Burning the New Society

Harbin Hot Springs was a perfect little getaway for my Saturday birthday party — a quiet place to recharge and be in nature, surrounded by tall trees. I spent the afternoon naked between hot and warm tubs and a beautiful medicine garden with dreamcatchers and gorgeous sculpted walkways. The walkways still remain. Around 2PM I drew the dreamcatchers in my journal from close to this spot for my Dream Society friends as a place for future meditations. It looks like there’s little left beyond the sculptures from my drawings.

For the past few weeks I have been actively dreaming in the new society, the world we want to create with world leaders trusted for their innovative ideas, creativity and ability to activate others. I invited the Dream Society and friends to join me for this birthday experience and a few were with me in the temple at Harbin when the evacuation message first trickled down. Lying with a friend on a beautiful deck, we watched the people disappear and realized that the winds were picking up fast. Our beautiful paradise and perfect society would not be here much longer.

Harbin Hot Springs after the Valley Fire, September 2015

The fire moved so fast that we could barely grab our items and find our people between cars and campsites. No cell reception or wifi. We regrouped in Middletown as Cobb Mountain was on fire on all sides of the crest with planes dropping fire retardant between Harbin and the town. The toxic red clouds didn’t work. With locals evacuating we found the last open road north and began to caravan to a new location to continue the scariest birthday mission of my life.

During this birthday mission, for the past few weeks and especially on Saturday we were discussing the culture and society we want to create: LoveLands and safe places to travel between for our global network of nomads and our networks of networks to support each other. All of a sudden, we were 8 resourceful people with lots of closed roads and nowhere to go — so we started calling every hotel, AirBnB and getaway within an hours drive. This is the time we need LoveLands and new society, to know where to go when displaced or under threat. We wanted sanctuary out of burning hell.

Firefighters assembling to tackle California fires, September 2015

The hour drive out of Middletown felt like a trip through Mordor as the sky turned black at 5PM. We saw houses on fire as firefighters rushed to meet the rapidly growing challenge. Over 1200 firefighters were engaged on Saturday to save hundreds of homes. I can only hope they all survive to fight another day, as the fires are not yet done in this horrible year of drought.

The New Society Enblazoned in Us

When I close my eyes, I see the mountain still burning. No structure is immune to destruction. The fire has great lessons to teach me in this journey of creating new culture and society for the next generation.

The current structures created in our society will burn. Homes become ash. Our legacies are ephemeral and only as strong as our collaborative networks of care. Institutions will try to support the system and they will fail us.

Fire within us cannot be fully contained once the flame catches the wind. We are the fire and we are the wind.

So what does fire teach us in a world that seems to be ready for evacuation? Where is safe? Who do we trust? What do we want to rebuild?

All around us we see a society that no longer serves our needs. Fear breeds corruption. Refugees need new solutions yet old societies like National Geographic are sold to Fox. The voices we once trusted are gone and the chain of information is breakable. The promise of transparency in media has not yet delivered a safe society for millions of displaced people. On Saturday we had to rely on sources like Facebook and CalFire for maps on where to go next because the fires move too fast and infrastructure is too centralized and fragile when attacked on all sides.

CalFire shared this map of the fire area as we sorted out whether we could escape by Highway 29 to the north.

Dream Society

“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” ~ Alan Watts

Fire teaches us that we have to live right now. Survival with our people is priority one in creating a healthy society. Knowing who you can trust and bonding with your community is essential to a thrivable society. Decentralized, resilient nodes in the network can help us survive when everything else is being destroyed around us.

LoveLands: the Living Networks

Over the past few weeks our friends have been discussing creating new networks of communities where we can travel and stay safe as we work around the world. Sanctuary and safe haven is a premium for change agents.

When the fire hit we had no back-up plan and as we searched for sanctuary we saw towns lighting up for evacuation. Where are the safe zones for travelers and how do you know who to trust?

This was my first time at Harbin Hot Springs after 15 years of looking forward to this beautiful place. Now I look on these photos (none taken at Harbin out of respect for their policies) and I see the place we were sitting just before we left, the hot pools and decks. We were to the right of this photo when we got the last call to evacuate and there were ~100 people around us along with dozens of residents who called Harbin Hot Springs home. Most structures were made of wood and it looks like even the sacred spaces are now gone. I wonder what will emerge from these ashes — I hope it becomes the fuel for a new society that actively looks out for the people in the community in times of rapidly-changing winds and elemental risk.

I believe the only way we will thrive in this world is to find our people, work together and figure out how to collaborate across fields, borders and sectors to provide sanctuary and space for everyone. From refugees now scattered to the winds to those displaced in California this weekend, my heart goes out to you and I hope we can all help each other figure out how to rebuild a stronger and more resilient and decentralized support network, the Dream Society of trust where no matter what fires come, we can find our people and create again.

✩ evo heyning ∞

Written by

Founder @LightLodges ✩ Producer ✩ Advisor ✩ Artist ✩ Speaker ✩ Media Design ✩ Interactive Mixed Reality Play ✩ Strategist ✩ ExO Works Consultant

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