Love in Action

“Everything in the universe operates through dynamic exchange. Every relationship is one of give and take because giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe.”

Deepak Chopra :The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

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  In the kitchen of our home at Finca Fruición, I watched a mother bird ceaselessly work to prepare her nest, sit on her eggs, and once they hatched, find food to feed her young chicks. After they were old enough, they flew away. As I watched this process, I thought of my own babies who entered into the world vulnerable and completely dependent on my ability to care for them. I remembered how I lovingly gave my attention, time, and energy to making sure their needs were met and they were growing happily. With each new phase of their development, I gave to them; sharing all I could to create a foundation of love, trust, and confidence in themselves, other people, and the world. Upon this recollection, I realized that life itself is dependent on the ability to give. Everyone of us came into the world needing others to care for us, and we often leave the same way, dependent on the care of others. When we have received good, loving care, we can offer it to others and the care we share reflects back to us. Even if we, ourselves, did not receive good care, we can give it to others as we learn what it is and how to offer it. Giving, therefore, is love in action. It is how life can continue, and it fuels positive relationships.

 

  All major religions speak to the importance of giving – “tithing”, as it is often referred to. The spirit of this important action, permeates the divisions of race, culture, religion, class and even species; for all beings have something to share with one another. Even throughout all human divisions, giving can be found. Whether it be a mother nourishing her child, a friend offering a gift to a friend, charitable organizations funding projects for those in need, wealthy philanthropists with a desire to assist worthwhile enterprises, or spiritual organizations doing the good work that they do, giving is everywhere! Giving is powerful and it creates a nourishing web of gratitude.

 

  In Islam, giving is one of the foundational pillars that holds up the religion and culture. Muslims see giving as a way of purifying themselves from their greed and selfishness and also safeguarding future business. They also believe that giving purifies the person who receives, because it saves him from the humiliation of begging and prevents him from envying the rich. The process of sharing with others offers us an opportunity to cultivate compassion and love, to trust in the flow of cosmic energy through the medium of money. By living in service we can nourish ourselves with kindness and share in the power of cooperation. In ancient times, people often gave 10% of what they earned to their spiritual temple, whether it be in grains, fruits, oils, wines, animals, or money. In integral temples, the temple then distributed that out to those in need.

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  Just as the body will distribute nourishment and oxygen to its different parts, mushroom roots or mycellium, will find nutrients from one part of a forest and bring it to a tree or plant that needs it.  This inspired me to believe that our human societies can share energy evenly. Imagine how different humanity would be if all of us, shared at least 10% of what we earned with others. How wonderful we would feel if each one of us could gift another person with something that they truly needed and to witness the joy and gratitude that that person felt. When we can ask the question of “how can I serve?” rather than “what’s in it for me?” we begin to transform our world for the better. Deepak Chopra wrote in his book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”

 

Currency, our word for money, derives from a Latin word meaning “to run or flow.”  Money is a symbol of the life energy we give and the life energy we receive as a result of the service we provide others. … Circulation keeps it [money] alive and vital. If we stop the circulation of life energy, if our intention is to hold on to our money and hoard it, we stop the circulation back into our lives.

 

  In this way, it is in giving that we open the space in our lives to be filled again. Opening up, in a spirit of gratitude and offering, is a powerful declaration of love and trust in the flow. Supporting, whole-heartedly, what we care about, can fill us more than any amount of money. When we can offer even a small percentage of what we reap to others, we are cooperating with the abundance of life, rather than clinging to scarcity.

 

  One of my favorite parts of Costa Rican culture, is that whenever someone visits another person, they bring a gift. Often it is harvest from their garden, food made by hand, or plants they have grown. Even those who are considered poor, bring gifts and offer them with gratitude. I have become inspired by this and strive to practice this custom in my own life. I love the simple practice of sharing and how uplifting it can be. I believe that giving is in our nature and that fear and scarcity are learned tendencies. Having watched the cycles of life, felt the maternal instinct, and seen the joy that giving can bring; I feel that life depends on this loving action to thrive and that without it we can not truly be happy as a species. Sure, there are many examples of selfishness in the world and in nature, however, I believe that they are symptoms of an ecosystem in disharmony. This can be further explained by the cyclical nature of ecology. Fritjof Capra describes, in his book “The Web of Life”:

 

“The fact that the basic pattern of life is a network pattern means that the relationships among members of an ecological community are nonlinear, involving multiple feedback loops. … The ecosystem’s feedback loops are pathways along which nutrients are continually recycled. Being open systems, all organisms in an ecosystem produce wastes, but what is waste for one species is food for another, so that the ecosystem as a whole remains without waste. … A major clash between economics and ecology derives from the fact that nature is cyclical, whereas our industrial systems are linear. Our businesses take resources, transform them into products plus waste, and sell the products to consumers, who discard more waste when they have consumed the products. Sustainable patterns of production and consumption need to be cyclical, imitating the cyclical process in nature.  To achieve such cyclical patterns we need to fundamentally redesign our businesses and our economy.”

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  From this perspective, we are, by nature, givers. Even through our consumption, in an ecological setting, we are giving back to the ecology in which we are interdependent parts of the whole. It has been in separating ourselves from nature, and creating linear patterns of production and consumption, that we have fallen into scarcity within our species and our world.

 

  At the time that humanity began to perceive itself separate from and even above nature, we began to work hard to cultivated our foods. Eventually, distribution of food became restricted and we, as a species, fell out of abundance. There were the haves and the have-nots, those who controlled the flow, and those who contributed to it. The idea of taxes took form, even in the name of tithing, people were forced to give 10% (or more) of the fruits of their hard earned labors to “rulers.” Giving was no longer optional, it became mandatory. Forcing a bitter taste in the minds of the masses. Those in power took more and more, until even the hardest working folks were living without. Division of labor, industrialization, and specialization in our society have only increased the sense of scarcity and division between the haves and the have-nots. To this day, taxes are demanded by corrupt governments. The majority of people are struggling to thrive, and there is an over abundance of food and other necessities that are not benefiting the masses of humanity. Even nature is suffering from human consumption, as we rape and pillage our natural resources, creating a reality where even water can no longer sustain life in certain parts of the planet. All this because we have fallen into a mindset of greed and scarcity, following linear patterns of production and consumption, and ultimately waste. It is within scarcity we experience hunger pains, sickness, exposure to the cold, loss, and many other forms of suffering. No wonder the energetic flow of money has become stagnated. We must release the fear of scarcity, that cultivates greed in our hearts, in order to receive genuine abundance.

 

  Much of the material giving in human society, these days, further fuels the problem. It is often done with expectation and stress. How many people this last Holiday season gave to their families and friends, not because they wanted to, or that there was a genuine need, but because it is expected. Returning to Depak Chopra’s book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” we find that;

 

“The intention behind our giving and receiving is the most important thing. When the act of giving is joyful, when it is unconditional and from the heart, the energy behind the giving increases many times over. But if we give grudgingly, there is no energy behind that giving. If we feel we have lost something through the act of giving, then the gift is not truly given and will not cause increase.  The Law of Giving and Receiving is simple: If you want love, learn to give love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention and appreciation; if you want material affluence, help others become material affluent. If you want to be blessed with all the good things in life, learn to silently bless everyone with all the good things in life. The more you give, the more you will receive. In your willingness to give that which you seek, you will keep the abundance of the universe circulating in your life.”

 

  This intention behind giving, is how we can re-establish cyclical patterns of production and consumption, giving and receiving. It is in the thoughts, the consciousness of our natural need to consume and release waste, that we tap into the interconnected support of life and abundance. As we transform our thoughts, intentions, values, and awareness, we will begin to transform how we interact with our environment around us. Thus, redesigning sustainable solutions for all of humanity, through abundance for all. Transforming the poverty consciousness into one of genuine abundance, is the first step towards a new cultural and paradigm shift for humanity.

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  Just as a mother gives whole-heartedly to her baby, we can know in our cores that it is our nature to give with love. It is our nature to receive with gratitude. Through the trust in our inter-dependence with our community, our world, our universe, there is enough for all – as long as we are feeding the whole. Let us fearlessly nourish that which we love, believe in it, appreciate and watch it grow. Let us bless others with that which we have been blessed with, and share our joy with the world. When seeing suffering, consider what it would be like, to be in place of the being suffering, and imagine what would help to ease it. Then give – wholeheartedly!

 

  I was reading a story about a family, who went on a field trip, to see the homeless in their city. When they got home, the parents asked their 5 year old daughter what she noticed about the people they saw. She said that she saw them rubbing their hands and blowing on them. The parents asked what the daughter thought they needed, and she replied with enthusiasm, “mittens.” The family then went to several used clothes stores and bought as many pairs of mittens as they could find. They then set out to give them to the homeless folks they saw on the street. This story shares the beauty of the virtue of giving and strengthens our connection to other people.

 

  Let us learn to give with love and watch our world transform. Whether it is hugging someone who is feeling down, offering a donation to a cause you believe in, bringing harvest to a neighbor, or helping a lost sloth find it’s way to the forest. Giving is love in action. Love nourishes the whole web of life. We are the change, and we give and receive opportunities to embody that change everyday. Be fearless, open your heart and trust in the cosmic flow of the universe. Be a giver of gifts, and a more integrated part of the whole. The value that it brings to your life and your character is something that money just can’t buy.

 With love,

Alana Bliss

www.fincafruicion.com

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Observe and Interact

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One of my permaculture teachers told me a story that has stuck with me for many years. He was teaching permaculture to a group of children and asked them to build a town out of blocks. They went to it, busily setting up all the elements of a town. After they all felt that it was complete, they turned for the approval of their teacher. He asked them to explain their town. Afterwards, he bluntly told them that after a month all the people in their town would be dead. Confused, they asked him why. He responded with another question; where do the people get their food? From the store, of course, came the response from the children. And where does the store get it’s food? A buzz of understanding filled the room, as the children announced that they had indeed forgotten the farms.

 

We, as a species, live so disconnected from our food and our environment, that our children don’t even think to include the origin of where our food comes from. When we are hungry we go to a store or a restaurant and order whatever we would like. If we go to the grocery store looking for a papaya and there aren’t any, we can get upset, for our expectations were not met. And yet, to have that papaya, the tree needed to be planted and fertilized, the papaya picked, then shipped (often from a different different country) and stocked in the store. As a consumer, we know little of the process or even the journey that that one papaya took to reach our shopping basket. It is this lack of awareness that sets us apart from all other beings on the planet, with the exception of rats, mice, cockroaches and other animals that thrive on the waste of our civilizations.

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I have often sat, watching the way that leaf cutter ants work in the rainforests of Costa Rica. Forming a line, an ant highway, they travel back and forth from the leaves that they are cutting with their sharp mandibles to the subterranean fields where they grow their mushroom crops. There are gathering ants, protector ants, scouts, farmers, brood ants, fertilizer ants and the queen, all working toward the benefit of the colony. Not a single ant in the line is unaware of the process, for their life depends on it. Their waste is a blessing for other species, too. The rich soil that they push out of their homes in mounds, feeds the plants that they depend on to farm their food. They farm mushrooms, as their main source of food. Farming ants!  Other species in this forest break the description of our human superiority, as well. Monkeys use tools to pull ants from their mounds in order to eat them, using sticks as utensils. Bees are amazing architects, as they construct beautiful geometric hives. Birds weave nests that range from works of art to whole condominiums. Nature is alive and bursting with works of art that parallel, if not surpass, our human creations. Certain kinds of Mycillium (mushroom root systems), have been found to actually transfer nutrients to plants that are in need of them, surveying the forest floor and making sure all the plants are getting what they need. Even bacteria are working for the benefit of the ecosystem, for they sense their environment and multiply to fulfill the need of the whole. For example, if the soil is lacking fertility, the degenerative bacteria will become more prolific and then the neutral bacteria, which account for nearly 90% of the bacterial population, will follow suit and become degenerative, until enough biomass has accumulated in the soil. Then the generative bacteria will reclaim the majority and nourish the growth of life.

 

Humans, as a whole, have become species-centric and have forgotten to observe and interact with their environment. We have become like the degenerative bacteria, breaking down our environment, rather than nourishing it. So many of the problems that face our species and planet today can be solved by observing nature and then mimicking it. Permaculture is a perfect example of this, for the primary principle is observation and interaction with thriving ecosystems. From that foundation, permaculture teaches to design and implements systems that mimic nature and bring the ecology into our daily lives. Food forests take the food producing elements of a forest and combine them with plants that nourish the others, such as nitrogen fixing trees, shrubs, and ground cover. Food forests take advantage of all the levels of a forest, from the canopy to the roots. It is a design based on natural patterns, then intensified to benefit humans and animals alike. Another example of humans looking to nature for solutions to our current problems, is attracting insects that eat the ones that harm our plants, such as wasps, so that we are inviting the cycle of life into our gardens, rather than spraying them with toxins that are harmful to the ecosystem and ourselves. Some more examples are, a degenerative bacteria that eats plastic has been discovered and oyster mushrooms have been found to break down crude oil. 

Fractal geometry, which is responsible for much of our advancements in technology, mimics nature too, as it uses repeating patterns to form complex images.  Even the leaf cutter ants that create soil for the plants that they depend on, shows a beneficial waste system that reduced the need for degenerative organisms to clean up our messes. We can create not waste, but wealth from our life-styles, and there are many more examples of this in nature. Can you think of a few?

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In conclusion, we are a part of our environment, not separate, or worse yet, better than it. In learning to observe patiently, learn from our observations, and then act, we can reconnect with our earth and become an empowered part of the whole. We have the choice to engage with our world, or to forget about it and pass into the geological history, a mere memory of what didn’t work, like so many species before us. The collective human consciousness can be changed. Just as when there are more generative bacteria in the soil, than degenerative bacteria, the majority of those that are neutral will convert to supporting life, we have the same opportunity. The more of us who support the living systems of our planet, the more we will inspire others to do the same. As Ghandi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world,” and the Hopi elders remind us that “we are the ones we have been waiting for.” So, go outside, watch the insects, the birds, and the animals. Notice the plants that you see in disturbed soil and the ones that are present in thriving forests. What patterns do you see repeating themselves in nature? Open, learn, know where your food is coming from, and empower yourself through action from what you understand. Then you will shine solutions onto the world and inspire others to do the same.

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I look forward to witnessing our transformation.

Alana Bliss

http://www.fincafruicion,com

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture as a word was coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1979 uniting the ideas of Permanence (or Sustainability) with Agriculture (or Farming).  Permaculture is the study of design which focuses on implementing systems that support abundance and ecological wellbeing based on working with nature. Since it’s conception, Permaculture has grown into a thriving culture, an ever-evolving synthesis of ideas, concepts, and practices. Permaculture reaches into Health and Wellness, Natural Building, Appropriate Technologies, Human Relations, Education, Governance, Finance, and all elements of Life including Art and Music, Celebration and Ceremony, Rites and Ritual, Birth, Death, and Everything in between….

Permaculture can also be conceptualized through 3 Foundational Ethics:
<->Care for Mother Earth <-> Care for Oneself <-> Care for Community<->

Permaculture then takes form through principals of…

  • Observe & interact
  • Catch & store energy
  • Obtain a yield
  • Apply self-regulation & accept feedback
  • Use & value renewable resources & services
  • Produce no waste
  • Design from patterns to details
  • Integrate rather than segregate
  • Use small & slow solutions
  • Use & value diversity
  • Use edges & value the marginal
  • Creatively use & respond to change

In essence Permaculture is a foundation and design system for thriving human/ecological connections, it is a way of life, a culture, where we can have abundance and benefit our environment.  It is a way where we can live the modo of making choices that positively effect 7 generations after us.  There is a path to a brighter future, and we are designing it, living it, loving it.  Dive into your own potential and be the change you wish to see in the world.

Permaculture is life in balance.

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www.fincafruicion.com

Tribal Heart Community

  Sitting here with a kitty on my lap, taking a break from drawing up a Permaculture map of the farm, I find myself checking in on my social media networks and I was rewarded to connect to 2 wonderful people who I share a heart connection.  As lovely as chatting with people who I feel a resonance with is, it also saddens me.  When my family and I hopped in our veggie oil school bus RV and drove south, leaving everything we knew behind, I was both thrilled and unsure how it would all unfold.  Of course, a leap into the mystery can be isolating, especially when you are on the other side of the void calling for people to join you, but they are staring into the abyss wondering if they will land safely.  It can be scary.  

  My family and I are homesteading an intentional community, although, for the last few years our main form of community has been transient.  I love people so much and long for a tribe daily, especially after someone that I have been cultivating a deep heart connection with travels on.  It isn’t the growing of food, the building of infrastructure, even the breath taking views that are my dream in coming to Costa Rica, but rather it is setting the stage for our heart tribe.  

What is a heart tribe?  To me it is the next level of our human evolution, it is when we are able to connect with each other through our hearts and resonate the interdependent connection that we all share as earthlings.  It is when you meet someone and are able to really feel them, a bond that makes you feel like you are family.  I have experienced this so many times in my life, and yet the gel of the this bond is not yet solidified into a daily living thriving tribe.  That is what I crave, long for, cultivate seed of, and am setting up the space to host. 

  We all seek it in some way or another, it is why social media networks are booming, why businesses are saying that is a family member or friend likes a product, people will be more likely to buy it.  It is why there are so many people addicted to facebook and twitter.  Let’s cultivate connections to those we love, build trial neighborhoods and become united, ever stronger.

One love.

http://www.fincafruicion.comImage

 

Meetings over food are always so delicious.

Meetings over food are always so delicious.

“Alright team, we have a festival to pull off, each of you is here because you felt the call… now lets get creative.” This steller team of people have all since dispersed into the mystery again. I appreciate them all, each individual at the table with us. I want to use this energy to generate a call to our heart tribe. May we embody grounded, rooted cooperation.

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Contemplations at the Udder

Contemplations at the Udder

What I have learned from milking our cow.

I was crouched down on the forest floor, my hands squeezing the udders of our beloved cow Anabel, a bucket of milk half full, when I realized that I have learned some deep truths from this simple act. Amused at the thought, I pondered as my arms ached from squeezing, my legs from squatting, and the cow mooing patiently. I wanted to list some of these lessons, to share them and get a little laugh in the process.

 

  • Abundance comes at a Cost – Any of you who have had a cow know what I mean when I say there is an abundance of milk… perhaps that is an understatement, there is an over-abundance of milk. There is so much milk, that after a few minutes of milking her, you may begin to wonder, “wow, this is a lot of milk, how much more could there possibly be?” This abundance, however, must be earned, as it takes a lot to squeeze all the milk out, which results in a burn that reminds me of the gym, so I push through it, figuring that someday I will be so strong, it won’t hurt anymore. Now let’s look at this from the cow’s point of view. Our cow, Anabel, is a Jersey Cow, which means that her ancestors have been modified from their natural form to produce way more milk than they need to. Anabel produces enough milk for at least 2 families and her own baby. If she is not milked then the baby can get sick from too much milk and die, and she can get a serious infection and loose the ability to produce milk, even die. So, when I find her in the mornings and milk her, I feel a deep sense of service and caretaking that brings me joy. Her abundance though has a cost for her, she is dependent on people to care for her. I can only imagine, as I remember producing milk and the pain that can come from being engorged, what it would feel like to suffer to that degree. Abundance comes at a cost.

  • Balance must be maintained to avoid suffering and cultivate strength – While milking 2 of the 4 udders, I try to keep a good rhythm, and rest both hands equally, so as to not strain one over the other. I figure, I want to keep my muscles balanced, or else I may have one arm freakishly larger than the other. This also serves in making sure there is enough to eat for the baby cow, so I have to gauge how much to take from each udder to stay in balanced. I also have to balance my efficiency with her patience.

  • Even with Abundance there is no shortage of Processing – People are all striving to achieve abundance, but man, when you got it you have to process it, and its way easier with a tribe. Seriously, the fridge fills with milk and if you aren’t on it, it can go bad. Luckily, the carnivorous animals love sour milk. So, I have gotten to make butter, yogurt, kefir, cheese, sour cream, leche agria, and sweet cream. I am always thankful when there is someone here to share the responsibility and tasty rewards with. The responsibilities of cultivating self sufficiency are heavy, so it helps to share. 🙂 The only catch is that you also have to do a lot of processing when living together with other people, especially those who have been raised out of healthy tribes. Oh, and there’s also the taxes that come with financial success. Allot to process.

  • Seek and ye shall find – This is true, although not every time and when you want. So many times I have walked into the maze pasture of our rainforest landscape and not found the cows. She speaks local spanish, so she doesn’t come when I call her, so I seek and there have been times the sun went down and I worried. If I jump on it with enough times to find her before dark and still water the gardens, I will always find her. Yesterday, was the sweetest moment of this aspect, when I walked on the hiking trail by the stream, around passed the Mother Tree, and up to Hermit hill, where I found a huge vulture feather and imagined a communal star dome gazebo. Then, walla, there she was and I guided the two of them back to the stall where they sleep. That time sure beat the one where I was crouched over in the field with a stomach ache at dusk, months earlier.

 

I am sure there are plenty more I will learn as I nourish this relationship between my friend and our food. There are so many waves in living this life, but really, I wouldn’t change a moment of it. But if you ask me in the moment of suffering, I’d probably cry and plea. That is all the journey of this experience we call life, right. Anabel is one of my many unlikely teachers in this new farm life that we have manifested. Until next time…

Some of the loves of my life.

Some of the loves of my life.

Children are free, wild, wonderful beings, who when they are supported are genuinely loving, caring, and connected to their environment. I am a free-range parent and have watched their growth and nourishment and now believe that when raised in a loving environment, free from excessive fear, they blossom in their hearts. It is our attempts to control them through fear that they are tainted. We are guides in this life and they are our teachers.

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