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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Earthaven: Week 5

Merry meet friends.  Michelle here sending lots of love and light.

Another week has come and gone.  On Sunday morning I went to Ecstatic Dance. I’ve referred to it before as dance church.  This time it was in Swananoa instead of Asheville.  It was held at Warren Wilson College in an outdoor pavilion.  It was fantastic.  In addition to Ecstatic Dance, some were doing contact improvisation.  It is very beautiful and sensual, a dance between two or more people.  I wanted to take pictures but it’s not allowed.  Perhaps I will teach it if I come back to Richmond.

It was my turn to cook on Sunday.  I prepared East African peanut soup, candied yams, collard greens and a Native American pudding for dessert.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.  The peanut soup was such a hit that I’ve been asked by Black Wolf, an artist who lives in VT, to prepare it for pot luck on Tuesday.  People were raving about the greens.  They asked me what I did.  I cooked greens the way we cook them in the south.  In lieu of meat, I used butter.  One guy said they were so good that he wanted to drink the broth.   I told him to go ahead because it is called pot liqueur and had a lot of nutrients.  He asked if it had pot in it because he had never heard the term.  Several of my grandmother’s sayings are coming back to me.  I now have two people who want to be my sous chef on Tuesday in order to learn how to cook the peanut soup. Honestly I got it from an Ethnic Vegetarian cook book.  Who knew?

Sunday night or early Monday morning there was a thunderstorm and a downpour.  Every Monday morning we have a house meeting.  It is in house meetings that chores, kitchen and cooking duties are determined for the week.  Afterwards I spent the morning hours transplanting vegetables in the garden and orchard.  No one felt like doing much after that.  Each Monday night we have check in.  It’s a time to share what is going on in our lives if we choose to do so.  I always share but this Monday I passed.  I was feeling very emotional.  I believe I pick up on the energies of some of the house mates.  The married couple that lives here is splitting up and it’s playing with everyone’s emotions.  She wants to live in town and he doesn’t.  Another exchanger and his fiancé have split because she doesn’t want this lifestyle.

On Monday night or early Tuesday morning it rained again.  Although the day was relatively clear, no one felt like doing anything and so we didn’t.  I did cook for Pot Luck and once again the soup was a success.  On Tuesday we were told that exchangers were invited to the Wednesday night core meeting.  Core meetings are for those people who are members of Medicine Wheel or would like to become members.  The owners of the house want to know why people don’t stay here and wanted to know our obstacles.  At first I wasn’t going to attend but decided I might be able to glean helpful information.

On Wednesday mornings I clean Council Hall for Leaps.  Leaps are the monetary exchange at Earthaven.  We owe Earthaven 16 hours a month which are payable in Leaps.  Leaps are worth $10 an hour. Some people pay for services in cash though.  I’m ahead in Leaps so I can relax on work party days.  I think I did some work in the green house on Wednesday although it was another, “blah” day.  At the core meeting I shared that I am on a journey and didn’t come to stay but wouldn’t because of the lack of ethnic diversity.  When I shared that with Patricia earlier she said she understood because she wouldn’t want to live around all African Americans.  My statement was not about African Americans.  In my life I have been a pioneer.  I have either been the only Black or one of a few.  I have no problem living around Caucasians or any group of people.  I do however have a desire to be around all ethnicities because I love people and their individual cultures.  Thank God/Goddess/ and All That Is for my seminary people who love diversity.

Thursday I woke up feeling very alone.  I decided to go into Black Mountain to wash clothes after transplanting in the green house and planting summer squash seeds.  One of the exchangers, who is my sous chef when I cook and I’m hers when she does, asked if she could come with me.  She even offered to drive.  We talked and had lunch.  I needed to get out of the house and away from everyone’s emotions for a while.  Hillary is someone I thought had subtle prejudices and maybe she does but we get along well.

At the meeting on Wednesday I asked if Earthavem was the lifestyle people wanted because the conversation appeared to be fear based.  There’s so much talk of collapse and the world systems failing.  I wondered if any of them had heard of the term, “collective consciousness”.  Systems may be failing, there is a definite shift but if we all hold a vision of world peace, who knows what will happen?  An exchanger named Sarah who wasn’t at the meeting said something very similar to another exchanger on Thursday.  Don’t try to change lives with fear, try to inspire them to want a better life, is what she told him.  Amen to that!  I’m so used to positive thinkers that it’s hard for me to hear fear based conversation.  Again, kudos to my interfaith/interspiritual community: TNS, OSIS and ISIS for being who you are.

On Friday I played in the dirt to prepare a bed for transplants.  It was very healing and I have another to do as well.  That afternoon an exchanger named Seaver told Patricia that whoever was using the second floor compost wasn’t using sawdust and it was beginning to smell.  He said regardless of whose responsibility it was to dump it, that people needed to take care of their shit.  Patricia said it appears we have to have a talk about shit.  People need to take care of their own shit.  These people are hilarious!  There was no pot luck Friday because the cook was in DC with her daughter soaking up culture.  Many Earthaven people came to Medicine Wheel to eat because they wanted community. There were a lot of people.  Sometimes I like that and sometimes I don’t but at any rate, people had a good time.

Roots and Fruits is a market in Black Mountain where we buy our vegetables, fruits and oil.  It is under new management so on Saturday they held a grand opening.  Most of the household went.  I don’t know how many of you saw the movie, “The Brady Bunch”, but there is a scene in which the father says, “Put on your Sunday best kids, we’re going to Sears!”.   Each time we go into town I feel that way.  It’s a big production.  Everyone knows you’re going into town because one dresses differently. I even put on eyeliner and mascara, Octavia Jones.  The opening was fun.  There was a variety of samples from local people and two bands played music the entire time.

I’m attending Ecstatic Dance on Sunday in Asheville.  Earthaven has a Beltane celebration on Sunday which should be well attended.  I’ll let you know next week.  I am thinking about leaving here on the 10th of this month.  I’d like to spend two weeks in Asheville before the Herbal Spring Immersion.  I received the scholarship by the way.  The immersion is the last week of May.  My spirit seems to be in alignment with this decision but  I want to be sure.  Stay tuned.

Until next Sunday, Merry part and merry meet again.

  Gypsi Mama Michelle


  1. Great read Michelle. I agree with you that diversity makes life much more interesting and one can learn so much from a diverse culture. I am surprised that you say so many are afraid and maybe that is why they come to Earthaven to hide from the world. From what I know of you, you are quite the opposite. You are too curious not to be "in the world".

    You must make me that peanut soup. The greens are another reason people need to be in a diverse culture or they would have known about "pot liquor" Diversity!

    Well take care and hopefully I will see you this weekend ;-D

    1. Thanks Octavia. Yes I am curious and I like to know the "why" of things. All people aren't at Earthaven out of fear though; most just want another way of life which I understand. At any rate, at this time, it's not my place.

  2. And so the journey continues to commence! So be it! I read your last blog first and this one next! I thought of your beautiful daughter- women and felt how proud and awestruck that they must be. Then I saw their comment. What an example of faith modeled before them. Authentic. Creative. Inspiring. All of these and more. You are!

    1. Thanks Beulah. My daughters inspire me as well. It was Kiya's idea that I take a journey. And so it is!