I know, I know. I've posted this video before, and recently at that. I'm sorry, I just can't help it. It's my theme song right now. What we are doing this winter/spring (Which is it really? I can't tell.) continues to amaze me. No money but lots of action. In searching for understanding of this extreme motivation we've fallen under, I am brought back to a period of our lives which for years I have considered to be the happiest nine months of our lives.
We moved to Tennessee a little less than fifteen years ago. We came to this lovely state to farm with some other families in a religious community. We farmed with horses, had no electricity, no phone, no running water, and no vehicle other than a community van which my family rarely used. Our house was tiny but we made it cozy. It was built mostly from leftover pallets from a nearby factory. It was a beautiful spot, with a delicious spring close by. I miss it still. We worked hard, perhaps harder than we ever have, milked our cow every day and produced incredible crops of vegetables. But it was not meant to be.
After only a few months conflicts started to arise with the family that had been on the farm originally. The third family never came. We were put in the "one man ban" (for more on banning click here) by the family we were still trying to work with. Less than a year after we moved to the state, we were moving again. This time to a barn owned by a local merchant. We built an apartment in it and lived there until we bought the property we live on now. We were penniless, and though we tried not to be resentful, the root of bitterness held on to us for a long, long time.
This is what we are in recovery from. And, looking back on that time this morning helps me understand what is going on with us this season. You see, during that time we were maintaining our situation. This may not seem to be a big deal for many of you. It seems to me that maintenance is a natural thing for most people. They keep their houses, cars and yards clean. Because of these habits they are able to get a lot done. But what is easy for one person can be the hardest thing for others. My husband and I seem to be plagued by the same personality trait here. If we are going to maintain something there needs to be a reason, a major reason, outside of ourselves. At that farm fifteen years ago there were spiritual reasons for us to keep things up. When we moved away from that situation, we sort of lost our reason to maintain.
Today we are returning to an old goal, we are seeking self-sufficiency. This is a goal that has been with us almost since we met, and it has mutated into many different forms. I think now we have a much more holistic view of this concept. We are looking at the land around us and seeing what will work best for it within our plan. And the care of the land is perpetuating the drive to improve other areas of our lives. You see, it is not enough for us to maintain something just because someone says it should be maintained. This is what our local road crew is doing when it grades our road (click here) They are doing what they are told without awareness, without seeing the damage their so called maintenance is wrecking.
Maintenance coupled with awareness is recovery. Think about drug or alcohol recovery programs. They talk a great deal about the "one day at a time" principle. What this means is - I am not drinking today, not because someone told me I shouldn't drink, but rather because if I drink I will do damage to my body, my family, my job, my education, and my greater society. So when we clean out a blackberry patch, we are not doing it because someone thinks our yard looks messy, but because a clean blackberry patch is a productive one, and blackberries are good for the body, mind, and soul (and even the greater society)!