One thing that is very important to me is the ability to provide for self and family, not so much in terms of bringing in a pay cheque, but more in being able to grow and process one’s own food, live in harmony with the natural environment and demonstrate that, given a small piece of land, one can find sufficient resources to survive.
I make a point of watching the news once a day to stay tuned in to what is happening in the world. Most news focuses on the negative with the assumption that good news doesn’t sell. Perhaps the misfortunes of others help us feel better about our own lives. Lately, however, the “bad news” has become very personal with endless coverage of the pandemic, social restrictions, warmest year on record, food security, economic troubles, etc.
What affects us personally requires solutions that come from every one of us, even though we tend to shift most of the responsibility to governments and those in authority. We each have a unique opportunity to make a difference by fully embracing what we have no matter how much or how little. A tiny seed can grow into a giant tree.
Working hard is rarely the solution. Expending a lot of effort and energy usually involves imposing our narrow view of how things should be. It’s like trying to force a river to flow up hill. Better to work with the natural flow rather than lament wasted effort. Good solutions require us to be aware, open minded and willing to provide space for life to blossom, then apply energy where it is most effective.
This moment has incredible potential as soon as it is recognized as the only reality we will ever know.
The value of every experience we have is to teach us about living. Comfort or discomfort aside, life is a journey of enlightenment. If we choose to ignore this and always look forward to some magical “better life” tomorrow, we will simply not get there.
The events of the past year have inspired many of us to look at our spaces as potential for growing our own food and rehabilitating the natural environment. Even small spaces have been made productive with container gardens. When so much of our food depends on imports or large-scale farms that are completely dependent on migrant workers, food security looks a bit fragile during uncertain times. The more food we can produce locally, the more resilient our community.
We don’t need to wait until May 24th to start gardening. A south facing window can support a pot of herbs from which we can take sprigs to enhance the flavour and quality of food we eat. A sunroom can be a place to grow salad greens and start the warm season crops, like peppers and tomatoes.
For those who have a greenhouse sitting vacant through the winter, there is potential to grow a host of vegetables throughout the winter with little or no expense. We can avoid the high cost of heating greenhouses by taking advantage of the passive solar heat we receive on the sunny, cold days of late winter, then trapping the heat close to the soil by pulling frost blankets over the greenhouse beds before the sun sets.
Already, toward the end of January, the daylength had increased substantially since the winter solstice. The closer we get to the spring equinox when daylength is 12 hours, the more vigorous the growth of our cold hardy plants like lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, oriental greens, beets, parsley and arugula. A mix of these greens eaten every day as salads, stir fries, or in soups goes a long way toward helping ensure physical health. The act of growing one’s own food can contribute immensely to our general sense of well-being.
If we each grow even a small portion of food we consume, we will more likely see the shift we need to move all of humanity onto a more sustainable course, one that addresses the issues that are now affecting all of us and our fellow creatures.
The sense of belonging to the natural world is something humanity as a whole seems to have lost a long time ago. The act of naturally producing and gathering our food is an acknowledgement of our connection to Nature. With this connection comes that long lost sense of belonging and profound gratitude.
Perhaps, as we acknowledge our intimate connection with all of Nature, this renewed affection will spread around the world as fast as the pandemic that brought humanity to its knees.
The point is to look at what we have in this present moment with wide open eyes. Out of this situation and the pieces that present themselves, an open mind can see the masterpiece of life unfolding.
Out of this moment fully embraced will flow a new present moment and so on as we watch our lives with all its ups and downs unfolding with richness and simple elegance.