New Growth

IMG_9630Silliness at the Vermont Center for the Arts

“For those of us who want democracy to survive and thrive, the heart is where the work begins—that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten our unity as openings to new life for us and for our nation.” *

Creativity requires risk. You risk your image, your resources, your comfortable routines, your ego and it’s attachment with being right and perfect. You risk being foolish. So? (Jill Badonsky,

Dr. Segerstrom, in a book titled Breaking Murphy’s Law, writes “that rather than giving up and walking away from difficult situations, optimists attack problems head-on. They plan a course of action, getting advice from others and staying focused on solutions.”

Since November I’ve been a traveling circus experiencing and thinking about living in community with a variety of family members and friends. Last week I was in Vermont with Donna, my side-kick in this experiment. She told me I haven’t said enough about why I began this journey so I’ll emphasize it again.

After a divorce 3 years ago I had an income of $2,000 a month including payment for caring for 2 of my grandchildren and a monthly divorce settlement. In September my grandson began full-day kindergarten and my divorce settlement ended.

In 2004 the average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in Bellingham WA where I’ve been living was $556. Now it is $698. My Social Security income is $766 a month. Out of necessity I left my rented home and began an exploration of living in community specific to older folks sharing resources. At the suggestion of my sister Carol, I began this blog expressing my inner journey into a world of uncertainty or chaos as some name creativity.

IMG_0365  IMG_0356

Lillian’s 3rd grade class performance at Lighthouse School Spring Festival, North Bend, Oregon – chaos and creativity at its best.

While I was in Vermont with Donna we saw the sweet movie The Exotic Marigold Hotel, about older people moving to a rundown hotel in India. I enjoyed the movie so  bought the book on which the movie was based – These Foolish Thngs, by Deborah Moggach – a bleaker look at living in the “last waiting room.”

Terry Tempest Williams writes “In my private moments of despair, I am aware of the limits of my own imagination.  I am learning in Castle Valley that imaginations shared invite collaboration and collaboration creates community. A life in association, not a life independent, is the democratic ideal. We participate in the vitality of the struggle.

Social change takes time. Communities are built on the practice of patience and imagination—the belief that we are here for the duration and will take care of our relations in times of both drought and abundance. These are the blood and flesh gestures of commitment.”  *

I think that creating a vision is how we will progress as a living open heartedly people. I’ve see that no matter where or with whom, living in community means citing expectations from the get-go, talking about feelings and needs as they arise and then exploring a variety of ways to collaborate. This does not need to take place in the same living space but by creating a mutual space bound by vision and love.

At least for the summer I am going to Traverse City, Michigan to live with and support visionary and sister in laughter Penny Kreibel who is promoting permaculture as a way of life.

I am grateful to everyone who has fed me food for my belly and food for thought which led to this decision. Thank you for your conversation and space for contemplation. You’ve given me opportunity to review the fact that during the past 50 years I often moved house and home. I remembered that in each place I collaborated in creating a whole, a life in association, and participated in whatever the local struggle or celebration was – often in a leadership capacity.

Penny and I know that this move may not be permanent but I know that I will continue a life of vitality no matter where I make my bed.


*From the Prelude, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit,


5 Attitudes Wired in Happy and Successful Brains,


About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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6 Responses to New Growth

  1. ellen says:

    Marian, hoping your travels brings you to sharing our home in Santa Cruz. I love your picture “leaning on the gate taking a picture of the future.” take care and enjoy your travels and experiences. love,

  2. Louise says:

    The exotic marigold hotel was a tonic for me as well Marian. Sad to have missed you in Vermont. Perhaps again; who knows if we might connect when WU holds grad next June. Stay well my friend.

    Aging bodies creak
    Aging souls blossom anew
    Ripening blessings!

  3. Judith Yost says:

    Dearest Marian, You provide us with a new paradigm of Eldering! Your journey is one of courage and inspiration. Your energy comes through your words as does your positive outlook into the unknown. Much Love sent your way, Judith

  4. What challenging ideas you offer….I myself find I am between homes. It’s a new experience to not even have an address to call my own anymore. However, I can see the benefit too. The freedom to relocate and reposition. So far I have three places which I relate to in recent years…who knows what’s next. I like to think of myself as 23. When you are that age you don’t worry too much about a year from now, or master plans…you live with a joy of ‘everything possible. Hugs to you–


  5. You are indeed a LEADER, dear Marian, and the rare one who leads with her heart. Thank you for your ever-inspiring — shining! — example of co-creative, feminine leadership. It’s just what the world needs now. Sending love and support!

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