My Belly Feels Empty, But My Heart is Full

We’re officially one week into our elimination diet and the biggest challenge is probably boredom. With so few foods and flavors to choose from it’s annoying more than anything else.

I’ve also struggled with hypoglycemia and woke up yesterday with too low blood sugar, almost passing out and taking several hours to recover. Not good.

So I’m adding in salmon on intuition and am feeling better now. (Justin is going to continue going without for awhile longer.)

We have had so many questions on the elimination diet and how to do it and I think it can pretty much all be boiled down to this:

Listen to your body. Trust it.

Every body is different, and each individual’s needs will vary throughout their life too.

Food dogma is bullshit. Intuition is king.

We chose this elimination diet on intuition. We choose to follow it how our intuition guides us.

And the more we do that, the better we feel.

Heart = Full

Feels myself howling at this one.
Happy Full Moon :)

Even though we’ve been learning how to fill our bellies, my heart right now is expanding like WHOA.

The past few months have been rough for us, and we’ve been consistently pulled back to look for the cause and the shifting Life is asking us to make.

Zeb has been really struggling.

Really struggling.

He’s 12.5 now and becoming a man, not as smoothly as we had hoped (ah, those parental ideas – that’s a whole story in itself).

It hasn’t been fun to say the least.

It’s been hard.

And Justin and I have been triggered a lot.

And individually and together we’ve had some really bad moments that suck suck suck.

But thankfully we leaned into our tribes and our tools and we kept coming back, kept making amends for the mistakes, kept putting our intentions and our heart into finding what’s missing for all of us, what each of us needs to thrive.

We kept coming back to the drawing board again and again.

Until we finally had the Aha moment. The breakthrough.

In a few heart-wrenching, emotional and deeply connecting conversations Zeb articulated what was happening beneath the surface for him.

Beneath the anger and the frustration and the blah and the rut.

He’s lonely.

He enjoys traveling, but it’s not filling his cup with a Tribe of his own.

He wants more than Mom and Dad.

Going back to Vegas was a wonderful thing for him. But it was only temporary.

And he struggles to connect with people as we travel. He can feel awkward and uncomfortable until he warms up – like we all experience at some point. And so as we go along he feels withdrawn more than he’d like to without that extra time to settle into a comfortable place with people. By the time he’s forming a connection, either we or the other family is heading off.

Can I tell you what a GIANT sigh of relief it is to finally hear this from him?

For a long time he couldn’t put his finger on it. Even when we would check in with him about it, he wasn’t fully aware of it.

It can be hard as a kid (heck, for most adults too) to see with clarity what is really happening inside.

He needs community.

And we have been feeling that same need ourselves.

Zeb needs guys to hang with, to run with, to laugh with, to grow with.

Justin needs men to connect with, to sit with, to feel like himself with.

I need women to hug with, to walk with, to celebrate with, to dance with.

We also want to continue to travel!

So we talked and drew out our ideas.

We discussed traveling one more year to see the East coast, then settling down so Zeb could try out a Sudbury School.

But one year felt like a long time to wait.

Then a beautiful traveling family, Angela and Clint and their 3 kids, invited us to their budding caravan, but they were headed to the West coast and had plenty of big plans and it just didn’t seem like the pieces would fit.

The idea of not joining them had me bummed.

I resonated so strongly with the families that were already gathering around the idea. I loved the moments I had been able to grab here and there with them – at the first Full Moon feast in January, at a FOTR rally, even through email when we could.

But I’ve learned enough in my 30 years to not try to force anything. That it never works best that way. That things either happen organically or they don’t happen all that well.

So I stressed a little. And let go a little. And leaned into Trust a little.

And tried to remind myself that when we plant the seeds of our intentions, Life/Spirit/magic happens.

And it did.

Not pictured: Drumming papas, belly dancing mamas, galavanting kiddos, great convo, tears and laughter.
Around the Fire

Angela and Clint invited us again to another full moon feast – a monthly gathering of traveling and non-traveling families and friends to eat, talk, connect, make music and make even more laughter.

We couldn’t camp with them, but we drove 45 minutes to visit for the evening.

Zeb ran off with the kids.

Justin drummed with the men.

I connected with the women.

Fire dancing mamas!
Fire dancing mamas!

We felt at home.

And my heart ached a little to know it would only last an evening this time.

And then I heard the most beautiful thing I could imagine.

And it’s bringing tears to my eyes to write it out.

Angela explained how their plans had shifted. How they aren’t heading to the West coast. How they are traveling up the East coast this year. Exactly to the place we wanted to most see.

Inside my heart jumped a little.

Said a tiny Eep!

Goosebumps. And tears. And hugs. And laughing. And “See?”

She and I knowing and seeing (again) that Trust always leads us in the most beautiful direction.

That everyone’s needs – for connection, for adventure, for timing – will always be met.

That this was the beginning of a beautiful thing.

Zeb is on board. Wholeheartedly. Can’t wait.

Justin’s feeling it out, has some hesitation to examine, some things to sit with internally. But I can trust fully the right pieces will fall into the right place and at the right time now.

And my heart is filled to the brim with the idea of having our own tiny, traveling village of mindful parents, and passionate women, and strong, gentle men and confident children, and entrepreneurs, and autodidacts, and diversity, and laughter.

We have details to work out, and schedules to coordinate, and plans to create.

After all, this isn’t JUST a caravan they’re planning – it’s bigger than that. And I can’t wait to share it. :)

But right now I’m just happy to share my heart and my soul and my answered prayers and the smile and excitement of my previously sullen 12 year old whose cup is finally being filled.

And to share this little reminder: Lean into Trust. Life is good.

On Our Way South and Dancing Rabbit

Working our way from Madison to Dallas took some time. We stopped at six places along the way (two of them overnights in the middle of somewhere), meeting new friends, scoping out new towns and trying not to feel rushed (which we still felt).

Our first stop after Madison was Wisconsin Dells, home of America’s Largest Water Park. We spent our honeymoon amusement park hopping; it seemed only fitting that we celebrated 10 years together with water park hopping. :)

It wasn’t a perfect two days: Zeb crashed on his bike, my dreads gave me whiplash, we got all turned around on an incredibly long bike ride to and from the park and it was pretty darn cold. But it was still an amazing two days!

Decorah Springs

After the Dells, we left Wisconsin behind and headed into Iowa where we stopped to meet two new fiends, Niki and Toast in Decorah. They showed us around the many natural springs and beautiful countryside and we enjoyed the Vesterheim Museum, as well (Vesterheim is Norwegian for “western home,” what many of Norway’s emigrants called America…or Amerika.) We really enjoyed the small town feel mixed with the sustainable and artistic communities and plan to do some more research on the area.

Leaving Decorah, we headed toward Missouri with a short overnight stop with a Jen in southern Iowa, where we enjoyed yummy food and awesome conversation way too late into the night.

Tereza and Justin at Red Earth

School Bus Home

Earth Bag Home

DR Guys

Then to the serious highlight along our path: Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village in Northern Missouri!

Oh my goodness, how amazing! Our minds are still reverberating with the information we tried to take in and process in our short two-night stay.

We were invited by Tereza, a 10 year resident, and I couldn’t be more thankful she emailed us. She was so gracious as to show us around, describing how everything worked and answering all our questions.

Dancing Rabbit is actually one of three eco-villages in the area, each doing things slightly different. It is also the largest. While Dancing Rabbit is cooperatively and closely built, Red Earth just a short walk away has a slightly more “homestead” feel to it, although still very community-oriented. (The third, which we didn’t have time to tour, is a more communal, income-sharing arrangement.)

We were especially intrigued with how Dancing Rabbit works:

  • DR is built on a land trust and through government grants. This makes living their very affordable for Rabbits and residents, who each pay a small price depending on the size of their “property”.
  • The diversity of their sustainable building is fantastic and inspiring! Anything from school buses to strawbale to Earth bag.
  • Each person/family commits to certain covenants and guidelines, similar to how a Home Owners Association works.
  • You can come and go as you please, and even sell your property to someone else. But it’s up to the community as a whole to “approve” new residents and members.
  • You’re not required to live communally in any way, except for agreeing to not have a car and thus participating in the car sharing. That being said there are lots of other cool co-ops which were intriguing, like a phone co-op or a kitchen co-op.
  • Both Dancing Rabbit and what we saw of Red Earth Farms seemed very comfortable, community-oriented and family-friendly.

Justin really liked Red Earth Farms the best. Each home was more spread out but still within close proximity to form strong community ties. And he really likes the independence it affords its members. I was really torn between the two. I liked the feeling of a close-knit town, but also really appreciate the ability to be more reclusive. Zeb had fun playing with the kids but wasn’t really sure what to think of the rest.

You can view a few more Dancing Rabbit photos here.

Our thoughts overall: If our experience at Ironwood Farm taught us anything it’s that we don’t want to go at something like that alone. Living within a community of like-minded families, all who agree to some same basic principles, really appeals to us right now. Knowing we have a support system, friends to share with, and social connections is really the only way to have a truly sustainable community. The scale of such community is something we still aren’t sure of, but this is certainly an idea we’ll be putting a lot more thought and discussion into in the future. Perhaps an intentional community of nomadic families? Or maybe just a caravan on the road? :)

If you’re interested in finding a nearby intentional community to learn more from, visit Intentional Communities online.