Friday, May 29, 2009

Garden of Transformations

Recently I was given a gift of sustainability. Not a wind generator, or a rain barrel...I was given the chance to go on a retreat. Sustainable means simply, support or nourish. I am pretty good at sustaining my body...I like to eat, to times a little too much. I sleep when possible, breathe, and do the occasional exercise. But when it comes to finding the time to sustain my higher self, well that is another story.

I am going to be honest here. Bringing a new life into the world is no joke. Any stay at home parent will tell you that while the experience is wonderfully fulfilling, it is at times maddeningly overwhelming. There is barely enough time in a day for me to squeeze in a shower, and sleep...hah...I laugh at sleep. Even before Lil' Bit arrived on the scene there have always been so many things in my life I have wanted to do, things that I would love to do, but unable to find the time. Why is that? There is like 16 waking hours in a day, right?

As a first Mother's Day gift, Chef spent 4 days with Lil' Bit so I could attend a retreat at The Ritz Carlton here on the island.  Tara Meyer-Robson, a friend and neighbor, wrote an extraordinary book The Flow, 40 Days to Total Live Transformation.  I felt so blessed to be invited to her retreat and so grateful to have a life partner able to bring our child to work in order for me to attend.  There I met seven other beautiful strong women from around the country and our time together was life changing.

The past year, I have often been frustrated with the fact that I have had so little time to write. I have read article after article about authors with families that wake up at 5 am to write while their house is still quiet. I never felt capable of doing this, even before the baby. Granted, this is my first year as a mom so I have been cutting myself a little slack...but writing sustains my higher self...and when your soul is parched, lets just say life gets uncomfortably dry.

The Flow retreat really put this into perspective. I woke up every morning at 6 am to attend sunrise yoga on the beach. It was easy to wake up extra early to do something I cared about. Most days, I usually roll out of bed to a caffeinated beverage and set forth to do what I have to do, which is definitely not usually what I want to do. Mornings really set the tone for the day that follows, and waking up to the sun rising over a gentle ocean was a gift unto itself.

Chef spends more time than not doing what he loves. Now, he is not what you would call a morning person...more of a night owl, but he has managed to build a career around his passion in life. He worked like a dog in kitchens 60-80 hours a week for over a decade, and now he is the owner of his own award winning restaurant. He cooks all the time at home (yay or me!) and is constantly reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows, and researching foods he would like to learn more about. The garden at 29 South is a perfect example of how he is always striving to perfect his art.

Inspired by a community garden here on the island, and a recent trip to Northern California he decided he wanted to put an organic garden behind the restaurant. In two weeks time, with the help of Megan and Tim, two members of our staff with organic farming experience, a 14 bed garden was created. Chef is the kind of fella whose ideas never just stay ideas for long.

Organic gardening is one of those things that I had always wanted to do, but had never found the time before. When Chef asked me if I wanted to manage the garden, I said yes without thinking twice about time. What was once a whim of mine suddenly had become an opportunity to be seized.

We started our seeds in December, and by April we had enjoyed a successful winter crop of carrots and beets of all colors, salad mix, scallions, fennel, butter lettuce, romaine, radishes, snow peas, snap peas, cauliflower, and romanesco which is a super cool plant that reminds me of Dr. Seuss. Not bad for someone who had never grown anything edible other than a few herbs and tomatoes in a pot!

I decided I will make time to do what I love. It is a simple choice that is as important, if not more so than any other thing in my life. If that means waking up before Lil' Bit to write and then after she rises packing her into the station wagon to go tend the garden...well life could be a lot worse.

Take a little time this weekend to do something sustainable for your higher something that you love. You deserve it! Check back on Monday for a fresh taste of EcoCulinaire.

Good Life Read #1 

The Flow 40 Days to Total Life TransformationBy Tara Meyer-Robson

The coolest thing about this book is that there is a sort of test you take in it that allows you to hone in on what aspect of your life right now needs the most nourishing. I have never read a book of this type before, it is really unique, and it has really been a life changer for me.


Tara Meyer-Robson said...

It was a total honor to have you at the retreat...and I am so proud of you for following your dreams - in all areas of life!

much love,

Nan said...

Tara, you are such an inspiring person and I know your book is changing peoples lives! Thank you!