Now

Now we grieve. We mourn the fact that almost half of America thinks racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia are ok. That reactionism won this election, and that we underestimated the amount of anger and fear in our midst.

Now we hold our children close. We raise them gently. We give them all the love and security we can at home, so they’ll be whole enough to offer love and security to the world around them as they grow. We help hold and protect those around us too. We extend our compassion outside our own walls and find ways to lift up and support those who are struggling.

We raise our children to see injustice. We raise them to see color and recognize the challenges and oppression minorities face every day. We raise them to see privilege and recognize its role in our society. We acknowledge it and take to heart the truth that if we aren’t part of the solution we’re part of the problem. We teach them to stand up against injustice, every single time it happens, Every Single Time.

Now we move forward. We work with this situation and keep the country going for the next 4 years. We hope that these checks and balances we keep hearing about actually check and balance things somewhat. We do what we can to mitigate the negative effects for those less privileged than us. But we don’t show understanding and acceptance for this ideology. We don’t become complacent, this is more than just a “different point of view”. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia are wrong, and their effects harm all of us, whether we realize it or not.

We let our children hear that we’re angry and scared. We let them know we deeply disagree with the man who has become President. If we don’t we’re condoning and accepting the values he’s promoted. I won’t do this, his voice is not mine.

People wanted change. This is the wrong change. This is a volatile selfish man in charge of the largest military complex in the world. This is a sexist bigot who’s bragged about committing sexual assault put into position as leader of a country. This is a real estate mogul thrown into complex diplomacy and foreign policy situations about which he’s hopelessly ignorant. This is frightening.

Now we hold out our hands and our hearts to all the people who are scared. We defend anyone who is put down or threatened because of the color of their skin, their disability, or their gender, and we show the world that This is not our voice. 

And then we hug our kids again. You can never do that too many times.

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The sunrise, the hope, this mourning

 

 

 

 

What I did on my Summer Vacation

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Social media sucks. It wastes all our time and cheapens our interactions. It addicts our kids and ruins our attention spans. And even more serious things like controlling the public discourse through censorship and giving bigots an easy way to spew their ideas. (OK, I see the contradiction there, I don’t want censorship, but do we have to make it so damn easy for the assholes?) So yeah, social media is problematic.

But then sometimes it results in this:

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The small light gray tent down to the left was ours. Drone photo by Petter Formo.

People travelling together from all over the country, taking a chance on meeting what’s essentially a big group of strangers.

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People who’ve met online, chatted and shared and questioned and sometimes argued, meeting in real life, finally.

People bringing Facebook connections to life in the real world, connections based on common values of trust, compassion, and finding harmony with and on our planet.

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Most of the people who were there. Photo by Marie Vatne, Bygdefotografen.

A parenting group. One of the thousands (millions, who knows) on Facebook. The group isn’t part of an official organization in any way, just a chat group. But then it becomes more than that. People from the group find ways to get together in real life when they can. Smaller local gatherings for those who are lucky enough to live near each other, and a larger gathering during the summer. This past summer one of the families in the group said hey, we’ve got room for lots of people up here, come to us!

So we did!

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And let me tell you about this place! The Hjertefølger family lives here. (Hjertefølger means “Heart Follower” in Norwegian.) It’s on an island called Sandhornøya which you reach by taking a ferry from the city of Bodø. This is Northern Norway, the land of the Midnight Sun, and the Polar Night. The house is built with a material called cob and the whole house is inside a big glass dome. A shining transparent igloo which creates a warm and tranquil space inside. They don’t just have a greenhouse for their garden, they live inside one, nurturing and growing plants and children and dreams all in one big magical jumble.

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As you can imagine, the house and the family have drawn lots of interest from the media both in Norway and internationally. You can read about them here (in English) and also here (in Norwegian). You can also read about their house and ideas here on their own blog (Norwegian) and there’s a lovely short documentary film about them you can watch here. They run retreats and do workshops on permaculture and vegan food and cob-building, so you can go to one of those if you’re in the neighborhood. I would if I was!

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I mean, look at this place.
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Those colors.
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From the beach looking back at the house. Just wow.

And for four days I did get to be there. For four days we got to hang out and recharge in one of the most peaceful, gorgeous places on Earth. Thirty or so families, at least twice that number of children, and the whole experience was amazingly harmonious and conflict-free. I mean, 60 kids running around camping and playing, you might expect chaos. But there was none. Instead there was fellowship and community and respect and good spirits. For a few days we got to experience what it would be like to live in that mythical village we all hear it takes to raise a child. Well, mythical for me at least, and for so many of us. Yes, we have caring people around us who help take care of our kids, but our society is so compartmentalized and institutionalized, there are too many distancing and isolating elements for a real village feeling to develop in most of the neighborhoods here where we live now. But for four days we got to be there, and feel how it could be. I’m so grateful I got the chance to be part of it!

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My daughter, also amazed at what she was experiencing.

 

So much of what social media gives us is negative. More input, more stress, more stuff, more greed. We don’t need that, but we do need more of this. More community. More magic. More coming together. Peace and love and rainbows. I call more of this to my life. I will build more of this into my life, through a web of internet connections or in a real-life village somewhere someday. We start small, gather and share, and then, we fix the world!

Well, a girl can dream anyway.

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A girl, dreaming.

 

Addendum:

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This absolutely awesome full rainbow over the dome actually happened while we were all there. It was breathtaking. I took some crappy pictures with my phone, but they turned out crappy. So I’m sharing this photo taken by the Heart Follower father, Benjamin Hjertefølger.