by Aurora DeMarco
I am down here in Louisa helping to start a new community called Mimosa. Mimosa was formerly known as Sapling but when my friends Sapphyre, Edmund, Kaya and Ponyo moved in, we decided to change our name to Mimosa.
According to the Global Healing Center, “Traditional Chinese Medicinal practitioners have long revered the bark, leaves, and flowers of the Mimosa tree for its potent health benefits. The Mayan people of Central America also revered the plant, and commonly used it for aiding trauma injuries and burns. And while little modern scientific research has been conducted on the qualities of this plant, time-tested ancient wisdom has long praised this herb as an important therapeutic tool.
“Usually, for health applications, the bark of the tree is shaved and dried and used in tincture and capsule forms. The leaves of the plant can also be dried and used as a tea. One of the most important applications of the dried/powder form of the bark is its use as an ancient mood enhancer. Known in China as the ‘Collective Happiness Bark,’ the Mimosa tree was given to people who needed a ‘spiritual uplift or cleansing.’ Mimosa tree bark is also used as a common remedy for generalized muscular discomfort and swelling.”
Coincidentally there was a lovely Mimosa tree in my yard when I was growing up. I spent a great deal of time in that tree trying to make sense of my chaotic life. I think it is more than possible that this tree helped me feel hopeful about my future despite living in such a dysfunctional environment.
Fast forward 40 years and here I am trying to build a community dedicated to healing trauma and building cooperative culture. Though it is a great deal of work, I never question the meaningfulness of the work I am doing. It is all for the betterment of the whole. My first project is putting siding on a new 3 room agricultural building that is about half way done from completion. We are working together as a community and it feels good to be in a place where many hands make light work.
But beyond the tending to the “hardware” (the structures of community) building the software (how do we build healthy relationships?) is time-consuming, yet rewarding too. We spend a lot of time getting to know each other and thinking through how to deal with things as they come up. Luckily we are all committed to self-growth and looking at conflict as an opportunity rather than as an obstacle. I feel pretty psyched about this new community dedicated to honest, trauma healing communication. So much of what I am reflecting on is the idea of how people fear being judged and that judgment in itself is not a real threat.
If you go to the FEC website you will see that we are 4 adults and 1 teenager living on 3.5 acres of land. We are surrounded by woods and agricultural land owned by other communities and ex-community members.
We hold egalitarianism, environmentalism, cooperative living and resource sharing as core values.
As a manifestation of our values, we plan to retrofit our recently-purchased mainstream manufactured house and recently denuded landscape into an energy efficient, low carbon footprint homestead over-flowing with beautiful gardens, happy animals, and awesome communards.
We believe this reflects as important a concern as preserving the environment: restoring what has already been destroyed and altering what already has been built to fit a sustainable paradigm.
Our primary income area is organic vegetable seed production as well as building up Common Wealth Seed Growers to become income-producing for us.
As part of our mission, we are especially interested in cultivating native endangered woodland medicinals.
So there you have it, the hardware and the software of Mimosa.