Making the transition from sorrow to soil

I wonder all the time, if other folks know how often I think about the woman I was… just six years ago. Even though that human is so dang different, than the one they meet now. She feels like a whole other person to me, but she is no stranger. I was her for 31 years. I remember so clearly how unhappy I was, how dissatisfied and confusing it was–hating the life I was living. Thinking about how unprepared I felt for the state of what was going on in the world and the environment around me…. was downright terrifying.

Since I taught my first workshop and gave my first farm tour out here in 2013–so darn many people seemed so intrigued by how in the tarnation I did it. Stepped out of that cubicle, convenience based, city life and just went homesteading… when I had zero experience, when I’d not gotten raised on a farm, or ever even grown a garden. When I was so darn heavy at the point that I started walking down the path to being a homesteader. I’d get asked all the time… What in the world made me think I could do it? 

Here’s the real simple deal–I didn’t know I could do it. I just knew I couldn’t NOT do it. 

And here I sit, just six years later… 142 pounds lighter, a certified permaculture designer, kicking my bare feet up on 9.87 acres my wife and I own, planning to cook a breakfast that we farmed and foraged, and I’m feeling fantastic about it.

I also think a lot about what I would have done differently, if I’d had someone to reach out to in the beginning. What if I could have gotten to this point a lot earlier, with a lot less mistakes? What if I had gotten some inspiration and empowerment from someone more experienced than I was at the time?  Someone that could talk to me and tell me the truth about making this transition – from heavy to homesteader, from sorrow to soil.

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If that resource was there at the time, I didn’t know where to find it. I applied for farm internships, but couldn’t get one. I didn’t know where to start, but I knew I had to… so I just dove in and figured it out myself. I used YouTube, books, and mostly–experimented a lot. That’s why it took six years, for me to be the human that is sitting here writing this to you now. Yet, here’s the rub that used to send me in a tailspin just a few years ago… it could have taken more like six months or a year or two. If I’d just gotten some affordable, attainable advice. Some direction and inspiration, from someone who had actually done it themselves. Someone who had designed a life that kept them happy, healthier, and well balanced. Someone that was sustaining it long term.

Someone just like the woman I am today. 

I’m not an expert, and in fact, the beauty in all this for me is that I don’t aspire to be one. For me, it is all about the journey. I never want to plateau or stop trying to get even better at living the way I do. But, that being said–I have a ton of knowledge in my brain that I didn’t used to carry around with me. I have many a funny story, on what worked for me and what didn’t. I learned so much from every single mistake and side step I took on this transitional journey. I know exactly what I would go back in time and tell myself if I was standing at the trailhead of homestead hill. 

And, I want to share it–with a lot more folks than I’ve been able to fit on this farm for the last few years. I want the legend of the eight owls to spread its wings and fly further out. I want to inspire and empower folks on a larger scale. It’s why a couple weeks back I wrote and said we will now be putting more and more of our energy online. And it’s time to tell you the first way I have planned to do just that.

Are you finding yourself a bit spun up about the state of the world? Are politics sending you into a total panic? Are you feeling unprepared for the unknown that lies ahead? Is there a scurrying little animal inside you running in circles, squealing, telling you a storm is coming and you better do something right flipping now? Are you heavier than you want to be? Or discontent and don’t know why? Are you trying to carve a different path and don’t know where to start?

Well, straight up – I don’t know if I can fix that for you. But, I hear from many a folk that I can be pretty inspiring to have a conversation with. So, this farm now has a new service… sliding scale online consultations via Skype or FaceTime. You can send me your questions, and I’ll sit down with you by the wood stove and have a chat with you about them. And I’ll answer them incredibly honestly. I have zero problem sharing mistakes I’ve made. I have a lot of advice to give–on what doesn’t work and what does. On the education and experiences that I’ve loved….and the ones I haven’t. I have a ton of product, gear, and tool advice. I have 18 years of marketing and advertising experience that can likely help you promote your new farm or homestead based business when you are ready for that step. I can tell you what this transition was actually like… and not just the pretty pictures in your newsfeed kind of way. The good, the bad, the poor or poop covered, and the freaking bad ass parts too.

I can’t keep you from making mistakes, an awesome member of my intentional neighborhood just wrote the other day–you’ll find a million creative ways to make your very own. But, I may just be able to show you something… that with a bad ass attitude, a willingness to do hard work, and a seriously adaptable attitude–this transition can be made, you can transcend those mistakes and thrive. 

“Wanting can be done sitting on a couch with a bong in your hand and a travel magazine on your lap. Deciding means jumping in all the way, doing whatever it takes, and going after your dreams with the tenacity of a dateless cheerleader a week before prom night.” Jen Sincero, writer, funny lady, farmer motivating, superhero and badass

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I can’t tell you how to do you, or what your journey will look like. But I can share more of mine with you, and I can do that from wherever you are with the appropriate technology that is my wifi connection and iPad. I can tell you how I turned sorrow to soil in my own life.

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I can tell you about how dang good it makes me feel, to grow my own, to connect to nature, to have stepped out of what I view as a broken system and learn to design my own.

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I can share with you the feel good that the first figs I ever got off a tree I planted can be. I can tell you how we have gone about making a living, while also making our life.

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I can tell you all about what it was like to get my permaculture design certificate via a self designed 16 month, 160 hour permaculture education. What instructors I liked, which ones I didn’t and why. I can tell you all about why I decided to put a program together for myself instead of just banging out a 72 hour 12 day course all in one shot. I can tell you why I’m so dang grateful I did that. I have a big ass book list to share of the ones that changed my whole world, these are just 4 out of probably 400 or so.

There is a ton, that I can share with you… to inspire you, to empower you to find your freaking rope of awesomeness, grab it, swing on it and not let go… whatever that may look like for you.

So, I gave it my first shot yesterday… sending my owl energy all the way up to Canada, to a woman that I just know I can call a friend now.

Review from my first online consultation: 

“I contacted Rain on a whim after reading her blog Kicking 150 Pounds of Anxiety and Depression through Farmingblog on the website Women Who Farm while sitting behind a computer screen at my 9 – 5 job in a suburb just outside of Toronto. I read ‘inspiring’ blogs all the time, but for some reason, this one spoke to me more than the rest. I have never contacted anyone like this before but I just decided to go for it and shoot her an email to find out a little more info about how her and Mika actually managed to jump into this homesteading life with no experience and land on both feet. I told her half my life story (which basically explained that I am struggling just like she wrote she had been six years ago) and she got back to me within hours in a way that I would only expect a good friend to do. While it would be a first for both us of, she suggested we get in touch via Facetime or Skype so that she can help me get a better idea of how it really can be done. A consultation. To learn that I too can jump into an entrepreneurial lifestyle and kick start a farm with minimal funds, a lot of hard work, faith and determination. We basically sat down to tea with each other from opposite sides of North America. I came out of it with a renewed sense of purpose and a new sense of excitement to get a plan going instead of just complaining over and over again that the life I am living isn’t for me. It was the little kick in the butt that I needed to start following my instincts. I would highly recommend anyone who has been thinking about making a big change in life – particularly in the direction of farming or homesteading – to take the time to sit down and chat with this ladyboss.”  –DANI ALEXANDRA FROM TORONTO, CANADA   

It was awesome, using technology to connect to someone that I never might have had the pleasure of speaking to otherwise. I’m so grateful that she was willing to step out and be the first woman that helped me carve yet another new trail. To something I so want to do this year.

So, if this whole thing sounds like it might be for you — all you have to do is shoot me an email (rain@eightowlsfarmstead.com) and I’ll get right back to you as soon as I can and tell you how this works. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to today–and my rainy self care Sunday…. I’ll wish everyone well and hope you do the same!

-the farmer

 

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