Turning Inward with an Open Heart

I highly doubt you will disagree with me if I say this is a very momentous time to be alive. Have you noticed any big changes, shifts, or feelings lately? These changes could be out in the greater world and/or in your mind. You’ve got to be pretty clueless to not notice a shift in consciousness because as long as you are open to it, then it will happen.

I am aware that this topic can bring up anything from excitement to fear for us. I’ve noticed my shift in consciousness comes out in both physical discomfort and pleasure; discouragement and hope; anxiety and calmness. Many events have sparked all of this energy inside my physical body and awareness surrounding my emotions.

As I sit here writing in a café, I can’t help but over hear an interview between a young woman applying to college and the recruiter. She wants to study astronomy and he is very curious about her interest in the subject. The endless possibilities the universe offers compels her to stare at the stars and wonder what exists besides what we know on Earth? She is fascinated by the limitless solar system and how little we actually know about what is happening outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

What if our minds had no limits? I don’t have any desire to fly to the moon and send spacecrafts to Mars, but I do believe we can connect to a higher power here, on Earth.

Why the sudden interest in spiritual discoveries? Well, my job at the farm ended early November. Unemployment allows more time to deepen my understanding of the world and myself. I finally have the time and space to stay present. I try not to allow the distractions of work, internet, and the news consume more than a few hours of each day.

I am very blessed to not be employed for the coming months. This is ironic, right? While the unemployment rate in the U.S. is ridiculously high and people are really struggling to get by, why am I thrilled to add myself to the list?

For one, I worked really hard this season and deserve a break. Two, I think we ought to reassess what works means to us. Does your job truly enrich your life or is it simply a way to pay the bills? Third, why are so many people jobless when there is a huge amount of work that needs to get done if we are going to transform our communities in order to persevere on this planet? The unpredictable future that climate change creates is a perfect reason to explore unique job opportunities. Lastly, without a full time job, I am able to have all kinds of unique experiences: Occupy Wall Street, a weekend getaway in Vermont, long walks in the still green fern filled woods, chilly bike rides, and I get to watch the seasons change (even though it went from summer to winter to spring to fall this past October).

I’m sure we all have asked ourselves at different points in our lives, “How can I be most effective in creating social change while also leading a healthy life?” I am revisiting this question.

Small Tents, Big Buildings

Bike Power!

Farming fulfills me in so many ways, yet it is taking a toll on my body. Yoga and massage can only do so much to maintain my strained muscles and knotted shoulders. If I am going to commit myself to farming for my community, then some major changes to my daily routine need to happen.


I have a vision. I will not settle for someone else’s model of sustainable farming in the Northeast. The Pioneer Valley has made tremendous leaps in strengthening the local food system. We have hundreds of CSAs, a farmer’s market in almost every densely populated town, and restaurants take pride in serving local items.

"Still farming"- Oct 28 Blizzard

I am very proud to be a part of such an inspiring social change movement that is mindful of the environment. Let’s celebrate these large accomplishments together! As with any progress that is made to transform our world, we must always reflect on what we could do differently to strengthen the movement.

How is the overall health of your farmer? Does he or she have health insurance? What kind of impact does the combination of repetitive movements, physical exertion, bending over in the field for hours on end, stress, and 15 hour days have on a person? This is not a pity party, it’s a reality. This is generally the life of any working class person, not just farmers. I want to make this side of sustainable farming a little more visible to our community. If we want to truly embrace sustainable agriculture, we cannot be doing it at the expense of people’s physical well being.

My next moves are not set in stone for the winter or next season, but they will most likely involve healing my physical body. I may pursue yoga teacher training or massage school. I am ready for another challenge regarding food and farming, but before I can plow ahead, I want to figure out how to incorporate healing our bodies with healing our community’s food system. One cannot happen without the other.

How I'll miss the early morning bike commute to the farm

What the future holds for me is uncertain yet I trust this is where I am suppose to be. Now is the time to surrender and let our hearts lead the way. Our world is changing so fast and time is no longer what it used to be. I hope you will join me on this journey- hand in hand, hearts and eyes wide open.

Open Wide like the cereus who blooms only once at night

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Turning Inward with an Open Heart

  1. Hannah, this is so beautifully written. I love the photos and I love your emphasis on the well being of the farmer in the larger scheme of sustainability. It’s for that same reason that I’ve taken a break from farming to reevaluate my values. I think we have a common vision.

  2. Allyson

    Enjoy this time for rest and healing! 🙂

  3. Sarah Berquist

    Hannah !

    congrats on a great season:) I’m so inspired by all the hard and meaningful work you’re doing. your reflection really resonates with me as the season winds down. I’m going to take a “break” from working too and go on a much needed adventure to central and south america. thank you for reminding me to feel confident and ready for something new, and greet the future with an open and loving heart!

    love!

    sarah

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