The farm owners were busy making roasted tomatoes and canning salsa. Everything smelled fresh and tasted delicious. It was our annual trip to the farm in southwest Wisconsin. In our first 24 hours there, we picked apples and plums and raspberries and grapes and tomatoes and ate them right there next to the plants and trees. My daughters Violet and Autumn thought this was just about the best thing they’d ever done. I’m pretty sure they would have eaten tomatoes until their skin turned red if we had let them stay in the garden as long as they wanted.
On our second day it rained, and while everyone else was napping I got out my yoga mat to practice outside on the covered porch of our little house. My friend Becca describes yoga as a reset button – for both your body and your mind – and I couldn’t agree more. It feels therapeutic to stop everything and focus on your breath. My thoughts and my body both feel realigned afterward.
Sitting on the porch after my yoga practice I realized that going to the farm is like a reset button for the entire year. It seems right to make our trip close to Rosh Hashanah. As soon as we got to the farm it felt like everything stopped even though I was still physically racing up and down hills following toddlers who were chasing chickens. It felt slow like falling asleep when you’re not quite tired but your body is heavy from running around in the sun all day. Slow like toasting the perfect marshmallow over a dying fire. Slow like the opposite of my regular life.
I can’t think of a better place to stop our routine and reconnect with ourselves, nature, and family. This sense of stillness is something I find on my yoga mat, too. I know that wherever I am or whatever I am doing, I can always return to my mat and the deep breaths I find there, even if I can’t get to class. That feeling of centeredness is with me at all times – on the mat, at the farm, everywhere.
I suppose this is also like praying: finding a place inside yourself that you can come back to, a place to connect with God (or however you think about spirituality). I like this idea of finding something larger than yourself within yourself. Sometimes this place is hard to find, like when you are stressed about how your life has no purpose, or wondering what on earth it is about you that makes everyone think you are the nanny instead of the mom (just a couple random, hypothetical examples), but knowing that place is still in there (somewhere) can bring comfort and confidence and inspiration.
If the farm is an annual reset button, and yoga is an anytime reset button, then Shabbat is a weekly reset button. It’s a time each week to connect with ourselves and each other and slow down to remember what’s most important in our lives. Being at the farm reminded me that there are a number of paths to finding this feeling of stillness among the chaos of daily life. I’m sure there are other ways besides yoga and nature and Shabbat that help people find a way to connect and keep their sanity intact (feel free to share).
Now that we are back at home, the farm is still with me. Autumn and Violet are bawking like chickens and mooing like cows multiple times a day. The homemade tomato sauce is in the freezer and the calmness is in my mind. I plan on keeping the farm around all year. Tomato sauce and challah will be the reminders.