This blog is very much about following your dreams, your gut and going against convention. It can be a weird and lonely place sometimes and some days it is really a struggle. So when I read my friend Francesca De Grandis’ latest book, Share My Insanity, it made me realize that I am not alone in my struggles, that there are people all over the world who are dealing with the same issues. Our dreams may be different, but we are still dreamers and whether you think you are or not, you are too!
I have always been a big dreamer and a bit of an adventurer. I always felt like I was born in the wrong time because what I wanted to do with my life is not what most people want. Call it going back to the land, living a simpler life, venerating ancestors, embracing my birthright, being in touch with growing things or maybe just call it whacky. When I was younger, I had big ideas about my future – I always imagined myself living in a little cottage in the woods, surrounded by beautiful birch forests, living in tune with nature, having a family and raising my own food. I dreamed of sprawling vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees and berry bushes, and little creeks running through the landscape. I dreamed of a partner, who shared these hopes with me. I dreamed of an idyllic future, where life was bliss and I was in my element. But I had no idea how to get there.
Growing up modestly and being raised with a strong work ethic, which generally involved getting a “good job” working for someone else, working hard and waiting for a promotion, or some other way for the work to pay off, I was often afraid to take risks outside of that paradigm because I also enjoy stability and security in my life and learned that was the way to be secure. I was afraid if I stopped, I wouldn’t get the security I worked so hard for. So I just had to work harder. I got wrapped up in working for other people, being locked into the rat race – living paycheck to paycheck and never having more than I needed, so I could never get off that treadmill. Don’t get me wrong, I had some good times, and lived quite comfortably, but I always knew there was something more. There was always a deep longing inside of me and a voice telling me that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.
As I have gotten older and seen how the world really operates, I have come to realize that the world really isn’t all that secure, working for someone else for example, is risky business, you never know what can happen in their lives and therefore to their business, so relying on that “security” is nothing more than being at the whim of someone else. Depending on food at the grocery store to feed you needs only a disaster to occur for all that “security” to wash away and be exposed for what it really is.
So I started taking a long, hard look at things and I learned through years of hard inner work, that in order to make things happen for me in my life, in order for my dreams to have a chance of coming true, I have to be willing to take risks. I have come to believe that the Gods (God, The Universe, Mother Earth, whatever you want to call it) doesn’t reward stagnation, or whining, or the status quo. That energy, whatever you wish to call it, is always in flux, forever changing and like follows like, like rewards like.
Call it a leap of faith. I have taken several of them over the past few years – moving to a new state and starting my food blog, The Leftover Queen and freelancing was the first one. The second was starting my own business, then there was another move to yet another state to start homesteading…all of these elements, priming me, getting me one step closer to my authentic life, which is not something to attain or a destination where once you get there you are “all set”, but something you work towards every day, refining and building, a never-ending path.
When Roberto and I first decided that we were going to uproot and move to Vermont to start homesteading, many close to us thought we were crazy. Some people down right freaked out. People that loved us worried for that ubiquitous “security”. There was a lot of fear. There were so many questions, some of which I had no answers for. All we knew is we were following our gut instincts, surrendering to the changes and flux of the Universe, and in a way letting divine chaos reign.
With my background and beliefs that had become core values, this was not an easy endeavor for me, even though I knew in my heart it was right. I have a strong current of black vs. white that runs through my life, with very little room for gray areas. At times, I can be a bit of a control freak. I had to do battle against myself, my own inner negativity, my own inner sense of control that kept trying to tell me that I didn’t really deserve this, that dreamers were fools. I had to put all my trust in the Gods and the Universe that I understood the messages correctly. I had to surrender and to trust and let the gray areas become wider and bigger.
When this happens to you, you feel very alone. It feels like no one understands you, you become easily frustrated, and are in constant defensive mode shielding yourself from the doubt of others thrown at you, that could so easily dig up and align itself with that negativity and doubt still buried deep within yourself.
If you feel this way, or if you have dreams you are pursuing, or want to pursue, I encourage you to pick up Francesca’s book. If you aren’t sure what you want to do with your life, I encourage you to pick up the book – there are so many tools to help you figure it out! Francesca is a master story teller, and in this book reveals much about her own inner struggles in following her dreams, and living in divine chaos. As you read the book, it feels very much like you are having tea with her, so conversational, whimsical and down to earth is the writing and the message (and yes, you can be whimsical and down to earth at the same time!). In her openness about her own experiences, you have a safe place to laugh at yourself when needed and to really get down to business when needed. This is a book for everyone no matter what your dream is, what you believe in spiritually speaking, nor you age, gender or any other “box” you think you fit into. It certainly helped to validate my own process to coming to the place where I am today, and I picked up some extra tools and helpful tips along the way for going forward!
Francesca De Grandis AKA Outlaw Bunny is multi-purpose: humorist, mystic, semi-recluse, public figure, Yule elf, bard, painter, mega-upcycler, spiritual innovator. Busy rabbit. She adds, “I don’t try to be everything to everybody. I do help a lot of people find theireverything—the huge world inside them and around them.” Peter Coyote said, “Like all good humorists, Francesca De Grandis has a radical and subversive agenda.” For 20+ years, she’s been a grassroots minister and spiritual healer who helps people of all faiths—and those who are just fine without one—through pastoral counseling and classes. Her goal in this is to help others find both personal fulfillment and the power to make a difference in the world.