Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared. ~Edie Rickenbacker

The princess of this story is feistier, more resourceful and a little more stubborn and potentially more destructive.*

Penny my old friend and new roommate and I used to laugh that we want to be treated like queens – a bit high maintenance – you know, my wish is your command.

For months I’ve bunked in with women friends across the country while discussing and envisioning eventual shared living for women with limited income. I’ve envisioned living near water where I can garden and walk and ride my bike most places. Near the end of April I reconnected with an old friend and business partner who invited me to join her in Traverse City, Michigan.

A few days ago with one suitcase of belongings, I moved into Penny’s sweet little upstairs apartment a few minute walk to Little Traverse Bay. She and friends had reorganized her living room so two women “who love to cook can share the (open) kitchen.” She’d separated a large bedroom by a hanging sheet giving me space with a futon and a dresser.


We can talk all we want about sharing housing and community living taking a lot of self examination and communication. No matter how much cour – heart we put into this experiment it also takes pure unadulterated bravery to give up the familiarity of having our own domain. I am aware of the damage that one person with her own ideas can do moving too quickly into another’s world.

IMG_9843Digg , the experimental shade garden next door to the house

I was quickly invited, introduced, initiated, and welcomed into Penny’s world of gardens, organizations, and laughing, hard working people.

Two days after arriving I attended the first meeting of the 3 courses Penny teaches to people seeking a basic permaculture certification. The the 4th in the series will be co-taught by Penny’s mentor Peter Bain, long time practitioner, teacher and author of The Permaculture Handbook, Garden Farming for Town and Country.  I’m now part of Lumpy Gardeners, a little group of three women responsible for designing an edible forest garden for a large open community garden site,

That Sunday morning while eating French toast for breakfast, Penny and I talked about my role assisting with the children’s camp that began the next day, primarily in a forest.

Later a friend of Penny’s brought me some big fluffy pillows for my bed and some older tee shirts to wear in the gardens. The three of us rode bikes to the Har-de-Har three-sisters teaching garden that is not fenced, and assessed the chomping deer and rabbit damage. Finally P. and Kerry rode off to the big CSA garden, another of Penny’s responsibilities. I excused myself and rode my borrowed bike along the Bay where finally I stood in the water washing away the tension of another transition.

Permaculture first requires responsibility for one’s self; one’s actions in our world. My significator in the Tarot is the High Priestess. She tells me that I must keep my center, and my boundaries. This includes my respect for Penny, her work and our friendship. But it does not mean the easier sinking into my introverted self and just following along during my planned 3-month stay here. I must make friends in this community, venture out to explore on my own, and maintain my ties with my family and friends in other places while deciding if this is a permanent move.

IMG_9842Rosa offered a chipmunk for my first breakfast

*Once you have an idea, you also have decisions to make. The High Priestess holds scrolls of arcane information in her arms. In addition, the moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see about a job possibility, an investment, love, career, family, etc. But you need some alone time, some quiet time to meditate and reflect. This is what the card is all about. Seated between two pillars as between two choices, the High Priestess is not about making a decision so much as holding decision-making at bay while you take time to listen to your inner voice. She wants you to gain knowledge before you act: instinctual knowledge, supernatural knowledge, secret knowledge, self-knowledge. The High Priestess, however, goes beyond even that for those who seek more. Behind her throne is the curtain that leads to the deepest, most esoteric knowledge; the pomegranates that decorate it remind us of Persephone, who was taken down into the land of the dead, ate its fruit and became the only goddess allowed to travel to and from that strange land. The High Priestess is our guide to all that is mysterious and mystical.

*Glenn Kenny, special to MSN movies, about the princess in the movie Brave.

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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1 Response to Brave

  1. Beloved sister! I am more moved than ever by this most recent, but still rather long ago post. I meant to comment much sooner to say how very much I honor your bravery, which is part and parcel of your great generous heart. I trust you have continued to find your own distinct way in your new place, which sounds practically ideal for you — gardens, water, terrific women, fluffy pillows and all. I send love! In case you’re intersted here, I hope, is a link to a recent interview I did for a cool woman who has created a social media network just for women:

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