Dare to Dream... a NEW STORY for humans on Planet Earth

tomorrowland pin
In a recent movie: Tomorrowland, the question was asked: "When did we stop imagining a positive future for ourselves and our world?" When did we believe the insanity that the future would be bleak and there is little we can do to change that?

What we dream and imagine we can create.

So despite the challenges humans and our planet face together, let's choose to re-imagine that we can create a positive future for ourselves, one where humans live in right relationship with the living systems and with each other.

This blog celebrates those who are imagining this -- a new story--and who are embracing their own creativity and finding a new way forward.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Creating a New Story

"Give me a lever and a fulcrum on which to place it and i can move the world" --Archimedes

Lately, I've encountered more and more people who believe our culture is living the wrong story.  Some are working to create a new story.

The old cultural story is this: we need things to be happy, and we definitely need more money.  Abundance is limited.  We must fight for our share of a decreasing pie. Earth is here for humans to use (or use up).

One result of this dysfunctional story is this: most people who have "enough" are afraid they soon won't.  They resent anyone who needs more, even if it's just to survive. Those who do not have enough are afraid too--desperate even--that they won't have what they need to survive.

There are plenty of dystopian Hollywood movies from Mad Max to The Day After  to Idiocracy that show us how a this story like this ends:  it’s a story of death and dying.  In all of these unhappy endings, Earth is trashed for the sake of human needs or conflict.  The vulnerable are exploited. Our children and grandchildren inherit less beauty, less life and greater struggles than the generation before.

This is insane.  And we know it.

So let's change the ending of this story.  Let's change the dysfunctional dream of the Western World.  The only thing stopping us (really) is fear and hard work, everything else is an excuse.

Blogging for Sanity started in 2004, though I basically stopped blogging 2008 for awhile when economic collapse was upon us and I felt called to serve my local community as an elected official.  During the Obama Years, I focused on change in our local community and attempted to bring about a new approach to government.  Mostly I wanted to increase awareness of how sacred Earth is.

During that time, I learned that people are basically good, but the more they watch TV the angrier they are.  My goal was to get them outside… helping.  I found permaculture is a way to apply new paradigm thinking to anything and bring about hope in people of all ages.  I also learned that public leadership is limited by what the majority believes, and that fear and anger are dominating many people's beliefs right now.  This was so apparent to me while in public office

I've never lost faith in the good in people, nor humanity's potential.

The solutions to our current challenges might seem impossible at times, but imagine what will happen when all of humanity awakens to a New Story and starts to live it.

Imagine a story where everything is connected, where happiness and stability are based on relationships with ourselves, other people and the natural world.  Imagine a story where we stand together for what matters: all life, Imagine unlimited abundance we create in partnership with the natural world.
Imagine what it will be like when the most noble work is restoring humanity's relationship with the natural world and with each other.

Imagine justice flowing like a river.

I used to feel alone in this seemingly impossible quest.  Now more and more, I believe it is possible.   It won't be an easy road... but honestly, what is the alternative?

We need to change the collective trance.  We need a New Story that activates all to their full potential.
I'm on the lookout for levers to make this happen.  I’ve found a few and will share them from time to time.

The first: find local projects that inspire people to show up and work together--preferably outside.  A New Story, new world view, new paradigm starts with real connection.

I'll share what I discover along the way.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The power of collective action

I rarely seek out, let alone share, films that suggest personal action is useless.  It IS important --especially in its role in waking us up as individuals. So I'm not sharing this film for you to walk away with that message. The reason I am sharing is that, in the final analysis, I do not believe that is the point this author/filmaker is making. 

I believe the main point has huge value: political change requires massive collective action.  This doesn't mean stop composting or meditating.  It means show up and resist when it counts... even and especially in the face of violence and oppression.

Non-violent direct action is key--but that doesn't mean there won't be pain and suffering to those who show up.

Forget Shorter Showers from jore.cc on Vimeo.

Blogging for Sanity

"What did you do once you knew" poet Drew Dellinger writes in a poem about lamenting over the fate of his great great grandchildren.  What kind of ancestors are we? 

Blogging for Sanity is back.  I am not sure whether I am blogging for our collective sanity or my own :-).  But I will ask provocative questions and share what I'm doing.... and perhaps some knew "knowing" as it happens.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Constitutional Failures

I loved my high school Civics class.  We studied the checks and balances to power that the US founders enshrined in the constitution.  We studied the Bill of Rights.  This class took place the year Richard Nixon resigned and when the rule of law triumphed. Because of this, I knew that our system of government was stronger than any one person.  We could count on the rule of law and the structure of our democracy to ride out tough times.

Recently, we have experienced failures of these checks and balances--when key individuals chose party over country. As the failures happen, I realize that the erosion of the institutions and the failure of the constitution is what troubles me the most.

Here is my short list of the three most heart breaking of these:

2000 - Bush v. Gore.  Sandra Day O'Connor cast the deciding vote--succumbing to the shouting of thugs to "stop the count" rather than allow the vote counting to continue.  Gore actually won that election by the count of votes in Florida.  Bush served two terms.

2016 - Merrick Garland,  President Barack Obama's second nominee to the Supreme Court does not receive a hearing.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will go down in history as the man responsible for the theft of a Supreme Court seat.

2016 - The Electoral College votes in a man clearly unfit for office to ascend to the presidency, even with evidence that there was foreign influence in the election. Why have the Electoral College at all if it doesn't prevent this?

And now another crisis is in the making.
2017 - Republicans in Congress... What will it be?  If this president fires the Deputy AG and Special Prosecutor, will you choose country over party? Will you have the courage to do so?

If not, the Rule of Law, essential to hold America together, will be lost... And we collectively enter the abyss of a failed constitution, rigged elections, bucks for buddies, and political violence.

If so, we remain a constitutional democracy where no one is above the law, where the courts have the last word and where we adjudicate our differences.

To date, there is not much evidence of the courage we will need from you. My hope is that you step up. My hope is that decent republicans call and write you to urge you to step up, to give you the needed courage.

The United States of America and the whole world needs you to take a stand for the rule of law.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Tell everyone on this train I love them"

When I saw the photo of Taliesan Myrddin Namkai-Meche, age 23, in his graduation cap and gown it
Source: Facebook
took my breath away. It is not just that he was young. It was that, for just an instant, I thought he was my son who lives in Portland and went to Reed College too. The resemblance was so striking that I began to weep... as a mother. His mother called him her baby boy and shining bright star.

They are so beautiful and brave, these men who rode the Portland MAX train that day. The two who died: Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Rick Best, 53, a veteran who lived in a Portland suburb with his family. The only survivor, Michah Fletcher, is a 21-year-old poet. I weep for them all, and for the girls whose lives were at risk.

I weep for our country. We are all on this train.

I wonder: at what point did the poison take hold in the mind of the assailant? Was it during the presidential campaign of 2016? Was it while watching Fox news for years prior? Was it trolling the dark recesses of social boards where hate and anger are reduced to one-liners, and shaming so commonplace? Was it when something happened, like being denied mental health services or losing a job?

We watch as our neighbors and friends, people we once knew as kind, spew similar sentiments and know that this is long past politics and no longer harmless. Uncle Joe makes no sense, but there is no talking him out of it. His face is red with rage. He's gone over the edge too, into a dark place that reason and facts cannot reach. And where are the brave political heroes?

Where are those who will stand for good? Where are those who will show moral courage and who will lead us with moral conviction and love? Will they take their lessons from these heroes--by standing strong in the face of fear and anger? By stepping up to protect the marginalized and oppressed? Yes, indeed, we are all on this train.

The last words of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche were these: "Tell everyone on this train I love them." 

My prayer is this: May this love be a force for good... a beacon on which we we carry forward to reclaim hearts and minds, starting with our own. May we all to have the courage and strength to take a stand, whatever the cost. May we confront shadow without falling into it... and allow love to be our beacon.... a love demonstrated in full for everyone on this train.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Can One Person Do About Climate Change?

This is a great opinion piece in the Washington Post today:  Now it is up to us to Save the Planet

It is.  And collectively we CAN and MUST take action

As I see it, our individual action falls into three categories:

1.  The Energy We Use
2.  Soil
3.  What We Buy (and What We Throw Away)

More on each of these in the days to come.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Get inspired. Stay inspired. #Resist

Here's the thing--we need to BE STRATEGIC with our energies because overwhelm and cynicism can lead to despair, and indeed this is the objective of the rapid-fire actions coming our way. Shock and awe.

First, recognize that we are in a marathon, not a sprint and we need to develop our personal capacities to act quickly, strategically and with passion & force.  

Here is what I am doing personally so I can go the long haul: 
(1) Extreme self-care.  This means maintaining a sense of humor, tending to mental health and my physical, spiritual, emotional energies.  (Sometimes I need to go on a media diet and get offline to regroup); Connecting with others rather than staying isolated--including marching for strength, solidarity and community;
(2) Focus on my work to make a difference in one main thing--in my case climate change solutions including solar energy, soil, & community resilience;
(3) Take regular political action on items I care about--the most effective of these is to CALL elected officials on the phone a couple of times a week to encourage, support or weigh in;  Indivisible has a good weekly action list for this.
(4) Reach out.  Offer support and encouragement to those whose #resist work inspires me;
(5) Kindness--Conduct random (ideally anonymous) acts of kindness;
(6) Deliver my message. My message is this:
Get inspired. Do what you need to do to stay inspired. Act from deep LOVE.  You are on the right side of history.  Spring is coming.


Denise,  aka Earthlover

Maybe this will help:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why I March...

Today was joyful, peaceful, powerful... electric and spectacular! (In Napa, we even cheered and sent love to the loud guy with a Trump flag driving by.) We are not protesters. We are marchers who rise up and stand for what we love and value: dignity, justice for all, and Earth herself.

This is who we are.

Why do we march? It is not complicated as some would have you believe.

We march for justice for all
We march as a STAND for love over fear.
We march as a stand for our values (especially in the face of those who desecrate those values).: most immediately womens' rights... and because women's rights are human rights.
We march to gain strength and courage from each other as we take this stand--for the rights and dignity of all diverse peoples and for preserving the life-giving capacities of our planet home. 

We know that we are on the right side of history, buoyed by all the women who have marched before us.   There is a dark winter ahead no doubt.  But love is rising and is indeed already here. The seeds of what will come are waiting for us.  We are just beginning... you have no idea how determined, courageous and passionate we are.

Spring is coming.

#womensmarch #whyimarch 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fear is Useless

I’m not certain of the exact moment it begins.  Maybe it is when I decide to cruise Facebook and
online news sites in hopes that there will be good political news.  Who am I kidding?  Even if there is good news, I am pretty sure that the corporate media doesn’t plan to share it with me. Why help me feel good when they can get me to buy more of what they are selling.

Here is what they are selling:


My body feels fear well before I realize what is happening.  A tightness in the pit of my stomach, maybe a constriction in my chest.  A random thought enters my mind: I wonder if I should buy some grain to store in cupboards… or more toilet paper.  Just in case.

Before I even notice the anxiety,  my imagination is bent on worry.  My creativity transforms into thoughts about safety and security… or if left long enough maybe into dystopian fantasies of dying in a large nuclear fireball. 

I need an intervention.

I’m not usually one to quote scripture, but here it is: “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.”    Chaos, death and destruction happen. Fear won’t change that.  Fear, in fact, makes it worse.

As FDR famously said: all we have to fear is fear itself. 

There is a reason he said this.  From our fear, we create more things to fear. We fear each other.  Perhaps we fear ourselves.  When we fear, we cannot create positive possibility.  Fear constricts.

For me, fear gets bigger when I try to make it go away.  It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.
Ignoring fear, saying “there is nothing to be afraid of”, judging the fear… none of this works for me.  But recently, I discovered a practice that does work.  It starts with paying attention—noticing when I am actually feeling fear.  That is key.

The Practice:

(1) Notice fear in my body.  Where do I feel it?
(2) Say. “So this is what fear feels like”
(3) Feel it.  Notice the thoughts as they come up.
(4) Say “So this is a thought that produces fear” (or alternatively "This is a thought produced by fear)
(5) Choose a new thought.  I like this one: I trust in good. (Thank you , Jesus)
(6) Choose an action, however small,  in a positive direction.  Am I worried about climate change?  I choose to work on solar energy.

Guess what!   My fear dissipates.  Perhaps it doesn’t like to be noticed. Or maybe action chases  it away.

Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.

Monday, January 2, 2017

View From the Sun

Welcome to the EarthLover blog.  Here you will find art that celebrates the beauty, creativity and sacredness of Planet Earth.

50% of the proceeds of any original art featured on this site will go toward organizations and initiatives that help renew, restore and reimagine humanity's relationship with our living planet.  (the remainder will be used to purchase more art supplies, so the art keeps going as long as I do).

This one is called View from the Sun.... Check back from time to time as there is more to come.  

-- Denise Rushing  aka EarthLover

  --  Original Painting, Mixed Media,  24x24 in.


Friday, December 2, 2016

A Simple Mantra.

People keep asking: what can one person do about Climate Change? My simple mantra is this: Soil. Sun. Sacred.
SOIL: building a living soil sequesters carbon
SUN: The sun must become our primary source of energy.
And SACRED Earth means honor nature--shop less love more.
So what can one person do? Make compost, support ecological agriculture, save energy, install solar... love Earth more than stuff. You would be surprised how much we can accomplish together and how joyful it can be.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Musings From the Permaculture Garden

Nature teaches us: "The Problem is an Opportunity" Okay so give me every idea you can think of for how we turn this horrific and massive problem into an opportunity. I'll start.

This is a very real real opportunity to

--shine a light on how the Tea Party actually governs. For real.

--take a firm stand for what we love

--build local connections and community to meet unmet needs

--grieve our losses

--engage in extreme self-care

--expose the obstructionist agenda for what it really is

--see the populist right confront the corporatist right

--cultivate compassion as we reach out and help those who will inevitably be left behind

--love each other

--tell stories and cultivate compassion

--strengthen grassroots actions on climate

--show up en masse to defend the sacred

--live our purpose. We are here for a reason.

Other opportunities? Anyone?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Antidote to Fear...

There is a reason that FDR said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”     He said this because, as we have witnessed in these past weeks, fear creates its own reality.  Above all, it creates more fear— a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the words of Jesus of Nazareth: "Fear is useless.  What is needed is trust”  (some translations say “what is needed is faith.”)

What does fear feel like?  And how do we know we are in its grip?  And once we know, how do we turn it around?

CLUE 1: Fear is held in the body.

Whenever I listen to the godawful media worry or imagine the possible outcomes in the election I feel it in the pit of my stomach.  That the feeling. FEAR.

THAT is what fear feels like, at least for me.

CLUE 2: What I imagine.

When I am afraid I worry and imagine the worst
I am more easily manipulated
I obsess over polls
I work on the wrong things, I stall  or I get cynical or even give up

The Antidote: ACTION
For me, the best antidote to fear is action.  Action empowers--especially action based in insight and compassion.  Do what is mine to do.  Reach out and love.  Get outside.  Love Earth, our community, our place.  Love people who are not like me… who themselves are terrified.  Make a point to take very good care of myself.

Faith moves mountains… so let’s move a few.  Time to VOTE and then let's get to work on renewing and restoring our communities and our beautiful life-giving planet.

Friday, October 28, 2016

How to "Allow": Create Optimal Conditions and then Trust

When I was nine years old, my fourth grade science teacher had us plant pumpkin seeds in half-cut waxed milk cartons.  I eagerly anticipated the sprouting of the seeds and once they started to grow, I and my classmates measured our plant’s progress each day and recorded it in our scientific lab books.
Once the plants were between six and eight inches tall, the teacher concluded our lesson and sent the plants home with us.  I beamed with pride.  My three plants were among the tallest in the class and I couldn’t wait to show them to my parents and our next door neighbor who was an avid gardener.
Our neighbor told me that he would help me transplant my pumpkin seedlings into the ground, something  I thought we would do it together.  But unbeknownst to me, his plan was to transplant the plants while I was at school.

My first reaction at seeing my three pumpkin plants in the ground was one of disappointment.  They looked so small —much shorter than they were before.  So … when no one was looking, I pulled one of the plants up a bit to make it taller.  I heard a little “snap” in the stem.


I quickly shoved it back where it was.  Had I killed it?  I had a terrible feeling that I had.

The next morning my fears were realized.  When I saw the injured pumpkin seedling, my heart sank. The plant was on its side, wilted on the ground, dead and  I knew that I was responsible.  In my impatience to have it be the tallest plant,  now I had no plant at all.    

But that is not the end of the story.  (Remember, there were two other pumpkin plants.)  Together, my gardener neighbor and I mixed a really smelly concoction he called fish fertilizer with water.   How could my plants like this awful stuff?  We watered the two remaining plants with this pungent water.

We also surrounded them with compost.  I learned that compost was made mostly of dead plants, which oddly gave me some comfort that my dead pumpkin seedling would someday help other plants too.

In a few short weeks, my two remaining pumpkin plants were huge.

The lessons for my nine year old self was twofold:
First, you cannot force growing things.  You cannot make them grow by pulling on them.  If you force a living thing to your will before its time, it dies.
Second:  from death springs life.

I realized that the best way for pumpkins to grow was to create conditions they like, give them what they need (and it may not be what I prefer) and allow them to be.  

Allow rather than force.   Create optimal conditions and then trust.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Your Power... use it.

This is a message to my Bernie Sanders supporting friends who are disillusioned by both candidates and are considering a "protest vote" for either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson.

I get it.  I love that Bernie put a voice to what we know to be true--the destruction of our world, a system that is not working for Earth... or for people.  I supported Bernie and love that he fought so hard for us.  I, too, am righteously angry at the desecration of our world, of a system that perpetuates a destructive world view, at an economic systems that must change.  We know that if Bernie had received even one tenth of the republican nominee's corporate media airtime, he would have been the democratic nominee.

He is not.  He did, however, fight for progress on the democratic platform... and while changing the party platform isn't revolutionary, it isn't the entirely wrong direction either.  The reason this agenda has been so difficult to enact is NOT that Clinton-like democrats are in the pocket of the 1%.  It isn't. Rather, it's because WAY too many people are not yet awake.  They are angry and hurt, and they literally put people in power who not only do not believe in climate change, they spew lies about it.  They are not only racist, they spread the message of the KKK.  They not only think Earth is here to be used up and dominated, they actively work to dismantle wilderness protections, national parks and (if they had their way) would cut down every last redwood tree.  Their world view is shaped by lies and fueled by fear.

Personally, I would like reality to intervene as soon as possible.

We now face a choice.

We have two nominees--one knows how to work within the existing (flawed) system for good, and one is willing to destroy everything we care about for his own ego.  He is willing to use nuclear weapons.  He is willing to actively dismantle environmental protection.  He is frothing his supporters to violence against everyone else.  He (with media complicity) is sending exactly the wrong message to children of how to treat others.   Unless we strongly repudiate this, we will see more of it from his base of angry and violent supporters in the years to come. 

It is just the beginning.  Unless we stop it now.

We need to take a stand.  We must be willing to be as clear about what we stand for as his supporters are angry and violent.  We stand for Earth.  We stand for human decency.  We stand for respect.  We stand for diversity and service to others.  We stand for women, for native peoples, for people of color, for all faith traditions.  Let us be a beacon of light for all.  This election should not even be close.

Here is my request.  Do not cast a protest vote.  Cast a decisive vote that repudiates the republican nominee decisively, clearly and powerfully.  If you do not like Hillary and claim there is no difference--that she is "the lesser of two evils"-- and you cannot bring yourself to vote for her--I would gently say this to you: In claiming to "vote your conscience" it is YOUR ego that is allowing you to feel powerless and victimized by the existing two party system.   A protest vote will not change the system (though it may help you feel good).  In fact, it won't be noticed... it will be misinterpreted.  it will be a footnote in history.  With a protest vote, you are choosing to sit this one out. You are playing the victim and not claiming your power.

Please don't do that.

Right now, you have the power to use that vote to send a clear message.  Your vote can decisively repudiate an agenda that is 100% wrong.    Not by a little bit. but by a LOT.

Writer and Earth Activist Starhawk says "The Universe only grants more power to those who are willing to use the power they have."

I urge you: do not sit it out or cast a protest vote.  Cast your vote for Hillary Clinton.  Get your friends to do the same.  And then work as hard as you did for Bernie to hold her to task on the things that matter.


P.S.  The two choices are best compared by looking at the speeches this week.  One is repudiated by the Anti Defamation League for its anti semitism and is filled with distortions and lies, and the other is FLOTUS.
The reason I loved Michelle Obama's speech so much is that it came from her heart--from a place of authenticity and truth.  And it is a clarion call to human decency.  I urge you to listen to it.  Here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Clarity, Resolve and Fierce Love.

Michelle Obama's Speech is a beautiful example of how to take a stand with clarity, resolve, and fierce love.  Beautiful.

Appealing to our better angels: "When they go low, we go high." 

I hope that every single American gets the chance to listen to the whole speech and become who she calls us to be for one another. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

400ppm - Before the Flood.

I'm looking forward to the release of what looks to be a powerful movie (National Geographic + Leonardo DiCaprio). The trailer itself is well worth watching as we just passed 400ppm on Planet Earth (goal is to stay below 350ppm). Good news: the future is in our hands and it is do-able. 

Soil & Solar, baby. Focus.

Before the Flood - Trailer | National Geographic:

Time to Get Solar

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Living a New Story.

As we look to the future and our relationship with the next generation, we face a stark choice: a path
View Form the Sun - Eco Art by Denise Rushing
of fear, cynicism, denial and despair, or one of hope, renewal, restoration and of co-creating abundance for the future.  Our young people are already keenly aware of the dire state of the world, with messages from mass media that lead to desolation.  It is our task to offer a positive path forward even as we help them, and ourselves, through the grief and despair over what we have inherited.

The Universe has undergone 13.7 billion years of physical and spiritual evolution. We find ourselves a part of an unfolding story, one where we all have common origins and where we all are part of a whole living system on planet Earth. To live in harmony with the planet requires that we accept our position as a part of the natural system rather than a consumer (or taker) of Earth's gifts.  Sadly, awaken to this just as we witness, and realize that we've caused, a massive planetary extinction event.

The solution to global difficulties lies within Earth herself: in us. Our human family must turn its efforts to restoring and renewing the natural world. We must recreate healthy soil, forests, waters.  We must recreate local communities together. We must slow and eventually reverse our impact on the climate and the living systems of our planet home. This will not only require political will, it will require individual and collective awakening and resolve. An internal shift is required--a change in our way of being.  

We need a life-giving and sustaining vision and spiritual sustenance so that we can let go of the false promises that our culture of consumption has ingrained so deeply within us. 

We need a New Story.

By observing, imitating and co-creating with the natural world, I find myself living this new story. As I behave differently, I also become a part of our natural world, instead of apart from it... I become indigenous to the plant Earth once again. My daily work reflects my spirituality, and my ideology--and all are consistent with a new cosmology, a new story: that we are part of this living, breathing planet and all life is sacred.

Today around the globe, many are learning the techniques of renewal—skills and philosophies that will help renew and restore damaged places, create healthy soil and grow food, and create resilient communities.  These skills and philosophies are an important way to survive both physically and spiritually: creating abundance in these times and in the years of transition and restoration ahead.  Nature offers wisdom and hope--for regenerating our soils and depleted Earth… and our depleted human spirit.  We can design with nature, rather than fighting against her.  Our human gardens and farms can operate like healthy natural systems, abundant and in natural cycles.  We can work in community, finding harmony and cooperation with and within Earth's living systems.

The good news-- co-creating this new story together can be life-giving, satisfying, and even fun.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Beneficial Connections...

This is a story about the power of connection.

When I first bought what is now Dancing TreePeople Farm, I imagined that I was going to create a fully sustainable life... all by myself.

I would grow my own food, make my own energy, put in place a permaculture oasis and would create everything I need on the farm.

Along the way, I learned that this is utter folly.
I learned that it is impossible to create a sustainable life by myself.  Yes, I could spend all my time and treasure to create a Shangrila --and end up broke and exhausted.  In fact, I came close, all the way to putting a "for sale" sign out in front of the farm.

Fortunately, friends convinced me that there was something we could do together... we could create a community and help each other.

Here is my aha:

The most joy, the most abundance, and the most sustainable life increases with the number of beneficial connections.  Relationships.  People. Community.

Today, we receive amazing organic vegetables from nearby farms by our farm mates helping others out. We receive seedlings from those who appreciate our eggs.  We dream big creams and play-- we share what we have and receive.  It is fun and beautiful.  Our farm is stable financially and we are alive and loving life.

The permaculture principle: Stability through Beneficial Connections.  It's simple.  The most stable systems have the most beneficial and diverse connections.

From Tending the Soul's Garden:
Stability is achieved through beneficial connections between diverse beings.  Thus, diversity is related to stability. It is not, however, the number of diverse elements you can pack into a system, but rather the useful or beneficial relationships you can create between these elements. 
Stable systems are created through beneficial connections.  This suggests that for those who worry about the stability of their household or local economy, or any other significant outer problem for that matter, time might be best spent creating and cultivating beneficial relationships.  With these relationships, comes less volatility and greater stability.