This post is along the same lines as my first, from back in February of 2014, titled “Spring 2013: In the Beginning…” Focused on introspection, what’s going on inside, as opposed to the “how” of this or that. Like all of us, consciously or not, I have been on something of a personal development journey, and the past 6 years or so, with Geri’s huge impact on my life, the speed of development has increased dramatically, and we have been on the journey together. <Now some might say, “what personal development?” Ha! Well, if that is you, I will just remind you that there is this blind spot we all have, called “what I don’t know that I don’t know.” And in this case you should thank God for that!> As we have eliminated a lot of the noise from our lives, attracted the positive and eliminated the negative, systematically, and with intention, we have been able to feel and hear ourselves with increased sensitivity, it seems to me. The most recent example of this for me, was Facebook. It just had to stop, so for those of you wondering about my silence, there you have it. The homestead Facebook page is still being maintained, but I have not been on my personal page in several weeks. It has made a huge difference; I have a lot more stillness in my life. That is not saying anything bad about Facebook, and there are certainly great aspects of the experience, which I miss, but for me it became just another addiction, and I invested more time and energy in it than I should have. The point is, after eliminating a lot of modern day distractions, TV being the first several years ago, the resulting quiet is gorgeous. In the space left behind is the work, and a state of more heightened awareness of ourselves is a key benefit of “doing the work,” as Geri likes to say, on ourselves and our relationships.
Of course, there is no end to this progression, hopefully, there is always another of life’s challenges to surmount, another rough edge on our personality to be removed, another “3rd rail” issue to be addressed in a relationship, and so on. I would not have it any other way. I take some comfort in understanding that this is in large part, how the wise became wise, the empathetic empathetic, the compassionate just that, and so on. At least that is my belief. There is a method to it all. Painful as it might be on occasion.
Two years ago, traveling along this path resulted in our acquisition of the “Southwest Michigan Homestead;” a name I have been trying to replace since before it even came about! And almost since day one, the pull to the property has become stronger and stronger. Now I have come to think of it as a “calling.” I am being called to live from the property. Doing what I am not quite sure. We will figure it out on the way. The call is becoming practically irresistible.
To that end, I have been bouncing some homestead-related business ideas around with Geri, and a few others. As a guy with his corporate stripes firmly in place, I started thinking of a “vision” for the business. Describing its future in some way. What will it look like? What will it produce, or how will it serve customers? I did not get far. I thought not of a single bigger business, but more of a collection of related “boutique” businesses, and really I only had one or two of those in mind. I would not be going into business for its own sake; there is no “calling” to a particular line of work, at least not that I have heard, yet. Then it came to me that, well, the business is really more of a vehicle for a achieving a mission, or a “purpose,” and that the cart should be put behind the horse, by developing the purpose of the business(es) first. I tend to stitch together “new” ideas synthetically, which is to say, from other ideas; “The Purpose” is no exception. Beginning with a variety of source materials that have rung true with me over the years. The Purpose is really about who Geri and I want to be personally, as a members of the community, and in our “life’s work.” This is what we are up to. It is unquestionably “aspirational” in my case.
This is all clearly a work in progress. We have some fairly firm, and I like to think good, ideas about how to make maple syrup our first boutique business. The maple sugaring business is definitely part-time and seasonal at its current scale. To support starting that business quickly with the 2016 harvest, we will need to begin laying the foundations now. It is an exciting time, and a little scary to be sure.
— John, 22 June 2015
p.s. I read quite a bit; perhaps what is below will be a new section of my posts