Heart to Heart Communication – A TCUP Retreat

 

Recently 13 members and prospective members of The Common Unity Project attended a weekend workshop titled “Heart to Heart Communication” created by an extraordinarily wise and highly intuitive community building workshop facilitator RoseMarie Pierce. RoseMarie’s innate ability to gently guide people inward to the route of their problems is confounding.  She has over 25 years of experience sharing these workshops which use the framework based on the principles identified by Dr. M. Scott Peck in his books: A Different Drum and The Road Less traveled.

Members at TCUP originally sought out to find a solution to what we felt was a lack of communication process. We value living in community as a way to enrich our individual experience. We want to learn how to live authentically with one another; to build deeper, interdependent relationships; to heal past wounds and break free of our own egoic patterns.  Yet without a communication process and a common understanding of conscious communication we found that we were struggling to implement these ideals and bring them into our everyday being.

“True community is not simply an aggregate of people…but a people which have made a commitment to communicate more authentically, more intimately, more vulnerably.” — M. Scott Peck

The weekend workshop turned out to be a profound experience for everyone. The basic premise of Heart to Heart communication is that everyone has their own unique perspective in how we see the world, and how we see the world is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves within it. Our external likes, dislikes, judgements, blame etc, are all projections of our own individual experience. When we start to understand this we can learn to speak truthfully, taking responsibility for our feelings rather than trying to change or blame others.

The weekend began in complete silence. Slowly whenever someone felt comfortable they would begin to share themselves with the group. Layers began to shed. Feelings that have been withheld for some time were expressed. At times what one person said would trigger feelings in someone else. We learnt to acknowledge these feelings without identifying with them. What is this feeling?…  Where is it coming from?… What do I make it mean?…. Is it true?…

 

The workshop agenda was with no direction or goal. We were simply asked to “speak our truth at all personal cost.” We the participants took the wheel, it was a spontaneous journey that took us in all directions and gave everyone an opportunity to share their deepest selves. Past traumas, childhood secrets and withheld truths came up and new levels of understanding and connection were reached.

The workshop ended like it began… in complete silence. I felt a comfortable calmness in my body. Like I had let out everything that was keeping me distant from others and revealed my true self, I had nothing left to hide. I looked around the room and I saw everyone with new eyes, I felt no judgment being given or being received. I felt unconditional love and complete trust for everyone at that moment.

After the course we have had much time to reflect, there seems to be a general sense of empowerment from this new way of interaction. More and more we are taking responsibility for our perception of a situation, and our language we now use is starting more and more to represent that. We have continued weekly Heart to Heart circles without a facilitator and more layers are being revealed. There is still struggle, pain, emotions and there always will  be. We now have the tools to express and work through these feelings and because we are sharing them with each other, everyone benefits.

Chris Timms

The Common Unity Project

RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc.Pharm, is a holistic pharmacist with more than 40 years experience in both conventional and natural medicine. Currently, she counsels and lectures on holistic health and mind/body vitality, as well as offering group workshops in community-building. She has decided she would like to dedicate herself fully to facilitating Heart to Heart Workshops and she is always looking for her next group. You can find more about her @ http://www.holistic-pharmacist.com

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Greenhouses

This year we constructed two greenhouses in the field, as well as a mini-one attached to the cabin on the hill. They will act as nurseries for propagated plants and winter storage for perennials. We also get to grow some heat loving crops like tomatoes and peppers in them now 🙂

Another greenhouse project that is close to home for us, the earthship in Sik-e-Dakh (Glen Vowell) is finally done.

The project has gone from a deconstruction zone of the old hall, to a one month long dusty tire pounding party, to a more traditional construction workplace with roofing and painting, to cob and plaster fest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The greenhouse is now complete with grow beds planted with tomatoes and peppers. Much thanks to Caylin Holland for all his hard work on the project, as well as all the volunteers from Sik-e-Dakh and elsewhere who helped out. It is certainly a beautiful greenhouse built for generations to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ponds Galore

Look out! Some asteroids struck Two Mile, BC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specifically, our field. And not so much asteroids as an excavator. We have taken some leaps this year towards our goal of a permaculture food forest and perennial plant nursery, thanks to a generous donation from The Cassandra Trust. What we are designing and building here on our property, we hope to be able to teach, inspire, and supply the means to do elsewhere.

Step One: Water.

Since we live without ties to the grid or water lines, and we chose to build our home in a sandy field relatively far from the river, ponds was our chosen method of water catchment and storage. We have one pond that was dug in 2015 and has been supplying our water needs since, supplemented by the tank that catches rain from the roof of the earthship.

Last year we upgraded with a solar powered pump that pumps water from the pond to a tank on the hill supplying gravity fed water for the garden.

Now this year we dug a pond next to the tank, to supply water for the hugelbeds we planted in the fall. The hugelkultur is on contour around the hill and will be flood irrigated via a swale above it. So far even without the swale, the trees and shrubs we’ve planted below the hugelkultur seem to be doing well (those that survived the winter anyway), as well as the annual crops we planted on top.

 

 

The pond, being on top of a hill, won’t hold water right away, but the excavator operator, Taylor, smeared the sub-soil with a heavier clay content up on the sides to facilitate sealing. The next step for us is to get pigs and have them live in the pond until fall. Pigs are great pond sealers, they stomp and compact the ground, and love to wallow in the muck. The idea is to keep running water into the bottom of the pond, which alone helps bring the finer clay particles to the surface, and start a small pond that will expand as the pigs seal it. So far we have the electric fence charger and poles in the ground, now we just need a pig shelter and some pigs.

Next came a lower pond, or crater garden, between the chickens and the bees. This was a naturally low lying area that held water in the early spring. Water slowly trickled in as it was being dug, and now it is about half-full. The peninsula in the middle was our compromise for a duck island, since we would like to have ducks live there in the future. We will watch and observe it over the year as we build up the soil around it for future gardens.

      And last but not least, a shallow well. We stuck a ten foot culvert, drilled with holes in the bottom 6 feet, in a hole by the pond and piled gravel around it. It was a battle to get the pipe in and the gravel around before the silt caved in, but we did a fair job and so far its holding water three feet from the top. We will pump it out until the water runs clear, and hopefully it will be a source of future drinking water and winter irrigation.

 

And of course, the garlic is coming up and doing well, despite being in a spot that is possibly too wet. An odd problem for us, this spring we had flooding in the fields by the pond. It was too wet to plant potatoes for weeks and we had to dig some ditches to drain the water away.

2017 Internship Opportunity at TCUP

UPDATE: We are no longer taking interns this year, if you would like to volunteer, please contact us via email @ thecommonunityproject@gmail.com

Thanks!

intern

The Common Unity Project

2017 Internship Opportunity

Off-Grid Homesteading – Earth Conscious Building – Permaculture – Community

We are offering a unique opportunity for 3-5 interested persons to join us for our 2017 growing season at TCUP. Participants would stay from 3-6 months at our off-grid community and gain hands-on experience and informal learning by collectively taking part in our hybrid Earthship building project, permaculture inspired food forest, and other daily tasks. We will offer informal/skillshare instruction in various topics such as:

Strawbale Building –Cob/ Earthen Plaster – Wild Foraging –Herbal Medicine – Earthship Design- Permaculture Ethics- Carpentry- Rocket Stove Construction- Food Forestry – Soil Building/Composting– Solar power and more…

Participants will be encouraged to design and implement their own project with the support of the community.

The internship will be offered free of charge along with basic food and accommodation. In addition, we will offer participants a small stipend of $50/month.

If interested, email a completed application to thecommonunityproject@gmail.com

intern-application

An ode to our solar system

During the last two years we have been getting our electricity from our solar system which was a big help in getting things done. In the end it is much easier to use a table saw and chop saw and all the other electrical tools than doing absolutely everything by hand.

After having lived without electricity for a year in 2013 and getting a very small and simple system later on, we learned so much about our energy usage. With the awareness we gained we realized that we wanted to live with electricity being a luxury and not a necessity. We learned that every energy producing solution has an impact on our planets environment and that energy conservation is a key factor of sustainable living.

We can now really appreciate the bigger solar system we have since the spring of 2015. Big reason that we were able to get it was the support of Kevin Pegg from Energy Alternatives who helped us with setting up our system and even donated batteries to us. It wouldn’t have been possible without his help.

Kevin knows what he is talking about and if you are interested in alternative energy solutions check out his web site and/or give him a call. http://www.energyalternatives.ca/

Thanks Kevin!

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Summer ends

Summer came and went, and with it a bunch of our volunteers. Thanks everybody! dsc01114We put up some walls, making it look something more like a building inside. The glass bottles added a nice touch and some much needed light in the back library room (perhaps better as a movie room… we shall see). The floors got leveled anddsc01227 tamped, insulated with foam, topped up with some sand, and then leveled and tamped again. They look great and we had a dance party in August to help tamp them down some more (not sure if we just made the cob walls dustier, but who can really tell?)dsc01236dsc01309dsc01305

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The rocket mass heater is pretty much finished thanks to Martin, our rocket engineer. More on that to come.

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We have a solar pump now which pumps up water from the pond to a tank on the hill dsc01314that gravity feeds the garden, and soon to be hugelculture beds. Lots of rotten logs were collected and loaded up in our little quad trailer for the hugel beds, as well as lots of manure from our generous neighbors next door. The quad trailer suffered a little from the heavy loads and mishaps on our driveway, but with some care it shouldn’t be fatal.
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Although the soil in the field is nothing to be ecstatic about, our garden did fairly well, dsc05212and we had lots of squash and hopefully lots of onions and carrots for the winter. We used the earthship greenhouse and just put everything in large pots since we don’t have greywater beds yet. The cucumbers were fruitful although short lived, and the tomatoes seen to still be going strong.dsc01412
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Chris is proud of his sea serpent for the building above the rootcellar. dsc01358Some nice chainsaw artwork there. We had a volunteer carpenter, Tom, who did a lot of work on that building, occasionally assisted by others. The building is meant to be a woodshed with a pulley dumbwaiter to lower bulk items like wood and potatoes into the rootcellar hallway.dsc01397dsc01383
Kale wrote a grant for an earthship greenhouse in the nearby reserve of Glen Vowell or Sik-e-Dakh and has been working hard on that all year. With some help from local volunteers in Glen Vowell and others, they successfully demolished an old hall that sat on the site and are reusing a lot of the materials for the greenhouse. Some more tire pounding and seven stories later, they are ready to start framing. With any luck, there will be all sorts of food growing in there next year for the community of Sik-e-Dakh.
And on the wild food end, we jarred another winters supply of salmondsc04011 this year and managed to clean out the smokehouse of garden supplies in time to smoke a few fish. We also got oodles of blueberries and huckleberries, and chose to freeze and dry a lot rather than just have jam, although we made a lot of jam too 🙂
And now the mushrooms are out, mainly pines, and we’ve been finding, eating, and selling them.dsc_0450dsc05646
We are open to adding more members to the community, so if you want to be a part of envisioning and creating this project, check out our vision and send us a message.
There are sure to be more things we did that aren’t mentioned, but that’s about the jist of it.dsc01060dsc01429

Spring

Oops, we’re a little late to be writing about Spring, it’s almost summer here now. We got chickens again, tilled up some new land for potatoes and garden beds in front of the earthship, built an herb spiral, did some major clean up around the property, went mushroom picking, and built a sauna. Community members are very satisfied with the sauna. No better way to relax after a hard day than to meditate and trash talk in the sauna and then jump in the pond.

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Today we officially moved back into the outdoor kitchen. Apart from the old, smoky, and somewhat jankety wood stove, it looks great.

Planting willWP_20160524_014 continue in the next weeks as we try to fulfill a lot of our food needs with foraged and grown food.

 

 

We are gearingWP_20160506_067 up for our volunteer camp in June and July to continue work on the earthship. Chris has done some nice work on the siding and now that we have all moved back outside, the earthship construction will begin again. Still looking for volunteers if you are interested! We have a lot of cob to do, framing for the house, pentagon, and root cellar, and the floor to lay. Below is an invite to the camp.

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