Blog

A Peek Into EVO Life: Fall Retreat 2018

Let’s have a meeting.

What do you think about when you hear that phrase?

Do you imagine a boardroom and a bunch of people listening to powerpoint?

Do you imagine a fresh cup of coffee with friends?

Do you imagine someone has proposed this because “we need to talk”?

Are you excited?

Are you nervous?

Are you looking forward to it?

Are you dreading it?

Regardless of your association, we would all agree that having meetings is inextricably linked with being human. Every collaboration, every tribe and every baby being born all came from some kind of meeting. Meetings can be creative and exciting or they can be routine and boring — but at the end of the day, we need ‘em. And when you live in community you need lots of ‘em.

On Sept 22nd and 23rd, we had a meeting. We called it our fall retreat, and it was a chance for us to come together to discuss what we learned and where we’re going as a community.

Since we have a lot of meetings we like to make them fun, so for example, during our “year in review” in which each circle shares about what they’ve been up to (a circle is a group of people responsible for a certain aspect of life here at EVO), the members of the circle presented their information in a fun way. Some circles sang a song, some did an interpretive dance, some put together a slideshow, and everyone had a grand old time. See what our Human Relations Circle shared about our last year together.

For many, the highlight of the weekend was showing off how much work they had done on their zones. How it works at EVO is each family (and residents) have areas of the property we’re responsible for maintaining. To make things a little more fun and competitive, we all threw in $10 and voted on our favorite zones (you couldn’t vote for your own zone) and the winner got to keep all the money. Although it was a tight race and everyone was very impressive the winners were Jonah, Rebecca ad baby Raewyn, who added an intangible cuteness factor that tipped the scales in their favor.

Speaking of meetings, our monthly potluck brunch is coming up on Sunday October 7th. It’s a great chance to come see all the work we’ve done on the land and get some quality community time! We work on the land from 10am-11 (or you can take a tour during that time) then we brunch hard at 11am. Kids are totally welcome and we look forward to seeing you there 🙂 Sign up HERE

Lots of love,

Team EVO

Celebrating Burning Man: Where it all began for the Emerald Village

 

Many people ask us about how the Emerald Village began.  At the inception of EVO, we had not all been best friends for years, nor did we share religious beliefs, as in many other communities.  What was the common thread between ten people who decided to buy land, start an intentional community and build a life together… Burning Man.

Nine years ago, ten burners came together and asked themselves some questions.  How can we bring the principles that create the culture of Burning Man into our everyday lives?  How can we use our energy that we’ve put into going to the Burn for years, into something more lasting and sustainable?  (Don’t get me wrong, we still go to Burning Man, when it calls us.)  How can we raise our children with the influence of ten adults who have explored self-expression on the playa?

 

As this Burning Man week is in full swing, we reflect on our beginnings.  Further, we reflect on our years together in the grand experiment that is the Emerald Village and how it mirrors Burning Man.  As growing individuals, we reflect on our successes and our shortcomings in living the ideals of the Burning Man culture.

Overall, I believe we have done a remarkable job.  This weekend, on Friday night we will share a meal together lovingly prepared by one of our community members, for the 20 people living on the land.  On Saturday morning, starting at 8 am we have our monthly “blitz” day where we work for four hours building and beautifying.  While the adults work, our children will rotate between music and archery lessons.  Some of us will celebrate Burn Night dancing under the stars and spinning fire, while others will be curled up at home caring for their newborn baby.  On Sunday, the sisters of EVO will go out to brunch together while the men and one of our all-star residents hold down the fort with the children.  There will be music playing while much love and laughter is shared.

Burning Man truly has become a way of life for us now.  We are forever grateful for the times that we’ve spent on the playa and all we have learned about ourselves there.  We send our friends at Burning Man this year much EVO love.  Maybe one day we’ll make it to the Burn together to share more of our experience building and living in community where it all began.

Blog post written by co-owner and co-founder Leyla Makris. Check out more of her life work of sharing recipes, crafts and blessings to inspire and delight at The Harvest Honeys. Follow her on Instagram.

 

Meet the EVO Community-Krystin Railing PLUS Summer Water Safety Tips

We have a few folks who share time with us at EVO for extended stays. Krystin Railing joined us last year and has been sharing her event, performing and water talents with flair.

What is the work that you do?

Hello, my name is Krystin Railing, I am a resident here at the Emerald Village, living in the Bridge House. I am a professional circus performer, production manager,fire walking instructor, and certified swimming coach. I initially moved to the Emerald Village to assist with teaching the children swimming, but I also assist here with events, gardening, and husbandry programs.
 
How does living in community support your presence in the world?
As a community builder, living in the Emerald Village has giving me a hub for my community members to gather for events like photo shoots, music jams, circus shows, pool parties, fundraisers, trunk shows, movie nights, speaker series, game nights, and bonfires; just to name a few activities.
 
What is your greatest lesson learned living in community?
Living in community, you are surrounded by mirrors reflecting yourself back at you. One of the greatest lessons I have learned while living here is how to see myself through other people’s eyes.
Krystin has taught swimming for a number of years. She teaches the EVO kids in our pool and has lots to share about how to be safe in the water.
Beach and Water Safety Tips 
1. Learn To Swim: Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Teach children to swim at an early age. Children who are not taught when they are very young tend to avoid swim instruction as they age.
2. Swim Near a Lifeguard: The chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.
 3. Swim with a Buddy: Many drownings involve single swimmers. When you swim with a buddy, if one of you has a problem, the other may be able to help. At the very least, have someone onshore watching you.
4. Check with the Lifeguards: Lifeguards can advise you on the safest place to swim, as well as places to avoid. They want you to have a safe day. Talk to them when you first arrive at the beach and ask for their advice.
5. Learn Rip Current Safety: If you are caught in a rip current, remain calm and don’t fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, and then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring you to safety.
6. Enter Water Feet First: Serious, lifelong injuries occur every year due to diving headfirst into unknown water and striking the bottom. Body surfing can result in a serious neck injury when the swimmer’s neck strikes the bottom. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, then go in feet first the first time; and use caution while body surfing, always extending a hand ahead of you.
7. Obey Posted Signs and Flags: Read the signs when you first arrive and please follow their direction. Flags may be flown by lifeguards to advise of hazards and regulations that change from time to time. You can usually find informational signs explaining the meaning of the flags. Or just ask the lifeguard.
 8. Wear a Life Jacket in a Boat: In a boating accident, your chances of avoiding injury or death are greatly improved if you wear an approved life jacket.
 9. At Home You’re the Lifeguard: NEVER leave a child alone anywhere near a pool. Make sure it is completely fenced, that the fence is locked, and that there is no access from the home to the pool. Don’t let your children get into the pool when you’re not there.
10.Use Sunscreen Everyone loves a sunny day, but exposure to the sun affects your body. Without sunscreen, you can be seriously burned. The sun’s rays can also cause life-long skin damage and skin cancer. To protect yourself always choose “broad spectrum” sunscreen rated from 15 to 50 SPF, or clothing that covers your skin, and reapply sunscreen regularly throughout the day. The sun can also dehydrate you quickly.
11. Drink Water Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol, which contributes to dehydration. Lifeguards treat people for heat exhaustion and heat stroke from time to time. If you feel ill, be sure to contact a lifeguard.
12. Keep the Beach and Water Clean: Nobody likes to see the beach or water littered with trash. Do your part. Pick up after yourself and even others. Everyone will appreciate it.

Meet the EVO Family: Jonah, Co-Founder, Firefighter, Realtor and more PLUS Bonus Fire Safety Tips

Jonah the Firefighter

What is the work you do?
At an attempt in creating a life balanced in doing work that fuels me, having actual free time at home, and not working just to make money but doing that which fulfills my life goals I have created 8 income streams/investments in my life.  REALTOR. Firefighter. Boochcraft business.  H&G business.  6 rental houses.  Vanguard.  Military benefits. Home gardens, eggs, milk, & honey.  I work as a firefighter 10 days a month which was a conscious decision at 41 years old to ensure that I’m getting time doing emergency problem solving activities to feed that need and basically getting paid to workout and all that comes with a job like that.  I’ve been a REALTOR for years and it’s a compliment to my real estate investing.  The main consideration with all the work/investments I do is that I can do meaningful work while still having 4.5 days a week at home to be on the land or working on passion projects.  Since I was 15 I’ve been actively investing with the understanding that if I ensure my retirement is handled I am free to follow my heart in any work I currently do.

Jonah the Community Man (second guy from the left)

How does living in community support or inform your presence in the world and what lesson has it provided?

Before community I could show up to events as the best version of myself, hold that field the entire time, and leave the lesser parts of me locked up at home.  Living in community is a constant mirror on ourselves, showing us daily if we are living in integrity with all people and systems we agree to.  The 8 years I’ve been at EVO feels like a daily practice to show up in my highest and learn to constantly improve myself.  I bring this integrity, appropriate behavior, and right relations to the greater community in ways I don’t believe I could have done without living in an Intentional Community.  Intentional Community is “adulting” education in a big way, there is no college education for this work.

Some fire season tips: 

  • Most wildfire house fires in urban environments come from embers entering the attic vents.  Cover those vents with plywood or metal when a fire is within 10 miles.
  • Make your house accessible for fire engines and leave them a note/whiteboard at your driveway if you have a pool or water source and that you did work to prep your house for fire.
  • Do a practice day of packing and evacuating, it will be great to figure out what you don’t know.  Have a list of where/what are all the things you will take with you as well do some prep on where you might go.  I know multiple people who have had to leave with nothing but pets and clothes they were wearing, best to be a little prepared.
  • Be safe.

Meet the EVO Family: Nick Heyming – Co-Owner, Co-Founder and Disaster Relief Strategist Extraordinaire

Nick Heyming, co-owner and co-founder of The Emerald Village and Disaster Tools has a long history with disaster relief dating back to Hurricane Katrina. He has recently brought together his passion for interactive gaming, strategy and disaster relief to bring innovation and support across the globe to help millions in need.

Here is what he had to say about his work and how it impacted our community when we were faced with the Lilac Fires:
The Emerald Village has been a source of constant challenges and opportunities.  Since we founded it 7 years ago, we’ve all had to deal with balancing our private lives, our professional careers, and the many obligations that come from owning and maintaining a large property.  Over the last few months this became particularly clear, as circumstances in the outside world confronted us in unique ways.
I’ve been working on an app to teach people gardening called Seeds for the last few years.  We developed a prototype for it and have tested it around the village.  This past fall, after a slew of hurricanes had devastated the Atlantic, and fires were raging in Santa Rosa and Ventura, my team decided to pivot and take the engine we’d developed for Seeds and use it to coordinate relief and information before, during, and after disasters.  We call the project Disaster.Tools, and after working out the engineering and data architecture were contacting relief organizations from Texas to Florida to the California Wine Country to see how we could best assist them.
One morning last December, after a night where I spent hours discussing the gaps in relief with the Santa Rosa fire recovery, the whole village came together to do fire mitigation.  We fired up our chainsaws, pulled out our brush clearing gear, and busily spent the whole morning removing dead trees and other fire hazards opposite our creek.  As we were wrapping up, we looked into the sky and saw smoke wafting over the hill.
We must have had some premonition of what was to come, as the Lilac fire proceeded to engulf the senior center where my Grandmother lives two canyons over, and over 4000 acres burned as winds whipped the flames from Fallbrook to Oceanside.  The whole village came together, and we stayed up late into the night setting up ember watches, coordinating evacuation plans, checking on neighbors, and figuring out logistics for our crops and farm animals as electricity and water went out.
It was intense going through our houses, surveying all of our possessions for the things we couldn’t replace.  It was a relief to have people like Jonah, Navy Seal and Firefighter, help us prioritize, or Jessica, who’d been spearheading our emergency preparedness plans, help us rally and coordinate.  It was particularly intense for me, having literally spent the last day writing disaster preparedness guides for fire response, and having spent the last few months creating Disaster.Tools.  All these hypothetical situations we’d been describing suddenly became real.
In the end, we were fortunate.  Our community was spared by the fire, and even my grandmother and aunt somehow escaped the blaze that swept through their neighborhood.  Over a hundred families in the area were not so lucky though.  My team with Disaster.Tools ended up partnering with the Burners Without Borders and San Diego VOAD to send work crews out to those impacted by the fires, helping them sift through rubble, clear burnt landscaping, and get ready to rebuild.  It was sobering work, seeing what could so easily have happened to us, but it did provide us an opportunity to give back, as well as to test the tools we’ve been building in a real-life disaster response.
We’re going to continue to develop the Disaster.Tools app, hopefully with a public version accessible in time for the coming hurricane and fire seasons.  If you’d like to help, please send me a message at nick@disaster.tools , we’re in a seed funding round right now and could particularly use assistance with UI/UX.  If we learned anything from the last few months, its the importance of everyone coming together to help each other out in times of need.

 

Meet the EVO Family: Kyle Shinners L.Ac. – Medicine Man, Father and Community Member

Kyle Shinners, LAc. Co-Founder and Co-Owner at EVO and Evolution Acupuncture

What is the work that you do?

By trade I am an acupuncturist, by craft a medicine man, by choice a husband, father and community member.  In another 6 months I’ll complete my doctorate and finally be able to legally call myself a “doctor,” which I dig because it comes from the latin word docere: to teach.  After almost 2 decades in the field of medicine and healing arts, I’m beginning to accept the truth that there is no disease to be ‘fixed’ or ‘healed,’ rather lessons to be learned and patterns to be recognized on our path of growth.  Many years ago while wandering the globe in search of healing and enlightenment, I heard Traditional Chinese or Daoist Medicine described as the medicine of transformation.  I still like this definition and do my best to remind patients that I’m just a helpful guide on this seemingly painful leg of their journey… So my work is simply to embody the Dao and learn to trust all is well.

www.evolutionacupuncture.com

How does living in community support or inform your presence in the world?

As with most sangha, the Emerald Village Observatory supports me to ‘see’ myself as a contributor in the game of life.  Sometimes I’m useful, sometimes I’m not.  Sometimes I’m the problem, sometimes I’m the solution.  Maybe so and maybe not, but everyday the reflection of EVO amplifies my awareness of how ENGAGED I am in playing my role as human being.  Living here, it’s a lot harder to get away with bullshit or wallow in complacency.

What is your greatest lesson living in community?

“No Man is an island.”  ~ John Donne

Everything we do and how we be, intimately affects others.  Living in community is the art of coexistence.  Learn to share or die.  From the practicality of communal meals and laundry facilities to the intricacies of governance models and decision making, living in community invites one to recognize we are ALL responsible for the co-creation of our experience… good, bad, ugly and beautiful.  Though nothing new, It’s a timely lesson for our species to consider ‘being considerate’ more often.

Meet the EVO Family: Jessica Plancich Shinners ~ Co-Founder, Co-Owner and Social Architect

Each Month we interview a member of our community to give you a glimpse into who we are and what we have learned along the way. This month we sat down with co-founder, co-owner and social architect, Jessica Plancich Shinners. Here is what she had to say.

Jessica Plancich Shinners of The Emerald Village and Fierce Grace Consulting.

What work do I do?

I am a wild woman, mother, wife, communitarian and child of God. My shingle says I’m a psychotherapist, leadership coach and organizational consultant. I consider myself a social architect that integrates Eastern and Western, esoteric and empirical and heaven and earth into a grounded and applied way of encouraging people to lead from the heart. My consultancy, Fierce Grace is devoted to supporting leaders of self, family, community and enterprise to come from a place of integrity from the inside out (www.fiercegraceconsulting.com)

 

 

How Does living in community support or inform your presence in the world.

Living in community boldly and audaciously rubs my nose in the truth of the interconnectivity of all things. My awareness of the butterfly effect has never been so apparent to me since deciding to live a more tribal way of life. I am constantly reminded and confronted by the fact that what I think, say and do directly and potently impacts my world and those I care about and the feedback loops are loud and rude…in a good way.  By that I mean I’m glad, because left to my own devices, without the reflection of those also devoted to a path of evolution, I would likely delude myself about who I am and the impact I have on my environment. Thankfully, I listened to the inner twinkling many, many years ago (and even drew in crayons about it) that this is the lifestyle I needed to activate some deep, native intelligence inside of me about humanity, co-existence and love.

What is your greatest lesson living in community?

Humility. The kind of humility that brings you to your knees and reminds you (in Abraham Maslow’s words), “We are simultaneously Gods and worms.” With nowhere to hide amongst people whom I admire and respect, I am constantly reminded of the power of humility in the face of the inspiration and irritation that has me constantly breeching new edges of my capacities. For this I am fiercely grateful and wouldn’t (couldn’t) have it any other way.

Upcoming Event… 

Each year Jessica pairs up with an amazing artist, Krista Richards, to bring an evening of connection and celebration. Whether you are single or in a relationship, Love Bath is sure to nourish and enliven your heart, soul and connections. For more details Click HERE:


A New Approach to New Year’s Resolutions

by Krystin Railing

The new year is full of new beginnings, but also a moment of reflection, and classically time to create “New Year’s Resolutions.”  During a time when society finally seems open to expressing the desire to make personal changes for the better, it seems as though many have lost their luster for resolutions.

Often resolutions are made, only to be passionately pursued for a few fleeting weeks and then get put on the back burner and soon forgotten about all together. So how does one go about making meaningful resolutions that last? Here are a few tips that we hope will help you along your path of personal growth and development this 2018.

  • Start small: Making small conscious daily changes when we make a choice will heed large results over time. Make resolutions you actually know you can keep, make it possible to succeed.
  • Make it meaningful: Make a resolution you are truly passionate about changing. Set thought out intentions that are meaningful to your life personally. Creating a resolution that does not have personal meaning will be hard to get motivated about.
  • Change one thing at a time: If you try to change too many areas of your life at once, it can be hard to manage, monitor and control, which won’t set you up for success in the long run. Try focusing on one thing at a time until it becomes natural, then add focus on another area of your life.
  • Keep it Consistent: Whether you call it setting “intentions”, “goals”, or a “resolution”, make small consistent changes to adopt healthy new habits. Resolutions can be made at any moment. If you see a change that needs to be made in your life and you have identified it, then that is the time to make a resolution.
  • Start Early: Don’t wait until December 31 to make a huge change in your life. Start planning and researching early. It takes up to 30 Days to form a habit, good or bad. So If you want to quit smoking in the new year, the process of transformation begins 30 days before the new year. That way, come the New Year, you are already in your new habits.
  • Talk about it: They are personal choices, keep them personal unless you need an accountability buddy, then seek out a friend or group that is interested and able to truly and positively support you in your new lifestyle choice. Ask for support if needed.
  • Don’t give things up, instead adopt healthy new habits: Sometimes it can seem daunting to have the mindset of “giving something up for good.” Instead, try adding new healthy habits to your daily routine that will positively influence your life.
  • Don’t stress about your new resolution: Monitor your progress and keep track in a notebook if desired,  but don’t let it stress you out. The point of resolutions are to positively influence your health, so stress would be counter-productive. Have fun with your new healthy lifestyle!

Making personal goals or resolution are an excellent way to create an outline for change in your life,  physically, mentally and emotionally, if done with good intention. So say YES to some healthy New Year’s Resolutions!

Below are some New Year’s Resolutions from Emerald Village Members to help inspire you!

  • Nick’s resolution is to make use of all the amazing resources we have accumulated and continue to build the community dream
  • Bianca’s resolution is to learn a new instrument, but not over commit, practice 15 minutes a day, commit to learning and not achieving
  • Jessica’s resolution is to shamelessly abide by her own personal rhythms
  • Rebecca’s resolution is to declutter and minimize her life and mind, incorporate yoga once a week into her routine
  • Greg’s resolution is to live a more conscious life which includes eating healthier
  • Jona’s resolution is to live in full integrity as a man of god
  • Krystin’s resolution is minimize single use products and disposable items, including paper plates, plastic forks, disposable bags, to go boxes and instead opt for fresh foods that don’t require a box and providing her own bags/ boxes/ plates/ cups instead of using disposables.