My guest for this episode is Ethan Hughes. He is part of the team that lives at the Possibility Alliance and Stillwater Sanctuary in La Plata, Missouri.
This is Ethan’s second time sitting down to talk to me for the show, having joined me last year for our conversation I called “Radical Possibilities.” I recommend you listen to that episode first, even if you’ve already heard it, as an introduction to this one. Once you’re done there, come back and catch up.
This time around, at the suggestion of my permaculture colleague and listener Josh Evans, more on the practical side of things. Though, as you’ll hear, how Ethan and his community practice their methods is as much about the internal work as the external, and insuring we meet ourselves where we are at to make good decisions that we’re ready for, rather than jumping in too deep with both feet and no way to cushion the landing.
Much of what Ethan and his community does rest in their embodiment of what they do, so you won’t find a lot of resources in the show notes for this episode. What you will find, however, is their contact information. You can send Ethan in particular, or the Still Water Sanctuary in general a letter to:
28408 Frontier Lane
La Plata, MO (Missouri) 63549
Or call them: 660-332-4094
You can also visit them at that address, but make sure you send a letter or call ahead and arrange the visit before you go. Though they’re open to visitors, please consider their community and personal space, as well as your own.
I can easily say that my first interview with Ethan was one of the the top 3, if not the top, interview episode of the show. I think that this follow up will wind up ranking right up there with it.
What I loved about this conversation, as well as the last one, was Ethan’s candor and honesty with us about how their site is developing, their successes and failures, and that it is a gradual process. We have to move at our own pace and in our own time. Some will be quicker, some will be slower, but as long as we keep putting one foot in front of the other we can get there.
Something else which stood out, among the many quotable moments, was that idea that “speed is overrated.” I can completely understand that, especially after the life I’ve had this fall. Watching the weather change, the stream begin to have ice form in the stillness of the water flow behind rocks, the cardinals and blue jays beginning to rest upon the bird feeders, and things slow down, I’m thankful for a slower, if only slightly so, pace. It reminds me that I’d rather do one thing at a time, really well, than to do a bunch of things all at once that aren’t my best. To provide a create a level of quality to what I do, rather than quantity. To do that, I think, requires us to slow down, but not to look at a task as so daunting that we live in fear of doing it or that it requires perfection.
I struggled with that idea of needing perfection, as well as my own fear of success or being seen as a failure, for a long time. Once I started doing different things, to try my hand at living the life I wanted to, the failures weren’t as big as I told myself. The setbacks, though often, weren’t as horrible as they could have been. So now, everyday, I take a step, however small, closer to the authentic life I want to live, and tell my own story, rather than inhabit someone else’s.
It isn’t easy, but we can walk this road together. Where are you going? What do you want to do?