Wisdom and Inspiration: Celebrating Three Years of Your Comments!
Celebrating three years of the Shared Earth Living Community!
It has been three years since I started this blogging venture and began sharing my journey from the city to the countryside with the world. What better way to celebrate than with a post dedicated to the wise, inspiring, generous comments from you, my readers!
Three Year Anniversary
Since starting out on this blogging venture three years ago, I have been so lucky to have connected to lots of other like-minded and inspiring people who are also on a similar path to me.
I always feel so touched and inspired by your comments and messages, and so, to mark the three year anniversary of this blog, I have dedicated this post to celebrating you, my readers!
Therefore, this post is a little bit different to the previous ones. It is made up of a collection of your comments over the last three years across all my blog posts. I have organised them in a way that celebrates this wisdom in a coherent way and tells the story of so many of us at this as navigate our lives at this uncertain time.
Here’s to more co-creation, collaboration and creativity in 2023!
In the beginning of any great quest, there is a deep inner need for something that can not be found in the immediate environment. For some, it could be the desire to explore the unknown, the need for excitement, a thirst for new knowledge and experiences. For others, it could be an inner calling, a vision, a burning desire for something which they can’t quite articulate but they sense is possible.
In my case, it is a desire for a lost Eden; a place where I can be in greater communion with the Earth and her natural rhythms, away from the frantic pace of the hamster wheel and the unnatural way of life of the modern world. It is a search for belonging; a spiritual home, where I can work in collaboration with others and live in a more communal way.
One of my first ever readers, Lorna, captured this perfectly with her insightful comment on the post ‘In Search of Home’:
|“I would offer that your search for home is such a deep primal yearning, of which most people are simply unaware in the midst of hectic modern life. Naturally, before humans developed industry and agriculture, we would have led nomadic lives, so our home would have been wherever we were each day. |
For me, home too equates to freedom, as you say:
‘Where will I find this place and the people with whom I can sit around the table and feel like all parts of me are welcome; a place where I can be fully myself no questions asked?’.
I too have been looking all over the world for this place, for my people to join with and to find home. Something I have realised is what you also touch on in your post: that the inner world somehow is the bridge to the outer home our hearts yearn for. I realised that there are the dimensions of latitude and longitude that we use to locate places, but there is another dimension that provides the bridge to our real home.
For me, this bridge is to be found by meditation practice, where on one or two rare moments I have experienced a glimpse of freedom from my own judgements – thoughts I continuously believe, which I sub-consciously project onto everybody else all of the time. It’s a bit hard to explain!
But my belief is that by freeing ourselves from our idea of who we think we are, we will experience the home we are yearning for”.
Over the last three years I have certainly learnt the truth of Lorna’s final sentence.
For me, the past three years have been like a spin wash cycle where I have been forced to wring out all the parts of myself that were not 100% authentic. As Lorna wisely points out, I have found huge freedom in this. But it hasn’t been easy; the sadness and grief for all the old skins that I have shed and left behind has been very real too.
Just as Lorna predicted, as my life has changed to orientate myself in the direction of my dream, I have felt closer and closer to that ‘home’ that I desire, even though I am still here in the city.
The best thing about this new found sense of self, is that the new people that have come into my life feel more in alignment with who I really am. People have reached out who also share a similar dream. Connecting with like-minded others feels good, even if it is just a short conversation online.
For example, Pascal on ‘Searching for Alternative Rural Spain’ writes:
“I love reading your inspiring quest. It resonates a lot with me. My husband and I are for now still living in the city of Valencia. But the truth is, we are back to the landers like yourself. We’d love to do up an old finca and live a tranquil life. Thank you for sharing your stories!”
On the same post, Shaun also wrote:
“Loved reading this. My Wife Anna and I are currently in the Gredos area looking to buy land with a house on it. We are planning to set up an off grid sustainable lifestyle and small business. We have also been traveling around Spain trying to decide where to settle. What a difficult job it is!”
How wonderful to be able to help each other out and cheer each other on!
In fact, this was my original vision when I started this blog. I envisioned creating not only a space where I can invite others to join me in my quest but also a space where other people’s voices are also heard. Whilst this vision of community may only be a seedling right now, I hope to cultivate more in the future.
Carol also shares my dream of community. On a recent post “Dreaming of Community and Camaraderie Outside of The City” She writes:
|“I really resonate with this blog Olivia (…). Your idea of communal living has struck a chord for sure. The pressure of doing everything myself is too much sometimes. The idea that I would be able to be alone but know there is a community there to share deep conversations not just small talk with is really appealing”.|
For those who have a similar dream, Tim, on the same post, writes:
“I think you need to find your ‘Tribe’. Like minded individuals who all share the same dream, all working to find/maintain an enjoyable lifestyle.
It’s difficult to find friends (close ones) who can share exactly the same dreams without having fall outs and disagreements. My suggestion would be to follow your own path and find these friends along your journey. (just my thoughts on your post)”.
Wise thoughts, indeed!
We are living in a time when more and more people are seeking more connection to others. But how do we go about creating it in a world where human life is ever more disconnected?
Kersten shares her ideas on the post “Expecting the Unexpected and Embracing Fear”:
I do believe that everything starts with a thought and the more we think and imagine our dream and take actions, the closer we come to fulfilling it. <3
Aurelie also captures this sentiment beautifully in the post ‘Daring to Dream: Confessions of a Naysayer’:
|It’s so amazing how one can plant a seed of an idea, a dream, and start taking action, which might include reading, talking with others, creating things that are in alignment with the dream.|
What you said about the end goal being hazy evoked an image in my mind of walking; as we move in a forward trajectory the details in the distance that at one time we could not see become clearer until we are amongst them, and this birthing of a dream and moving towards it feels like that!
My dear brother-in-law this winter gave me a much needed pep-talk which ended in making a sort of oath that I would take “proactive baby steps”, which became such a simple but effective reminder to not rush but keep an eye on where I was going. And I’ve come a long way!
Just like Aurelie, I have been taking pro-active baby steps over the past few years. Day by day these steps seem like nothing much. Right now it might be learning the ropes of being a self-employed English teacher or finding out more about the plants in the community garden.
But in the long run these steps mount up and before long, our lives can look totally different. The important thing is to not stay stuck, but to keep moving, growing and evolving in the direction we want to go in.
As Amir say on the post “Taking the Greatest Leap of My Life”:
“This was really inspiring to read, especially as someone who’s been in Spain for 10 years teaching English too and like you, I’ve felt stagnation and an intuitive need for a change, so thanks for sharing your story and best wishes to you!”
Life is constant movement. If we are stagnant we are opposing the natural order to life. It isn’t always easy though, when we have a fear-driven culture that means it is so easy to give into apathy and despondency.
This is when we need inspiration and people who believe in us who are willing to give that boost of energy we need to take the next step.
In my case, many of the people who have connected with over the last three have given me this support and encouragement to keep going. For example, Elise on ‘An Off-Grid Life with Less Than 14k’ says:
“You go on and make that dream a reality! Don’t wait. I’m just starting out off grid and I wish I’d done it before I hit 59! Here’s to everyone with a cold arse!”
Similarly, on the same post Alison commented:
“JUST DO IT! And don’t look back. I recently immigrated from South Africa, aged sixty six and bought an old stable in Andratx. It dates back to 1927 and has no water, no electricity ~ nothing! Some days I wake up thinking WTF – and others YAY! I’ve done it! Can’t wait to start work! So seriously ~ just brave it!”
Equally, sometimes we can doubt the steps that we have taken and wonder whether we have made the right choices. In my case, I sometimes wonder whether quitting my job was the right option or whether I was hasty.
Then readers leave comments that remind me of why I started out on this path in the first place. For example, on one of my earliest post ‘The Road Map to Life – Revised’, Logan writes:
“As someone who made the choice to get off the proverbial merry-go-round last year, it can be frightening to set off into the unknown. Yet, it is the best gift we can give ourselves”.
Or this one by Rodney on the post ‘Taking the Greatest Leap of My Life’:
“The Big leap: where everything is scary but so, so, so very much alive”
Next, with our convictions and choices reaffirmed we need a strategy for making our dreams a reality. This comment by Mark on the post ‘Expecting the Unexpected and Embracing Fear’ continues to inspire me when I need a boost:
| “A dream remains a dream until you make a plan. Then the dream becomes a reality. A mission statement, just like the contract you wrote in a previous blog is really important for when you have fear. |
Stop, read your contract/mission statement, gain strength and clarity of thought and move forward again. Try and make each day a step forward, try not to have ‘zero days’ which are days you do nothing to achieve your dream”.
We also need a way of maintaining the consistency and momentum needed to keep swimming against the tide. It can be easy to get lazy or lose hope, or get disconnected from what it is that brings us joy.
David suggests an excellent inquiry question to reflect upon, on the post ‘Living in Alignment With Who I Really Am’:
I ask myself “Does my day-to-day life make me happy, connected and alive?” THAT is the question. That is the question I ask myself every single day. The answer is in every one of us. We just need the strength to meet our convictions and trust in the Universe to allow ourselves to follow our hearts and dreams.
Perhaps the key here is strength and trust. In a culture where control and domination reign supreme, it can be difficult to unlearn these patterns and instead step into a more graceful way of being.
I often feel that when we talk about our dreams as adults we are often seen to be childish or naive.
Even more so when we dare to consider the possibility that a different kind of world is possible and that we might have a role to play in its creation.
Bringing a new world into being
Yet I believe that it is our capacity to dream that makes us powerful. The world tries to convince us otherwise, but to dream is to realise our power as creator beings.
We are constantly creating both for our own lives and for the world; it is just a matter of where you choose to put your attention. I believe that we have been trained into negativity and doom and gloom mentality and that unlearning this tendency is key to bringing a new world into being.
On an earlier post, ‘Re-wilding Ourselves‘, Nina encapsulates this beautifully:
“I often feel claustrophobic in the constant gray concrete of urban life, but yes, there is so much color and life everywhere, you just have to look a little harder in some place”
Sometimes this can feel like swimming upstream against the current.
Sandra, on the post ‘Rainbow Vision: The Anti-dote to Doom and Gloom’ agrees:
“I love seeing rainbows and I’m definitely feeling like I’m swimming upriver. Although at times it feels like I’m just staying in the same place, fighting against the current”.
Indeed, I know how Sandra feels! I have been on this path for three years already and on some days I feel like I have made no more progress than when I first started! At time it feels like my ‘rainbow vision’ is waning, taking my faith in the possibility of a more beautiful world with it.
Yet, it is true that resisting the current means that we may stay into one place for a little while, but what if this was just a training ground testing or strength as we resist the flow and get stronger and bolder.
What looks like stagnation could actually just be us gaining strength and strategy for our next step forward, as opposed to being swept downstream unconsciously, into the spiral of gloom that mainstream narratives lead us into.
Maybe this is how we gain the strength that David mentioned in his previous comment. Maybe it gets easier with practice, as we strengthen our core. And the stronger we become, the more we can inspire others.
As Sandra commented ‘I Hereby Reclaim my Voice: A Reclamation to the World’
“Wow, thank you for your honesty and openness. There are so many coming to realise that life doesn’t have to be the way it is currently”.
I agree with Sandra: we can no longer go on blindly avoiding all that is wrong with the world and maintain the status quo just because it means we can continue to be comfortable. I believe that it is our duty to the future generations to begin to imagine that a different world is possible and begin to seek solutions.
Helen, on the same post, demonstrates this perfectly:
|“Such powerful, insightful and uplifting words at a time I feel a huge weight on my shoulders. I read your reclamation to my infant daughter, as she lies in hospital recovering from another serious infection. This is exactly the kind of wisdom I want to impart to her as she grows up. She listened with rapture ♥️”|
Yet this is not to blame ourselves, or anyone else. In the same way we need to believe in ourselves, we also need to believe in humanity.
As Stoyd commented on the post ‘A Message of Strength, Resilience and Hope‘:
“Wonderful, nature is so rewarding and revealing. The fact that this tree was saved shows a human desire to connect with compassion and indeed life, and even that the guy inquired about your well being shines a light for humanity.”
On ‘Explorations of Rural Spain‘, Oscar also acknowledges the need for compassion for ourselves and others:
“I find it hard to accept people as they are. I am in the process of connecting and strengthening myself with my own being, in my own acceptance, so that from there, I can develop in the “reality” and in the “magical fantasy” with authenticity.”
Later on, again on the post ‘I Hereby Reclaim My Voice: A Reclamation to The World”, he writes further on this union between our inner and outer worlds, touching on what Lorna wrote about at the beginning of the post:
|“Being alive is also feeling vulnerable. And confusion, fear, aggressiveness, envy, hatred, apathy. And strength, joy, eroticism, serenity, security, confidence (…)|
I hope that the “reclamations” that I feel burning in every cell of my being will continue to guide me. One of the messages that you give us which has stayed with me is (saying it a bit in my own way): “I feel free because, by loving also what hurts me, it has been transmuted into peace… peace with myself, and therefore, with the world of today, yesterday and tomorrow”.
As my dear psychologist says: “What do you think you have come to love? Only what is beautiful? Only what is easy to love?”.
There is much to love; isn’t that right, “tender warrior” ?
Co-creation, Collaboration and Community
I think that one mistake we can easily make is the sense that we have to do all this alone. Sometimes it can feel lonely to walk this path, but it is my conviction that there are people all over the world who also feel the need to change and the desire to be part of it.
That’s why for me, a More Beautiful World will come into being only through co-creation, collaboration and community.
When we are able to be vulnerable with others, we find that they too feel similarly to us, or can relate to our experience in some way.
For example, in response to my post ‘Living with Uncertainty: Have I Gone Mad?’, Melissa writes:
“As an artist, I find your journey towards a different life outside of the bounds of the traditional paycheck deeply relatable”.
Similarly, Grace wrote on the post ‘In Search for Home’:
“So well put. It’s like reading about myself”.
For me personally, this journey is taking me far away from the moors of mainstream life and the cultural ideals that I have grown up with. It feels like unknown, scary waters as I try to navigate the tide. But I feel like I am not alone in this. I get the impression that many other people are in the same boat right now, one way or another.
Oscar agrees with me and gives some insight from his own personal experience:
|“I very much agree with the experience and reflections regarding your circumstances and uncertainty, Olivia. I am going through something very similar. |
What resonates with me is the tension between the “idea self” (our inherited upbringing that forms our coherence structure) and the “ideal self” (what we would like to achieve, build and stabilise in our coherence structure).
So far, the most sensible thing I have heard is to rely on what is already there, and face the unknown from there. Take the score, and try to interpret it, improvising as you go. Structure and intuition. With passion. Compassion.
Thank you Olivia for your quasi-journalistic work, dealing with such everyday issues for some people. The movement of people who are leaving their professions to fulfil their true dreams is a reality for several hundred thousand or perhaps millions of beings in this uncertain and yet, alive world. For many of those people, reading you would be a relief and a source of ideas and comments.”
Whilst I certainly don’t think I have all the answers, I do hope that Oscar is right. I always feel relieved to know that I am not the only one going for unconventional dreams, and so it would bring me joy to know that through sharing my journey, I can provide the same for others.
For those of us feeling the discomfort of uncertainty right now, Tim on ‘Living with Uncertainty: Have I Gone Mad?’ offers us a beautiful insight:
“Nothing’s certain, things/situations change…. Nothing is set in stone…. Especially our life’s journeys”.
In the same way, Christine also shares a beautiful sentiment on the post ‘Lessons in Love from Lockdown‘:
“Learning the most through difficult situations; these are our greatest lessons”.
Indeed, these are wise words. I will be the first to admit that at times on this journey I have got stuck in fear and doubt and at times, I have considered abandoning ship. But as I have held on through those difficult moments, somehow I have found a way back to a place of hope, faith and courage to see this journey though to the end.
At the end of the day, as long as I am alive spiritually- learning, growing and evolving as a person- I am going in the right direction.
To conclude this celebration and co-creation of three years of Shared Earth Living, David, on the post ‘Living in Alignment with Who I Really Am’, offers us these inspiring and wise words:
“This journey is eternal, it is now, and it is simply overflowing with experiences and learning. It never ends. It is beautiful and only now do you see it as beautiful because, as you say, it is at last honest and true. I hope it makes you feel happy, connected and alive. Enjoy your journey!”
On the post “How I Used Ritual To Transform The Festive Season”, Tim also offers us some final words of wisdom, reminding us that at the end of the day, we have to lighten up and enjoy the ride:
This post made me smile a lot, continue into the new year with this don’t give a F**k attitude. It can sometimes help to a certain degree, not taking it all life and the universe) too seriously (…).
Maria, on the post ‘Expecting the Unexpected and Embracing Change’, gives us the perfect reflection to keep on dreaming, visioning and being the conscious change makers we came here to be:
“Your dream is my dream too. We’ll make it happen; we’ll give every single atom in our bodies – while we are here – to make this dream come true for humanity. No fear. Let’s keep on allowing life to lead our way”
However, let us not forget the unpredictable nature of life. Sometimes I have fallen into the trap of feeling so full of life, so inspired and sure that the Universe will provide the way, that I have been surprised by some the unexpected curve balls that have come my way.
In this way, on the post “Dreaming of Community and Camaraderie Outside of The City”, Stoyd helps to keep our feet on the ground and as braces us for change as we embark on the journey of a lifetime towards our most authentic dreams:
As usual I am curious to see how the next part plays out (…) I am rooting for you and I know that you will be as surprised as I am how twisted the path can be even with the best of intentions and plans of mice and men.
I am also curious to know how the next chapter of this journey plays out…
Let’s see what 2023 has in store of us, shall we?
In the meantime, here’s to celebrating three years of co-creation, collaboration and community on Shared Earth Living!
A huge thank you to all the voices in the blog! Without your generosity, this post wouldn’t have been possible.
Also, thank you to all my readers and follows for making this journey so much more interesting and enriching. Over the past there years I have received many messages of support and gratitude that have been equally beautiful, wise and inspiring that aren’t included in this post (since they were personal not public) but I appreciate them just as much.
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Hi Olivia, and to your fellow supporters. What a great post, I had forgotten how many terrific comments you have received. Much of your post mentions the continuous battle against the tide and currents, I have spent the majority of my life paddling kayaks. And continue to do so to this day.
Life’s challenges can often give us the feeling of struggling against the tide, but trust me when I say … you can beat it! On many occasion I have found myself physically and mentally battling against an actual real life current. You are working like crazy and feel as if you are staying still, not making any progress at all 😅. Then you take a quick glimpse to the bank, you can see very slow but progressive forward momentum. What an uplifting feeling to realise that you are making positive progress, it drives you on to overcome the situation that you find yourself in 😁 . As a canoeist I have developed certain skills, you read the water. You can cross fast moving water against the current without falling backwards… a ferry glide.
Your life’s journey (our life’s journeys), often feels this pressure of fighting against the relentless current, you can of course beat it. But you must keep paddling! If you stop you will very quickly fall backwards, then if you are strong enough you have to start all over again.
Take your time, check, look around to see the small gains that we are making. Utilise the back eddies to take a little breather before continuing upstream, sometimes make some adjustments. Use a ferry glide to cross the fast moving current to a more advantageous position, and then continue forward. Such as in our daily life’s with its trials and tribulations…… the most important thing to remember….. KEEP PADDLING! 😉 stay positive. 💪💪
Thanks Tim! Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
I love the water analogy! It’s amazing how the natural world has to teach us about life and how to deal with it. Really enjoyed reading about your experience with kayaking. I can certainly see how the rhythms of my own life fit the analogy perfectly. Right now I am in progressive forward momentum phase- got to keep it moving!
As always, I’m very appreciate of the wisdom you share in your comments! Keep it coming! 😉
Olivia, everything you write would make the most amazing book. You write so eloquently and from the heart. A definite best seller. Source a publisher!
Everything you have ever said mum about what I should do with my life has happened in the end, even though I resisted you or laughed at the time. So who knows, maybe you are right again? 😀 lol.
Thanks for your support mum, love you xxx