Your Escape Is Where The Truth Lives | Solscape, New Zealand
Sol n. The sun
[Soul] The essence of something; its driving force, heart and soul.
Scape n. & v. [Land]scape,
[e]scape; harmonious diversion from conventional forms and patterns.
Solscape: simplistic to luxurious eco accommodation. Space for raising awareness, rest and rejuvenation.
Solscape looks like it emerged out of a dream, perkily sitting on a cliff that overlooks Ngaranui Beach outside of the little surf town of Raglan, New Zealand. This sweet space was constructed with the intention of being a working, breathing model of a way to exist in a way that has a low impact on the earth. Solscape provides yoga, well-being practices, surfing, the “Conscious Kitchen” which uses all vegan and organic ingredients grown from the on-site garden. My favourite meal, a vegan cheesecake ornamented with colourful spring foliage came with the caption, “they say beauty is on the inside, so eat more flowers.” Solscape uses water heated from solar panels, utilizes water catchment, and buildings are all ecologically conscious – from the earth domes constructed out of…earth, to the up-cycled train cabooses, once fuelled by coal, now a low energy accommodation, as well as the luxurious Eco Bach’s, a modern green building model that is powered by solar and has been constructed out of earth bricks as well as natural and recycled timbers. Solscape is part of many emerging spaces that want to teach and embody the ways to live harmoniously with our inner and outer worlds; changing the way we think about whats possible in our zany voyage through an unfolding universe.
I decided the way to ground myself upon arriving in New Zealand from Canada would be to stay at Solscape, where I could rest, eat well, surf, walk and write to my hearts content. On my second day, I caught up with the manager of Solscape, Beth, who told me a story about an all girls field trip to Solscape, a memory that continues to inspire her. When student groups come through, her and the owner Phil bring them to the front lawn (image below) where they can sit to discuss the earth and our existence. They asked the present group before them “how do you feel about the state of the planet?”and “how do you feel about the state of humanity?” Beth explained that this particular group was from a wealthy school, and were pretty aware from writing sustainability papers. She continued, “They are 14-15 year old girls, they are like ‘we are scared, the ocean is polluted, the forests are being cut down, the ice is melting, the species are dying.’ After going on the tour around here and talking about all of the things you can do to make a real difference, how you can get involved and how you can make it real fun, seeing them being empowered is one of the coolest things I have witnessed. Giving solutions that are simple and straightforward, but actually really beneficial, empowers people a lot.” She told me this can include “changing the way you’re eating, voting with your money, saying I’m not going to support a and z bank because they have massive fossil fuel investment, I’m going to put it in a cooperative, im going to use solar energy, I’m going to say no to plastic when I go to the supermarket, I’m going to use solar hot water when I build my house, when I build my house I’m going to build it in a way that harvests energy efficiently.”
This story about the school kids visiting really resonated with my own experience with environmental studies. When I became a university student I was shocked to learn about everything threatening the earth, I feel everything was taught at such a rapid pace that my soul couldn’t keep up. Like the highschool students, I felt afraid and even alienated from the possibility of making any sort of difference. Looking back, I feel there was not enough solutions taught to us. It would have been incredible to have a course on activism and how you can change the world through changing your own life. From my own strained, imbalanced experience, I how important it is that we are educated on the ways we can positively impact the planet, not just how much of a deficit we increasingly create. Of course, its essential to understand the hardship and the losses that characterize the environmental crisis in all of its wild complexity, but it cannot be all there is. Not if our hope is to wake people up. Solscape is rad for this reason, it teaches the solutions by being the example. You can go on a walk and learn all about green engineering and building through the signs set up around the property, meanwhile, the walk itself provokes your spiritual sense of well being. You can learn about the ecology of the environment Solscape is situated in, and simultaneously witness how humans have positively contributed to the landscape by making beneficial choices around land management. You can take a workshop on permaculture, and your brain will be powered by organic food grown a few steps away.
We often think that escaping one geographic location with all of our set routines to another place can solve our problems. Of course, there are many people who have to flee from their home country for social, environmental and political reasons, and in this scenario, leaving a place can drastically help people. For the rest of humanity who travel for enjoyment, I believe there is a common pattern of using travel as a glorious short term escape, an episode of bliss that lasts the blink of an eye, with a return to a home life that is lacking enthusiasm. According to Echkart Tolle, “enthusiasm is intensified enjoyment of what you are doing”, and this state can be provoked by anything that we do. The truth is, at home, and the places we go, all have something to teach us; all have the capacity to help us attain wholeness and happiness. With Solscape, the point is that the escape provokes a diversion from patterns of life at home that may not be favourable for the well-being of the self and surroundings. Through the lifestyle and workshops experienced by people at Solscape, they become the living example, and the true magic happens when people colour their home life with what they have learned. Solscape is one of many spaces emerging all over the planet that are manifested with the intention to provoke change in people, to help us realign our inner and outer living systems, and to help us gain clarity on how the interconnected nature of our reality is not something to fear, but something to take advantage of.
Check more out at http://www.solscape.co.nz.