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The “free range fantasy”

Dana O’Driscoll:

Another challenge that many of us trying to move into sacred action face is what I call the “free-range fantasy.” In the same way that many people of previous generations were lured into the “white picket fence” narrative in the United States, those interested in sustainable living are often lured into the free-range fantasy today. The narrative goes something like this: You and your perfect partner decide to quit your day jobs, purchase 30 acres in some remote area debt free, and build a fully off-grid homestead complete with solar panels, acres of abundant gardens, fields full of goats, happy free-range chickens, and two cute children covered in strawberry juice. Maybe you do have the opportunity to live off-grid in the circumstances I describe, and if so, you are certainly blessed! However, for most people, the free-range fantasy unfortunately sends the message that the only way to live sustainably is to live by this narrative. I was once trapped by this narrative, sorrowful and depressed that I didn’t have two cute, strawberry-eating children, or a handsome partner, or the ability to go completely off-grid and retire to the land. This made me feel like I was never doing enough because I wasn’t living this vision, rather than recognizing the good work I was doing in terms of sacred action and community building.

The truth is, this narrative can be as problematic as the white picket fence because it limits your vision, and it prevents you from doing something now that helps move into sacred action, rather than dreaming of some far-off thing. Further, if every person wanted 30 acres, we wouldn’t have enough land available for all. Part of sacred action is about living better in the circumstances that make up our current reality, not dreaming of a lifestyle that doesn’t fit our current circumstances. … Everyone, whether living in an apartment, a suburban home, or rural land, will fund much they can do to engage in sacred action.

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