I was at a workshop yesterday. In this workshop, Jennie Olgilvie, touted as the “Comedian Median”, was teaching us how to connect to our “authentic self” as we explored how to use our energy in everyday life. For some of you, this might sound super hokey. Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, ok, this is definitely the blog that I am going to bypass because it’s going to get all loo-loo-la-la on me! Trust me, sometimes I walk in to workshops like I the one I was in yesterday and think to myself, “Hooo boy…what am I getting myself into?!” But I truly believe that every single experience we have has a “take away”. A take away is an opportunity to learn something, or choose what we want to take away from said experience. (On a funny side note, when we had school staff meetings, we always had to write down a take away before exiting the staff meeting. In my head, my take away was always that I did an awesome doodle in my idea journal during the staff meeting, but I never wrote that. Haha)
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Yesterday’s workshop was much better than those staff meetings, and I had a couple take aways in Jennie’s workshop. First of all, I learned that I am totally on the right path with the farm and what we’re doing with the farm. I had to do a meditative exercise where I was basically confrontational with my “true self”. I was to walk down an open field and meet up with a shadow. That shadow transformed into a being and I was face to face with that being. That being was a representation of who I genuinely want to be; my authentic self. I was to walk in behind my true self, unzipper myself, crawl in and see what it feels like to be in my true self. I know, I know, it sounds kind of crazy, but that’s the awesomeness about meditation…your imagination can take you to crazy places. It’s kind of like lucid dreaming, right?
Anyway, Rhonda went tromping down the field in her bush jacket and rubber boots, and you know who she met at the bottom of that field? Rhonda with her bush jacket and rubber boots on. Rhonda high fived Rhonda. Some people visualized themselves to be a larger version of themselves. Some envisioned themselves as their spirit animal. Some pictured themselves with completely different appearances. I was absolutely 100% myself as I am right now in my life today. That made me feel really awesome that I am who I am genuinely supposed to be in this moment in time. When I looked back up the field, I was at the farm. I could see the brand spankin’ new studio in the distance and Brad was at the top of the field smiling and waving at me. There were people in beautiful, colourful flowing skirts dancing around and children running all over the place playing and exploring. Willow was running freely and everyone was super, super happy. I just thought, “This.is.the.shit!” I was in my glory.
So what does that have to do with you or have to do with a blog post about the farm? Well, for you, I am hoping that it gives you an opportunity to stop and pause and reflect. Ask yourself those big questions; are you happy in your life at this moment? Are you doing what you genuinely want to do with your life? What is stopping you? Do you have a lot of garbage that is blocking you from doing what you truly want to do? If you are happy where you are in your life, what are you doing to grow from here? Do you allow yourself to get out of your comfort zone to see if there are new experiences that you are missing out on? Because ok, it’s cool to “Netflix and chill” but shouldn’t you want more than to just Netflix and chill the rest of your life away?
Let me share with you a bit about my story about the farm. I started dreaming about having an “art camp” about 15 to 20 years ago. I even went through the process of writing out a list of people that I want to surround myself with in this environment; mainly strong, skilled, talented women that can work collaboratively towards a goal of creativity. At the time, I was a high school art teacher and I was content with my career, but I just knew that it was not my dream career. I loved the kids, but man…the system. Artists don’t fit very well into a system, am I right?! I knew that I wanted to continue teaching, but that I also wanted an opportunity to explore my own art making. I wanted to teach people, but not just a specific group of people. I am “qualified” to teach from kindergarten to grade 12, but I know that there are more people in the world that would love to be absorbed in art education. And I wanted the learning to be more interactive with nature. I knew I wanted people to be absorbed in the experience of nature to use as a catalyst for creativity. The possibilities with that are truly endless and only limited by one’s imagination. And I knew that being a data collector for big brother and attaching numbers to human beings through the marking process was totally not my jam. I needed to leave my career in order to be authentically me. But I couldn’t just jump off the bridge when the first spark of an idea came to fruition.
So I started to dream. Then I started to brainstorm with those dreams. Then I started to write down ideas. Then I started taking any workshop I could that leaned towards learning about the development of this dream job. Any opportunity that presented itself to me, I took. Remember, this was before the awesomeness of the internet and ability to access information easily. I bought books, I read magazines and went to the library. I talked with friends that passed on information and kept everything piled together in a folder, stuffed away but still front and center in my brain. You know, as soon as you kind of scream really loud to the universe that you want to do something, there’s a lot of signs out there that will help direct you. Yes, that may sound a bit too ethereal for you, but it’s the basic premise behind the law of attraction. If you start to talk about your dream, there are people out there that have resources and direction to help you. Sometimes you will think that the people that are giving you resources are there to help you, but end up being a hinderance, but never let that deter you. IT SHOULD JUST MAKE YOU STRONGER IN YOUR RESOLVE. KEEP GOING!
I once had a friend tell me, “You’re the kind of person that sets a goal for yourself and then you do it. You just do it.” And she’s right, and it’s true. Yes, this may be a 20 year goal by the time I actually see people dancing in the fields and children playing outside, but I am on the way because of my tenacity.
A part of that tenacity is simply a mind set; nothing can get in my way. I truly believe for every road block there is a detour. Every single time. It all depends on how you think about it. Going back to this workshop that I just took, there was one exercise where Jennie guided us in a meditative exercise where we had to climb a mountain (in our mind, of course, not for real, ok?). It was safe to climb and we were told that we would not be hurt in any way and to just give ‘er up this mountain. Of course, yet again, I was going up this mountain in my rubber boots! Haha (Oh, the Ukrainian in me is strong!) I got up to the top of the mountain and I was instructed to go into a cave. When I got in there, there was an old man in there, kind of like the wise guru. I was to ask this old man a question and I naturally, instinctually asked, “Is my dream attainable?” and his answer was “You’ve got this, girl!” It was loud and clear. Exercise after exercise I was given these messages: I am not afraid. We are free. Give to others as it makes your heart bigger. Over and over again, the message I kept giving myself was that my positive attitude is working to my advantage and it’s leading me down the path towards my authentic self no matter what obstacles are put in my way.
Perhaps you are saying to yourself that this is easy for me to say; I’ve got a charmed life and lots of money. Not so fast, bucko! Let’s just get that kind of thought out of your head because my life is only as charmed as I have chosen to make it, without allowing the bad stuff that has happened in my life to be a weight that keeps me down. Detours. Remember? There is always a detour. And regards to money, that’s not something that I have exorbitant amounts of. I am an artist, remember? We’re notorious for being broke! Hahaha I just save. I got my first job when I was 12 years old and I paid for most of anything that I wanted, including my 6 years of university. I worked hard for everything I possess. I save as much as I can and do not allow myself to get bogged down with materialistic needs. I could care a less about having brand name clothes. I do not have brand new furniture. Basically, everything I have has either been passed down from family, shared with me, scavenged or bought second hand. I am not a martyr though; sure I have some new things but I don’t HAVE to have any of it. I could totally be fine without. Detours…remember? And a positive mind set. And not buying crap.
But the biggest thing that I want to stress and that was re-iterated yesterday in the workshop was the importance of letting go of whatever is holding you back from being your authentic self. There were people in the group that reverted back to certain ages in their life because that was the age that they last remember being genuinely happy. There were people that had blockages because of traumatic events or various situations that were disabling. They didn’t know how to move forward and I know how that feels as well. I think we have all been there. It comes down to sheer will. A 100% sheer willingness to stop and say to yourself, “HEY! I AM NOT HAPPY THIS WAY! I am stuck thinking about the same shitty thing over and over again and it’s not making me a better person. It is making me over eat, or over drink or spend too much money or have promiscuous relationships, or whatever but ultimately, it is not making me happy!” As Jennie said in the workshop, she could list off a plethora of things that caused trauma in her life and hold on to that to define “who she is” but she has so much to do, and so much to learn and so many people to connect with, that she does not want that to be what defines her as Jennie. So she changed her mind set and chose to move forward, leaving all the crap behind.
I changed my mind set too. (There is tons of literature, youTube videos, blogs, et al on the topic. Dive in!) I am not going to be a teacher that sticks with teaching because of a good income or a good pension. I am not being authentic to myself if I do that. I am not going to let the crappy things that have happened in my past define who I am and stew day after day over that. I like being happy so that is what I am choosing to be (Oh, and counselling was an awesome part of that too!) Find your resources, surround yourself with good, helpful people that will lift you up and not keep you on that same old treadmill of doom and negativity and victimization and go find your authentic self. It’s in you. It’s in everyone but you might just have to take some steps to clear all of the goop out of the way first. You know, that stuff you put there to protect yourself from the ugliness of whatever it is that you have to deal with? Everyone’s journey is different but it will eventually lead you to yourself and you’ll high five yourself and say, “Holy shit. Look at me! I am where I am supposed to be!”
So to end this, I want to talk about what this has to do with the farm. First off, surprisingly, through all of my different meditative exercises I did in this workshop, I did not see one farm animal even though I visualized the farm throughout the course of the day quite a bit. But farm animals? NOT A ONE! That was my subconscious reiterating what I already knew in my heart. I am probably not going to have farm animals at “the farm”. The big question that keeps coming up any time Brad and I talk about having farm animals is what will happen when it’s time to dispatch and harvest these animals? I just can’t imagine one day going out to see “Bacon” the pig and then eating it for breakfast the next day. For me, personally, it would be the same as dispatching my dog and eating her for supper the next day. Of course, I just couldn’t do it. Does it mean I am vegan or against animal farming? Not at all. It just means that I can’t do it, but fortunately, around the farm, there are a lot of other farmers that have excellent, ethically raised animals that I can purchase products from. Does it mean that I won’t be able to hunt animals? I think I will be able to shoot a deer or a partridge. It might be a problem in that split second before I pull the trigger, but I have not developed a long lasting relationship with that animal except for sharing a large piece of land with them. I think that I’ll be ok with that. The exercises I did at the workshop just solidified what I already knew in my heart about my life at the farm.
What I did see in my visions are a lot of was smiling people, lots of colourful art, great music, sunshine, green trees, great food and dancing and huge gardens. I see glowingly positive sheer happiness radiating from everyone I envision I am surrounded by and man, that feels soooo good! Call me a bleeding idealist if you will, but this is what I have in my life now, and I only see it getting better at The Farm. House. Studio!
But on top of those visions, in real life right here and now, we just had a huge shift in what’s going to be happening at the farm, and it is putting our dream into fast forward. We are really excited to share it with you. If you’d like to know our news about what’s going to be happening very soon at the farm, hop over to my password protected library (you have to fill out the subscription form to receive the password) and go check out our GREAT BIG NEWS!
So what is your big dream? What is your definition of your authentic self? Do you see photos of what Brad and I are doing at the farm and wish that you too were living that kind of lifestyle? Then what steps are you taking to get yourself a piece of land that you can live on? What kind of detours are you going to have to take if things like mental road blocks, or money or location are an issue? What kind of plans can you set in place now so that you can slowly start making movement towards positive change for yourself? Remember, any road blocks that are in the way are only there because you are telling yourself those road blocks are there. There is a detour for everything. Absolutely everything no matter what your situation is. I truly believe that for all no matter what your status, income, race, gender, religion, situation….whatever. You’ve got this big old fabulous world, and it’s here for you to explore. Go out and get it, one step at a time.