Light Morning offers several ways of engaging in an exploration of resilience: as a visitor for a few days; as an intern for a few weeks; as seasonal support crew for a season or two; or as an apprentice for a year or two. Each deeper degree of engagement, beyond providing more time, brings further responsibilities and opportunities. Before we consider these options, however, there are three underlying assumptions which guide Light Morning’s exploration of resilience.
Resilience is especially needful in times like these. At its root, resilience means “to rebound, to spring back, to be buoyant.” It’s the ability to “return to an original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched.” And to “recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like.” At certain inflection points in the life cyles of individuals and of civilizations, a cultivated capacity for resilience is remarkably helpful.
Inner and outer resilience are intertwined. On one hand, resilience is the ability to make skillful outward adaptations to challenging circumstances, be they personal or societal. These may involve health or housing, finances or food supply, work or love. Resilience is also being able to regain our composure, our peace of mind, after having been “bent, compressed, or stretched” by strong forces. Inner resilience makes the efforts we devote to outer resilience more likely to be effective; while an environment that is outwardly resilient is conducive to developing inner resilience.
Story and practice are likewise interdependent. We see the world (as the saying goes) not as it is, but as we are. Our personal views of the world are highly selective and heavily filtered. They are, in essence, descriptions, learned interpretations, stories. Our daily practices – the formal ones such as meditation, gardening, or relationships, as well as all the informal ones that structure our days – grow out of these descriptions, these stories. And fortify them. Story and practice, therefore, are co-dependent.
These working assumptions shape Light Morning’s exploration of resilience. Whether you are moved to share that exploration as an intern (having hopefully visited beforehand), as seasonal support crew (having already done an internship), or as an apprentice (having previously crewed for several seasons), the dual focus is the same: first, learning to craft a skill-set of practices that optimize inner and outer resilience; and second, recognizing and then renovating the stories that both feed and are fed by those practices.
Practical, Contemplative, Welcoming
More specifically, outward resilience corresponds to being practical, one of Light Morning’s core values. All the intriguing complexities of pioneering post peak petroleum homesteading are in this arena – How do I grow most of the food needed to feed my family for a year? How do I build shelters that are simple, durable, and mortgage-free? How do I gather and store heat from the forest, light from the sun, water from the ground below my feet and the roof above my head? What about transportation and communication, home health care and child/elder care, adequate income? How do I simplify my needs while deepening my sense of well-being?
Inward resilience, on the other hand, comes with being contemplative, and with utilizing meditation, dream-work, and prayer in order to cultivate reliable inner guidance. Perhaps it begins with a seemingly simple question: “Might there be within me a guiding force, as generic as the shape of a human hand, as unique a fingerprint?” This force goes by many names – a path with heart, a psychic blueprint, a personal calling, a personal destiny. Only as a GPS-like guidance system is quickened, clarified, and made functional do we ripen into inward resilience.
Light Morning’s third core value, welcoming, is more directly relevant to our seasonal support crew and apprentices. For their formidable task is not only to become progressively more resilient, but also to practice the art of hospitality. Ambience and empathy, conversation and home-making – these are among the critically important skills for maintaining a way station on the new underground railroad.
Stories and Practices
Finally, any exploration of resilience only becomes sustainable when we have a sustainable why. Tools and techniques provide the how-to; a deep-seated why provides the want-to. Practice, then, depends upon story, for stories convey the why. That’s why Light Morning pays at least as much attention to stories – to both our personal and collective worldviews or paradigms – as it does to practices.
A visceral web-work of stories, for example, underlies phrases such as “post peak petroleum homesteading,” or “reliable inner guidance,” or “the new underground railroad.” A similar tapestry of tales tells what guided us to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the spring of 1974. Those coming to Light Morning as visitors and interns naturally bring along their own stash of stories. It’s the mutual drawing forth of these stories, as much as it’s the shared meals and bread-labor, the various studies and practices, that makes the visits and internships so rich.
On a more practical note:
Visitors and interns join us for our simple vegetarian meals and for the five or six hours a day that we devote to the seasonal bread-labor needs of our rural, homesteading lifestyle.
Accommodations range from guest rooms to cabins to secluded tent sites, depending on personal preferences and on how many others are visiting/interning at any given time.
There is no set fee for visiting or interning at Light Morning. Any donations you’re able to make are gratefully received and help us make these opportunities available to others.
If you want to arrange for a long weekend visit or apply for a three-week internship (or if you have any questions) you can contact us here.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, you can learn more about Light Morning at A Closer Look.