-By Gary Phillips-
My last few columns have been pretty intense, talking about what I see as the likely collapse of the U.S. economy, perhaps even of the way of life in the U.S. It boils down to the simple fact that the road the U.S. government, and hence the U.S. population, has been following is not sustainable in the long term.
I admit that one of the major reasons I moved to Ecuador nearly 4 years ago was because even at that time, I felt that time was short.
About two years ago Linda and I, along with four partners, purchased 25 acres of land in two parcels just outside Cotacachi. Our purpose was to create a self-sustaining community.
As frequently happens in these types of ventures, things moved slowly and one set of partners changed their minds about being involved in the project. The remaining two couples decided to dissolve the partnership as well. In the end, we two remaining couples each own their own individual parcel and each couple will create their individual dream.
Finally, almost two years since the partnership was formed and a good four years since the inception of our dream, it is time. Time for what, I bet you’re asking?
We are finally ready to move ahead with the creation of a very small community of sorts. Linda and I now have 10 acres of land that very shortly will be in our names and work will soon commence.
We are in the process of doing engineering studies, laying out the plots, the green spaces, dreaming of magical gardens and drawing up our house plans. Within two months, perhaps sooner, we should be ready to have people join us.
What is it that we are doing? As I have said fairly frequently, my deepest sense tells me that it is time, perhaps even somewhat past time, for all of us to cultivate our gardens. For us, that has profound meaning on a number of levels.
It means to create a space that sustains itself in food and water. To gather to one spot like-minded people who love and honor Madre Tierra and intend to dig in, literally! It also means much more.
The something more is of major importance to Linda and me. It has been the central focus of our lives together for the last 15 years. We don’t want to just nourish ourselves with food for the body. We want to continue to create fertile ground to feed our souls!
A small group of Cotacachi residents met today at the home of Thom and Caroline for a group meditation. It was a wonderful meditation in celebration of Guru Poornima, which is a day of honoring one’s representative of the Divine as it presents itself in the Teacher/Guru.
From what I could tell, it was a delicious experience for all who attended. Many of us recognized that something special is happening here in Cotacachi, which is a place of rare energies, a beautiful valley tucked in between two powerful volcanoes, Papa Imbabura and Mama Cotacachi.
We tacitly acknowledged that Cotacachi needs a place where open-minded people who have a strong spiritual foundation and an awareness of Source can come together to laugh, love, grow, play and commune in harmony.
Linda commented that she could sense an air of expectancy in the room, as if we are mid-wives to the birth of something brand new and precious. There was a feeling that more people of the spirit are on their way here.
As we have mentioned several times in blogs and in our profiles, Linda and I taught meditation for nearly 10 years. The vision that was put forth at the meeting today melds perfectly with our desire to create a small community of like-minded people–people who want to live close to the earth, co-create in harmony with Mother Nature, explore the inner realms of spirit, and manifest that exploration on the outside by creating a living space of magnificent beauty.
Linda has been reading a most incredible book by Wendy Johnson of Green Gulch Farm entitled, “Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate.” It has been fun watching her because virtually every time she picks it up, she starts crying at the beauty revealed in its pages.
We discussed a quotation this morning that opens the book:
“This book is dedicated to the garden, a field far beyond form and emptiness.”
This is the very same garden that Linda and I desire. We enthusiastically and prayerfully intend to cultivate both an inner and an outer Garden in our little community. We are seeking people who want to garden at the depths of the soul, healers and/or artists who understand that the question is not, “What is Art, but rather, who is the Artist!” We want to attract people whose deep desire in life is to explore that question.
The number of living units we will be sharing with others is not yet totally determined. In this moment it appears we will have two duplex live/work units with smaller lots for artists and healers who are less inclined to work the soil. They may prefer only a small garden or to establish a communal garden with other duplex owners.
The five or six houses with lots sized between one-half to three-quarters of an acre are for those who are more serious about gardening and working with Art in nature. They may want to raise the community’s food, join with others to create gardens of beauty or participate in a possible agricultural/permacultural/teaching venture.
Linda and I are reserving a piece of the property for our home and gardens and for our children. At this time, of our four children only our son Scott and his girlfriend Holly are planning to participate fully. They should be arriving this November to help with the gardens and possibly construct a house.
Scott has experience in permaculture, organic gardens, water gardens, pools and waterfalls and is eager to assist us in the creation of a large sacred water garden for contemplation.
One lot is set aside for a community facility, to be constructed by residents jointly after all the lots are sold, if that is the wish of the residents.
If this column resonates with you and you feel motivated to begin a dialog to see if this community is for you, please contact us. But please understand that this is not a development in the sense that we are simply selling home sites on a first-come, first-served basis.
We are intentional in the sense that a solid grounding in things of the spirit is sought, as well as a deep connection with Mother Earth, and a desire to create beauty in your surroundings. We are looking for people who want to share that spirit with their neighbors within our small community as well as with the greater local indigenous, mestizo and expat communities.
Few rules and restrictions are envisioned, other than those common sense concepts necessary so that neighbors can live together in peace. We also envision a group process to be implemented when the peace is disrupted.
In spite of what I have written in the past and what I see coming, I am very optimistic about the future of humanity and the planet. My sense is that small communities such as I have briefly described above are the key to manifesting a new world of higher consciousness and a key to surviving the tribulations coming our way.
Really, what I am seeing is not much different than my experience growing up on a little subsistence farm in Northern Minnesota in the ’50’s. A small group of farmers helped each other out, socialized and generally lived as one big, supportive family. While life entailed lots of hard physical work, it was a satisfying, safe and enjoyable life.
What destroyed that way of life was a concerted effort by the government, through low crop prices, soil banks and other programs, to drive families off the land and into the cities to make way for the large agribusiness/chemical fertilizer farms.
What my parents didn’t have was access to information to help them understand what was happening to them. Times have changed.
Today, those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, a desire to know and a humble heart can see what’s coming and by turning inward to their hearts, can intuit how to rise above it. Joyful expectation of the new and enthusiasm for positive action plays a major role. Blessings to us all as we face the times to come.
And that’s today’s View from the Roof.