A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Found by a Home

by Norm Self

I didn’t come looking for a new home. Yet suddenly last summer, I discovered that Earthaven had found me. My first visit was the summer before, and my purpose was to spend time with my beloved and esteemed Tantra teacher, Rudy Ballentine. I wanted to dig deeper into the joys and mysteries of a Tantric life-stream.

Another kind of digging showed up that surprised and pleased me. We spent two weeks literally digging in the earth! We were digging out root systems of bushes and saplings that interfere with tilling the garden terraces. It was challenging, sometimes backbreaking, and exhausting.

When I was a redneck sharecropper kid in Alabama doing work similar to this, I was “hatin’ life”—pursuing every daydream and fantasy to get me away from all this. Why, here in my mid-seventies, doing similar kinds of manual labor, was I so in love with life?

Some really important lessons are seeping into my soul, as this land makes its imprint on me, and as I come to love and be loved by this community. I am pleased to discover that even as an elder there’s still some good, hard work left in me. And I am pleased that many of the gifts and resources I have accumulated are valuable in this community. I love the exchange of energy among us—from the youngest child to the most mature elder.

So I didn’t leave San Francisco. I love that city and all my connections there. Rather, I came to Earthaven, where I have been “found” by place and a community that captivated and took me in. Last summer, on a hot afternoon as I worked out on a terrace, a beautiful brown hawk swooped down and landed not ten feet away, did a little dance and swished away. Looking down in a swale, I spotted a copperhead lazing under a plank. It was a moment when earth, sky, creatures of all species were saying “Welcome Home!”

Norm Self retired from the ordained ministry of the United Methodist Church in 1998. He came to Earthaven from in May 2010 intending to spend the summer, and has been a Provisional Member since May 2011.


copperhead, elder, hawk, Norm Self, Rudy Ballentine, tantra, terraces

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