Categories
Appreciate family friendship

True To Self

My local park 1st August 2022

I love walking round my local park, though I realised how easy it was to just go into auto pilot and not notice things so now I am making sure I say focused and present. I take my phone so I can take photos. I now don’t just love it I appreciate and enjoy it too.

Anyway as a follow on from the last post, what I had written got me thinking deeper. about being who we are not who we are not. For instance Princess Leia could not be anything other than she was. Even when we get to know Luke Skywalker we know from that opening scene that all he wanted to do was be a star-ship pilot not a farmer. It was in his blood to be something more than.

I have been reading “My Fourth Time, We Drowned” by Sally Hayden and as well as feeling angry at what is going with the UN and the refugees in Africa, I also feel pretty inadequate. Here is a woman publishing stories that should shock the world with the inhumanity of privileged humans to vulnerable humans, and of what trauma does to people. But then I had to realise that I could not be a Sally Hayden. I can only be a Diane Woodrow. I cannot be what I am not.

If you watch a lot of Pixar and Disney as I do one of the key themes is the main character trying to be something they are not. It is a reoccurring theme and often, no actually always, makes me cry. I cry because too often we push others into being what they are not, or are pushed ourselves. It happens too often yet we either let it happen or do it to others.

Going back to the marriage theme from the last post – as well as sometimes grieving the changes that happen to us in marriage the that we are not the younger people we were when we first met, I think sometimes we try to manipulate that other person into being what we would like them to be. And depending on how they responded to that as a child how they then respond to that as a spouse.

We do all do it a little bit with our friends to fit in with them. We allow ourselves to be what they would like us to be, but then we get frustrated and angry, or accept that mold and forget who we really are.

So I started this post with a photo of my regular dog walk and of how I am trying to be more present there, trying to see it more as it is rather than ignoring it. I am also trying to do this with my friends and family. I am trying to accept and be present with who they are and enjoying them for what they are and not for what I think they should be. I am also learning to be more “me”, doing more of what I want, being more of who I want to be.

Hopefully from this I can appreciate, enjoy and love my friends and family more and more.

Categories
Appreciate farm workers

Farmworkers Appreciation Day

1st appeared on https://godspacelight.com/2022/08/06/farmworkers-appreciation-day/?mc_cid=9b59e48612&mc_eid=6b10e54045 on 6th August 2022

Taken by myself on one of my dog walks on the beach

Ok so I’d never heard of Farmworker Appreciation Day before it appeared on the Godspace email but it has really made me think. In fact the National Farmworkers Ministry has a whole week in March where is brings about awareness of farmworkers. Check out this site – https://nfwm.org/news/nfaw-2022/. This site tells you a bit about its history – https://nationaltoday.com/farmworker-appreciation-day/ But really all these “national days” should be a kickstarter to get us thinking not just a “do today and then forget about it/them”

My friend, Eric, is a cow man. He’s been a cowman most of his life. He turned 60 this year. He works long very physical hours and only gets every other weekend off. His pay is not great and he cannot retire until he reaches statutory retirement age.

But for Eric at least he lives in the UK. For those who bringing our food from elsewhere or who have been trafficked in to work over here their conditions can be terrible. But we expect our shops and supermarkets and doorstep deliveries to have a large variety of food at a price we can afford. But how often do we think how it got to us? We cannot appreciate something if we don’t even think about how it got to us.

No one stood on their doorsteps to clap the farmworkers here in the UK. It was good to clap the NHS workers because covid hit them hard. But for the farmworkers they had to keep going too. For those who supplied the hospitality industry many lost their jobs. Now people moan that no one wants to pick the fruit and veg that itinerant workers used to do; many of whom have stopped their travellings for a while because of various issues that are too much to go into in this post and would detract from what today is all about.

But actually as Joni Mitchel sang once “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” [Big Yellow Taxi – 1970] this is what happened with the farmworkers. No one realised what they did or how hard they worked, and often would moan about the “influx of foreigners” But those foreigners picked our fruit and veg. Now we are noticing with the war between Russia and Ukraine that much of Europe’s grain comes from Ukraine. Firstly did we really know that? How often do we take the time to work out where our food does come from? And second did we ever really appreciate those workers?

As with my friend, Eric, who works 48 weeks of the year, 6 days a week, we don’t give him or others like him a thought. We just expect milk to make it to our supermarkets/doorstep. And often in our way of not really knowing the hows and whys of things we can be critical of how farming is done, bemoan methods we know very little about.

Yes it would be great if all the milk cows could live in fields and all the food we need be grown without pesticides, but are we willing to pay those extra costs? Pay for the extra hours it takes to bring cows back and forth from fields? Support farmers and farmworkers if they made less on their crops?

I do go to the local farm shop, get my veg from Oddbox which takes the fruit and veg the supermarkets reject, have a milkman who delivers in glass bottles. But I also have a husband who earns a decent wage so we can afford all this.

But whether we buy from a cheap supermarket or an expensive farm shop how often do we think to appreciate all the work that has gone into growing our food? When we say “grace” do we think to not just thank God for our food but thank the people who worked hard to produce our food; who worked the land, dealt with weeds and pesticides, had aching muscles due to the physical side of their work, and all those other things that go on to produce our “daily bread”.