Cultivating joyous mental agility on small scale organic farms!

One summer’s day in July 2016, my wife turns to me and says ‘Hey Jonny! Let’s sell off all our stuff and head out on an adventure!’ As you might imagine, my first reaction was ‘What the WHAT? Are you crazy!’

I had just spent 7 years building a farm business that was able to generate upwards of $60,000 net income and had me working 50 to 55 hours per week, even in the height of summer (plus my wife and our toddler working 15 hrs per week taking care of the animals). We were farming 6.5 acres of vegetables marketed half and half through our 200 member CSA and our farmer’s markets for a total of $240,000 of sales per year. Plus, we were on the verge of buying our own land with the financial backing of the Quebec government who was willing to guarantee an $800K mortgage. As far as I could tell, we were being successful and as such, I saw no need to make a change and ‘lose’ all that I had built!

And yet…

And yet, in hindsight, I am so grateful that I was open to my wife’s idea  which I eventually decided to take. A leap and embark on what has turned out to be a two- year family road trip adventure. What amazes me the most i are the many unexpected experiences we have had. The fact that what we are currently living is so far outside the realm of what I could ever have imagined. What other possibilities could exist that are just so far out of my paradigm that I can’t even see their presence?

One such experience for me has been discovering the practice of life coaching. If 2 years ago you had told me I would be working as a professionally trained life coach with the honor of supporting a dozen organic farmers from across Canada, the US, and Mexico… I would have asked you ‘what are you smoking, and where can I get some’ (just kidding, I’ve been clean and sober now for 5 years… but that’s another story for another time).

People often ask me, ‘Do you miss the farm?’ The answer is a clear NO! AND, I am simultaneously so excited to launch the next iteration of our farm in the next 2 years! It has been wonderful for me to see that I currently have the same excitement about starting a farm as I did way back when I was 21 and about to start Ferme Mélilot. Even after all those years and with full knowledge of what it entails. When I made the decision to leave the farm, one of my fears was ‘What if I discover I don’t actually like farming?’… which I realize now was such a great monkey-mind conversation because if I actually didn’t like farming then it would have been great to find out!

You know what? It turns out that all those fears about ‘losing-all-I-had-built-up’ were just a sweat- monkey mind conversation as well! I now see that the most valuable assets I developed during the seven years of Ferme Mélilot can never be lost:  These are the entrepreneurial and management skills that I have acquired and will have with me in my tool box for whatever businesses I launch as I go forward in life.

What I’m trying to get at here, is the importance of being open to the possibilities that are seeking to emerge. Having a clear vision and being focused are such valuable qualities,but they must not blind us to the amazing possibilities that light up outside of our current paradigm. Realising that we can both dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to our current project, AND remain open to change  as well as the emergence of new possibilities, allows us to live with a little more lightheartedness and playful JOY!

My question for you today?

  • What is seeking to emerge in your life?
  • What would become possible if you temporarily suspended your paradigm (aka your current way of seeing things)?
  • What would it be like to cultivate the energy of joy and lighthearted play into your farm?

Stay nimble and go make a ruckus!


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