Tell Your Story, Be In Our New Book

Adam Taggart
By Adam Taggart on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 - 11:37am

As many of you know, Chris & I are writing a new book. Titled Prosper!, the book focuses on the importance of developing resilience, and offers guidance on how to do so at the personal level.

Where Chris' previous book, The Crash Course, was about the predicaments we face in the coming future, this new book is about the solutions we should pursue in response.

Given our appreciation of the power of positive models, we'd like to include a chapter in the book that features stories of personal resilience. As readers of PeakProsperity.com, we know there are lots of you who have made important strides (both large and small) in your lives towards reducing your vulnerability to the Three E trends -- by growing food, building community, developing new skills, getting fit, switching careers, etc.

If you have an inspiring story to tell, we'd like to consider featuring it in this chapter.

Send us your story by posting it in the Comments section below, or emailing it to us here.

Guidelines: We're looking for submissions of 300-500 words in length. Tell us what steps you've taken, why you took them, and the impact they've had on your life. What might others be able to learn from your experience?

We can likely fit 6-8 of these stories in the chapter, so we may not be able to put every submission in our new book. But, we will compile them all in a digest on the website as a public resource.

So, tell us your story, and we'll do our part to immortalize you in print!

Deadline for story submissions: July 15th. Earlier submissions will have a better chance of making the book.

12 Comments

vauban's picture
vauban
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 29 2010
Posts: 1
Our Homestead

I suppose our journey began way back in the 70’s.  The gas crisis and the book, “Small is Beautiful” by E.F. Schumacher seemed strong arguments that our national life style was ultimately unsustainable.

Four years ago we started looking for our homestead.

We were fortunate to live close to some of the most ideal areas in the country for building resilience.  Good water, soil, and a large Amish community with their horse powered infrastructure.  This area was at the southern edge of the last ice age, giving a good sandy gravel aquifer and well mineralized soils

We found a 200 year old brick farmhouse on 12 mostly wooded acres.  What sealed the deal was it had a spring room attached to the house with cold clean water running 24 hours a day.  The springs (5 of them) are uphill from the house and feed a stream that originates completely on our land.

The house has  12 inch solid brick walls with an outside wood burner and propane backup.  The first summer it stayed pretty cool if we opened the windows at night and closed them in the morning but the house was damp.

 Our first major investment was a Geothermal heating and cooling system.  With the spring water we had an open loop system put in which cooled the house  nicely with 55 degree water.  The heat drawn out of the air went to heating the domestic water supply.  It works well in the winter to heat the house as long as it doesn’t get to far below 28 degrees, then the backup propane comes on.  With spring water input it supposedly generates $4 of heating and cooling for each $1 of electricity.

Next on the infrastructure list was a bank barn built where the old barn had collapsed.  We designed it with a root cellar and a cistern that gravity feeds the livestock tanks in the lower level.  The cistern is fed from the roof run off.  Float valves in the stock tanks keep the water at level.  In hindsight I wish I had also put in an ice room.

Next comes the fencing with tight mesh at the bottom to keep in the chickens and allow them the entire pasture to roam.  It is high enough for horses and strong enough  for goats.  You have to have good fencing when you have 6 goats!  With the goats we have learned to milk, make cheese, and midwife births.  It has been fun!  The chickens are called Buff Orpingtons and are known to be very social birds who like being picked up and held.

Garden beds are in and fruit trees were planted the first year. More fruit trees and bushes have been added each year.   This year we put in the 16 kwh solar panel system while we can still get the tax credit (it expires in 2016).  Between it and the Geothermal we are close to being energy independent.

We love this simple life.

mike dickenson's picture
mike dickenson
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 4 2010
Posts: 8
Our Homestead

Our Homestead:

My wife and I made the decision to leave the city and find a homestead 4 years ago.  We enjoyed only weekends for 2 years before moving here full time.  Our site selection criteria included a location with a maximum of 70 miles out of the city.  Abundant water resources, timber, and acreage for planting and livestock were essential requirements.   God’s providence led us to a restored 1920s era home on 7 acres.  Since our initial purchase we have added an apple orchard of 70 trees, now producing prolifically, 2 garden plots that total at least an acre, 2 chicken coops with a total of 80 layers.  We drilled a well that provides wonderful fresh water to supplement our city, spring, and stream supplied waters.  My wife has become an accomplished soap maker and canner putting up at least 200 jars of vegetables last year and crafting several hundred bars of soap from nearly a dozen recipes.   Additionally, we made contact with the landowner of the adjacent property, which turned out to be the heirs of the original farm and were able to purchase the entire additional 170 acres and reconstitute the farm as it originally stood.  Currently, we are in the process of restoring the main hay barn to its original configuration and design.  A nearby milk house, long abandoned, is being restored with the intention of establishing a “community store” for us to sell our produce, eggs, and soaps.  We intend to make the space available to anyone in the community to bring their crafts for sale or trade.  We are excited about the unfolding possibilities.  One neighbor has already committed to providing restoration expertise and will be adding iron work crafts, hand crafted syrups, honey, and additional vegetables.  We feel, at this point, the possibilities are endless.

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 29 2012
Posts: 578
Our Texas Homestead

Ten years ago we purchased 76 acres in the Texas Hill country. We added a 30,000 gallon rain collection system immediately due to poor quality of the well water and have since increased capacity. We deer fenced (8') a 125' x 125' garden and planted four 125' rows of asparagus plus fruit trees and left space for annual veggies. We also fenced a 60' x 40' garden closer to the house for irish potatoes, sweet potatoes and  greens and cole crops during the cooler months. We built a root cellar and installed 2 solar systems (10 kw total). One is a GS8048 with battery backup, for the cellar and water pumps, and the other a grid tie Enphase system which has cut our power bill to 1/3 or less. We added a pond and packed the bottom with local clay and it has held water quite well, and we have just finished a 40' x 32' x 18' high passive solar greenhouse with thermal chimney cooling and a subterranean heating and cooling air exchange system. It's been kinda like triage, jumping from one project to the other because they are all interlinked, but now we are finally in a phase of finishing details and polishing systems. We also have a wildlife exemption on 50 acres and an ag exemption on 26. There are lots of whitetail and axis deer and turkey on our place since we don't hunt. We have 4 horses and use their manure as the base for our compost which cooks for a year before we use it. We have a guest rental cottage and enjoy showing interested folks what we are doing. Our ultimate goal is to have a functional teaching homestead.  

 

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5752
Thank you for the stories!

Thank you Vauban, Mike and OOG!

These are perfect. They show the the thoughtfulness and time it takes to step towards true resilience and that it takes t.i.m.e.

If anybody else has a story they'd like to share either here or via PM, please do so!  It is your stories that will bring our new book to life.

Best,
Chris M.

RoseHip's picture
RoseHip
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 5 2013
Posts: 150
My mind the homestead

I offer my story for diversity purposes and to offer encouragement for those that need it. As well for those at the emotional beginning that may not have the outward physical changes reflecting the internal changes in development. 

Beginning in 2007, 6 months before the plunge in housing we purchased our home that stretched our income to mortgage ratio to over 30%, just because the bank told us we could. And also because we were following cultures set of values and not our own. If you had asked me then I would have denied it! As my ego was very active as was my male sense of testosterone driven sense of self. 2007/2008 turned out to be a significant time of self evaluation and awakening, stripping away of the fragile shell of culture for which I found my self worth. Before I was able to manifest any physical changes resembling resilience I first had to approach a head full of non-sense, and a consumer driven lifestyle lacking direction or purpose. My first steps were watching the crash course on DVD and reading Charles Eisenstein. (everything he wrote/writes or says but mostly it was Ascent of Humanity that helped the most) I then followed that up with many internal experiences for neurological re-wiring, and re-educating which the majors players of that being, new found friendships thru fully present experiences, men group, music, meditation and entheogenic medicine. Which provided much needed comfort, emotional uplift, insight and strength. This was done by intention and under the wing of one of the most beautiful and well practiced humans beings I have ever had the grace of sharing space with. I don't recommend doing it without this sort of presence.  

After 7 years in this unsustainable mortgage we made our brake leaving behind our savings in the upside down mortgage it would have taken 14 years to get out of. Moving 3 times in one year we eventually were able to buy a much smaller house at half the mortgage on a lot 4 times as large. Now we have a large backyard garden, compost, a coop full of chickens, a new self-remodeled house. All of which are creating many newly formed skills and increased self confidence. Built upon a complete neurological upgrade intended for resilience and personal growth. All of my projects are done on budget and completed in time spent after work and during weekend hours. Which often means resourcing from unlikely places and materials or just plain waiting until the project can be afforded. Most often it's the available resources choosing the project, rather than my act of choosing. I won't go too much into the details of the physical manifestations of my work because most of the effort for me is on the emotional resilience side, which I find much more compelling. 

It is never too late to change yourself and if your like me, especially at the early stages it can all seem so impossible to tackle, because the changes feel too big and numerous and the world to foreign. The important thing I came to understand is nobody pulls themselves up by their own boot straps. Everyone requires help, and its always closer and more accessible than you feel it is. Especially when you start asking and offering without shame. This is why my successes and failures are intimately linked and often confused. A good friend of mine would say "my answers have now become questions and my questions answers". I have found my advantages are increased creativity, innovation and having something that is completely unique and debt free creating a wealth/skill all it's own. I'm not pressed to make more money only free up more time in which to experience lifes many bipolar unfolding's. 

Edit - so far I have been successful at remaining married, which has been no small feat, and deserves celebration in it's own right.  

Rose

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 29 2012
Posts: 578
Thanks Chris

PS.... Every time Gold gets hammered I look around the ranch at what we've built and see our true investments. It puts things in perspective.

Casey's picture
Casey
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 2 2009
Posts: 28
From Crash Course to Broomgrass

We were living in the sustainable urban community of Takoma Park, MD when research for my job brought me across The Crash Course and, then, to what became the Peak Prosperity on-line community. Our house in Takoma Park was outfitted to the best of our sustainable resilient/abilities complemented by many applicable municipal services but our appreciation of evolving circumstances was constantly enhanced by PP and attendance at a retreat hosted by Chris, Becca, and Adam. Our minds and imaginations had become fertile ground. A friend had told Meg about Broomgrass after meeting the founders at a Maryland Green Festival and so when Meg and I found ourselves in Berkeley Springs, WV for a birthday celebration, we decided to see if we could arrange a side trip to visit the Broomgrass Community. After we spent a couple of hours touring the property with Lisa, one of the founders, Meg and I didn’t have to say a word: we looked at each other as we departed, and a glance and a shrug told us we were about to embark on a new path. We had visited a 320 acre communally owned working organic farm nestled in the Shenandoah Valley less than two hours from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore; sixteen one-acre lots owned by individual residents, 304 acres owned and managed by the community. So far, there are chickens (broilers and layers), a small cattle herd, hops, barley, corn, bees, and even a commercial hay operation. There is a community, deer-fenced large garden, but each household typically sports a robust garden. We own a barn and extensive equipment, and any resident can contribute a project as part of the “farm plan” at any community meeting. Plus, Broomgrass is situated in a rich agricultural valley and surrounded by a robust CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) network of farms. Being life-long urban, suburban dwellers, Meg and I will be advancing a plan to “farm energy” by capitalizing solar panels on the barn to provide energy back for partial operations. As I write this today, our quarterly meeting is being held and one resident will proposed a small passel of hogs to move in rotating forest based paddocks. Meg and I are considering trying an acre or so with oats, then corn, to derive two annual harvests. We have so much to learn. We sold our house in Takoma Park and that financed our buy in and the building of our home here. Lisa and her husband Matthew are the founders; both are young, innovative, preservation specialist LEED certified architects and Lisa designed and help build our house. All homes must be geothermal, use an approved well and septic system, and house all HVAC systems internally. Ours will get solar as the finishing touch – we made the move April 1, 2015 – a propitious day, eh? The value of this story is that there are entire communities evolving driven by the tenets that PP pioneers, evolves, and advances. Matthew and Lisa did extensive research and legal and financial exploration to structure the best tax and preservation options for a sustainable agricultural community. As one might imagine, there are many avenues to take in a discussion of this new experiment – especially as the community grows; right now, there are seven homes, five year round households, two original lots for sale, and two or three lots for resale as owner’s have changed their life plans. As one might imagine, dramatic changes require many adjustments. Livelihood, relationships, family, and many considerations loom when making life transitions. Shoot, think of Chris’ own story and Becca’s initial thoughts. Chris, Becca, Adam, Peak Prosperity, and the PP community stimulate thought, advance possibilities, and suggest solutions in the framework that Chris explores, analyzes, and dissects. Thanks Chris, et al. The adventure continues . . .

David Huang's picture
David Huang
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 20 2010
Posts: 76
Building an art career and finding much more

My journey down this path began early.  I was born in the early 70’s and seemed to pick up on the environmental and energy concerns of that decade.  My father would say such things as, “use all the lights you need, but if you aren’t using them turn them OFF.”  These ideas became my baseline understanding of the world.

    Early on my goal was to be an artist for a living.  I was realistic enough to expect many lean years of income with this career choice, and I would probably never be rich.  So I planned from the beginning to keep my cost of living low, and where possible, direct my spending toward lowering future expenses.

    I bought my home while still in college.  I actually feel a bit sorry for my realtor who spent 2 years helping me find the place.  His commission was very small because I was looking at the lowest priced properties available.  What I bought was a small, old mobile home on 1.5 acres in a rural setting.  My monthly mortgage payment was significantly less than the average monthly rent at the time.  I worked hard to pay it off in 9 years, thus eliminating my largest monthly bill.

    Along the way I invested what I could in transforming the thermal nightmare that was the mobile home into an energy efficient abode.  This involved the normal things of new windows, efficient lighting, etc.  It also involved less normal modifications.  I built a shell around it to form an attic and 12 inch thick walls creating the space needed to super insulate.

    Another major project was creating a small passive solar, earth sheltered building.  Primarily this was to be my art studio, but it also doubles as a storm shelter.  It became a project for learning how to put together a small photovoltaic system.  Recently I was able to get a second, larger, off-grid photovoltaic system installed to power my whole home, eliminating another monthly bill.  

    I started gardening as soon as I moved to this property, slowly learning and expanding my abilities.  I installed a couple 1500 gallon cisterns to collect rainwater mostly for garden use, but also as a backup water supply if needed.  Lately I’ve been working to establish more edible perennial plants/trees.  I should also note that I spent a couple years learning about edible wild plants in my region, esp. those that grow on my property.  

    I did achieve my goal of becoming a professional studio artist.  As expected, there were many very lean income years.  Even now as a “successful” artist my income just barely qualifies for middle class.  I think I still fall short some years.  However, due to my efforts to create a low cost of living, and investing in things that lower my future expenses, I have an extremely high quality of life.  Money hasn’t been a real concern for many years now.  I may not make huge sums, but what I do amply meets my needs.

    I didn’t set out to live a more environmentally friendly life.  Nor did I start down this path in fear of a major economic collapse.  Yet I discovered that living a lower impact lifestyle saves money as well as environmental resources, and offers me more resilience as our economies decline.  All the while I’ve been increasingly empowered to direct my time, and live my life, as I desire.

(Please note that if you are interested in my story for your book, and the 500 word limit is strict, you can completely cut the section on gardening and wild food.  It should then fall just under 500 words while still holding together as a coherent story.)
 

BBrady's picture
BBrady
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 11 2011
Posts: 12
Prosper!

My Awakening began just over 10 years ago when I heard a radio program about Peak Oil.  I decided to do my own research, and became increasingly concerned about the limits of fossil-fuel energy and its resulting impacts on our society.  The obvious conclusion was that we are an exponentially growing population living on a finite planet with finite resources (which presents a serious problem).  My reading then extended to other concerns about our environment:  pollution, soil depletion, fresh water depletion, fisheries depletion, climate change, and more.

 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, one of my greatest shocks was learning about the Federal Reserve and its role in the creation and control of money.  It was shocking because I used to be an international banker.  I had taken courses from the American Institute of Banking, attended the School for International Banking, and was even assigned to the foreign office of an American bank.  You would think I was already aware of how finance worked – but I was not.  I was just one cog in the big money machine.

 

Once I became aware, I could not continue as before.  I realized that I needed to take immediate action, to do whatever I could to protect my family – my wife, my two children, and my (hopefully) future grandchildren.  I also realized I needed more time to research and prepare, and that I needed money to acquire the resources needed for our future lives.

 

I had been very fortunate to have formed my own company (a community association management company) and to have built it into one of the largest such companies in Virginia.  To accomplish what I knew I needed to do, I decided to sell my company - at the age of 49 - and devote my time and use the proceeds from the sale to begin to prepare.

 

Though I did not want to accept the inevitable conclusion, I realized that our beautiful home in the suburbs and our weekend home nearby in the mountains at a ski resort would not provide a safe, independent and sustainable location.  We needed a farm.  But not your typical, isolated farm.  Instead, we needed a good balance between privacy and neighbors nearby for support structure and mutual security.  In a future of diminished travel and resources, it will take more than just a few friends or family members to provide needed skills and manpower – it really does take a village.

 

At first, my property search took me to remote locations.  My wife quickly changed that.  She informed me that we were not going to live in some isolated cave, waiting for something bad that might never happen.  She correctly determined that we should continue be able to enjoy all the luxuries and conveniences that our modern society has to offer.  Her criteria was that she wanted to be within a 30-minute drive of a town that offered excellent medical care, culture, restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters and shopping.

 

We found our solution at Bundoran Farm - a 2,300-acre preservation development of 99 residential lots built around an existing farm operation with cattle, a vineyard and winery, and a 165-acre apple orchard.  The community is located less than 15 minutes south of Charlottesville, Virginia (often rated as one of the Best Cities in America), nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and easily accessed by a four-lane divided highway.  It also happens to be the location of the 2015 Southern Living Magazine Idea Home.  We acquired an entire section of the property consisting of 12 lots, sold 2 to my business partner, and consolidated 3 to keep for ourselves.  As a national authority on community associations, my fellow owners elected me as their representative to the developer-controlled board of directors.

 

More than a year was devoted to designing the home, the barn and the gardens.  The house and barn are unusual in that the core of the exterior walls are concrete and steel, the framing is steel, the roof is metal, and all exterior trim is PVC – but you would never know from looking at them.  Both structures look traditional.  Even though this construction was initially more expensive, it will be less expensive over the long term.  With my background in property management, I knew that 100 years ago labor was cheap, but materials were expensive.  That has changed so that today labor is expensive, but materials are relatively cheap.  I believe that in the immediate future, both materials and labor will be expensive – so I wanted to build structures that would last for hundreds of years, and not utilize the cheapest materials that may soon need repair or replacement.

 

After constructing a road to the site, I first built the barn so that it could also be used as a staging area for materials during construction of the house.  The barn faces due south, and I installed 42 photovoltaic panels on the barn roof that produce an average of 10.3 kilowatts of power.  The PV panels are currently grid-tied, but will soon be augmented with additional PV panels and rerouted to a battery-storage bank inside the house.  The exterior walls of the house are massive, energy-efficient Insulated Concrete Forms, and the underside of the roof is super-insulated with 5” of sprayed closed-cell foam.  Heating and cooling is produced from two geothermal heat pumps, and almost all of the lights are energy-efficient LEDs.  Of course, we have our own well and septic field, and are installing cisterns to capture rainwater from the barn and house, as well as an emergency cistern located further up the mountain.  Because I believed the world would likely become more dangerous, I also designed and installed features to make the home secure and survivable from external threats.

 

The garden is protectively located between the house and the barn, and contains a vineyard for table grapes (juices, jams and raisins), a permaculture orchard (apple, peach, pear, plum and fig trees), formal kitchen potager, a traditional garden, berry patch (blueberry, blackberry and raspberry) and eventually a permanent greenhouse for year-round vegetable production.  Earlier this year, I started my first two bee hives, and my wife is raising 12 fancy chickens for egg production.

 

We sold both of our homes, and recently moved into a small apartment incorporated within the new house while it is being completed.  Living on the farm is a lot more work than the retirement we had previously envisioned.  Instead of a life of leisure, there are chores, and plants and animals that need tending.  But remaining active should also keep us healthy, and we now have food security and know how our food was grown.  During the Great Depression, many people returned to the homes of their parents on the farm.  Today, not many people have parents or grandparents that still have a farm, but we hope to provide that safety net for our family.

 

Although it is almost impossible to be totally independent and self-sufficient, my hope is that our new farmstead will make us more resilient to encounter whatever the future may bring.  If nothing happens and the world continues as is, we’re still living on a beautiful farm located just outside one of the best towns in America.

 

Of all the trials and tribulations we have endured during this process, probably the most difficult has been the reception we receive when we try to forewarn our family and friends about the prudence of being prepared.  I view myself as something of a Paul Revere trying to warn everyone.  Dishearteningly, most people do not want to hear anything that may be upsetting, and instead view me more as Chicken Little.  But I continue to preach my message undaunted.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the development of our farmstead, you can monitor our progress at www.Facebook.com/BramleyFarm

Gratidude's picture
Gratidude
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 24 2012
Posts: 19
Financial Resilience

Since I don't see one here already, here's a financial-resilience story. 

About twenty years ago I was unemployed and easily qualified for the government assistance I depended on to feed my daughter. After a certain amount of desperation and help from Robert Kiyosaki's books, I learned about the financial rules that we all live under in this country. I learned how to arrange my affairs within these rules to keep more of what I earned. Long story short, I ended up making a good living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the technology industry. I married an attorney that worked at a prestigious law firm in downtown San Francisco. With my new-found wealth, I bought expensive cars, expensive home theaters, expensive vacations, expensive dinners and expensive hair-cuts. I was deep in debt and really living paycheck-to-paycheck. I was working long hours and playing hard because I felt I deserved it. 

Once I learned about the problem with our society's "Three E's", I realized how unsustainable my lifestyle had become. I was happy that I finally had money in my life, but what I really wanted was financial security. I learned that if I saved 10% of my income per year that I would need to work 10 years to take one year off. I made a plan to save 70% per year and work only if I choose to. First goal was to pay off all debt with the ultimate goal being no monthly payment commitments on anything. My wife and I sold our German luxury cars and bought sensible cars for cash. We canceled cable TV and all unnecessary monthly bills. We paid off all our loans except our house and her student loans.

The second goal was to get our lifestyle in order. We had suddenly realized how much stuff we had collected and made plans to reduce the amount of stuff we owned. We sold only the most expensive items, the rest we donated.  We donated lots of stuff, dozens of car loads to the local Goodwill. We reduced the amount of our belongings so much that we could now move from a 2400 sqft home in San Francisco to a 500 sqft mobile home in a trailer park 15 miles south.  

 

The move drastically reduced my cost of living and after the move, I only needed 30% of my net income to live, the rest I invested and saved. After watching a few documentaries on the difficulty of making ends meet after retirement, my wife and I set a plan to be secure in our retirement. We assumed we would not get anything back from what we've paid into SSI, but the hard part here was not knowing what the economy will be like in the future. We dare not depend on a return from any single investment, so we diversified. We bought several investment properties in a different state. My partner and I grew our business substantially while I also regularly bought gold. Now the risk of having a retirement income is split between a small business, tax-deferred retirement accounts (cash), SSI, gold, and real estate.

My lower cost of living, and the security of having several potential sources of retirement income has made both my wife and I feel secure enough to seek out new careers. We both made plans with our jobs to work far fewer hours. With meaningful help from Adam's book "Finding Your Authentic Career", I now spend at least 3 full days per week working on alternative fuel ideas for combustion engines. I know there's is much more that can be improved with my finances. Each month I must pay rent, I must pay utilities, I'm exposed to bank account confiscation, and more. But I couldn't be happier with my progress and I'm proud of my new-found freedom. Even with a completely off-grid Earth Ship, financial resilience is a requirement for happiness. 

karl01's picture
karl01
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 24 2010
Posts: 11
Head in the Sand

I was raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey.  Had the life, but didn't know it.  Left at age 13 with Mom and stepfather.  Enter the world of the DC area and fast food, both parents working and leading the good life so to speak.  No more milking cows, gathering eggs, baling hay, driving the tractor, tending the garden....all that hard work that no one really likes to do!

I am now 64 years old, female still living in the DC area, going about my every day life, get up, go to work, sit all day, come home and sit and watch tv.  One day, my son and daughter-in-law asked me to take the self assessment that was on the Chris Martensen website.  So I said, "sure".  The first time I filled it out, I disliked it so much, I actually threw it away after filling out the first page.  It made me feel very uncomfortable to the point that my stomach got upset.  Some weeks later, it popped up in my mind, and I tried it again.  This time I got a little further, but that uneasy feeling came back, and again threw it away.  It kept bothering me that I could not seem to be adult enough to finish it.  Once more I took it.  This time I got through most of it, but again grew tired of it and filed it away in a book.  About 1 week later, I took it out of the book and decided I was going to finish it and I did.   A little later the same day, I erased my answers and took it again.  And I took it again until not only did it not send shivers down my spine and upset my stomach but I felt that I was empowered by taking it. 

I read Peak Prosperity most days, listen to Survival podcasts, don't watch TV and spend most of my waking time (when not at work) outside in a small garden, growing herbs and vegetables, and I have a compost bin as well.  Have to give the credit to my kids as they implemented it for me.  I have some canned food stored and would like to continue to build this lifestyle.  Most of my friends don't even want to discuss what I do and they think I am crazy.  They shop, get their hair and nails done and make payments on huge credit card debt. 

I look forward to retirement in 2 years, where I can sell my 4 bedroom home and move to some land with a few chickens or ducks, a huge garden along with a water source and a outdoor kitchen.  I am a single person which makes the financial part of my life a little bit more difficult but I am financially free and I know I will continue to be that way.  Thank you.

jharting's picture
jharting
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 5
Change your sorroundings but change yourself

I love the idea of building a homestead and thriving in a sustainable way.  And I started out doing everything I could do to become more resilient.  But I soon found that I also needed to change.  I wasn't happy with my world, with my government, but also I wasn't really happy with myself.  

I had some idea of what I might do from practicing Yoga in my youth but had no idea of the path or what the outcome might be.  I just wanted to feel better and be happier and that was it.  

So I started practicing yoga and meditation without any particular religion in mind.  I felt better, but found I wanted to do this in a community so I started going to classes, which lead to teacher trainings, retreats, new friends, new skills, improved self confidence and a new relationship with the universe.  

I could say that I became more spiritual and happy but that wouldn't really be the point.  What is the point that I became more in tune with living a sustainable and happy life through personal growth and community engagement. And I would say that if you want to change your world you have to really think about changing yourself and your relationship with everything.  Here are a few observations that I can make about my personal journey so far.  

1.  I don't feel like anyone or anything is doing anything to me anymore.  I am responsible for my destiny.

2.  I don't really have too may negative, worrisome thoughts or stress.  Instead my mind is mostly neutral on various subjects and I try to let my intuition determine my actions, not my emotions.

3.  My diet changed to primarily vegetarian, I stopped drinking.  I lost weight and several physical symptoms of stress and age including acid-reflux and eczema.  

4. Even though my wife and family don't practice what I do, the entire family dynamic changed and is much more loving and supportive.  

5. I found new friends, new skills and new communities intent on friendship, support, and change (personal and the world).  

6. Work and life seem to be much less work and more of a joy

I realize that yoga and meditation may seem a little hippie-ish or religious to many folks. Hey, I am an executive in Silicon Valley so it was a stretch for me too.   I just wanted to share this here because I think its a big part of resiliency for the future and I hope you do too.

May all beings support each other and protect the earth,

Jake

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