“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie
A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.
The fence is built, and tonight the gate portion will be completed. After we worked in the barn and took the goats for a walk into their future grazing field, I was reminded of the concept of enjoying the journey. There is no better time than the present. It isn’t about the fence being completed, it’s about all of the moments in between. Laughing with Chris, learning to use the screw gun, noticing the art in simple woodworking projects, a sense of accomplishment, listening to an MPR program and it reminding me of Oregon, taking breaks with the goats, watching one of the Mille Fleur chickens come over to visit Chris as he worked close to the ground (wish I had my camera), and many others. The fence being completed will be one of those lovely moments, but is no more meaningful than the process of getting there.
My family’s experiences over the past few years have been huge lessons in attachment and living in today. While we were living on our land, I started paying attention to the moments that were so rich, even when I was money poor and uncertain of our future. Prior to that, I wouldn’t let myself enjoy something if there was something else that wasn’t right. There is never a time though that everything is “right”, so that is a lot of waiting.
When we moved to North Carolina, I was a student of attachments. It was understandable that I grieved the loss of our home, animals, community, family, etc… yet I can see the flawed thinking that any particular scenario is going to make me any happier than I am today. The happiness is actually centered within myself and my acceptance of the path that my life is winding through, and it is exactly where I am supposed to be. The Buddhist concept of Dukkha is woven within the lack of acceptance (suffereing because of a lack of acceptance of the impermanace of everything). It it like the never-ending decisions that I think I need to make and think will make me feel better, which clog up the natural workings of my mind and the beauty of each moment that I have. Yes, there are some decisions that may need to be made, but my happiness is not contingent on their outcomes.
After experiencing 8 months of continual planning how to get back to River Falls, during our year in North Carolina, I started seeing the moments I was missing because of my attachment to our land. I felt like I was betraying those 11 acres by living in the moments that were already so full of life. As I started to reflect on our time in North Carolina I was overwhelmed by the good that each day was filled with. I was sick for most of my time there, so it was not free of pain, but I was learning. The mix of my passions, teaching and getting to know myself better than any other time in my life, created miracles that were both unexpected and powerful. It is the last place I would have looked for miracles becuase it wasn’t where I planned to be. I believe that those times that seem so hard, are where most of the real gems are found. Those gems are helping me today to see the places that attachments to things, people, and ideas continue to block me from knowing myself better and letting the inevitability of change happen without such resistance. I am a new person everyday because I learn more about myself through each new experience.
I am using that knowledge in events that are in my uncertain future, like the plot of earth adjacent to the house. I do not know why it keeps calling to me, but I remain open to what it may possibly hold for me and others. Today, the journey holds writing a letter to Jim, one of the owners, and telling him about my interest in organic farming and giving to our community. I am open to any scenario that puts good food into the homes of those in need. No matter what happens with that parcel of land, a garden will be planted, produce harvested and my family and others fed. In this moment, I imagine full boxes of beautiful, colorful veggies being handed to smiling faces. Just thinking about giving creates happiness.