Posts Tagged "Lisa Nash"

Or, Soveren/VCS and The Discipline of Pleasure

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December 6, 2014 (Posted by Lisa via Anna) Deer tracks on the trail to the garden this morning, distinct prints of a relatively large animal in the wet, slushy snow. Following them, smiling, I found, as I’d expected, that the tracks continued into the garden. Where kale and Brussels sprouts protruded from the snow, they had received a dainty, exploratory pruning. The deer and I have a deal: they stay out of the garden, ignoring the vulnerabilities in its defense during the spring, summer, and early harvest season, when the living is easy for them. I open the gate in late October or November, depending on the weather, and invite them to feast on our leavings when their table is lean. After all, today, I have plenty of other food. They don’t. It might sound flaky, but this deal has held good for the past six years. Ask the Brussels sprouts! I’ve been gardening at Rainbow Serpent, the home of Soveren/VCS for nine seasons now. It took three years of trial and error, three years of learning the rhythms of this place and its other residents, for the deer and I to come to this relatively stable working arrangement. I’ve made similar deals with the foxes in regard to chickens. No luck with any of the mustelids, though! They’re tough customers! Or maybe I haven’t given it enough time. Some relationships change more slowly than others. Improving Earthy relationships always takes time. You may already know that the other resident business at Rainbow Serpent is my healing practice, The Discipline of Pleasure (www.disciplineofpleasure.com). Yeah, the official business name and the sign on the road still says, “Lisa G. Nash, D.C.” But what I do in my office these days bears little resemblance to what I was doing when I began practicing chiropractic in Vermont, twenty years ago next month. My work these days is the transformation of trauma: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. As trauma = disintegration, transformation of trauma = integration. So The Discipline of Pleasure incorporates practices from various disciplines in order to reveal a more integrated Self. From our habitual dis-integrated perspective, one might well ask, “What does a community solar development company have to do with a trauma healing practice?” From an integrated, or integral, perspective, the answer is obvious: these enterprises are different versions of the same song. The degradation of Nature epitomized by fossil fuel extraction and consumption arises from, and reinforces, the habits of trauma. Relating with Others as a collection of objects rather than a communion of subjects, to paraphrase Thomas Berry. The degradation of Nature epitomized by, say, child sexual abuse, also arises from, and reinforces, the habits of trauma. Relating with Others as a collection of objects rather than a communion of subjects. Such habits are extremely profound, rooted in the experience of human and older ancestors for countless generations. To change such habits takes discipline, desire. Perseverance, pleasure. And most of all, it takes time. “But wait!” you might say, “Time is exactly what we don’t have now. Time is what we would’ve/could’ve/should’ve had if we’d only changed our habits more twenty or thirty or fifty years ago…” From one perspective, that’s exactly right. From another, it’s partial. There are no shortcuts to changing these habits. Even when the need for change in deep habits is urgent, you can’t force the process without doing violence to some aspect of our ecology. And wishing you’d done it sooner is no help at all; it just ties up energy you could be using to change things now. This is true...

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Victory Gardens for the New Milennium

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December 2, 2014 (Posted by Lisa via Anna) As I walked out to my office just now, light snow was sifting from the sky. In early December, most gardeners in Vermont expect to be taking some hard earned deep breaths, gazing in satisfaction at the produce in the root cellar, the freezer, or on the pantry shelves, and enjoying thinking about something other than gardening for a little while. Meanwhile, the Soveren/Vermont Community Solar team was working up in Groton today, beginning installation on a collaborative project with local Groton solar developer Bruce Genereaux (gmcommunitysolar.com). And there are more miles to go before the crew sleeps this winter. Working outside in the winter is hard. No two ways about it. Sometimes, life calls us to do the hard thing.   And since when is hard a bad thing? (Take that any way you like, people!) Ask anyone who lived through World War II in the U.S.—anyone who wasn’t uberwealthy, I mean—about those times. Ask them about victory gardens and rationing. Ask them about working two or three jobs and taking care of the kids and wondering if this would be the day you heard that your beloved was dead. My experience suggests you’ll hear something like, “Yes, those were hard times, but they were good times, too. We all know we were in it together, we needed each other and so we helped each other.” The Soveren/VCS crew is out planting victory gardens in 18 degree weather and I’m dreaming about the ancestors. (Yes, this Vice President in Charge of Relations is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!) Feeling them in my numb fingertips as I fill the chickens’ waterer from the brook in these cold mornings. Feeling their strong backs, their strong legs, their strong cores, as I shoveled last week’s snow. Imagining how the snow would feel to me if there were no engines. Imagining living through winters more fierce than any living Vermonter has experienced on a regular basis in uninsulated dwellings. Imagining living through those long, fierce winters with no source of light or heat except fire. Imagining walking from Georgia to Canada barefoot not by choice but because I have nothing, because I myself am property according to the law of the land. There are no packages of food waiting for me at the post office in the next town. I’m hungry and on the run from dogs and two-leggeds more vicious than dogs could ever be. Imagining walking out into a Vermont winter night with three kids and not much else, not because we’ve decided to live simply or go on a vision quest but because home is more dangerous than the cold. Because I have nothing, because women are property according to the law of the land. Imagining going into winter after a poor harvest season with no means of getting food from someplace more fortunate. The ancestors of this land—indigenous American, children of Africa, and Europeans alike—were tough. They all knew about doing the hard thing–and going on doing it, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. We need their perspective now. We need their strength now. We need their perseverance now. We need their fierce love of life now. Because in case someone hasn’t noticed, times are tough in Vermont, all over the U.S. Times are tough all over this Blue Planet, and not only for our human relations. An undeclared worldwide covert war has been in progress for longer than a Hundred Years. Only now do many of us begin to how much has already been lost and how horrific today’s losses are. Collectively, our ancestors have seen a lot of war, covert and overt, domestic and international. We need their wisdom now. When I listen to my...

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Townshend Community Solar Project

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July 3, 2014: Townshend Community Solar Project, on the Townshend-Grafton Road, by Lisa Nash It’s 7:00 a.m. and Peter and I are standing on the land that will become the home of Vermont Community Solar’s first project in Townshend.  The air is humid, the pale sandy earth wet from yesterday’s violent thunderstorms, and the sky is low and gray with valley fog. Birds are singing all around us.  Soon the whine of chainsaws and the rumble of bulldozers will drown out their voices.  Soon, some of their nests and young may be destroyed as the skillful guys from TMG Enterprises begin clearing trees so that light can reach the solar panels, which, in turn, will bring electricity to local human residents. A fat toad hops into a dense thicket of Japanese Knotweed to the southwest as I circle the site.  Soon this toad may lose its life so that we can enjoy powering our homes with “renewable” energy. In addition to the Knotweed, whose rhizome is a powerful immune system educator, useful in Lyme Disease and in cancer, there are several other plant medicines growing here. The southwest edge of the circle I walk is dotted with silky-leaved mullein, some low first year rosettes, many second year plants whose tall spires are just about to open into bright yellow flowers.  Mullein leaves are helpful for strengthening the mucosa, especially in the respiratory system, but also in the digestive tract.  An extract of the flowers in olive oil is soothing for the pain of ear infections, and helps the body build immunity to the infection as well. Along the eastern margin, a few yarrow plants beckon, their umbrels dense with tiny white blossoms at the perfect stage for harvesting.  Yarrow grows on all continents, and everywhere it grows, humans use it for medicine, magic, or both.  Here yarrow is widely revered for its ability to heal wounds, gently detoxify and balance hormones, and regulate body temperature. Soon these yarrow plants will be scraped away as bulldozers flatten the mound on whose sides they grow to ease the installation and maximize the yield of the photovoltaic panels the Soveren crew will place here. Most people who know Soveren and Vermont Community Solar don’t know that I am Peter’s partner in these businesses.  We joke that my title is “Vice President in Charge of Relations.”  The job itself is not a joke, though: my primary responsibility is to mind the relationship between our businesses’ thought, speech and action and the well-being of all our relations for the next seven generations. This job requires the vision of the raptor, who simultaneously perceives both the vast sweep and the tiny detail.  It requires a mind clear and dedicated enough to move forward with love and courage in the face of immense uncertainty, and a heart big enough to weep for our losses and celebrate our victories at the same time. Happily, like all big jobs, this one breaks down into countless small steps.  This summer morning, my small steps lead me clockwise around this site, giving thanks for the gifts of the seven directions, and asking each of them for their blessings for this land and all its inhabitants. In the east, I give thanks for the air that allows us to breathe out our sorrow and fear as we take life to feed our own.  I give thanks for the opportunity to breathe in the promise of dawn after a long dark night, the hope of rebirth, and the wonder of new possibilities. As I finish my invocation to the east, an indigo...

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