the gifts of Wood
reverencing the life-giving elements of living trees
Greeting the Dawn
The daily practice of alignment with the element of wood is observed at sunrise to remind communitarians to appreciate the gift of new beginnings, re-birth and the opportunity to grow and development that is bestowed via the dawning of a new day.
From the second year of association and beyond, communitarians align their daily routine to rise ‘the hour before dawn’ to prepare to greet the new day. Part of the daily preparations involve planning the day’s menu of living foods, reaffirming the goals and mission as stewards of the Earth’s resources and facilities, as well as, planning for participation in ‘common wealth’ provisioning projects that support local and regional communal unions as well as ‘Home Front’ and ‘MAKE Hub’ outreach projects further afield.
For those who make the effort to ‘wait upon the dawn’, the practice is sure to generate greater awareness and deeper relationship with the natural world. Through sessions of focused attention, communitarians make considerable progress toward establishing peaceful and prosperous communal unions grown from the willingness and progressively-acquired skills and knowledge to share all with all through ‘holding all things in common’.
daily Observance of Nature
Akin to living trees and plants, communitarians turn their faces toward the rising sun each morning with a focus on reaffirming their central missions as a way of planting their roots firmly in the ground. In this way, those committed to personal progression ensure they remain centred throughout the day able to consider and decide human things from a deeper and more meaningful, overall perspective.
For those aligning their lifestyles, diets, relationships and means of livelihood with communitarian values, ethics and practices, daily contemplation of the natural world bridges the gap between ignorance and awareness of connection with something which is much larger, enduring and of cosmic-scale than themselves.
Appreciating the Attributes of Wood related to 'Forests of People'
Daily contemplation of trees and vegetation reminds communitarians that these essential elements of our existence, live in communities. Some are short while others are others tall. Some provide the understory for trees with huge majestic canopies reaching a height of over 380 feet; or in metric, 116 meters which is taller than a 35-story building. Some are black – others, brown. Some are made up of a myriad of shades of white and yellow with fruits and leaves that are every colour of the rainbow.
Some trees provide the basic raw ingredients of perfumes such as frankincense, while others like Duboisia, are used in medicine to treat motion sickness, stomach disorders, and the side effects of cancer treatment. Some trees are the base of essential oils such as tea tree and eucalytus oil, while others are endowered with strong enduring timbers that gift us with wood to build homes and functional furniture.
Some trees make a multitude of contributions to sustaining our lives by providing basic oxygen and the comfort of shade, along with food and bio-mass that provides fuel to cook and heat water.
Appreciating Diversity Within Communal Unions
In like matter, those who align their lifestyles and love-style with the principles and practice of holding all things in common, also come in all shapes, colours and sizes, along with possessing an array of diverse skills and talents. Some are naturally drawn to working with their hands as gardeners, MAKERS, carpenters, plumbers, electricians or mechanics; while others are more inclined to gravitate toward more mental pursuits such as teaching and training, designing, analysing, accounting, programming and planning. Still others are better suited to occupations that include caring for infants, nursing or providing hospitality and environmental services.
Identity & Belonging Require Continuous Consideration
Whatever the natural or learned talents and gifts, through participation in the Gestalt Provings, communitarians learn to recognise that identity and belonging are complex matters that require life-long attention. Akin to communities of trees and vegetation, commonly known as forests – the social and economic design, along with ecological environments in which people live, love and procure sustenance, invariably determine the extent to which individuals and society as a whole, are able to live in peace and security, or else are inflicted with constant conflict and instability.
As with a forest, there are several essential elements which transform a random selection of unrelated individuals into a unified bonded communal union able offer those under the canopy, place and purpose, along with support, stimulation, and security. The first critical element required to form the base of sustained social and economic cohesion, is shared values and missions, which are in real terms, common, not merely conveniently congruent to each person who just happens to be ‘planted’ in a particular locality.
For these reasons, from the outset of association, communitarians are made aware through Gestalt Practice that personal agendas designed to reap from the union that which they may not be willing or able to sow and harvest through their own steam, is not reason enough to adopt or sustain the lifestyle or lovestyle of complex union.
The second vital component to establishing and maintaining ‘forests of people’ that are transplanted from secular ‘every man for him and herself’ societal constructs, is that individuals intending and preparing to enter union, are fully supported to integrate and form bonds that contribute to ‘unmasking’ authentic identity. Within communitarian circles this process of gradual progressive unveiling, is commonly referred to as ‘planting’. It is intended to lead to a truer sense of who we are as well as appreciation for our place within union, along with the wider world.
Every Day Celebration of Spring
Historically Spring has been long held as the symbol of hope through rebirth and renewal. For these reasons communitarians celebrate the gifts of the Spring season every day. Whether it is winter, autumn or summer, Spring is forever in the hearts and on the minds of communitarians as they are reminded by the dawn of a new day – a new beginning that they have every reason to adopt and maintain a cheery disposition from the beginning to the end of the day, despite coming up against significant obstacles and challenges.
Within a number of cultures, past and present, wood translates as ‘tree’ representing the growth of matter associated with the attributes of strength, endurance, yield and flexibility. Trees cover and penetrate the earth – rooting, growing and multiplying rapidly. Wood expands away from its centre, grasping the essence of the earth and drawing it upward toward the expansive regions of the cosmos. It also burns to create fire – light, heat and renewal of vegetation through activating new growth via controlled burning.
Reverencing Seasons as Restorers of Earth
As Gardeners – restorers of the Earth, through progressive adoption of the principles and practices of ‘Right Livelihood’ communitarians become aware that the calendars universally used today in both the Northern and Sothern hemispheres are based on seasonal changes such as cold or hot, wet or dry’.
Throughout history, right down to our present day, people who are involved in agriculture, along with others who live close to nature, have told of experiencing the elemental frequencies and attributes of wood via their senses. It is well-documented that from ancient times to now, many cultures pay close attention to the subtle movements of nature arranging their lives and activities according to cycles of weather and climate which significantly affect their harvests, security and comfort.
Similarly, through practicing active meditation, communitarians seek daily to commune with nature, and thereby become intimately aware and responsive to the beauty and stimulation provided by subtle seasonal attributes. By setting aside time in the early morning to watch the sun rise, we become attuned like the flowers of fruiting trees to the seasons. For those moving into or already living in union, adopting the habit of turning our faces toward the sun each morning helps pull us up and out of our individual concerns toward ‘unity’ with the whole – The Majestic Cosmos.
A Time To Sow
The early days of the springs season are the time to plant out the seedlings that may have been started within sheltered areas in late winter to avoid late frosts and strong winds that sometimes arrive at the tail-end of the winter season in many areas.
Seeds and seedlings to be planted into well-mineralised, manured and compost enriched soils, in the Spring include: beans, capsicums, corn, cucumbers, lettuce and tender greens such as lettuce, rocket, mustard greens, baby spinach and water cress; along with a variety of melons, shallots and silver beat, tomatoes as well as zucchinis and squash.
Interplanting garden beds with a mix of flowering annuals and perennials provides reciprocal benefits to both planter and pollinators. Bees and butterflies as well as birds that rely on nectar as a food source, play a vital role in sustaining fertility and ensuring the viability of permanent agriculture food forests. It is these main pollinators which enable many varieties of vegetable crops and fruiting trees to produce fruit and seeds. Therefore when selecting what and where seeds and seedlings will be planted, and at what ratios, it is critical that Gardeners factor in establishing welcoming environments that accommodate the needs of a variety of essential pollinators.
Springtime is also the time when most fruiting trees are plant out into well-prepared warmer soils and well-mulched with hay and also protected by tree-guards.
A Time To Reap
With the advent of the Spring season comes a bountiful harvest of apples, avocadoes, bananas, blueberries, kiwifruit, papaya, raspberries and strawberries, along with several varieties of citrus including Blood, Navel and Valencia oranges, as well as, mandarins, lemons and limes.
In addition, there will be many vegetable crops now ready to be harvested, including: cabbage, cauliflower and kale, along with several varieties of beans and peas.
Cultivating Connection with the Cycle of Seasons
When connection with the element of wood is purposefully cultivated, the draw toward synchronisation with the cycle of seasons is simultaneously activated. As Gardeners – extenders of the Earth, awareness of the cycle of seasons and micro-seasons is vital to ensuring optimal timing of sowing seed, tree planting, maintenance and care of orchards and ground crops as well as harvesting and storage of fruits and vegetables.
Through recognition and alignment with the various tones of ‘life force’ ebbing and flowing throughout the seasonal cycles, communitarians come to understand that life is not a linear path. Instead, we cycle and spiral through birth, death and rebirth many times within a single lifetime.
Recognising cycles of Birth, Life, Death & Rebirth
In order to comprehend this hidden, yet nonetheless intelligent design and organisation permeating the visible and invisible elements of the universe, we have only to look at the birth, death and rebirth of trees. Fruiting trees can be seen to move through many cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth in a single lifetime, the same way we evidently do also. In fact, every living thing is subject to the same universal law.
The birth of trees begins at the point of being planted in the womb of the Earth. From there, the seed takes on life through germination – taking root, making relationships with a thousand different types of bacteria and fungi, before pushing a shoot through the soil to show their face to the sun. Life culminates in bringing forth fruit and flowers containing, again, seed to begin the process all over again. Death visits via disease or old age. However, it is not a permanent state. Instead, all that are capable of reproduction are reborn through the germination of seed produced during their lifetime. Some plants only begin life at the point of death of a parent plant. Such is the case with most annual and even perennial herb and vegetable crops.
In essence, the ‘child’ – the germinating seed, is in actuality, the reincarnation – exact replica of the parent. The perceived, ‘new child’ is in reality, not new at all. Instead, it is the return of the ‘old’ – born with characteristics influenced by environmental factors and conditions carried over from previous incarnations. Again and again, the original ‘chip off the old block’ is reborn – lives and dies, only to come again and again. Each time the plant is modified – evolved or disintegrated by previous lifecycle-influences that either include or omit the components conducive to, or devoid of capacity to progress toward perfection.
Likewise, the human and animal as well as planetary lifecycles are the same – progressing toward taking their place within the cosmos as co-creators to advance in the direction of unity with all there is, world without end.
principles of cosmic law
Where does the cycle of birth and rebirth begin and end? Clearly, it doesn’t. Through studying the Cosmic Law of continuance which is governed by the principle of cause and effect, communitarians are instilled with the life-affirming awareness that everything accomplished and achieved, as well as, omitted has repercussions which affect not only the experiences and quality of life in their current lifetime, but also influences proceeding lifetimes as well – world without end.
The cosmic law prescribes, that each individual incarnate, in each of its many lives, possesses and manifests through its physical body characteristics, qualities or faults, abilities or disabilities, weakness or strength, etc., according to its merits and demerits, no more no less.
For communitarians, honouring the vital element of wood, at dawn, provides the motivation to make every day count towards achieving personal and planetary progression.
‘MAKING’ with Natural Plant Materials to reduce waste & exploitation of People & Planet
Investing in Artisan-made Natural Fibre Clothing & Household Linens
Natural fibres are those grown from plants such as cotton, hemp, linen and jute. On the whole, from cultivation through to production and final use, natural fibre apparel and home linens such as sheets and towels, are more environmentally protective and sustainable than man-made fibres such as polyester which are made from plastics.
In the majority of circumstances, natural fibres are fully biodegradable, recyclable or able to be repurposed to create other natural fibre products such as woven garments, floor rugs and even turned into unique durable upholstery fabrics with artistic charm and character.
For these reasons, communitarians cease to add ‘fast fashion’ and clothing produced by exploited workers to their wardrobes. Instead, from the 5th year of association and beyond, the majority devote as much as a day a week, along with several weeks of annual leave to ‘MAKING’ clothing and footwear as well as household linens from durable eco-responsibly produced, as well as, recycled natural plant materials. Through access to collaborate ‘MAKE Hubs’, communitarians are able to ‘toil’ with their hands to produce personal as well as communal items which were previously acquired through the hardship and deprivation of liberty as well as fair remuneration of others, including children.
MAKING Durable Artistic Furniture from sustainably harvested Trees
Minimising environmental impacts through creating furniture and fixtures from plantation and responsibly harvested forests, is a key principle and practice of One Cloak. Through assess to woodworking tools and machinery within shared ‘Make Hub’ facilities, communitarians actively participate in learning and sharing skills to create artisan-styled high-quality practical furnishings for Tiny Homes, Motor-homes and communal living facilities to accommodate those living in communal union.
By playing our part in protecting and preserving the planet, communitarians ensure the world we leave to future generations is one we can be proud of.
Those designing ecologically responsible furniture and fittings are careful to keep polluting and chemically-toxic materials out of their designs and final products. The types of woods are carefully selected to ensure the end products have built-in functionally as well as qualities of aesthetic appeal and longevity.
Establishing Eco-responsible Building EcoLabs
The benefits of building sustainable accommodation and co-living facilities are ongoing when our aim is to reduce waste and improve energy and water consumption. In addition, designing and creating living facilities with the view to significantly increasing the lifespan and function of the buildings also contributes to converting the current mindlessness of ‘wasting the world’ to conscious practical action to preserve, conserve and create ‘positive’ footprints with areas of human habitat.
When we take into account the fact that we who are now living inherited the Earth from the moral will and actions of past generations, it become clear that it is also our collective duty to uphold and protect the natural rights of future generations to access sufficient food and clean water, as well as, enjoy good-health and long-life within safe, socially-supportive ecologically-respected and accommodated, human and animal habitat.
Communitarians hold to social and ecological ethics, and therefore take action and live accordingly to honour and safeguard the rights of future generations by doing all we can to conserve, restore and extend the ‘hair’ upon the surface of the Earth – our only home, which is made up of trees and vegetation.
From the smallest of mammals that live in tree trunks to the birds that nest in their branches, numerous other species also depend on trees for food and shelter, as we do.
It is for these reasons that communitarian ‘Right Livelihood’ Eco-lab projects and services are founded on the principles and practices of living lightly on the earth.