For the past ten weeks, I've been working on a regenerative farm in Southern Oregon. It's been an amazing experience, rich in learning and growth. I wrote the following passage after my first day of working in the field- and I'm at peace with the harvest process now- but still felt like I should share.
The first day of farm work felt like an initiation. Our small group harvested about 1800 pounds of tulsi. Scoop, slash, scoop, slash- down the rows we went. Leaving short stubs of tulsi bushes in our wake.
The farmers are good people and the operation is one that is done in all the right ways- no herbicides or pesticides are used- plenty of biodiversity exists within all the planting fields and the land truly does feel vibrant and happy- but this felt violent to me.
I had been introduced to tulsi as a Devi- literally a goddess- and I’ve always felt that way about her- so to “harvest” her like this just felt wrong. But my role here is as a farm worker and I knew I had to play that role- so I did. My conscience and my body were both very sore at the end of the day. And as I sat down for meditation that evening, I saw tulsi behind my eyelids and I felt her coursing through my body. I allowed the energy of tulsi to touch every cell and every channel within me and I felt its healing power regenerating my aching back. Tears came to my eyes as I heard her whisper to me “Don’t worry dear one. You can’t hurt me.” And a renewed sense of awareness revealed all the people who would be helped by the work we did that day and all the medicine that would be made.
It's a fine line between making a profit and keeping things sacred, and I'm looking forward to learning more about how to walk it.