‘Values’ and ‘purpose’ are words that we are hearing more and more frequently. Do you find yourself reflecting about what you do in the world and wonder how, or if, you are contributing? This happened to me, gradually I began wondering and then the questions started to hit me until I couldn’t ignore them anymore. For years I justified my work in the world and after a while I realised that wasn’t enough. As I have shared in previous posts; I allowed for a transition in my life, one that I am navigating and sculpting based on how I want to show up in this world.
Is this something you have given thought to, or noticed creeping into your life?
I recently traveled to Mexico City as I am doing a course in the USA and I wanted to find a place to spend time between my schedules. I decided this would be a good opportunity to learn Spanish as I’m going to be in the country, the least I could do was try to speak the language.
On the first day of my Spanish class I met my classmate who introduced herself as Suzy. As she and the teacher chatted away in basic level Spanish, I started falling back into my shadow memories of “not being good at school”. The knee jerk reaction of this shadow immediately made me dislike Suzy, in my shadow state I saw her as someone who is looking down at me. Class that day was a nightmare, I stuttered and stumbled through the basic words not being able to read anything correctly and mispronouncing everything, all the while Suzy was there to correct me, an act I saw at the time as a smug way of showing off. As we wrapped up for the day, I’m thinking I’m not going to be able to get through another couple of weeks of this torture.
Outside the classroom, myself and Suzy began to make some awkward small talk and despite how I was feeling at the time, we decided to go grab some food together. Within about 5 seconds of speaking English with Suzy, I realised how much I had misjudged her. She tells me about how she worked in finance in LA, Boston, and Wall Street for the last 10 years. You can tell Suzy is a seriously hard worker and would excel at anything she puts her mind to, actually that’s the meaning of her name, to excel! Over lunch, Suzy tells me about her life, her ex-husband, the ‘dream life’ she had, and I kid you not, by all intents and purposes it was the dream life (for some). Suzy and her husband would go for extravagant trips to London, stay in the best hotels and shop in the most high-end stores. Life was full of adventure… but slowly over the span of what might have been 3 years, those questions, reflection, and wondering about life began to become too strong for Suzy, she started to see the emptiness in everything around her, all the material objects, the long hours, the unspoken life that was not being lived. A burning desire for something else rang through too strong to ignore.
Suzy made the decision to leave her work, she had already left her husband and she also donated and sold everything she had apart from her car. Suzy took to the road, traveling from the hustle and bustle of LA and began to visit agricultural farms all along the United States. Regenerative farming is beginning to take off in pockets around the US, a country that has wide scale single crop farming. Over the last number of years the US has been hit with drought, extreme wildfires and mass crop failures, all likely side-effects of global warming. This new approach to farming is a breath of fresh air for the planet. Regenerative farming now fascinates Suzy, she has a hunger to learn and understand how the planet grows, renews and how we humans can play a key role in this process working with nature.
Suzy and the farms
Suzy very kindly shared in her own words a snipped of her travels along these farms;
Scape Goat Ranch located outside Austin, TX. (IG: scapegoatranchtx)
It was the very first farm I volunteered at after I quit my job in finance. My first task was to scoop the goat poop and move it to a compost pile. It was pouring rain and I was getting rained on and was stepping all over the muddy goat poop. At the moment, I felt a sense of bliss and contentment from being connected to nature and being physically active. At this farm, I learned how to milk goats and also learned that goats are intelligent animals. This experience triggered me to continue the journey of learning more about farmstead and agriculture.
Image source; Scape Goat Ranch Facebook home page
The next place I volunteered at is an organization called Water is Alive outside Dallas in Texas Its mission is to clean contaminants in river water with food grade microorganisms growing on agricultural by-products such as food scraps and mycelium mushrooms. The founder is very passionate about this cause and I learned about bokashi composting and biofilters.
In order to learn about the hydroponics system, I volunteered at Profound Microfarms outside Dallas in Texas. This is a commercial scale farm with hydroponics operations. Here I learned that hydroponics has several benefits compared to conventional farming. Hydroponics uses significantly less amount of water and does not use any agro chemicals since it’s indoors. Therefore the produce is safe to consume.
Suzy is now traveling Mexico, to discover more about alternative farming methods, she will be tracking what she learns and publishing her findings, information I will keep track of.
Image source; Dallas Observer, How You Can Help Expand Profound Microfarms Taylor Adams
It seems more and more of humanity are beginning to shift their focus to values and purpose, caring about the future and the planet. I am seeing this in many different ways, through the huge life shifts taken by people like my friend Suzy. To the wonderful people from the course I am doing, each of whom are actively looking at different ways in which they can contribute and give back to the world. Will the next few years be a path of reconnecting our relationship with nature, each other and ourselves? I personally believe so, and I believe the more of us that begin to make this shift the quicker the momentum will build and the faster we will adapt, you know that saying ‘A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it’_Confucius ... I look forward to seeing more and more regenerative movements, permaculture, and biomimicry. In cities, towns with community growth, healing hubs, there are plenty of places for people to grow, understand and develop deeper connections. This is my belief that I let go into the universe, we are all co-creating the future.