One of my most special friends came to visit me last week. Her name is Liz Klug. Liz is a farmer. She's also a beekeeper, kirtan singer and diverse musician (click here to hear one of my favorite songs of hers), somatic healer, yoga instructor, RV-caravan gypsy, badass medicine woman and herbalist in her own right, and a damned good friend. That's just the short list.
We met in 2009 at the Dreamtime Festival in Paonia, CO. At the time, I mentioned that I was moving to Boulder, CO and she told me that she passed through there often. We exchanged numbers casually as I'd done with some many acquaintances that Summer and our interaction at the festival didn't go much beyond that. A couple of months later, as I was just settling into the flow of my new life in Boulder, she called me up to let me know she'd be in the area. She wanted to come over and do yoga with me--this was back when I had a daily practice and was working on finding the time to teach classes. We agreed she'd come by later that week. Well, she did come over but we never did get around to practicing. As we settled into conversation it was clear that this was an important connection we'd made. We talked all afternoon. She ended up parking her RV in my driveway for the next month or so and then came and went, staying at my house, until Fall.
Liz blew my mind. And continues to do so on a regular basis. She has been a one-friend-revolution for me. She's helped me to know myself and the world around me more fully. She's helped me to be more fearless, to feel more deeply, and to be gentler with myself. In short, this lady is where it's at. So, I thought that while she was around, I'd take the time to sit down and ask her a few questions about her current projects to give you a glimpse into her radical life and heart.
You've spent a lot of time traveling in the last few years--What inspired you to live in an RV and be nomadic?
There were many wonderful opportunities all over the country, things that inspired me--incredible workshops in the healing arts and somatic psychology and gardening and farming; urban homesteading, that sort of thing--and i didn't have a stable...whatever it is that keeps people in one place...so that's what got me into traveling. And, it can be very expensive to stay in hotels and eat out. I realized I wanted more stability and comfort. [That's why] I got what my mom calls, my "turtle shell".
Tell me about where you live now.
I live in Albuquerque, NM--pronounced Al-Boo-Care-Kay. I live in a little urban community that we called The Garden of Eton. There're 6 households that make up our community and we have chickens and gardens--beautiful gardens, and big mulberry trees, and a pond with fish, and Tortuga, the turtle--he's paralyzed in his back legs because some dog chomped him, but he's really cool, he still gets around with his front flippers. Everybody's really different in our community, we range in age from 5 years old to 65 years old! We all have our own passions and ideas but we share a love of gardening and communication. The land itself unites us, the space, not so much an ideology because we're all so different. We're all definitely do-it-yourselfers, though--like, one lady makes chocolates, and another person makes instruments, djembe drums. One lady is a painter and a potter, another lady is a tutor for special needs people at the college. We even have a mechanic. We have a really special little healing space as well that doubles as a Honey shop.
Above: Garden of Eton; the RV; Buffalo Hyde
You make medicine with your honey; do you have any favorite creations or recipes?
I like making infused honeys. My favorite is Osha root. I got my Osha from here in Boulder! Also Basil Honey; with basil from our gardens. I infuse it in our (Bee Chama's) Buckwheat Honey--it's the ultimate for immune support and as a sore throat soother. [But] my favorite thing that I make with the honey (that I rob from the bees) is Tepache, a traditional Mexican elixir made with pineapple juice and honey. My friend Gadiel started a company, My Tepache Island, and he makes not only tepache but some amazing beverages with hibsicus, ginger, piña, honey, coconut. Super refreshing, super healthy, super tasty.
Where can you try his tepache?
Gadiel is setting up a space in Santa Fe where you can purchase the tepache. Right now we're doing bicycle delivery in Albuquerque. People just get in touch with us--[it's a] you gotta be in the loop sorta thing. You can get in the loop though...
Are there any uses for honey that most people don't know about?
...Do most people know that it's great to rub all over your whole body? Or to rub all over your Honey's body?! (Especially after you've exfoliated with something.)
You used to caretake Bee Chama, a honey farm in NM--what secrets did the bees tell you?
They're really pissed when you take their honey. They really want you to be super peaceful and conscious while you do it. They're down to share but they want a relationship--they don't want to just see you and have their place destroyed and their honey taken. That was the main thing really--the energy with which you come to them. They also say that they want more water.
What projects are you working on right now? You were tanning a buffalo hyde, right? What inspired that?
Well, I'm currently not working the buffalo hyde because I realized I was a little crazy taking on such a task. I was gifted a hyde in Truth or Consequences NM and I am now dealing with the consequences of the truth of tanning a hyde as huge as a buffalo. Basically, my friend and I, for nine days straight sat with our little three inch knives and sharpening stones and tirelessly tore away the flesh from the hyde. I'm bored just thinking about it.
So, any other projects then...?
The garden [at my community] is pretty much my main focus. And trying to make treats with the food and herbs we're growing. We just made these crunchy mulberry snacks. We're also making an herb spiral. One of the community members also just scored a bunch of bricks and we're building an outdoor oven. I'm also in a kirtan band (the Bija Band) as a very inspired bhakti yogi.
How did you get together?
I've been inspired by kirtan music for the last ten years [since] I got a mix-tape with Krishna Das at a garage sale. Then last year, I went to Kirtan Flight School with Dave Stringer and realized that I should sing all the time--whenever i can. So, I started a kirtan band in Albuquerque with my two friends, Zhenya and Jesse.
What is your favorite song to sing?
My favorite bhajan is Devaki (click link to hear Liz sing). Devaki is the mother of Krsna. It's specifically about how Devaki is in as much splendor as the Moon in its fullness.
What is your guiding principle or philosophy right now?
Change is constant. I'm here to grow and learn. I want to keep an open heart and an open mind, so I can keep evolving.
What makes your whole heart and being burst open with excitement and inspiration?
(Squealing) How can I even say that?! It's so big! It's the nature of our existence. The fact that we're multidimensional beings playing out past lives and evolving ourselves into an existence that we know but we haven't really seen yet, ya know? A connection; looking in each others eyes; sitting quitely with a plant or an animal or the stars. Making love.
Ok, you always blow my mind. C'mon, go ahead.
I wish everyone would deal with their childhood traumas so we could all love each other more. Is that ridiculous?! No! It's not ridiculous, it's what's really going on.
To contact Liz, find her on Facebook or email her at email@example.com.