Life Lessons From The Farm: Part Three
Updated: Apr 7, 2020
"You Reap What You Sow"
It is full-on summer now, and I dunno about you guys, but I am really feeling the healing energy of the sun. It always amazes me how drastically my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health improves in the summer. It also feels like the collective energy improves -- people just seem happier! And the effect of being surrounded by happier people makes me happier, which in turn makes the people around me happier! It’s just a really beautiful cycle of happiness, butterflies, and rainbows.
I think it is really important for us to recognize just how much our presence can affect others. Not that we need to be happy ALL the time (because that’s not realistic or healthy), but at least kind and respectful. Because that’s all we really need from others, isn’t it? And I truly believe that putting more kindness and respect out into the world brings more of it back to you -- "you reap what you sow"!
This is the last post I have planned for the “Lessons From The Farm” series, and it’s a lesson that has surfaced in my life many times, in many different ways.
I was first introduced to this proverb when I was in Grade 8 by a teacher who posted it on our classroom bulletin board. While I understood what the teacher was trying to say when he explained what it meant (or his interpretation of what it meant) to our class, I didn’t fully grasp the concept until becoming an adult and beginning to explore the more spiritual side of life.
This teacher also played, and asked us to sing along to, the country song "Don't Laugh At Me" by Mark Wills, which, when I think about it now, I can certainly appreciate what he was trying to do, but as a classroom of pre-teens who are all at an age where trying to be "cool" is pretty much the one and only priority, I don't think it went over as well as he'd hoped. But hey, I still remember both of these things that he did, and that was about 17 years ago, so it obviously had an impact on me!
Apparently the origins of "you reap what you sow" are biblical (just learned that through a quick little google search right now -- what did we even do before google???), and there are a few different interpretations out there, but my interpretation of the phrase is that you get back what you put in, or you get what you give. It’s similar to the way we view karma in the “western world”, as in, if you are a good person and do good things, good things will come to you. Karma originally comes from a more complex concept within Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and other “eastern” religions -- I'm not going to pretend to understand the full scope of it, but I acknowledge and respect where it comes from, and appreciate being able to incorporate it into my life. I personally believe that every religion can offer us something valuable, and both of these teachings really resonate with me.
On the farm, we quite literally reap what we sow. In the spring, we “sow” or plant the fields, and in the fall, we “reap” or harvest them. We try to use the “best” seed, to plant them at the “right” depth, and the “right” time, to fertilize and spray the “right” amount, annnnnd last but not least, buying the “best” insurance in case mother nature decides to throw some wild weather at us. I have to use quotation marks around those words because there is no absolute “best” or “right” way to do anything in farming (although I’m sure many farmers would tell me otherwise) but we do what we believe is best/right. Farming is basically making a lot of educated guesses, and then praying that nature cooperates and that it all works out as we hoped. But making those educated guesses and then applying those guesses to the fields, take a lot of time and energy. We are putting a huge amount of our energy into those crops in various ways right up until it’s ready to be harvested (actually, it’s more accurate to say that we pour our energy into them right up until the grain is sold and no longer in our possession, but it doesn’t fit quite as well with my theme).
And putting our time and energy into them (usually) pays off!
I’ve noticed that this principle can be applied to so many different areas of life, and is really many lessons within a lesson. It can be applied to our relationship with our self, with loved ones, with work, with our community, with the earth/environment, etc. It teaches us about patience, the law of attraction, cause and effect, and aligning our actions and intentions with our core beliefs.
I’m going to apply this principle to our relationship with our self, and more specifically how we take care of ourselves. Partly because if I wrote about ALL the areas of our lives we could apply it to, this post would be waaaay too long, and partly because I think that starting with the self -- examining, reflecting, introspecting -- is usually the best place to start. The better we understand our true selves, the more authentic we can be, and the more authentic we are, the more at peace we will be, and the more positive an effect we can have on others and on the world.
YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW -- SELF-CARE STYLE
The concept of “self-care” has been trending over the past few years, and has become a bit confusing because of all the differing opinions regarding what actually constitutes “self-care”, but really, the only opinion that matters is your own... and Google's. And Google says: "self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health". Nice! Thanks again, Google, for always being there for me.
I think the reason for this trend is because people have begun to recognize that when we put energy into everything BUT ourselves, it leads to burnout. We need to be putting energy into ourselves in order to be able to put energy into other things. It is simply not sustainable for all of our energy to be going outwards if there isn’t any going inwards. Burnout is more prevalent among women and care-givers because of the societal pressure to always put others first, which is then internalized and self-perpetuated, but it’s everywhere and can affect anyone. As a species and as individuals, we are doing more than ever -- a jam-packed schedule makes us feel needed, wanted, important, and feeds our ego -- but we are also burning out at an incredible rate. There is too much energy output, and not enough energy input. Which is where self-care comes into play.
If you’re not sure what burnout looks like, some of the signs to look for are:
Emotional/mental/physical exhaustion; feeling drained
Loss of motivation
The feeling that nothing you do matters
Cynicism and negative outlook
Feeling overloaded and underappreciated on a regular basis
Feeling detached and defeated
Sense of failure
If you want to learn more about burnout, here is an excellent article about it.
So, if you “reap what you sow” in reference to self-care, then the act of taking care of yourself, in theory, will lead to a better quality of life. Doing good things for yourself will make you feel good, which will, in turn, bring more good things into your life.
Of course this doesn’t mean that shitty things will never happen to you if you take care of yourself, but I do think that people who take good care of themselves, who truly value themselves, are less likely to experience difficult obstacles on a regular basis because consciously or unconsciously, they are energetically expressing that they will not be taken advantage of or treated poorly.
People generally neglect themselves because it is ingrained in us to self-sacrifice; we are expected to put others’ wants and needs and feelings above our own, and are often made to feel guilty when we choose to put ourselves first. But I think the energy you put into yourself, reflects your self-worth, because being able to say “I am worth treating well, I am worth feeling happy, and healthy, and fulfilled” and choosing to make our needs a priority shows how much we value ourselves. People who don’t do this for themselves will probably judge you, and try to make you feel selfish, but sometimes I think this comes from a place of envy -- that they wish they’d invest in themselves more, and that they valued themselves more. We are expected to place ourselves below others, below work, below obligations -- and so often we do... but we need to stop. Self-care is not selfish, self-care is self-preservation, and it allows us to show up for others in a more authentic and meaningful way on our terms. It is very nice to do things for others, and can feel incredible, but if all you ever do, and all you’re ever motivated by, is what others want from you, you will grow resentful. It will no longer feel good and your negative energy will begin to ripple out to those around you, which then means that you are being “selfless” in a way that is actually destructive to your soul, and is having the opposite effect on others than you’d intended.
We also need to remember that reaping the benefits of self-care does not (usually) happen overnight. My partner reminded me today of a quote that perfectly relates to this:
“The day you plant the seed, is not the day you eat the fruit.”
Learning to do things that are for our highest good, that will not necessarily (side note: why does the word “necessarily” have a “c” that sounds like an “s” when there are other “s”es in the word? English is SUCH a weird language) provide us with immediate results, are the most difficult things to do, because we want to see results immediately. But trusting that this process is going to allow us to live a more satisfying and fulfilling life is worth it, because you are worth it.
Say it to yourself until you believe it, because it’s true, and it’s time for us all to realize it.
I... am... worth... it...
I am worth it.
I. Am. Worth. It.
I AM WORTH IT!!!
Damn right you are!
Take care and be kind yourselves, Root & Sprouters.