The Commune Blog

Sing Along to the Super Potato Song

the lab May 19, 2020
 

It’s 5pm and all the adults must now leave the yoga studio…

At a moment when global forces have wiped away all pretense of routine for Jeff and Schuyler’s two youngest daughters, they have created a small sacred ritual of their own here at Commune Topanga.

Every day 12-year-old Ondine teaches dance class to 10-year-old Micah, and together they choreograph elaborate recitals complete with costume changes and spanning a wide array of musical styles.

For the most part, these performances are kept strictly secret until showtime, but I caught wind of this particular song and dance while washing dishes with Micah and convinced her to give us an early showing. 

So without further ado, here is Micah’s Broadway-style rendition of the Super Potato Song, (originally from Peppa Pig, I believe): 


Do you have a favorite vegetable song? Post it in the comments!

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On Death

commusings May 17, 2020
 

Though death is the only thing we are guaranteed in this life, the associated grief, loss and loneliness are human emotions we often tend to avoid. And our genetic makeup as a species is wired to keep us safe; steering us away from things that can cause us pain. However, COVID-19 has forced us to reckon with and squarely face death, in this lifetime, in ways in which we have never done before.

While some may be praying in churches, synagogues and mosques, no one expects a pastor, in a moment of revelation, to pull a vaccine serum out from behind the pulpit. The development of the vaccine will take place in a lab by someone in white coat not a merlin’s cap. It will be a product of human knowledge that we expect as part of our Amazon prime account.  

More will be revealed as this saga unfolds, and the forced reflection upon our own mortality has become more pertinent than ever.

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What Do Beekeeping and Laser Hair Removal Have in Common?

the lab May 12, 2020

An idyllic beekeeping scene, moments before disaster...


It felt like a good time to finally let the new queens out of their cages. Sunday morning yoga complete and plenty of gardening ahead — but first, the queens. 

Eli the beekeeper pulled up in his truck and I donned my bee suit, covered from head to toe, minus the gloves. I’ve been apprenticing with Eli as he manages 12 hives on property, and he encourages bare hands as a way to work gently and precisely around the bees. You get stung occasionally, but you learn to coax rather than manhandle.

Today we were releasing the queens we had introduced in tiny cages 4 days ago, a straightforward procedure.

Like most accidents, several factors overlapped. Eli moved to a different hive with the smoker. I didn’t notice the hive next to me was aggravated and swarming. And as I mentioned, no gloves. Boom, boom. Two stings on my hand. No big deal, I’ve been stung before. But then three more in quick succession,...

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Mothers: Crafting Beauty from Chaos

commusings May 10, 2020
 

In honor of Mother's Day, Women’s Health Week, and all of the women today, (and every day) who lead with love and endless grace, we bow. 

You recognize the value in the unique and interrelated. You are the holders of the sacred. Thank you for your leadership, your love, your endless grace, and for making life possible.

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How Commune Does Sourdough

the lab May 04, 2020

Here at Commune, we have not escaped the bread-baking bug, though we would have tested positive well before 2020. 

As millions of Americans turn to their ovens, they have been particularly drawn to sourdough — mixing flour, water, and salt not with a purchased yeast packet, but with a living, breathing sourdough starter.

Our starter comes from Schuyler’s mother, and like any faithful pet, a good starter becomes a member of the family. When my 4-year-old cousin learned it was alive he named it “Minky” and bawled the first time my aunt made bread, “I DON’T WANT TO EAT MINKY!” In fact, there is no limit to how long the culture can survive — this loaf was baked with 4,500-year-old yeast from Egypt, and there are archival libraries of starters. But if you want to start your own, it’s not too hard either (though somewhat tedious), as water and flour will naturally ferment on your counter. You can also buy one on Etsy. This ...

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Take a Tour of Commune Yurt Living

the lab Apr 27, 2020
 
We were just finishing our first property visit of what is now Commune Topanga when the real estate agent said, “You know, there’s one more area I should show you, but it’s kind of overgrown.” 

We hadn’t even noticed the offshoot when we drove in — decades of sagebrush narrowed the dirt road to a thin trial, but we scratched our way uphill in spite of the July heat. At the top, the road abruptly flattened into a lovely nook overlooked by old oak trees. 

Surveying the thigh-high dried grass, Jeff joked: “Jake, this is where you can build your yurt!” We all laughed and moved on, but the seed was planted, and that seed grew into a home.

So, why live in a 314-square foot, off-grid yurt? Let us count the ways...


#4 - Living in the Round

Yes, living in the round requires asking your woodworking friends to build you custom countertops, but there is something delightfully organic about a circular home. Lying in bed,...

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The New Frontier

commusings Apr 26, 2020
 

Fifty years after the first Earth Day, we find ourselves in a wicked paradox. While humans have fallen ill, Mother Nature has shown signs of emergent well-being. 

On the precipice of choices that will forever determine the course of our collective history, will we reckon with the ways in which we had been complacent in our daily lives that were inevitably stripped away, transmuted, and forever changed in the wake of COVID_19?

We must now do the soulful work of determining our true needs and sources of fulfillment; to revise everything from our global economy to our daily pleasures. And to manifest this discovery with profound acts of conscience, creativity, and sacrifice in service of humanity and our planet.

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How Not to Name New Kittens

the lab Apr 23, 2020

Three things we’ve learned while fostering these 3-week old furballs.

When you learn to look, our world is full of mutual need fulfillment. The tree needs the microbes for nutrients and the microbes need the tree for sugar. The chickens eat our table scraps and we eat their eggs. And when you have a house full of socially isolated pre-teen girls, the animal shelters have a surplus of abandoned kittens to foster!

One rainy day last week, we got the call: “Two black kittens, three weeks old, can you pick them up now?”

Within thirty minutes Julia and I pulled alongside a lone gray Pathfinder in an empty parking lot.  We had a box, the masked man had the kittens, syringes, and nipples. No paperwork. No physical contact. A moment later and we were driving home with a lapful of mewing miniature cats.

So it goes, fostering kittens in the time of COVID. 

Here are three things we’ve learned as a community while raising kittens:

  • Young kittens need help...

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The Impact Single-Use Plastics Have On Our Health & The Environment

teacher wisdom Apr 22, 2020
 

Our use of plastics has consequences. 

In the face of climate change and many other global issues, we are witnessing the devastating impact that single-use plastics are having on our own health, our oceans, our wildlife, and our environment.  

As Kate Nelson shares in our Commune teacher wisdom video, cheap and easy packaging might cost us less in the moment—but single-use plastics are costing us so much more on a larger scale. 

Join us in celebrating Earth Day and sign up for Kate’s Plastic Free Challenge course (coming soon!) in which you can learn how to reduce your use of plastics in just 10 days. You can sign up early here: https://cmn.to/7a6

Kate Nelson, known as the Plastic Free Mermaid, started her journey to plastic-free living while volunteering for Dr. Andrea Neal in Santa Barbara, California, at Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. It was during that time that Kate saw something she could not unsee: the Great...

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How to Release Tension in Your Body & Mind with Yin Yoga

teacher wisdom Apr 17, 2020
 

Yin Yoga is a wonderful way to release tension in mind and body.

Yin Yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga as exercise, incorporating principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with asanas that are held for longer periods of time. In each pose and posture, you are encouraged to be still, observe what arises in yourself, and allow yourself to soften into the edges of your experience. In this video, Yin Yoga teacher Jennifer Elliott explains the intention of this practice.

Jennifer Elliott is Yoga Therapist who has been teaching for 15 years. She blends her skills to create a seamless and challenging class for her students.

Join Jennifer in our 7-Day Spiritual Survival Guide as she leads us through a Yin Yoga practice to release the hip flexors, often the cradle where we store our emotions. 

ABOUT TEACHER WISDOM - Teacher Wisdom is a Commune video series in which the brightest minds in personal development, movement and mindset, health and nutrition, spirituality,...

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