A year on the island

So we moved to an island about a year ago, with ideas about gardening and raising our baby in a small community with lots of beaches. I pictured myself becoming a techno earth mama, working from home, growing our own food, and getting at least a little bit further away from grid life and grid mentality…

It started out super hard. The first summer was a drought, our baby was still so little that she was totally dependent, I was exhausted from three years of studying and moving house and being a new mama. I didn’t get anything done in the garden, I had no clients, and I was lonely, even though my own mama and friends are only a half hour boat ride away. We didn’t know if we belonged here.

A year later we know a few people, our baby walks and is getting into talking, and we can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I have learned a whole lot about food, from the nutrient dense, traditional foods perspective that turns over so many mainstream ideas on healthy eating. I have learned that the cook is the nourisher and protector of our DNA. I have learned to soak and dehydrate my nuts and seeds. I have learned to make meals not loaded with low-nutrient carbs. I have made teas from the wild plants in the garden. I have made bone broths and egg custards and keep a jar of villi yoghurt on the go. I have yet to make pate, but this will be a happy day when it comes. I have yet to source raw milk, and this is something that I should get onto.

On the techno side, I made the sacrifice and I go across the water to the city a couple of days a week to work in the office. And actually, I have to admit it’s quite nice to be on the boat by myself, drinking coffee and reading my book. But my freelance practice is picking up, and some of my work involves swapping my time for healing and potions and vegetables and beautiful clothes. Things that I would buy with money if I had money, but don’t need to because I have something to trade. This feels like a good way to be getting off the grid to me.

In the garden, I have learned how to sheet mulch, how to grow happy seedlings, how to harvest garlic, how to be (a bit more) patient, how not to let the huge amount of work to be done get me down!

In our relationship, I have learned to be more accepting, more kind, more patient.

In my parenting, I have learned to be more gentle with myself, less perfectionist, more joyful.

In my studio, I have made works on paper, and have exhibited them, I have a show coming up early next year too. And I am committed to keeping my art practice going somehow amongst all the other things!

In the past year, I have read about a hundred books, devouring them, wondering where the hunger came from. And reminding myself that I have just done a masters degree, slowly digesting philosophy and new ideas and being hungry for the pleasures of a good story. And I think at last the hunger is abating, and I am able to take time to write in between reading.

In the next year, I want to develop the healing practice that has been burning in my palms for at least five years now. I would hope our finances will be in better shape in the next year too! (But if they are not, we will be ok anyway.) I am looking forward to watching our baby become a child, and to developing the friendships we have started here. I would like to be less self-critical, less self-conscious, more able to translate my ideas into the world. We still have to negotiate a big house move, and we have lots to do to support my man’s healing process.

But I think that a year on the island has been what we needed, and right now we are happy to stay.

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