Friday, October 30, 2015

2015 Fires

This fire season has change our county forever.  Four large fires The Rocky Fire, The Elk Fire, Jerusalem Fire and last (and most destructive) The Valley Fire.  The latter destroyed over 1300 homes, leaving so many of our friends and fellow citizens homeless.  Fires in Lake County represented 52% of the firefighting in all of California.  No doubt recovery will be slow and the focus of our communities energies for years to come.

Thank you to everyone who has inquired about our farm...  we are many miles from the Valley fire, and were downwind from the Elk fire, so all is well here at Dancing TreePeople Farm.  We are formulating our response to the rebuilding that will take place in the fire areas and helping friends.

My photo taken during the first hours of the Elk Fire (August) was picked up by ABC and the SF Chronicle:

This was the smallest fire in the scheme of things this season... but it shows a wildfire scale against the backdrop of human habitation.  These truly are unstoppable once they get going, taking the landscape like a tsunami.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the survivors of the 2015 Lake County fires.  Let me be one to declare an intention:
"Something Good Will Come of This"

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sitting still

Sitting still helps me to see better. 
This was true when I sat in contemplative prayer for the people and needs of the city of Atlanta at Maisha (an urban house that I helped found in 1990). As I sat there in the quiet my eyes were opened to the struggles of the poor among whom I lived and my heart learned compassion from their example of caring for each other in times of desperate need. Something like what has happened in my present home, Lake County, as the recent devastation by wild fires has released an outpouring of generous assistance from so many sources.

And it is true today. Sitting helps me see better. This morning as I sat in meditation I once again was gifted to see better. Deer pranced through the orchard, doves flew from their roost in our neighbor’s yard, a spider web glimmered in the sunlight, and the walnut tree leaves danced in the gentle wind. My inner sight saw clearly the rhythm of life that surrounds me and the lesson I am called to remember: Flow and be free. Though planning is important and tasks need to be done, what is essential is a profound trust in the goodness of life that frees one to be here and now at peace. My mantra for this day: Here and now flow and be free. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Healing Our Losses... A Workshop With Dr. Jack Miller.

Our farm community is sponsoring bringing Dr. Miller to Lake County.  This is a complimentary workshop (and potluck) open to the public.

3 to 9 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church
3810 Main Street, Kelseyville

This is  a complimentary workshop for those seeking to find their footing after trauma, reclaim life after loss,  and prepare for the journey ahead.    

Dr. Jack Miller, a former Roman Catholic priest, is founder of The Phoenix Project, an orchestrated rite of passage and deep healing process that has been helping people around the world for almost three decades. Dr. Miller has helped hundreds of people “rise from the ashes of catastrophe.” 

Organizers and co-facilitators, Loretta McCarthy and Denise Rushing, are members of the Dancing TreePeople Farm community in Upper Lake.   Each are authors on the topics of spirituality, earth wisdom and transformation.  Both have participated in Dr. Miller’s Phoenix Project.

For more contact:   (707) 245-9076 or visit: or to RSVP

Potluck meal.  If you are able, please bring a food dish to share.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Just one of many losses this day -- UPDATED

I've always been fascinated by how places transform over time... and today, I am sad at the near instantaneous transformation of a place nearby --one that I intended to visit someday but never did: Harbin Hot Springs.

Here is the before:

Here is what happened:

Dancing TreePeople Farm members are busy reaching out to friends impacted by the #ValleyFire, and are dreaming about the Phoenix rising from the ashes of all that has happened to our beautiful places.

This is just one of many losses in our humble county this day.

For the dreamers....
let's not end this post on the destruction.  Spring will return.
Let's instead recreate the beauty of this place:


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A ray of hope!

This is one of the best short summaries of the carbon cycle we've seen--and how we can turn around climate change (really!).  Starting here and now.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Time to Fall

Fall here at the orchard brings a number of changes both in routines and rhythms.

Cooler days mean more leisurely mornings. No need to rush out to do farm chores before the sun heats the temperature to baking degrees. Dogs get to go outside and play "frisbee" in the afternoon instead of waiting until early evening. Patience is not easy for them or for us!

Pears and apples replace plums and peaches as the fruit of choice. All organic and delicious in their own time.

And then there is the switch from cold cereal to oatmeal - with chia seeds, flax, cinnamon, raisins and our very own walnuts. Truly "fall-ing" can be relaxing and scrumptious.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Farm Cats and Life Lessons

This is Sheeba, our ferrel farm cat, and her new kitten, Catkin. Sheeba still doesn't let us pet her, but she has learned the alluring technique of rubbing up against our legs in a very seductive manner that has persuaded us to willingly feed her twice a day since last March. We thought when she had her kitten, she'd teach her offspring the same technique. Not so. Catkin somehow inherited the ferrel-ness of her (his?) father, which causes her to stand a distance away from me, the giant two-legger, licking her paws in feigned disinterest while her mother enjoys a tasty meal.

Watch Catkin, though. Even though she is terrified out of her wits, she trusts her mother. Overcoming her innate fear a bit at a time, she eventually joins her mom at the food bowl. Good for her. I am always worried she would go away hungry, especially as her mother is weaning her.

Catkin's beliefs about me and what I represented were nearly insurmountable. However, she had a trusted figure that showed her I was safe and able to be tamed into submission. Catkin then gradually inched her way toward the food bowl in manageable chunks – pushing the edge of her comfort zone time and time again until she obtained her goal.

I face "giant two-leggers" continually. I notice the feelings of terror they invoke, which cause me to go off and lick my paws – to journey down the Google rabbit hole or answer non-critical emails. However, by refocusing my eyes on the prize and taking small steps each moment of the day, I eventually notice my journey along the path gets easier and I discover I can accomplish my goal.

I learn many life lessons like this from my pets. Is this true for you, too?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fellow Sojourners ...

In December of 2014, Carol, Clovice and Terry joined Loretta and I on the Farm.   Since that time, to say they altered the trajectory of this endeavor is an understatement.  I can sum it up like this:

We are creating a life together.

So much has changed for me since I began here at Dancing TreePeople Farm.  For one thing, I am starting to dream again.

But this time it is different.  For one thing, I am not a lone crusader, and I don't even have a set plan anymore.  What I do have is a decade of creative experiments, lessons and a deep desire to create a sustainable and creative life with others in a way that makes things better for our broader community too.  I am mindful that it is time to usher in a new chapter in this story... one that we will dream about and create together, one that will be full of magic and surprises as we allow it to unfold.

Loretta is keeping the farm running--managing the day to day needs and writing her stories...

Clovice is busy creating music -- he is a composer and working to bring his life's work to the word online  (you can get a glimpse of what he is up to at - where he is sharing his music with the world for free.)

Terry and Carol (and honorary farm mate John Saare) are constant sources of creative energy around community involvement--not just here but other places too. was born here as an idea years ago and is well... still thriving in the form of Time Banking.

And I am finding my footing again, healing and loving this day.

I feel like I have come home.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Whole Day

Earth Day 2015... we awoke to ten deer in the orchard.  Deer represent gentleness and self care, and that
is how we plan to celebrate this most holy (whole) of days. 

Happy Earth Day