The title of this post is perhaps a ‘welcome back’ to sharing here again – but it is much more important than that. It is a ‘welcome back’ to connecting with our peers, our community.
Last month the Organic Alberta and Holistic Management conferences were held together in Lacombe – only 45 minutes away. These events are always great and we were inspired by the content and speakers – it is great to see the studies emerging to quantify the positive impacts of the practices we have been employing and working to put in place. But what really stuck with me was the sense of ‘home’ we felt there – in this room were people who were at our wedding, who taught us and been with us during our Holistic Management courses, who have been mentors, and who are friends.
Some know that the last couple years we put a lot of our attention and most of our resources behind a compost business we want to see happen on our farm. That is on hold right now (a story for another day, perhaps) but putting our attention there meant we distanced ourselves from the community of people that I talk about above. As someone who puts a lot of emphasis on relationship building, it feels ridiculous that it was such a revelation to me the power and importance of the simple act of gathering but I was reminded again that the heartbeat and soul of these conferences are the people there. And that we need them to sustain us.
Key in that community are the group of people that we did our most recent Holistic Management course with (we did it in early 2016). This group has continued to meet and socialize and support each other when called upon. In Lacombe we had a meet-up and I pretty much fell apart. I was overwhelmed by the emotion that came from seeing all these people and all the support that is there. They graciously held me in their circle and also offered Vance and I more formal support, inviting us to put our enterprise, our life, in the center of our next meeting.
Our group met last night via an online meeting – all that could, logged in for a “Power Hour”. Vance and I had written up our goals and plan based on the HM framework and invited them to ask us questions, provide observations, to nudge (or push) us deeper into them. It was one of the most useful hours we’ve had – they asked us questions we’ve shied away from.
Vance and I have more work to do together to refocus and move forward from here but a step that can seem daunting or become deprioritized with all the immediacies of everyday life – is exciting, energizing, and doable because we have our group around us. They held us in their circle last night and they will continue to do so. That is why we need community – we need to meet and share and connect in the ‘good times’ and the informal so that those connections are there and ready when we need them in the ‘tough’ and the ‘serious’.
My deepest bow of respect and gratitude to this group and to all of you have been strong supporters of us these last 6 years.