Are we waiting to appreciate the now?

in ecotrain •  last month  (edited)

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The fact that so many of us are postponing our satisfaction, happiness, contentment or joy is heartbreaking. We are waiting for the right conditions to arise before we can settle into the moment and know that we've made it. For me on the homestead it's : "When we have hot running water, when the house is done, then we're eating the yields from all the fruit and nut trees we've planted..."

There is no later, and I can't sacrifice the present for some idealized future. Is it really worth forgoing the present for future gains?

In seeking balance during this seemingly ever busy summer I took a step back from the massive of undertaking of building a house, tending food forests, keeping up with annual gardens, building infrastructure etc. to look at where we're at, where we're going and what the roadmap looks like.

I know we're not alone in this, although for others the conditions may be different, but the sacrifice is the same. Big tasks, life goals, and even sheer survival can be daunting and the drive to accomplish and progress can push us into unhealthy spaces.

I'm writing from a little break from it all that we're taking. I can say I've gotten into unhealthy spaces all too often, driven by the impetus to secure our base needs or to push for progress on a variety of projects. The work never ends, and the itch for expansion is real. Inspiration and vision motivate action, but there's a point when the push to accomplish overshadows the ability to appreciate the process.

For us the pressure we often feel is 100% self imposed, and yet we still push ourselves to a point where we fall out of balance.

I've heard this story from many folks seeking to live a life of integrity, connected to the natural world. In seeking the simple life there's often an overwhelming amount of planning, labor, input and time involved in manifesting such a vision. People get burned out, finances suffer, relationships break...

Why is this story all too common?

There are many layers to this, but it seems in our society (be it conventional or alternative), we succumb to the struggle where we are waiting for things to change until we sink deeply into the moment and truly inhabit the space we're in. Just waiting for the next things before happiness arrives. So what are we really waiting for?

I have been pushing progress on our house build, wanting to meet a goal of winter inhabitation. There's so much between here and there I feel as if I need to be working 100% of my waking life. I have cedar posts to notch out for a timber frame, framing to figure out for the second storey, roofing considerations, water lines, electrical and more. Wren is on a similar page too and is tending much of the gardens, but a lot of this feels like it falls on my shoulders.

Work has become an addiction and like other addictions it takes me out of balance and away from the present moment. To the point of exhaustion, frustration, emotional breakdown, neglect. It's not worth it, yet I've found myself succumbing to the voice of "not enough".

Enough in my mind is an unattainable goal. It's a bar that moves further as I approach it. There's always more work that lies ahead. This is a fact of subsistence farming, homesteading and building a house; the work never ends. It's not the amount of work that is the issue, rather my approach and view of work. I've been going about it all wrong, and listening to the out of reach feedback loop.

Taking a breather from it all to perceive from a bird's eye view reminds me of the bigger picture of life and how little all the issues are in my life compared to the great wide world. I'm safe, have access to plenty of clean water, am well fed, and have a roof over my head. It's not a life or death situation, but I've been acting like it is.

I'm in need of a reboot and that's just what I'm going to give myself.



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It doesn't matter if any of it is ever finished. Could you be happy just walking away from it tomorrow and living in a small hut on a mountain? Is it all a burden? So much of what I see on homesteading is people making large crosses to martyr themselves on. The idea of ease, food forests, letting nature just BE, of building less and looking at the view more.... that all works for me.

Good that you've made this reflective space.

My NOW - right now - is wonderfully incomplete and perfect. Coffee, Mothers Day morning in Thailand, looking at the next monsoonal deluge arriving over the mountain and changing my garden ideas, listening to the monks at the local temple - their chants for the Queen (Mother of the Nation) are drifting on the wind across the ricefields. Birds are singing and the soft breeze is perect and cool.


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You're right, and IT WON'T ever be finished. Good insights. A hut on the mountain has been my home at others times, and I suppose now I am attached to this life and outcomes of things we've set it motion. Just to be clear, no it's not all a burden. Far from it. Times spend in yin appreciation on the homestead and watershed are more rewarding that the many years of traveling and hundreds of new places I've visited or lived at.

Perhaps it relates to claiming responsibility to tend/manage/guide the process on the land that lead to so much of the martyrdom you speak of. I can relate that so many folks seeing a life in connection to Earth take on the responsibility of meeting their own needs and doing their own work. I've lived by the seat of my pants for years, and it came to a point where I knew it would no longer work for me.

Enjoy the rice field and chanting. You're bringing back fond memories...

I guess the challenge is to accept the responsibility but drop the attachment. And to allow the earth and seasons to guide-shape the process and to follow that more. 16 years here and committed thoroughly, but never irrevocably. The life here is Asia is so much more Yin and I appreciate that more each day.

Have an awesome week with more Yin and more smiles and relax. :)

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Wonderful, if a little melancholic, writing, describing the plight of many people of integrity. It a travesty to the human race that this must be so. Do we allow it? Or are we simply trapped now in a money wheel? (Does Steemit help??!)

Your contemplation helped me to reboot in any case. It is full of knowing: now the doing. The only real way out of the loop of not-enough is love. Love what you do and it should be enough. Easier said than done with all the pressures you describe but I read a lot of trust in yourself and your blessings which will surely profit you much.
Stay mellow for as long as you can!
Success with all the plans.

Are we simply trapped in a $ wheel indeed. My heart goes out to all those struggling.

Love is a great salve for all the aches, and so is distance and space. We’re planning a few days away from “it all”. Glad you’ve been helped to reboot.

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This is such an important point: "there's a point when the push to accomplish overshadows the ability to appreciate the process." Great article.
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Thanks for the curation and cake. Is it gluten free and paleo friendly. haha.

My husband feels like this, wanting the shell weather tight by November. Me, I'm less pushed about it. I tend to take time each day to savor what's around me, war-torn or not.

And my old body has a way of MAKING me stop each day, whether I want to or not. :))

And I adore the photo of your little pond!

Winter deadlines are super real. As long as ya'll got a safe place to hunker down, it'll be OK. We have our tiny cabin, so letting that "finish" line go is helpful.

Bodies are wise in that way, and often carry more wisdom than the mind...

Glad you liked the pond.

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