Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ordinary changes

For a long time, I resisted posting the vision of Ordinary.

I do not yet live my life with the quiet wholeness of the village inhabitants and did not want to be a hypocrite.

More and more, though, I recognized that to live the life I dream, I must start somewhere.

Since I began working with Ordinary, I have found my choices are more often peaceful.

Frequently--not every time--but frequently, I catch myself before I use my sometimes caustic tongue in response to a hurtful moment.

Situations that tend to make me tense and uncomfortable are easier.

Example: I usually resist social events. But increasingly I enjoy them, seek them. Last night, at a business dinner with five others, none of whom are bosom buddies and each of whom I admire in some way, I basked in the glow of the simple conversation and the beauty in their faces.

A year ago, that dinner meeting would have been fraught with tension, and very likely I would have had a severe headache before the end of the evening.

This gives me hope that I can build a habit of responding to any situation with peace. And if I can do that, others can.

What do you think? How do you make peace in your life?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Why Ordinary?

All my life, I have dreamed of a place like Ordinary. A place where people live in perfect harmony with one another and the Earth. For a long time, I thought of this place as Utopia--a place I could go to in dreams, and never in reality.

After the events of 9-11, and again when our government declared war on Iraq, I began to spend a few moments every day visualizing a world at peace. At times it was very difficult. I felt so angry. It is hard to visualize peace when one is consumed with anger.

A wise woman once said, "Use your anger. Put it on your back and let it drive you."

While I do not wish to be driven by anger, I understand that anger can be a useful motivator. My anger made me more determined to be part of the solution. If I am to live in a peaceful world, I must imagine what that world would be.

Nothing is realized without first being visualized.

So rather than imagining Utopia, I began to imagine a very ordinary village, one of thousands of villages all over the world, where people live in harmony and joy.

Smart people. Happy people. Talented people. Responsible people. Self-actualized people. People who have strength and wisdom and courage. Who trust their bodies and their minds and their creativity. People who savor each moment for the joy inherent. People fully alive and awake. People who sleep very, very well at night.

What would a world like that be? How would we support ourselves? What would our homes be like? What would be a typical day in a typical, very ordinary, village?

That is the vision of the Village of Ordinary.

This is an experiment in developing a community of ordinary people working toward a peaceful society much like the Village of Ordinary, where all live in harmony. I invite you to participate in the vision. Use the comments feature to join the discussion and submit links to articles that show how ordinary people are building Ordinary today. If you have more to say than a comment will hold, submit a guest blog post.

Updated 09/26/09 to reflect changes in the direction of the blog.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Villagers of Ordinary

Below are each of the characters Rose has included in her journal to date. The names are listed in alphabetical order, followed by the post title in which they first appeared and the date of original post.

In time, I hope to learn ways to make the table easier to use and read. For now, it is what it is. Suggestions for improving the table are welcome and will be implemented as skill and time permit.

Name First appearance in journal Date of first appearance Information
Annie Snow 12/13/2005 With her husband, Jefferson, and their extended family (so far identified only as “their brood”) Annie keeps a remote lodge nestled against a pristine alpine lake high in the Sierras to which villagers trek now and then for a change of scenery and, in winter, to play in the snow
Ariadne Tadpole 6/16/2006 Seven-year-old, budding biologist, interested in tadpole metamorphosis to frogs; parents not yet identified
Balboa Journey 9/9/2005 Daughter to Rose & Cheyenne, Beryl and Ronnie; marries Packer, whom she met five years before when she did service in the Village of Jasper, far north of Ordinary, where Beryl and Ronnie live.
Beryl Journey 9/9/2005 Partner to Ronnie, who whom he is father to Balboa and Jasmine; they combined their sperm before donating because they did not want to know who the biological father was; when the girls were teenagers, Beryl and Ronnie moved to the Village of Jasper to be with Beryl’s parents in their declining years
Bettina Mira 1/14/2007 Regional physician called in when Balboa begins to miscarry
Betty Sup 7/5/2005 Noah’s wife, mother of Jordan (introduced in "Babies" 2/7/2006 at thirteen-months), and the regional veterinarian.
Bonnie Bonnie 8/18/2005 Beloved cow who dies of old age after many years of service to the villagers
Cathy Journey 9/9/2005 Childhood friend of Rose’s daughter, Balboa; travels to Balboa & Packer’s wedding w/her partner Mitre, Rose, Merilee and Cheyenne
Cheyenne Wake 6/14/2005 Adept with guitar, keyboard, percussion instruments, Cheyenne is a student of the cello, and teaches music to the villagers; a natural musician, she instigates and is at the forefront of pageants, musicals, and other venues that bring out the performing artist in young, old and between; Cheyenne’s stage sets are legendary in their cleverness, simplicity, and beauty; the backdrop is her canvas (literally), and she is best known for her mandalas that focus audience attention without detracting from the players. Beloved partner to Rose, she is a basketmaker and playfully calls herself a “weed sculptor.”
David Sweat 8/4/2005 One of Ordinary’s gardeners, who works with Rose, Sena and other village agronimists.
Elizabeth Dance 9/15/2006 Teenager mutually infatuated with Jacob; no further description so far
Eloise Run 6/16/2005 Merilee's ancient Pekinese; likes to ambush passersby, barely grazing them with a darting paw, the surprise effect amplified with ferocious yelping
Jacob Gifts 7/1/2005 Jacob, 13-year old son of Jonathon and now-deceased Marita; possesses amazing rapport with animals and has the ability to call them when needed; once called insects to help with the crops.
Janine Chores 6/17/2005 One of four chief cooks in the village; known for her edible centerpieces, scented shampoos and other potions, and widely known for her weavings; expert in textiles and dyes; a master at maneuvering her wheelchair, frequently plays basketball; was injured as small child during an earthquake--she survived a debilitating tumble down a steep embankment;
Jasmine Journey 9/9/2005 Rose & Cheyenne’s daughter – not much known about her yet; daughter also to Beryl and Ronnie of the Village of Jasper; lives somewhere "across the ocean" with her husband and daughter (see "Mira" 1/14/2007);
Jason Nest 7/6/2005 Sixteen year-old wildly in love with Tawnya
Jefferson Snow 12/13/2005 With his wife, Annie, and their extended family (so far identified only as “their brood”) Annie keeps a remote lodge nestled against a pristine alpine lake high in the Sierras.
Jessica Rain 7/17/2005 Midwife, daughter of Margaret, mother to baby Rosalie, Rose's namesake, from whom she learned her craft; Description: Red hair, lithe dancer;
Jonathon Jacob 7/12/2005 Village smythie, works with domestic animals, supervises butchering upon natural death of an animal; father of Jacob, widower of Marita (Jacob's mother); coveted dance partner, known for superb grace and agililty on dance floor, despite bear-like physique
Jordan Babies! 2/7/2006 Thirteen-month-old, curly-headed son of Noah and Betty; already has four teeth
June Sit 6/15/2005 Kami’s twin; though their mother dressed them differently and deliberately gave them names without alliteration, June and Kami work as a team wherever they go; uncannily intuitive, they can usually tell you exactly what you are feeling, and likely where you lost your keys; this ability works best when they are together
Kami Sit 6/15/2005 Oldest of the twins by six minutes, Kami and her sister June are almost never separated; full of teenage mischief and ardor, they apprentice with Rose and Ruby, learning the healing arts and herbal lore; frequently, one or both accompany Rose when a villager is ill
Livia Rain 7/17/2005 Engaged to Peter (Sep 2005 wedding); in "Rain," the village built them a cob house; Merilee and Cheyenne assembled a crew of teens and kids to help with the detail sculpting and smoothing
Marita Gifts 7/1/2005 Deceased wife of Jonathon & mother of Jacob
Margaret Mira 1/14/2007 Midwife, mother of red-haired Jessica, who like her mother and grandmothers, carries on the midwifery tradition
Merilee Run 6/16/2005 Rose and Cheyenne’s neighbor across the path, Merilee teaches Yoga, swim, dance, and various innovative movement classes. Only 5’ tall, she is lithe and strong and can be counted on to show up whenever physical stamina and strength are required in the fields, in the workshops, or repairing a vehicle; an avid gardener, Merilee supplies fresh food to the communal kitchen; a potter and sculptor, she shares the art of revealing form within form with the children and any others who take her infrequent classes
Mira Mira 1/14/2007 Stillborn child of Balboa and Packer
Mitre Journey 9/9/2005 Cathy’s partner; travels to Balboa & Packer’s wedding w/Cathy, Rose, Merilee, and Cheyenne; grew up far to the north, where summer days are so long there is only an hour or two of darkness;
Murgatroid the Cat Wake 6/14/2005 A black, long-haired, bushy-tailed Persian-Siamese mix, Murg has the bluest eyes anyone ever saw; frequently assists Rose in Reiki treatments, follows her about the house and garden, scares away rodents without eating them, and purrs most loudly when Cheyenne plays her cello; whenever there is a sick child in Ordinary, Murgatroid finds her way to their bed and sleeps with them until they are well;
Nell Babies! 2/7/2006 Two-year-old
Noah Sup 7/5/2005 Village librarian, husband to Betty, the village veterinarian; father of Jordan (introduced in "Babies" 2/7/2006 at thirteen months); maintains print and electronic files containing literature, art, and music; also responsible for maintaining the historical archives, including collecting and compiling oral history, of which Rose’s journal is a part; Description: beautiful wide mouth, soft dark eyes; buttery-chocolate skin;
Old Apple Tree Dream 7/7/2005 The Old Apple Tree, oldest of all the orchard trees, was on the property when Rose's grandparents first came to the village
Packer Journey 9/9/2005 Marries Rose & Cheyenne’s daughter, Balboa; grew up in the high mountain country near the Village of Jasper; his parents chose to live in the wilderness, far from the village; large in girth and heart
Peter Rain 7/17/2005 Engaged to Livia (Sep 2005 wedding); the village built them a cob house in "Rain"; Merilee and Cheyenne assembled a crew of teens and kids to help with the detail sculpting and smoothing;
Ralph Run 6/16/2005 Red-haired and freckled nearly brown, Ralph is a master of the chi arts. Earliest of the early risers, Ralph is up by 4:00 every morning to meditate and practice Qi Gong; villagers take Ralph's classes in energy movement, beginning with the youngest as they begin their school day; Tai Chi and Qi Gong are the two favorites, and Ralph and Merilee frequently team-teach Yoga; Ralph lives behind the Lanai near the path through the park to Community Hall;
Rocky Waterfall 9/15/2005 Beryl’s widowed dad, a renowned botanist and avid gardener who woos Rose’s mother Ruby during the week of Balboa and Packer’s wedding in the Village of Jasper
Ronnie Journey 9/9/2005 Partner to Beryl, father with Beryl Cheyenne and Rose’s daughters, Balboa and Jasmine; when the girls were teenagers, Beryl and Ronnie moved to the Village of Jasper to be with Beryl’s parents in their declining years;
Rosalie Babies! 2/7/2006 Rose's namesake, baby daughter of Jessica
Rose Wake 6/14/2005 Journal keeper from whose viewpoint story is told; fifty-ish, mid-height, plump, more comfortable alone ith herself and her partner Cheyenne than in groups; spends much of her time in her garden, gathering herbs in the countryside, or “playing” as she calls her writing, artwork, and music; a student of the healing arts, she and her feline companion, Murgatroid the Cat, work with energy healing to ease suffering;
Ruby Rain 7/17/2005 Eighty-three year old mother of Rose; avid herbalist & gardener, she prefers the outdoors; Description: tall, big-boned, runs circles around Rose, so Rose claims
Sena Sweat 8/4/2005 One of Ordinary’s gardeners; works frequently with David and Rose; Description: Tawny skin and hair--nappy, trimmed close to scalp; fluid movements, sense of feline power; blue eyes; taller than Rose, who is 5’9”; big-boned and wide-hipped, with the grace of a mountain lion;
Tawnya Nest 7/6/2005 Deceased wife of Jonathon & mother of Jacob
Tracey Apology 6/24/2005 Twelve-year-old daughter of Merilee; neighbor to Rose & Cheyenne across the path; natural musician like Cheyenne; dabbles in guitar, violin, piano, and flute, and now shows special promise on the harp

Thursday, June 23, 2005

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