Sunday morning at Rancho Far Side, as Lisa and Djann call this place. Things on the Tassajara fire front are relatively calm at the moment; I spoke with Gina yesterday and she still sounds good, assuring me that everything is okay. So I’m feeling able to shift gears a bit and tell you about my surroundings here, where I will be until July 16.
Lisa and Djann have 20 acres of land on the Rio Chama (“rio” means river), about an hour north of Santa Fe. They moved here two years ago, and they hold a vision of creating a sustainable place to live that welcomes a wide circle of friends and community.
This is fertile land, sitting between the river and the acequia – an irrigation ditch system that was created hundreds of years ago by the Spanish. When they bought the property, the land had been dormant for a while, but Djann and Lisa put a lot of work into it and now there are fields of crops growing… garlic, squash, corn, beans, lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, melons, berries, grapes, sunflowers, and lots more. Last night we had salad nicoise for dinner with romaine lettuce from the garden and grilled albacore and green beans.
This past year, Djann has started up a business – Sunhorse Sustainable Systems – to install solar panel systems and raise awareness of and access to alternative energy technologies. Sunhorse is in start up phase but already has put in solar systems at a few residences and a nearby pueblo.
For as long as I’ve known Lisa and Djann (about 15 years now), they have a wonderful gift for drawing magic and people into their lives, and that’s happening here. This is a lot of land to manage, and recently a ‘wrangler’ showed up to give them a hand – Fred, who now lives in a bunkhouse on the property, and takes care of a couple of horses that are on the land as well as building and fixing things on the property and helping with watering the crops.
So here I am, on this beautiful and magical piece of land with good friends all around, trying to find my place. Creative opportunities seem to flow to me here… there’s the possibility of helping Sunhorse set up a website and maybe help out in other ways, my friend Sharon is working to start up a Buddhist hospice on land nearby and may want support with creating a brochure, and there’s the work at Upaya Zen Center with the chaplaincy training program and possibly more.
The big challenge for me is to remember that I designated this as sabbatical time to rest and renew, to break some old maladaptive patterns and to create a more wholesome and fulfilling life. One old pattern is to say “yes” to everything that comes my way, no matter what the cost to myself. I realize I was wired at an early age to respond to other people’s needs. Not necessarily a bad thing, but important for me to take a deep look at how I nourish myself in the process. And I’m realizing that I want to take some more time to reconnect with my own vision and values.
With that, I’ll close with this great quote from astrologer Rob Brezsny:
“At the heart of the pronoiac [this is the opposite of paranoid… think joy!] way of life is an apparent conundrum: You can have anything you want if you'll just ask for it in an unselfish way. The trick to making this work is to locate where your deepest ambition coincides with the greatest gift you have to give. Figure out exactly how the universe, by providing you with abundance, can improve the lot of everyone whose life you touch. Seek the fulfillment of your fondest desires in such a way that you become a fount of blessings.”
Below: Djann and Lola the dog survey the fields