Forethought or Monkey Mind?
I didn’t intend to obsessively think about the garden and not sleep. But it happened, with a vengeance. Finally I dared look at the clock. 2:36 AM.
Self: Are you really losing sleep over this?
Self to self: Yes. This is complicated.
Self thinking about what people might say: Is it really that challenging? You just start, right? Plant shit and it grows.
I have a problem. As anyone who has experienced longer bouts of unemployment can probably attest, it gives a person a lot of time to think. (Granted I am very blessed in that my unemployment was a choice.) A. Lot.
I’ve always teetered on the edge of overly analytic, forethought and wild abandon. For better or worse, my reflex is to temper my gung-ho-ness with a moment (or five) for reflection. This serves me well as an educator and event/project planner. It is a tight rope between being tempered and taking the plunge. It doesn’t always feel great and catches me in monkey mind at odd hours.
Prior to my settling (and hell, even that is up for debate) on a career, I worked and volunteered with various small businesses and non profits. Time and time again I saw perfectly good intentions fall flat on their faces. We see this today in (drum roll please) many policy decisions made at a national level and probably right in our own lives. Let me be clear, I’ve seen many a gung-ho idea of mine not come to fruition.
So, how hard could it be to do this, right? Duh, look at your space, make a drawing, build some beds, plant some starts and get going. And compost.
As I get started on this path to school garden I’ve had to rein myself back in on several occasions. How hard could it be? Well, for starters aside from everything being foreign to me (food, language, directions, the city, the countryside…) beginning a project that incorporates sustainability on a literal level is especially foreign. The goal is to create something that brings in community or creates it and lives on as a working garden/farm.
So again, just get some shit and get started, right? But here is where my monkey mind gets a little caught up and forethought rears its ugly head. Sure I could do that but would I really be creating a sustainable project? In my mind, the answer is a resounding “no.” So like a good reflective educator I have some questions for myself (or you, dear more learned reader?):
1.) What is the goal/vision here? What do we want this project to be?
2.) How does community get created around a project like this?
3.) How do we involve the students so it truly becomes a learning garden? How do we involve the parents? And then, the community?
Basically, what I’ve landed on and am stuck on right now is, how do we get buy-in. From experience, I can tell you that the fastest way you can make a project fail or turn people off to a new idea is to shove it in their face. Collaboration is key and I think it is especially essential to making this school/community garden grow.
In an attempt to put the insomnia monkey mind at bay and bring forethought to the table, I’ve randomly contacted organizations around the world. See, I’m kind of weirdo. I will talk to/contact anyone anywhere about anything most especially if it is something I believe in.
To this end, I’ve been doing some research and trying to collaborate. I’ve been gratefully blown away at the response. Luckily, I’m just getting started. Watch out, eco geek world, I’m coming for you. Right after a nap.