Monthly Archives: April 2013

Catching up with myself

It was four years ago on April 15th that I landed at Maya Creek.  I was asked recently about my personal state of being now after this much time pouring my everything into my work here.  So this post will be a little different from my normal updates on projects, observations, and whatnot. I’ll post about more external affairs soon, but this is a personal audit of sorts.

I’ll start with the easiest aspect to describe, that of my physical condition.  I lost 15-20 pounds that first summer on the land, but gained back about 10 over the winter.  Since then the pattern has somewhat equalized so I gain 10-15 over winter and lose 10-15 over summer.  I spend about 2-3 weeks every spring being pretty sore as my body gets back into shape.

I haven’t noticed any permanent wear and tear on my body apart from the injury I got in October of 2011 when I cut my wrist badly.  My flexibility and strength has returned in the hand, but the nerve sensation is only slowly returning as is expected with that kind of injury.  I’ll probably never recover the sensation fully, but it should continue to return indefinitely.  It doesn’t hamper me for the vast majority of tasks.

All in all though, I eat better than I did, feel better, and at any given time I’m in some of the best shape of my life.  As a side note, I’ve noticed that I have a much broader comfort range than I had before when it comes to things like temperature, pain, cleanliness, bug bites, etc.

The first couple of years on the land I only had a couple people helping me, if any at all. I was so eager to see my dreams come to fruition that I worked hard day in and day out.  I started to wear down and so took in some friends and more volunteers to help out, but instead of keeping my goals small I expanded them and ultimately made more work for myself and felt less able to regulate my work schedule around my own personal energy levels.  On top of the larger project scope there was significant amounts of energy going into managing volunteers and even just maintaining relationships of all kinds to the point that I began to seriously burn out.

This year I’m scaling my volunteer help back to what it was the first couple of years and am taking my time; working on things when I feel like it, and taking time to relax and recharge when I need it.  As the zen story goes, “When hungry, eat.  When tired, sleep.”  I already feel like I have significantly more control over my life and I’m finding a pace that I can keep for the long haul.

It’s been VERY easy to bite of more than I can chew and then spend large amounts of time stressing about getting everything I’ve started to  a satisfactory conclusion.  It’s also been VERY easy to get overwhelmed when I start to break down the bigger picture into all of the steps.  My vision for the future has changed so drastically that having more than a rough outline for the future is almost waste of time in it’s own right.  Setting realistic goals in a general direction and focusing on taking things a step at a time is certainly the path to maintain sanity.  It may sound obvious, but it’s been easier said than done thus far though I’m certainly taking it to heart now.

I’ve become better at recognizing when an emotion has arisen in me and examining it for what it is rather than letting it control my thoughts and actions.  I still have a long way to go in this regard, and regularly say things or behave in ways that don’t reflect the person I want to be and who I know is still buried within me.  Yet, that person comes closer to the surface as time goes on and any progress in that direction is welcome.

The word “spirituality” brings to mind new age ideas, which don’t appeal to me.  Still, the more intimately I entwine my life with the natural world the closer I feel to something sacred.  I often feel like a child while closely examining insects, reptiles, birds, mushrooms, plants, or watching the interactions between any number of participants in this natural web of life.  It’s awe-inspiring and a large reason for slowing my construction pace down is so that I can spend more time connecting with it.  It makes me feel more alive.

Altogether, I’m happy and optimistic.  The enjoyment and satisfaction I get from completing even small tasks and projects keep me motivated and excited to continue my journey.  There are certainly pitfalls to this lifestyle, and I’ve skirted dangerously close to their edges at times.  I now have the sense that I’ve found stable footing and though there’s still some rough patches ahead I feel well-equipped to handle them while still appreciating the view.