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Julie graduated from Creighton University with a major in dance and Theology and taught for several years at an inner-city school in Milwaukee. With a desire to expand her knowledge of the arts and spirituality, she attended St. John’s University in Collegeville and completed a Masters in Theology and Liturgical Studies. Over the years, her quest to merge diverse religious beliefs and practices through the commonalities of love and peaceful living, led her to travel, live, and study with shaman practitioners, herbal healers, Native American medicine women, Buddhist priests and other earth-based spiritual teachers. Through these experiences and experiences with global metaphysical teachings, she learned to honor the eternal source of love in all people.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Household Defined as Permaculture

As I work with Transitions, I'm struck once again by a very real part of western culture. The household or lack thereof. I worked outside my home in a traditional field with a traditional income until my son was born. After his birth, I could have continued to work for a traditional income which would cover the costs of daycare or switch my energy, enthusiasm and knowledge into the household and essentially streamline our funds into shelter expenses.

In this transition, I took on a myriad of roles consigned to women by choice or expectation. Cook and housekeeper are generally held by many women regardless of relationship status but add to that childcare duties, gardener, food purveyor, food preservation expert, herbal medicine producer, researcher for doctors to new tires, teacher/tutor for special needs children, chauffeur, social coordinator, tax preparer, spiritual guide, small repairs mechanic, repairs coordinator, church/social/community volunteer, music coach, sports coach, counselor, writer, and possibly, you could add being a wife or significant other to the list.

When I came across David Holmgren's permaculture pyramid my jaw dropped. Reality is the western world lacks a basic infrastructure for household. It doesn't even matter whether the role is held by male or female, it simply isn't recognized as essential to the culture.

“...imagine a pyramid. The real economy, which is basis of human society, is the household (the money economy is just a little thing on top). It begins from the economy of nature, [the base of the pyramid] then the household (the basic economic unit of society) only then the money/formal economy. We [Permaculture designers etc.] are concerned with the bottom layers, which at the moment are being drained by the top layer, because that's where it all comes from. Even in affluent economies, the household economy is still quite substantial. The unpaid work of women if paid would break western capitalism. This is what we look at rebuilding.” ~David Holmgren

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