Our experiences are so individual.
That is the only perspective we can speak from.
Speaking Universally seems challenging/impossible.
Universal Understanding would seem more beneficial.
But no matter what,
we only experience things individually.
With this thing called the Self right smack dab in the center.
Today Becky and I spoke in a university classroom.
We were invited.
It was quiet the experience to be there,
to hear the students questions and comments about business ethics,
and to be able share about specialty coffee and our experiences running a business.
I also had the chance to talk to Wall Street Journal writer.
He was interviewing people in the area today
wanting to hear their thoughts on the election.
(I don't know why we put ourselves into such a painful cycle around elections. It seems totally self-inflicted and unnecessary).
I was able to stand in front of two groups of people today
and share what I have seen.
And what I have experienced.
It's crazy though because you want to be able to stand up there and say all sorts of stuff
that is going to drive home some point about how things are or something.
Like, lay down some truth.
But the people listening vary so greatly,
what can be said?
It's so easy for people to shut down and be critical of statements and beliefs that a speaker shares.
And the more you try to understand the complexity of everything
the further you go down the rabbit hole.
Understanding leads to understandings
and soon you feel unable to move because of the connectedness of all things.
You can just share your experiences.
And your observations
that you have gathered
from your seat in this theater.
It felt good to share.
I was grateful.
It felt good to hear people's perspective and history.
To speak from the only perspective we possess.
I just bought Bob Dylan tickets.
Man, those suckers were expensive.
And then $80 in processing fees.
But who cares.
That's why we have money.
Put it towards the things that fill you up.
I can't wait to see Bob Dylan.
I met with a student at the college that is in town here.
We talked about a website.
Making ours new.
Have it function to sell coffee directly from it.
Ya know, normal stuff.
And he asked what our purpose was.
"Why?" he said.
I didn't quite know what to say.
The first thing that comes to mind is simple:
to make a living doing what I love.
But that doesn't seem like it's enough.
He asked more questions and I just had to get an idea of what he was saying.
Because to me it seemed like he was asking the one question that would expose the whole point
and I just never expected to be asked that question.
It's hard to say what it is that I'm trying to do.
It gets expressed in many different ways.
But there is something at the root of it.
To believe in it and attempt to live from that place.
A place where you have daily interactions of all types
and no matter what the type
you are in harmony with it.
Not fighting it.
Getting through the world.
Together in Harmony.
I don't need to have peace with them.
I don't have to agree with them.
I can have serious negative feelings
and still live in harmony with them.
Now imagine if you are in harmony with people who think like you.
Who believe in things like you do
and want to act according to those beliefs.
This all sounds intense in some way,
but it's not.
It's as simple as:
what you do
where you spend your money.
Unity of action.
There are many times and ways that we try.
And we try again and again.
And what is the point?
I think you only try at the things you really believe in.
If you didn't believe it
then you would keep expecting it
and you wouldn't keep looking for it to appear in the world.
Do things happen in the world
ahead of time in some way
or do they get planted in your mind like a seed
and then we have to live out the ones that we believe?
Who do you believe you are?
What do you believe IS?
It's been a long journey to get here again.
And to arrive at this place from hard work
and honestly trying.
It feels so good to sit and think
in the sunshine
in the middle of the day
at no ones expense but my own.
The things that I'm planning now,
are the things that are important to me.
And I stay committed to doing those things.
And it's not in conflict with anyone else.
Everyone has the same shared interest.
I was talking with one of my regulars today.
He was sharing about his life
and his experinece running shops.
I really appreciated hearing what he had to share.
He's done something that many people haven't.
He's worked away for years.
At one job.
paying the bills.
He's going to be able to retire soon.
But his work is all he has done.
He's never lived anywhere else.
He doesn't have other work.
I asked him about it.
He said that he wouldn't do it again.
What did it amount to?
And after all his work, how did it end for him?
A bit sobering considering what Becky and I are trying to do in life.
It seems like the only route to go if you are wanting to do something that does not fit into the current system
is to be true and find people who are on the same wavelength.
Guaranteed massive workload
And it's not easy to figure the way forward.
While he shared, the conversation easily entered politics and religion.
Talk about an awesome scene.
Two white guys.
Talking about politics and religion in public.
But as far as I can see it,
we have to start talking.
To each other.
And it needs to be done in public.
No one really knows what it looks like to dialogue out loud, in public, with people who think very differently from yourself.
I know I haven't seen it.
But I do believe it's possible.
Well, I guess I know it is
because it happened today.
It seems like the answer to all of our problems immediate and perennial is the same:
Love each other.
It seems like it's time to start drawing together some threads.
It's been 2 years since we moved to the midwest
and have been running a coffee shop.
Our own shop.
Our own roasts.
We moved here suddenly out of circumstance.
And we showed up and have been working non-stop for two years.
The town we are in,
the people we are around,
It's a great place to live and raise a family.
We started this website and this idea
several years ago and it has evolved from day one.
It has had to shape itself to the details of life.
And because those parameters are set around it,
it takes a certain shape.
It has to fill in to the space that life takes and leaves.
Because of this it is a sturdy little thing,
able to make it through the ups and downs.
The idea was to have something set aside in life.
Hence, Tiny House.
I had made a few of them in back yards with the premise that these would be places to escape and retreat for people.
A spot that is set apart from the world.
I put a roaster in mine.
But if someone else were to have one in their back yard
it may be for writing, or painting, or whittling.
It is a space set aside.
Since the beginning we have moved a couple times,
and have lived in a few more places,
working with more people
and gaining a better understanding of the life we are in.
And now here we are.
Owning/operating a coffee shop.
And in a certain way things are working.
And working better than before.
We have lots to get to.
And the lists are long.
But we are trying, and we've made it two years.
I'm sitting here.
At my dinner table.
The same one I've had for ever.
from her childhood.
Listening to Holy Oak.
And I just keep asking the same question:
Can people be trusted?
The more you live trusting others
the more vulnerable you become.
The more precious things you acquire.
And the more precious things I acquire
the more I have to ask if I can entrust them to others.
Will you get them back?
Do people hurt others intentionally?
Can we live with courage and trust?
I just simply want to believe that doing the right thing will work out in the end.
But the more I live the more I have evidenced the opposite.
Maybe the question is:
How much can you bare? How much risk are you willing to have?
If the answer isn't much, then don't acquire much
because you will have to trust people at some point
and people will disappoint each other.
What can we bare?
Are we trustworthy?
How far can we go?
I will continue to believe the answer to all of these is:
I hope to continue as far as we can go.
My mind is full.
It has been for quite some time.
I have wanted
at several points
to stop and write.
I wouldn't know what to write
the few times that I really thought about it.
It never went to the point of
sitting down and writing.
I have written, though.
But today I'm sitting down again.
Many things to reflect upon.
Many things have gotten done.
We have moved.
We have moved away from Brattleboro VT
and have gone to the midwest.
Today felt like one of the first days that I’ve been able
to see through the fog.
It has been months of very hard realities
and hard decisions
and so many unknowns.
as I was putting a hammer to the brick
of the wall
of our own coffee shop
making a way to vent our roaster,
I felt like my own hands
and my own determination
were creating a path forward.
Tomorrow I plan on installing our roaster
into our own coffee shop
And beginning a new era for us.
Give yourself to the rain when it falls
Give yourself to the wind
Go with it
Blow through the bright dark
Green light on trees
Listen to the rain
Dream of it
Brace nothing against it
Safe in your bed
And give yourself to the rain
When it falls down.
-by Margaret Wise Brown
There are times that life moves on with the wind at your back, gently guiding you and sending you in the right direction. And sometimes that wind swirls and gusts all around; toppling and crashing down the life that you know.
The rain has returned to us here in Vermont. We have endured a lot of rain this spring, bringing green and growth to the natural world. Our life here at Tiny House has oddly paralleled these spring rains; it feels like we have had a lot of rain falling down around us these last couple of months. Unexpectedly. Our life - both the present and the anticipated life - falling down.
And so we return from a whirlwind weekend that contained a trip back home, a family funeral, a door that closed, and an old possibility blown our way yet again. And what else can one do on a cold, rainy day, but follow the wise words of Margaret Wise Brown, and hope for the same green growth that the natural world receives.
Give yourself to the rain.
We love good coffee. We love the things that make good coffee good. We want to share the things we love with others.