Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage https://www.dancingrabbit.org Communal Living | Sustainable Living | Community Living Sun, 24 May 2020 17:56:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-markDRLogoMoon-32x32.png Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage https://www.dancingrabbit.org 32 32 Experimentation, Experience, and Reflection: A Dancing Rabbit Update https://www.dancingrabbit.org/experimentation-experience-and-reflection-a-dancing-rabbit-update/ https://www.dancingrabbit.org/experimentation-experience-and-reflection-a-dancing-rabbit-update/#respond Sun, 24 May 2020 17:56:19 +0000 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/?p=27497 What is your relationship with giving and receiving constructive or critical feedback? What are your thoughts on feminism? Deep breath! Ready… answer! 

This is Prairie, once again being prompted by the world and its myriad inhabitants to answer a couple of important questions. If only I could think for a zippy moment and give a simple answer. If you have been keeping up with the awkward and chaotic process one might call growth that inevitably bleeds into my writing, you may have discerned a certain pattern of experiment, experience, and reflect. This article holds no exceptions. 

Fun fact: I have lived here for two and a half years and then some. I have been my mother’s guest. On June 3rd, barring any unresolved concerns from the community, I will become a resident. After six months of residency status and positive integration into Dancing Rabbit, I can apply for Membership. The difference between these titles? Members pay a small percentage of their quarterly income to the non-profit, CSCC, join and contribute to at least one committee, and forgo a personal vehicle. (Luckily, I do not have one!) Additionally, and what deeply interests me, is the ability to own and build property on Dancing Rabbit’s land. You will hear more about that, no doubt, when the time comes. 

What is your relationship with giving and receiving constructive or critical feedback? What are your thoughts on feminism? Here we are again. “Good question,” I told Liz many a time throughout my residency interview. I can’t replicate here precisely what I replied at the time, but I walked away from that interview realizing how important my answers are, for others’ benefit and my own. 

My general reaction to criticism, I have noticed, is to become defensive: my belly tightens and my jaws clench. I feel this odd smallness, as though I am shrinking somehow. These, I think, are not-so-subtle cues that I am taking the feedback too personally, as though I am being critiqued, versus my actions or behavior. The difference being what I do is temporary. Who I claim to be also changes in the sense that thoughts and ideas do not remain forever. My awareness, however, continues, untouched by time or even experience. Eyes receive photons and transport that information to the brain for analysis; like awareness, the actual act of seeing continues instinctively. It is perspective that determines interpretation and then reaction. 

Criticism falls like rain; one can build walls to keep it at bay, use umbrellas or coats, but inevitably we all get caught in storms and soak ourselves. Positive self-talk to contradict the negative response to feedback has only taken me so far. There comes a point when facing the rain becomes vital and necessary for growth. Processed more deeply, I can actually hear the feedback and use it, with neutral discernment. It is pivotal to be able to receive criticism and choose diligently what to do with that information, especially in community. 

Giving constructive feedback is another growth edge of mine. (What isn’t, these days?) That’s another story for another time. What is your relationship with offering criticism? Maybe you can help me out. 

On feminism. Firstly, when I choose to embody feminism I choose to acknowledge the historical and cultural objectification, demonization, domestication, mistrust, and ultimately degradation of women as physical, intellectual, emotional, sexual, social, and spiritual creatures; secondly, with that awareness, make choices in alignment with my unique values as a young woman, and in consideration of the women around me and abroad. With conscious intent I have the power to bring an alternative center of gravity into this world: that of consideration, care, upliftment, compassion, and empowerment to all humans. Feminism in my mind is akin to equality and that means bringing this out-of-balance world back to center. It means that as someone with a beating heart, I matter. And so do you. Feminism means finding courage, kindness, and authentic strength in the face of any notion of inequality toward female-bodied people, and speaking up

I began this article mid-morning, fairly sure of what I wanted to say, with no certain way of saying it. It is late evening now, and the trees are nearly still. I can hear crickets faintly through the stocky clay and straw bale walls of my abode. Winter has faded and spring approaches summer quickly. Gradually, I have begun to tenderly call Ironweed garden ‘my garden.’ It has formed orderly, fertile beds, with my help, ready for tomatoes, beans, corn, and maybe even some carrots! Asparagus season is waning, and already we have a colorful crop of radishes. Peas soon to come. 

Every (mostly distant) social interaction I find myself in these days feels like an immense blessing at this confusing time. I see Graham and Katherine gardening with Cat and Jed; Hassan walking his new puppy, Buddy; my younger friends about the village paths enjoying the warm air; John keeping busy as always; and my snug little kitchen and it’s committed inhabitants. We all came here for our reasons, varied and powerful in our ways. And we keep going. 

Much grace to you in navigating these turbulent waters. May your footsteps lead you deeper into your truth and carry out the message you have to offer this thirsty world. What are your thoughts on feminism? How do you receive criticism?

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Rabbit-cast! Rabbits Interviewed on Ecovillage Podcast Series https://www.dancingrabbit.org/rabbit-cast-rabbits-interviewed-on-ecovillage-podcast-series/ https://www.dancingrabbit.org/rabbit-cast-rabbits-interviewed-on-ecovillage-podcast-series/#respond Sat, 23 May 2020 16:20:38 +0000 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/?p=27490

Hi there Rabbit-fans! My name is Thumbs, and I’m an ecovillage nomad who has been traveling as a representative of the Global Ecovillage Network (NextGENNA), weaving together the North American ecovillage movement for the last 4 years. I first visited Dancing Rabbit in 2017 to help with a cob building project, and I’ve been riding my inspiration from that experience to this day!  

 Our latest project at NextGENNA is a podcast series on “Healing in Community.” Under this title we are exploring the four pillars of community (ecological, social, economics & worldview) and how healing presents itself in each. Since Dancing Rabbit has been around for over 20 years, I was sure to find wisdom on these topics amongst the membership there. My podcast interviews with DR members Hassan Hall and Alannah Tomich went far beyond my expectations and are a timeless gift I’m glad to share with you.  

What is true for me right now, that’s what I’ve got to do.” – Hassan Hall  

Recording this interview with Hassan was a special treat for me because he has been a guiding light on my journey to find community. I left home on a multi-year journey of my own to find my place in community, not sure of how or where I’d fit in, but sure that community is where I belonged. Along this journey I could feel where the gifts I had to offer were welcome, and where the gifts I yearned to give weren’t eagerly received.  

Hassan Hall, who has been a member of Dancing Rabbit for about 8 years, has also performed this dance within the ballroom of community. In this interview he shares what has helped him listen to his heart, and act from a place of choice and not burden. He also shares his guidance on how to hold your passions and beliefs up, while still collaborating with others whose views may be in tension with yours. Finally, his beautiful perspective on how to facilitate a work party in which “every microbe in the prairie consents” will be sage advice for your next community project! 

Awareness practices can help us have myriad positive impacts.” – Alannah Tomich 

I first met Alannah Tomich when she was flying above in the blue skies above The Farm community Tennessee (acroyoga 😉). She reached out to me for this podcast, eager to share about the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM); an ancient yet modern, traditional yet controversial, effective yet marginalized art of tracking the female cycle for intentionally planning or preventing conception. The podcast interview with Alannah was a wonderful journey starting with a FAM 101 course and reaching a crescendo for me when we mused on using this to rewrite the rules of patriarchy. 

 Luckily, if you enjoyed the conversation with Alannah, she is a full spectrum doula and eager to hold your hand while walking down the pathways to understanding feminine cycles. Contact her at empoweredcontraception@gmail.com to continue the conversation. 

Are you ready to take your next step on the ecovillage journey? The team at Global Ecovillage Network North America is hosting a holistic online ecovillage education series from June 13th-27th. Over the course of these two weeks NextGENNA will have an array of workshops addressing a wide range of topics that cover everything from founding an ecovillage, to NVC, grief, sustainable building, indigenous healing, and more. Join us and take your next step on the ecovillage journey!

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Building Community Online https://www.dancingrabbit.org/building-community-online/ Tue, 19 May 2020 15:23:30 +0000 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/?p=27471

“Hello all you lovely patrons…”

These 5 wonderful words introduce many pieces of content we create and post on our Patreon in order to engage with you, our lovely audience, in a deeper and more connected way. Each month we put out pictures and videos, answer questions, and have fun conversations with our supporters around the globe. 

By joining us for as little as $1 a month, you will receive access to all of our Patreon content and get a more intimate view of life at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. If you’d like to be more involved you can join us at the $5 or more a month levels. Here you will be able to help us further our mission to provide a sustainable environment for humans and animals alike out on our corner of the prairie by planting native trees. This past year we were able to plant 80 trees around the village to help provide shade, food, and homes for our native wildlife along with benefitting villagers from the wonderful support we received on Patreon. 

As a Patron you help us build relationships with people afar as well as help us fund our projects at the nonprofit at Dancing Rabbit: The Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture. Each year we invite and bring in hundreds of people to show them how everyone can live a rich life while also living lightly. Your patronage allows our nonprofit staff to continue spreading the hope for a sustainable future, through the education and outreach of our experiments here in the village. 

As a Patron you get to connect more deeply to our organization, ecovillage, and the members and residents that live here.

If you’ve visited you may see some familiar faces, and some cute  animal faces as well. (smiley face emoji) If you are planning on visiting you can get an informal introduction to the things that we are doing and a virtual tour of the village.

If it’s been a while since you were able to visit Dancing Rabbit, you can see all the progress that’s been made. No matter your current connection to Dancing Rabbit, this is an invitation to become more connected.

We hope that you join us on this platform. We love to answer your questions and show you what we are doing. Giving a snapshot into this lifestyle that we have dedicated ourselves to is one of our greatest joys. Educating and exploring with each other that a different way forward is possible drives our village. You can be a part of it by contributing to a mutual connection between Dancing Rabbit, you, and the planet we are taking care of together. 

Thank you for being on the journey with us. Our version of sustainability continues to teach us lessons that we are excited to share with you. Every dollar your pledge as a Patron helps us widen our scope and to spread our knowledge further. 

A big thank you to our current Patrons who make sharing and building community online such a joy.

Carolyn Bunge

For Online Community Building

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The Treasures of Nature: A Dancing Rabbit Update https://www.dancingrabbit.org/the-treasures-of-nature-a-dancing-rabbit-update/ https://www.dancingrabbit.org/the-treasures-of-nature-a-dancing-rabbit-update/#comments Sun, 10 May 2020 21:35:02 +0000 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/?p=27418 Spring is in the air and birds are everywhere! Living in the pastoral village of Dancing Rabbit here in northeast Missouri we are very close to nature, and of course, we are part of nature. We still have chilly weather but the snow is done and many of us are busy in our gardens. We have had some rain and seem to have good soil moisture and the trick is not to compact the wet soil as we prepare to plant vegetables and flowers. 

John here to relate to you the goings on in our busy village. Though we have curtailed our community dinners and group singing and dancing we still have a fair amount of socializing, though at reasonable distances and often with protective masks to reduce the chance of spreading the COVID-19 virus. I have been gardening in our ‘front’ garden along the main driveway near our parking lot, so I get to visit with lots of folks who stroll by. It is very nice to visit and share what we are doing around the village.  

There are several ongoing construction projects and many people are fixing up their homes for more comfort and convenience. I am living in Skyhouse, a large boarding house, with just two other residents and we doubt we will have many visitors this season. Hassan is redoing the floors in the back half of the building and it is nice to have him around with his subtle sense of humor. I told him I was going to go out to do some weed eating in the garden and he asked me what kind of weeds I was going to eat. Well I thought a minute and told him that the sourdock was very good but I am still looking for the lambsquarter! 

This is a wonderful time to garden, before the weeds and bugs show up en masse. They are already around and waiting for our tasty organic produce. I planted a dozen raspberry cane starts last week, and something, maybe rabbits, ate a few choice leaves off the primacanes, (new growth). So I have put chicken wire around the patch since it is outside our fenced garden. Dancing Rabbit lives up to its name with a lot of prancing rabbits looking to our gardens for treats! 

Last Saturday Alyson, of Red Earth Farms, led a birdwatching hike through the woods and meadows that lie between our adjacent communities. Alyson is quite knowledgeable and could recognise a tremendous number of birds by their beautiful songs. With binoculars she and Kurt would try and spot the bird singing and so positively identify the bird. (I was the one of our trio without binoculars).  

There were many highlights for me. Seeing a Baltimore oriole’s wonderful orange plumage darting through the woods and then roosting a few minutes to show off for us was nice. I also learned that the female red-winged blackbird is a plain speckled brown. I had always thought the male and female had the distinctive red shoulder patch. The trilling song of the red-winged blackbird is a sound I have always associated with summer since I used to hear it a lot in the heat of the summer as I walked the fields and meadows of our farm as a child. The robins chattered incessantly during our hike and made picking out the songs of other birds more difficult for me. But as we spent nearly 2 hours listening, my ability to discern the different calls improved.  

Earlier in the week I went out hunting morel mushrooms, because a sunny day after a half inch of rain seemed a good time to look. I bushwhacked for over two hours checking around dead trees and south facing slopes along a creek hoping to find the tasty fungi. Being fairly new to Dancing Rabbit and knowing there are many wildcrafters here I figured my chances of finding morels were slim.  

But about the time I started thinking of turning home empty handed I found a lone morel just a couple of feet from the creek and right under a heavy vine trunk. Well that got me motivated and in another 10 or 20 minutes I had found seven more nice-sized mushrooms! Though I was motivated now to look quite a while longer, these would be my take for the day. I was elated and marched home with high steps and a song in my heart thinking of my treasure in hand. I did share these morels with a few fellow communitarians and one friend who had never tasted morels before and was very delighted with the taste. 

I think we have a nice advantage being here in Northeast Missouri, far from crowded cities with people coming and going and some not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. We do practice social distancing here and we even wore masks as we went birdwatching the other day.  

Around the village we have a lot of foot traffic and so we get to visit outside at a respectable distance. But we also have a large piece of land held in a community land trust where we can hike and wildcraft and listen to nature. Though we have very few visitors and are far from movie theaters and restaurants we have quite well-rounded lives, and each other in a close-knit village. 

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More Resilient And Less Impatient: A Dancing Rabbit Update https://www.dancingrabbit.org/more-resilient-and-less-impatient-a-dancing-rabbit-update/ Wed, 29 Apr 2020 21:15:07 +0000 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/?p=27341 So I was reading this morning about the importance of pausing, feeling what is happening, and learning to accept.

Not sure if you can relate, but it’s a good choice for what’s going on in my world for sure!

Christina here, writing about what I can control and what I can’t control and the painful process of gaining the wisdom to tell the difference (sometimes).

There’s plenty in my life that I’m happy to just let be. As the pastures are greening up, we are moving the goat and cow fence just about every day. I love getting out there in the cool mornings to complete the simple repetitive tasks that I have finally begun to master after about three years. Seeing a baby goat kick up its heels (literally) on fresh grass never gets old. And I also have to admit that I love having Mae make the ultimate decisions about where to go next, whether the pasture is played out, or who might need some extra attention from the vet.

Our vegetable starts are getting just a bit bigger every day and I am already starting to panic a bit about the prairie grass poking through the wood chips. There’s something about committing to what goes where that stresses me out every year. But once the plants are in the ground, I’m willing to do my best to keep them alive while accepting that we might not get any ripe tomatoes until September (like last year) or we might not get more than a small bucket of sweet potatoes (like the year before) or we might get more zucchini than we know what to do with (like two years ago). 

Spring moves on, growing and making things green. Life moves on here following many of the same patterns it has in years past. I have been picking and enjoying wild nettles every few days, eating as many eggs as I can manage, and probably drinking about a gallon of milk every few days on my own. I’m very accepting of all that!

But there are also plenty in my life that’s not so easy to accept or just let be. For one, we have a new puppy. He loves eating fresh cow patties and hunting mice and often is too busy to come when he’s called. He’s mostly house trained but we still worry about an occasional accident if he tries to sneak behind the couch. He wants to chew what he wants to chew and my massage ball is his object of choice right now.

Homeschooling is a constant lesson in letting go of what I can’t control. And by constant, I mean something that I relearn every day and have relearned every day for the past four years. You would think that someone with sixteen years of classroom teaching experience would have it easy teaching just two of her own children, right? Well, you would think wrong. Finding the delicate balance between challenging the kids enough so that they learn and grow while letting them follow their own paths and discover their own interests is a constant work in progress. I get frustrated, I take breaks, I realize that I don’t have many answers.

And then there are the things that I can control: how I react to things that I don’t like in my life, what I do next time to maybe avoid the mistake I made this time, what I can do to make myself a little more resilient and a little less impatient.

I have been going for lots and lots of walks. I know that we are privileged in this — all I have to do is cross the road in front of our house and I am “on the land” where I can easily walk for over an hour without seeing anyone. 

I have been keeping up with yoga. Also lucky for me, I found an online yoga subscription when we first moved here and I was going through gym withdrawal. I’ve found myself choosing more restorative and resting practices than ever before and actually enjoying them.

I’ve been making an effort to have a video call with family almost every day. Of course, this also depends on how frustrated I’m feeling with the puppy and/or math instruction. 

I’ve been creating content for my own business that I hope will help teachers to get students thinking critically about coronavirus or whatever else they encounter in their lives, rather than blindly accepting rumors or myths that they hear from others.

And I’ve tried to throw some money at places where I think it might make a difference. For one, I bought a long-needed new mattress and have been noticing a huge difference in back and hip pain. I’ve outsourced a few homeschool classes in the topics that I just can’t seem to get through myself. And I have also tried to give a little extra money to some places where I think it can help right now. We have been extremely lucky in that the virus hasn’t affected our family income at all — a benefit of what they call a “location independent” income. So I have tried to share a little of that benefit.

And on May 7th, is an opportunity for you to share if you are able. Give STL is coming up soon and this yearly event is a great chance to support the work happening here at Dancing Rabbit. You can check out www.givestlday.org as May 7th approaches, with opportunities to multiply your giving with matching gifts.

In the meantime, I’ll be here taking walks and deep breaths and trying not to smell the cow-patty puppy breath. 

P.S. GiveSTL is on May 7th. Donating between the hours of 12 pm – 1 pm CST will maximize your gift through matching funds and prize money, this is the way to make your contribution multiply. Thank you.

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Sweeter Milk Equals Better Cheddar: A Dancing Rabbit Update https://www.dancingrabbit.org/sweeter-milk-equals-better-cheddar-a-dancing-rabbit-update/ https://www.dancingrabbit.org/sweeter-milk-equals-better-cheddar-a-dancing-rabbit-update/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2020 21:47:26 +0000 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/?p=27229 These are not normal times for any of us. For the second year in a row the peaches are almost entirely bloom-less, even though the pears and apples are bursting into a full complement. We actually managed to get peas in the ground in a timely way this year!  

No, like everybody else in the world we are learning and unlearning new things here every day in these strange times. In my 45 years I have never lived through anything that has so thoroughly gripped the entire world at once as this COVID-19 event.  

Ted here to bring you the news from Dancing Rabbit, where intentional community has taken on a different sort of meaning over the past few weeks as social distancing, purposeful isolation, and sanitation practices have seeped in and co-opted our daily lives. 

For several weeks now I’ve had the title of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera running through my head as I contemplate the changes in daily norms we’ve all been rapidly adjusting to. In a place where hugs are a frequent greeting between fellow villagers, where we often share potluck meals, walks, games, and other events with each other, and where infrastructural elements like kitchens and bathrooms are frequently shared between unrelated people, things really feel like they’ve been turned upside down. 

Like any community, we are a mix of people with different circumstances here. Some are younger, some older; some live with background health issues, some not; some have more exposure to the wider community through their work, while others can go weeks or months without venturing further than Rutledge, Sandhill, or Red Earth – just a few miles’ radius. Accordingly there have been varying degrees of concern about the possible arrival of the new coronavirus in our midst, but increasingly a sense of common cause, all of us trying to adjust our habits to care for the most vulnerable among us.  

As more information and understanding about the particulars of this pandemic have accumulated, we’ve been refining our strategies for keeping everybody safe and healthy. For many years we’ve staffed an Emergency Response Committee for the village. For most of those years (aside from a chicken pox event coinciding with the arrival of a new baby more than a decade ago) the committee’s work has been mostly theoretical, but the team rapidly scaled up a month or more ago, meeting virtually and regularly offering guidance and information resources for the village. We are grateful for their work! 

One of the most noticeable adjustments of this time for me has been the increased awareness of who we are each connected to in physical space. Whereas the family might be the basic unit of shared exposure if I lived elsewhere, the daily contact I keep with other Ironweeders to share kitchen, food, and cooking means that for COVID exposure purposes I am connected in turn to the other people each of them shares their days with. The kitchen also serves as the storage center and distribution point for the dairy co-op and all its members, so we have two groups with overlapping use of the same space.  

Danielle works in the Dancing Rabbit office in the common building, and Prairie and Aurelia each make use of the piano there on a daily basis, so there is overlap with those who frequent that building for their daily needs, though masks have become de rigueur there. Sara is a midwife with regular trips outside the village and the need to avoid exposing clients to contagion. She has been almost daily in touch with other midwives very actively adjusting to the needs of the moment, including moms at all stages of pregnancy who had not previously considered home birth but are now keen to avoid a hospital setting. Multiply this range of factors for each other grouping of people in the village, and it gets increasingly complicated. 

What I’ve loved, and will long remember about this period (assuming I make it through it!) are the individual efforts to help out while still having fun. Katherine, who as one of the consistent users of the common building took on sanitizing its various doors, switches, and surfaces on a daily basis, has also started manufacturing and distributing beautifully made cloth face masks from a workstation in the great room. Alline, along with Apple at Red Earth and others, have joined in producing these as well. Villager and Rutledge fire chief Javi has been deputized to receive and distribute supplies from FEMA to various departments in the area, though there has been precious little coming through, given the challenges first responders are facing in this crisis.  

Alline last week arranged a party for Kurt’s birthday where individual chairs were set up in the road in front of the Mercantile at six-foot distances (along with grouped chairs for various families), each with a cupcake, candle, and mini book of matches. At the appointed time, we all gathered, each lit candles (or tried to, in the breeze), sang to Kurt, and sat about talking and eating together at approved distance before going our separate ways again. Andi, who as a paramedic for Knox County must already be out and about, has taken on Kurt’s regular weekly town trips, doing errands for everybody once a week and allowing Kurt and the rest of us to stay put and get our needs met without venturing out into the world.  

Groups that do share exposure with each other, like our eating cooperative, are being re-enlivened as social lifelines. Several evenings after dinner last week, Ironweed sat around the table playing games, and one night ventured up onto the roof of Osage to see the village from a higher vantage and greet passers-by from an approved distance. Ultimate Frisbee has not been happening (sometimes as much for the windy days as the potential for viral exposure), but some of us have started going out to at least toss a disc each day, sanitizing afterward. New residents and work exchangers are still arriving, and others returning from winters away, and spending two weeks isolating before venturing further into the village. 

We don’t know how long all this will last, but it is comforting that amidst all the new and different, there are plenty of things that don’t change. As spring ripens, the earth greens up, flowers open, trees bloom, and we prepare garden beds and hundreds of tiny seedlings with which to populate them. Turns out gardening is a fine activity for people to share at a slight distance while still providing each other company and contact. Sugar’s milk is sweetening up as she ventures on to the first green pasture, and now is the time for making the best cheddars of the year.  

The goat kids are growing by the day and soon we’ll be milking the does again and have a steady supply of chevre. In a time of scarcity on grocery shelves and difficulty getting to the stores, it is extremely gratifying to have abundance here at home. Thank goodness the trees are leafing out, because it has become just as hard here as anywhere to procure toilet paper. Thankfully we tend to buy things by the case when we buy them, and our household had just bought a case of 60 rolls in early February! 

Another thing that doesn’t change is the need for organizations to keep working. At a time when we would already be hosting our first visitor session of the year alongside Mercantile programs and other events, the nonprofit is turning its energies to producing virtual visitor programs. Prairie and I will be filming the making of sauerkraut this coming week, and those of us who normally offer workshops to visitors have been approached about recording our usual offerings like mine on land use planning and alternative energy. We are working on significantly boosting our online offerings all around, and hope you’ll keep checking in on the latest. 

Speaking of which, Dancing Rabbit is among the many nonprofits and other organizations participating in this spring’s Give STL Day this coming May 7th. Many of us are stretched thin in the pocketbook these days with the upending of normal work schedules and paychecks, but if you are in a position to contribute to your favorite causes this spring, and want to help keep them afloat amidst unprecedented financial turbulence, the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit gratefully seeks your support! Check out www.givestlday.org as May 7th approaches, with opportunities to multiply your giving with matching gifts. And if you just can’t wait, you can also visit and donate on our web site any time you want: www.dancingrabbit.org. To all of you out there who have supported us over the years, thank you! We are deeply grateful. 

There are many more stories to tell, and perhaps Christina will offer more of them in a couple weeks, but we’d also love to hear how you’re holding up out there. Despite the  massive economic cost of this epidemic, I’ve been heartened to see the many stories about how rapidly the polluted skies clear over cities around the world as industry has shut down. Do we really have to trade economic progress for breathable air? I’m hopeful for the many policy debates and personal discussions that will inevitably come out of this event, and hopefully lead us all to thoughtful consideration of what future we want to share.  

The best stories, though, are those about individuals like you, stepping up to do your best and then some amidst unprecedented circumstances that lead us to question all our assumptions about life. However you are getting through this time, whatever inspiration you are finding, I applaud you and hope you’ll keep your spirits up and let us know what is keeping you going. From all of us at Dancing Rabbit, strength! Love! Hope! 

P.S. Thank you all for being connected to Dancing Rabbit and its continuing mission to spread sustainable knowledge. On May 7th you can further maximize your gift by giving in the hour of 12pm-1pm. Most importantly, stay safe during this uncertain time. – Matthew Bunge, CSCC Development Director 

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Growing Up With BodyTalk: One Teenager’s Experience https://www.dancingrabbit.org/growing-up-with-bodytalk-one-teenagers-experience/ Sat, 04 Apr 2020 19:27:17 +0000 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/?p=27198 What do I say about BodyTalk? I have woven it in and out of my life for the past eight years. The notion of being without it, and who I might be in its absence, is slightly unnerving.

BodyTalk Access, in particular, has been serving me since I was ten years old, when I attended my first class. Though I was used to gatherings of these sorts, “Mom’s meetings,” or, “Stuff my mom does,” as I might have called them, I had never considered myself a direct participant in such an activity before. This class had long tables and large chairs. Everyone was significantly taller than I, but quiet, still, and patient. (I resolved to hold my ground as they did, so as not to appear anything less than dignified.) I remember bringing a new notebook and pen to the occasion, and scribbled some of the techniques down as they were touched upon. I then promptly forgot about taking notes at all for the rest of the class. After I graduated, I didn’t bother to use the skills I’d learned either. (Not unexpected behavior from an inquisitive, and also fast-minded ten-year old, I suppose.) 

Though I didn’t know it yet, that experience would mark my entry into the world of conscious, intentional self-development.

Before my mom convinced me to try learning BodyTalk for myself, I was receiving one-on-one treatments from her and, before that, the acquaintance who introduced her to this modality. I was skeptical, unafraid of sounding unimpressed, and willfully sarcastic around this weird, new thing I didn’t understand. I did, however, notice how my nosebleeds would seem to mysteriously slow or cease their flow, burns would cool, headaches would ease, and scrapes would seal, all with unnerving speed. Most notably, in retrospect, my unrelenting anxiety magically vanished after receiving a one-on-one session from my Access trainer. 

Over the next half-decade I attended approximately a dozen BodyTalk Access classes, a half-dozen longer courses under the BodyTalk umbrella, and numerous workshops exploring the bodymind as a gateway to higher health and healing. During that period, if you’d asked me why all of those things interested me, I don’t know what I would have said. At the time, they just seemed like the right things to do. I received abundant praise and credit for my growing awareness and intellect, and that certainly provided incentive to continue; beyond the encroaching narcissistic, egocentric self I was gaining as a result of the way I thought other people saw me, I was swimming in the perfect matrix to recognize it was happening. 

I crashed my bike when I was fourteen, hurting my dominant wrist. I could barely move it, even though there was very little pain. My sibling applied a technique we learned in the Access class, and my mom later gave me a full BodyTalk session. The next day I was doing side-planks on it.

A friend of mine began to feel nauseous and anxious at a sleepover. I did one technique and she quickly calmed and fell asleep.

If I wake up in the morning with a tickle in my throat, by the time I go through the full Access routine, I don’t feel it anymore. 

As I have swam deeper into this modality, however, I have been confronted again and again with the experience of how my physical wellbeing is infallibly tied to my mental and emotional reality. With BodyTalk, I am able to directly address the underlying mental and emotional patterns operating within me, whether I am conscious of them or not (often I am not).

It has not been my experience that BodyTalk Access is a one-size-fits-all modality. But I would no sooner sacrifice utilizing those techniques daily than my clothing in the winter. A few days ago I was contemplating conducting an experiment in which I go a week or a few days without doing BodyTalk Access. I decided against this very quickly. Like brushing my teeth or moving my body, it is regular maintenance, and the thought of foregoing such a poignant activity, even for a brief period, was not appealing in the least.

The main challenges I face are internal, intense, and often inexplicable. Yes, I am human. And yes, my mind is constantly interacting with expansion and contraction, positive and negative interactions, desire, repulsion, life, and decay. Bodytalk does not and cannot directly solve my problems — but I can. It is with these techniques (and as a result, inevitable education and awareness of myself) that I feel empowered to lean into challenge, and even embrace it.

For as long as I can remember I have consciously and subconsciously sought out responsibilities, opportunities, jobs, and ideals that have created experiences that trigger my doubt, skepticism, fear, uncertainty, and ultimately crack me open. Somehow my body knows that, to grow, I need to push those buttons and bring my deepest patterns to the surface. In that moment I’m unsure of how I am going to make it out the same way I was when I arrived and I never do: I change. I evolve and heal.

I am powerful, and capable of resiliency — we all are. I don’t know if I would have tapped into that power without BodyTalk. My reality does not seem so black and white. Life is dynamic, spiraling up and down in this kaleidoscopic universe. My current growth edge is accepting the curveballs and loving that messy, awkward process. No, I am not perfect in the sense that I don’t have flaws, but I am learning that my flaws don’t have to be “bad” and maybe that there is absolute perfection wherever there is chaos, which happens to be everywhere, with everything, and in everyone to some degree. 

I’m still not certain and perhaps I never will be, but I have a few tools (BodyTalk Access, to name one) to help me, and maybe it will help you too.

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Power and Potential in the Midst of Uncertainty https://www.dancingrabbit.org/power-and-potential-in-the-midst-of-uncertainty/ https://www.dancingrabbit.org/power-and-potential-in-the-midst-of-uncertainty/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:17:54 +0000 https://www.dancingrabbit.org/?p=27094 I don’t want to do math! I find myself thinking time and again in response to the mere idea of doing it. Yesterday I didn’t want to write this article. Last week I hated making lists and planning. Who knows what won’t strike my fancy tomorrow? 

Prairie here, at Dancing Rabbit, reflecting on choice, options, and the weird grey-area in-between. 

As we slowly slip and trip out of winter’s clutches, my to-do list inevitably (and forebodingly, in my often overwhelmed opinion) lengthens, ranging from making paper pots for nightshade seedlings, to mulching village paths, and back to writing promotions for upcoming summer events at DR. 

It’s a bittersweet relief that most of my anticipated social activities have been cancelled or postponed over the past couple weeks due to a pervading desire to flatten the curve of COVID-19’s reach. While I have more spaciousness to attend to my to-do’s, I tend to see less of some individuals around here. 

Choices. They wind me up and bring me down, like old garments now too tight or too loose, but so full of a person I used to be. Choices are like ideas to me: fleeting but fundamental; brief and powerful. Action alone takes a moment; it is choices that fill time. 

(I use “I” statements, but I believe these things to be true for all people, to some degree.) 

Choices are like pencils and paper, pigment and glass, ceramic and oil. They are the foundation of the pathways before us, and the remnants, as well as reminders of what lies behind. We all make them. Change is the only constant while choice, it’s sister, sculpts and carves, shaping time, our future, and ultimately the present, where our only true power seems to exist. 

Sometimes, I loathe making decisions. My belly aches and my chest burns with anticipation under a kind of non-existential pressure, the stuff I make on my own. It has been an interesting road, a journey unto itself as I discover just how little my external environment currently has to do with my internal experience. Real power and potential, I am finding, always comes from within. It is not reachable by human hands, or even intellectual pursuits, sometimes. It is, however, free and boundless — an expanse of possibility, infinite and abundant — and its manifestation is choice. “What do I do now?” Something.  

We will always do something. And that comes down to another experience I have been practicing this week: being present. That means saying hello to the messy, exquisite, colorful, overwhelming, imperfect world that I inhabit. It means noting the pussywillow I pass nearly daily on the way to my kitchen co-op, budding with a slow, brilliant grace I ache to embody. It feels like sinking into the prolific, emerald-green chickweed dancing along every available patch of fertile earth. Yes, it is seeing, admitting and acknowledging: “I don’t know what that means,” and “I feel so tired right now.” It is with great humility and courage (I often don’t believe I have) that I undertake this practice, this arrival process. It is breathtaking, in the positive and negative sense.  

In a world where have-to trumps choose-to, and offers few alternatives, I have struggled to find myself and hear my voice; the part of me that will direct me unfailingly to my best place. Questions swirl like lost tadpoles in my mind. Questions like: “should I dive more deeply into conventional education?” and “how do I show up in the face of this pandemic?” and “what are my action plans for summer, 2020?” Choices, choices, choices. 

Perhaps it is less the tasks I do that I despise, and more the feelings of discomfort that accompany them. I generally snuggle comfortably in-between optimism and pessimism. In my wild moments I sometimes swing from one side, then quickly to the other, testing the waters, tasting perspective. I have decidedly taken an optimistic outlook on this COVID-19 business. Though I identify as an extrovert, I am gratefully settling into an awkward but much-needed rhythm of free time, where there would have been intimate, often spectacular social activities and interactions. Perhaps my introvert-extrovert scales are balancing, and at a time when such flexibility is needed. 

Earlier this week, in response to my struggles with perfectionism as pertains to math, Sara, my modern-day Athena, offered something I continue to chew on: what would it be like if I was simply successful at everything I did? No challenges, failures, second guessing. Just infallible, one-hundred percent success. How much would I enjoy my life if everything I encountered, every opportunity, were under no uncertain terms? 

I think about that now in relation to day-to-day happenings. I yearned consistently last year for more time: just two more hours of daylight for garden work, another minute for singing, dancing, sleeping, writing. How much would I value those activities if I had infinite time and space for them? 

“Would the light seem bright without the night? 

“Would you know your might without the fight? 

“Would you try to win if you couldn’t lose? 

“Would you care at all if you couldn’t choose?” 

(A song I learned in 2018, though I cannot recall from whom this wisdom spilled forth.) 

The ground continues to soften around here, making garden prep a more easeful process and growing priority. Humidity abounds, along with bright flower bulbs, rainstorms, and lasting sun. 

Life continues to look and feel like a massive experiment. I hold no certain answers as of yet, only questions, but that seems to be enough. 

Thank you for reading. There is undoubtedly much further to explore on the topic of choice, and I hope you discover more and more of what calls out the life in you at this time of separation and uncertainty, that you might come away with deeper discernment and awareness. 

Good luck and strong health to you. May you find stability where the ground shakes, courage when your bones quake, and compassion in all the choices you make. 

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