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now the idea behind a process like this is you want to create your image of paradise times for even if you tell yourself I could never afford it even if you tell yourself that’ll never happen or I don’t deserve it or that’s not possible because then if you only get a quarter of what you asked for then you’re you’re still happy this is peak moment we are living at a peak of human innovation information wealth and health but we’re also at a peak of population and consumption with rising temperatures and declining resources fueled by cheap oil and gas peak moment television bringing you examples of positive responses to energy decline and climate change through local community action hi welcome to peak moment I’m Jenaya Donaldson my guest today is Alan side who’s a facilitator organizer speaker author thanks for joining me Thank You scania workshops that’s the name of your business yes Alan weird it thank you for inviting us to your place which is a beautiful place in the in the woods in western Washington and it reminds me that a lot of our guests see beautiful places or farms or gardens and say I would like to be able to live like this and I don’t know how to do that and I’m asking you because you’ve got some specific tools and processes in ways that helped you fulfill that yep so talk to us about that well I’ve worked with a lot of different tools that fall under the umbrella of visioning and manifesting and a lot of people think of that as a fairly flaky kind of topic and there are aspects to it that are extremely grounded and pragmatic and and there’s a reason why they work and there was a significant amount of attention given to a movie that you may have seen called the secret part of it and i think that you know some of the issues there have to do with how people are interpreting those things and you know wishful thinking to create your future doesn’t necessarily work so yeah that’s one of the pieces so it’s like what you’re saying is that there’s more you know wishful thinking we all have wishes we all have hopes yeah that’s the sort of easy but it feels like and you can hang on to it for a long time but you may not but how do you turn that into really something concrete exactly getting clear and then taking the steps that will take you in the direction of what you want to create there are some limiting factors to what somebody even imagines is as possible and one of those is just simply what you’re aware of your knowledge your skills your relationships because I teamwork makes the dream work oh that’s a great you know what you’re worth I didn’t coin that but teamwork makes the dreamwork and those kinds of either joint ventures or partnerships or that sense of community and different skills coming together that can really help or simply the connections where somebody makes you aware of something but I think the biggest limiting factor is your imagination your ability to take what is or what’s handed down as this is what is and this is the way it’s supposed to be and being able to think outside of the box frankly and allow yourself to have the possibility that something different is possible we’re a culture that pretty strongly reinforces what the boxes and what you’re allowed to dream it’s you be a consumer and you live in a particular way and consume particular way and and doesn’t show you a lot of options other than maybe celebrity culture which is pretty far out of reach for most most of us well and it’s not even desirable for many had that so yeah it’s it’s really limited what the stories that were told about what’s possible I moved to Seattle in 1993 and i moved here in two thousand and when we first moved to seattle we had a dog and every other dog that i saw pretty much 99% of the other dogs were pulling their owner on a leash and i decided to train my dog to be a completely off leash city dog and he would stop at the curb when you stop and he wouldn’t go until you went he could be right next to me without being on the lesion but it took first believing in the possibility that it was possible okay and then I had some really good tips from some dog owners about how to

do it okay and then it just took consistency on my part and just one step at a time and sticking with it so persistence perseverance and that’s an analogy that has stuck with me is seeing people going on a walk getting pulled by their German Shepherd on a four foot leash and my being able to have this dog that would stay within the curb and could would come when i call him and be next to me so what what the distinction is that i gave my dog a lot of structure and as a result he was freer so we have structures that are limiting structures and we end oppressive structures and we have structures that are liberating structures and so the the processes and methodologies that I put under this umbrella of visioning and manifesting I consider to be liberating structures so you yes will go for that yeah so you said yeah well and that’s the sense i have from people is they is they want more yes freedom to move outside of those prizes so part of imagining it seems to me going back to you know that limiting factor yeah how do you help people stretch that imagination what kind of factors help well and let me just say freedom is not freedom from any limits of course it’s defined by the constraints it’s defined by the the limit and then within that you have a lot of freedom within that you have a lot of freedom but it’s but it’s it’s it’s imagining what might be possible I there are a lot of books out there on creativity and and let me just get into some of the specific tools for example one of the tools that I’ve used a couple different times is probably the best selling job hunting guide in the world I think of it as a visioning and manifesting tool disguised as a job hunting guide and it’s called what color is your parachute Richard bolas ok and going back to when I was first in Seattle in the early 90s I had a job that I really didn’t enjoy it wasn’t paying me much but it was just no fun and I knew I had more to do with my life so I I made my job going to the library every day to do the exercises and what color is your parachute and what he has you do is identify the skills that you do best that you most enjoy that are transferable from job to job and then also identifying what are the elements of a particular employment situation that are really going to serve you and so he has you do some exercises and even if you know that you want to be for example an administrative assistant administrative assistant in a law setting is very different from an administrative assistant in a medical setting versus at a preschool so he has you get very very very specific the usefulness of that is that you’re cutting down the territory out there you’re not following every possible employment lead and you’re also creating a picture of your ideal so that when it hits you on the nose you recognize it great okay so Tricia my wife and i took that process and adapted it to our land hunt so we got very clear in the late 90s that we wanted to live closer to the land we wanted to create more of a sense of community and we wanted to start a Learning Center for sustainability related topics and we created a flower diagram much like he has you do in what color is your parachute and I’ll show you just briefly it’s I’ve had it in my files and it’s it’s from 1998 it’s it’s sort of falling apart but the thing that I want you to focus on first is just the center so there’s the center of the flower and then a bunch of petals and what we did is the set we want to distinguish between essence and form between essence and formics laying there the form is what does it look like in the real world what are the characteristics okay and the essence is the values the principles the vision without any of the specifics okay and so the center has the vision which has to do with living closer to the land having more of a sense of community perhaps the possibility in tag inside living sustainability connection with place spirit at the center of life so that possibility of an ecovillage aha so that’s the essence that would be the essence and then for that for each of the petals first we brainstorm what are the possible categories so size price location topography what are our neighbors like so first we thought our petals thank course we thought water that in each what are the categories right right then we took each of those categories and brainstorm the heck out

of it so now the idea behind a process like this is you want to create your image of paradise times for even if you tell yourself I could never afford it okay even if you tell yourself that’ll never happen or I don’t deserve it or that’s not possible so you just kind of bypass those thoughts really get to creating your image of paradise times for because then if you only get a quarter of what you asked for you’re still in Paris you’re still happy yeah yeah yeah so what you’ll notice is we had the essence but then for the form and i’ll just give an example on size we said okay over 3,000 acres ok now we ended up on 25 ok but we just this is paradise has four so we wanted the dream big maybe somebody some benefactor will donate their 3,000 acre ranch somewhere for an amazing sustainability center you never know right right are so we took each category we brainstormed it and then we prioritized what was brainstorm so at the top of the list under price was free sure yeah so over 3,000 acres for free why not right now that didn’t happen but what we ended up with came really really really close to the overall picture that we have in our a flower diagram but like I said that that what it does is it cuts down the territory out there if I’m looking for land which is what we adapted this tool for I don’t have to look at every possible thing I can look at my criteria in terms of proximity to wilderness versus cultural centers we’re half an hour from the i-5 corridor and half an hour from the coast and half an hour from Alpine an hour and a half from Vancouver two hours from Seattle but we back up into thousands of acres of department of natural resources land so we happen find what for us was a happy medium but by being persistent for squeak got really clear and then we were persistent in our search and then because you had your criteria in a sense by narrowing down what you were looking for you could you could read about some things it doesn’t meet enough of the prior criteria yeah exactly and when we first found out about this place what was available was to rent mm-hmm and we said well we’re looking for about to buy and then we found out that the landlords were open to selling if a trial period work out so okay so we said well we’ll go look at it I’m not committing to anything I’ll go look at it and then we walked around this property and it really kind of blew our minds what was here and we rented it first and then left but then bought it and came back so but that is high that’s one tool called what color is your parachute and we adapted it to the land search and part of it was really working the grapevine so you get really clear and then you are persistent and part of that is really telling everybody you mean okay so you’re spanning your network because you know somebody comes to paint your house and you mention it to them or you’re at the grocery store you mention it to them out of from the the places you least expect you’ll get leads and but it’s really about that persistence once you have your clarity another one that’s that’s been really interesting is you mentioned Vicki Robin and one of the tools is the process that’s detailed in her book your money or your life somebody who was her coach for a while a man named Dave Ellis he wrote a book called creating your future and I’ve got it right here a guide to long-range visioning and we got a one-day version of that particular tool and one of the things he had us do in that workshop was to write down what do you want what do you want what do you want and again even if you think you don’t deserve it even if you think it never happened even if you don’t think you have the time and it could be something as simple as I want to learn to play the saxophone or it could be I want world peace it doesn’t matter you just keep right keep writing and he had us do this for about an hour hour and a half and you just keep and then and then and then he’d say things he’d q us so 45 minutes into it he would say okay you have 10 million dollars and you have a hundred paid staff or experts in whatever field you want and they’re paid for for a year keep writing what do you want what are you taking off some of the limiters that we unconsciously yes yeah okay yes and so he had us write each what of what do you want on a separate index card and he had us hold the index cards upright like this because he said it keeps your thinking more clear I’ve done this exercise with other people and I’ve had them do it just on a notepad just on a list because then then what we did once we were fairly done with all the what do you want and again you can do this on a

pad of paper then we went through and created a priority level so on the index card in the upper right hand corner we would put a B or C and you can do a plus a minus b plus B minus to prioritize okay and on your list of paper i would put that say on the left just in the margin just go down and do ABCD or ABC ok and and then once we were done with that then we worked only with the A’s and just with the A’s in the upper left corner writing a timeline time frame there may be things that I want to happen next week but there may be things that I really want but they don’t have to happen for 10 years let’s say I want to upgrade the water system on my property that’s probably within the five year plan okay okay so his process allowed us to take something that was very very large and unwieldy like a 40 year plan and break it down into bite-sized chunks because for each what once you got clear what they were like let’s say I did this with a friend who wanted to go to China to teach English and she didn’t know how to do it so for each what then you ask how how how how how and each one of those becomes a new what I want to go to China how well do some research online I want to go to China how go to the University of Washington foreign languages department and and meet students may be from China how okay call the Chinese consulate or find out what the visa requirements are and then for each of those you can ask how how how so go to the Chinese consulate oh I have to look it up i have to find that phone number all the way down to i need to make a phone call that becomes the next one so you’re really are breaking it more and more and more concrete you’re becoming you’re creating a sense your to-do list yeah I’ve started for your prioritization you’re going back damaged one of those becomes a new what with a priority and a time frame or deadline now he has you fill out the other two corners two and one of them is if you have categories of one of those be long like different projects or and the other one is who’s your team or with whom are there other people that are part of this conversation so you’re asking how and you’re getting more and more specific but then you can also ask why and that takes you up upwards so this friend of mine wanted to go to China and I asked why and she said well I want to learn about other cultures and I want to be of service you wanted to teach English and she thought that that would be a service so asking why opened up oh she could meet those needs same needs in China or India sure so it really so it started asking why really opened up the field she didn’t just have to stay at 10,000 feet she could go to 20 or 30 or 40,000 feet and get a broader perspective and so that’s been a great tool so besides the book reading your future he has a website called falling awake calm falling awake falling awake calm its kind of Dave Ellis and he is fantastic and it was it was doing that particular tool that got me clear that learning permaculture was a top priority and that my timeline was soon mm-hmm so that was one of the things that I kept putting off putting off and then when I did his process it was just right there at the top of the list learn about permaculture knows how how how Oh get a book how and soon enough I saw a flyer for a weekend workshop and then if I about a design course and you know that was over ten years ago it sounds to me like just that intense day of working you you are sorting out what really really matters for you absolutely and by doing that you know by setting aside the other things that aren’t for now yeah by the time frame piece that makes it very very specific about what your priorities are and probably puts a little fire under your tail sure to go and to make it manageable yeah i mean i remember it being said that it’s impossible to get a man to the moon this isn’t of course it is impossible the first thing you do is you move in the person says impossible because we don’t have the propulsion for it and then you have a team of people can start to work on that yeah and so the impossible is my uncle used to say only takes a little longer and by breaking things into those small steps of what you can do now yes you are doing the impossible create the possible possible correct and you you you know even a 40 year plan has what you need to do next month next week next year tomorrow within that larger plan so yeah breaking it down into bite-sized pieces the best way to eat you eat the best way to eat a hippopotamus sandwich is one bite at a time like something big and overwhelming and you just take a little bite that’s great so and you know one of the permaculture principles was avoiding type 1 errors a type 1 error is an error

in the design that once it’s made its really really hard to undo very costly or very energy for example building your house in the floodplain could be a type 1 error once you do it it’s really hard to undo now you mentioned Vicky Robin yes your money or your life when I was 18 I had a big aha moment that was also a big freakout moment because I had been in school since I was five and I knew that my schooling was preparing me to be basically a cubicle slave a replaceable pod in this economic juggernaut that is does a lot of wonderful things and is also destroying indigenous peoples and ecosystems all over the planet and i also had seen my parents and people of generations before me who had been in the treadmill my sister used to have a poster in her office said if you wouldn’t if you win the rat race you’re still a rat yep I remember the poster so I knew at that age that I wanted to get out of the rat race before I even got in NK that I had more to do with my life than nine to five till you die and I just searched and searched for how am I going to not get caught up in nine to five till you die and then a few years later the audio course called transforming your relationship with money which by Joe Dominguez which people can find it sounds true and lots of other places sounds true com which later was written not the book version came out your money or your life it’s the same material just different vehicles for the same information another is financial integrity org free downloadable materials and what this process is really about is creating a relationship with this energy that we call money that’s very clear and empowered and non stressful so that money can create money can play a purposeful role in the kind of life that you want to lead rather than your life being about money money money mmmmmm and it’s all about putting awareness and consciousness in your relationship with money which ends up freeing up a lot of psychic and emotional energy around money it’s such a loaded topic I mean yeah it means everybody just service it’s it’s a hot one and we are so unconscious about it absolutely it seems too abstract and yeah you know you can’t over that up kinds of stuff so it’s a very nitty-gritty grounded tool that helps you also align it with your higher values so you’re taking the money aspect of your life and aligning it with all the other aspects of your life integrating it and that has been a tremendous in many ways for us part of it is it’s helped us navigate our own baggage around money I think the fear that I had around money before in terms of will I ever have enough and and all my issues around money have probably gone down ninety ninety-five percent when I started which is a lot for me and before I could never save money and I started being able to save money almost effortlessly just by being very very conscious about is this maximizing my quality of life so it’s a fantastic tool and people can check it out there’s a lot of resources for it but one of the things that it helped us do besides aligning money with our higher values is it helped us seize opportunities when they came up in 1998 Jim Merkel who wrote a book called radical simplicity invited us to live and work for six weeks up in British Columbia at a project called global living project which was doing ecological footprint in the survey course and lots of sustainability tools and processes and was also a kind of a research program to see how low of a footprint could we live on okay with really high quality of life indicators so we were we’ve been qualitative assessments of quality of life but also quantitative evaluations as far as ecological footprint arresting project so he invited us to come along my job was a little bit stressful at the time wasn’t enjoying it as much our landlords were selling the house all these things converged to think about well do we want to sort of change directions at this point well thanks to the financial integrity program that’s detailed in your money or your life at that point I had some savings so that I could take some time off and at first I wanted to take six months or a year off and I thought well I’ll start with six months and I’ll go back to work

part-time or full-time whatever’s needed later well that year became two years became three years became four years became seven years of not having to had pay work wow you know about this right yeah no I didn’t remember know about that so both Tricia and I had a seven year sabbatical from paid employment that became an intensive learning and and research time for us and so it’s also when we started our land search it’s when we researched intentional community and visited a lot of intentional communities and learning centers we hunt down the founders and ask them lots of questions and what are the biggest issues in community and we’d go to the next place in the next place and we get the same list from the founders kind of interesting but we and we have about one minute left so keep going over the whole our whole time together yeah wow that is amazing so well briefly so your money life has been fantastic and you know some people enjoy coaching life-coaching business coaching somebody that was that I had a coaching relationship with Ryan Eliason and his website Ryan Eli centcom turn me on to this book getting things done by david allen this book changed my life and it’s about managing workflow at this level at the grounded you know where the rubber meets the road level in order to free up your energy that you can also go to 50,000 feet and get that big view but by allowing me to not have things clogged up here which nobody else has with experience of right right all right and so part of stress-free productivity Wow so I am more organized than I ever have been and so that’s increased my capacity to be able to handle more and take on other projects or be able to play at a higher level higher level with people mm-hmm-hmm the best advice I’ve ever ever gotten in my whole life came from Doug Bullock from the Bullock brothers farm and permaculture site and he said dream big and go for it dream big and go for dream and go for it so big and go for new some tools are great tools to do that and you don’t have to do it pie in the sky use the tools Thank You Alan you’re both living proof of it and and thank you for giving tools so dream big go for it you’re watching peak moment locally reliant living for challenging times with some tools for going there I’m Jenaya donelson my guest is Alan side you

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