Marion Institute Blog
Fun harvest at Gomes Elementary School in New Bedford! On hot summer days we must water the garden and students! The garden at Pacheco Elementary School also looks amazing!
A hearty Namaste to all!
After having just returned stateside, I wanted to keep everyone updated on my second trip to Nepal since the earthquakes of April 25th and May 12th. Thanks to the generosity of soooo many people, I was able to return to the mountains at the end of July and personally distribute relief aid to families who have been living under tarps and tents set up in their potato fields during the monsoon season which is in full bloom now until the cold weather arrives in October/November. Obviously, shelter is minimal and facilities of any kind are nonexistent. Life is harsh and incomprehensible to those of us who enjoy the daily “luxuries” of plumbing, electricity, running water and heat.
I spent 2 months “angsting” about how to get the relief money over to Nepal, given that Nepali newspapers were reporting that government officials were lining their pockets with 25% of the millions of dollars that were pouring into the country from all the international aid organizations. It’s also impossible to deny the intense frustration felt by millions at the collective failure of the political class. Knowing all of this sickened me to the core and made me get very creative in how I continually transferred very small amounts of money to various bank accounts in Kathmandu over a 2 month period. Because of the incredible generosity of so many of you, The Himalayan Project was able to raise close to $150,000 from April 25th to July 15th! In the dark of night on July 18th aboard Emirates Airlines, I circled the Kathmandu airport for 2 hours due to thunderstorms brought on by the monsoons, finally touching down after midnight in the pouring rain. The city was black and silent and oozing sludge throughout the streets as I rumbled over potholed alleyways in a taxi bound for my “home away from home” in Kathmandu, the Norbu Linka Hotel. I was exhausted and totally disheveled from my 25 hours of travel and full of anxiety over whether the flight to the mountains and the Lukla airstrip would even be a possibility the next morning. No flights had been able to make their way to Lukla for the previous 10 days due to the rains and fog so I sank into a restless slumber for a couple of hours before I had to be at the domestic airport at 5:00 am.
As the sun rose over the mountains the next morning and the clouds parted, I held my breath as my little 12 seater Cessna soared above the city, making it's way to Lukla while I mouthed a silent “thank you”. A very frenetic day was spent calling together all the people who had been guarding their hoard of money that had been wired to them over the last 2 months and once everything had been gathered and accounted for, the whole village was assembled together as we distributed to each individual family. When I had first visited and assessed the damage after the earthquake in April, I along with a village committee, assigned each of the 60 households either a 1 for minimal damage, a 2 for moderate damage or a 3 for maximum damage and so there were 3 different tiers of giving that were established with the monetary value assigned to each tier to be determined by how much money THP was able to raise. Every part of this process was laced with tradition and ritual, from touching the packet of money to one's forehead in a private moment of gratitude, to enacting the community tea ceremony, to placing a silk scarf around my neck as a blessing for all of your generosity. I was clearly just the “front man” representing each and every one of YOU. Rituals are simply a small nod to normalcy in what is otherwise a life of daily survival. The patience and equanimity and COURAGE that this village has exhibited since tragedy hit them is a lesson certainly for me! It is a quiet courage, a small voice at the end of each day saying “I will get up and do it again tomorrow.......and then the next day, and the next and the next.”
The community distribution ended with Karsang Sherpa, my Nepali liaison with The Himalayan Project, speaking to the village for 45 minutes about the fact that many people from many parts of the globe had come together to contribute to THP's relief efforts for THEM. There was astonishment that their tragedy had even registered on anybody's radar screen; joy and relief at the generosity that had been extended to them and many, many tears over the fact that SOMEONE cared. The Nepali government's extent of caring had been in the distribution of a bag of rice and a container of cooking oil to each family and that was it! Needless to say, men and women alike were awash in tears, hopefully tears of healing that were the best words that their hearts could speak......
In the twilight of the following morning I hiked back up to the mountain airstrip hoping the last vestiges of stars would begin to poke through the early fog and drizzle. Would it be possible to have the weather cooperate in the same way that it had for our arrival? Miraculously so, the clouds again parted around 8:00 am and I arrived back in Kathmandu for a late breakfast. For the next 10 days it wasn't possible for any other flights to get through to Lukla! It just seemed incredible that 10 days before I needed to get to the mountains and for 10 days afterwards the flights had to be canceled and that just for the critical 2 days that I needed to get to and from Lukla, someone was looking out for me!
So, how can I thank you all???? Your overwhelming kindness is a language that transcends all barriers and my heart is very filled with gratitude. After completing our 1st phase of fund raising for the building of suitable shelters for the winter, The Himalayan Project's next phase of fund raising will be devoted to the complete rebuilding of an earthquake proof school that was virtually destroyed in the second quake of May 12th. A Japanese engineer has been “commandeered” to create a master plan for this project and THP will join forces with a Swiss organization and a Korean organization to try and raise $500,000. The path seems steep but we cannot be daunted by that prospect and we will continue to reach out to all of you, also asking that you share this effort with colleagues and friends who may not be in our orbit. As you know in all grass roots efforts, spreading the word personally is very powerful! The human tragedy that has resulted from this massive natural disaster will be years in the rebuilding process so PLEASE stay on board with us. I am remembering something that someone once said to me which pretty much sums it all up....”the larger your heart is the smaller the world becomes.”
I look forward to hearing from you and if you feel so inclined, please visit www.marioninstitute.org/serendipity/himalayan-project.
With immense gratitude!
The Marion Institute's Connector Series in collaboration with Round the Bend Farm presents Farm Food & Fermentation this Fall. This three part series will take place at Round the Bend Farm in South Dartmouth located at 92 Allens Neck Rd. Space is limited. Individual workshops are $30 each or book all three and save! Please register now to reserve your spot!
The Connector Series initiative is to connect Marion Institute programs, conference topics, and local interest and ideas into a workshop and lecture series throughout the year.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH
Fermenting Vegetables: Eat farm fresh produce all winter long!
Location: Round the Bend Farm
Cost: $30 per person
Space is limited.
Includes: Instructions and Taste Tests
Description: Learn how to preserve vegetables all winter long with techniques that have been practiced for thousands of years. Develop an understanding of the science of the fermentation process as well as the art of recipe creation and creative vegetable transformation. Emphasis on bulk purchasing of local vegetables in fall months for fermentation.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17TH
Brewing Sodas: Create fizzy live culture medicinal sodas with regional sugars!
Location: Round the Bend Farm
Cost: $30 per person
Space is limited.
Includes: Instructions and Taste Tests, and your own Heirloom Starter Culture
Description: Learn how to brew your own homemade live-culture sodas with local sugars, fruit juices, and herbs! These delicious and healthy sodas are packed with vitamins and minerals, herbal medicines, and probiotics. This class includes your own SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) to get your own batches going as soon as you get home.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14TH
Transforming Dairy: Learn to make kefir (yogurt) and cultured cream, butter and buttermilk.
Location: Round the Bend Farm
Cost: $30 per person
Space is limited. Maximum 20 people.
Includes: Instructions and Taste Tests
Description: What is milk, anyway? Learn about the composition of milk and see real cream that hasn’t been homogenized (new to most Americans!). Learn to make kefir (yogurt) butter and buttermilk with simple ingredients and household equipment.
About Laura Killingbeck
Laura has been working with Round the Bend Farm for the last five years as a Sustainability Consultant, Vegetable Liason, and Fermentation Specialist. She is currently the Director of Food Systems and Fermentation at Rancho Mastatal Center for Sustainable Living in Costa Rica, where she manages the production of fermented foods for restaurant and community use, and teaches the food and fermentation component of the Ranch’s Apprenticeship Program. Over the last five years Laura has taught classes on food and fermentation in the United States, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. In 2014 she completed an educational residency with fermentation author Sandor Katz. Her favorite ferment of the moment is Honey Rhubarb Soda. Click here, to visit RTB's Youtube Channel and learn more about what Laura is working on at RTB.
Registration is $30 per workshop per person or register for all 3 workshops today for $80! All workshops will take place at Round the Bend Farm in South Dartmouth, MA. For more information, please contact Liz Wiley at email@example.com. TICKETS AND BUNDLE PACKAGES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
Check out Laura's latest video:
RTB's Open Farm Day, August 15th from noon to 6:00pm.
- Livestock farmer, Geoff Kinder, will be selling non-GMO pastured ground pork, country style ribs, and rack of ribs. He will also have grass-fed beef available - ground and limited various cuts for purchase.
- Vegetable farmer, Ashley Brister, will have lots of seasonal vegetables available, such as: potatoes, green beans, leeks, eggplants, tomatoes, green peppers and more.
- Enjoy a family fun tour while getting all of your RTB questions answered. Tour begins at 2:00 pm., we meet down at the barn.
Can the world be different from the place it is?
Can it be a place of love and cooperation rather than brutal competition and the daily horrors all of us read about every day? Are there large answers to these large questions that actually haven’t yet been explored, at least by ordinary people? Ideas that will make a genuine difference in the way we live our lives and in the fate of the earth?
Living in the Real World is a colloquium designed around the central, stunning notion that there is an answer that has not been looked at yet – at least in the open air, by more than a tiny cabal of people.
This answer is both ridiculously simple on the surface, and mind-bogglingly deep once we look beneath that surface. Condensed to a sentence, it might read like this:
We – members of modern society – lack the skills and the organs to see the real world. Or feel it. Or hear it, or understand it. We are all almost completely blind to the world we actually live in, both in terms of its history, and in terms of what it actually is right now, all around us.
The world is a physical place, but it is also a spiritual place. Not in some vague, airy-fairy way, but in a way that is as immediate as a slap in the face, and as serious, as the cliché goes, as a heart attack. The spiritual is not homogeneous but as full of light and variety, of pulse and flash, as this world is, and more so. Our relationship to it is single most important thing in our lives, and in the life of our planet.
The purpose of Living in the Real World is not to politely argue that this idea might be correct, but to leave participants absolutely convinced that it is so, and that they must share this news with as many people, in as little time, as possible. It is news we need the way a man lost in the desert needs water.
The inspiration of this event was a conversation that Michael Baldwin had with his friend Ptolemy Tompkins, author of The Modern Book of the Dead, and co-author of Proof of Heaven with Eben Alexander. Knowing Michael’s enthusiasm for the truly new – with ideas that delivered hope, and which gave him energy to keep believing in his dream of a world where there truly is more kindness, Ptolemy told Michael: “I’m sending you two books. If you find the time, try to read them.”
These two books presented Michael with an entirely new view of history: a view based on what philosophers tend to call “idealism.” Idealism in a philosophical sense does not mean a belief in a set of moral or ethical ideals, but something more simple and radical. It is the belief that spirit precedes matter, and will survive when matter is no more.
The world is dying. We are dying. The animals and other natural life forms around us are dying. We live in a world of death that even the wildest turn-around in policies toward our earth’s ecology could do nothing to stop completely.
But beneath that dying world, there is another, larger, more important world. A world as individual and vital and personal and fulfilling as this one. A world that doesn’t render this world meaningless, but knowledge of which allows us the strength to face the challenges that are coming our way in the next decades.
In his typically enthusiastic way, Michael called Ptolemy and told him: “We have got to get the writers of these two books (Gary Lachman, Caretakers of the Cosmos, and Mark Booth, author of The Secret History of the World) to speak in Marion.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Ptolemy said.
It is our fantastically good fortune to indeed have both Gary and Mark come and speak to us about what kind of place the world is, what its true history is, and what its true fate might be.
It is a fate considerably brighter than that posited by most social theorists and climate scientists, and though it is no cake walk, learning of it is tremendously liberating. It might not be an exaggeration to say that learning how to look at the world from a truly modern idealistic standpoint will allow the return of true optimism into a world where it has been gone all too long.
We are extraordinarily fortunate to have these men visit us and share their visions. Please join us, and be prepared to leave a different person than when you came.
This is event is free, but seating is extremely limited, please fill out the form to apply to reserve a spot at the event.
Ptolemy Tompkins is the author of Paradise Fever (a memoir focusing on the years in the mid-seventies when his father, Secret Life of Plants author Peter Tompkins, became obsessed with finding the lost continent of Atlantis in the waters off Florida), The Beaten Path (an examination of the good and not-so-good things that happen when one takes the teachings of popular modern wisdom authors like Alan Watts and Carlos Castaneda too seriously) and This Tree Grows Out of Hell (a spiritual history of the Maya and Aztec cultures focusing on their disturbing preoccupation with bloodshed). For just under ten years he was an in-house editor at Guideposts and Angels On Earth magazines. His work there led him to writing The Divine Life of Animals and The Modern Book of the Dead, a duo of books arguing for the continuing validity of the human belief in postmortem survival. The Modern Book of the Dead in turn led him to Dr. Eben Alexander, with whom he collaborated on the bestselling Proof of Heaven and The Map of Heaven.
Mark Booth was educated at Ipswich School and Oriel College, Oxford, where he studied Philosophy and Theology. he has worked in publishing for over twenty years, and is currently in charge of Century, an imprint of Random House UK. The Secret History of the World is the outcome of a lifetime spent reading literature in this area, publishing many of the leading authors in the field and hanging around antiquarian bookshops.
The author of more than a dozen books on the meeting ground between consciousness, culture, and the western inner tradition, including The Caretakers of the Cosmos: Living Responsibly in an Unfinished World, Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality, Swedenborg: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas and Jung The Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung’s Life and Teachings
As Gary Valentine, Gary was a founding member of the pop group Blondie and recounts his memoirs of that time in, New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation with Blondie, Iggy Pop, and Others 1974-1981.
Since 1996, Gary has lived in London where he is a full time writer, contributing to the Fortean Times, Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Gnosis, Mojo, EnlightenNext, Lapis, Sunday Times and other journals in the UK and US. He lectures regularly in London and abroad, is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 3 and 4, has appeared in several television documentaries on the history of the counterculture, and his work has been translated into German, French, Czech, Russian, Italian, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish.
Along with his books and journalism, which has included interviewing figures like Owen Barfield, Kathleen Raine, Antoine Faivre, and Colin Wilson, he has also contributed to several anthologies.
Friday Evening & All day Saturday, November 6&7, 2015
To apply to REGISTER please RSVP by filling out the form found HERE. Pre-registration is required to attend. Space is extremely limited and we anticipate the event to fill-up quickly, we recommend RSVPing as early as possible.
PAST CONNECTOR SERIES EVENTS:
WATCH THE VIDEOS FROM OUR MAY 16TH INFLAMMATION & WOMEN'S HEALTH EVENT:
Inflammation & Women's Health: Autoimmunogenicity and the Female of the Species with Dr. John McGonigle
Inflammation & Women's Health: Calming Inflammation: Changing the Microbiome with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet with Pamela Ferro
Inflammation & Women's Health: The SCD and Inflammation with Raman Prasad
Inflammation & Women's Health: Treating Inflammation with Herbal Medicine with Hannah Jacobson-Hardy
About the Connector Series:
The Connector Series is a new initiative to connect Marion Institute programs, conference topics, and local interest and ideas into a workshop and lecture series throughout the year.
Contact: Brooke Baptiste at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
RTB Open Farm Day (OFD) Highlights: July 18, 2015 from noon – 6pm.
- Livestock farmer, Geoff Kinder, will be selling non-GMO pastured pork [ground pork, pork chops, ham steaks, country style ribs and pork belly]. He also has a limited amount of grass-fed ground beef.
- Vegetable farmer, Ashley Brister, will have beets, new potatoes, kale, cabbage, squash and more.
- Get all your RTB questions answered during our family fun farm tour, begins at 2:00pm at the barn.
At this month’s OFD we invite you to talk about food, food waste, and what you - the consumer - can do about it during our FREE "Composting: The Basics" workshop. The importance of composting our food is becoming more significant as we learn about food waste in our country. Did you know that forty percent of food never gets eaten; it is wasted, thrown away. Where is away you ask? In this instance, it means to the landfills. I just recently learned that if food waste were a country, it would rank 3rd in greenhouse gas emissions from all the methane gases that are produced when food decomposes. Food is the number one product in our landfills today. What an astronomical waste when we are simultaneously facing a food insecurity crisis. Currently, 1 in 6 people are coping with food insecurity in the United States. Reducing food losses by just 15% would be enough food to feed 25 million Americans each year. But I digress…
Food waste can be tackled in a number of different ways on the consumer level. We can become better shoppers – buying only what we need and avoiding bulk purchases of items we are unlikely to consume, we can learn about and understand “use by” and “best by” labels, we can use leftovers in a timely, creative way – soups and salads are great for this, AND we can compost what we truly cannot use.
If you are interested in composting, but feel like you don’t know where to get started, then this month’s Open Farm Day workshop – “Composting: The Basics” is not to be missed. Adam Davenport, of Life’s Epiphany, will be leading the workshop from 3:00 to 4:00pm. Adam will address all your burning questions regarding how to get started, where to site your compost bin, while still leaving time for a Q&A period. For those of you that can’t get enough and want to learn even more, Liz Wiley – RTB’s Education Manager, will conduct a Composting Tour from 4:00-5:00pm. Learn about all the different ways we compost at RTB. RSVP, if you are interested in participating.
We look forward to seeing you on the farm!
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