Joy Foley is the founder, she is committed to creating a better future for our great great grandchildren. Her life experience includes creating organic gardens, off grid living, nature connection, assisting in initiating a food cooperative, alternative community and CSA scheme in Germany, plastic free living, yoga and meditation. She speaks English, German and a little Italian. She believes in the inherent goodness of all people.
Below is her story about why she started Peace Valley:
Moving into Being - Living from the Heart
Taking a leap into living the ‘new story’ instead of giving it lip service is challenging to say the least. However in order to be truly authentic to my own values this is what I’ve had to do. Funny how I spent years believing I was a ‘good’ citizen, growing my own organic vegetables, sorting my rubbish, screening TV for my kids, even living off grid for some of the time. But I hadn’t ever really ‘got it’. It took the image of a dead baby albatross chick on Midway Island taken by Chris Jordon to jolt me to real awareness.
I, by my every action and inaction, am contributing to the state of the planet: by using plastic I was helping cause the painful deaths of these beautiful and innocent birds.
Oh my goodness, this was a very big wake up call, I had opened my personal Pandoras box. Suddenly I had to examine my entire life, what I ate, how I shopped, what clothes I wore, my political inaction, my acceptance of the status quo, where my income came from etc. After several months of intensive investigating which linked among other, oh so many other, things the so called ‘refugee crisis’ with the money we were using to pay our mortgage. My partner was working for a big European coalition at the time which was working on the euro fighter jet. We were living from blood money. So we, in materially rich countries, build the utensils of war, they get sold to people making war, people get displaced and become refugees needing our support. In the meantime lots of big money is made at every step of this game. The refugees are the named problem. I followed similar linked consequences in pretty much every area of my life and found myself very wanting.
In this deeper state of truly knowing I couldn’t continue as I was. So after much soul searching I left my old life behind and have started to attempt to live a completely different way. How does one change how one lives while still being held in the system which created this mess? Even our thinking patterns are unconsciously keeping us in our old behaviours. ‘If I just buy one bar of soap made of palm oil surely that’s ok?’ or ‘I forgot to bring my bag, just this time I’ll use the plastic throwaway bag on offer’, ‘they are to blame, not me, I’m the good guy’, I’m still guilty of this. But I’m trying to change.
So what did I do. I realised that I didn’t want to support big business and banks anymore by staying within the system, thus supporting environmental and social degradation; supporting the production and sales of weapons of war, thus supporting war. I quit my job, went to live in a Yurt and started to do volunteer work, helped build a food cooperative, initiate a new intentional community and start a CSA scheme. For one year I managed to live completely plastic free, now I try to use recycled plastics only. I’ve made a conscious choice to continue using my computer, telephone and electricity, all of course using plastics, precious metals and rare earths with all that that entails. This choice is, I believe, justified as I’m now building a new project offering a vision of how life could be, working with permaculture principles and bush regeneration. A simple life in harmony and in connection with all things. To reach people, I need the connectivity of the internet, Facebook and Instagram.
This time I’m not just doing lip service to the vision, I’m living it. I live in the Aussie bush, work for my rent on an exchange basis, grow my own vegetables, live in a tent. I listen to the birds, watch the sunset, hear the wind, feel the earth and share with the people around me. I am taking a gamble, perhaps the biggest in my life so far but I feel good about myself, good about the choices I’m making. It’s a freeing feeling to let go of stuff, to a large extent to let go of money and technology and to grow into trust, generosity, giving, sharing and a very close connection to nature and to the people around me.
Letting go of ‘having’ and growing into ‘being’. My aim is to inspire, through deep nature immersion and by example, so others can see that there are choices and we can all of us do our part, so they too will have the courage to follow their own personal dream.
Together we can create ‘the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible’ as Charles Eisenstein so eloquently says.