Why the Holy Women Icons Project went Tiny!

On June 10, our family and the Holy Women Icons Project will be featured on the television show Tiny House Nation. Deciding to “go tiny” came with a lot of discernment, planning, and even critique. In the weeks ahead, we plan to delve deeper into these issues, but for now, check out our list of Pros and Cons for taking our life, retreat, and the entire Holy Women Icons Project non-profit into the realm of tiny living…

See if you can spot the icons in this commercial!

Pros of HWIP Going Tiny:

1. Like Freya Stark, the beckoning was calling us to click the latch and head out on a big adventure. After travelling full-time in a 180 sq/ft camper for nearly two years, we realized that “going tiny” helped our lives become bigger. Less stuff. More doing.

2. Like Papahanoumoku and Gaia, we wanted to live more gently with the earth, honoring the aina (land), and making our home, work, and livelihoods more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Building an off-grid, solar-powered, rain-water-catchment-supplied tiny house was one step we could take to live more sustainably.

3. Like many Holy Women Icons, we could only afford the cost of building something small. We didn’t want to be tied to mortgage or live beyond our limited means. Going tiny, while not financially viable for all people, was the only affordable option for our family and non-profit.

4. Like Maya Angelou, we believe that “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you’re doing it.” By going tiny, we are better able to coincide our intersectionally ecofeminist values with our lived practices.

5. Like Sarasvati, we want to bridge the gaps among the arts, science, spirituality, and sustainability. By creating our retreat center and non-profit in an off-grid, sustainable, tiny way, while continuing to paint, write, and honor the sacred, we hope to do this.

Cons of HWIP Going Tiny:

1. Like Pauli Murray, we want our work for justice to be intersectional, endeavoring to be accomplices in the work for justice for racial and ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQs, persons with differing abilities, the poor, refugees and immigrants. While there are many positive aspects to the tiny house movement (as outlined in our pros), it also tends to be predominantly white, middle class, and overlooks those who live tiny/simply because of poverty. We were concerned that “going tiny” may entail condoning all that the tiny movement—and the television show—stand for in every way.

2. Like Dorothy Day, we don’t want to be complicit in the appropriation of poverty or the uncritical hipster glorification of “simple living.” Most people who live simply do so out of necessity and not by choice; we don’t want our privileges to cloud this and make it look cute or available to everyone who “wants it enough.”

3. Like Spirit of Aloha, we know that Hawai’i Island has offered abundant welcome and hospitality to us, giving us an extended ‘ohana (family). By “going tiny” in Hawai’i, we don’t want to contribute to the further colonization of kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians), the appropriation and exoticization of Hawaiian culture, or the continued negative impact of haole (White people) in Hawai’i.

With these pros and cons in mind, we decided to thoughtfully and critically “go tiny” with the Holy Women Icons Project. The next step is to create the tiny retreat center on our acre of land. In the meantime, check us out on Tiny House Nation, or become a monthly patron for our tax-deductible non-profit!