By Jelelle Awen
“Whenever the need for sanctuary presents itself, tomorrow or ten years from now, you will wish you knew more. So start learning right now, and go hard.” Brace For Impact, Thomas Lewis
It seems there is always so much to learn. Just in living this way there is a constant invitation to learn more. Learn more about both practical things and esoteric things; both external and internal things. What I’ve learned since moving to the ranch wouldn’t be taught in any university. Too bad since it has mostly been things crucial to survival. Or things of self discovery that are, again, crucial to my long-term survival and critical to my future as a co-founder and leader of our community here.
The locals here, most of whom didn’t finish high school and haven’t left the local area, know so much more about crucial things than I do. Things about what grows here; about what weeds, plants, fruits and cactus are edible here; about horses and raising livestock (although I don’t philosophically agree with that one); about how to get the body to work hard, very hard, in high temperatures without getting heat exhaustion; about singing Mexican songs at the top of their lungs at the end of a workday. Their earthy groundedness and capacity for simple joy aren’t taught in western universities, but will be so valuable in facing the changes that are coming.
As there is so much to learn, I feel pressed sometimes over what feels like an ever shortening time frame. Nothing truly significant, no major global crisis, has happened since we hatched our plan to move to the ranch from Canada a year ago. This is surprising to me, actually, as we felt like Chicken Littles screaming about the sky is gonna fall soon to anyone who would listen (most people wouldn’t.) I’m glad nothing major has happened (other than continuing economic tensions in Greece), of course, because there is so much to learn about living on a homestead in the meantime. And, there is so much transformation happening for us in living here. And, we want to draw others to join us here which will take time and mostly the internet to accomplish.
Yet, still, it just doesn’t feel like there are many years left of industrialized society,’ the empire’ as Guy McPherson calls it. In our human history, all empires have eventually fallen, especially when they overreached, leading to eventual under inhabitation and corruption. The empire had something that worked for them in one setting as in Rome, but then, they got greedy and imagined mini-Rome franchises sprouting up extending to all the areas they could imagine around them. The locals in these far off franchise locations didn’t have the same enthusiasm at being colonized and franchised. The actual establishment of the Western Empire happened when the first settlers came, entitledly took what they wanted, and created devastation instead of betterment. This same cycle has been repeating over and over again the last three hundred years or so with the levels of destruction and damage deepening with the rate of industrial and technological advancement.
Empire can’t sustain; it isn’t scalable long term. I’m beginning to wonder if anything really is scalable and especially industrial dependent society established on a planet with restricted resources to support it. Our focus as a species has been about growth and profit at any costs and without regard to any long term consequences. The consequences could be very dire, including the possible near-term extinction of our entire species. Guy talks about this in his book Going Dark. He is a former biology professor who has studied climate chaos (as he calls it) as his life passion and ‘left empire’ and his teaching position several years ago to set up a sustainable sanctuary near Tucson, Arizona. Due to climate chaos, environmental devastation, and the 400+ nuclear reactors that have no means to be shut down responsibly, he believes that it is highly unlikely that any life will exist on this planet by 2050. It’s a lot to take in but, also, it brings a poignancy to the moment. An urgency that every moment matters and counts.
For me, it brings me back to that point about there being so much to learn. Whether near term extinction or just collapse happens or not, this lifestyle is the one that brings me the most nourishment and is the most authentic reflection of who I am. I, too, have walked away from Empire. I plan to live my life, for however many years I have left, centered in this authentic life in union with nature.
Jelelle Awen is co-creator and facilitator of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life. Go here to connect with Jelelle on facebook. Visit the SoulFullHeart website for more information about virtual sessions with her.