Beneath the Surface of an Unconventional Life

by Charlotte Walker

Remember one thing: That you should not leave the Earth until you have made it a little more beautiful. A little lovelier. A little more loving. ~ Osho

The past year our Chaga infused cups of cocoa runneth over with growth. The land that we live upon flourishes and so does our spirit. It has not been an easy journey, but that’s to be expected. The best experiences are threaded with challenges.

Every day we learn something new about the world while also unearthing and tapping into parts of ourselves, previously undiscovered.

The flow we go with is one with nature – not society. This lifestyle has isolated us a little bit, but also freed us and brought us to a place of great experiences. Our homesteading reality is much more than we ever expected it to be.

As we sweat, toil and drink in the world around us, our beliefs are constantly being challenged. A lot of people tell us that we’ve chosen a tough life. They question why we would do this and wait for us to regale them with tales of hardship and struggles.  I fail to deliver on those dramatic stories because from where I stand; we have chosen a more natural life. It’s all perspective.

For me, the idea of sitting in a room illuminated by fluorescent lighting, breathing in recycled air, feeling anxious and hurried, and commuting, navigating busy traffic, doing what I am told and repeating days over and over, is the epitome of a hard life. We are taught to want for things we don’t need and to trade our precious time to fill our homes with things. Having known that way of life, and having tasted something entirely new, you would have to drag me back to that kicking and screaming.

“The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone.” ― Karen Salmansohn

Money can’t buy the blissful relief that comes with the gentle kiss of a cool breeze on a hot day.  An air conditioner is a harsh substitute for personal freedom. The simpler our life becomes, the happier we are. This life is more than growing food and hauling firewood. It is something akin to spiritual freedom.

We feel completely and utterly nourished. This journey has been as much inward as it has outward. We have changed. We aren’t the same people that set out on this path. This statement might sound  “eccentric” to those that have not had this experience. I find it hard to describe precisely what I mean.  The experience is organic; it’s not something you can satisfy with assets or a bank account. Its the reward that comes with experiencing something you’ve been yearning for deep on your soul.

Our life is patterned with the seasons.

Over the summer life is abuzz with activity. We fly from project to project with vigor. Summer is a time of exploration and toil. The winter is a time for reflection and rest.

I am thankful for the seasons because the buzz that comes with a busy season is only sustainable for a while.  In the corporate world, we call it burnout, and the prescription is typically to mask everything with a pill in a bottle. Out here in the forest, the medicine is Winter. Much like the animals that hibernate, cobwebs begin to cloud my brain and slow down.

Wrapped up in the warmth of the cabin I instinctually draw myself inward for a while.

Many would (and do) assume a certain melancholy or problem has arisen in my life with this happens, but I am merely taking a hiatus. The etymology of the word ‘hiatus’ comes from the Latin ‘hiare’ meaning: ‘to stand open.’

No one needs to be busy, active and engaged at all times. “the art of being “busy” is also the art of avoidance. It distracts us from doing the important work of looking inwards and connecting with ourselves. Distractions are a mask that prevents us from facing those things that are uncomfortable to confront. How can we make the world a better place if we can’t even fix ourselves?

As the New Year rolls in, the days grow longer. Much like the forest creatures, I feel rejuvenated and hungry again.

Beneath the Surface of an Unconventional Life

 

The cobwebs have cleared, and my mind is bursting with fresh ideas and inspiration.

Those things I was doubting or questioning have been reflected upon and resolved. I emerge my hiatus with surety and confidence that is heartening. Living with the seasons is pure and natural and good for our health.  I make no apologies and feel no shame for living a life with a timeless timeline.

I’m not sure if it’s because I am getting older (and assumedly wiser) or if we are gradually becoming feral, socially, like the bushwhackers of the olden days but have few worries, and want very little. We are happy. I hope in sharing this those that worry about our wellbeing or have notions about what our life is like, can see better some of the lesser discussed or explored facets of it that appeal to us.

We do work hard, but we always have. Work is in our nature. It’s the experience that surrounds the work that makes the difference. Today we’ll shovel mountains of snow, and I’ll stop, and watch the dogs frolic and admire the snow-laden trees. My heart will flutter as I soak in the sight of my husband with his frost-covered beard. I will drink it all in and fill myself up with the beauty of it all.

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