This job is all about facing your fears, I’m learning.
I’m giving five presentations this week. It feels like a hundred butterflies are trapped in my gut, and I keep hunching my shoulders. Deep breaths when I remember. It’ll be okay.
Researching the food system keeps me up at night, gums up my voice and my thoughts until all I can do is weep silently at the keyboard, rocking. I feel so powerless. So small. And then I spend my days trying not to let it show.
It’s hard to get a handle on food security, what it means. I’m feeling my way through a forest of leg-hold traps in the dark of the moon, maybe I should just stand still until morning? A cold mist creeps across the forest floor and I know I’ve got to move, just one step at a time.
You can probably tell I’ve got a lot of anxiety.
You know, in a way, my anxiety feels kinda spiritual. It’s a call, a cry, sending my distress out to the universe. I need to be silent & watchful for messages. A little woo-woo, I know, but even if they aren’t really messages from the universe, I still take comfort when I find them.
When I take time to listen, it’s easier to hear. The word silent has the same letters as listen. Music’s taught me that. I sing with an a Cappella pop-rock choir 🙂 and every week we practice. It’s as much about hearing the silence as the notes. Hearing each other’s voices.
This year, one of our pieces is Carol of the Bells. There’s this tricky alto part right on the phrase “no need to fear” with a tiny semi-tone shift on the word “fear”. It’s hard to do but critical. Grrr. Stupid e flat.
I’ll need to sing this phrase over and over, a hundred times, listening hard. Until it sounds right. Until I’m convinced. No need to fear, no need to fear…
At rehearsal, other voices sing “no need to fear” along with me. To me. For me. The voices ease my grief for the blue water and green spaces and the long beautiful swansongs of the life all around me. The harmony connects me and carries me up and through that sharp fear so that there is none. No need for it.
And just like that, I’m balanced again.
My work and my research gives me hope as well as fear. Young farmers bring new innovations and a new vision to farming. Collaborative relationships are growing, taking root across sectors and cultures. Appropriate technology, oriented to small-scale ecologically sound farming methods, is appearing on the market with reasonable prices. Many bright minds and caring people are sharing new ideas. There’s so much going on I can’t possibly follow it all.
So I’ll be singing hearts drawing near no need to fear//love is revealing love is agreeing love is our being//we are all one! over and over this week. That’s my latest message from the universe, folks.