After a lot working and reworking my new blog is out with its first post as well. Find it here – named Actions that Promote Change!
This is my last post on this blog. I will start a new blog page pretty soon, but it will be filled with less opinions, thoughts and experiences, and be all about doing and action – my doing and action to regenerate our farm and hopefully teach people that there is a way for us to turn around the destruction of Mother Earth. That’s for another day, I will send a link on a final final post from this blog to the new blog for those who wish to follow.
As I do a final reflection of the time I spent thinking about life and building my own perspective of life, I can say with deep joy that I’m getting comfortable that things I think now are no longer thoughts, but they are a reality for me. So much has changed for me in the last 5 years, and I thank Mother Earth that she has led me back to her through plot living. It has been a life much closer to nature, going back to basics, and really starting to understand what true wealth and happiness is about.
I am no longer attached to having the latest fashion, driving the sporty sexy car, owning the latest gadgets or the newest technology. My cupboard is only a quarter full now compared to what it was 5 years ago, and I am still throwing things out. My list of Christmas and birthday gifts have changed from jewelery and “cool things” to a dining room table, water tanks, solar panels and a mushroom grow room. (And a gun…) When I walk in the shops and see that we as humans have attached so much value to a mobile phone that people are willing to pay R14,000 for it, I think to myself that that is almost the same price as 3 water tanks which equates to life and being able to grow your own vegetables. I can go on and on about how much less money I spend now, and not only because I grow a large part of my own food, but also because I’m shopping wiser and every non-food/toiletry purchase I make goes through a proper evaluation of “do I really need it”, or “is this impulse”.
To close off, I will share what I am grateful for the most, what I have been saddened about the most, and the one regret I carry right now in my life. Let’s start with the good stuff. I’m absolutely grateful that my eyes have opened up to what my absolute passion and joy is in life, the one thing that I would be willing to be burnt at the stake for, and who I truly am deep in my heart. Unfortunately for this to happen I had to get divorced and be released from my ex-husband as our life together was taking me further and further away from who I really am and what I truly wanted in life. This is not what I am the saddest about, as a matter of fact our relationship was a big driver to me getting back on the awakened path which I shut down as a young adult out of fear of being weird.
Unfortunately right at the end of our divorce (still going after legally being divorced 2 1/2 years already) our “amicable” split turned volatile. I had learned a side of my ex-husband that many people say they have always seen, a victim-narcissist that tries his hardest to remove all responsibility from himself by first playing the victim and then playing the blame game, while at the same time expecting that he can live a life in luxury that somebody else has to pay for. Still, this is not what saddened me the most, nor what I regret. What saddens me is that even right till the end of our marriage, when we got divorced, I remained blinded to this side of him. The optimist in me wanted to keep believing that he is a good man, yet in the end this is not the truth. It saddens me that my giving and compassionate heart made me not see this, and that I lived a life with a man that was slowly but surely killing my fire and dragging me along in his dreams while I was being torn further and further from mine. And my mom saw this before we even got married…
Then lastly, my regret I’m carrying right now. I regret that I destroyed a friendship with a man I dearly loved, to rather be in a relationship with my ex-husband. I regret that at that point in my life I was strung along by his stories that he can look after me financially and that he was a successful project manager with a successful career and that he has the fast fancy car etc. I regret that I destroyed a friendship where I could just be me, follow my dreams and have all the support in the world to live those dreams.
Having said all of this, I also realise that such is life. Our ego plays these games with us which gets fed by marketing campaigns and in today’s world it is even harder than ever to stay true to your path, especially when your ego is still over shadowing your spirit. My wish for every person out there is that you may find your path. My advice for every person out there is that you discover your spirit first, because then it is easier to find your path.
Not living in the city has opened my eyes up to how advertising and marketing bombards us with “bigger, better, faster, more, younger, improved, will make you happy” things. I have also come to realise that we actually don’t need a tenth of what we are led to believe we need. And I also know that not having any of the things we are being sold definitely doesn’t make our lives worse, as a matter of fact, I would go as far as to say that it actually makes our lives better.
There is one obvious reason it makes our lives better. For starters, we spend less money, money that we often owe the bank and that is not truly ours. Money that costs us a lot of money. But then there are also much bigger reasons than just your bank balance to be aware of.
There are many posts on Facebook nowadays about our bees going extinct, how our foods are no longer safe due to GMOs, about how birds are filled with plastic, our seas are filled with waste, rivers are filled with oil, I can go on and on. There is one big driving factor that will forever make sure that all of the above problems continue and keep getting worse. It is the human population’s insatiable hunger for consumerism.
If you are in any way worried about our plastic and animal extinction problem, and if you feel your heart bleed when you click on the share button of yet another post that tells us how we are destroying the world, I challenge you to do something more, something that can actually make a difference.
Let’s start with GMOs. If you believe, as I do, that GMOs are contributing to cancer and a various list of diseases – stop buying foods that are questionable. Even further, if you have recently shared a post on the extinction of our bees, STOP BUYING GMO FOOD. Unfortunately, most of our big chain stores, including our high quality W store, sell GMO food. Your solution – find the weekly local markets or the small fruit and vegetable shops that sell straight from the farm. There is another bonus in doing this, you’ll start supporting local. And if there is one way we are going to curb the food shortage problem, supporting local farmers/growers is the way to go. I know not everyone are keen vegetable growers, but the ultimate solution is to grow it yourself. I am more than happy to help people grow home grown food and to redesign their gardens in such a way that they not only grow enough for themselves, but for their neighbourhood. And even more, growing food doesn’t have to be a “spend your life in the garden every weekend” intensive exercise – good planning and good design and you can bring a lot of maintenance down. Did you know that if we utilise 4 – 6% of the space in urban environments to grow food, we will solve the food shortage problem world wide?
Next up – waste, whether it be plastic, polisterene, cans, glass – anything you throw in a dustbin that magically disappears once a week. Here is the thing, even if you recycle, once a block of plastic has been made, it will exist forever. And for as long as you keep on buying things in plastic, they will keep on making more. This goes for anything you buy in packaging. Ask yourself, is this something that can be returned to the soil and it will become soil, or is this something that will cause harm to the environment. There are many sites out there today teaching people about living waste free. Both the ladies of these two sites – http://www.zerowastehome.com/ and http://www.trashisfortossers.com/ throw out one mason jar of waste a year, negligible if you compare it to the rest. I can write a whole blog about saving waste, so I’ll save that for later, but I can tell you one thing – reducing your waste does take a bit of planning, but in the long run it is actually cheaper. As one example – I have replaced my triple-blade-smooth-as-a-babies-bottom-razor-with-blades-that-aren’t-recyclable with a safety razor instead. I push my blades quite a bit, but on average a blade should last you a month, unless you are the wolf man. A new blox of blades has 6 blades in it and costs a total of R9. I even checked, a year later, it still costs R9.
Lastly, let’s talk shopping. Next time you buy another piece of clothing, ask yourself this – do you really need it, or do you actually have enough already. That next pair of shoes – is your current black pair still doing it’s job? Your car is 5 years old or it’s warranty has expired? Is it really necessary to get the next newest latest model? Is it really worth staying in debt (and probably more debt) anyway? Here is what I want you to really think about when you buy the next piece of whatever. What went into making it. Let’s look at a car (I’ll choose the biggest object because it has the biggest impact). What does it take to make that car? It takes digging up metals and oil. It takes building factories that pollute our air to build these cars. It takes building trucks that drive these cars around the country to have them delivered. It creates an enormous carbon foot print and they probably chopped down a couple of hundred trees and destroyed wild life habitat to build/transport these cars at some point too. Now I’m not saying you should not own a car (although some days I wish I could disown myself of a car). Let’s hypothetically speaking say there were only 100 of us in the world. At most we need 100 cars, but if we really want to become energy efficient I would say we all car pool and bring it down to between 25 and 40 cars. That car will keep on working perfectly fine for the next 10, maybe even 20 years. If all 100 of us bought a new car every 5 years, within 50 years there are 1000 cars, of which 900 need to be converted to scrap metal. Now let’s imagine the world 100 of us lived on was only 10 hectares. How long do you think it will take to fill our world with scrap metal (not counting all the other waste we need to find space for).
The fact of the matter is this – for as long as you buy more when you don’t really need more, they will make and advertise and market more. And for long as they make, advertise and market more, there will be more waste, more pollution of our seas, more animals dying out, more animals suffocating and going through cruel unnecessary deaths.
You can make a difference today, by doing some research to understand what it takes to make that new garment, car, gadget, cell phone that you want to buy, and what happens to the old ones. You’ll be amazed at how much waste we generate as a nation, and it is easy to ignore if you don’t see it, but our population is increasing at a tremendous speed, and if we keep going as we do, we may all have to live on little trash heaps pretty soon.
I would much rather shop less and plant more – practically everything we need comes from mother Earth and goes back to mother Earth to be decomposed into life giving soil. And my experience, once you start looking after your own little piece of Earth, it’s much more fun watching seedlings and veggies pop up than going to the shops anyway!
There are three predominantly big lessons that the Universe has been teaching me over the last three years:
- Trust in the Universe.
- Don’t make impulsive decisions on things that have a long term impact on your life.
- Do not judge. Do not judge anyone. Do not judge anyone for anything.
The one I struggle with is number three.
Today I took one of my dogs, Blue, that came with our house and that we agreed to adopt, to stay at Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre until they can find a new home for him. If you told me about someone who had done what I did today 6 months ago, I would have strung together a bunch of judgments about how people should be more responsible with their pets. I’m not going to explain why I did it, I have no obligation to defend what I have done. But to put things in context, we are not moving house and three other dogs and a cat remain home with us, and on the surface it may seem that there is no good reason for doing what we have done.
It is not the first time I go through an event in my life where I have previously said I would never do such a thing or that such a thing will never happen to me. I know judgement is a thing I need to work on, I’m aware of it every single day, but if you could “size” things that I judge, this is one that’s right there in the “you’re going to burn in hell” box (if you believe in that). What I find interesting about this lesson, is all three lessons are intertwined into one big lesson this time. It is because of number 2 that I took Blue, without doing my research and without thinking of how it would affect my long term future. It is because of number 1 that I finally gave in to the decision to take Blue to a rescue centre.
What I have noticed though, is that to be guided by the Universe, you need to let go of your concept of right or wrong. Sometimes the wrongs are big things that we judge other people for. So I’m also learning that lesson 1 and 3 are very closely related. For as long as we judge things, people, ourselves, it cannot move us in the direction where our life flows and we are in the flow. It is hard not to judge in our current lives, especially with all the things happening in South Africa right now. Think of the kids burning down universities, our government spending our hard earned tax money on lavishes and luxuries. I struggle not to judge in these situations. But the facts are, we haven’t walked in their shoes, we don’t understand why they feel it is ok for them to do what they are doing now. I’m not saying what they’re doing is right, but there is a fine line between thinking that something is wrong, versus judging someone for doing something you believe is wrong.
You may judge me right now too as being heartless and not caring for animals. All I say to those that judge is that I understand why you do, but I am not going to let my life’s happiness depend on your judgement. You don’t walk my path, as much as I don’t walk yours. I’m happy to take you for a ride on my path, as much as I’m curious to get to know yours and understand yours. But know that for as long as you judge me, you close yourself off to seeing life through my eyes. At the end of the ride you may still feel that I was wrong, and that is a reality of life. Not everyone has the same rights and wrongs. As a matter of fact, something that seems right in your life at one stage, might feel completely wrong at another stage. And sometimes, like in this instance for me, we feel that our only choice is to do the wrong thing with the hopes of a better result for all parties in the end, or simply to save ourselves.
In today’s Facebook-everyone-thinks-they-have-a-right-to-tell-you-how-you-should-live-your-life society we have become so much more connected to each other, but at the same time we have become completely disconnected from the essence of each other. I invite you to join me on this journey where we try as much as we can to withhold our judgments of each other and become more interested in seeing things for what they truly are. While at the same time acknowledging that some days we’ll falter, and that we will need to forgive each other on those days. And also acknowledging that we will probably never fully understand what realities are happening in each other’s lives, but with compassion, we can at least accept each other even with differing realities.
In loving memory of my Blue, I am sorry my boy, and I know that the Universe has already found you a home where you will be loved even more than I loved you.
As I do at the end of every year, I reflected on 2015 to take stock of my life. It gives me perspective of whether things were as bad or as good or as mediocre as I thought. 2015 was a strange year for me. I had a lot of really big highs, but at the same time I had a lot of really big lows. Most of the big knocks took place in the second half of the year, so looking back was a good way for me to notice that all in all, the year wasn’t all bad. Usually I have a really rough year, or a really good year, or just an average year, but 2015 seemed to have almost all of that in one year. One of the things I have been aware of all the way throughout 2015 is how different my life is today compared to a couple of years ago. Not only that, my life is changing away from the mainstream crowd and onto a journey which is against the stream and contentious in many ways. There wasn’t one big decision in 2015 that caused a change. It was a bunch of small decisions and small changes, similar to a row of dominoes, and as the first one fell it set the wheels in motion for each new change. I can truly say that I prefer life this way, because I experience it as a life that is aligned to following my heart, even though I don’t necessarily know at each decision point which next path I will be lead to. To get to this state, one of the biggest mindset changes I made in 2014 is to not think too far ahead, and to not be too set on my own way of what I think the road should look like to get to my desired outcome. To be quite honest, I’m not 100% sure what my exact final outcome for my life is going to be. I have one big overarching intention, and that is to live a life where I am in tune with Spirit and where I can spend every day enhancing this connection. This is very different from 2014 where my life was directed by very hard and fast goals – monetary, fitness, career. Now all I want is to be at peace with myself and the world, and to be happy. Nothing more. Now that you have a sense of how my end horizon has changed in life, let me tell you how the workings of my life has changed.
If I had to plot things on a timeline, it would follow a sequence that is something like this:
- My husband and I split up in 2014. This is the only decision that I would say was a large one and a big catalyst for where my life is today. I often wonder if I would have been able to change my life to be what it is now if I set my mind to it and worked on fixing my marriage. My soul told me very otherwise, even then. I didn’t realise back then it was my soul and heart directing me, but since I had this realisation I pay very deep attention to these two life partners and allow them to be my life compass.
- I did John Kehoe’s Initiation in 2014. The reason I’m starting my timeline in 2014 is because most of my tools and small life decisions I learnt from the week I spent in his company. This time and the lessons learnt guided me out of the slump of being another one of the divorcee statistics and learning to be happy, for no reason other than the every day miracles Mother Earth brings us.
- I learnt very quickly that I am able to manifest what I want in my life. Towards the end of 2014 I had to look for a new place to live in a very short space of time. I was fresh out of Initiation, so it was a good high to be on at that time. And then early in 2015 we found what I now call home, or my farm. If you told me beginning 2014 that I will not only realise a life long dream of getting out of the city, but that I would also be able to put together a deposit the size we had to get for our home, I would have laughed. Handing things over to the universe and trusting in what it can do was my saving grace in this time. The thing about learning to believe and trust in unseeing forces working for us, is that our thinking mind keeps mistrusting the process, especially if you have been living in the thinking mind for a large part of your life (which is very typical of our Western society). So I have a couple of rhymes that I repeat to myself when doubts start creeping in that refocuses me on trusting and believing.
- So of course, through a lot of focus and trust, we moved into our home in 2015. Country life is definitely something that makes my heart overflow with song and joy. We are blessed to always be surrounded by bird song or night time crickets and frogs. It is peaceful here and we truly have our own space. The consistent awareness of people around you due to your neighbor living barely 25 meters away from you. There are many things that fascinates me if I compare where we used to live to now. The only one worth mentioning in this post is now that we live further from our neighbours, community has become more important – people here look out for each other.
- One of the biggest sellers of our farm was the vegetable garden. I have always loved gardening, but now I garden with the aim to eat our fruit and vegetables from our own land. I am extremely excited every time I cook a meal where all the vegetables on our plates come from my garden. Gardening has brought me closer to Mother Earth. I have always been connected to nature even as a child, my best trips was being out in the bushveld. I notice how natures’ cycles work and I have learnt repeatedly that Mother Earth looks after everything for you if you just restore the balance that she requires. It has also awakened and strengthened my spiritual connection and life. She is a big teacher in my life, and nature has always brought me clarity and peace. Now I have an environment where I can experience it every day.
- Because we are out in the sticks, we don’t have municipal rubbish pick up and need to pay for someone to come collect our trash on a weekly basis. So I signed up on a zero waste blog to figure out ways of reducing our “trash footprint”. I did this with the initial aim to just reduce costs and our waste, and because it is the environmentally friendly right thing to do. But end 2015 I had a real wake up call about how detrimental we as humans are to the environment, and 2016 I will be finding ways to reduce even our recycling stacks. We still use a lot of plastic, and we do recycle it, but it is a lot of unnecessary plastic.
- To become zero waste, you inherently have to start applying some minimalist thinking. So my path lead me to a duo of gents called “The Minimalists” – google it, you’ll find them, both with beautiful hair. What struck me about this part of my life path, is that all of a sudden I was waking up to how commercialism is being pushed down our throats. We are made to believe that bigger, better, faster, more expensive, latest trends, latest fads, latest technology, always being upgraded onto the newest and best will make us happy. Truth be told, it makes us spend more money which most of us don’t have and we are forever struggling to make ends meet. I have gradually started getting rid of things in my home and really evaluating if I am getting any value or need many of the things I have and thought I want in my life. I have also been buying a lot less. In 2015 I bought two items of clothing and two pairs of shoes in the whole year. In previous years that could have almost been my monthly quota!
In between these small steps there were also some even smaller steps. I started Djembe drumming to awaken my creative spirit. It brings me peace and stillness, and I have made some really valuable friends who walk a journey of Souls too. They have taught me so much and supported me in so many ways in my step by step journey into the unknown.
What lies ahead in 2016? I don’t set goals anymore, but I do set intentions. My first intention is to start making an income off my farm, second is to be more present in my day to day activities. Keep your eyes posted, the proudest pumpkin mother in the world will be posting some pumpkins for sale soon! Underlying these intentions there are two paths I already know I’ll be taking, although not sure exactly where they will lead. One is to really go all out with “zero waste” in an aim to truly bring my bit to the environment, no longer because it is the right thing to do, but I truly carry this close to my heart. The other is Permaculture, which is a way of restoring the environment back to it’s natural balance. It is a way of farming and gardening and also living – go google it for now, I can only really write about it once I have started applying it.
Someone asked me recently why I am willing to go all out on generating zero waste, when me alone won’t make a difference. That is probably true. But hopefully my journey inspires people to do their own bit for the environment and their own lives. More importantly, I am doing my bit because I believe in Karma. What you give is what you get. What I do know for sure is that if I look after Mother Earth, she looks after me in ways I could never imagine.