Dharma is that which upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe. It is a duty rooted in justice, social harmony and human happiness. Many religions believe that beings living in accordance with dharma proceed more quickly toward personal liberation.
I have always felt that growing food to share with my community is part of my dharma. I want to be a leader and educator about the importance of local food systems. Having worked on several farms since college, I came to Kripalu to take a step back from the fields and ask myself what are my next steps regarding my passion for food production? Where am I needed? I know I am on this planet to do more than farm labor.
It is clear since arriving at Kripalu almost four months ago that the path I am on is exactly where I belong. We have grown a very successful garden here and now we are teaching classes for guests about the intersection of yoga and gardening. I am discovering part of my dharma is to teach people about the interconnection between cultivating deep love for ourselves in order to be strong warriors for the planet.
I did not expect to be doing any gardening this season at a yoga center, but my supervisor is very supportive of creating more food gardens and wildflower fields so there is less lawn. My skills and interests are being incorporated into my seva (service), which feels really rewarding. The staff and guests greatly appreciate the fresh produce as well.
When I am not gardening, I am landscaping (not my dharma). As I mow lawns, weed-wack slopes, and mulch flower beds, my thoughts are elsewhere. The blaring hum of the small motors in my possession allow for deep personal inquiry. I block out all outside noise. I begin to dream of the future. What do I want? Where will I create my home?
Yes, Home. Gardens. Blueberries. Hammock. Cat. Dog. Chickens. Goats. Partner. Kitchen. Woodstove.
Right now, sitting on my bunk in a dorm with 15 other women makes this dream feel awfully distant. Even though I am practicing how to be grateful and content in the present, I yearn for more.
The breeze outside brings cooler air, which, to me, means change. Over the next six months I am going to put every doubt and fear aside. I am going to wake up from the grogginess late summer lays over us with heat and humidity. I am going to prepare for my next steps in making my dreams of a home come true. Hopefully, my work and home life is in alignment with my dharma because when I am leading from my heart, everything else falls into place.