Lost Valley Week 9 – Water Day and Feelings Friday

HSS Week 9

Our guest instructor for Monday’s classes was Laird Schaub, who has spent over 40 years living in various communities – primarily at Sandhill Farm with his former partner, and then Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Laird is a shrewd man, and has been a community networker and group process (facilitation) consultant for over 25 years, so he had a wealth of contextual knowledge.

His classes were on systems thinking, sharing economics, the entrepreneurial dilemma, tips for facilitation, and establishing cooperative culture. Not only were his classes full of information, but he referred to other communities from his travels that supported these topics. In particular was the Twin Oaks Community in Virginia, which works on an income-sharing model with most residents employed by onsite businesses like making Tofu, hand-woven hammocks, or working in the plant nurseries or wholesale seed company. This dynamic of on-site jobs was made possible because of entrepreneurs and a cooperative culture, which allows residents to meet their financial needs on-site and not leave, contributing to a stronger community.

PDC Wednesday was water day, and that was pretty interesting! Brian taught us about topics like the hydrological cycle, strategies for water management, earthworks and keyline ripping, rainwater harvesting and an emphasis on greywater systems. He took us on an on-site field trip to various creeks, ponds, and streams to point out principles of permaculture and other factors of biodiversity. After the field trip, our activity was to calculate rainwater collection by measuring the surface area of certain buildings. Most of the teams’ calculations ended us the same – the rate of collection is more than enough for the community to use, but the Pacific Northwest is wet all year round except for a short 3 month dry-spell window.

Thursday was my first cook shift! And the food was even better than normal if I do say so myself! I was on potato chopping and onion slicing duty, working with Collin and Bruce before the traditional outing to Dexter Lake Club Thursday Karaoke Night.

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The next day was “Feelings Friday,” and we started off with Oblio talking about spiritual activism. The theme for this spiritual activism class was ‘standing up for the marginalized,’ like the LGBTQIAPK community (and I thought I was progressive knowing what LGBT stood for…but there’s more letters!)

Being exposed to not only these concepts, but the many other lessons from various instructors on the vast array of topics – I still had a sense of feeling out of place and constantly out of my comfort zone – like knowing I can handle skiing on the bunny slopes, but I signed-up for the black diamond slopes instead. It brought a wealth of learning and growth, but it sure wasn’t easy!

Justin’s class right after was about personal life visioning and he gave us writing prompts to spark our thinking. I loved it! I love thinking about my future, because I know I have great things in store for my life, but in contrast, many of my classmates didn’t see their next steps past the end of this program.

Mariah returned for the final class of the day and she taught us how to use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). This technique as defined by Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website:

“EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles. Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic energy onto specific meridians on the head and chest while you think about your specific problem — whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc. — and voice positive affirmations.”

I hated this exercise!

Maybe it was because I thought it was silly, or didn’t believe in the ‘lu-lu’ affirmations, or just didn’t like tapping on myself. So I stepped out in frustration, and took a walk through the nature trails.

And it wouldn’t truly be “Feelings Friday” without spending some time one-on-one time with Ashley! We talked late into the night about her first LEAF experience from the previous week, and what that brought up for her, as well as my family after they called me coincidentally that day to let me know a distant relative passed away, and everything else that was on our minds.

Overall, I felt good about where my head was at this week, and I felt really good about my time with Ashley. Little did I know that Lost Valley’s favorite transient vagabond, Rich, was coming to town

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