A Day in the Life: Life As An Initiate At SoulFullHeart Sanctuary Blog Series

By Kathleen Calder


The day begins.

I wake up to the sound of a rooster greeting the dawn with his crow. It isn’t an invasive call for me, since my room is actually quite far away from where he normally keeps his brood. In fact my sleep, thankfully, is rarely interrupted by the sounds of the animals due to my location. If my sleep is interrupted at all, it’s normally because of an unfelt reaction or something that part of me is trying to work out.

Usually the light is just breaking over the morning as I draw my covers down and slide out of bed. On the average morning my heart feels ready to greet the day and my friends and teachers, knowing and feeling our genuine desire to connect to one another through all events of the day, even if that means feeling through tension and being in conflict at times.

Breakfast is just one of the three meals we share together each day and we either take turns on collaborating or one of us chooses to lead when it comes to the making of each one. Meals are an opportunity for us and parts of us to check in about our processes and what we feel happening within us as we live out the day while also feeling each other. So much happens on an emotional and not just physical level for all of us. I feel this is true for every human being, it’s just about having enough fluidity and space inside yourself and direct support from those close to you in order to really feel it and let it move you. I had almost forgotten about the richness of my inner reality until coming back to live here again. Our personal sharing at the table can be triggering for parts until they learn to lean into it, especially since it is a brand new experience compared to any past attempt to do this sort of sharing at mealtime with birth family members or even friends and to cultivate this level of intimacy with them.

After breakfast is complete I quickly get myself suited up for organic gardening or whatever other task is happening that day. For me so far the task has mostly been gardening, which I feel is good for me on so many different levels. Connecting with the plants is not something part of me ever thought I would be doing as deeply as I have been lately but it does seem to naturally be starting to happen as I take in their needs for water, weeding, and general attention. I feel something coming back to me from them in the form of harvest but also healing energy. There have been moments when I have been alone in one of our gardens and suddenly I feel tears start to surface as I feel the safety and support from the love of nature around me to feel whatever I am feeling in that moment. There is a way that nature seems to move us towards healing at an exponential rate since it seems to have a much greater capacity to give and receive love than even the amazing humans around me can!

I am often in the gardens with Jelayan lately, helping her with replanting, watering, and weeding. It’s time to replant a number of our plants right now so she needs the help and I’m enjoying taking in her knowledge so that I can maybe lead some more in the gardens some day if it feels right. I value having this one-on-one time with her too as she is a woman who has healed so much and yet is also so in her own self. Taking in her healthy templating means a lot to me, and perhaps even more now that I was away from it for almost 10 months. Learning to collaborate together is a big deal and I am working on letting it in, since most of the woman-to-woman relationships I have experienced have been strained by unconscious (or sometimes conscious) competition and energetic bullying. We’ve had a lot to feel through and work out in our relationship but I feel a new opening for us as the appreciation for being in each other’s lives has been renewed. Connection with her is a serious blessing.

Sometimes the morning routine shifts based on our individual emotional needs. Yes, this is valued above all productivity. For me personally, I get that if I don’t take the time to be in my process, then not only does my productivity tend to suffer, but I am less present overall for my relationships with the others and also for life in general. This can actually be a dangerous thing here at our Sanctuary where there are scorpions, snakes, and unpredictable events can happen.

So, that being said, sometimes the mornings are stiller for me in terms of physical activity. I have and continue to have much to feel through as I continue to land here, decompressing, detoxing and de-medicating overall after my many months away. During those months away, I was immersed in a lifestyle that carries only hints of the amount of love I feel here at the Sanctuary amongst the others but also with the trees, plants, and animals that surround me. So, as expected, my emotional body in the form of my parts, has begun to surface to be felt again and I find myself needing space and breathing to just be with me or to ask for space-holding and facilitation from Jelayan, Raphael or Sequoia, since at times that is actually what a part needs. All three of them understand the process of mourning and letting go that I am walking through with my parts right now as the layers over my natural sensitivity continue to melt away with their love and support and that of the Divine as well.

After we have lunch together we usually rest and check in with ourselves some more, or go off to the river or wherever we may want to. Basically it is free time and often we stay indoors since it’s the hottest part of the day. Sometimes I use this time to nap and/or journal or go on an etheric journey to visit and check in with my guides and parts. The other day I used this afternoon time to have a session with Raphael, since a big part of my process lately has been with a very young and vulnerable part of me who needed to feel a loving father-like energy holding space for her. It was a tender process and I have discovered that she is actually a part of me that holds much of my core essence (what makes me who I am in an authentic way). I am still working with this part of me and find that the space and time of being on the Sanctuary is very nurturing for her and actually is what encourages her to come out more.

Later in the afternoon there is a second round of watering for all of the gardens that must be done. After that there is a bit more rest time before dinner prep begins. Dinner is usually also eaten together, though we all stay flexible with our needs, keeping in mind that sometimes parts of us would rather eat alone, depending on what is coming up for us emotionally.

After dinner the day completes and most of the time I retreat to my room for more decompressing, journaling, etheric journeying and/or reading. If I want to I can go for a walk or head up to our garden and our plot of land that we call Tranquila to watch the sunset or to just be. Once the sun sets it gets dark pretty fast and this pushes up some fear for my parts about the wildness around us. I want to face these fears though and find a way to feel more harmony and trust with the wildness that may just reflect an untapped wildness inside of me that parts of me are afraid of. Jelayan started to realize this about her parts’ own fears or inhibitions about the wildness of our Sanctuary and writes about it in her recent book Keep Waking Up!.

Sometimes it can feel hard for parts of me that miss having Netflix or a movie to veg out on, or even a local pub to visit and have a beer at the bar! Yet it surprises me how much easier this has become, now that so many more of my real needs are being met on a daily basis and the need for comforts like these has dwindled considerably.

It felt important to share with you about my average day here at the Sanctuary and what it is like to stay here as an initiate, to paint some picture for you of what your life and process here may look like should you decide to stay with us. All of my current process, I feel, is eventually going to make room to let in more people and their own processes. I want to feel your story as much as I want you to feel mine. I love the connections I have with others and I want more too. This life is not glamorous, though it is beautiful and, if you are ready to let it in, you won’t be able to ignore the truth of this and the truth of the love we live into and embody more of every single day.

Kathleen Calder is an initiate at the SoulFullHeart Sanctuary and you can read more of her writing here on this blog. Please visit SoulFullHeart Sanctuary for more information about staying with us and virtual sessions.


Always More To Learn In The Face Of Near-Term Human Extinction Possiblities: Life At El Rancho Blog



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 facebookVisit the SoulFullHeart website  for more information about virtual sessions with her.

Summer Season Of Swarms And Storms: Life At El Rancho Blog



By Jelelle Awen

Today is June 21st, summer solstice, the day with the most hours of daylight and the beginning of summer. It means something different here on the ranch then it did in Canada. In Canada, the beginning of summer is the beginning of better weather. Maybe. Or at least you can count on July and August to be fairly decent. Summer in Canada is beautiful sunsets, hikes, dips in the water, watermelon, gatherings outside on patios, less clothing and usually more sex, an exhale and a shedding of a water logged skin in exchange for a tanned one. Summer is an event because of the tempestuous weather the rest of the year. Summer was always my favorite season and I would mourn deep down in my bones every time it turned cold and rainy again.

Here in Mexico, summer is different. Summer is the rainy season and the low tourism season. It is called the ‘off season’ for that reason. Summer on the ranch will be about navigating the increasingly bulging and rapid river that cuts off traffic and even people at times. Summer means that we can no longer drive our van on the ranch road and need to get rides with the couple who lives here who has a 4X4 and is gracious to give them to us. Summer will be stormy and windy with lightning storms and sometimes tail ends of hurricanes. In some ways, I can’t wait.

To experience extreme weather is to be thrust into the uncertainty of life. A rumble of thunder, a crack of lightening, a gust of wind…violent and uncontrollable. Reminding us of our fragility. The gift of being alive here. And Now. We’ve experienced two storms here that brought this into focus for us, both tail ends of hurricanes. Their power was undeniable. This is a good kind of humbling at times, especially for humans who feel that we must conquer nature rather than be in union with it.

We experienced another extreme here last week after the first rains since March. A huge swarm of flying termites, set free from their cocoons sheltering under the roof tiles. They were a horde surrounding every house. “It’s like the house is on fire!” exclaimed Wayne as I was quickly shutting every shutter that I could. But they got in anyway and we spent a restless night flicking them off of us and spent days cleaning up the wings that they shed. “It was gross,” part of me says. And, it was. But yet, also, it was another example of the uniqueness of experience here at the ranch, things that just couldn’t happen in cities. Some we like better than others, for sure.

The swarm seemed to offer us a message of masses, a group rising, born, arrived. We were hopeful that maybe it represented what we are feeling more and more: a desire for others to join us here in community. We feel the possibilities of expanding our community here to offer others the goodness, transformation, and intimacy that we’ve experienced. We envision building cabanas for people and sharing community space, united by a desire for healing and living sustainably. If you are interested in becoming part of our swarm, please visit our website at soulfullheart.com and contact us at soulfullhearts@gmail.com.

Summer is the season of Magdalene, lover and wife (I feel, as do a growing number of historians) of Yeshua. Magdalene offers sisterhood and brotherhood experience within community. Sexuality without sinful feelings between connected lovers. She invites us to explore metaphysical realms, feel the magic of the natural world, discover our latent soul gifts. And all of these while adoring and inhabiting our physical bodies. Magdalene is easy to connect with as an ascended teacher. She is quite the talker and loves to tell stories and have dialogues. If you want to feel her, just ask her to speak with you or tell her that you’d like to feel connected to her. Imagine a beautiful woman with long, red, curly hair and bright eyes. Imagine her deific smile and earthly laugh. Imagine Her smelling of sandlewood and lavender. Play some Lorenna Mckennit. And, there off you go together.

The season of swarms and storms. The season of connection and community. I welcome it.

Jelelle Awen is co-creator and facilitator of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life. Go here to connect with Jelelle on facebookVisit the SoulFullHeart website  for more information about virtual sessions with her.

Beginnings And Endings: Life At El Rancho Blog


By Jelelle Awen

Beginnings and endings. Death and rebirth. Life cycles this way and especially here and now at the ranch, during the season of Dark Mother and spring. A beautiful duck died this week, adrift on the pond, while the only three ducklings to survive the spring are growing larger every day, becoming independent, paddling around without mom. The ground is bone dry, thirsty, in drought conditions as the end of the dry season comes and rainy season sets to begin. For every dried out bean plant that I pull, I plant a brand new seed to replace it. As I become more in touch, in union, living daily with nature, I feel the textures of the beginnings and the endings much more. A harvest one day, pulling a dead plant out of the ground the next day. All of life is arising in aliveness even as it courts eventual deadness. Life moves to death, and death moves to life.

Rather than this awareness adding a morbid feeling to life, it enlivens me with an appreciation for every changing thing around me. I feel my senses amplified here, all of my sensitivity given free reign to let it all in without industrial noise, electric and internet grids, crowds of people, shopping malls…without all manner of numbing agents to dull my experience of experience. I have become much more acutely aware of my surroundings, now that my head isn’t buried in a computer screen, plugged into a virtual reality that disconnects me from my body and physical surroundings. This makes contrasting sensations more acute and enjoyable or not enjoyable: sweet and hot touches from Wayne, irritating itchy bites from mosquitos, cooling effects of a dip in the river or a cold shower, the pressing sweatiness caused by the heat.

With this acute sensitivity also comes more overall detachment to things and people that aren’t right in front of me. Email can bring virtual intimacy, substituting real time conversation for a shuffle back and forth that can span weeks. How was this enough for me? When I read emails now, I copy them at the internet place and bring them home to savor here at the ranch. I take days to feel my reactions and my responses. Very few emails bring real time responses now. So, I’m just not as interested in exchanging this way. I would rather have someone join me in one my gardens, pull weeds with me, water plants, plant seeds and we’ll talk and connect and feel each other. Let me pause, look you in the eye and hear the tone of your voice. Let us get our hands dirty together and see what needs to be expressed in exchange. Email doesn’t allow for any of this. Only a response into the void with no sense of how it really landed. When did this become our main form of communication with each other?

This is why I’ve felt both sensitive and detached in response to a fairly major change that arose this week over an email related to something big from my past. I was involved in an emotional and spiritual healing group for almost five years. EBE was an intense, elite group led by a charismatic, gifted, and often emotionally abusive leader. There was beauty and there was pain, both, and I was left forever changed by it, including meeting my husband Wayne in this group. I was ‘kicked out’ of the group after receiving an ultimatum from the leader, Daniel, about my relationship with Wayne being grossly codependent and that I needed to choose between the group, agreeing to stay away from Wayne for a year, or leave. And, all of this was offered over email, no face-to-face digestion and no one (including my facilitator) having actually seen and felt Wayne and I together as a couple. Our relationship was all of three weeks old at the time…..but I received strong guidance to leave the group and choose the relationship and, ultimately, myself. My book shares a six year span of time of journals and blog entries written while I was in the group and after I was out. The recovery period after leaving the group, with none of my friends in the group talking to me any longer, was excruciating and painful, only bearable because I had Wayne’s support and because I had a deepening connection with the Divine that saw me through the worst of it.

It’s been almost seven years now and my thoughts and feelings on a daily basis rarely go to the group or anyone in it. However, I found out over the last few weeks that the group has dissolved with the people in it realizing and finally owning the harm that Daniel has done to them. A couple of days ago, we received a forwarded copy of an email Daniel sent out, an apology addressed ‘to the good people whom I have harmed.’ I had different reactions to all of this, ranging from not much care about it to relief to some feelings of renewed outrage and hurt. I didn’t expect to ever receive an apology from Daniel, so it really is surprising to feel him own the harm he has done to others. He said that he didn’t realize what he had done until recently, which doesn’t feel genuine to me. Part of him had to have known exactly what it was doing; its own evil cruelty, and without any feeling for others. Until he truly differentiates from this part and admits that it is there, I can’t totally buy the apology. Even with this, I can feel compassion for the pain and suffering he must be going through as the world he built up falls apart. I know how this feels.

But, also, in all of this, something good completed finally for me and for Wayne. Something that had been hovering over our relationship from the beginning, a pronouncement by Daniel and also my friend at the time, that we were ‘off’ and codependent. Contrary to this proclamation, we continued to deepen with each other, experiencing degrees of intimacy and healing together that have been nourishing in a way neither of us thought were possible. We ‘proved them wrong’, yet, at the same time, it feels freeing to no longer be pushing up against anything at all now. As my former group goes up in flames, I feel compassion for those who spent seven years more than I walking through the fire. I know from experience how grueling and wrenching their recovery process is going to be. Well, I somewhat know, because love called me sooner to claim it and to end the cycle of cruel male authority figures in my life.

So, as something ends, so something new begins as we get ready to host our first volunteer here at the ranch in a couple of weeks. Maybe this is the beginning of the community that we dream of eventually, one joined in the desire for healing, authenticity, and sustainability.

Jelelle Awen is co-creator and facilitator of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life. Go here to connect with Jelelle on facebookVisit the SoulFullHeart website  for more information about virtual sessions with her.

Cows, caterpillars, and cabbage: Life At El Rancho Blog


By Jelelle Awen

Nature is a better partner than slave– Gaia’s Garden

I am dreaming of plants. Last night, the big crisis of my dream was about providing a trellis for a runner-type sweet pea plant to weave and wrap around. Would I be able to get it supported before it collapsed onto the soil in defeat? Big drama. My dream was most likely a reflection of an increasing reality this week of troubleshooting and responsive problem solving related to our gardens.

We entered our Tranquila garden a couple days ago to discover hoof sized indents over many of our garden beds. Tranquila is more like a nursery than a garden, with many fragile seedlings and still germinating seeds that still haven’t woken from their slumber. The vacas (cows) had busted through a weak area of fencing (now fortified with 3 higher courses of well anchored barbed wire) and found, fortunately, that little in our fledgling garden was to their liking…..other than all the black bean seedlings and most of the one inch tall amaranth and quinoa plants.

My heart hurt as I cleaned up their damage, especially since I had spent the morning ‘saving’ our first flowering and fruiting tomato plants from hornworm caterpillars, hand picking them off and dumping them in a bucket of soapy water. It felt a bit like we were under siege by nature. I was reminded of the wild setting for which we are attempting to grow our food. We are trying to domesticate nature. I like to feel that rather than a bending of nature to our will. We are in communion with it. This connection is the essence of producing home grown food that is chemical-free, nutrient dense, and, also, doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment.

Nature reminded us this week that it is ultimately uncontrollable. If we get a good harvest of any of our vegetables, it is nature’s desire even as it is also due to our skill and responsiveness (and sourcing good, quality heirloom seeds and deeply efforted compost.) Instead of getting hugely upset at the cow damage, I surrendered to it and immediately noticed something interesting. All of the beds that the vacas had left their marks on were ones that I had planned to replant or change in some way. Every one. The black beans were spaced too close together (something I learned after watching our frijoles negroes in the Rio Garden get bushier and bushier), so I was able to replant and respace them. I wanted to create rows of amaranth and quinoa rather than scattering the seed as I had done originally, so I could see them better as well as be able to provide mulch around the rows. Now I could do that while still preserving seedlings that had survived.

So nature created more work in some ways, but, also, it worked out in the end for the best. It is difficult to get too stressed about anything here on the ranch as resourcefulness and responsiveness just seem to come more naturally than in the western, more industrialized world. Every crisis has a solution and doesn’t push up the same levels of stress and anxiety as the common workplace drama.

We are entering the season of Kali. Kali represents death and rebirth; cycles of change and transformation; temperamental weather and emotional patterns. I was reminded of this also as I felt the edges of how easy it would be for all of our ‘hard work’ on the gardens to be wiped out by animals, a strong storm, or a swarm of damaging insects.

When we get our food from the grocery store, we have no sense of this fragility or of our fortune either. We fill our shopping carts and drive food that has been imported from all over the world home to be stored in our cabinets and fridges. Here on the ranch, because we don’t have refrigeration (other than two zeer evaporative cooling pots) and the nearest grocery store is 90 minutes away, food harvest and preservation is a concentrated and connected activity.

We picked some bok choy cabbage leaves today intending to use them for cabbage rolls for dinner tonight. I share the recipe below. No fossil fuels or chemicals were needed (not for working the soil, the fertilizer, the ‘pest control,’ the harvesting, the packaging or transport!); just our labor, our love, and our time. When we eat our cabbage rolls tonight, this energy will come through and increase our enjoyment and appreciation. Nature does make a better partner (however unpredictable), than slave.

Harvest this week and recipes: Daikon radish, mizuna (asian lettuce), arugula, tatsoi (asian cabbage), bok choy, kale, and cilantro

Right now is about greens and lettuces. Mizuna and arugula are braving the heat to produce leaves of nutritional goodness. Bok choy, tatsoi, and kale provide earthy flavor and plenty of antioxidants. They are so welcome since greens and most lettuce are not sold here in most tiendas in Mexico, only iceberg lettuce and traditional cabbage. Faced with a harvest of greens, we came up with two vegetarian recipes that used them in way that was beyond the usual stir fry and ensalada.

Bok Choy Cabbage Rolls-

Cabbage Rolls:

Eight to Ten large bok choy or kale leaves (two per person), the leaves need to be 3 by 4 inches

one cup of cooked brown or wild rice

one cup of TVP (or tempeh), add one cup of hot water and stir together

one half daikon radish, chopped

stems of bok choy leaves (if using), chopped

cilantro, cumin, soy sauce to taste

Asian Sauce:

Combine half a cup of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, one garlic clove minced, chili powder to taste

Bring to boil a couple inches of water in a pot with a steamer basket. Combine TVP, rice, and chopped daikon in a bowl and add seasonings to taste. Heat stuffing ingredients over medium heat until TVP is cooked and rice is heated. Lay out bok choy or other greens leaf by leaf being careful not to tear them. Place the leaf length wise in front of you and fill it with the stuffing just along the middle along the spine of the leaf. Don’t overstuff as it needs to be easy to fold without tearing. Fold the side closest to you first and then the two top and bottom edges go in and then roll it the rest of the way (similar to a burrito). Place the rolls carefully in a steamer basket for three to five minutes. Serve with the asian sauce on the side.

Eggs In A Nest-

This recipe has been modified from one provided in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This is an insightful and inspiring book about a famous author who ate only foods produced from her own garden and locally grown for one year.

2 cups uncooked brown rice

Olive oil

medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

carrots, chopped

daikon radish, chopped

1 very large bunch of bok choy, kale, chard or other leafy green

8 eggs (if you need to make more eggs because you have more people just poach extras in another pan)

soy sauce, cumin, and salt to taste

Cook rice with four cups of water in a covered pot while other ingredients are being prepared. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a wide skillet until lightly golden. Mix in carrots and daikon radish and cook for a few minutes. Add greens and cook with the pan covered for a few more minutes. Uncover, stir well, then use the back of a spoon to make depressions in the cooked leaves, circling the pan like numbers on a clock. Break an egg into each depression, being careful to keep yolks whole. Cover pan again and allow eggs to poach for 3 to 10 minutes depending on how runny you like them. Remove from heat and serve over rice with guacamole salsa (or without).

Guacamole Salsa-

2 large ripe avocados, seed removed

8 tomatillos (or omit if you don’t have them and substitute with another tomato)

1 red tomato

handful of cilantro

Juice from one lime or lemon

half a jalapeno or tablespoon of chili powder or omit if you don’t like spicy foods

cumin and salt to taste

Boil tomatillos for five minutes or until soft. Combine them in a food processor with the other ingredients until mostly smooth. Serve chilled and is best if used within the hour.

Jelelle Awen is co-creator and facilitator of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life. Go here to connect with Jelelle on facebookVisit the SoulFullHeart website  for more information about virtual sessions with her.

The Gifts Of Being Off Grid

By Jelelle Awen

All of my life I have been plugged into the grids. These grids provided in an anonymous way, all that I needed of electricity, water, food, and gas. I flipped the switch and currents coursed through. I turned the tap and water flowed out. I squeezed the handle and gas pumped out. I cruised the aisle of supermarkets and food was harvested. Flipping and turning, squeezing and cruising, that was all. I never thought much about this process until a few years ago when I began to increase my awareness of the environmental consequences of our modern lifestyles. Connecting the dots from resource allocation to resource acquisition to resource exploitation, awakened me to how all of these things came to me and the impact on the world. Also, I became more convinced that a major global collapse of easy access to these finite resources is inevitable. Therefore, becoming conscious and self sustainable related to these resources became crucial to me and led to the decision to move to an offgrid ranch in Mexico.

I think there can be a romanticism related to becoming self sustainable. A romanticism that can lead to inaction fueled by overwhelm and denial. What I have discovered after living in a sustainable way related to these resources is that this lifestyle offers many gifts, both sentimental and pragmatic. Once the crucial paradigm shift happens that separates us from our fusion with the grids, our adaptable and resourceful human instinct for survival can kick in. We have been greatly separated from this instinct by the insular reality of our industrial society. In order to truly live sustainably, we have to reconnect with both our gut and our heart.

Here on the ranch, we live without city water and city electricity. But, we get to live with wonderfully nourishing water from underground springs and any electricity we need is provided by the sun’s rays. We live without internet and cell phones. But, we get to live incredible sunsets, hikes in the woods, cleansing dips in the river, spontaneous horseback rides, evening bon fires, encounters with many creatures both wanted and not (scorpions-not, geckos- yes). We live without grocery stores and restaurants. But, we get to live with fresh bananas cut in a bunch from the tree; papayas prodded down from their lofty birch by bamboo poles; incredible superfoods noni and morenga harvested whenever we want to; lemons and limes picked from organic trees. And, we get to live with crafting and alchemizing our own organic garden spaces with a combination of book smarts and soul retrieved knowledge.

There are still things that feel challenging to give up, but we are finding our way. The most difficult for me has been refrigeration. My whole life I’ve had access to cold food, another thing that I never thought about. Open the fridge door, and there it was. We have one solar panel and four good batteries, which allow us to charge our devices (kindles and computers), use some appliances (blender, crock pot, hot water kettle), and light some twinkle lights and lamps. But refrigerators take a lot of juice, so, we decided to see how it would be to live without one. We are vegan, so our refrigeration needs are lower than people who eat meat and dairy. We’ve been using two zeer pots(evaporative cooler pots made out of clay) that were already here on the ranch and we find that they keep leftovers, beers, and wine somewhat cold. But it’s been an adjustment for sure.

I didn’t use the internet regularly until I was in my 20s. I grew up without it and my imagination flourished because of it. I was outdoors most of the time and when I couldn’t be, I would create elaborate play worlds out of basements and bedrooms. Like most everyone else in western culture, I got deeply into the internet and even most recently spent many hours online creating and keeping our blog and website up to date. It had become my creative playground and I have moments for sure where I miss that outlet for my creativity. But, also, I feel that the internet becomes yet another grid that we connect to, that we plug into without being conscious of it and that there are consequences to it, especially doing it as often as so many do. The internet is an alternative reality. It encourages us to leave our present, physical reality to engage in a surreal and alternative one.

I have been online once in the last few weeks and that was for only a couple of hours. We have to travel two hours into town right now to get online. There are rumors that satellite internet connections are coming to the area where the ranch is located. I am hoping actually that it doesn’t, at least not for a while. I have been living without internet. But, I have living with much more awareness and connection to every present moment and more engagement with others, the incredibly nourishing natural setting around me, and other venues for my creative expression.

I feel even more appreciative of the gifts being offgrid have brought me and what it will mean when and if the grids collapse altogether. There won’t be much sense of that here as all the systems that we have created self sustainably will not be affected much by a global industrial collapse.

Jelelle Awen is co-creator and facilitator of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life. Go here to connect with Jelelle on facebookVisit the SoulFullHeart website  for more information about virtual sessions with her.