Daniel grew up here in Hutchinson, a small agricultural town in south central Minnesota, I ( Stephanie ) grew of age in the southern hills of Missouri known as the Ozarks. For over 10 years we each have lived away from our naitive Midwestern homes, in various places. Daniel spent time abroad in Tasmania- that's where he dipped his toes into Permaculture and natural building. He came back to help his folks and put his new knowledge to use on the land he loves most. It's funny how we spend our youth hatching our 'escape' plan only for it to be thwarted years later when the need for grounding and connection come to the fore.
After a 10 year stint in Georgia I left my old life of mortgages, desk jobs and constant stress for something different. Literally, I left 75% of my belongings and years of equity for an unknown future and destination- and I was the happiest I had been since my early childhood. They say attachments weigh you down and I experienced it first-hand.
The day I left Georgia I was northbound, headed to North Carolina for the first time in my life. My close friend Quran lived there and had a room open for me and my two dogs. It was a reflective year in Durham, a lot of time spent alone reaquainting myself with my intuition..... just being. Later I realized I was on a journey, one I thought could be called spiritual but it was just a connecting path that led me to where I wanted to be. Meditations in the park with the Falun Dafa, Meditation retreats at Bhuddist monasteries, countless articles, videos on religion, reading Tolle, Berry and Peniel among others. My hobby soon became a study. After that year, I truly trusted for the first time. I knew life was neither good nor bad nor right nor wrong... it just was. Sounds cliché but it no longer mattered what was in-store for me, because I was here and alive and that was good enough.
Just becuase I fully accepted life as it was doesn't mean 'bad things' never happened. Challenging situations still arose but they didn't affect me like they once did. Sometimes I found myself chuckling through 'serious' circumstances. We create our life and I was creating ease and humor into mine. Through it all I remained grateful for who I am and the privilege I held as a white woman in America.
Durham was short-lived and I found myself, in a curious way, at Earthaven Ecovillage for 2 years. Two GLORIOUS years. That first January at Earthaven I met Daniel as he was on a several month community-hopping trip around the east. He journeyed to Earthaven from an old order Amish community in Maine. I remember listening to his reflection on his time there, how it left him longing for a similar community with a different spiritual bent. It inspired me to journey once again.
I spent the following summer biking around Missouri, mostly alone, visiting communities. Now I have endured some rigorous meditation but nothing brought me closer to ____insert your word for "all that is" here______ than the Ozark hills at the height of Summer. I won't bore you with the details but that Summer led me to building a life with Daniel on his family farm. I spent a month on the farm before fully committing. His parents had been alone on that land for decades and their aged minds left them quite fragile. Learning NVC at Earthaven gave me a language and capacity to compassionately communicate and deeply connect to their feelings and needs. Thank you Steve Torma and Marshall Rosenberg!!! It was clear there was fear and apprehension there but as long as we were diligent about continual communication and connection, I knew we'd all be able to thrive. After all, it was the not-so-distant past we all lived with our aging parents while raising children and food. Times may have changed but that doesn't mean I have to.
We traveled back to North Carolina and spent the coldest Winter in 30 years within an old Spartan Trailer, retrofitted with a wood stove. Survival mode kicked in and did not abate until we were back in the basement of the old farmhouse in Minnesota. Yes, it was colder in MN but it was home and my body knew it. Two months of planning and researching came to a close and to get back to MN we pulled a Little Guy trailer with a an '82 Izuzu P'up. With all of my belongings in-tow we weighed 6,640 lbs ( including the truck weight of 2,800 lbs ). Through snow and ice the little P'up that could delivered us safely to our new lives. Thank you P'up!
So that's the short version on how our physical bodies came to being here in Hutchinson, Minnesota, happily and humbly.