Mahina is becoming fuller and brighter every evening, and is nearly as present during the day as she is when the sky is absent of the sun. It will be a full moon on New Year's Eve, and a Blue Moon to boot. That means December and the year 2009 cycles around with a lot of potential. Life from the vardo continues to teach Pete and me to appreciate what is important. The internal work we must do to keep aware of the successes in our wee life is fueled by the energy I receive because I tune to the energy of the moon. Second hand light is different from the brightness of the Sun and yet without it I would miss the nurturing messages that are needed to steady myself from the glaring differences that are a life based on this Economy of Wee. It is important to document the truth of the challenges and the victories of life reassembled by exposure to chemicals. Bloggers are having an incredibly powerful influence of what I'm calling 'second hand light' ... transparency of truth is showing itself everywhere. I take to the word and write a variety blogs because there are so many ways to tell our story. In October of 2008, Susie Collins' author and editor of The Canary Report contributed an article for Blog Action Day. I've clipped excerpts from Susie's article to frame the reality of thousands who live with the everyday challenges of life with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. From that article, Collins' wrote:
The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. Blog Action Day 08’s topic is POVERTY. Here is my contribution.
Coping with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is a challenge on every front in a person’s life. It impacts employment, housing, social activity, personal relationships, personal care, eating habits, exercise, recreation, and leisure. Health care becomes confusing and disorienting because medical doctors do not recognize MCS and therefore do not know how to help. To add insult to injury, some MDs believe MCS is psychosomatic, and either dismiss complaints or send the patient off to the shrink...
But a cure for MCS is most likely going to be elusive. After all, MCS is not a disease or allergy, it’s a reaction to low level poisoning from toxic chemicals...
So you can see how MCS can catapult a person into poverty. When forced to leave employment because the air is too toxic to breathe, there is no paycheck...And a life on that edge can very quickly spiral into poverty...
This is why too many people with MCS are sleeping in cars or in aluminum trailers in a friend’s back yard. Many who can’t find safe housing or employment hunker down, strip down, go zen, go without, and struggle to adapt to the newfound state of limited resources. This is the world of poverty, and if anyone with MCS thinks this scenario isn’t a heartbeat away, they are fooling themselves. There is no safety net for people with a health condition not recognized by the government or mainstream medical community...
The Canary Report was one of the first places I turned when Pete and I arrived in Seattle after our months of living on the road, in our car. Through the early connection with the growing community of MCSers I learned more about this condition that had changed our lives. Since that initial cyber-connection, The Canary Report has become broader and bigger with an active voice as well as a safe place for seekers of information, comfort and a collective sense of being supported. And VardoForTwo both the blog and our tiny home teach us how important it is to make friends with time and make time for the moon. As Mahina grows in her illumination with the double-whammy of the Blue Moon I'd like to leave a few of the things we do as a result of "strip(ping down, go(ing) zen, and go(ing) without" not as a form of adaptation to a new version of our former way of being in the world. Instead, the Time of Wee has given us valuable insight and preparation for a future coming up very soon when stripping down, going zen and going without will be THE way.
Here are two things we do on a common day or night from VardoForTwo.
Oil-swishing or oil-pulling and baking soda brushing.
One of the first things to go when your income and your savings are done, is health care insurance and dental care period. Early in the year, we chose food and gas money over health insurance. When I had my last dental check-up with a dentist who was mcs-sensitive and responsive, I was able to pay for the teeth cleaning and initial exam, got sick from the x-ray and from the estimate for the work she out-lined. There is no way for us to pay for the replacement work or the bridges she recommended. Instead, almost ten months ago I began swishing with organic sunflower oil as a way to cleanse the bacteria from my teeth, mouth and gums. I was brushing with unscented coconut oil soap until a couple months ago, when I became sensitized to the soap. So now, I use a very diluted water brushing with baking soda. My NAET practitioner recommended this as an alternative to the dental work I could not afford.
I swish with oil first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The theory and concept for the swishing is here ... I continue to do it because it calms the sensitivities in my teeth, draws the bacteria from my mouth and offers me an alternative I can afford. It's something I can do, doesn't harm me and that matters to my sense of taking care of myself. There may come a time when more needs to be done to care for my teeth. That's not now.
Clothes and shoes
The clothes I own fits in a wire basket under the futon or on the walking stick I use for a clothes hanger in the corner of the vardo. Pete has a wire basket too plus the basement in our friends' home where he keeps his 'for work' clothes purposely separate from the safe haven of our vardo. A pile of five sweaters has just come into Pete's life ... recycled into his life from our friend Doug. The sweaters will need to be washed and aired clear. They have a minimal scent to them, so that is promising news.
I wash my clothes in the shower. The laundry in our friends' home isn't safe for me, so I spend a couple hours two or three times a week hand washing with hot filtered water and baking soda. It's meditative, really good exercise and becomes a routine: when I'm down to one change of clothes, it's time to wash. Drying my wet clothes takes two days, so that's where the planning is essential. Dryers don't work for me. Pete can use the washer up stairs. He dries his clothes on a large metal rack claimed from the old Bon Marche before it became Macy's Department Store. Tonight, a box came for us. It was a gift from my son. The Wonder Washer, a hand washer that I will be able to use to go from shower washing to pressure washing. No electricity just churning and then hand wringing the wet clothes.
We each own a pair of boots. My New Balance boots are trustworthy and serve me well after five years. Pete has a new pair of boots and two muck- abouts that keep him going. It's not a lot, it's just enough.
Safety nets for folks living with MCS are hard won. Friends and family are tested to their limits to offer what we truly need. With our VardoForTwo the comfort and assurance of a separate space is a valuable reality. Our friends here in the Mill Town are making the adjustments to their daily life while continuing to use chemicals and fragrances. We adjust. We do not adapt to the choices because that would not be a boundary it would be losing the seed of myself that must remain true to my needs. That is a big challenge ... seeing that adjusting is different from adapting. I have written about that many times and continue to see the value of making adjustments without adapting. Like frogs who estivate to weather a change in climate, the frog does not become something else, the frog draws into itself and allows the body temperature to function until the climate changes back.
With each new encampment Pete and I learn a little or a lot about what it takes to live with others. We learn that this Time of Wee is as much about riding the wave ahead of the collective, pioneering in a fashion. We are living in the light of the moon with less stuff than most, and more challenges than the majority for now. The coming time of Pluto's occupany in the constellation of Capricorn will test more of the collective to live with Wee. Stripping down and going zen or going without are not bad practices. In fact, with practice they will become to way more of Earth's people will need to live to shift with the cosmic gears.
Can you relate to the need to estivate or zen down?