Chapter 7 - Sustainability & Romance: The Miracle of Love
Even though times have changed somewhat now and a more holistic view of the environment and our minds is gradually becoming more accepted, the atomised, reductionist methods of classifying and organising is still apparent in our approach to healthcare, work, nutrition and well-being. The preceding paradigms of thought, namely the mechanistic view of the world and its operations, had a significant impact on our subconscious that can still lead us to value a more logical way of seeing the world and ourselves; taking a ‘measured’ approach was seen as the more thoughtful, rational, and consequently, more intelligent approach.
In our educated, literate society, with access to so much online content, journals, media and pop-info, unconsciously we can begin shaping our lives according to theories that became as strong as myths in our collective conscience. Darwin’s theory of evolution and the survival of the fittest provides an unhealthy metaphor when extended to us evolving in a modern context - working, forging ahead and gaining on our competitors. Absolute belief in any type of knowledge has major disadvantages but I’ve ruthlessly sought a world view that embraces intuition and poetic romance.
Where’s the space for spirit, love and the slow lane today? Those of us who have kept close a less literal, more creative and dream-filled way of living ask where dreams fit in a sustainable model of living. That was my personal motivation in taking work at Sunseed. Visiting and working at this low-impact desert project was to test how little I could live on without compromising my creative life, happiness and ultimately to see if living from more heart-centred goals was a privilege afforded only to window-gazing in a comfortable centrally-heated home in England.
Here is an opportunity to learn by doing physical work, taking responsibility, looking inwards to truly see what we really need. We remember through practising healthy habits what truly nourishes us and makes us feel fantastic. By stripping away any extras, and showing a mirror to the extra work that comes with taking more than we need. By trusting and listening to our deeper self, our choices can spring from a more stable, contented and creative place. True education is allowing the intelligence inside us, out; everyone’s voice has its own wisdom, its own way of investigation and its own eyes.
The emphasis on practical learning at Sunseed slows the pace right down. As a volunteer or staff member here, we’re allowed the space, time and patience to explore. The more we behave, give and work from a loving place, rather than an efficient one, the more we nourish ourselves and the people around us. In a community, this has taught me about the creative power of communication: honesty, directness, the power of apologising or forgiving the other person. This feels like love. The way I carry out my work is changing. I’ve making space to dream, to breathe, to just be and enjoy the scenery when it isn’t the right time to take action. Without any sense of urgency and clock-watching and easing judgements about what constitutes a hard day’s work, I’m finding that it's more responsible to equate growth to time spent being still than blindly chasing things. Love lives in our work as much as in the spaces between.
I relax and sleep when I feel tired, and I've found some surprisingly luxurious (and sustainable) ways to relax. Apart from the organic freshly-prepared food, Sunseed couldn’t be further away from a 5 star spa break so it’s amazing to experience on a natural budget ways that we can still take time-out and feel like a million... kindnesses!
Natural sauna and ... ‘haute’ Beauté
Los Molinos has its own sweat lodge courtesy of our neighbours in La Cultura de la Tierra. Simply constructed from locally-harvested cana and covered with jarapas, the pot belly stove inside surrounded by rocks and fed with water gives a Turkish-bath effect. After scrubbing down with ayate-style cloths fashioned from asparto, the spiny shrub that is everywhere here, the ancient irrigation system (acequia) provides a glacial full-body plunge. Tingling, rosy-cheeked and feeling reborn, you can wrap up, dry and moisturise with organic olive oil while in the garden underneath the carpet of stars and Milky Way. And the cost? An afternoon of chopping wood in the winter sun! Porridge for breakfast is here to stay at Sunseed.Inevitably, we’re left asking ourselves what to do with leftovers. What better way than taking it to the sauna and slapping it on our faces? The creaminess works well with a gloop of local honey, a drop of lavender and apply. Result: baby soft skin and upcycling points!
Want to join us? We host volunteers, researchers and interns. We run residential courses, workshops, seminars and offer apprenticeships.
Find out about our neighbours and their project, Cultura de la Tierra: culturadelatierra.net