HARVEST TIME: What Have I Grown?

Harvest time, yet again. In terms of the year’s cycle, we may as well call it The Moment of Truth. Some might go so far as to say “Judgment Day,” but let’s not let our sense of drama completely get away from us. In any case, it’s kind of a BFD – now we see the results of everything we stuck in the ground this year. The good and the bad, all of it. So what did you grow? Maybe it was bad. It’s not the end of the world, most likely. There’s another year coming round the bend. Whatever you grew, be honest about it. Either enjoy it or learn from it or both.

I’m speaking, of course, yet again in agricultural metaphors. Those of you who caught episode 1 of the Wizard of Monadnock Radio Hour heard me talk about this already. I mean, I’ve been doing this for four years now, pumping the notion that the best way to look at the year is as some caricature of a crypto-pagan farmer 300 years ago. Stoic dormancy at the beginning of the year, followed by rapid preparation and planning, followed by planting, then tending, then harvesting, then returning to dormancy.

I mean, none of us are actually farmers! When I started recording the episode, on the night of the Equinox, and began my planned, seemingly obligatory rant about the season, it hit me harder than usual. I found myself questioning, out loud and “on the air” whether or not it made sense to use this metaphorical framework anymore. Just this week, well after recording the episode, I was reading a very interesting book – one I’m certain to revisit more fully in the weeks to come – in which the author was almost scornful of those, like myself, who remain wedded to an agricultural cosmology that has nothing to actually do with us. Furthermore, he points out, given the relatively small proportion of human existence that has been spent farming food, reliance on these concepts can hardly be said to speak to anything close to the totality of human experience.

It’s a totally fair criticism, and I didn’t feel offended in the slightest – though perhaps that has something to do with the fact that the writer is a solid thinker and a very amusing presenter. I get it. Point totally taken. But I’m still going to keep doing it anyway.

I mean, do you have a better idea?

I don’t – I hope to, at some point, because I do agree with the argument. I totally cede the point. But right now I don’t have a better model, and the truth is, I’m finding this model far from useless. In fact, upon reflection, one of the most notable components of 2016 has been fairly dramatic success personally in maintaining awareness of the solar cycle and using that awareness to maximal impact.

That’s right – I’ve been talking about it for years, but it honestly wasn’t until this year that I paid attention to this all the way through. For once, I consciously survived the winter, set about on intense efforts as soon as spring broke, experienced an amazing, blazing, glorious summer while continuing my work, and, at present, I find myself arriving at mid-Autumn with a pretty clear idea of what I produced.

As ever, the actual form taken by the fruit, the results of my efforts, diverges in some way, small or large, from what I thought I was planting. Example: I wasn’t trying to grow a podcast. That wasn’t, specifically, intentional. I wish I could say I did it on purpose, but I really didn’t. What I was trying to do, however, was take this site, this entire project, and take it to another level. My intention was to continue with the same mission while pushing reset on the method and even, in some ways, the focus. As it turns out, the podcast brings all of those intended potentials into manifestation. I grew exactly what I intended to grow, I just didn’t have any idea the vehicle for it would be a podcast.

I suspect a lot of our efforts in life are like that. I think there’s something important to be learned in that.

There’s other, more complicated examples that I’m not going to entirely go into, but to summarize: my political work has taken many unexpected twists and turns throughout the course of this year, and where I am now is not – specifically – where I thought I’d be at all. But much progress has been made in this area, many lessons learned, valuable unions formed, and the nature of the situation in which I find myself is, on the contrary, exactly where I hoped I’d be. Same with my overall spiritual practice, life at home, circumstances at work. When it comes to the details, I predicted none of it. But mindfully maintaining a focus on the desired results, working each day to bring them about, even in the smallest of ways, and doing so by riding the tide – so to speak, not to mix metaphors – of the annual cycle, the seasons, it seems to help. It really does.

Maybe it’s just a motivational psychological trick I’m playing on myself. Or maybe it’s better living through attuning to the natural/cosmic order of things. Maybe both – but who really cares? Does it matter?

I mean, I’m sticking strongly with this argument that I’m better off for following these seasons. For that reason alone, I do encourage you – if you feel like it, I mean I really don’t care either way – to pay attention to the time of year, what season it is and what the nature of that season might be. And on some low, low, low-ass level of your daily existence, factor that in. Even if you’re doing it sarcastically, as a joke. Just do it. See what happens.

That’s all I’ve been doing.

Salaam.

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