Home Sweet Tipi: Notes from The Tipi Experiment

Tipi as shelter. It’s more of an escape from shelter. When shelter becomes numbing, cutting me off from the things I want to experience. I want the wind, rain, sun sweet breezes, birds. I WANT it. Tipi is not the best SHELTER as far as protecting from the environment. There are better, easier things out there. What tipi is…a doorway into the earth. It is a way to experience our primal environment without being crushed by it. It is a way to tap into primordial instincts that lay dormant. Tipi is a shelter from industrial society. It is a way to find wildness that will open the heart and soul to a new dimension. Tipi provides access to an unexplored frontier. It cannot be experienced with something else because this is FULL BODY immersion into a sensual realm.

Any more protection and you aren’t out there anymore. Living in a tipi is like being outside, kind of like wearing a jacket. You don’t really go indoors. You are always outdoors. You have just enough protection from the elements to maintain homeostasis. You can hear everything, you can feel the mist and the cold. The wind rattles the canvas and the poles shift. The rain comes right in, dripping down the poles and falling through the smoke hole. You realize, rain and cold and wind are not a problem. The ground becomes your friend. It’s not that big monster that everyone protected you from your whole life. Not a problem.

Lesser forms of shelter can provide survival, such as a backpacking tent or a debris hut made from sticks and leaves. But a tipi  provides a HOME.

I experimented with different ideas for the floor, storage systems, sleeping platforms. When it comes to food prep, the tipi felt lacking. Running water is certainly a system. I mean, there are times I felt like I just wanted to get the job done and there were times I felt lke being present with nature. Not trying to make the tipi into something it isn’t Not trying to really defend the tipi as a place for lvigin the modern life. Things that didn’t work very well were storage of papers and electronics. I did do it though. I kept my papers and books in airtight plastic tubs. I kept my laptop computer in a waterproof dry-bag used for canoeing. Clothese I had to make a choice between trapping moisture IN and letting it dry out when there was a dry spell. When I added the fire to the tipi, I realized that was what made it really sing. Now I had a tool for bringing in the element of dryness even in any weather condition.

About 10 years ago I had a near death experience wandering in the dark forest during a snowstorm and loosing my way back. Two parts of me compete for my attention: the social dude that needs to make it in the world of people and career, and the wild man that needs to survive in the wilderness and learn the language of nature and poetry. The wild man alter ego was trying to kill me with a knife–in a dream the night before I got lost on the mountain–for not honoring that side of myself. I made it back home miraculously, almost falling down a waterfall. But only way to proceed was to honor the wild man soul side that wasn’t getting the nourishment. Living in tipi is slowly thawing out that side I thought I couldn’t have. Still a challenge. Plus social perceptions and the fact I raise the fears of people who project onto me things that I think are group consciousness fears that I am challenging within myself. Interesting to see and feel what is me and what is group consciousness. But it all goes towards the goal of the question: “who am I?” that we each can ask ourselves every day. And the answer is not about our house or our car or our accomplishments. Take those out of the picture and then ask yourself that question. That’s what I do, and that’s why I am getting more and more fluid. Hey someone has to do it. It’s really scary. So I know I was put here to take this path. How to stand in my power and not let the winds of other people’s thoughts and fears blow me over. But also how to know when I do need to listen and someone really does have a message for me.

Am I homeless? Was I mistakenly born in the wrong era? Do I just want to be different? These are questions I’ve asked myself. But what I know from deep inner exploring, I am really a bridge between the modern world and primordial nature. I can travel between the two. It’s kinda like two dimensions. I almost feel like I shape shift of something. So for this thing they call “Nature Deficit” that people are experiencing, I have a way to solve it. I know how to open the door .

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