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Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

You are probably wondering what on earth golfing has to do with homesteading and/or organic gardening, right?  I will be honest, not a whole heck of a lot.  However, I absolutely believe to be successful as a homesteader, you have to be willing to try new things.  Since I am what some psychologist types would like to call a “joiner”,  I did not even blink when someone asked me to play in a charity golf tournament.  I simply said, “sure I’d love to!”  The fact that I hadn’t touched a club in almost 5 years and never really played a full game didn’t matter until the next day, when the reality of what I had committed to sank in.   So today, I “tried” golfing again and I was terrible.  No, terrible is to kind.  HORRIBLE.   My teammates should have gotten  tee-shirts that say, “I played golf with Jamie and all I got was this damn T-shirt?”   Thankfully, they were all super kind and supportive and were happy to have some comic relief.   As it turns out I am looking forward to playing again!!     I was a little disheartened by my 20th swing and a miss and by around hole 9, I was ready to throw in the towel.  Instead, I ordered a drink, watched my teammates, and tried again.  Now granted, there is a tree here in northern VT with a little less bark, a pond with a few extra golf balls at the bottom, and one outbuilding with a little dent in it, but by the  18th hole, I was actually making solid contact and putting the ball in the air.     All the while, I was laughing and enjoying my time in the great outdoors with great people.   My journey into homesteading has been a similar experience.   Our first garden lacked, well, vegetables.   The first batch of canned jam I ever made was not among my top 100 tastiest concoctions.   It has taken me 7 years to perfect pie crust.   The first thing I ever knitted was a blanket for my friend’s wedding.  They have been married nearly 5 years and it is STILL not done.    The first diaper I put on my child was backwards.   You get the drift.   Every single one of those things has an amazing memory or funny story attached to it.   So many of the best experiences of my life have come from deciding I wanted to learn a skill or “join” a club.   I cannot wait to see what fun new skills my journey towards becoming the a little mom on the prairie bring my way.   Getting back to basics means learning a lot of new things, which means inevitable failure before amazing success.   I hope everyone tries something for the first time,  falls flat on their face, comes back for a second whack at it and repeats the process for the rest of their lives.   On a side note :   Should you see me on the course, stay away from buildings and trees for your own safety.

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My bookshelf is loaded with just about every book ever made on how to achieve balance and inner peace.   Whether Oprah (I am still one of her minions in her attempt to take over the world) recommended it, it was written by someone with an Elvish sounding name, or whether it just had a zen like cover, I have purchased it.   I have tried guided meditation.  I have sat at my desk and chanted “inner peace, inner peace”, like little old Master Shifu from Kung-Fu Panda.   You know you are in trouble when you are seeking mind, body, spirit balance advice from a DreamWorks production.   I have attempted the outstanding practice of Yoga, and will continue to attempt because someday it would be nice to bend over and touch my toes again, however, the ability to be “mindful” during my practice often escapes me.   I hear the instructor telling me to;  “breath through the pain.   Do not be held back by the limitations of your body.  Let go of all your worries and focus on your body in the moment.”   Instead of being mindful during these times, I find myself plotting how I might use my new-found flexibility to reach out and punch the instructor in the face.   Just when I thought all my hopes of achieving the ever elusive perfected state of mindfulness were dashed, I discovered the art of gardening.   We have just wrapped up putting our vegetable garden in for this season, and every backbreaking muscle aching minute of it was filled with absolute and perfect meditative moments.   There was no room for those nagging and stressful thoughts of work, money, parenthood or school to sneak in between me and my plants.   Raking and prepping the soil, mapping out and lining up the rows so they are all straight and spaced perfectly (that is a requirement of my better half whose moral character is apparently put in jeopardy by crooked vegetables), digging perfectly spaced holes at just the right depth, adding fertilizer where appropriate (or epsom salts in my house), and gently whispering sweet nothings and words of encouragement to each plant and seed as I placed it in the ground required absolute and complete presence.   Every step from start to finish required me to be absolutely focused on the moment at hand.   If I let my mind wander for even a second, a seedling could get broken, a hole could be too shallow or too deep, or a Croc laden foot could stomp on and subsequently squish newly planted vegetable goodness.  I was literally in the garden for 10 hours on a single day and it might have been 15 minutes for all I knew.   Every movement had meaning.   I really and truly allowed my feet and hands to feel the dirt.  It’s muddy/clay like texture.  It’s cool temperature.   All of the animal life living within it.   Despite every muscle in my body burning and sweat and grime coating nearly every inch of  my body, I felt amazing.   It was as if I did not have a worry in the world, but if I had I would have been able to take it on and deal with it.   That night I felt like I had earned everything from a hot shower to a quiet night with a good movie.   The next morning I felt super refreshed and ready to take on the day.   I wanted to call my yoga instructor and say something along the lines of “Pfffthhhhh.  See?  I can be mindful. I can meditate.  I can rise above the pain in my body. Hardie freaking har.”    As the season continues, I know I will find daily peace and strength while weeding, removing dead leaves, mulching and picking fresh vegetables.   There are also several additional bonuses to meditating while gardening: You get to be outside.   You get to eat the fruits of your labor AND, Weight Watchers gives you 7 activity points for 1 hour of garden cultivating and a little less for weeding and maintenance. Oh and of course, all that digging and lifting will earn you some super toned arms by the time the season is done.     Even 60 minutes of yoga doesn’t give you that kind of result.   Check out some of my gardening links here or shoot me a message if you would like to learn more about my city limits garden and how we got started.   There is no doubt that it is hard work, but I promise you there is nothing else in the world that will nourish and reboot your body, soul and mind in quite the same way.   Add in all the fringe benefits and it’s hard to find a better way to spend some of your summer hours and achieve “Inner..In..In, Inner Peace”.

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