Back then, learning opportunities were far and wide and people were telling me to "get a real job", rather than "play in the mud". But I have stuck with it, because my relationship with Earth as a building material has been one of love at first sight and has grown into a deep passion over the years. I am so grateful to my teachers, among them Prof. Gernot Minke, and to all the learning opportunities I have had through all the wonderful building projects I have been part of up to now.
Today I feel I have grown into a place of deep knowledge and sound experience with the material. I am thrilled to see earth building become more and more popular all across the globe, uncountable people working towards a tipping point where we can collectively re-claim our ability to build healthy living environments for ourselves, using local materials, strengthening our communities and our own sense of self-determination.
Building for yourself - be it doing up a single room or creating your dream home - can be so empowering and give you so much freedom!
I am proud of where I have taken my earthbuilding business Solid Earth Ltd over the past decade. I enjoy the physical work, the creativity, the research and development and the workshops we teach on our premises. However, I am also feeling the pull to take my work out into the world, so that I can be both, inspired by new places and other people's work, as well as of service in humanitarian and community projects.
Having the freedom to leave my "brick and mortar business" (pun intended) for a few months each year and travel, learn, teach, help out... would be a dream come true for me.
Solid Earth as it stands today started with the dream of a 27 year old woman who left Switzerland with her two young children aged 2 and 4 and bought a mud brick manufacture in Nelson NZ.
I know of the power of focus, intention and hard work. I know that it all starts by getting clear on ideas and then going for it. This blog series is my attempt at getting really clear on the new ideas that are inside of me, waiting to be realized. I have chosen to take part in the 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge to hold myself accountable.
What are my challenges? What are possible solutions?
1) My sense of perfectionism
Working with Earth in itself is a great teacher for this challenge. There is a sweet spot where your energy expenditure is balanced with the result - where things are "good enough".
This is something I focus on when coaching others to work with earth, because I want the experience to be positive for them, not just a lot of hard work. I help clients streamline processes, refine their technique, make use of the best tools and save on costs. Why then is it so hard for me to apply the same principles when it comes to taking steps towards making my new dreams a reality?
So, I guess this is the first nugget of wisdom that I am picking up in this process:
2) My perceived lack of time, aka not prioritizing my dreams (does this sound familiar?)
However, as Natalie Sisson very rightly asks us to consider on the first day of our blog challenge is what we prioritize over and above the things we dream of achieving. This will no doubt be a work in progress as long as I live, but the first step in the right direction is to really get clear on what is important to me at this point in my life. As I move from being a mother of school children to supporting my children through tertiary education, the focus will no doubt shift.
I want to create a diverse income stream that enables me to travel and direct my energy at projects that serve communities or the regeneration of natural ecosystems. I want to expand my horizon and get inspired, in order to instill creative richness and international best practice into my work here in New Zealand. In order to achieve this, I need to make the time and space to put systems in place that allow me to leave home for a while.
Sounds simple? I don't think so. But I should remember the youthful can-do attitude I had when I emigrated and started my business. It took me a couple of attempts, but I got there in the end. On that note I leave you for today with one of my favourite quotes: