There are two ways to get something done. Quite honestly, my default setting has often been the “balls to the wall”, white knuckle, push on through way of doing things. This is what people refer to as “the grind”. Familiar??
Hark!! Another way is possible. A more playful, more easeful manner is available to us in each moment. Not easy, easeful. Not carefree, playful.
What would become possible if life were a game to play? What if, what counts isn’t winning or losing, but enjoying the process of playing? What if everything is exactly as it ought to be? (yup… including the good, the bad, and the ugly)
This shift has had a tremendous impact in my life. I realized how futile it is to worry and try to figure out and control every little detail. Instead, it is way more empowering to see that ultimately, life is a game…at the time tremendously important and totally irrelevant; most importantly, that when I take this perspective, I am so much more present and engaged in each and every project that I care so much about. It’s as if up until now my brain had decided that the best way to demonstrate how important something was to me was to be anxious (what a load of crap!)
When we tap into this playful energy, we enter more consistently into the state of flow; the state of “mind like water”. This is the state of mind we need to be in to achieve our optimal performance and creativity. Neurologically speaking, this means using our frontal cortex rather than being hijacked by our amygdala (our caveman’s brain). I know this can sound contradictory (relax, be playful… but seek to achieve “optimal” performance), but this is exactly the paradox that I invite you to consider. The best way to care about what you care about the most, is precisely not to care too much; to relax and enjoy the ride with all of its ups and downs and surprises.
What would it be like to see that “All is Well”?
What would you do differently if it was all a game?
What would be one action this week that would be a demonstration of playfulness on the farm?
This week we had the pleasure of stopping in for a visit with Shannon and Bryan at Broadfork farm in River Hebert, Nova Scotia.
With 4 acres of tillable land and less than 1.5 acre in actual production, Shannon and Bryan make a full time living growing organic vegetables and cut flowers and working 5 days per week (Sunday and Monday is their weekend). The farm basically follows a bio-intensive model except on a 7 year crop rotation including 4 years of green manure.
The thing that stood out to me was their desire to keep it simple. Specifically, the fact that they only one off farm marketing trip per week to the Dieppe, NB farmers market, and have no employees at the farm (except a helper at market on saturdays). They also sell to a couple of restaurants that either pick up at the farmers market or at the farm. The decision not to have employees is based on their desire for freedom and flexibility in their schedule… plus they both have had farm management roles in the past and have learned that managing employees is not what they enjoy doing.
Part of their success in keeping the farm simple is their willingness to adopt innovative techniques or to literally create them when needed. Here are a couple of photos to illustrate what I mean.
Oh… and they have no internet or cell phones. I love it!! Talk about being a stand against the current IT addiction that is prevalent today! Instead, they use the local public library’s wifi 5 minutes away and have taken great advantage of the ability to schedule posts ahead of time to maintain an active presence on social media without bringing internet into their home.
All of these elements point to how intentional Shannon and Bryan are about building a farm that fully supports the lifestyle they want to live. From the very beginning Shannon and Bryan have been very specific about what they want to create with their farm. They mention the Everdale Farm Business Planning course as having been very helpful in starting out the farm with a clear plan of what they wanted and what they didn’t want. Building on that, Shannon and Bryan have made a point of finding new tools every year to stimulate the reflection and discussion of what they want and how they want to guide their farm.These range from holistic farm planning courses, to RRSP retirement planning questionnaires, to ‘backcasting’ (rather than forecasting)(ie, reverse engineering the next steps based on what your desired outcome is).. to name a few. The point is that every year, they make the time and space to reflect, discuss, and make choices about the direction the farm is headed in.