Thursday, December 23, 2010

Harvest ... those things that abide ... one year's progress PART ONE

I've enjoyed reading the success stories of folk in the MCS community.  With access to the internet again, the ability to connect and share in healing and recovery journeys is the best sort of holiday present.  2010 has been a year of creative expression and change for me and Pete.  Ironically, the internet was not available to us most of this year, so the times when we did have it had to be focused and at the same time accepted as short windows of opportunity .  Blogging and surfing the web were replaced with the hands-on feet on the ground experiences of settling, setting root in a new place.  In May we boarded a ferry with our VardoForTwo and landed on Whidbey Island.  With rain drops fat and sloppy falling on the metal roof of our quonset shelter, and the radiant electric heat baking my right thigh there is time and circumstance for catching up on the wonderful harvest of progress.

First, let me celebrate the successes of sister Canaries who have made wonderful progress in the journey of healing from MCS.

Libby  blogs at MovingBeyondMCS

Libby began blogging about the small and giant steps of improvement and recovery from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.  When her blog was infant she made it clear that her purpose was to chronicle the improvements in her life; the things that work for her; and the stories of others who are finding sources and experiences of recovery.

In 2010, I read how Libby has taken herself on a long and successful road trip to New York.  Libby lives in Canada, and her venture as well as the other posts of change and improvement are harvests of success.

Congratulations and Hurrah for you Libby!


Community forums and blogs introduce me to others with MCS.  Though I have had little contact or communication with LadyItchalot, I have read her experiences over the past two years on The Canary Report and Planet Thrive.  The link will connect you with LadyItchalot's current success and recovery in her own words.  I read the two part article on The Canary Report yesterday, and am truly filled with joy and hope after reading it.

This quote from LadyItcalot's story (Part 2) was especially resonant for me:

..."Let me please stress that I definitely still believe that we were chemically injured. What I now believe is that for most of us, there was another stressor at the time of injury. A stressor can be any of many different sources (physical, emotional, medical). MCS researcher Martin Pall addresses this in his NO/ONOO- theory with the eNOS, iNOS and nNOS. Brain retraining expert Ashok Gupta addresses that with amygdala co-wiring, as does Annie Hopper with her neural retraining"

This story of recovery and healing opens to the very broad band of opportunity and possibilities for reassembling life.  "There was another stressor at the time of injury" is a key factor for me.  Now that we are on Whidbey Island and have planted the seeds of a new life into this island community, those other stressors have a chance to surface and heal.  My blogging is one form of re-wiring and using the gifts of growth and creativity to heal.  Patience is necessary in large stores and others recovery stories fan the flames.  How grateful I am to have access to your story LadyItchalot in time to count it as a fine holiday present.  Thank you.

A year ago last summer(2009) Julie Genser founder of Planet Thrive did an extensive interview with Pete and me.  A Gypsy Life: Notes from the Diaspora has been a gateway ... a sign-post from which I have reviewed our journey.  The rune "Gateway" serves as reminder to review and consider what life has been like in all its phases and myriad forms before stepping through the gate to things yet to be. 

We have planted the seed of a new life, or 'new normal' and need to recount and value the progress we have made.  Here are a few of my favorite sprouting successes.  From Julie's interview with Pete and me I find these successes,and count them as presents.

A quonset kitchen

A year ago summer we were camped on The Ledge in the Woods, and cooked under our tarp-roofed outdoor kitchen.  Our outdoor kitchens have served us well during the summers.  When the temperature and weather changes to winter, other arrangements need to be concocted. 

Here, now though you have no pictures to confirm it, we have the quonset kitchen to enjoy degrees of comfort, warmth and respite like we have not had in a long stretch of time. 

We count this as a present, and give thanks to the guidance and generosity of a very creative Creator.

Intentional Community

This is part of the answer I gave Julie Genser when she asked us to describe our vision of an "Intentional Community" we would like to created.

"I think our original vision for intentional community was more idealistic. With each day and night of life from the Vardo that vision tempers. I see how slowly change comes and try to keep it simple. An intentional community might include the following basics:

1) clean air
Here in South Whidbey the air is clean and fresh on most days and nights.  Winter wood burning is an issue, and we need to close up the vardo and sometimes I use oxygen to ride out the exposure to the smoke.  The present comes from having both the vardo which seals well against things like smoke, and having the resources to pay for tanks of oxygen when I need it.

2) clean water

We share the well water with our friends  and landladies.  We choose not to use the water for drinking or bathing because the minerals and sediment from all manner of stuff is not the best for us.  What we have done for many years is to carry a portable RO (reverse osmosis) water purification system to filter the well water.  With the quonset kitchen in place, the filter works wonders from the faucet Pete has in the sink.  Slowly yet steadily we filter a half gallon of water at a time. 

HOT CLEAN WATER is the other blessing that comes from like in an evolving process.  Thanks to our friend Joan, who suggested the idea of using a big old fashioned coffee pot as a mini hot water tank, we have a small stainless steel percalator that is our hot water tank.  8 cups of filtered hot water is available any time for washing/bathing/drinking.  It's sheer luxury 8 cups at a time!

3) safe sleeping spaces
The Vardo for Two is that for us and we love it, love it love it!

4) quiet times often
Dreams do come true when you tether them to the footwork of risk taking and hard work.  Our place here in the forest is quiet often.  The loudest sound I hear now is the air filter and the fat drops of rain on the quonset roof.

We have separate yet close enough to our near neighbors living.  We have established respectful and consistent boundaries between us.  We have learned from the other shared living experiences and grow in our ability to live without unnecessary walls.  Since we live from small space, the outdoors is our living room and the walk between our neighbors home and the vardo or quonset give us plenty of quiet, often.

5) organic local food/growers and garden space to tend and harvest

South Whidbey and Whidbey Island as a whole is a mecca of organic, local growers.  We have made connections with them through the Farmer's Markets and through community groups like Transition Whidbey.  Here on the land where we live, nine ducks, three chickens and an orchard of fruit trees give us what we have dreamed could happen. 

There is plenty of maintenance to keeping the critters happy and the trees healthy.  Next year there will be time to do a little more than we have done this year. 
6) respectful human relationships
With each camping place we have taken Vardo For Two we learn what it means to be a human in respectful relationships.  That is a process that doesn't happen quickly, and with the lessons that challenge us because MCS makes us 'different' the process is one of learning and unlearning as much as healing from environmental illness.

Growing respectful of ourselves and others means I practice the things that have worked for me as an abiding process.  I practice the principles and practices of The Twelve Steps.  I remember that I am a Makua O'o and I use the memory of my Hawaiian culture as a backbone to connect with a Higher Power. 

Pete and I learn how to sustain and nurture a partnership of equals and give each other the room to be given the tiny spaces from which we grow our home.  Having the quonset extends this option to have separate, though small space.

I'll continue tomorrow with Part Two of Harvest and make notes on the remaining parts of the Intentional Community we envisioned.

7) openness to sharing resources

8) laughter whenever possible, if not more

9) fragrance- and chemical-free

10) a spiritual connection with Earth and Ke Akua (Source, Higher Power) that is the foundation"


Joan Tucker said...

Happy Solstice and also thanks for great photo; son is tall and handsome.
Happy shot of the 3 of you. JT
Loved the crow card.

Mokihana and Pete said...


Yes, Happy Solstice and a coming Christmas, too. So glad you liked the card. It was such a very nice feeling to have cards and the happy photo to send out. It has been years since we had energy, inclination and place from which to send greetings like that. And, the crow card ... we love that one!

Susie Collins said...

Hey thanks for the shout out for TCR posts by Lady! It's a great story, huh? I love when people find the perfect therapy or therapies that bring about balance and health. Truly inspiring!

Great post by you, Mokihana.

Wishing you both a Healthy New Year filled with light and love and safe sanctuary always. Aloha to you both!


Mokihana and Pete said...

Aloha, Susie

I am so happy to be able to read the stories again, and yes it is inspiring to know of the successes that mount.

And the same good wishes to you and your kane, Susie. Take care,

Liberty said...

thanks so much for the congratulations and HURRAH Mokihana!
I find stories of improvement so encouraging and inspiring. I, too, feel so much joy and hope from seeing how lady I's recovery is happening! It's so awesome :-)

I love that you took the time to count and celebrate the sprouting successes on the V42 journey. I really enjoyed reading them!!

a very happy new year to you, Pete and JOTS :)

Mokihana and Pete said...

You are so welcome for the kudos. Counting successes is good practice, with the company of others who celebrate WITH you it matters all the more. A very happy new year to you, too and fun times frequently.
JOTS says "meow!"
M&P from the Quonset near V42