I got kind of anxious over it is the thing. You know, about the state of the world lately. Over the last couple of years, I kept looking around and seeing what appeared to be the planet and people I love falling apart…. even faster than I thought it could. I tried to just work harder, faster and more to combat it… but it didn’t go away. It just kept getting worse. Chaos. Chemical soup hitting the fan and raining down on all who reside here. The planet getting destroyed. People getting sick and sad, myself included. Our food and water being poisoned. Our forests being destroyed. And then in the last year, when it appeared to me that things got a little interesting politically and pretty darn tense in general in the country I reside in… it pushed me over some edge I didn’t know I had. I fell apart. And it took me the entire year to realize what I’m pretty sure I know what was wrong with me. I have a broken heart.
And it hurt so dang bad that when it got paired up with some environmental + food allergies, my anxiety, and complete and total exhaustion….it seemed to come together into a perfect storm that literally made me sick. For a full year. I didn’t know what to do when I realized this over the last couple of weeks.
One of the permaculture educators I had in the last couple of years told our class that it was our responsibility as permaculture educators to be standing there with open arms when it happened. When other people’s hearts broke over learning about what has been done to the planet. To us as its people. As they fell apart over learning just how much worse it is than they even thought. To tell them that there was in fact a way out…a better way to move forward than we had been in the past. And that we knew what that way was and could show them how to get through it. But… wait… she didn’t say who would hold us… when our hearts broke over it. Or who would hold us up under the weight of that great of a responsibility. Since I’m also not always super great at asking for help or telling people what I really need… I just laid there on the ground… broken pieces of the farmer. And I didn’t know how to put it all back together. I was too tired, too overworked, and too stressed to make a plan. Or even have an idea of how to do it.
But then, several things happened… after I wrote my last blog post, I finally completely crashed to a point that I could not NOT set aside the task of trying to figure out how to save the world to try to save myself. I got given a gift by a couple of someones who love and support me, and I left the homestead for an actual two week vacation. I slept. I got unplugged from the internet and watched old funny movies on vhs tapes and colored winnie the pooh and piglet and ate comfort foods cooked on an electric stove and took naps and went for waterfall walks and sang loudly in the car on pretty country road drives to nowhere in particular. I talked to my people about how I was having a really hard time. I cried a lot. I prayed even more. I had some really good conversations with women I love. About where we can go from here. About how we can support each other better while we try to get there. Then, I heard this song. And it was just perfect.
“You know you can’t keep the ground from shaking, no matter how hard you try, / You can’t keep the sunsets from fading, you gotta treat your life like / You’re jumping off a rope swing maybe ’cause the whole thing is really just a shot in the dark / You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart” -this is the section you’ll see me belting out at the top of my lungs as I drive through our tiny town.
It’s so real. I can’t keep the ground from shaking. In my opinion, it is doing that all around us. But what I can do, is start to glue the pieces of my heart back together so I can love real hard. And I’m realizing that the glue I’ve got is pretty good…. There’s still a whole lot of amazing nature out there to hold me when I need a good cry. I have some awesome people in my life that I can talk to about what I and we can do now… which, according to one of very my favorite women just yesterday, is to band together and do something. I could not agree more my dear friend and mentor. I’m so blessed to have so much love in my life, I know I can figure out how to use it…. how to hold on to it… like there’s no such thing as a broken heart.
I’ve been homestead for a couple of days now… trying to figure out how to do just that. Who and what do I band together? How do I fit the puzzle pieces of my heart back into a complete picture? I have no idea how other people would approach this problem. I just woke up this morning knowing how I will. I’ll do what I LOVE to do. I’ll grow food. Regeneratively. With permaculture principles tucked in my carhartt pockets. I’ll grow food because it is my exercise. I’ll grow food because it is one thing that manages my anxiety. I’ll grow it because I need healthy organic foods that don’t make me sick. I’ll also grow it for the soil, for the bees, for the ladybugs, for the birds, and for the wild things. I’ll grow food like I’m running out of time to…. because what if I am? I’ll grow food… and try to save myself while I’m trying to save my world. I also take more walks, more naps, stretch more, breathe, meditate and ask for support when I need it.
Then, after having this realization, another thing happened. When I got homestead from vacation, I had an awesome email waiting for me in what felt like a sea of them. From a woman named Jessica, who has just finished making a documentary called… wait for it…. Grow Food. She found us online and wants to get to know us both. She wants to come visit our homestead this spring. And man, after watching this trailer… I have just loved starting to get to know her and her work in the world over the last couple of days. We are all totally geeking out on each other. I cannot wait to see the full film when it comes out in March. I can’t wait to meet her in person. I think this film might just have the power to inspire a lot of people to grow food too. It feels like something we can do. To feed ourselves and each other while we heal our broken hearts. While we learn how to heal our broken lands. I’m so grateful she reached out to us, it helped me come to this simple conclusion of what I can do much quicker than I might have on my own. (I hope you will all check out the trailer. Their kickstarter is over, but you can still follow them on your socials. Share their content and watch the movie when it comes out by registering on the website.)
I’m not sure if it is just the fact that it is a new year or the much overdue vacation or what, but I’m finding myself full of hope. Full of faith. And all hopped up on determination. To do what I can, as I can handle doing it. With some better balance than I did before, of course. And with like… a lot more breaks for naps. And coloring books. 😉 I certainly learned my lesson about what not paying attention to self care can cost me. I’m looking so forward to the growing season. To connecting to my community as we band together in tough times…. ‘because we have each other and that’s what’s up’. I’m looking forward to my word for 2018, which is heal. I can see how well that word will apply itself to my broken heart. I can see how I can do that healing, right here, right now.
So, I will close with this… a few quotes that are meaning a lot to me right now. I have them written in my new 2018 journal and I’m loving reading them every day.
“Out of suffering emerges the strongest souls.”
“You cannot heal the world until you heal yourself.” (Amen!!)
“God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling.”
“Healing comes from gathering wisdom from past actions and letting go of the pain that the education cost you.” (halle-freaking-lujah)
Now I have no idea if anyone else has been had a tough year in 2017 like I had, but I’m curious if you did. Did your hearts break? And if so, I’m curious how you are working towards letting it go. Will one way you do it find you trying to grow? Comment away with your own stories, I love it when you do that!! <3
I find Sow True Seed a great way to grow!
Are you finding yourself wanting to design a new life and a new way? Don’t forget to check out our website for ways to visit for a homestead tour or chat online with me in 2018. We will have limited availability for visitors this year as I’m trying to find some better balance and healing myself… so call or email early in the season!
And of course, if you love the work we do here – don’t forget it is a new year and we could majorly use some donations to our non-profit arm to support our work here and to keep us sharing! Here’s the info on that:
You can now make a donation to the farm’s donation based educational programs by sending funds to our non-profit arm! You can either send checks or money orders made out to “Redbud Institute” with a memo line that says “for Eight Owls Farmstead” and mail them to PO box 1791 Brevard, NC 28712. OR you can pay via PayPal by sending your donation to this email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”, again please put a memo note on the donation that it is for Eight Owls Farmstead.
Redbud Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so you will get a receipt to show you donated to one. 100% of your donation will go straight to fund operating expenses, equipment project development and keeping the cost of our donation based education at Eight Owls Farmstead nice and affordable. Please make sure to include your mailing address if it is not on your check and email address, so we can send you a receipt and our eternal thanks! Every single little bit will help us continue to move forward with the work that we do here.