(read the first part here.)
I have begun to design my life around some important needs. It is a journey to complete the unfolding of the petals. Get out your high def camera and we will zoom in to take a closer look at our Whole Life Design flower.
Water & Food: What is the ultimate source for these most essential needs? Not the supermarket… They come from our home, Earth. Remember that place? As far as we know, it is the only rock in the universe where life exists. Life is what gives the planet a blue green color. It is obvious where REAL food and water come from isn’t it? Sweet crystal clear water you can drink straight from a flowing spring. Perfectly ripe food that can be eaten at the source. In our living situation, the “spring” is filtered rain water, “the source” for food is our edible forest garden.
Transport & Tools: I am not talking about your car and smart phone. If we put computers and rockets aside for a moment and think about what we truly need, tools, rather then Technology are key to day to day needs. Most able bodied people around the world use their feet for transport. And our hands can manipulate the most complex of tools. Between the running I’ve recently started, and getting on a bike for longer trips, this will cover 75% of my weekly transport. I work with soil a lot. As hand tools go, shovels and forks do a lot of earth moving for me. Various kinds of blades and cutting devises work wonders for maintaining the abundance of foliage growing in my life.
Shelter: I live in an urban duplex and own it with another family. We share the land and make a life together. Shelter is the foundation of our community, but it is also where we keep warm in the winter, do our laundry, sleep at night, cook our meals, celebrate the seasons, enjoy family and friends, and it is the hub of household economy. The building is modern stick frame construction. Any home, including ours, could become more ecological with any or all of the following adjustments: sealing air drafts; maximizing insulation; reducing appliance loads; radiant heating with the sun, wood, or vegetable oil; heating hot water with solar; collecting and reusing wash water; adding a composting toilet; de-cluttering with consumption reduction; adding electric backup with solar panels or wind turbines; I could go on…
Mind & Spirit: What has the brain evolved to do? Many people believe it has evolved to create the modern world we live in, skyscrapers, dams, coal mines, and rockets to the moon. In reality the mind, along with us and our brain, evolved to be one of the most successful beings in the known universe. A mind, when distressed and unhealthy, can cause much planetary devastation. Yet a brain full of health and wellness provides mental and spiritual well being. The Dalai Lama isn’t mining for coal, or firing rockets at his enemies. Meditation and peer listening are two of many ways we can regain the use and power of our mind.
Community: Safety, love, decision making, land and resource use, cultural evolution happen here. These things do not happen overnight. Trust and mutual support must be shared before real community arrives. Community can be built in many ways, as it has for tens of thousands of years, through multitudes of cultures. Here are three modern variations on the theme that I’ve come to know: Transition Movement, City Repair, and Intentional Community.
Livelihood: It used to be the 9 to 5 grind, the rat race, treadmill, or bringing home the bacon. Now it is working from home, self-employment, entrepreneurship, volunteerism, apprenticeships, collectives, co-ops, working part time, stay at home dads, telecommuting, online businesses, direct marketed goods, and life hacking. Flexible work in a diverse financial ecosystem is what will drive the new economy. Much of it being produced in home economies.
Where are energy and waste on the flower? We must consider where our energy and waste comes from and goes, throughout the entire system. (The bioshelter does a very good job bringing this to light.)
And the last petal…
Freedom To and From: For the flower to fully unfurl and thrive, and the key to designing a whole life, we must demand the freedom to create (the world you want to live in), and have freedom from hate (people who keep us down). Where and how do we demand this? In the institutions we are a part of now like work, church, school, government. And design them into the new institutions that are going to be created to replace the old ones. There are social/cultural norms that must be challenged as well. These play out in the shadows, like women denied equal pay for equal work. Youth being ignored. The belief that racism ended with the civil rights movement. Unless we have complete freedom for all, a whole life cannot really exist.
Applying the Whole Life Design flower to The Backyard Bioshelter…
Water and Food – A rain catcher protecting food from the killing frosts of winter.
Transport and Tools – Food less traveled, hands gaining knowledge.
Shelter – A new sun room created, inspiring blogs.
Mind and Spirit – A winter get-a-way. A summer evening dream machine.
Community – People are gathering here. Food will be shared amongst it’s architecture.
Livelihood – Another seed planted. Enterprise is not far behind.