Back on track in July with a boat load of news & content

Alright, back on track for a beginning of the month release!  I am still feeling that post-vipassana peace and glow from exactly a month ago. Grounded.  

Here's what I've got in store for you lovely patrons in this July newsletter:

  • 1 year of patreon + Season 4 wrap-up

  • Good news you probably didn't hear about *new*

  • The latest #subtledream scoop

  • Future travels and work, updated (already)

  • Inspiring podcast

  • Motivating video

  • Pictures!

Celebrating 1 year of patreon + Conscious Impact Season 4 wrap-up

I wanna start to our season 4 wrap-up, a blog post written by Conscious Impact co-founder Orion Haas, whose dad's home in Sebastopol, California is currently where I am typing this from. Conscious Impact has had another incredible year, arguably our best yet in a number of metrics, and even qualitatively speaking. We have lowered our spending but produced about the same amount of earth bricks. We have been able to provide a humble stipend to long-term volunteers while continuing as always to pay all of our Nepali women and men fair wages for the work they do for their own community as well for us foreigners. The number of homes and other buildings being rebuilt continues to climb, the engagement with the youth and farmers via our empowerment and agriculture programs remain vivid and rewarding, and we continue to have a diversity of global volunteers of all backgrounds come dedicate their time, energy, and expertise to keep our projects running and evolving. We've also seen a number of returning volunteers from season 1-3 get their hands dirty again. All in all, it was another 9 months of service and immersion for the books. I am incredibly proud of the team and community, and also joyed to have been able to be a part of the first several weeks, thanks to YOU!

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When I launched the Patreon page a year ago, I had a vision of returning to Nepal once more to be of service while continuing to improve my storytelling craft, expand my global knowledge, and live simply in a tent for some months. As many of you know, my mother's health situation altered that course a bit, but nonetheless, I had a solid 6-week run with the team to move bricks, plant trees, eat countless plates of daal bhat (the traditional go-to meal of Nepal), and of course, document + film as much as we could to have quality content for the rest of the year (and beyond). My time back in California/North America has been enlightening too, to say the least, despite the emotional rollercoaster and slump I had experienced. Through the tougher moments do we have the ability to expand and grow more than ever. I trust that all of that was a necessary set of lessons in life for me to become a better version of myself. 

In this past year, a high majority of you have stayed on as patrons, pitching in $1-64 month after month. That has provided me so, so much more than financial support. It has shown me that my friends and network not only watch what I do/post/create, but value it so that they would tip me time and time again to keep me moving forward. 

I remember feeling a bit down by the lack of interactions here on the patreon platform, but the truth is as I hear back from a number of you via direct messages, most of you are simply glad to be able to support ME. That. Is. Immense. That trust you've instilled in me goes far beyond the $250-300 USD I get each month. You are the ones who I feel understands exchange in a deeper manner that transcends simply the monetary amount, but the value generated, the ripple effects our actions have, and especially when paired and amplified with other purpose-driven organizations, businesses, and individuals with a wider reach and impact. While I cannot give you all back a ROI (return on investment) that is quantifiable besides the discount off my prints, I do believe that we've shown ourselves some of the infinite ways to exchange out of value and impact for one another. 

I want to keep this going and grow it steadily. I am in it for the long haul, and hope that you'll keep hanging on for the ride alongside me and so many others as well. As with before and always, if you have a question, drop me a line/comment anytime! Also, if your financial situation has changed and you no longer than pitch in X dollars, please please unsubscribe and take care of your own self first. Absolutely no hard feelings. 

PS: I thought about getting all fancy and filming a heartfelt video and editing it all together, but the truth is, 24 hours in a day isn't enough and I seriously have a full plate to tackle with already. This paragraph comes with gratitude straight from my heart. <3  

Good news you probably didn't hear about 

Future Crunch is one of a handful of newsletters I happily subscribe to. I love that they exist. I actually enjoy AND look forward to receiving these fortnightly packages of good news and incredible happenings from around the world that really inspire me and I would otherwise not hear or learn about. There is a lot noise and negativity out there, and I know for a fact that I sometimes too get inundated by the enormity and heaviness of domestic and global happenings. This is the opposite. Not even kidding, it's one of the only newsletter I'd recommend that you subscribe to. I just became their patron on patreon, too. We're putting money in the hands of the good folks. 

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I thought it'd be of value to include their internet findings onto my monthly newsletter: 

  • The UK's astonishing coal free run continues - 13 days and counting. The National Grid says the country has not switched on its coal plants since 18th of May.

  • Algeria and Argentina have officially eliminated malaria. That means there are now 38 countries free from one of humanity's most devastating killers. CNN

  • The AIHW says that more people are surviving cancer in Australia than ever before. Since 1989, the mortality rate has dropped by 32% for men and by 21% for women.

  • The WHO has officially decided to remove 'gender identity disorder' from its list of mental illnesses. Welcome to the 21st century folks. CBS

  • A majority in Brazil's Supreme Court has voted in favour of criminalising homophobia and transphobia, making them the equivalent of racism. BBC

  • New research says US states that legalised marijuana have experienced a remarkable decline in serious injury from domestic violence. C'mon 'Straya. Green State

  • Staggering numbers of whales are being sighted off the shores of New York. Cleaner waters have caused a 540% increase in numbers in just eight years. Newsweek

  • The United Kingdom has become the first major G7 economy to commit to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. BBC

  • Germany produced 47% of its electricity from clean sources in the first five months of 2019, putting it well ahead of its 2025 targets. Renew Economy

  • The number of people killed in wars around the world has reached it lowest level in seven years, and battle fatalities have fallen by 43% since 2014. PRIO

  • In a landmark victory for Africa's LGBTQI+ activists, Botswana's High Court has decriminalized homesexuality, overturning a colonial-era law. Independent

  • In Rwanda, 95% of babies are now receiving vaccinations for rubella, measles and polio, and it's also on track to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer. CNN

  • Inspired by the EU, Canada has announced it will phase out harmful single use plastics, such as water bottles, plastic bags and straws, by 2021. HuffPo

  • Vietnamese authorities have banned herbicides containing glyphosate after it was discovered that the substance causes cancer. Asia Times

  • Canada has banned whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity, as well as the trade, possession, capture and breeding of cetaceans. NPR

  • An area nearly twice the size of England will become a 'blue belt' of protected waters after the government created 41 new marine conservation zones. Guardian

I acknowledge there are still countless atrocities happening around the world, but this - all of this - helps me to stay balanced on what is GOOD and well on our beautiful planet. There is much, much work to be done folks. We're just getting started. 

The latest #subtledream scoop

Been posting much more to Stories rather than posts, as many things happening of late are fun to share for the moment and temporarily. 

Since the last (solstice) post, I've traveled to the lovely town of Sebastopol in northern California where I reunited with a number of lovely faces and humans of Conscious Impact and had a round of meaningful discussions about our ongoing work and future of the organization and community. I also got to see sights all around the region with new and old friends, deepening my familiarity of my home state and appreciation for its immense natural beauty in all lights and forms. 

Off to a rolling start is a week and a half to (finally) be mostly stationary to work and manifest plans, travels, and projects in the coming months. What a blessing to have my friend's home to live and work out of! 

I have 3 major ongoing projects currently - 1.) Conscious Impact (our big video + social media support), 2.) my friends Yushin & Andy's wedding video, and also 3.) a video for Illumination Learning Studio in Seattle. I am constantly learning to better prioritize and time manage, and I most certainly am correlating my ability to concentrate by staying put at a homebase rather than setting up and packing again every couple of days. These remaining 6 days will be pivotal in testing and challenging my ability to deliver well and more efficiently than ever. 

Future travels and work, revamped (of course)

Remember that semi-chaotic schedule of summer and autumn happenings? This past week or so has seen a massive revamp and additions. 

Here's the notable projects (already) coming down the pipe:

See those aerial shots above a garden? That's the Beacon Food Forest that I've written about on my main patreon page. They are 2 of the very first high-resolution aerial shots of the community-powered project right outside downtown Seattle. Beacon Food Forest is essentially my Conscious Impact-equivalent in the Pacific Northwest region. The humans involved in it are incredible, we grow food, and we want everyone (and other living beings) to take part, eat out of it, and enjoy its harvest as well as other benefits. I shot a whole album of photos which can be seen here. I'll be shooting even more stills and will be able to participate in a few events of this permaculture-inspired, open-harvest community garden in the next couple months! Your support is making this possible. Love. 

Perhaps even more importantly - there has been serious discussions with Orion about my return to Nepal for Conscious Impact's season 5. Much like last year's vision of kickstarting season 4 with the crew, I would go back in a similar time frame with the financial support of you all and be able to shoot/edit/cook/serve/build/play to keep the every flowing stream of content going. I feel strongly supported by you all and many friends + clients who have hired or booked me for recent and future work in allowing me to take volunteer work like this. Together, you have really made me a photo and videographer for good, and damn am I feeling ultra-blessed right this moment typing it out on the laptop you crowdfunded for me too. Shall keep you all posted as soon as I have more clarity. 

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Inspiring podcasts

Got 2 podcasts all this month. I've gotten some sweet feedback on my podcast and video recs so I definitely wish to keep sharing. 

Both of these really speak to me, and hope they would with you, too. Give them a proper listen when you are walking, driving, sitting, being still, have the ability to listen and soak in great wisdom as well as transformative perspectives from these lovely humans. 

"The Inner Landscape of Beauty" with John O'Donohue with Krista Tippa on On Being (52:04)

"Transforming Attachment + Expectation in Relationships" with Guy Finley with David Newell on Inner Truth (55:41)

Motivating video

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"The Fear Of Being Fully Alive" by Jason Silva (4:31)

I've been following Jason Silva and his amazing productions of positivity and self-reflection and improvement for years. He is one of my 17 recipients of my monthly patreon support, because I believe he's raising our collective human awareness with many others to a level I'd like us to continue to uplift, together. 

Some stills from the past couple weeks

(1st and 2nd) From our Conscious Impact retreat and discussions

(3rd to 7th) Taking a friend visiting from Ghana around San Francisco and Sonoma county for a lot of "firsts"

(last 2) Remember my mentioning on the solstice newsletter about working out of an ocean-view mobile office that is the passenger seat of my car? These are from that very day.

With immense gratitude,

Jonathan

The patron-only version contains content that have been omitted from this public version. If you feel so inclined to check out why I do what I do and how I keep on going, feel free to check out my patreon page.

Last week in Seattle

As I once again wrap up my time in Seattle, I am reminded how grateful I am to also be able to call this place, this region, home. The Beacon Food Forest and the community of humans it attracts is a tremendous part of this good feeling. The previous work party last weekend will be my last for now. This is one of my favorite captures from it. It encapsulates the joy in the ability to reconnect with nature, one another, in a space that provides nourishment and knowledge for all, no matter your background, religion, color of your skin, and personal motivations.
I'm really joyed to once again have been able to spend time exploring the Cascade mountains, to eat berries right off bush along along the trail, enjoy the summer harvest abundance everyday, dive into lakes and rivers, meet new friends, rekindle old connections, and very importantly work on my all-new, beautiful website. Look out for it real soon.

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Beacon Food Forest featured in MOHAI, Seattle

Several days ago, I visited MOHAI (Museum of History & Industry) in Seattle, where they have been showcasing an exhibition called "Edible City" since November last year. The Beacon Food Forest is amongst many featured in the beautiful exhibition telling stories of restaurants, chefs, farmers, and edible gardens in and around the region since the city was just a small port. The project has a special place in my heart (as mentioned in the previous post, too!) and I am very happy to have a couple of my photographs taken during my involvement with the purely community-driven, permaculture-inspired project. I can definitely recommend a visit if you live or are visiting Seattle in the near future. The "Edible City" is just one of several exhibitions at MOHAI, and it'll be on display until September 10 this year. Check out MOHAI at their site @ www.mohai.org

Published in "Forest Gardening In Practice"!

Between late 2014 and early 2016, I was actively involved with the Beacon Food Forest, an open-to-all food forest just miles from downtown Seattle. The concept behind the food forest is simple - to cultivate and maintain a food-producing urban oasis that provides nutrients for both humans and wildlife while at the same time rejuvenates local ecology and sense of community and connection to the land. After years of conception, planning, collecting public input and support, dealing with city officials to secure the available land and permits, and then of course, the conversion of grass lawn into the thriving garden of eden that it has been since 2012. Dozens upon dozens (and often 100+) of volunteers come through the Beacon Food Forest every month to help weed, trim, chop, compost, move, roll, drop, plant, and harvest and keep the abundance rolling in for anyone and everyone. Native species such as black currants are complemented by a diversity of other medicinal and sustanance-creating annual and perennial plants and trees. The food forest is currently in the process of expanding its current size (approximatley 2 acres) to double that. "Phase 2" will be the result from the input from hundreds of dedicated volunteers and invested neighborhoods over the past 2 years. Thanks in part to a grant by The Bullitt Foundation in Seattle, Phase 2 will not only have tremendous public support but financial backing as well (for the time being).

The Beacon Food Forest is arguably my favorite place in the city of Seattle (Golden Gardens and Discovery Park are runners-up). The profound benefits of a public, open-for-all-at-anytime gathering place where folks of all ages are free to come as they are and learn about plants, food, nutrient cycles, meet neighbors, and exchange knowledge are deep and enriching, to say the least. I was fortunate to have been introduced by this incredible project by a good friend and mentor from British Columbia, and captured many magical moments in this special space with many friends and neighbors. 

I started working with the author, Tomas Remiarz, on the publication of the chapter on the Beacon Food Forest about 2 years ago, and received a copy of the final product just a few months back. I am proud and joyed to have my work featured in such a beautiful book showcasing a number of amazing examples of what folks from around the globe are doing to revitalize urban and rural places to make healthier communities for all living beings. Grateful especially for friends and connections established through the food forest and now our roots are amazingly intertwined forever.

Learn more about the Beacon Food Forest through their website, www.beaconfoodforest.org and connect with their social media networks on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beaconfoodforest) and Instagram (@BeaconFoodForest or hashtag #BeaconFoodForest).

Check out the Tomas' book and read what others are saying about it: