Those who follow us at Back to La Tierra may possibly think that our current life at is so blissful it’s unreal, naive and maybe even self centred. All the social injustice and environmental disasters that go on all over the world whilst we are trodding around like Alice in wonderland worrying about earth worms, eating our home made and home grown vegetable soup.
I’ll let you in on a secret. We know it all.
I for one, Paul is struggling, have chosen to live in cultivated ignorance. I simply can not digest the amount of upsetting news that we are bombarded with every second of the day in all shapes and forms. I find it paralyzing and depressing. It scares the hell out of me and leaves me in a state of absolute desperation. The more sensitive you become to bliss, beauty and kindness the less you are able and willing to deal with the dark side of the world.
I find philosopy gives me insight and answers when I walk into these kind of walls and specifically the Stoics. One of Marcus Aurelius’s meditations talks about the pleasure of tuning out the negative How satisfying is it to dismiss and block out any upsetting or foreign impression and immediately to have peace in all things. Part of the Stoic mindset was a kind of cultivated ignorance. Contrary to popular belief it’s not a sign of weakness to shut out negativity but they considered it a sign of strong will.
We live in an age when this is not a very acceptable life philosophy. One must face reality, confront the truth, open one's eyes and ears. The only problem is that reality and truth in the way that they are served to us are in fact limited to negative realities, highlighting the bad news, feeding our fear and discomfort. I often wonder how this contributes to our daily lives, how it impacts our life decisions.
Over this last year I have found that everything that happens in our garden at Back to la Tierra is in fact a metaphor for life in all its facets. This is not a new discovery, biomimicry is gaining a growing recognition. At the moment Paul and our Helpx helper Guillaume are sheet mulching our orchard. This is a process where the soil is covered by cardboard and that is covered by a thick layer of mulch (organic waste). After a few months the cardboard and mulch decompose and have nourished the soil in such a way that life is returned to it. Bacteria, fungi, and all other micro life, most of which has not even been identified, decompose the cardboard and the mulch. Earthworms in the soil improve permeability for water and air. The thick layer makes sure the weeds dont see the light (metaphor intended) and the soil gets time to build itself to nourish that which needs to grow. Building and nourishing the soil will support everything that grows instead of planting a tree in a barren land and treating it with a pesticides.
At times we need to sheet mulch our soul too. Cover it in a nice layer of thick protection (rest, read, exercise, create) and let it seep into the deeper layers of our being. Wait to see what grows, what has been waiting to surface.
Cultivating ignorance may just turn out to be the recipe for abundant growth.
Inspired by everything that matters and convinced that creative living is on top of the list.