Well, you just might have been wondering if we had dropped off the face of the earth…it’s been more than 3 months since our last post!! It’s been so long that I had to check our blog just to see what I had written last time I posted. It’s interesting to see that I was talking a lot about the ways we were falling out of touch with the world – how this in many ways has been the whole point of our adventure. And then bang! We dropped right off the planet! Nothing like going deeply into a process! And I have to say, I can highly recommend it.
Yes, in these last few months, we have given ourselves over more and more to quietness, stillness, isolation, dreaminess. I guess you could say we have been enjoying a Winter hibernation – like the snakes and insects. Although thats not quite true as life has still been quite full and interesting. I think what is true is that we have become increasingly alienated from mainstream ‘contact’ technology: mobile phones, landline phones, facebook, twitter, the internet in general, television, radio. What are these things – we barely remember!! As for what is happening in the ‘real-world’ – no flaming idea!. On a recent visit to Brisbane we were shocked and amazed by how insane the world seems when viewed through the lens of television after a lengthy absence from viewing it. Thankfully this is not the only lens with which we can view the world. I guess it is ultimately a lens back onto ourselves: We are changing in deep ways through our immersion in this new life and the old familiar world has become remote and strange to us.
One of our aims in moving here was to leave mainstream life behind, to adopt a more nature-oriented, simplified way of life. We wanted OUT! We wanted to live more simply. We wanted to see if the ‘simple life’ would feel as good as we imagined it would. We wanted to experience living life without the distraction of modern technology, immersing ourselves in the sounds and sights of the natural world, and to notice how being closer to nature changed us. Who would we become? What would happen to us? Would we explode, or simply open? Would we suffer or thrive? Would we burst or blossom? These were the questions that begged to be answered.
To be truthfully, our response has included a little of everything. At times it has been hard to be so removed, so out of contact with the world – most especially with friends and family. There have been times when it has been frustrating to have no mobile phone reception, or no credit on the phone even when we are in range of mobile reception. At times we have felt isolated living so far away from people we love, and sometimes even from shops and stuff. It’s an hours drive before we get close to any signs of real civilization. Its 2 hours drive at least in order to catch up with most of ‘our people’. At times we have wanted to just get off the farm and be somewhere else, somewhere different…somewhere with a bath!
I have really missed writing and have wanted to write posts for our blog on so many occasions, but our life has just not allowed it. It is a full, and sometimes tiring life living on the farm. We work physically hard every day – and access to the internet is not simple here, especially in Winter. We would knock off at 3.30, finish washing and tidying up by 4pm, then try to get our cooking done or have a shower (making a shower takes 20 minutes just to get the hot water ready), or work around our caravan…all before it got dark at 5pm. Here in the hinterland, in the shadow of the Border Ranges, it gets cold as soon as the sun goes behind the range (that’s as early as 2.30pm in mid-Winter), so we usually didn’t even feel like having an outdoor shower – it was just too cold. Instead, we’d huddle up in our caravan, turn on our little heater, and simply read, draw, or cook. Most nights we would be asleep by 8pm.
In the scheme of things posting blog updates just wasn’t a high priority. Especially since that involved a trip back up to the work shed, in the cold, to see if the computer was free. Usually the office was occupied by the teenage boys who live here. If it was free, then you could sit in the cold, drafty office and try to focus on what you wanted to do, with your fingers freezing and your brain cells going numb by the minute. No wonder writing took a back seat for a while. I have to give it to the teenage boys who live here, their commitment to staying in touch with the world via the internet puts my commitment to shame!
So in the face of those obstacles – I just decided to go with it and see what that felt like to be really out of touch. My mind struggled at first. It thought itself silly in the first few weeks. I watched it nattering away to itself, focusing on just about anything it could come up with. I kept trying to still my mind. Then my mind would tell me I was a bad friend, a bad daughter/sister/aunty: “Call your family, call your friends, update your Facebook profile – this is what normal people do.” Despite all the pressure, the call of nature has been too strong. So I continued to ignore my mind. And slowly the silence and calm increased.
In so many ways, giving ourselves over to ‘being out of touch’ has been really excellent. In the time we have been absent, we have started meditating regularly, we have reconnected to a weekly yoga class (Rachel’s teacher from London turned up in Byron Bay) and more regular home yoga practice, we have been feasting on art video’s and using that to kick start our creative juices. We have been drawing, painting and taking photos. We have also been reading – mostly spiritual books. And of course, we have been cooking and eating amazing food. All of this has come out of giving ourselves over to silence and solitude; tuning into our deeper needs, rather than forever creating a distraction.
Art, yoga, meditation: These are the things we passionately wanted to pursue and integrate into our life by coming to live here, (accompanied by growing gorgeous organic food). Now it really feels like that is starting to happen. Like in the isolation and silence we have found the space we needed to listen to and begin to follow our deepest calling.
For those who have been following our story for a while, you will know that we came here with a bit of a vision, and that vision was never about become ‘commercial farmers’. We came here to learn to live sustainably in the largest and the simplest sense of that word. We wanted to change our lifestyle, we wanted simplicity, we wanted spiritual connection to the land and to community, we wanted to live in a way that the earth and we could sustain. Earth sustaining us and us sustaining the earth. A symbiotic relationship!
In our time here, especially in the few recent months of quiet and disconnection, we have connected more strongly to our hearts, and to our ‘path of heart‘, and we have become crystal clear about the activities and passions that energise and sustain us. In this way our time has been incredibly fruitful these past months.
On a practical level this means there might be some more lifestyle changes ahead of us. That’s right, more adventures coming! At this stage, we have decided to pursue yoga teacher training in the New Year (I know, I know, just what Northern NSW needs, more yoga instructors!!). We also want to devote more time to developing our meditation skills in 2013. And of course, we want to keep growing organic food, but we hope in the future to grow food for and with a spiritual community, rather than as a commercial venture. It is these three activities that feel ‘essential’ to us and to the world. As Rachel has been heard saying: if the only change the world made was to grow food organically, then nothing much would have changed. She means we need to grow as spiritual beings as well. And learn to treat ourselves, each other and the earth with care and respect.
We have both felt clarity just this past week, that our time as full time working farm hands is limited, and that the next stage of our journey is on the horizon. We are at a loss to know exactly what is over the horizon, we are unsure exactly where this journey is taking us. We only know the elements that nourish our hearts, minds and souls. Of course this means that we are not sure we will stay on here at the farm. This might be where our paths diverge. Not immediately, but in the foreseeable future. Ever supportive, Rod & Tania have been understanding of our evolving process and know that we need to have more of a balance with body & mind through our yoga and meditation. It is hard to see how these things would fit in the hectic lifestyle of this successful organic farm. But who knows, anything could happen. The good news is they are open to us staying, working here, living here, and continuing to explore the possibilities of community.
Thanks for staying with us through the silence. Perhaps you have been too busy too notice our absence. But we like to think that some of you have been wondering about ‘the girls’ and their adventures on this amazing property. I have to leave you with a photo because this is simply one of the most stunning places…and we continue to feel blessed to be here. It will be extremely sad if we do move on down the track. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
Well it has been really good to write again. I don’t know how often I will stay in touch – I’m going with what feels good, rather than forcing myself into doing what my mind thinks I should do!
Thanks for staying in touch and sharing our adventures.
Michelle (and Rachel)
(oh, and of course, Harry too!)