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Farmer’s Markets: Hipster Paradise or Community Refuge?

Twelve dollar nut-milk and dairy-free cheese. Fermented cabbage, kombucha everything and an old shipping container decked out with an energy guzzling refrigerator stocked with locally made craft booze.

It’s a hipster haven, and on the surface, it’s annoying ‘AF’ (as my child’s generation would call it).

It’s the farmer’s market at the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto. A man-made ‘natural’ oasis in the middle of the city.  The Saturday morning farmer’s market is well-curated, and the food court is pretty damn tempting.

To be quite honest, this market had me at Monforte Dairy and Hinterland Wine.

A country girl at heart, I yearn for my connection to the earth. After all these years, I have to admit, that I can come across as a city girl too, and maybe that’s why I’m so attracted to the bucolic civility of a rustic market just off seconds from the Don Valley Parkway.

Rural life tethers us with  invisible thread, connecting us to seasons, the earth, and the natural order of things. There is comfort in that.  I believe it’s the main reason why, even here in the city, where many children and adults  don’t know how to plant a seed or cultivate a garden or preserve food, that every walk of life  flocks to farmer’s markets.

As pretentious as  all downtown markets seem, they’re a sight better than our lives here in a city where anonymity is sweet, but the bitterness of a community lacking heart overpowers that sweetness. Markets are a small gesture of humanity within the  momentum  of the economic machine that is our lifestyle.

Our food sources connect us to the natural cycles of life, and to the intimate relationship that we have with our physical bodies. Food – the great equalizer. We break bread together as a symbol of opening our minds, hearts and homes to those whom we gather with.

Feeling some connection to that food is life-affirming and spiritual nutrition. Even if it just means it didn’t travel across borders to get here, and we received it from the same hand that harvested it.

If you have yet to make your way to your local farmer’s market this year, I encourage you to do just that. I reminds you where we are within the seasons, the community, and the planet as a whole.

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When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

IMG_6406I wasn’t going to write tonight.

What I wanted to do was to turn out the lights, curl up in a ball and shut out the world.

What I really wanted to do was to turn out the lights, curl up in a ball with my sweetheart, and shut out the world, possibly hearing those magic, fairytale words, “It’s ok”.

I don’t have a sweetheart to curl up with, and I can’t sleep. Right now, it’s not ok.

You see, today, despite always trying to be kind, loving and the world’s greatest promoter of open communication, I was hurt by two people very dear to me.

Call it what you will; lying, omission, whatever.

Being played for a fool, and not being trusted with emotional content is the emotional equivalent to tunneling through my heart with a grapefruit spoon. It’s messy, and it hurts like hell.

When someone  isn’t honest with me, I figure it’s for one of two very basic reasons; They’re afraid of being judged, or they’re an asshole.

Very few people I care about would fall into the latter category. So that makes me think that it’s something that I’ve done wrong. I must make them feel like I’m critical…They must think I’m stupid…They must be ashamed and are afraid to tell me…I’m a terrible person who makes people feel like they can’t talk to me….

And so it goes. I beat myself up and feel like my best just isn’t good enough. I feel like I’ve failed the people whom I care the most about.

Guilt, sadness and feeling inadequate; The trifecta of feeling like crap. There is never any rejoicing in being lied to or taken for a fool.

I practice what I preach when it comes to matters of the heart. I leave it all out there every day. I don’t miss an opportunity to let someone know I’m thinking of them, and I always, always, always tell them I love them.

Life is, by the way, a matter of the heart. Just in case you forgot what being a human being is all about and have mistaken it for a game of who can acquire the most stuff, the quality of your character matters, not the quality of your clothing.

I know that being able to open yourself to love is the cost of being loved. In other words, if you put it all out there, like I do, it’s a risk. But it’s a great risk. If you don’t allow yourself to be seen (in the spiritual sense), you don’t allow yourself to be loved, nurtured, or to grow in the warm light of relationship.

As my humble roots might mutter, “If you half-ass it, you’ll get half-assed results”.

For wearing my heart on my sleeve, I’ve had it beaten up, mocked and treated like hell.  It’s a tough old heart, but it’s just as tender on the inside as it was when I was a school girl with the school girl crush, and that’s the way I plan on keeping it.

After all, if you don’t put it out there, the right people will never be able to capture and care for it.

When your best isn’t good enough, it’s ok to be sad, to cry, to feel alone, and to dig your heels in and battle on in the name of all that you believe to be good and true.

 

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It’s the Waiting that’s Killing Us

2e2ace5e88f78b655e97a14a2a14a3c5Waiting, patience, giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

As we age, we begin to appreciate the value of these things. As we participate in the ride of life, we begin to realize that some of the pithy generalizations that people make are true; you can’t control what happens to you, you can only control how you react.

To a certain extent this is true. What we also come to recognize is that we can, to some extent control some of the things that happen to us.

Usually it’s by establishing personal boundaries, and filtering out the people who do not contribute to our well-being, who take without giving, and generally display sociopathic, tendencies, albeit on a sliding scale.

Waiting. We wait. We wait and we wait some more.

We wait most of all for perfect timing; for a long weekend, money in the bank or for when the kids are out of school. When we  wait with our own idealistic timeline in mind, it’s not waiting, it’s planning. Planning can be a good thing – it goes a long way to securing security, which, can never be guaranteed.

Let’s face it, every day when we get out of bed, we’re hedging our bets against our own mortality. We spend and save, worry and regret, love or protect our hearts as if we have all of the time in the world.

I hate to break it to you, but we’re not guaranteed a freaking thing; not tomorrow, not fidelity, not good health. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to throw caution to the wind and live a wild and carefree life. Goodness, what on earth would that be like for everyone? You know, living and loving and sharing as if we were all human???

What I’m saying is, align yourself with souls who are on the same path, willing to take risks with matters of the heart, and who don’t want to let life fly by without feeling fully and completely what it is to be joyful, sad, afraid and elated. Don’t settle for a partner who makes you wait, and wait, and wait some more. Don’t feel cuffed to a friend who doesn’t want to expand their horizons.

As the landscapes turn from bright summer, to pastels, and finally to the gold and oranges of autumn, I challenge you to stop waiting.

Stop waiting for someone who doesn’t want to be with you. Stop waiting until the perfect day when you don’t have to rush a little of the daily-what-must-be-dones to arrive at ah-yes-this-is-what-living is’s. Stop waiting for someone, or Jupiter to align with the sun.

Each moment you wait, you check another bar off of your lifeline. Each moment that you wait, you’re not out there meeting other vibrant, life-loving, engaged human beings.

Each moment offers an opportunity to choose something that gives us energy or zaps us. If someone continues to keep you waiting, and waiting, and waiting, I suggest getting up and getting on with the business of being fabulous. Grace and patience do not have to be self-effacing or selfless. If you are waiting for someone, you can wait and still be vibrant. You can wait and still do what you love. You can wait and meet other people to share wonderfully rich and unforgettable moments.

It’s the waiting that’s killing us darlings. Don’t wait.