Encouraging women to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

A Tribute to Two Villages

The first village: 
Glenwood, New Mexico - founded in 1878.  As of the 2010 census, Glenwood’s population was 143 people.  It’s located in Catron County in southern New Mexico about 4 hours drive from Albuquerque. 
You may recall from the chapter “Creating a Village” in Eavesdropping, that the Pages heartily encouraged each of us to construct a “village” of support for ourselves.  In that chapter, the narrator thought of these villages in terms of those tiny quaint ones beneath Christmas trees – along with train sets.  While Glenwood is tiny, it doesn’t physically resemble those villages.  It does, however, embody the goals the Pages endorsed.
Here are some of the key points from the chapter summary:
  • We are all interdependent by virtue of being human.
  • We can’t know in advance who will be with us through the stages of our lives. 
  • Change is inevitable and thus, village construction is an ongoing process.
The main idea:  it is never a wise plan to rely solely on a support system that may suddenly be depleted – such as when a spouse dies.  The wise person spreads out his/her needs for connection and support to a variety of people and sources.  In other words, the wise person constructs a village.
When my friend and website editor, Terry Gray, and I visited New Mexico in October, I was anticipating a pleasant reunion with Terry’s sister Caryn, who lives there now.  And I was looking forward to the book signing event Caryn had arranged for me at the Glenwood Senior Center she manages. 

I wasn’t expecting what I found in Glenwood.  To begin with – the scenery is incredible.  Southern New Mexico is much greener than the areas around Santa Fe that I had seen in prior visits.

The people were also surprising:  they told interesting and amusing stories about how they decided to live there.   Many of them were artists and authors.  But what was most amazing was that so many of these interesting people were living alone - with no family members nearby.  Glenwood is tiny!  The nearest grocery store is an hour away.  There are cougars, bears, elk and few people.  

How do they manage this?  An observer might quickly assume they are “self-reliant types.”  But the truth is, they are not self-reliant.  They count on each other.  They are truly interdependent – relying on their community for connection and support.  
These amazing people are examples of how having a village of support allows individuals to remain – well – individuals.  They are living where they want to live and choosing lives they prefer.    The village of Glenwood isn’t about fairy-tale villages.   It’s real and it works.  It was a validating lesson for me.  Thanks to all of you in Glenwood!

The second village

Plum Village in the Dordogne region in the South of France is a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice center for lay people.  It was founded by Thich Nhat Hanh (reverently called “Thay”).
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist.  Throughout most of his life, he’s been active in the peace movement – promoting non-violent solutions to conflict.  For this work, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  He taught at Columbia University and the Sorbonne and has published more than 100 books.  He has traveled throughout the world conducting retreats to advance what he calls "Engaged Buddhism". 

I regret that I have not been to Plum Village to see Thay and his monks at work.  It has been on my “to do” list for several years.  I learned recently, with great sorrow, that he has suffered a stroke.  He is quite old. 

I am glad, however, that I did attend one of his retreats.  In 2005, I spent a week in Colorado, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where, along with 1,000 other people, I heard Thay’s simple quiet lectures.  In the years afterwards, I have incorporated his wise teachings into meditations and hypnosis to benefit myself and my clients.

During this holiday season, when I hear my friends exchange wishes for “peace on earth!” I’m reminded of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings about “seeds.”  He said that we all are sowing seeds every day.  Sometimes, these seeds are seeds of kindness; sometimes they are of peace; and sometimes they are of dissension and ill will.  He reminded his readers that these seeds – whether consciously or unconsciously scattered – grow and take root. He encouraged us to sow seeds of peace.  
Coming up in January:  Fun with Hypertufa.  
Visit the website for details about future events:  
We’d love for you to attend. Events Page
Join the conversation….

Your thoughts and comments are welcomed- send your emails to:
Copyright © 2014 Kendra Brown, Ph.D, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp