sustainability – a study of the self in a selfish world

January 20, 2012

Sustainability is a word that gets bandied around a lot these days. Everyone and his dog seems to be using that word – politicians use it to convince us that it makes perfect sense to bear the pain of the short term in return for long term benefits, estate agents do the same, only they guarantee the promise of sustainable returns. As for conservationist, they use it in the context of finding a sustainable way to feed the world.

My feel is whenever a word gets popularized, then it probably means somewhere down the line, it’s meaning either watered down or embellished – in some cases, when a word is used again and again, all too often it loses its intrinsic elasticity – take the word, passion and meritocracy – what does it really mean? To be frank, I have absolutely no idea though I have to admit, it used to mean many things once upon a time – but since politicians and corporations hijacked that word, it has been evacuated of all meaning.

That’s why from time to time, I always find it necessary to define a word especially when I find myself struggling to find meaning in it. In my case I would simply define sustainability as growing from strength to strength – sustainability, in the context of farming has to add rather than subtract from the whole equation of financial emancipation and probably include indices such as emotional and spiritual well being –Of course now that I’ve managed to flesh out a few set pieces that make up the word, sustainability. I realize it’s not quite as simple as it seems. Truth is there is always much more than just turning a profit while being able to keep one’s sanity – I am always mindful of the various nuances that makes up the word, sustainability. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact, I am relatively new to commercial farming.

Being new to an enterprise carries with it, it’s own set of baggage. For starters, one is never really certain enough to be really confident. I mean, I have a whole lot of theorems in my head, some that I have successfully used to increase yield and to even improve growing conditions. But every now and then, I still find myself straggling over really simple and mundane stuff that I can’t seem to make sense of. Perhaps it has something to do with the gaps in my knowledge.

These gaps bother me – they vex me, because by nature I am exacting and meticulous – yesterday, I took an opportunity to read some of my earlier entries in my daily log – it seemed as though, I was reading the confessions of another man. A man who was not too sure of himself – It was a foreign sensation, reading one owns thoughts, yet being assaulted by the feeling of alienation at the same time. If I had to mention one theme that kept on repeating itself last year like a broken record, it has to be the whole idea of dealing with loneliness and isolation in a plantation.

Somewhere in my numerous entries, there are also moments of epiphany and little discoveries – the small things, like the shape of clouds and what do they portend – how after a heavy rain, eddies in the river will swirl in the deepest waters – what it means, when the dirt acquires a reddish tinge etc. These small things have a tendency of accumulating and at the end congealing into knowledge that makes the whole idea of sustainability easier to grasp.

I’m not completely sure that I will ever make it to the point where I can just look at the horizon and sniff the air to say for certain whether, it will rain tomorrow or the day after. Or be really assured of success without having to worry about the prospects of failure. What I do know is a large part of sustainability begins first with AWARENESS, many of us are content to go through life skimming the surface of our identities. That is, we don’t truly drill deeply into our thoughts, feelings, ego, insecurities, desires and dreams.

Part of the problem is that we’re always so fixated with sustaining ourselves that we often lose sight of the larger scheme of things such as sustainability. When daily task keep swelling, self-exploration takes a backseat. How can it not, when we dont even set aside some quiet barely time for self-care?

Embracing the idea of sustainability involves taking a closer look at our own thoughts and auditing our actions. It’s looking for the roots of who we are which allows us know where we are going — answers to all the questions we have about ourselves. Nevertheless, despite my haphazard approach, I’m always striving for sustainability along those lines!

Small movements, one step, at a time that’s the first lesson the land teaches the farmer.

Darkness 2012

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