On bacteria, soil, trained attention, breath: Food and Shelter Security

imag333esThere is a revolution upon us.

The wheel of life is constantly turning. As we put our faces into this stream, dive in or just dip our toes, one can’t help but realize radical change is upon us.

Physics, the laws of nature, are forever expanding and contracting in this cycle. Depending on ones perspective, ones web of belief, ones conditioning, these laws are relative, they are either expanding or contracting, apparently abundant, or apparently scarce.

In one way i see a serious contraction of a collapsing system and culture; archaic in its beliefs, dark in its behavior. You can read these pivotal books to get a better understanding of this cultural contraction phase:

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In another way i see a beautiful expansion of an emerging system and culture; inclusive in its beliefs, light in its behavior. Here are some books to explain this expansion phase:

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When a contraction and an expansion converge and rub against each other there is turbulence. Where there is turbulence, there is confusion. Where there is confusion there is chaos. When there is chaos i look for anchors in the world. What causes life? What is life? Where is the order in this chaos? When i focus my learned powers of observation on these questions and search for meaning (anchor), i always come to very basic conclusions. These conclusions may not pin-point the cause or reason for life, but they certainly do hover around it.

Breath is one anchor to life. When i breath and train my attention on my breath i start to realize basic physical laws of nature. My body is alive due to a series of expansions and contractions; lungs, heart, pulse, skin, digestion. gut-microbiome_hero

Conversely, once i have trained my attention to become aware of these expansions and contractions, i become also keenly aware how my attention can ignore these basic truths.

Without trained attention, as the body ages and forms certain habits and culture, these basic truths become strained and imbalanced. I notice more contraction than expansion; mental fixation, anxiety, frustration, anger, indigestion, constipation, acid reflux which leads to breath constricting and lungs, heart, pulse, skin and digestion suffering and becoming damaged. Too much expansion and not enough contraction also leads to imbalance; craving, addiction, wanting, needing, lusting, gluttony, fear of scarcity, heart palpitations, diarrhea, etc.

Without a trained attention to these simple laws of nature, we become separate from nature and lose touch with nature. What was in order, now becomes in chaos.ima444es

With a trained attention to these simple laws of nature, we become reconnected with nature and regain balance with nature. Breath is one very simple anchor to teach us about these fundamental laws of physics. Once one starts to learn from the book of nature in this personal classroom, one starts to recognize the architecture of the body and notices once hidden strains a cracks in the foundation, frame, plumbing and wiring of the structure. Here is where true healing begins; from within. And only once healing happens from within will one understand the healing necessary in the rest of the world. This is the true body politic and this is only how systems can function fundamentally; from the inside out.

A trained attention on these rhythms will start to realize the largest exposed area on our bodies to the outside world is not the skin, but the long undulated tube that travels from our mouth to our anus. This large surface area comes in direct contact with the outside world daily as we grind and pulverized chunks of the outside world in to a small slurry. This small slurry is either full of life giving properties or not. It either contains beneficial bacteria, or it doesn’t.

If we can come back to the breath for a moment, and remain attentive of our breath as we continue on this mental exercise.

The breath has taught me as i breath in i expand, as i breath out, i contract. The body responds to this qualitative response with a symphony of qualitative measures; the quality of life depends on the quality of breath. Just as the quality of life depends on the quality of breath in the body, so does the quality of life depends on the quality of breath in the earth. Not so much in the earth, as on the earth. Bill Mollison, one of the founders of the Permaculture movement, taught me that the life giving properties of the earth are like the sheen of an orange. The sheen of an orange is so delicately thin as are the life giving properties of the earth. The top-soil that inhabits the top few millimeters of the earth is this sheen.mycelium1

This sheen gives life in its micro-biological structure. It is a direct result of the breath of the earth; the forests of trees and the diversity of other plants surrounding this grand conductor of life force; breath. It is tiny bacterial clumps of life that cling and attach to soil life and spread in fungal webs as the largest living organisms. This micro and macro internet of life penetrates the crumbly mineral nature of compressed ancient soils known as rock. It is a series of tunnels and vast networks of architecture that allow oxygen and other gaseous and liquid elements to merge and form into biological life. This bacteria world is more beneficial than harmful to life. It strikes a balance giving birth to life and then destroying it and returning it to the soil. You could say half the bacteria expands with birth and half the bacteria contracts with death, and this equals life, they are interdependent.

Trees and the soil structure of ancient forests and grasslands are the lungs of the earth. As you walk within these forests and grasslands you are walking on architecture. This delicate structure accepts the oxygenated gases of the biosphere and gives us the building blocks of life; bacteria.CE1_ew_bunch_LR

This bacteria covers the architecture of the soil and covers the skin of all healthy plants. If these plants are covered with this bacteria, they are healthy and life giving. If we eat them, they enter our long tube and pass on this bacteria into our bodies. They form cultures and develop strong networks of vibrant health from the intestines that allows the body to optimize and perform all cellular function. If we eat plants or foods that are not covered with this bacteria, that are denatured or sterile, we put very little life force potential into our bodies. We start to atrophy, crack, and feel a multitude of strain, pain and stress.

The quality of the soil is key to the quality of the plants. The quality of the plants is key to the quality of life.richard-giblett-mycelium-rhizome

Here is a great documentary on what i call beyond organic farming. It is one of many ways that are revolutionizing the way we look at feeding the world with great success. Oddly enough you won’t hear about these important revolutions on television or the nightly news.

if the youtube connection is no longer true…all you need to do is google search ‘one man, one cow’ peter proctor

Blessings to all

Michael Hollihn,
Spring 2015


I am a timber framer and natural builder that specializes in ecologically sensitive logging practice; on-site custom milling; passive solar and healthy house design with a focus on feng shui, vaastu, Japanese and European style. For the past six years I have trained and worked with some of the best in these fields and consider myself a journeyman apprentice towards mastering these skills. It is said that it takes a person around 10 years to master any skill if dedicated and disciplined. Thus far I have had glimpses at perfection and what beauty can be achieved with wood if properly respected. Whether you choose me or another to help you in the design and building process, here are some guidelines I have come to find helpful in achieving a strong and beautiful frame for your home. With a good hat and shoes (roof and foundation) a timber frame can last 100s of years. In some of the most earthquake prone parts of the world there are timber frames over 1000 years old! A good portion of europe has timber frames 600 years old. Our houses today last 50-70 years on average. This entropic state of industry has us retooling and evolving our skills to provide a more sustainable and aesthetically beautiful solution...

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