In my yoga class this week, the teacher read us a list of her beliefs. They ranged from the simple (I believe drinking coffee on a cold day is a good thing) to the more philosophical (I believe that the best things in life also come with the greatest hardships). Regardless, each item on that list was true to her life and how she lives it. She challenged each one of us on our yoga mats to identify on one belief we hold and focus on it throughout the practice. However, off my yoga mat, I haven’t been able to stop contemplating the question of "What are my beliefs?”
Anyone who knows me well knows how opinionated I can be, but setting out to write out my beliefs—to actually put them in words—has taken a little more thought and nuance. As I’ve started to write them down, my list, like my teacher’s, ranges from simple (I believe snow days are a good day to rest) to more complex (I believe acting in love is the best way to act). As I examine each belief, I’ve begun to ask myself if I’m living my life accordingly—while it’s pretty darn easy to take a nap on a snowy day, acting in love when I have a headache and a to-do list a mile long doesn’t always happen.
I’ve also begun to notice some reoccurring themes in my beliefs. One in particular centers on my belief in learning. I highly value education, both formal and informal, and believe that learning should never stop—no matter your age, your position in life or successes you’ve achieved. We are shaped and molded by our experiences and what we learn from them. I believe learning new things can be tough, but it can also be liberating. I believe that if you think you’ve figured it all out—watch out!—because life’s about to kick you in the butt. (Trust me, I’ve fallen once or twice—hard!) Lessons are all around us, and I believe it’s our duty to chase after them, toil over them and then revel in the results.
If you were to ask me if I am putting my belief in education into practice, I could respond with a hearty "Yes!”
These days, I feel like I am a student of all, master of none. It can be quite humbling, but also exciting. For example, this month, as part of an apprenticeship at an herb farm, I’m learning about plants that are diuretics, which aid in kidney health. Despite how healthily I’ve tried to live my life, I’m learning that if I would harvest the dandelions that pop up in my garden instead of curse them, it may help with my chronically dark circles and lower back pain. I’m also an active student of my camera—just when I think I’ve taken my best photo yet, I see the work of a real professional and realize how much more experience and education I need.
I become excited each time I learn and master a new lesson because those lessons become a part of me. They enable me into be more dynamic and lead me toward becoming the person I ultimately want to be. Do you find that the case on your learning journey?
I’m sure there are many new discoveries and learning opportunities that await you on your farm. Are you taking the winter season to open up a book and track down an answer to that question that burdened you during the harvest season? What are you learning to cook with your frozen spinach and home-canned tomatoes? Have you discovered a new melon variety you want to learn to grow? Share the things your farm is teaching you right now!
My hope for you is that you’ll always be curious about the world around and that you are continually adding to your knowledge base. These lessons will change you for sure, and they will stick with you throughout your lifetime. Suffer with them, enjoy them and use them to influence your future path. You’ll be amazed by the person you become as a result.
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