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Episode 055: Growing Dreams with Marla Cooley

Sep 29, 2020

This week on the Seeds of Tao Podcast we’re chatting with Marla Cooley, a listener of the podcast, and a permie with dreams to create an ecovillage. Currently, Marla is the president and owner at Foothills Farm, which is the location where she hopes to set up the ecovillage. In the episode, Marla talks a lot about her journey towards her ecovillage dream and really highlights some of the steps that we all take as we move towards our dream. If you’d like to get in contact with Marla, you can do so through the following ways:


Her website for Foothills Farm is

The Facebook page for Foothills Farm is

If you’d like to contact Marla about the work she does providing solar, you may do so at


The Awakening

In this week’s episode, Marla shares her wonderful journey towards her dream of creating an eco-village on her farm in the Georgia Mountains. Early on in the episode, Josh asks her how she got started moving towards this dream and Marla relates that it was through seeking healthier food, which led her to be awakened to permaculture. Once she had the realization that applying the permaculture philosophy to her food could help her to live healthier. This was a point of awakening for her. We all have some point of awakening to a new concept or point of view that triggers us to think differently about the world around us, and from that awakening stems the sprout of a dream. This is how all dreams start. This is the point of origin of the thought that we can change something, or do something, which, if nurtured, will develop into a full-scale dream worth going after. 

As many of you know, our point of origin was way back when we were looking at natural building, and permaculture fell into our lap, aligning with the newly discovered concept of building a home in a way that didn’t negatively affect the environment around us. That translated into a lifestyle change (i.e. permaculture) and it’s just like Josh mentioned in the episode, “There is no turning back once you understand.” This is the case with so many permies and people in the regenerative sphere, there is some sort of epiphany that breaks them out of the status quo, and changes forever the way they view the world.


Growing Dreams 

Once we have the original epiphany, or the awakening, we may not develop that thought into a full-scale dream like how Marla turned her original idea of eating healthier into a dream of an eco-village. We may simply take that epiphany and let it die, like not watering a new sprout. We can also actually kill that little sprout by talking ourselves out of doing anything about it. If we look at that epiphany and think, “I couldn’t possibly do anything to change it,” which is the way many people think about growing environmental problems, they won’t ever take a step forward and formalize a dream that could make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us. 

Or we can choose to grow that sprout. We can look at that epiphany and really examine what we can do to foster it into an idea, and then into a dream. We can take that spark and use it to light up something we’re really passionate about doing or creating, and totally run with it. The big trick here to turning that epiphany into a dream is by giving it power with words. If we can state our intention of that epiphany, really clearly state what we’re going to do about it, we can give it the power it needs to formalize in our minds and become a dream worth going after. Marla shares a great message about this, she says, “If you have a seed, a thought, a vision, something that’s driving or encouraging or inviting you, the least you can do is looking into it. Dive. Go. Find some answers. Don’t Hesitate.”


The First Big Obstacle

Once we really create that dream in our head, we’ve stretched ourselves enough to allow our mind to start trying to keep us from stepping into a new, untrodden, possibly dangerous situation, and so it creates negative dialogue to hold us back in the place of familiarity and safety. When we commit to a dream, we will automatically notice negative thoughts start to pop up, thoughts like, “Who am I to…?” “What if I fail?” “I can’t really create change in…” and all sorts of negative word combinations that will keep us on our couches living the life we always have been. 


On the other hand, if you decide to move forward on a goal and are NOT aware of that negative dialogue, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have any, it’s more likely that you aren’t yet aware of those thoughts, or you push them aside (still not addressing them, just pretending they’re not there). This is actually a lot harder to move forward with. The first step would really be to start tuning into the radio playing in the back of your mind and bringing consciousness to it. We cannot change what we’re not aware of, so we first need to hear the negative dialogue that is going on, acknowledge that it’s happening, and then change it around to support us rather than sabotage us.


Faith and Empowerment

As we move forward with following our dream, obstacles of all shapes and sizes are going to arise and stand in our way. The way we get over them, as we talked about in the episode is through empowerment, and as Marla boldly stated, faith. Empowerment and faith are the forward-moving mechanisms that help us push forward through the obstacles. There comes a point in dreaming when you simply have to take action to move forward, Marla relates, “It really does take just getting up out of bed and getting it done.” If anything is going to change, if WE are going to become the kind of person who reaches our dreams, we must be people of action, using empowerment and faith to help us forward when the road gets bumpy.


Listening to Your Heart

Towards the end of the episode, the conversation turns towards listening to your heart through this journey. Josh said, “It is a life unlived if you don’t go out and do the things that speak with your heart.” Our hearts play a HUGE role in our dreams. We need to be listening to our hearts during the formation of that dream, along the journey, and at the end when we reach the dream to seek out if a new epiphany has happened along the way and a new dream has sprouted. I used to definitely be a person who did not listen to her heart, I would constantly live in my head. Everything was logic, control, and action plans. Let me tell you, living like that puts you in a place of anxiety, self-sabotage, and unfulfillment. Over the last few years, I’ve worked really hard at listening to my heart, opening my heart chakra (which was very closed), and developing my intuition, and I’ve found that now I am much more at peace, and live a more passionate life. Living with your heart unlocks so much wisdom and power, it’s a great resource for you as you move toward your dream if you will only start listening to what your heart has to say. 

We hope that you have been inspired this week to take the next step in your journey to reach your dreams. If you’re in the space where you want to dive deeper into the mechanics and aspects of dreams, check out Episode 011 where we talk about goals, failing forward, and stepping out of our comfort zone into our growth zone.


Or if you’re looking at learning more about manifesting your dreams and what it takes to do so, Episode 017 goes into the steps involved.

Here's a video from our YouTube channel, going more into depth on the Dream Cycle and the 4 roadblocks that will hold you up from moving forward- and how to get over them.




Keep Growing!


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