This year has been both a really tough year, as well as a really great year for us here at Shantara Acres Farm. It started out last January with me (the head milkmaid and soap maker) going back to school full time. I have always and forever wanted to finish my degree, and when the financing came through I decided to go for it. Sure, I’ll owe money probably forever, but in the face of a dream, what is money?
I’ve learned a few things this year that I’d like to share with everyone today, in hopes of providing a little encouragement to those who might be feeling just a little lost.
The first thing is that if you have a dream, and you must have a dream, you must follow that dream wherever it leads you. Nobody is going to give you permission to go after your dream, and in fact, even people who love you may stand in your way, worried about you and what will become of the you they knew. We are here on this Earth for just a short time. Every second counts and we must spend as many of those seconds as we can in a forward motion towards the highest goals of our hearts…towards what makes our souls sing and shine.
I’ve learned that despite what others may say, the acquisition of money should never be the goal, instead, money is what flows naturally to you, when you are engaged in your dream and connecting with the great spirit. (however you define that great spirit). The greatest success in life is doing what you love. And that may look different from day to day.
I’ve learned that Art and Creativity are NOT options to engage in when all the chores are done. I’ve learned that Art and Creativity are the REASON for life…we still have to brush our teeth and go to work, but when we live from our hearts, and our souls are flourishing, we are at our highest best, and are a much bigger light in the world than when we are simply chasing around trying to get the bills paid. The bills will get paid, we might as well enjoy the doing of it.
I’ve discovered, through my farm life, that the business end of the farm does not always need to make sense on paper to be successful. Sometimes the smallest goat in the herd steps up her milk production in the fall, when everyone else is dropping down, and becomes the most amazing milker ever. Sometimes the babies who don’t get sold in the fall hang around in the cold and bitter winter to provide hugs, kisses, and sweetness to humans who might not get that from those they love. Sometimes those hay-burning horses out in the pasture provide enough beauty to last a whole day…and keep their caretakers out of the mental hospitals…who can put a price on that?
While I’ve never enjoyed the killing of things, I’ve discovered that a whole freezer full of my own, humanely raised and loved pork can provide a degree of freedom and relief as I pass by the conventionally raised meats in the grocery store…steaks and chops from animals that lived a life of stress and confinement, with happy moments few and far between. I’ve learned that there is a certain rhythm that exists between humans, animals, and the planet, and that by living closer to the land, I’m able to connect with that rhythm and exist with it, without exploiting it.
I’ve learned that the people that you love don’t always love you back, at least not in the way that you’d hoped, but that life goes on and we can be happy despite being disappointed. And in fact, it’s those disappointments and the realization that we might never truly please the one we think we love the most, that can catapult us into becoming our very best self. And trying new things. And going out on that limb. Just when we think all is lost, we realize, finally, that we actually have nothing to lose. Nothing. And when we lose that fear, we gain our soul. Again.
I wish you all a beautiful, peaceful end to 2013, and hope to see you all on the other side of January, fully engaged in living your dreams.
My youngest son Brandon a few years ago!