Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Today I went to the Farmer’s Market. My favorite place really. Well, tied with the beach. Lately I’ve been walking the path that leads through the stands with a deepened sense of gratitude. The result (or gift mostly) of traversing the path of hard-knocks I’m only recently emerging from.

Let me explain.

After my first baby was born I acted out what I’d been meticulously planning for months. Pregnancy
makes you crazy. To my point, I canned a books worth of food (seduced by calling it "small batch"),
convinced filling our pantry would offer some sort of respite or security or peace. Something.
I baked everything from scratch, grew a quarter of an acre worth of food and actively shamed
myself if anything, including my time, went wasted or failed. Like a bat out of hell, I was out to prove
that I could do it. I could give my newborn daughter the best of everything and I could make it myself
and it would be done perfectly.

It doesn’t take a trained professional to see where this was headed.

Massive burnout, complete depletion and immense disappointment. No one told me there would
always be more to do, and that more could be done better. Or maybe they did and I wasn't ready
to listen.

About that time Pinterest had come on the scene, all sequined and shiny and irresistible. Canning
was sexy (or so they said) and the Do-It-Yourself movement erupted. Instagram went crazy (and
so did we) with “Look what I made Mom!” photos. All promised a sense of satisfaction, success
and extra cash in our pockets.

And yet.

So many people I know, including myself, paid a price for “doing it ourselves”. We lost money
(because let’s be serious, none of us made it like the picture the first go-round), time (10 minutes
my ass), health, sanity, and picked up a good dose of self-loathing in the process.

It leaves me wondering if the Do-It-Yourself movement is nothing more than pendulum backlash
against the machine of pre-packaged junk and big business nonsense. We’re tired of being duped
by superficial marketing and know we could do it better than that. It was for me. I stuck it to the man
alright. And put myself right in the docs office trying to undo my defensive mess.

But back to the market.

Today as I handed over my $6 to Kristine at Saunders Family Bakery and placed a freshly baked
loaf of gluten-free bread in my basket my heart swelled with connection and thanks. She was quick
to share her story - that she had family and friends with allergies and she so badly wanted to offer
them a good, healthy loaf of bread safe for them to eat. How she tried countless recipes to get it just
right, for them and for us. Geoff at Sacred Springs excitedly told me that they have a new location
opening as he filled up my howlette with chamomile kombucha. John at Bodhi Tree Juice Co.
mentioned they are looking for a storefront in Holland, recognizing we need them and their products
so badly here. I wholeheartedly agreed! As I picked up tomatoes and cucumbers from
Groundswell Farm and berries from Organic Blueberries LLC, granola from Good Life Granola,
I offered sincere and deep thanks to each vendor. They’re offering me food, sure. But what they
may not know is they’re giving me time, peace and space as well.

In making their bread and kombucha and granola and juices and veggies - doing their sacred
work in the world - they’re giving me space and freedom to do mine. To write, to teach, to practice
and study yoga, to parent. They’re allowing me the liberty of baking for fun rather than force and
spending more time cooking rather than frantically weeding.

They’re gracefully showing up in their community, in their way, so I can too.

Yoga calls this dharma. Rooting out our essence, what makes us "us", and living from there.

I find it mutually beneficial in the best possible way. Rather than stressing about paying for
something “I could just do myself” or actually trying to do it myself, I offer monetary support so
these amazing people can create and sustain a business. When we invest in our communities  -
through markets and small shops and classes - we enter into more than a simple transaction. We
reach beyond service or product and into relationship. We step towards building community and
connection. Ultimately we step towards ourselves. In supporting the work of others we may find
we support the work of own.

My dream isn’t to be a baker - but someone’s is.

My dream isn’t to be a juice bar owner - but someone’s is.

My dream isn’t to own a vegetable farm - but someone’s is.

And all these someone’s live in my community! And yours too.

Of course this isn’t license for fast food and cheap spending. Some things we really do have to do
ourselves. Like making meals, holding space around a table along with conversation, and creating
a home built on love and respect. What I’m pointing to is intention. When we dive head first into
doing-it-ourselves, what is our intention? And what might we be taking from another? It’s okay to
not do it all, all by ourselves (in fact it sounds a bit prideful really).

In fact, stepping back to take in the bigger picture may help us move from independence to

Basically into the place where we all give a damn. A place where we are seen and known and see
and know.

We get to celebrate when a business thrives and show up when others are on the verge of collapse.
We get to cheer and become ambassadors and be a part of something. We walk down the streets
or through the market and know people by name. There’s something really large in its smallness.
There greatness in its simplicity.

We move from Do-It-Yourself to Do-It-Together.

So maybe next time it comes up that you “do it yourself” consider a few things:

1. What is the True Cost (time, trials, money, driving, etc.)
2. Does this support your sacred work in the world?
3. What is your intention?
4. Is there someone in your community who is already doing this, and doing it well?

May we set down our pressures, our pride and our pushing and realize we can't gain it all by
attempting to do-it-all ourselves. Here’s to people supporting people and dreams supporting dreams.
Here's to dharma.

Peace to you, peace to our communities, peace to the world.

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