Turning a New Leaf — generosity economy in action and only One Cow left

Eco here. Eventful foray from the other day I would like to share here.

What began in Woodstock and a visit with talented natural artists (community-minded post-Brooklynites) my journey took me through a local healer to meet our wonderful friend Bill Henry, waiting ready for transport assistance, even with all the pressures in his life right now, making it possible for me to visit a special fortnightly gathering that has been happening in Great Barrington with some very bright and smart people, specifically around finding ways to share abundance, provide value and eliminate waste among trusted and ever-growing networks of individuals, especially focusing on the work of Charles Eisenstein and others who evoke the primal into forward-thinking where a sacred economics, where life matters, is engendered, fostered and given further opportunity to flourish.

So in previous meetings of this awesome group of people I have sometimes been just a face and voice coming out of a computer (Skyped in and set in the Circle,  where the digital meets the indigenous) but in this case I was there and able to offer my website, video, graphic, design or healing services to any who had previously discussed it with me, as I was there with a van and could stay over if need be, if only someone had a place for me to stay.

So the meeting ended nicely, got a tip to go check out Orion Magazine and ended up with a stack of many previous issues (now available at our Unlearning Center, daytime hours only). Then I heard back from this fellow Luke, who had cleared it with his family that I could stay the night with them. As it turns out, they are also former Brooklynites who came some years ago up to make a go of growing their own food.

Other events were calling me away for the evening so I did not need the place to stay after all, but wanted to help out with some “yard work” Luke said he’d be doing. That turned out to be salvaging all of what had been stored in a makeshift barn on one side of their impressive house and gardens, with chickens and dogs and other life happily intermingled. Huge amounts of roofing, already cleaned and stacked were in one pile, large barrels were laying and standing around, stinking to high middle-earth with their previous usage in soil cultivation and all sorts of assorted buckets and biodegradable planting pots— all of which fit quite nicely in the van, and constituted our first wave of material donations this season!

What only you know, that particular experience of being you, has magic in it. Sometimes it’s right in front of us, and unexplainable beauty and majesty of this shared world. To be nourished and inspired by what we see all the time, as well as those special moments our clever alignments and arrangements of participants and ingredients make happen from the greater possible.

What many of us who actually showed up at the Arc, or at Rainbow Gathering, or at Occupy Wall Street, or at any other rather unclear and spontaneous yet authentic and organic assemblies know is that the point of it can never be retold, exactly. We glimpse heaven, of living together, of being real with others who believe caring should never go out of style, no matter how many mixed messages we’re fed everyday, all the time— those who show up experienced magic. The ineffable, and inexplicable coincidences, beyond the orchestration of even the 23rd century’s simulations, should we survive the Big Oil+ stranglehold on patents and profits, and hence, given current paradigm, of possibility itself.

Community, whatever form it takes, stands against greed, and entropy, the mis-use of trust and information. “Life feeds on negative entropy” is the observation What we can not do on our own becomes possible, validated and activated through the alchemy of real life shared attention and presence, a deep, primal need often simulated or substituted, but which only real communing can provide. I have learned to be open and attune myself to my surroundings, but many I find are uncomfortable almost anywhere. When I came to support the community efforts that took place at Zuccotti Park as part of Occupy Wall Street, I brought with me a book, by the assassinated Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled “Where do We go from Here: Chaos or Community?”

Well the choice is obvious. Right? Who’s Left? But we live in an inundated insecurity nexus where people are “style” or  image “conscious” and unless you can really pull it off, making it obvious isn’t the thing to do. And yet we are at the cusp of an emergent world society, where world-wide community can be realized as already present, in whatever state of abundance or neglect, abuse or celebration. Anything having to do with SHARING from communism, to hippy to bleeding hearts to And where do we have to do this, really? School? Libraries? Churches? Cemeteries?  On Canvas and in Laboratories. On stages and in pages. On line and inherent.

This experiment we have begun here is one which goes on everywhere the examined life is shared, where resources are shared and allocated for motivations beyond personal gain, in whatever form, where the formula has been changed and with our own success we learn to pay it forward. To get our act together here, so we can be of assistance in the future to other communities, to other lands and resources which are being offered to the creative commons of conscious active participants, is the aim and plight ahead.

By doing what we can do, we make our shared visions more real each and every day, dreaming open awake to what mystery awaits inherent in the net-working-out of this amazing, inhabited universe.

Hope to see you this season for our Workdays on FRIDAYS and for one of several upcoming BIG MEETINGS.

Spring!

Notes from a Prologue

(by eric carter)

When I arrived at the arc, the late chill of the winter hadn’t lifted. The cold winds still blew through the valley, and we huddled around the kitchen table, well wrapped up, faces close to bowls of warming chili. I would look longingly out into the courtyard, wanting so bad to enjoy a warm spring evening. It makes the coming of the spring so much sweeter, and my departure so much more bittersweet.

I came here to The Arc38 project, having heard rumors of a new community of infinite possibilities being created in this beautiful valley, a summer that came and went like a fever dream, just in reaching distance of Manhattan. Still fighting the hangover of the excitement of Zuccotti Park, all I wanted was a chance to build some community. The year plus of watching people dive behind their newspapers, turn on their earbuds and turn off the rest of the world around them, had ground me down. I had seen too many people crying in silence on a lonely subway train. I had never been in a city so big with so many people desperately alone.

Now, slowly the arc is waking from it slumber. The slurry of potential, curiosity and ingenuity have been touched by that springtime sun. People are slowly making the migration up the mountain, the last thin veil of frost has pulled back. The promised summer of community, experience and most importantly love is at our grasp.

Through that love, the world is at our fingertips. I would be remiss to talk about the arc project without talking about how we are are trying to change the world. The imperative here is interconnectedness. To be here in the valley, you quickly gain the  reverence for the beauty that is our natural world, you can’t but be awed by the evident  nature of us all being one. Even as the cold set into your bones, the crocuses that sprung up were a reminder of the beauty that sat above below and around us. Even as we sit here in this idyllic valley— talk of sustainability and being the stewards of our world is the word on our lips. Here at the Arc we know that we are going to have find out not just how we interface with each other, but also how we interface with our mother earth. If you have an idea, if you have the energy, if you want to rethink, there has never been a more exciting place to be. As Eco says this is the time of the ancient future. We are going back, and forward, but most importantly we are going as one.

As I depart to go back to the places of long straight roads and big televisions, I want  to impart the idea of the potential of this magical place. The Arc38 is striving, imperfectly, to be a new model for a better world. I have been around this country from deserts of Utah to the swamplands of Louisiana. I have been to only a few places that have the possibilities of this farm, this retreat, this laboratory.

Stay tuned this summer: get involved in whatever way you can. Or, take that weekend. Jump on that train: they leave every 2 hours or so, and come and feel the energy, the hope, here down in the valley.

 

Support Flowing In!

Friends and Family

So many of you have recently contributed, and I want to state now a huge THANK YOU! Also, we will be launching an official fundraising gift package crowd-sourcing style soon, and want to assure any early donors that any gifts made in this critical interim period will be recognized and rewarded as such, so please act now and give anything at all if you can!

We’re going to be rolling out some exciting initiatives including video classes from our community, shared-templates of best practices, empowerment ceremonies and a brand-new product: anti-money! Gifts will include the services of those who are entered in our Job Bank (shoot us an email if you want to have your skills listed as we attract more clients), prints of art work made here, music compilations from live music recorded here, videos generated on-site and the ability to book your own retreat or project here.

Please, again, for all those who have been here before: let us know if you are planning to come back! Keep in touch, no matter where you are or what yer up to…

Be Safe, Be Love and Be Free!

I recently sent this to folks who I have been in contact with at some point, in that non-cyber world, and now I offer it here:

Fellow Earthlings

Many of you know that just on the other side of the train line from Grand Central, in idyllic Wassaic, a community dedicated to a new future has been forming. Born from connections made through answering the call against financial corruption— we have found common ground, inspiring us forward.

We are so many things: an experiment in living culture… a farm, a retreat, a performance space, a presentation venue, a base for activation and a launching pad. It’s a place where we come together— to celebrate and teach one another. We have already served hundreds of under-financed, over-burdened, hearty warriors from all walks of life. They have dedicated hundreds of hours making this a place of infinite opportunity.

We are now at a critical moment: the central home here has just been listed for sale. If every person on this list gave $75 to a common fund— we might collectively purchase the centerpiece of our property, the old Luther family farmhouse. With the show of support of one credit-worthy individual willing to make this possible, and with pledges or gifts from as many of you as can afford to pitch in for this crucial opportunity: we can bring this whole operation to the next level. We need to be able to jump on this very soon: let’s have a discussion at your earliest convenience! Read more about this here: http://arc38.org/save-the-house/

You can also support the farm and the endeavours sought here with a modest investment to help us through the season ahead. In addition to covering our one utility cost we are seeking grant and other assistance for the barn to become a model in the Hudson Valley for energy self-reliance. Now is the time to count yourself among those who are building a sustainable future! Even if you can’t help us purchase the house, if you can support our exciting projects— please do!

Featuring a main barn with a library, kitchen and gathering space, visitors are encouraged to ‘unlearn’ so many lessons of the artificial contemporary and to be truly honest with themselves and one another. Together we enjoy a forest with tenting and cliffs, ponds and trails as well as an open valley wetlands with a healthy array of Earth’s amazing creatures.

Spring is well underway, the new greenhouse is getting play, the fields are tilled, compost spread and we are waiting for the ground to finally get warm enough to take the seed. We are learning as we go, with experts in different fields appearing left and right. Now we are asking all of you for the best practices you know to help a community run smoothly, from housekeeping to social order, from authentic communication to practical permaculture: we are looking for the cutting edge basics. Come share what you know and have learned or shoot us an email and open a line of communication, come play some music or get involved in whatever way that you can.

We have provided a basic space for community activation in the past, and we are now ready for those next steps. We encourage everyone to come and feel the energy, add to the magic that manifests in so many different forms. Everyone on this list has something to add in one way or another, and new constellations are possible through the interactions of this unique and dedicated collection of individuals.

For everyone who has read this far: thank you! I would like to let you all know right now that I respect and value you, your time, and this shared mindspace.

No matter where you are or what you are doing, I would love to hear from you, possibly be able to alert others in support of your great work, and join forces, at least energetically, from any distance.

Eco and the Community at Arc 38

PS— Let us know what you’re doing and we can add your project to this page (and the web grows, Mother Gaia smiles and embraces us all). Thank you all for all you are!

A message from the quickly warming soil

Hundreds of seeds have been ensconced in the greenhouse here at Arc38, physically, mentally and spiritually. The last frost may still come, and the anticipation of a big bonfire on the mountain is building up. Walks up the mountain, in the crisp of the morning, are a joy to behold for those here to catch the early solitude. Cool nights are treated with warm soups, or hearty bean chili. The work up on the mountain and down at the barns has risen to a simmer, as if it’s ready to explode into a rolling boil.

 

This is summer number TWO and plans are being made at Arc38, from the energy of that first delirious summer, projects are incubating. In these last quiet chilly days of Spring, much work is being done daily. Familiar faces and new ones walking through the door every week, each bringing their own unique ray to the growing The barn is being transformed to accommodate all the positive energies that will soon be overflowing. Even with the quiet anticipation, every small step is pushing the sun higher into the sky. As the seeds hold their own potential we too are full of energy ready to burst into light. We encourage you to plan to join us, or continue to check back. Be a part of our project to change the world, right from our little farm here in the valley.

Finally— a Greenhouse!

Bill’s longstanding dream of having a South-facing greenhouse attached to the barn has been realized!

Thanks to the recent involvement of local folk Lola and North, the plastic was purchased and installed in time for seed starts to get a jump on the season. Bill’s go-to builder, Brian Buckner utilized a method taught to him by Sam, who kept a nice little garden in the center of Pine Plains for a few seasons.

Well, well, well…

Let there be water!

Another $4,000 invested into infrastructure, and now we have artisan water available for plants, animals and other people.

Still could use a solar heating solution, filters and other goodies– but major progress.

Bike charging & a canoe lampshade

A number of creative improvements started cropping up through collaboration with a friendly and talented local landscaper J! Like custom milled planks used with the broken futon frame to make a new raised bed for our wheatgrass this year. And a busted bike from the basement combined with a truck alternator and battery (plus an inverter from J, now missing only a Charge Controller for an off-grid circuit!) to make a bike-charging station.

Plus take a look at the mylar-lined Sea Nymph, turned into a lampshade for some overdue alternative lighting for the main barn space…

(and then along came a Sandy Hurricane)

To cap off our first season, disaster struck. And being a people who answer the call of our times, many went directly into the zones of response, from 520 to Yanna, from Staten Island through the Rockaways and the Jersey Shore. The military tents entrusted to us during the end of the People’s Storage at 50 Broadway were trucked down to the scene— from Arc-38 to B-38 (aka Beach 38, part of the Occupy Sandy network, which was there before FEMA & Red Cross).

So much has happened since that time, so now we are setting up for a bunch of updates: videos, a photo share, Spring overview, upcoming everything, all sorts of exciting opportunities and some on-the-scene writings from current Arc-cupiers, finally starting to share our stories. Stay optimally tuned!