Questing with the Cultural REcyclists

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Most Glorious Thursday to all! In two days it will be Christmas, which was astronomically as well as spiritually significant according to Bethlehem Star, and two days ago was the Winter Solstice and a full Lunar Eclipse, another very rare event that the US Naval Observatory says hasn't happened since 1638 (Washington Post Article). And what day is in between these two cosmic events? A Happy Thursday. [for more details, Google "Happy Thursday PSU" and read Daily Collegian articles or visit Facebook page]

In other news, Charlie has been experimenting with another website builder. Here's what he's got so far: culturalrecyclists.typepad.com

I'm off to help construct a new fence for my cousin, Julie. Until next time...

Spread good tidings to all and don't forget that it is OK, and encouraged, to wish strangers/friends a Happy Thursday.

Peace and Love,
Will

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa Barbara for the Holiday(s)

Hey everybody! Happy Saturday and Merry Holidays. I, Will, am in Santa Barbara right now staying with a distant branch of my loving family. It's a great time to be alive because life is awesome. Even though tough times are abundant (i said life is awesome, not easy) I am grateful for my health, the experience of meeting new people, and the opportunity to strengthen my individuality while the rest of the Recyclists are in other parts of the Nation.

Speaking of the other Recyclists...

The Holiday Low Down:
Amanda - Home for the Holidays, returning to San Fran Jan 5, 2011; cycling to Santa Barbara upon return
Charlie - Staying in San Fran until Amanda returns
Chris - Recuperating in Kansas with his parents until Spring
Kevin - Home for the Holidays, as of now no significant touring until Spring
Moss - Meditation retreat from Dec 19 to 29. Leaving San Fran with Charlie and Amanda
Tina - Home for the Holidays, organizing projects in State College, PA and in hometown West Chester, PA
Will - Santa Barbara until Amanda, Charlie, and Moss bicycle down here. Then south to San Diego

That's all for now. Check back in a couple days for updates and tales of adventure!

Tailwinds,
Will

Saturday, November 20, 2010

May Peace Prevail On Earth

(I (Kevin) will be telling this story, since I was the main character of this incident.)
We (Will, Amanda, Charlie, Anjel, and myself (Tina is a town ahead)) left Garberville, California around noon. There was a very light drizzle coming from the clouds and we started climbing a hill on our bicycles. We were traveling on the 101 Highway going south. The five of us were riding a bit spread out, but all within a half mile of each other.
I was going over some thoughts in my head about plans for the winter. I gave my daily thanks for all the amazing people and experiences I have on a daily basis. I also have a semi-spiritual practice of thinking about death and impermanence, which I do almost daily. I said to myself, “Today is a good day to die.” In saying this I feel at peace with my current life and the possibility of it disappearing. Little did I know that I would have a direct test of this practice in the next five minutes.
I was cruising along about two feet to the right of the shoulder line. I have become completely acclimated to cars whizzing by, so I don't flinch when I hear them. BOOOM! Time stood still. I saw a luminescent white light which engulfed me very briefly. Then I looked up from the ground. I knew I was about to die. I saw Charlie jogging over, but it was in slow motion. I was in a complete state of peace. I said to Charlie, “Tell everyone I love them. Its all good.” He was in shock. I literally felt like I was just a raindrop merging with a vast ocean. I said smiling, “Put all my money into buying people Eckhart Tolle books. That's all I want.”
A bit of time passed, and I looked down at my body and saw that I could wiggle my toes. “Wait I'm not dead?,” I thought. I immediately started sending chi (life-force energy) throughout my body. I learned from Eastern medicine that the faster you send chi to an injury, the better the chance it has to heal. More people came over and huddled around me, and I asked them all to please send chi to my body. The woman who was driving the car which struck me came over to me. She was hysterical, and apologizing. I was still in a state of peace. I told her, “It's OK, please don't worry, just send me good energy.” I gave her several hugs while laying on the ground.
I could feel that my body was injured, but I didn't interpret it as pain. The paramedics showed up and asked me, “What's your biggest complaint?” I said smiling, “Well my book hasn't been published yet.”
I glanced down and saw that my knees were covered in blood. It seemed like my knees took most of the impact. I continued to send chi throughout my body,was “Om”-ing, and my friends did the same. I feel that this practice (similar to Reiki) vastly reduced my injuries. I had a copy of A New Earth By Eckhart Tolle amongst my gear and it had landed nearby. Will read a little excerpt to me and everyone and that helped me feel more relaxed amidst this chaotic seen. The paramedics then took me on a stretcher to the ER.
I got checked out by some nurses and a doctor and they bandaged my knees. Instead of getting immediately stitched up, I requested that I first meditate for an hour or so to heal myself from the inside out. My friends arrived a bit later and did some massage and energy work on my injured body. Up to this point I had not cried at all and was just feeling happy to be alive, and so wishing everyone a happy Thursday. As my friends gave me tender loving care, I was overwhelmed by a wave of emotion. My whole body began vibrating intensely. What came next was an extremely profound experience.
I thought of how I could literally be gone from this world right now. I thought of all the silly things we worry and stress about, and how futile they all are. I became keenly aware of the immense suffering currently on this planet. I felt the truth of the teachings in Eckhart Tolle's books and also in The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein. I cannot describe these truths here in this blog, but I feel it is my duty on this planet to share them. Both authors write and speak of “the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible.” While laying in bed I viscerally felt that a more beautiful world is indeed possible, and we are the ones who will create it. I believe that this is happening through a transformation in human consciousness. I simultaneously felt the profound beauty of all life on Earth as well as the intense suffering of so many beings on this planet.
Directly after being struck by the car, I told Charlie to put all my money into sharing books like these, because that is what I believe to be truly important, not all the frivolous distractions and worries which drain so much of our time and energy. I felt the wrongness of western culture which has gotten completely confused on what is important in life.
Western culture values profit over people, products over natural spaces, and money over well-being. I saw that this is not how life has to be. At the peak of this experience I felt like a bubble of pure energy. I kept repeating "May peace prevail on Earth." After returning into my normal state I feel the only thing worth doing is to work for peace.
I believe that two ways towards peace are the books I mentioned:The Ascent of Humanity is available free online in audio and text at ascentofhumanity.com . Eckhart Tolle's books are in most bookstores.
As far as my health goes, I have no broken bones, and I have been walking around today, and will be at full health in a couple of weeks. I am very grateful to still have the gift of life. Thanks for reading, and please cherish the wonderful gift of life that you have every moment of every day. Peace, Kevin

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cultural REcyclists celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the Climate Justice fast!

November 6, 2010
Happy Saturday!

One year ago today, I went on a hunger strike for a fair, ambitious, and binding global treaty focused on Climate Change with the(Climate Justice Fast).

Today I am fasting once again for the anniversary. Although no global treaty was created last year in Copenhagen, the global grassroots movement became more self-sufficient and sustainable; it grew larger, stronger, and more powerful.

I have been biking across America this summer with the(Cultural REcyclists) to explore sustainability. We have been meeting and networking with people, who are taking action now to lessen their dependence on foreign or distant resources. So far today, I have biked 30 miles drinking only water, and I feel awesome! Due to some crazy storm conditions on the Oregon coast I might be camping in Gold Beach, OR.

This bicycle trip and the Climate Justice Fast have shown me how far I can push my physical body if my mind is solid. Although it may seem the world is falling apart. There is always a brighter future if we can imagine it.

Please open your imagination and help create a wonderful world we can all live in full of joy and abundance.

Thanks! Peace! Love!

Tina Berry

Check out this Video of Satan & Tina Berry:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Adventures in Portland, Take Two (and previous adventures)

Today is Friday November 5th. I (Kevin) am writing this blog entry on this calm and cool afternoon from Portland Oregon. The Cultural Recyclists have been in this eclectic and hectic city for the last week. We were all here for two weeks in early October, then we biked down the Oregon coast for another two weeks. Outside of Bandon Oregon (about 300 mi. south of Portland), Chris was hit by a car while riding his bike. He was taken back up to Portland to have surgery on his leg. The rest of our crew hitched rides North, back up to Portland to be with him. Chris is doing very well, he's out of the hospital, off of pain meds, and in high spirits. (There will be another blog entry specifically about this event.)
On a lighter note, we have all had abundant adventures in the past two months (Yea, we know we've been slacking on the blog entries). I will trace back just a few of the highlights in reverse chronological, but the stories are so numerous, its humorous.
The day Chris was hit, was the day we left Mountain Homestead. Mountain Homestead is an eco-village -like place outside of Coquile, Oregon. (www.mountainhomestead.org) The 6 of us (Kevin, Will, Charlie, Amanda, Chris, and Tina) were not the only bicycle visitors. A guy named Seven became our temporary seventh rider when we left Portland back in mid-October. We then met a Canadian fellow named Brian, who decided to join our crew as we rode down the Coastal By-way (101). In North Bend, Oregon, we ran into two other cyclists, whom we'd met in Missoula (Connor and Aden), and they decided to join as well. Within a week our squad was up to ten, and the folks at Mountain Homestead were kind enough to put us up for a couple of days. We helped them with all sorts of projects geared around creating a sustainable community. We helped harvest wood, build small wood structures, cook food, harvest vegetables, hunt for lobster mushrooms, dig holes, and many other things. Two days into our stay, four other biking friends arrived and we temporarily became 14! We acquired vast amounts of knowledge, due to the hand's-on learning techniques. The Mountain Homestead is founded on Permaculture principles, Earth Care, People Care, and fair share. Many permaculture techniques are flourishing in this beautiful place. The village is powered 90% by solar and hydro power. All of their water is provided on site, and they produce almost all their own fruits and vegetables. It was a truly amazing experience to see what is possible when people collectively unite their heads, hands, and hearts.
Before Mountain Homestead, a pivotal moment was when we reached the Pacific Ocean! This officially meant that we rode our bicycles coast to coast. We all ran to the beach and dipped our feet in the frigid ocean. We all slept on the beach that day, and created a massive bonfire with driftwood. It was and still is quite incredible to look at a map and see how far we have traversed with peanut butter and jelly power! The night previous to staying on the beach, we found 20 pounds of packaged Swiss cheese, amongst other goodies whilst dumpster diving. With our growing number of cyclists, we finished almost all 20 pounds in about a week.
We met an astounding number of friendly folks along the coast who we hung out with at campsites and elsewhere. We found that dumpster diving is very easy along the coast, so we got most of our food for free. By the way, we are very conscious of unhealthy food, so we are careful not to consume anything with mold, as well as much junk food. We were also gifted many things like semi-burnt pizza, expired goods from natural foods stores, and fresh veggies from farmers.
Our original stay in Portland was full of excitement. Our crew stayed at various old friends' and new friends' homes. We made many friends through the Food Not Bombs community. Food Not Bombs is a group which receives donated fresh food, cooks it into yummy dishes, and then serves it for free in parks almost every day. Some of us helped gather food, cook, or helped enjoy the vegan meals in the park. We participated in the 350.org 10/10/10 global day of action to solve the climate crisis. We also went to group meditation, jam sessions, and helped out in many urban permaculture gardens. We visited The Tryon Life Community Farm. Videos of our stay in Portland can be found on our youtube channel, linked from our website :)
Coming into Portland, we rolled through the Columbia River Gorge, which was quite Gorgeous! Before that we rode briefly through Washington, Idaho, and Montana. In Idaho, some of us visited another eco-village in its early days, called Vedrica Forest Gardens. Inspired by The Ringing Cedars books, this community is striving to live sustainably and happily amidst the Idaho mountains. We were amazed at the ancient cedar trees here and the generosity of the people living amongst them. A bit earlier in Idaho, we soaked in the Weir natural hot springs. Immersed in wilderness, we relaxed in a completely natural, completely free, completely awesome hot spring. In Idaho, we saw the first bear of the trip, climbing a tree alongside the road. It wasn't threatening whatsoever, and we felt pretty silly, seeing as most of us carried 40$ cans of bear mace.
Trace back a week or so, and the Cultural Recyclists were in Missoula Montana. We became good friends with lots of folks there, and were greeted with many generous offers of places to stay and eat. We originally weren't even going to venture up to Missoula, but were swayed by some fellow touring bikers, who said it was a groovy town. In the first three days, there were festivals every day and a few massive farmers markets. We also visited various organic farms and permaculture projects, and we have videos of these on our Youtube channel. We stayed in Missoula for 8 days, and every day was most enjoyable.
These descriptions of our journey are hardly scratching the surface of the tip of the iceberg. I can tell you that we are learning a myriad of lessons and skills, that we had very little experience with up until this trip. We are realizing that in order to experience all that life has to offer, we must push the boundaries of our comfort zones. There is a quote that says "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” We left the sight of the shore on the east coast, with many people doubting us, sometimes ourselves.
In our toughest times, we keep our faith in the inherent goodness of life, humans included. We believe that although our western culture has lost its way, and is destroying so many important things ie; Community, ecosystems, indigenous people, diversity, etc., a new way of seeing the world is arising. We believe that people's values are changing and a growing number of people are working for a more beautiful world. We are meeting people of all ages, shapes, and sizes who are saying, "I am tired of the status quo, we need to work for something new." We believe that incredible changes are happening all over the world, as people begin to reexamine what they want in life, and what life can be.
I often refer to the metaphorical Great Chain of Inspiration. (basically that anyone who inspires another was previously inspired also) Many people and groups have inspired us to do what we are currently doing and reigniting our passion to keep it up. We are each a link in the chain, which winds all different directions, and is non-linear. We hope that we can do our part in the great chain of inspiration and inspire you to "lose sight of the shore" and follow your passions. We can assure you that we left the shore, and we made it all the way to the great Pacific Ocean.
Thanks for reading,
Peace and Love, Kevin and The Cultural Recyclists

Also, this is a fantastic essay by Charles Eisenstein:http://shareable.net/blog/a-circle-of-gifts

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"The Richest Hill on Earth"

Happy Thursday (or whatever day of the week you're reading this) everyone! The Cultural Recyclists are currently in the town of Butte, Montana; home of the "richest hill on earth", but more on that later. Our last blog entry was in Cody, Wyoming, and we have quite a bit to catch you up on!
Charlie, Kevin, Will, and I (Amanda) spent five days in Cody waiting for Chris and Tina to catch up to us. Of course we didn't mind, considering we had a wonderful time meeting new people and were able to treat our bodies to an abundance of nourishing food and rejuvenating bouts of relaxation. Thanks to all that hosted, entertained, and/or fed us during our stay in Cody. The energy (whether it be spiritual, intellectual, or physical) was just what we needed to propel us onward to Yellowstone.
The journey from Cody to Yellowstone was an adventure in itself. We had been forewarned (probably more than we needed to be) that there have been more grizzly bear attacks this year than in previous years, and that we needed to be most careful in the stretch of mountains outside of the gates of Yellowstone. For peace of mind, we decided to camp in designated campgrounds, where we were able to store our food in bear boxes. Ultimately, we didn't encounter any grizzly bears, which is a bitter-sweet fact. We did, however, spot a mother moose and her calf grazing a patch of plants across the river from our campsite one evening. I believe this moose-sighting was the first for all of the recyclists.
As we pedaled up the mountains and into higher elevation we found it was no longer summertime for the recyclists. We knew this was coming, and were as prepared for the temperature drop as we could be, but it was nevertheless a bit shocking to our systems, which had become accustomed to the warm (often hot) weather. We were a few miles from the gate and another 30 from the nearest place they would allow us to camp in Yellowstone when we heard word of an incoming snowstorm. It was becoming evident we weren't going to make it into the park that day, but there was a ban on soft-shell (tent) camping where we were because of the bear activity.
We needed to find some shelter, and we needed it to be cheap. After all, the recyclists are cycling on a somewhat tight budget. We stopped at a cabin rental place and inquired about rates. We wanted the cheapest room we could get, and assured them that as long as they didn't mind, we would pack in a room like sardines. And that is exactly what we did. We fit eight people in an $89 one-bed room. "Eight people?" you may be wondering. We met two cyclists, John and Olivia, who are biking from British Columbia, Canada to Key West, Florida. They also needed a cheap place to stay, and we were happy to pack a few more sardines into our room.
We woke at three a.m. the next morning and packed our bicycles. We were only a few miles from the gate and knew that if we got there before 6 a.m. we wouldn't have to pay the admission fee. At $12/bicycle, we avoided a hefty $72 entrance fee into Yellowstone (the six of us in a minivan would have paid $25 to get into the park) Avoiding the fee aside, the ride into the park was phenomenal. We were blessed with clear night skies, a beautiful sunrise, and remarkable landscapes. It did end up snowing during our journey into the park, but thankfully it didn't begin until mid-morning when the sun could provide us with just enough warmth to keep our bodies functioning at a healthy level. We had finally made it into the first ever National Park; A relatively untouched stretch of land which is rich in wildlife and geological features.

TO BE CONTINUED =o)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Almost to Yellowstone!

Hello! (This will be Kevin writing, just for clarification)

I am currently in Cody, Wyoming, 50 miles outside of Yellowstone National Park. Charlie, Amanda, Will, and I have been here for three days now. We are enjoying the time to relax and stock up on winter clothes and delicious non-perishables before heading to the wondrous Yellowstone. We are also waiting for Tina and Chris to catch up with us, because they were helping out with projects in the town of Casper, Wyoming. Our friend Arlo, who rode with us for a week, decided he wanted to leave our bicycle tour to venture down to a Co-op in Boulder Colorado. Soon enough, the six remaining riders will journey into the land of Devil's Tower and Old Faithful.
To recap some of our recent excitement, I will retrace our steps. For the last two nights we stayed with a munificent couple, Denny and Suzanne. Denny was intrigued by our bicycles while we were at the library and we soon learned that he has hiked most of America's trails on foot, and traversed much of the roads by bicycle. He kindly invited us for dinner, where we enjoyed elk-burgers (hunted by Suzanne, skinned by Denny, and cooked by Suzanne). We were gifted many recently expired organic goods from a Natural Foods Store called Mountain High. Due to all the "bear scares" recently, we purchased several canisters of Bear Mace.
During our non-riding time here in Cody we have been able to spend more time "being" and not solely "doing". Our friend Andrew from Fairfield helped teach us the importance of balancing doing and being. I found a copy of one of my favorite "being-inducing" books at a store for only fifty cents. "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle catapults me into the present moment like no other book can. While hanging around Denny's mostly handcrafted home, Will couldn't put "A New Earth" down. Charlie found a copy of "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz which also articulates the importance of spiritual practice. Myself and Amanda have both been working on cultivating a regular Yoga stretching session at various times of the day. I was reading about meditation techniques at the library and have resumed my daily practice of entering a state of "Laos." The word "Laos" is part of the mini-lexicon we are developing as we ride. I define the word Laos as "ones natural state within, which can only be felt, not thought, consisting of peace,calm, and joy."
Back to the activities we've been doing...before Cody, we were in the tiny town of Matittsi (blogger doesn't have spellcheck). This old-western town's claim to fame is that Butch Cassidy was captured here. More recently, one of the convicts who hid in Yellowstone was also caught in Matittsi. We ate a tasty pizza at one of the only restaurants in town, seeing as there was no grocery there. Charlie and a woman we met at the restaurant had a duet-guitar jam session in the park we camped in as well.
Rewind back a town, and we are in the home of the "world's largest natural hot-springs" -Thermopolis. We stayed a few nights at the home of a generous woman,named Chellady's house. Chellady and her family let us use their home computer, where we uploaded photos of all the breath-taking buttes and expansive mountain-scapes we see. We soothed our muscles in the hot springs, which reeked of sulfur, but were overwhelmingly restorative.
The ride into Thermopolis through the Wind River Canyon was absolutely astounding. I've never been to the Grand Canyon, but I can't imagine anything more grand than this. Riding through the base of this natural wonder had my jaw hitting my handlebars!
Before Thermopolis, we were in Shoshoni, which is the name of Native tribe which our culture ...decimated..I mean decided to move elsewhere. We saw some relics of the Native culture in some of the town stores. And we could feel the spirit of the land, embodied in the therapeudic sage scent, and the galloping antelope, adorned with curley Q horns.
Previous to Shoshoni, we were exploring Casper. Within minutes of entering Casper, we had met a myriad of like-minded people at the local Farmer's Market. Our taste buds lit up as we were given free samples of all sorts of fresh peaches, scones, fresh dips, and other goodies. Many vendors were exceedingly generous in giving us crates of fresh veggies to take with us. We stayed two nights at the home of Leah and Brett, who manage the Farmer's Markets. They treated us to warm showers which were graciously accepted by all of us. We met many cool folks around town, some of whom Chris and Tina stayed with to work on community projects.
Overall, our recent adventures have been full of suprise, synchronicity, and bear-warnings. We have had many ups and downs, but we take it all in stride, and are learning new life lessons every day. We appreciate every bit of support and well-wishing, and we strive to reciprocate it. Thanks for reading, and I don't have time to edit, so I hope its ledgible, haha. Love, Kevin May/Phil Osophical and all of the Cultural Recyclists!