Growing community is like growing a garden because they both require:
- Planning mixed with a whole lot of adaptability
- Energy + effort (what some might call, hard work)
- Persistence in the face of challenges.
- A whole lot of love
This month we are celebrating 1 year since arriving to the Island of Hawai’i and beginning the journey of stewardship at Earthsong. What we’ve been up to in the last year includes:
- Clearing dense overgrowth of invasive plants and trees.
- Cleaning up, organizing, and finding order in the chaos.
- Repairing and remodeling several structures partially eaten by the jungle
- Planting seeds and caring for plant babies.
- Building a wind turbine to accompany the solar power systems.
And we couldn’t have done it without the support of the community that we have been growing alongside everything else. Community is very much like growing a garden because first and foremost, we begin with the the foundation. The soil. In order for a garden to grow bountifully we start by tediously, intelligently and deliberately creating an environment that is rich with nutrients. Soil needs continual nourishment to flourish. The same is very true for the foundation from which community grows.
When we plant a seed, we have the opportunity to plant with it a prayer asking it to grow what we need the most. Before setting out to find, join, or create a community (or garden) pause and ask yourself, what are your intentions? This is what “intentional community” means to us. Would you just grab a bunch of seeds and throw them into the soil? Sure, you can. But, if you don’t know what you’re planting then you won’t know how to care for the plants. Each plant is different and requires a different amount of sunlight, water, and food.
Laying the groundwork and setting clear intentions is important and equally as important is an adaptive and open attitude. For, we are only “in control” of natural order to a degree. There is a great mystery to our universe one must be aware of. To put it a little less esoterically and into the gardening perspective: There’s the seeds we plant and there’s the things growing wild. There’s something in gardening called “volunteers” where seeds travel into our garden and volunteer themselves. This can be a great blessing when its something we enjoy and then there are invasive plants that can take over and prevent other things from growing. This is where the ongoing observation and care of our garden must be maintained. When it comes to growing community, there’s an alchemy that brings people together who can grow side by side and uplift one another to greater heights.
We can all live more sustainably when we live in community that can lean on each other.
At Earthsong Hawai’i our mission is rooted in care for the land first and secondly offering it as an ecological community learning space. Our goals include being self sufficient in our food and energy needs and having the the capacity to continue sharing with our community on a “take what you need, give what you can” model of exchange.
In January of 2022, after 6 months on the island we began serving the local community with donation based classes and events sharing holistic practices as shared by us, visiting facilitators, and locals. By doing so we have met so many other earth stewards living off-grid and growing their own food. We believe that by looking at the entire island as a web connecting us we can send and receive support in a multitude of ways to one another without having to rely on broken food, education, and health systems. We consider ourselves in the roles of community facilitators, bringing people together with a shared interest in our health and the health of the planet.
Living in harmony with nature just means living in harmony with ourselves.
Want a glimpse into our community? Check out this video as told by a recent artist resident who spent 2 months living at Earthsong making art, teaching yoga, hosting gatherings, and attending pot lucks! She paints a beautiful picture of what living in a rural, off-grid community of earth-stewards offers.
Many people express an interest of “being in community” because of an ideal around what this might mean. The truth is, community living requires a hefty amount of selfless service and a commitment to sharing not only the blessing but the responsibilities of living in “paradise” together.
We live in paradise, as it’s servants.
The word “servant” and “servitude” is derived from the word service. The root from which these words come from stem from the world’s Mother language, Sanskrit, and that word is “seva”.
“Seva is a Sanskrit word that describes the act of selfless service. Its meaning is said to be embodied by the root words saha, meaning “with that,” and eva, meaning “too,” which together mean “together with.” Selfless service is an important concept in yoga. The act of seva leads to collective benefit and gain, although it is performed without regard for the outcome of the individual. Performing seva may be a challenging task as it may raise personal difficulties for the people doing it. They may discover their o\wn aversions to certain aspects of the work. However, through mindful awareness of these challenges, seva can be a powerful tool for people to learn more about themselves, their personalities and the patterns of behavior or thought that are no longer serving them. In this way, performing seva can be a form of personal and spiritual development.”
– Sited from Yogapedia.com
Why is growing community worth the effort? Whether we are located on an island, in the country, or the city we can grow community that sustain, feed and supply us the very basic human needs we all share for nourishment and connection. We are also so much stronger united.
According to the quantum physicist David Bohm, ten to a hundred people, whose vibrations match, can change the world.
To visit Earthsong on the Big Island of Hawai’i you can check out our availability here.
Mahalo Nui Loa
The Earthsong Stewards