{Psychology, Boxes, and Stress Pt. 1}

I meant to write a long time ago about Jim McDonald the herbalist and what I learned in his workshop on anxiety and stress. There's a bit of that in here.

Living at the farm (Acorn) was a great experience for me, one I'm excited about revisiting. I'm also excited to know there are a world of those opportunities - people who will clothe, feed, and house you in exchange for work while you learn valuable skills (look for another post about WWOOF.org).


Life on the farm. People asked what I did during the day. That's hard to answer. Any given day was less a question of what I did than what I experienced, what I lived and enjoyed. I slept in an ancient barn, whose structure swayed when you walked up the stairs. I slept in a small room, maybe 6'x8', of rough wooden planks, wall and ceiling. Two windows nestled above my mattress on the floor, and through them the night noises of the forest and the fall breeze nuzzled me into sleep.

I woke up in the mornings, walked from the barn down a beautiful path lined with berries in the summer, past aging outbuildings and looking out on a bamboo framed tipi of exuberant morning glories smiling at the sun. I enjoyed a bagel (that came from a dumpster) with organic peanut butter (made at another community) in a slow fashion, often with fresh herbal tea.

I worked at different things during the day. Maybe I worked on one of the cars and got pleasingly greasy in my Carhartt, maybe I worked in the garden for a while, planted seeds or garlic or weeded or mulched or tended or harvested. Maybe I spent a few hours preparing a meal for my large, beautiful family. Maybe I did laundry, hung clothes on a line in the woods and sang to myself. There was time to walk wherever you needed to go, there were no car sounds, and no hum of electricity unless you chose to work in the office near the computers. I worked at any given task for a few hours, then moved to another for a few hours, and by the end of the day I'd met my labor quota and could enjoy a delicious dinner and good company.

That's life on the farm.