By Jillian Vriend
Today, finally, I feel somewhat settled. After more than a month of travelling and short stays in various places, we are landed in a place that feels temporary yet stable. We repeat to each other, “We are renting an apartment in Mexico,” just to let in the reality a bit deeper. It feels like we are parked at the mouth of the river, waiting to (literally) begin the journey down it to hopefully claim our piece of sanctuary at an ecovillage located on 700 acres about one hour from here. There are still some unknowns about how it will all unfold, but inside of me it feels like we have found home. We have been claimed by life and by others here in a way that feels warm and welcoming.
Kathleen writes vulnerably about our experiences during the last five weeks in her two exodus journal entries here and here. Ups and downs. Ebbs and flows. Moments of joy and goodness. Moments of pain and constriction. The joy moments seeming to be impossible to occur without the constrictions and vice versa. For me, always there has been a deeper trust that everything would be all right and that we had been guided by the Divine to journey this far. Even when those around us were doubtful, critical, and, in one case, even cruel about expressing their skepticism about the way we were responding to our decision to come here….I still felt a sense that our trust and surrender to follow guidance would draw everything we desired.
We didn’t take years to plan the move here. Christopher and Wayne especially had been feeling the rumblings of industrial collapse coming for many years, yet our trajectories in the last several years have been around focusing on our emotional and spiritual health and deconstructing our false selves. When we gave up our residence (and the $1600 a month rent associated with it) and moved into an RV in January of this year, we felt we were on the right track. It was surrendering to Mother’s flow, but it wasn’t known what would unfold for us after that decision. The campground felt temporary with an energy of inflow and outflow of visitors with even the permanent residents feeling like they could move on at any moment. We liked this energy for awhile; it was freeing after committing to year long rental leases and feeling the noose of mortgages around so many people’s necks.
In June, I felt clear guidance that it was time to feel into leaving the campground and Canada altogether. I just didn’t feel like I wanted to go through another Canadian winter and I asked Wayne and Christopher, “Where would you go if you could go anywhere?” A rhetorical question, for sure, yet also, for the first time we really could go anywhere. Our daughter was an adult and completely independent. The painting contracting business Wayne had run for 30 years felt that it was at a completion. We hadn’t drawn new people to SoulFullHeart on the Sunshine Coast despite our efforts to hold talks and connect with local people. We could go anywhere that our desires would lead us.
Their answer was clear and quick, “Somewhere warm. Somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Somewhere we can get to by car.” These answers were fueled by desire for warm weather, yet, also, our sense of impending collapse was growing. I felt very clear guidance that in the next year major events would most likely take place that could make it impossible to leave Canada. Canada itself didn’t feel sustainable with its short growing seasons and deep reliance on fossil fuels and false self-based infrastructure. We wanted to live in a place where the local people lived more simply, more sustainably, and where there was a long growing season. We felt into various places in Central America and finally decided on Mexico, mostly because three of us had been here before and were somewhat familiar with it.
Mexico. I am falling in love with Mexico. It is a dance, just like in romance. It feels so foreign in moments- the concrete homes, the Spanish language, the accordion-heavy music, the dogs that wander free, the lack of self image.Yet it feels like home too. I love the way that life comes first here and work comes second. Every business seems to be run out of someone’s home so that the gap between the two is even less. They inhabit every square inch of their homes here, no matter how humble the dwelling is. Home is where the heart is here, yes. There are moments of culture shock, where I feel a rub inside of me after searching for anything comfortable or familiar and finding nothing. Dimly lit and un-air conditioned grocery stores. High heat plus humidity that seems almost hostile in its relentlessness. There is the challenge of being vegan, saying ‘no queso or carne’ over and over and getting confused looks back from waiters. Just like romance, the back and forths provide depth to the lust, to the desire that brings us here.
One desire, our desire for land, is strong. To grow seeds. To harvest and to eat of our own labors. This is the one thing that feels sane in a world that has become insane from fossil fuel addiction. Even here, in a state where so much produce is grown, many locals go to the grocery store still. Then comes the truck driven by local farmers full of watermelons or papayas or lemons…announcing over a loud speaker their price….and affordable freshness is in your hand and soon in your belly. Still, now, we are buying our food but soon, we hope, in the next six months or so, we will be eating mostly only what we grow. Is this a naive vision? Have we not planned well enough? Are we fools?
What feels naive and foolish to us is those who do nothing to become more sustainable, those who continue to live fossil fuel dependent lives without awareness, those who dream but do not follow their dreams because they need to earn money to keep their disatisfying lifestyles afloat, those who stay so busy that they cannot let in joy and breathing. Those who will most tragically and certainly die in the coming collapse if they do not change their lifestyles very soon.
And, even if we are wrong about the timing of collapse, why not live ‘as if’ it is a real possibility? Why not make changes to live more sustainably, including growing your own food, living off the grids of city electricity and water, living in community providing support and connection, letting go of false self attachments, healing your heart and soul? Why not truly experience your life in every moment rather than medicating with false food in so many forms?
We have jumped off a cliff into the unknown…and found that there is a river at the bottom that catches and submerges us. A river that is made of love and trust and surrender and courage. A river that has an unimaginable depth and a steady current…taking us onward and around the next bend and the next toward a destination where anything is possible.