!

I should say that I generally despise money.  Words like financial, stock, market, currency, make me queasy.  My life and path and purpose have always seemed to be in nearly direct opposition to money as a force of change and decision, to unchecked growth as a dominant paradigm.  But Charles’ vision for a world of sacred money- a return to the idea of gift, to eliminating externalities and the disconnect of corporations and businesses from cultural and ecological realities and a false sense of scarcity- is truly helping me view money in a new way.

“Part of a sacred money supply will be ‘backed’ by those things of which we are collective stewards.  Here is one way it could work: first, we reach a collective, politically mediated agreement on the right amount of nature to turn toward human purposes: how much of the produce of the sea, how much of the soil, the water; how much of the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb and transform waste; how much of the land’s ability to recover from the scars of mineral extraction; how much of the gift of fossil fuels, metal ores, and other wealth; how much of nature’s quiet to give over to machine noises; how much of the dark night sky to give to city lights.  These decisions often require scientific understanding, but just as often they embody value judgments.  Both contribute to our collective agreement on how much natural capital to consume.”

Not since Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing have I been this inspired by a vision that both accurately diagnoses the problems of the present and creates a plausible path for the future.  I want to share this book with my father, a bank examiner for the FDIC, with my college friends, with my grandparents who grew up on farms in the rural Midwest, with cynical colleagues and visionary comrades.  It is so empowering to know there are others out there, changemakers, writers, economists, who can see a way forward.

Internal Audit: Couch Surfing and Connectedness

 I am getting more involved with Couch Surfing.  We’ve had three surfers already in the last month, with a fourth arriving today.  I love this project because connectedness and authentic conversation are two of the most important things to me (and the former happens to be my number one strength on Strengths Finder), and meeting new people who will share their experiences and delve into the meat of life is a joy.  I also don’t believe that travel should be expensive, and that to truly see and know a place you need to experience it with the people that live there.  I am still processing the trust and safety issues that emerge with this practice, especially the residue from my upbringing that tells me to not trust anyone, at least at first, but I do believe that people as individuals are good, and want to be open to the world rather than closed off as my parents sometimes seem to be.

Internal Audit: Yoga

Half moon pose
Half moon, one of my favorite poses recently.

I’m doing yoga.  I’m trying to go twice a week to two different studios that both have donation based classes, because while I feel it is totally reasonable and worthwhile to pay instructors for their skill and service, I also don’t feel like yoga classes should be expensive.  Yoga is both spiritual and physical for me, the latter beneficial as a counterpart to biking everywhere, a building of strength and increased confidence in the ability of my body, while the former generally has to do with being present, with absorbing myself so fully in something that I lose time and space and the constant soundtrack in my head of to-do lists, songs stuck in my brain, and the rest of the activity for the day, and can just be present in where I am and what is happening.  Cooking does this too, and sometimes biking though that more often is a time that allows me to think rather than escape from thinking.  I want to add a meditation and tai chi practice to yoga, but struggle with finding time to do it and committing with my whole being, though I know it is something I need and want that will help me be closer to the full person that I can be.

Internal Audit: Home

Blending soup by hand.

I’m keeping up Namaste House, which involves cooking and gardening and cleaning and arranging and making space that is pleasant.  I’m also coordinating our online bill pay for electric and gas, and will be making a house calendar to keep track of what’s going on with everyone.  I enjoy organizing these things, and creative problem solving, but get stressed when things seem unnecessarily complicated, especially when they involve money, which is something I wish I didn’t have to care about at all.  Maintaining the garden and planting new vegetables for this year is one of my very favorite things to do around the house, as is cooking.  I like both providing for myself and the rest of my housemates, as well as the challenge of DIY.  I feel compelled to do as much locally, sustainably, and without buying new things as I possibly can. 

I believe them to be primroses.

I’m also finding that I love having people over and cooking for them, to share conversation and good food and not have a particular agenda.  Our monthly potlucks are fun and worthwhile but sometimes exhausting by the end of the night, whereas having a couple of friends over for dinner is a fabulous and energizing experience.