There is one peculiar issue with this however. Namely, you hear an awful lot about freedom these days in America, but only because no one seems to FEEL FREE. Do you know many people who truly feel free? No, most people feel trapped.
Here is a question for you:
What’s the difference whether you are under the thumb of government or giant corporations?
Today it seems, we are beholden to both. As Americans, we have so sold out to the religion of big business that we have forgotten that there are many ways to lose our freedom. Corporations can take it, addiction can take, religion can take it, and yes, businesses can take it. Let me ask you a few questions:
Have you wondered what it would be like to tell your boss to shove it?
Or, have you have wished you could banish all those monthly recurring fees that never go away, and end the onslaught of new expenses?
Indeed, at some point, have you considered flipping society the bird and moving to the mountains or some place like Costa Rica and living the simple life.
We work to buy things, because we live in cities and that is the way life is. What are we freaking Amish? This is the way it has to be.
Or is it?
It is true that we have responsibilities, but we can shift the types of responsibilities if we open our mind to a better way of thinking. I recently signed up for three urban homesteading classes from Homestead Atlanta, an innovative group promoting urban DIY and heritage skills. I took rainwater harvesting, kombucha / kefir making, and campfire cooking. When I told my friends about the classes, I received a few blank stares. I live smack dab in the middle of Atlanta. Not exactly homesteading territory.
So, how do those two things, urban and homesteading, intersect you ask?
Glad you asked. Answer = Beautifully.
It is hard to explain to the person who has no familiarity with the concept, but merely learning about homesteading opens your eyes to a different world of possibilities. It’s like a welcome peak into another dimension that has been here all along, but we’ve been blinded by advertising.
During the Homestead ATL classes, I also realized how important it was to spread this message as I thought of all the people who get trapped into thinking they are stuck in life.
This is permission to not feel stuck. The reality is that American marketing has turned the American Dream upside down.
It is time to turn it right side up!
This becomes that
When you switch your mindset:
- I can’t afford that becomes I can make that or I can grow that.
- Senseless individualism is replaced by thriving community and a sense of home.
- Consumerism is replaced by creativity.
- A boring life becomes a blank canvas.
- Style and fads are replaced by craftsmanship.
- The focus on wants is replaced by needs.
- Lack of purpose is replaced by tradition and heritage.
Yes, all of the sudden, we get a glimpse of what America was supposed to be and what it still could be.
I have slowly come to the conclusion that the agrarian values of homesteading are the only way to really solve our problems. Rural problems, urban problems and everywhere in between problems.
So, will we see homesteads all over Atlanta anytime soon and will folks give up cell phones and computers? Likely not, but that is not the point. The point is that we need to actively pursue a greater sense of self-sufficiency, community, and harmony with this world we live in. We need to become more insulated to the effects of consumerism, global financial meltdowns, and corporate / government malfeasance. We need to reconnect to traditions and heritage that bring us together rather than isolate. In short, we need to take control of our own lives and create meaning instead of trying to buy it. That’s the gospel of Homestead ATL.
What will this look like in cities? I am sure you won’t see cows roaming down Peachtree Street anytime soon, but perhaps you will see more innovative urban farms and entire neighborhoods choosing sustainable energy, harvesting their rainwater, and growing fruit trees instead of maintaining the status quo. Time will tell how all of this will look, but I can tell you this, I’d bet money that it will be better than what we are doing now.