Journal excerpt dated 2/13/12
"When was the last time I thrived? I mean really thrived. Hindsight and reflective distance may not lend well to absolute accuracy in some ways, but in other ways, maybe they do.
I think back to when I was in grad school, living in Louisville, KY (04-06). Has it been that long ago already?! I was surrounded by creative folks: art therapists, musicians, artists, anarchists, punks, young farmers. It was in this space that I was introduced to the importance of food and self-sufficiency.
I remember riding my motorcycle with two other friends, both traveling anarchist types. We traveled far (probably 2 or so hours) away from the city. I don't recall the name of the town we went to, but I don't think it was really a town anyway.
We rode through the winding countryside, up and down hills, passing fields, meadows, trees, old houses here and there. We arrived at a driveway located in the middle of a large cow field. I couldn't see a house anywhere. We rode our bikes over a rickety wooden bridge and parked them in the grass. We grabbed our bags (as we intended to stay overnight), and made the hike up the driveway. I'd say the driveway was about 2 or so miles long.
We arrived at a very small, very old house that looked like it might have been the servants quarters at one time. The residents came to greet us, and they were all around the same age as us (early to late 20s). Inside the house was evidence of a hard working/farming bunch. Food was everywhere, as they were preparing baskets for their CSA customers. They showed me the garden, which was impressive. I observed and absorbed while my two friends talked permaculture with the group.
That night we all sat on hay bales and drank homemade cider. I listened to the crew talk philosophy and politics, which mainly centered on the merits of anarchy and self-sufficiency.
This was an introduction to another way of life. Since my time in Kentucky, I've read a lot about farming and food, I've grown container gardens, experimented with fermentation, I have learned how to cook--but it's just been a taste. A very small taste.
I have a good job at a reputable institution, I have room for creativity, flexibility and independence in my work, I have meaningful work. I've started waking up at 5:30am every week day, as I'm able to make art in the mornings.
But I am not thriving.
I'm not convinced of this "career" path. I think that self-sufficiency is better. But how does one get started?
This is what I'm working on. My gears are shifting. This is the journey I'm willing to take."
As I was searching for notes from a fermentation intensive I attended last Spring in Asheville, NC, I rediscovered the above journal entry. While I flipped through the notebook to find the fermentation notes, I found several other musings, phrases, diggings, dreams of transformation..snakes shedding their skin...a quote from Joseph Campbell ("Work begins when you don't like what you're doing. Tension, a lack of honesty, and a sense of unreality come from following the wrong force in your life. As an adult, you must rediscover the moving of life!")...themes of exploration and reintegration, recapturing, repossessing, a yearning to reinhabit myself...and on it goes.
I'm preparing for indoor seed planting soon. This is the first season ever for me to have a garden in the ground. It's the first season for composting. It's the first season for beekeeping. It's the first season for seed saving. Many many firsts this season.
After nearly a decade of trying out a "career" and living a fairly structured lifestyle, I'm finally completely okay with accepting that just doesn't make sense for me. I'm now making art and growing food. I've even taken up playing the piano again. It' s been a process, many times a struggle and definitely a journey. There wouldn't be growth without struggle. I'm in my groove. I'm overwhelmingly grateful. I'm thriving.
Journal excerpt dated 2/13/12