Thursday, August 26, 2010

The 'EPL' strategy to personal planning

First a disclaimer or note to readers:  I did read Eat, Pray, Love and am proud to say I did discover it before it became one of 'those books' that everyone has read and is everywhere and is now a movie... which I doubt I will see anytime soon.  Both because of my current location and because I am hesitant to.  This post refers to the book but please see beyond that if you are one of the people sick and tired of hearing about 'the book.'

It was almost two years ago when it felt like my entire life was under question.  I knew what I didn't want to be doing and who I didn't want to be doing it with but I was still figuring out what that meant in terms of where, what and with who I DID want to be.  My solution was to borrow a simple exercise from Elizabeth Gilbert in the now infamous book Eat, Pray, Love.  Early on in the book she talks about how she just kept asking herself what she really, really, really, really, really wanted to do.  (I may have got the number of 'really's' off here - I don't have the book on hand to provide references)  She kept asking this and kept listening to the responses.  She did dismiss responses nor did she jump on any immediately.  But she listened for the ones that 'stuck' and for the patterns that emerged in them.  I tried that and ended up spending my last months in Asia exploring places and experiences with people that truly made me and allowed me to laugh.  I ended up hopping over to the UK to take up the Masters that I had always wanted to do.  And I landed in Canada to begin a journey of coming home, really HOME.  Thinking that worked out pretty well...  and coming to another point where I see a blank sheet, foggy road, open field in front of me... I thought I would try it again.

So I am asking myself... what do I really, really, really, really, really want to be doing, today - and I am listening to the daily responses - the changes, the patterns and looking forward to how things emerge around that.

Yesterday - I wanted to be eating, cooking, sharing food that I've helped grow - enjoying the abundance of nature and live, friendship and family - over a kitchen table.

Today - I want to work with farmers and rural towns to build resilience and alternatives; I want to raise and cook food that gets talked about in magazines and books; I want to ride horse

What will tomorrow be, I am looking forward to find out...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dealing with the doubters and dissenters

I'm grumpy, stormy, irritable.
It's PMS + rain falling + anxiety from being somewhere in the middle of my thesis and trying to figure my way out.

Today I intended to finish the first half and step nicely into the second.  I wanted to feel solid, complete about the first half but the hermeneutics of the process is that the first half feels inadequate but I can't see myself really bringing clarity or strength to it without going into the second half - discussing context and application of the ideas in the first half.

And last night - sitting on the back of a motorcycle as we drove through sun-drenched prairies - I was okay with that plan.  The doubters and dissenters inside my head were muted, if not quiet.

And then today I received an email from advisor.  It was a supportive email but it gave acknowledgement to those doubters and dissenters and made me have to have quite the conversation with them.

The tension is good in that it is the right for me to go: is this the right, next step? Where am I right now? And - How interesting that I am at this point!  It is to bring clarity and confidence about where I am, why and where I want to go and some sense of how all my thoughts fit in.

Which is good and healthy and part of the whole experience.  And I just needed to let myself be a bit grumpy and stormy while looking the tension in the face and use it going forward.

But - oh - how happy I will be when this thesis is complete and in the mail!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beyond the next 12 months

During the organic gardening course at CAT I was struck by the time-scales that the projects were being run on.  The leaders shared with us their own experiments with composting, gardening and reclaiming materials and the idea of 6-12 months being 'short' and 'being impatient' amused me.  The last years of my life have been such that being able to think or plan beyond 12 months has been more of a joke than possibility, let alone do something that you expect to wait for 2, 5, 10 or more years for results from.

And I know that is what I have been craving - the stability and place to be based in order to flow with and change along with it.  To plant a seed knowing that it may be 1 year or longer before I see a flower or taste its fruit.  And in the last 3 months I have seen myself getting more comfortable with it.  Putting in horseradish that will take a year to establish before we can use it; seeing trees planted and thinking I may be around to see them grow; burying cherries in order to ferment and sprout the seeds - waiting until next spring to see which seeds are ready to be planted and then being ready to wait for their seedlings to emerge.   I have slowed down and settled in - the first week home I could barely wait until a seed took a few weeks to sprout, and now I am thinking of trees that will only bear fruit in 3-4 years time.  

Alberta's big horizons have always impressed me - maybe they are making an impression in me.