Showing posts from 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.

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.

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.

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 w

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.

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. 

DIY Nut Milk Recipe... works for walnut, almond

I love this recipe for walnut milk.  We use the 100% organic cotton nut milk bag from Dancing TreePeople Farm You can buy the farm nut milk bag on Amazon

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

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.

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 far

Permaculture Principle: Edge Effect

Growth and new life, as well as innovation, comes from the edges where different systems meet.  "Edge Effect" celebrates one of the thirteen permaculture principles. From Tending the Soul's Garden : "Edge Effect refers to that which occurs in a system along its edges.  The principle recognizes the use of natural patterns as the basis of design. In nature, the creation of greater edge provides us with a greater surface area, therefore giving us greater production, increased positive relationship opportunities, more places for nature to create and work and evolve, and a greater edge between microclimates. In invisible structures, such as a societal culture, the edges or margins tend to foster a greater creativity.  In our personal inner world, the edges are the places of greatest discomfort and often can be that “creative edge” where we experience the most personal growth.   It helps to observe and notice the “edges” both in our community and in our lives and culti


I am in an older house--it's the house I lived in when I was 19 years old. There is a gap between the kitchen cabinet and the floor. Through the gap I can see into the underside of the house I see what looks like a very large rat and it is trying to get into the house.  So I venture into the crawl space to shoo it away.  When I get closer, I see that it is not a rat at all, but a possum.  Each time I try to herd it out from the crawl space, it tries to skirt around me to get into the house through the cabinet gap. At this point, the possum can no longer get around me, so it comes right up to me and chomps the fleshy part of my hand leaving a huge bite mark. "Why did you do that?" I ask, incredulous that it would be so bold. It spoke to me in my own voice: "Because you are in my way!" SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS What’s in the way?  Odds are it is an unconscious belief. And while we may not be conscious of these beliefs that get in the way, we can train ourselves to

The Helpers

As the fire rages in South Lake County, we find ourselves once again praying for friends, neighbors and firefighters, checking our own "defensible space" and wondering if people, animals and precious places are okay. Today, my partner Loretta and I decided to run errands together to take our minds off the news.  At Safeway there were long lines, but everyone was walking about slowly, as if in a daze.  I was told by the clerk that throughout the day, many evacuees were there because they got out of their home with nothing... and this gave them something to do. No one was in a hurry.  We just all meandered slowly about, leaning on our shopping carts. I found myself loving everyone there.  Every single person.   Each held a story... all were strangely calm and subdued.   Maybe in shock.  But a resigned, peaceful shock.   Whatever the stories, whatever the struggles now, we are all on this round planet, our "blue boat home," hurling through space together and w

"Y" is for "Yield is (theoretically) Unlimited"

Nature is designed for abundance. 

Fly the Airplane

The whole incident took maybe 10 minutes—yet is etched in my mind as hours.   Time was suspended. I wasn’t thinking about my grocery list, or getting my car repaired.   I want thinking about the money in the bank.   I briefly thought about would happen if I didn't get this right—and very quickly dropped that thought for one singular focus: fly the airplane .   My priority was crystal clear. Every bit of training and skill helped me land the plane that day.   It was part skill ingrained by training over and over again, and part luck that I am here to tell the tale. The maintenance crew later discovered that a cotter key had worked loose from the throttle control linkage bolt, and the bolt worked itself out, leaving me with only partial power and no power control at all. I had too much power to land, but not enough to climb. Recent emergency flight training (and possibly a few angels) saved the day. In the final analysis, I was able to land because I had

Earth Dance

Celebrating the dance of life.  This painting is of Earth, our home, in the cosmic sea, in a dance with the energies of the cosmos and within.  In some sense, Earth is the "biggest why" of all.

Permaculture Principle: Start Small then Expand.

"S" in the the Reclaiming Tuesday series, this painting highlights the permaculture principle: start small then expand. The entire series is a celebration of the wonder and awe at the heart of the Universe.

We are Star Dust

10 billion years ago, the star Tiamat exploded into a supernova.  From the explosion of Tiamat came elements such as carbon and oxygen--elements necessary for life on Earth.  The solar system formed from the remnants of Tiamat... We are star dust.

"Edge Effect"

Celebrates one of the thirteen permaculture principles. Growth and new life, as well as innovation, comes from the edges where different systems meet.

New World View

Here is the poster announcing the opening of my Art Show at the Lake County Wine Studio on August 5th and 6th, 2016.  Attendance to view the art is FREE.  $15 if you want to sample the wine and food pairings. The painting depicted on the poster is called "View from the Sun" from the New World View series. --Denise  

Announcing Art and Wine Reception: August 5 & 6

Here is the poster announcing the opening of the Art Show at the Lake County Wine Studio.  This painting depicted on the poster is called "View from the Sun"  from the New World View series. Attendance to view the art is FREE.  Cost is $15 if you want to sample the wine and food pairings ($12 for ULWS members). I'll post of few more paintings here over the next few days. --Denise

September 12, 2015

September 12, 2015 On Display at the Lake County Wine Studio in August 2016

The Dancing Tree

  The Dancing Tree On display at the Lake County Wine Studio in August 2016

What if ... You Matter More Than You Think?

(Remarks shared with the UU of Lake County on 6/19/16) One of the things I have always admired about the Unitarian congregation around the globe is its long history of standing for justice in word and deed.  My words for you this morning--entitled "You Matter More Than You Might Think" -- were originally intended to challenge your thinking for the next chapter in your personal story, with the idea that our thoughts matter,  our words matter, and our actions matter (no matter how small) as part of the larger unfolding story.  My firm belief is that if each of us lives life full out, to our most creative potential, that we make the difference we were born to make. I prepared a talk for this congregation a couple of weeks ago. And this morning, I decided to take it in a wholly different direction and speak from the heart on this topic.  Not about a personal story.  But our collective story. That whether our work is large or small.. we must prepare our minds, hearts a

The "Why" Behind Great Work

I've admired many people in life and all of them seemed to know exactly what they were meant to be doing from the time they were very small.  At least this is how the story goes.  It is as if they somehow popped out of the womb knowing they were meant to work with chimpanzees in Kenya, organize a march on the Mall in Washington D.C., or create an insanely great product that changed the world.  This process seemed so magical to me that I decided to interview as many of the people I admire as I could to discover their secrets.  To date, I’ve interviewed over sixty admirable thought-leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, and I’ve asked the same questions: How did you first get started doing what you do now?  When did you know this was your Great Work?  Did you always have this passion or did it show up later in life? As I looked a little closer at their lives, much of the time I discovered that their magnificent accomplishments took years of trial and error.  I discovered t

Different Dreams

Google me and you might find that I once sat behind a mahogany desk In a corner office with a view of the bay I decided things of importance, and thought myself so   Awake. Ah, but wisdom found my hiding places, Haunting me with dreams of twisting buildings  and tidal waves And earth shifting, opening wide the ground beneath my feet.   Now, I spread straw in the orchard. I harvest snow peas and snap beans and sage, I create fragrant, savory soup from fresh kale.      Squash and tomatoes fill my baskets in summer... I am as morning mist descends from our mountain and white pelicans ride gossamer threads above our waters I make clay pots, and   pray amidst dancing trees, listening Deeply called to heal the land   from a wildness within me that doesn't decide anything, Yet knows what it means to be in this place, Enchanted and magical, Loving.   At night, I dream different dreams.     

Averting a Desecration

2200 acres of sacred land on the James River. land that has been entrusted to the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, is at risk for sale under the rationale "money is needed to do our work".  This land represents the true legacy of this congregation and the most important work of our time--preservation of wild places so Earth can heal.   Photos here include the Slave Cemetery on site, the Granary which was to become a Thomas Berry Earth literacy center, the grounds that converted a former southern plantation into transformative education for future african-american leaders. I find it so ironic that SBS is considering selling Belmead in order to "continue the work of the congregation", when Belmead and its surrounding estate is THE most significant legacy and represents SBS’s greatest work at this moment in time.  Thomas Berry (mystic, theologian, seer and widsom figure for our age) himself shared the following message with this congregation at their Motherhouse

Fed Up?

The Movie Trailer is out and the topic is more than a little bit horrifying.. and well worth watching: Michael Pollan is featured in Fed Up .  He is the author of : "Food Rules"--a wonderful little guide  that's essentially a really really short version of his book "In Defense of Food"  It has easy to implement "rules" like: "Don't eat anything that comes in through the window of your car" and "Eat Your Colors."  (except blue perhaps).  In fact, his book is easy enough to follow that I've actually followed it.  I feel healthier and more energetic now that I did in my thirties. The last frontier for me was sugar in all its refined forms.  About four months ago, I gave up eating sugar and its truly evil cousin: high fructose corn syrup.   It was a difficult habit to kick.  After seeing the movie trailer, now I know why. --Denise

The meaning of "Ecozoic"

Origins of the Word “Ecozoic” "The etymology of “Ecozoic” is that it is based on the prefix “eco-,” derived from the Greek word “oikos” meaning house, household, or home, and the suffix “-zoic,” from the Greek word “zoikos” meaning pertaining to living beings. Thus, Ecozoic Era, based on this etymol- ogy, means the era of the house of living beings"    Source:

The key is to cultivate awareness ...



DIY Walnut Milk Recipe

If you are following Permaculture Soul, you know that our associated eco-farm -- Dancing TreePeople -- is offering a new product that can help you make tasty walnut milk (or other nut milk) at home.  Here is a video that shows you how to make it. Dancing TreePeople organic walnuts play a starring role in this production! And the milk is VERY tasty.  give it a try  -- you can get yours on Amazon .  (Reviews please)

A (near) zero waste lifestyle

I thought I was doing great to have only a tiny bag of trash each week.  Lauren's choice is inspiring:

This Might Actually Work ...

At last, a product I can believe in! Peace Out.