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Doing the Next Thing

Steady steps is what it takes to build resilience
Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 6:14 PM

The whole reason we spend our time looking at where the world is going is so that we can position ourselves to have as prosperous, joyous, and fulfilled a life as we can, while leaving behind a better world for those who will follow us.

Today I can say with complete sincerity that I am a better, more fulfilled, happier, and healthier person than I was ten years ago.

The greatest asset any of us have is time. Which is why the Crash Course framework illustrates that there's some urgency in making the right choices today, centering on three big questions:

  1. What new things should I start doing today?
  2. What old things should I stop doing?
  3. What important things should I continue to do?

The answer to each is simple: Find those things that serve us as we align our daily lives with the larger realities of where our world is likely headed, and drop anything that does not serve us.

Easier said than done, but that's what makes life worth living. I find it exciting to try new things out and experiment with various configurations as I seek more balance, health, and pleasure in my life. I recently encountered this as a principle stated as everything is an experiment which comes with the footnote ...as long as you remember to collect the data.

So I try new things, collect the data, reject some things and keep doing other things, and weave in any new practices that seem to work for me. Of course, this is not a perfect and linear process; I cycle through various things as I keep re-discovering that they no longer serve me (still!), which means that I am human.

Mark Sisson, of the Paleo Diet fame and podcast, holds the same principle. When working with clients, he shoots for 80% success in the adoption of a new eating regime, not 100%, because perfection always fails and causes people to quit. Better to keep mostly at it while moving in the right direction.

This is my entire approach to fitness, which I am pleased to report has evolved from a program of weight loss into one of maintenance. It's summed up in just two simple phrases: (1) eat what my body tells me to eat, and (2) exercise every day.

Of course I flub those simple rules quite regularly, but I think I'm safely in the 80% zone of adherence. And the results are happily favorable to me. If exercising 'every day' sounds like a complete stretch, let me explain what I mean by that.

In my office, I have a floor, a chair, two dumbbells, and an exercise ball. After writing for a while, I'll get up, stretch briefly, and then do a single circuit of curls (using dumbbells), dips (using the chair), crunches (on the floor), shoulder presses (dumbbells again), and then core balancing and strengthening (using the exercise ball). All of that takes me about 2 minutes.

I might do one, two, or even three of those circuits per day. But even if I do, that's less than 10 minutes in total. From that, I receive far better results than I ever did being a far more time-dedicated gym rat much earlier in life.

The same principle applies to eating. The smallest of adjustments in portion sizes and food choices made each day is far better, results-wise, for me than trying an entire complicated new diet or eating plan.

The same thing holds true for the resiliency projects around my house. Sure, I do some big things every so often (like plant an orchard), but the majority of gains come from simply doing the next thing. How does an entire property, or life, become transformed? By a progression of 'doing the next thing.'

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

In our recent seminar at Kripalu (which was just a fantastic experience for all of us on the Peak Prosperity team, as well as the participants, based on the 100% 'excellent' ratings on their feedback forms), people really opened up about what it was like to be living with the sense of leading two lives, one being the life they were actually living, and the other one being the one they really thought they should be living.

While the audience certainly spanned the continuum from being 'almost there' with respect to living the life they wanted to be living, to 'not even close (yet),' everybody wanted to learn more about how to move closer to their goal of living an integrated and authentic life.

As we have for years, we took the time to emphasize that all of this will resemble a marathon more than a sprint. Ready or not, the world has already begun the long process of adjustment, and changes are coming to every country and every culture on earth.

The best advice I know how to give when it comes to getting where you want to go is simply to do the next thing. That's it. Just do the next thing.

And remember to pace yourself, and have moments of rest and recovery along the way, and check to be sure that, whenever possible, you are nourished and energized by your efforts, not depleted.

My 'Next Things'

My favorite nourishing activity comes from all of the plantings I am tending on my property. After investing a bit up front to ensure that I would never again need to weed a pathway, or help a tree fight off grasses from its base root area, or have to spend time watering everything, I now spend about 10 minutes a day keeping everything weeded and happy. This is usually done first thing in the morning with a coffee cup in hand.

When it's time to harvest something, more time goes in, depending on the crop. But the basics of keeping everything weeded, pest-free, and watered consumes very little of my time. And I love what little time I do spend on these tasks. Instead of being a gardener, I feel like I am in a relationship with the plants and soil, and that makes what I do seem more like a subtle conversation than a set of chores.

The plants very clearly tell me when they are stressed, need feeding, or some other form of tending, and about half of the time I know just what to do. The other half of the time, I admit to still getting stumped by some new condition, off coloring, or pest that I have not seen before, or forgot what it was.

Here's the garden from a different angle:

The draped bushes in the front are blueberries, now their third year and yielding nicely.

I have a sense of what this place will look like in twenty years, and that drives my decision about 'what to do next,' along with the time I have available for new projects.

This year saw three big new additions, with the most relational and fulfilling of those being bees.

With some prompting from Adam, who got bees a few years before I did, I just up and bought the hive bodies and then ordered bees. Then I got Beekeeping for Dummies and started reading.

We couldn't be happier with that decision here at Martenson Central. At first cautious about this whole new thing to learn, the entire family is now utterly hooked on 'our girls' and have a rapidly growing appreciation for these gentle, social, and complicated creatures.

In the picture above, I am showing a wider frame to illustrate that we live in bear country and have to have an electric fence around the hives. A closer view would show that the hives consist of stackable boxes in which frames of pre-formed beeswax honeycombs sit, which the bees then 'draw out' and fill with larvae, pollen, water, and/or honey.

My youngest, allergic to bees (but not honeybees), has taken to suiting up and loves to handle the hives during inspections, feedings, and cleanings. Every day, we see 'our girls' out in the garden, on the clover in the lawn, or inspecting us as we sit on the porch (they are curious).

Again, this feels less like 'keeping bees' than being in relationship with them. They get something, we get something, and both have to respect the other. Over time, we'll get to know each other better, such as learning that they hate the hive being opened when certain weather is coming.

Another addition this year was hazelnuts, a shrubby to low-growing tree that makes wonderfully protein and oil-rich nuts. Seen circled in green, each of these four new entrants to the landscape will become as large and well-formed as the crabapple seen to the back left. They are creating a miniature grove out of an otherwise nondescript patch of lawn.

I'll have to prune them carefully once a year to ensure that they become small trees instead of shrubby bushes, but that won't take too much time. In five years, the basic shapes will be established, and in twenty years the project will come into its fullness. I'm imagining a set of chairs and a table underneath them, where, in spring, we can listen to the bees above us gathering pollen and nectar from the crabapple while the wind pollinates the hazelnuts.

A third and exciting 'next thing' was planting eight elderberry bushes, the fruit of which we turn into an extract that is absolutely wonderful at mitigating the impact of cold and flu symptoms. For those with a Western medicinal inclination, there are lots of peer-reviewed, double-blind studies that confirm our anecdotal experiences. Here's one.

These little bushes will grow to be 8-15 feet high, and we have them scattered all around the property. They are attractive, easy to grow (they do like 'wet feet,' so watering often or planting near water really helps), and provide us with medicine if needed and wine making materials if not. Otherwise, the birds will happily enjoy whatever we do not use.

Gratitude

As I wrote earlier in the year, I'm grateful for these broken financial markets (where stocks only go up and nothing important ever seems to happen), as well as frustrated and bored with them.

But, on balance, I am more grateful than anything. This has been an excellent period to recharge, button down the little things, make various nips and tucks to the homestead, and delve into the deeper and meatier aspects of emotional resilience.

This gift of time, which may persist for a while or might not, has allowed us to settle into the new realities that we are each creating in our own lives. Some are further along than others, and some have yet to really begin the physical activities necessary to manifest a new life. But we've all had the opportunity to emotionally integrate the implications of living within a flawed system that seems destined to operate somewhat normally until it doesn't.

None of us know what the trigger will be to launch us into the next phase, where the larger body of the culture finally figures out that if there ever was such a thing as 'normal', we're not going back to it anytime soon, if ever.

Perhaps the trigger will be a failed harvest. Or a credit crunch that scythes down a number of systemically important entities. Or even just simple exhaustion of the print-your-way-to-prosperity concept.

Because we cannot know when or what the trigger will be, the best and most successful strategies for living that I know of include doing the things you love that also happen to bring resilience into your community and alignment between your thoughts and actions.

That way, no matter what happens or when, we are living as well as we can, growing, and improving ourselves with age as opposed to being worn down by living the lives we are 'supposed' to live inside of a careless culture.

I reserve my deepest gratitude for the people around me, those conscious and living consciously in my community, who allow me to live openly with all my thoughts and ideas no hiding! and allow everyone the luxury of making mistakes as we experiment with living new lives, with new rules and boundaries and expectations than the ones we were handed at birth.

My most important asset besides time? The people around me!

Included in this description is the gratitude I have for this community here at Peak Prosperity, where I learn so much and have become close with intelligent people of goodwill and passion whom I have never actually met in person. Despite the virtual nature, the connection is there; and finally meeting the 'screen names' at seminars and presentations is always a big treat.

Conclusion

Among what I consider to be my most important traits are the ability to see what I wish to create, and to then apply the daily persistence to just 'do the next thing.'

That's my personal secret to life creating what I wish to see and it keeps me nourished and vital. I happen to think that it also keeps me safe and resilient, as well as engaged, and those are all important. But the motivation comes from seeing how everything I do is relational, and that's something I am just wired for and fed by.

Of course, once upon a time, I was motivated by urgency and anxiety about the future. And though I still have my moments of concern, that frame of mind was conducive to sprinting, and I had to learn to find a way to pace myself for the marathon to which we find ourselves conscripted.

That's how I learned to combine what I love doing with creative action in the natural world. For me, that centers around nurturing living things bees, plants, chickens, people. For others, it might be something entirely different such as music, building things, systems engineering, or community organizing.

It really doesn't matter what it is, as long as our best gifts come out and help re-shape our future together constructively. But it does matter that your daily actions fulfill and energize you, because that way you have the best chance call it 80% of just doing the next thing.

~ Chris Martenson

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55 Comments

jgritter's picture
jgritter
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2011
Posts: 273
Stand in the place were you are

Chris, thank you for another fine article.

Experiments and lessons learned.  Lost chickens to predation and learned to eat racoons.  Miss timed cutivating the garden and learned to eat pigweed, lambs quarters and sorrel.  Bought a grain mill and learned that it is difficult to make whole wheat flour tortillas.  Canned vegatable soup and found that you can still taste the sunshine in the depths of winter 2 years later.   Picked up road kill and found that wild turkeys are delicious.  Reveal ones concern about the future and find a like minded mechanic and a like minded electrician right in the neighborhood.  Drove a well below the basement stairs and found thousands of gallons of cold, fresh water 15 feet below my house.

Do the next thing.  Love, honor and cherish.  Peace be with us all.

John G

Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 19 2008
Posts: 470
weeds

After investing a bit up front to ensure that I would never again need to weed a pathway, or help a tree fight off grasses from its base root area

Hi Chris,

The weeds have kind of gotten away from me in my plantings.  I can guess what you did "up front" to the pathways and around the trees, but would love for you to share the details.

 

mainebob's picture
mainebob
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 13 2009
Posts: 97
Farmer Chris, Outstanding in his Field....

Hi Chris, 

I love your personal big picture view of doing the *Important* Next Thing,  Old things to Stop and New things to Start.   I have been working on my own parallel issues... Paleo eating, *released* the weight, being healthy... eating mostly local organic... (and locally roasted coffee, Yay!)  continuing to explore conscious living in community plants, animals people planet... I am excited about new projects... to Live, Love and Make a difference.  More on this soon....

A big thank you and gratitude.... as Garrison Keillor says... "Be Well, Do Good work and Keep in Touch"

-MaineBob OConnor

 

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 22 2010
Posts: 542
paths and weeds

Seeing Chris's garden reminds me of two lessons I learned this year and he also seems to know.

My good friends this year are cardboard and mulch.  Chris seems to use nitrogen fixing groundcover as much or more than mulch. 

The paths are level and covered with layers of cardboard (hold moisture and block sun) and then covered with mulch.  The result is a nice place to garden with very few weeds in the walks and no muddy spots.

The beds ( in my case raised ones to level my hillside) are also heavily (3-4 inches deep minimum) mulched.  My in ground planting consisted of small bathroom drinking cups with the bottoms cut out arranged in staggered rows, mulch placed around the cups to hold them in place and then seeds planted in each cup.  The plants are beautifully spaced, even after a downpour before they sprouted.  The mulch suppresses most weeds and sprouted weeds have no reistence to uprooting in the mulch.  In our hot summer sun in Tennessee the mulch reduces watering tremendously.

Planting sprouted seedlings is about the same, but without the little drinking cups.

Next years plans are better compost and some sort of automated irrigation. I am looking a fall ground cover for a few of the beds also.

James

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
Doing potatos

 

Dug up some of my Dark Red Norlands, grown from leftover potatos from last years crop.  It's not work to me to plant and harvest. It's an ongoing process or journey that's rewarding and saves me a little money and generates way better tasting potatos than I can buy at the store.  Plus I get exercise and fresh air shoveling all that compost!

 

LisaR's picture
LisaR
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Joined: Jan 8 2013
Posts: 19
Always a breath of fresh air

Great article. First, I am sharing on all social media -  every single person could surely benefit from this example. Second, I want to say that I am grateful to you, Chris, for being an outstanding role model in figuring out and demonstrating the "how to" of what we all know in our hearts has to be done. Thank you for that!

yogiismyhero's picture
yogiismyhero
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 28 2013
Posts: 173
Very impresive Woodman...

I align with you and everyone here frankly. The outdoors, gardening and all labors of love are looked at as a peaceful and pleasurable experience. Grabbing a handful of dirt that has been tended to for years now, and seeing all the amendments that was added and is now a productive soil makes me feel real good inside. With little effort I can wiggle my hand through the soil to a depth of about 12 inches and I started with a soil that had its share of clay in it. Fact is I feel good all the time, and enjoy every single moment of my day, I just do. Everything is closely observed and tended to, and every bug, bee and bird dropping is now a useful ingredient to my sole and plants. Furniture gets washed off in areas I plan for in the Fall for next year. My next project will be Adam's potato tower and I cannot wait for how this all comes together.

Be good Folks

Yogi

MyBackAchers's picture
MyBackAchers
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 27 2013
Posts: 26
Lists....

Those are great lists Chris! Now I have to rethink my own list:

What I want to quit doing:

1. Blind Consumerism....almost there!

What are my Next Things:

1. Finish the Russian Masonry Heater (some call rocket mass heaters).

2. Rain water collection on barn & house.

3. Finish planting naturally short no mowing grasses on lawn.

4.  Finish doing Eden gardens...more every year unil 3 acres are done!

RoseHip's picture
RoseHip
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Joined: Feb 5 2013
Posts: 150
Nice thought

LisaR your comment brings to mind, how can PP members connect over social media? And what would the upsides or downsides be? Might be a nice coversation to start especially in light of all things NSA.

Rose

LisaR's picture
LisaR
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Joined: Jan 8 2013
Posts: 19
Lists are good

I like seeing everyone's lists and comments. So many good ideas. I am still in early stages.

-- I have the blind consumerism pretty much down. Only buy what I need, and what truly contributes to making life more wonderful. Remember to check if the "thing" is responsible/sustainable.

-- I continue to work on building "USEFUL" skill sets. Planting, infrastructure systems, etc. I have much to learn. (It sure is a marathon HA!)

-- Always thinking about social networking. Always.

BTW - I was at the Kripalu seminar mentioned in the article. I recommend one of Chris' seminars to anyone! It was a life changer.

susanattheville's picture
susanattheville
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Posts: 20
Seconding Lisa's recommendation!

We were also at the Kripalu seminar, and highly recommend attending one of Chris' seminars as well. In addition to great content and presentations from Chris, Becca and Adam, you will also meet many great people to learn from and network with, like LisaR, who we had the privelege of meeting at the seminar.

This is the real deal folks. Do the next thing.

Jeff and Susan

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 2831
PNW

Chris,

If there's ever an opportunity for you to hold a seminar in the Pacific Northwest (WA State or OR), there is plenty of demand out this way.  Thanks!  

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 3075
2014

Time -

We're hard at work finding a West Coast-based venue for a 2014 seminar. More details to come as they develop...

cheers,

A

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Posts: 5727
Weed Free Paths
Quercus bicolor wrote:

After investing a bit up front to ensure that I would never again need to weed a pathway, or help a tree fight off grasses from its base root area

Hi Chris,

The weeds have kind of gotten away from me in my plantings.  I can guess what you did "up front" to the pathways and around the trees, but would love for you to share the details.

At the risk of turning this into a gardening thread...I'd be happy to share.

The details are, I found that the consumer-grade landscape fabric sold at your local gardening center or megastore is weak, thin, and the plants can get their roots through it, especially the crab grasses.

So I went online and found a commercial grade that is very heavy, almost like a denim weave but in black synthetic material.  I bought it in 4' x 250' rolls and laid it over the prior year's cardboard and woodchips base, which had broken down and allowed weeds to take root.

I used 6" sod staples (just big wire U-shaped things) to hold it down during the the layout process.

Then 2"-3" of wood chips over the landscape fabric.  Since the fabric is supposed to have a 25-year life, and I am covering it pretty completely with material, I think it's a 'forever' solution as far as my life is concerned.  

So far, even the crab grasses have failed to get through it, and they do try.  I just lift them gently between two fingers from the woodchips, and that's the end of that.

My advice is, get the solid stuff.

Rector's picture
Rector
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 8 2010
Posts: 501
Don't forget about Texas

Come on left and right coast people!  Don't forget about Texas.  America's last great hope and home to a future PP.com seminar I hope!  We've got enough oil here to fix all of America's problems!  

Rector

gillbilly's picture
gillbilly
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Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 423
Inspirational

Thanks Chris. These were wonderful words of encouragement! This just made me smile. Seeing your garden and the view behind. If I’m not mistaken, that hill in the background is one that I’ve hiked and mountain biked in the past. Such a nice spot! There is nothing better than the Pioneer Valley in August. So many places have their time. The Carolinas and Georgia are beautiful in the spring and fall, but New England in August is just amazing.

This past spring, as I began to create a new garden (combination traditional and straw bale), I learned it wasn’t going to happen this year, and had to take a breather. The trees on our property cast too much shade and therefore I will have to wait until the Fall after the leaves have fallen to thin the herd a little to allow more sun.  We gave up on our garden we had years ago because of the tree cover, but I’m more determined this time. I’ve cleared much of the smaller stuff, but the larger trees will be much easier to cut when the leaves are gone. So I worked on maintaining other parts of our property, which will help with the future gardens (road/drainage/landscaping).  The neighbor has a much larger area for cultivation and we’ve used his land in the past, but there is something gratifying about doing it yourself. My spouse is not keen on bees, but I keep working on her.

  1. I started something new – Garden.
  2. I had to stop – unfortunately.
  3. But continued to make improvements so I can make it happen next spring.

This was inspirational. Thank you.

yogiismyhero's picture
yogiismyhero
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 28 2013
Posts: 173
We all have our beautiful places for different times of the...

...year and Gillbilly reminded me to share where we will be for two days of getting natures very best massage. See, the water carved out natural seats in the rocks where you sit, hold on and the water smashes over the top of your head, neck, shoulders, just everywhere and then you let go and it washes you up stream. Oh my goodness, a tradition for 44 years now.

Peace

http://www.fishweb.com/maps/presqueisle/ocqueoc/falls/

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2244
Chris, thanks again for the encouragement and inspiration

Chris, thanks again for the encouragement and inspiration.  I still tend to get overly anxious about the changes we are going through, and about "not making progress fast enough" due to multiple demands on my time.  So your advice to "just do the next thing" is both welcomed and soothing.

I also really appreciate you sharing the pictures of your garden, and how you achieved freedom from constant weeding!  My garden has -once again- been overtaken by weeds this year, depite my efforts to get out and weed a row or two when time allowed.  I have been trying to convince myself that this is just a problem with a solution, not necessarily a permanent condition.  So it is encouraging to see there really is a solution!  

The old thing that I'm stopping - Spending too much time weeding

The new thing that I'm starting - Blocking weeds

What important thing am I continuing to do? - Reminding myself that this is a learning process, and it is ok to learn one thing at a time.

Thanks again, Chris.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Impressive colour.

That green in the picture is photoshopped, right?

jgritter's picture
jgritter
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Joined: Dec 13 2011
Posts: 273
Emotional Resilience, Spirtuality and Religion

The phrase "emotional resilience" has been resonating in my mind.  As a rational atheist I acknowledge that spirtituality and, perhaps, religion, will be instrumenal to defending my mind against the trials of the coming storm.  I rummage through my tool box.  God and Goddess, angels and demons, good and evil, heaven and hell, check, check, check, lots of useful tools in here, I've used them all at one time or another, some more then others.  Serenity prayer, "One day at a time",  "Attitude of Gratitude", "Let go, Let God", check, check, check.  I pick each of these tools up, turn them over in my hands and put them carefully back in place.  As a firefighter and emergency room nurse my emotional resilience has been tested, I know my strenghts and weaknesses.  My family and I have been prepping for several years and our preps, while by no means complete, are deep and wide.  Working a 2 1/2 inch hand line on a structure fire yesterday was showing me my age (51), and I have to admit that I'm not 35, or even 45, any more. 

I'm sorry guys.  I look at the pictures of Chris's beautiful place and wander out past my chickens and bees to fall on my knees in the warm soil beside the ripening tomatoes.  I turn my face to the sun thanking the Mother Goddess ( said the atheist! ) for her blessings and her boundy and a little voice inside my head says "Can you hold it against a proficient rifle squad?"  My heart rate jumps as I duck and scan the tree line, my right hand painfully aware that my rifle is back in the house.  "No" I have to admit to myself, "if someone really  wanted everything I have they could have killed me five minutes ago and I never would have heard the shot."

Take a deep breath, steady your hands, do the next thing. 

I hope I'm not being a drag, but I don't think I'm the only one that's scared,

John G

P.S. This took me a suprising amount of time to write as I seemed to be struggling with myself all the way along.  I considered just deleting it but I really am interested to know how other people are dealing with the shear, mind boggling enormity of our situation.

 

Hrunner's picture
Hrunner
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Posts: 256
Thanks Chris, your work is a gift!

Chris,

I know I can be a bit critical and hard on you and some guests, and PPers (davefairex, global warming Stan), in the comments, but I want to step back and say that you and Adam and your families and this site and this community are a gift to me and a gift to world.  Thank you.

Congratulations on your great progress.  I myself have to balance two lives, the first one perhaps not too different from your former career, so you know how consuming that can be.  That will be the case for the foreseeable future, but I believe I have made great progress myself, with "hardware" but more importantly, with "software".  My skills and fitness levels are substantially improved.

In the past two years, brushes with minor 'situations' have driven home the point that of the two, skills and fitness are more important than stuff.  Make no mistake, I really want to have good stuff around to help accomplish the task at hand.  But in the real world, inevitably when trouble comes, we will invariably find ourselves with less hardware than we would like.  This puts a high value on skills, mindset, and creativity.

May all the PPers have a blessed rest of 2013!

H

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
The Collapse of Rationalism

I gave you a thumbs up John. In return I have earned the right to suggest that many athiests offer themselves strawgods to attack.

Rationalism takes a hammering when confronted with the Measurement Problem.

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
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Posts: 571
could not have said it better

John G,

You have perfectly summed up my own feelings in one short post. So much impact in such a short space. Some might see it as negativity; I see it as reality.

I often think to myself that we who live in this prepping world, which is like a little self-protected island in the sea of humanity, will be under assault in a flash once massive numbers of people find themselves in rough seas. It will not take long at all for the leisure boaters and cruise ship partiers to turn into pirates, and we will be helpless to do anything about the onslaught. If we have been really diligent in cultivating good relationships within our communities (for example like Wendy), then one might last a little longer. But not for much, for when a person(s) is desperate and covets what you have, one can only hold out for so long.

With this in mind I have turned to simple maintenance of that which I have already done to prepare, content that I have a certain level of control in my own small world. After adding the latest addition to the pantry or workshop/gadgets areas, I am then trying really hard to shift into a living for the moment mindset, trying to enjoy each day as much as I can. I am not as successful, thus far, as I would like to be given how I seem to have this strong desire to know what is going on "out there".

There is nothing at all I can do from a big picture perspective about the large storm that is coming. Cultivating a mindset to find simple, everyday pleasures is the best I can hope for to achieve some level of emotional resilience. I often have days when I want to abandon this world and go off grid somewhere to live in a way that is more in line with my values. But like you, I am no longer a spring chicken, and all too often this way of living is romanticized. It is a lot of hard work. And as you say, the hoards may very well swoop in a take it all at some point anyway.

So I will continue on this path that I have forged, living simply, trying to live well, and trying to enjoy life as much as possible in spite of all of the uncertainty that plagues us. It's about all we can do.

Jan

 

 

 

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Don35
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westcoastjan wrote: So I will
westcoastjan wrote:

So I will continue on this path that I have forged, living simply, trying to live well, and trying to enjoy life as much as possible in spite of all of the uncertainty that plagues us. It's about all we can do.

Jan

 

Well said Jan! We all were born so we all will die. Not pessimism, just accepting reality. Enjoy every moment because this is all this real. Memories aren't real, they are memories! Thoughts about the future aren't real, it's the future we can't really know. Be here now! Planning and preparation are wise things to do, but to obsess over them is to suffer.

Best to all!

Don

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Re: Emotional Resilience, Spirtuality and Religion
jgritter wrote:

P.S. This took me a suprising amount of time to write as I seemed to be struggling with myself all the way along.  I considered just deleting it but I really am interested to know how other people are dealing with the shear, mind boggling enormity of our situation.

I offer my thoughts on this merely for conversation and consideration:

After many hours of quiet reflection and contemplation, I have discovered what I believe to be my own spirituality.  Rather, I have found that there seems to be a part of myself that is eternal.  Christian culture would refer to this as a soul.  Whatever you desire to call it, I feel as though my core essence is not rooted in this body and thus it will continue on after this body has long ceased to exist.  Basic principles from quantum physics seem to support this line of thinking.

As such, I see this life as but a journey in search of knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge and wisdom can only be gained by experience.  I know that my physical body will one day die and return to the Earth.  What I don’t know is when and how the physical death will occur.  But it will be an experience. 

I only took interest in this type of philosophical contemplation after I began to discover that the macroeconomic and geopolitical picture were not as depicted on the television.  Only after I began to realize the reality of our current situation and the false paradigm sold in all areas of mainstream society did I begin to see value in examining my own nature.

From this perspective, it matters little in the big picture if the worst should happen.  It will be just another experience gained. 

Of course, I am not so arrogant as to think that I know anything for certain.  I realize that I could be completely and totally wrong – there may be no such thing as spirituality or a soul or what have you.  But if I am wrong and there is not a part of me that will continue beyond this life then it still matters little in the big picture if the worst should happen – I will be dead and not have to worry about it.

Ironic.

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sand_puppy
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How to store potatoes?

I am coming upon the harvest time for my first ever potato tower.  Now what?  How do I store them for the winter?  Experienced gardners please advise.....

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Tall
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potato storage

Keep them dry, cool and away from the light. If they turn green in response to light they have developed toxic solanine - throw them away.

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jdye51
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A Work in Progress

John, thanks for having the courage to be vulnerable and share your fears. I imagine there are many here who share them, myself included.

We find ourselves living in a time of great change and disruption. No one knows exactly what will happen. But based on what we can already see there is plenty to worry about. Now and again, I go through periods of more intense feelings because of all the negative news I'm reading and have to back off for a bit until I've regained my equilibrium. It feels a bit like waves of grief that come after the loss of a loved one. I'm not a religious person but do follow a certain spritual path and that helps give me a larger perspective and a soft place to fall. It's a challenge to find balance in an unbalanced world. The intensity of the craziness is increasing like the winds of an approaching hurricane, and I'm trying to keep my footing while battening down for the storm so many of us here see coming.

Some people say we will see the end of industrial civilization. Some people believe the future will bring a technological breathrough where humans will merge with technology and become something other than human. Some say a Golden Age is coming where all will live in peace and harmony. Some say humanity's days are numbered due to catastrophic climate change. Some are looking for a new energy technology to save the day and free us from fossil fuel dependence. Some say ETs will come to the rescue. Some say these are the end times. They all agree that something big is happening. Something that is transforming. That is my sense as well. It's as though the greater gestalt knows something is afoot but can't agree on just what that is. It gets interpreted according to the lenses of perception like the story of the blind men and the elephant.

One thing I notice and mentioned before on this site, is how much rot seems to be coming to the surface now. Stories like the three women kidnapped and held captive for 10 years are in the news. Stories of fraud, dishonesty and corruption seem to me to be more prevalent than ever. Revelations like the NSA spying on everyone. On the one hand, it's discouraging and upsetting. On the other hand, things long hidden are coming into the light.

I'm left with a constant but vague anticipatory anxiety, knowing something is clearly coming. Economic, climate and resource instability are all obvious to those of us here but it's not entirely clear how they will play out. So we do the best we can where we are to prepare for whatever shape things take. Chris's garden and all the other steps taken by those at PP are a good model for resiliency no matter what happens down the line.

Most importantly, it's love that strenghthens and binds us together and provides shelter from the storms of life. Love of the land, of its creatures, and of one another. Staying simple, staying in the present moment as others here have said. Staying grounded. Finding an inner peace that remains when all else is in turmoil.

A work in progress . . .

Joyce

 

 

 

 

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LisaR
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Daily Mantra

Hi John et al,

Nice post, beautifully written - and quite thought provoking obviously! Lots of great response, all. In response to your request to know how others are dealing with the "enormity of our situation", I'll share my thoughts...

I suppose I don't think about the enormity of the situation, but rather keep my thoughts focused on authentically living my life. No matter what the situation, my only job is to express my genetic code (said the biologist). Whether or not any "situation" were looming, I think I would do exactly the same thing - what I think is right. Live responsibly. Care for my neighbors.

I am not at all a "Trekkie" but I did enjoy a few seasons of TNG - and the one quote that stands out in my mind, and is almost my daily mantra is the warrior Klingon, Warf's classic line, "It is a good day to die." It's not morbid. Nor is it violent. It's a call to live every day with honor.

That's how I do it.

Lisa

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Time2help
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Tired

Getting really tired of all of this. Not the self-sufficiency, personal responsibility stuff.  Just tired of the mass delusion people are under and the MSM hypnosis.  Perhaps a brutal market correction is what is needed to snap the majority out of it.  This is not to say I don't have empathy.  But what else will wake people up?

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Arthur Robey
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Vodka.

They store very well in liquid form, Sand Puppy.

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ferralhen
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i pick up on chris saying the

i pick up on chris saying the storm is in process. and so far i get to learn incrementally.
recently i had a "john" invasion: . a person i had spent 7 years, sharing prepping ideas, and networking for the future who broke my trust, by trespassing past my chained and lock driveway gate, and help herself to a 25 minute picking spree in my raspberry patch because she thought i was not home. however i was home. i decided it was best to watch and learn than to worry about the value of the raspberries. at 6pm that night she called and asked if she could come over and pick some raspberries(for a scond time to her , first to me) i said ok because i wanted to see if she really intended to deceive me and take from me. and sure enough she came right over and picked again and never said a word that she had been there that morning.

so it wasn't a marauding gang that came to rob me. it was someone i trusted who did not have the impulse control or respect for me and my personal property.

needless to say she is no longer welcome here at all and i have informed her that i will call the police if she sets foot here again. right. like that will do any good.

my resilence comes from being in control of myself and my anger at her actions. and also being able to let go of the loss of both a friend and the produce and moving on to the next thing.

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westcoastjan
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betrayal

ferralhen,

Thanks for sharing that, and kudos for how you handled it. Your experience points to what I think is the greatest threat to emotional resilience, which is betrayal by someone we have shared with, helped, befriended, loved, trusted... It does great damage to one's spirit, thus at times making it a challenge for one to continue on with the same dedication that they had previous to the betrayal.

When I think of betrayal the first image that comes to mind is from the scene in the movie Braveheart, where William Wallace, wounded and on the ground, finds out he has been betrayed by Robert the Bruce. His portrayal of the emotional angst caused by betrayal was brilliant, and speaks volumes.

Jan

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gyrogearloose
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Do nothing farming.......

I have "the one straw revolution" by Masanobu Fukuoka

"do nothing farming" strikes a chord with me.......cheeky

Cheers Hamish

 

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How to store potatoes

Some info from my grandparents who raised 10 kids on a mixed farm in Saskatchewan, Canada:

In the basement they have a potato storage bin that was formed into the concrete of the basement.  3 sides of the bin are concrete, 1 is wood slats, and the bottom: left intentionally as raw earth.  Apparently this helps them keep.

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LisaR
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Elderberry bushes

Chris,

I want to get started planting Elderberry bushes. Any other tips besides being near water (I have a great spot for that on my property) - soil type? sunglight exposure? time of year to plant? etc?

I loved the Elderberry syrup recipe from Becca and am raring to go. Just need some elderberries :->

Lisa

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Elderberries

LisaR, there is a whole discussion on growing elderberries here: http://www.peakprosperity.com/discussion/82322/elderberries

While you are there, if you have not already done so, why not join our Agriculture & Permaculture Group, for free.

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LisaR
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Thanks Wendy

Hi Wendy - Thanks for the link. Good stuff! Gotta love this place.

BTW - I am a recent member of the Agriculture and Permaculture group. I will look for you there.

:-)

Lisa

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John G, I give little to no thought at what may or may...

...not happen from a world gone mad. Zero thought. What I do do is give my everydays a respectful nod, and pray that surprises of the human kind happens all around me. This too will make many here shake their heads in sympathy at my naive thoughts as they see a sniper on every hill and a boogeyman in every bush. 

The last two days I played in natures gifts and until that is taken from me I will simply fight the good fight. We are assured nothing and so I have nothing yet to fear and certainly won't dream up fear that isn't yet reality. Live in the moment my Brother, be thankful and make sure you tell those who matter most how you feel, and be respectful and treat those others (no name humans), as you yourself would wish to be treated. Atheists? cool. Me, I believe in a beautiful spirit as the evidence is too overwhelming to dismiss.

Not a thing said by me is to insight any reaction just a thought process I have as I enjoy my day. I care about the length of my day and live within that. Start all over tomorrow.

I befriended a Sea Bee that I worked for as a private contractor years ago. I too was a Sea Bee and he is a few years older than I am. Anyways in Vietnam while laying in a pre-fabricated air field he said he kept swiping at the air just above his ear and forehead. Assuming of course that it was a bug, a bee or some other flying insect. Sniper fire, missed, and his days are lived as they always are lived and that is with a fearless respect for every moment he has as he knows just how fortunate he was and how beautiful this world is to him today. I follow his lead as he is a wonderful friend and a fine Man. His company and that of his Ladies are always welcome when the North Country screams for our presence.

I give very few "Thumbs Up" as it encourages like minded thoughts and conformity and I like that Chris encourages us to use our gut, I live by what my gut tells me so that's why I give very few of those.

Peace

Yogi

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weed control

I have not read the comments that precede yours so there maybe an answer for you already but a trove of information on the weed subject can be harvested from the link I have provided.

Enjoy, www.backtoedenfilm.com

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I too would like to hear

I too would like to hear about what you did to never have to weed a pathway again.

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pinecarr
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thanks for link, crackor!

Thanks for providing the link to www.backtoedenfilm.com , crackor.  It looks like it contains a lot of useful gardening info  on soil preparation, weed control etc.

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Emotional Resilience, Spirtuality and Religion

John G,

Your post resonated with me to a great degree. I just turned 65 and live with my wife in a small cottage at the edge of the Black Hills of South Dakota. For the first time since I left the farm at 18 years of age, I now have a small garden and am learning to grow things. 

I was an Air Force medic for 8 years, then a paramedic in civilian life for a couple of year after that before turning to computers.

I've struggled with spirituality after ditching "religion." 

In trying to make a sustainable lifestyle for us, I continually wonder how and when TEOTWAWKI will strike.

I learned at the age of 8 how to steal myself (not surpress) against emotional distress. That held me in good stead through years of medical emergencies and death on a regular basis. It wasn't until I married (for the 4th time), that I was able to accept the emotional side of me.

I sometimes get overwhelmed at the complexity of life and what I still need to do to weather the coming storm. This can be debilitating if allowed to continue.

So...

This article is a timely one, as was your post. Thanks for not deleting it.

All we can do is press on and call on whatever reserves we have and whatever tools are available to us.

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Cherihuka
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Posts: 41
enough oil

I'm perplexed at your comment that Texas oil can fix all of America's problems. (If your status wasn't Gold Member, I would've thought you were trolling).

Could you please explain what of "all" problems oil would fix?

Did you watch Chris's Crash Course videos? Do you get the 3 E's concept?  Have you ever listened to Richard Heinberg? How about Tom Whipple? http://www.postcarbon.org/person/36222-tom-whipple

How will oil fix any problem other than extending the current status quo which does not end well in any respect other than lining some pockets - even if we each had our own oil taps like water faucets, abundant oil is not what humans need most, because using the oil we have is killing our eco systems. 

Anyway, the point I'm making is in relation to peak oil. (If Texas was flooding our markets with oil, why is the price going up?) Texas oil -any oil in abundance- is still not a longterm solution for life. In it's abundance, whether from Arabia or Texas, those who control it, have the power to create shortages and gouge for it's cost even then. Being dependent on oil like we are- for so much we need to survive- is a huge mistake, no matter how much there may be, or how cheap.

 

 

 

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yogiismyhero
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Posts: 173
cherihuka, Brother, don't get trapped my man in marketing...

...tools. We/I don't give them any attention what-so-ever. I am a Silver Member, and I am absolutely certain Adam and Chris appreciates this. I may want to leave in a month and not have payed out for a year and hassle with all that. I may need the cash to eat Brother so a "TROLL" because of the status thing!? Paaalease Brother, we don't care about that, do we?

Anyways, my thoughts are "if you don't know where you are going, you may not get there". A yogi-ism from a proud "Silver Member" in a community of equals. A "TROLL", really?

Tigers lose on a walk off. Bummer. Now, if you want to call the Yankees a bunch of "TROLLS" I would probably be singing a different tune.:-) NOT!

Yogi

 

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Nervous Nelly
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Posts: 209
Potato Storage

 

Anyone interested in preserving food could make use of this excellent book. Root Cellaring.

For white potatoes it recommends to cure them before storage to give them a chance to heal surface nicks and  toughen their skins. Don't wash root vegetables. Spread them out in a protected place where the temperture is  60-70 degrees F . They should not be exposed to rain sun or wind curing. After a week or so ,potatoes are ready for winter storage in a cold damp spot. Small piles (baskets or crates) for ventilation. Root cellar at 32-40 degrees F and 80-90% relative humidity.

http://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_5?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=root%20cellar&sprefix=root+%2Cstripbooks%2C220

NN

Cherihuka's picture
Cherihuka
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Posts: 41
bees and bears

I just wanted to include 2 further security measures for anyone with bees in black or brown bear country. (Forget it if you have grizzlies, right?) Electric fencing is not the only way to secure them (but one of the best ways), since some bears, once they've had honey will suffer the charge for it. The fencing can be reinforced with other measures to help secure the hives against such tenacious bears. 

1) use tie-downs - preferably the kind you use to tie-down something in the back of a truck -with the hand-crank tighteners (for ease of opening the hives yourself). Your hives would need to be positioned on something sturdy, not like a table, but more like a good pallet or 3, with the tie-down going around that base so the bear can't take the hive apart. (It might be able to tear apart the base cover, but no harm done to the actual bees). LOL, ask me how I know this... The bears' own weight can help to secure the base from tipping.

2) enclose the hive(s) in a 3-sided shed and cover the 4th side with sturdy wire fencing (like the rectangle openings 3"x4"). Use a side-door for entering yourself, and secure the wire permanently with reinforced edges (screwed or bolted framing). The bees can then come and go but nothing bigger than a squirrel can get in. 

Also FYI, I found out the hard way that there is such a thing as delayed allergic reaction to beestings- more than 24 hours after. It can be worse than an immediate reaction, even if there is no initial swelling or pain, so don't let your guard down if someone is stung. Benedryl on hand is a lifesaver.

I recently heard that 60% of the entire nations bees are being/have been sent to one almond crop in California (to pollinate). (A lot of groves have been bulldozed for lack of water). I've heard several people say (in various parts of the country including my own town) that they are now having to hand-pollinate their gardens. We NEED more beeks (beekeepers), so think about it!

Cherihuka's picture
Cherihuka
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Posts: 41
oh yeah

In response to being called 'brother' by another poster, just to let you know, I'm female- Cherihuka was the name of my horse. Thanks!

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Doug
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Posts: 3158
Cherihuka
Quote:

I recently heard that 60% of the entire nations bees are being/have been sent to one almond crop in California (to pollinate).

I was talking to a commercial beek (I like that term) the other day who said the same thing.  He theorized that that may go some way to explaining CCD, in that moving bees at all is stressful and moving that many bees to one monocrop plantation would be extra stressful.  Plus, that one crop may not provide the nutritional needs of bees that are accustomed to widely varied sources of pollen and food throughout the pollen producing season.  And, another further, almonds in CA are typically pollinated in winter, when bees in temperate climates are generally resting (relatively speaking).  There may be an annual cycle that is being ignored.

Doug

 

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yogiismyhero
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Posts: 173
Sister then...

...nice posting. Thank Goodness you didn't take my critque to the twilight zone. I just s"TROLL"along now. :-) I don't know where I am going so I'm not sure I'll get there, we'll see.

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