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how to live your life after experiencing the permaculture click

Posts: 33254
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I didn't get good sleep last night, so my brains are not quite with me.  This makes it so I cannot really write coherent stuff.  

We recorded a podcast this morning.  It ran for almost four hours.  About the permaculture click.   Four of us believe we have experienced the permaculture click so we talk about it.  

The podcast will probably be available to patreon peeps tomorrow.   And to everybody else about a week or two later.

Here are our notes:


What is "the click"?
  - c-l-i-c-k
  - before the click, permaculture is a lot of cool bits and bobs.  Drink deep and there is always more.  It’s one cool thing in a world of cool things.  
  - and then there is the moment when all those pieces suddenly click together and you realize that you have lived your whole life, up to this moment, backwards.  And you are now hard wired to do a 180 and live your life forwards.   It is the only way.  At the moment, you are ankle deep in permaculture, but you desperately need to be neck deep.

To ask each person:
  - was it a jarring moment or spread out over hours/days/weeks?
  - was it really a 180 on your life or is that a bit of an exaggeration?
  - do you remember when you felt the click?
  - what do you need?

To NOT have the click might be a really nice thing.  Possibly not wise to pursue it

  - I have things that I have to do NOW and I can’t do them here
  - Can’t afford land
  - Everything is covered in toxic gick and I can’t get away from it
  - I can’t do enough by myself, I need more people
  - Everyone thinks I’m crazy
  - Swimming upstream
  - Family conflict/divorce
  - Most communities suck
  - How do I make money without a worky job
  - Is this going to take 20 years?  But I want it (need it) RFN

Q for ash, ashley, jen and paul:   how many people in the world do you think have experienced the click?

NEED to be neck deep.
  - ash is currently ankle deep
  - ashley is currently shin deep
  - paul and jen are currently chest deep
  - At wheaton labs, we’re working on getting neck deep and we’re really close
When I finished my Master’s Thesis:
  - Couldn’t figure out how to use the knowledge I had gained in the “real world”
  - Worked for Agriculture Canada for 4 years and couldn’t believe that it was the peak of agricultural research
  - Moved back to my hometown but was not content with the “ski bum life”
  - Took a PDC and fell madly in love with Permaculture: I could be an experimental scientist, nutritionist, ecologist, and more without ever having to spend another day in a classroom.
  - Visited Wheaton Labs and discovered that I had much much more to learn
  - Now trying to balance moving towards a homesteading life with the needs of family, spouses, and the social culture/economics of the area


  - Currently Ankle deep, if that
     - Hugel in rental house yard
     - Putting some greywater on the garden
     - Doing other PEP stuff at home
     - I want to be way deeper
  - Have I truly felt the click? - OR - I have yet to cut off my right Arm
     - Years of pulling together cool bits and bobs,
     - I had let the doubters in my life convince me that my dream(s) were unrealistic,
     - I was maybe toe deep when I felt the click
     - I've felt a series of jarring moments
     - The pull is strong, but the ties that hold be to Denver (e.g. my 7 year old son), are strong, too
     - Six years ago, I was realizing I wanted both land, and also that I couldn't know or do everything
     - My life has since been turned upside down, and I've had to live vicariously through podcasts/forums/videos etc
     - A big moment for me was seeing the RMH in the FP house in a Justin Rhodes youtube video. Before that, all my research was Joel Salatin and Gabe Brown and Elaine Ingham stuff. That's when I learned people were doing permaculture things with buildings.
     - Going to Paul's place showed me that living neck-deep could be attainable
  - I’ve felt all of the frustrations
     - I NEED to have Sepp Water burbling out of a fountain in the square of a town with no cars that can feed itself inside a permaculture paradise
     - I still have a worky job, for Reasons
     - Strategy up til now: go to WL and fill my bucket, and bring my bucket back home
     - I now have found one other person who doesn’t think I’m crazy
     - I’ve managed to turn on a drip, so I’m not suffocating anymore

When I felt the click
moved back to the ranch
Had been “into” permaculture but suddenly it became urgent
       Already on a homestead, but swimming upstream
       Can’t even do an online PDC
       Winning PDC tickets
       Clicked at PDC
       Leaving the ranch - really hard

  - April 25, 2005, late morning
  - obsessed with the 3 sepp movies
     - i want to do all that, plus my ideas about natural building and community and so much more
     - if all the stuff in those 3 movies could be called “1 sepp unit” then all the stuff in my head that I want to do would add up to about 3 sepp units.
  - if I quit my job and do only permaculture, the most I would be able to accomplish in my lifetime would be 0.8 sepp units
  - need to be in community with 12 year-round people that are more knowledgeable and more industrious than me.
  - quit my career; left the mount spokane property (felt a bit like cutting off an arm)
  - i know the solution is community and that that is going to be, by far, the most difficult thing, so I started studying community and visiting communities.
  - can I join a community and do permaculture for 30 more years at that spot without getting kicked out or feeling like i need to get away from this group?
  - I have shared a lot, in past podcasts, about my community journey
     - books, workshops, web sites, intensive study
     - visiting ICs
     - living in several different ICs
     - on the board of an IC incubator board
     - deep study of decision making models
     - finally determined to create my own community (central leader); recording podcasts so people can learn what it would be like for this community.
     - want to offer a community that would have been a perfect fit for my 2005 self
  - On arriving on this property I have now imagined 10 sepp units of stuff i need to do before i die.  Maybe I will finally feel like I am “neck deep” when we get to 3 units?

wheaton labs

  - hair on fire
        - Changing “hair on fire” to “you know what would be cool?”
        - what is left so hair is no longer on fire?
              - Well
              - a few berm shed repairs
              - Complete greenhouse and movie
              - Allerton abbey ATI able to proceed
              - Food systems at 30% (includes chickens, which includes 4 basecamp paddocks)
              - Rentals, events, logistics working pretty good so that there is the beginning of steady coin

the tipping point
  - what does the tipping point look like?
        - financially self sustaining - no longer need subsidies from paul
        - allerton abbey at full gert (with hot and cold running water)
        - at least 12 year round residents
        - there is a lot of interest in our stuff without us trying to actively tell people
        - food systems at 80%
        - events sell out in a few days after being announced

what is left to be “neck deep”?
  - Massive water harvesting earthworks and ponds everywhere
  - Ruminants rotationally grazing the lab
  - Curing cancer by staying on the lab
  - food systems at 140%
  - Political stuff very small and far away
  - a new recipe for community proven
  - the promise of wofati is proven
  - growing a lemon tree outdoors in montana
  - events sell out in a few hours after being announced
  - Growing the future leadership of permaculture - maybe six out of the top 10 permaculturists in the world are/will be at wheaton labs
  - So many awesome people living here that we can no longer accept new residents

paul wheaton
Posts: 33254
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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This will be three podcasts.   All three are available now to patreon peeps:

Posts: 725
Location: SoCal USA
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I definitely felt "the Click", it was when I spent around 10 days at Cob Cottage Company attending a RMH weekend workshop followed by a week of their work party. I had been on Permies for years prior, but this was the first time I actually stepped into the reality of it, cooking and eating food grown and harvested on the property; gravity fed mountain spring water used for cooking, drinking, and showering via RMH water heater; staying in cob structures with green roofs and not full of distracting electronics; splitting firewood to feed the RMHs; walking within 10 feet of calm deer who knew Ianto and his guests won't mess with them; gathering wood duff from rotting 100 year old douglas fir stumps to use in the composting toilet system; the overwhelming sense of peace as I calmed down and relaxed in the rainforest valley which barely had cell reception (so I left the phone in the car 500 feet back at the entrance) and the only electronics was 2 solar panels hooked to a car battery to power 5 or 6 light bulbs between the various buildings; and being around a group of people who had a similar desire to at least experience this lifestyle in some way.

I also distinctly remember hopping back in the car to drive the 900 miles home and feeling the stress seep back into every pore as the roads filled up with traffic, and especially driving through the literal stink of LA and all the air pollution; getting back to the 0.1 acre house tightly packed with all the other houses 20 feet away; a house poorly built with bad insulation but too expensive to open up and improve; using expensive SoCal drinking water to flush the toilet; with terrible soil not fit for growing edible food; working 40 hours a week to afford the house and all the other expenses involved with the job and environment.

Many years before I had worked out my expenses and savings to plan for early retirement at age 40, and that kicked back in but since my current job has a mandatory retirement system that I could use at age 50, that became my 5 years target date. I'm now working on my plans for that, hoping to build a house I had imagined since I was a kid and was fascinated by things like Buckminster Fuller, dome homes, earth ships, and reading copies of Mother Earth news at the library. But back then I fell prey to the "that's nice, now go out and get a real job and enter the system". Now I've realized it's an actual goal, and I'm looking forward to it!
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