Flawless

 

We teach girls to shrink themselves

To make themselves smaller

We say to girls

“You can have ambition

But not too much

You should aim to be successful

But not too successful

Otherwise you will threaten the man”

Because I am female

I am expected to aspire to marriage

I am expected to make my life choices

Always keeping in mind that

Marriage is the most important

Now marriage can be a source of

Joy and love and mutual support

But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage

And we don’t teach boys the same?

We raise girls to each other as competitors

Not for jobs or for accomplishments

Which I think can be a good thing

But for the attention of men

We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings

In the way that boys are

Feminist: the person who believes in the social

Political, and economic equality of the sexes

 

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

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A poem for Franklinton by Joy Sullivan

“Even if we are not sure how it is going to end, we still have this obligation to struggle.” Chinua Achebe

 

When Jacob met the angel,

he embraced divinity with such ferocity, 

the light of heaven broke bone and sunk socket.

 

Still, Jacob would not relent. He caught the wings

of God and bellowed for blessing.

 

Here, in the bottoms, we know what it is to bellow,

to grapple with angels. We’ve learned to beg

benedictions, to hurl petitions at the moon.

 

Prayers come back as crippled echoes,

bruised sonar, splintered

into pavement, abandoned houses,

into altar bread and the freckled faces of children.

 

Here, we know the best way to pray is to pant

with your whole body. Even the dogs teach us that.

 

Here, we wrestle God and demons

and leopards and angels and some days

we cannot tell the difference.

 

Here, we dance because there is quicksand

beneath our feet and because we are not ready to sink.

 

Here, when I think of loosing my grip on Heaven,  

when my prayers boomerang back

and my hips quake from the shaking,

 

I imagine Jacob, limping home, his thigh bent and magnificent,

a fit of feathers still clenched in one unflinching fist.

The Last Bridge Master

Our beloved friends Matt and Elisa are incredible filmmakers and they are working on their next project which will be filmed in Peru, where Elisa is from!

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Please check our their kickstarter page and help us get the word out about this project so they can raise the support they need to get there!

We love you guys and are so proud of you!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1826552601/the-last-bridge-master?ref=home_location

The Guest House 

This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi

Excerpts from Being Peace

I decided to read Thich Nhat Hanh’s Being Peace again.  It found me while I was browsing through my bookshelf recently.

Here are some nice excerpts I want to share with you:

“Whether or not we are happy depends on our awareness.  When you have a toothache, you think that not having a toothache will make you very happy.  But when you don’t have a toothache, often you are still not happy.  If you practice awareness, you suddenly become very rich, very very happy.  Practicing Buddhism is a clever way to enjoy life.  Happiness is available.  Please help yourself to it.”

“Suppose while walking in the twilight, you see a snake, and you scream, but when you shine your flishlight on it, it turns out to be a rope.  This is an error of perception.  During our daily lives we have many misperceptions.  If I don’t understand you, I may be angry at you all the time.  We are not capable of undrstanding each other, and that is the main source of human suffering.”

Kelly

Sunflower

Image

 

 

“I’m going to draw a sunflower.  I love flowers.  Yep, I’ve heard of Franklinton Gardens.  I helped them pick up trash once.  It was fun.  Someone broke into my house last night.  All they took was a broken trampoline.  It was the kind that had handles so you don’t fall.  Even though it was broken, I played on it all the time.  Why would a grownup steal a broken trampoline?  I don’t know either.  I have a nerf gun, too.  Next time someone breaks in, I’m going to shoot them with my gun.  They will ask me where the money is and I will say, ‘let me show you,’ and when they get close I will shoot them in the head.  No, I won’t be scared.  I’m never scared.  Once I had a dream that the devil was chasing me.  I shot him in the head.  I always win in my dreams.  Here, you can have this picture.  The cloud is a heart.” 

(Heather) 

Non-Linear Thoughts on Showing Up

I guess I made a resolution to start picking up phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize.  This is primarily necesitated by my habitual negligence of my phone’s contact list.  It just seems like real work to press that little plus button and input the data for someone’s phone number.  First and last name, home or mobile or work, connect it to any e-mail addresses that somehow my phone pulled off of Facebook or some other internet brain.  Sidenote: are “home” numbers still a thing?

Also, though, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to get ahold of people when I need them.  So despite whatever intense allergies to talking on the phone I’ve developed over the years, I’m diving head first into the dander and pollin of pressing that damned green square.  Yes, I am here and will take your call!

It may seem like a trivial resolution, but it seems a bit more like embracing the anxiety of “showing up” and crossing one more (imaginary?) threshold into adulthood.  Sometimes it seems like people thought getting married was that threshold that (should have) turned me into an adult.  It definitely didn’t, unless being an adult feels exactly like being a floundering adolescent.  But this answering the phone business, this may be it.

We’ve all been talking to our therapist, George, about becoming adults.  I remember once having a conversation with a activist friend, whatever that means, where she cited a recent study about how 20 somethings are delaying becoming adults.  I think they cited milestones for acheiving adulthood something like, getting married, having children, living with a spouse without roomates, being 100% financially independent, blah blah.  I don’t mean to downplay these significant life changes, but in my close-knit community of friends that fit into some or all of these categories, they don’t seem to really birth that type of put-togetheredness we all expected.  None of us feel particularly in charge of ourselves, even though no one else is doing that job either.

If these things don’t bring adulthood then what does?  Even more problematic, what is adulthood anyway?  Maybe that’s where you have to start this investigation.  Or maybe, you become an adult once the hardest part of the day becomes the bare minimum: showing up.  That was easier, somehow, when I was younger.  Getting out of bed, showering, saying “Yes!” and “Hello!” to each day.   Now it is often more like, “Maybe?” and “WHY!”

I watched an interview recently with Lena Dunham, and she talked about our generation graduating college during a recession, and perhaps every generation’s confusion in how to move forward.  The temptation of returning to the womb.

I asked my Mom if she feels like she is an adult yet.  She said, “No, I don’t know when I will…I thought when I had kids but not then…maybe when I have grandkids?  I still feel like I’m 25, no less have a kid that’s 25!”

Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m getting to.  But that’s precisely the point I was trying to make all along.  Where is this all headed?

Kelly

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
 
Mary Oliver

soap and thunderstorms and christmas

We’ve been ready to hunker down for the winter for a while now… but winter isn’t really coming.

It’s the week before christmas and we are inside putting the labels on the bars of soap we made, drinking christmas ales, listening to christmas music, and its thunderstorming outside. it’s not right.

please come, snow. give this cold weather some purpose and put some hope in our spirits.

Some pictures lately…

soap making:

blog # 1

blog # 2

awaiting santa…

blog # 3

no caption needed…

blog # 4

the only good part of a mild winter is kale still growing in our yard.

blog # 5

this time of year in franklinton is rough. everything is drab and ugly. it feels depressing and desolate. thank god that we have each other… we have been muddling though this side by side. we’ve been focusing our discussions around the development of a “rule of life.” we hesitate with that name because we as a group hesitate using strong words like “rule”  and let’s be honest… none of us really like rules very much anyhow. either way, that’s what we have been working on… taking it subject by subject and having some insightful conversations about hospitality, daily rhythms of work and rest, simplicity, sharing, care of the earth and for each other.

we have been living this life together for 4-5 years now and have yet to formally put words to what we do, what we believe, why we do what we do, and who we are as a community. its interesting now to try to peel through these layers and form words around our lives here in franklinton and our lives here together. words are so inadequate… and one conversation leads to ten more and our experiences have been so formative in our lives that its difficult to define it. but onward we go…

blog # 6

“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”
―    Wendell Berry

 

ashley