I graduated from GU in the summer of 2013. Since then my girlfriend and I have been wandering around Utah, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California. Not aimless wandering but wandering with a purpose. We have been exploring nature, discussing why people act in the ways they do and what we could do to change that, thinking about why our species cannot recognize our place and purpose in the universe. Mostly, we have been thinking about what we ought to choose our life work to be so that it assists and advances The Great Work. Meaning, our “career” or life choice must be one that aims at being mutually enhancing to all other states of existence. Thomas Berry says “The Great Work now, as we move into a new millennium, is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period when humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner”. To become present to the planet, we must become present to ourselves, present to the beauty and importance of each moment, and present to the cosmos and the creative processes it displays. This may not be the easiest thing to do, for it can require deep meditation, dedicated mindfulness, and critical thought. To become present to the planet, we must in a sense, understand and connect with the planet in such a way that it allows us to see the true workings of the natural world which we are intimately a part of.
For a very long time humans have developed a strange and illogical way of thinking of ourselves as separate from nature and being atop a fictitious moral hierarchy bestowing upon us the most value and meaning. Because of this train of thought we have created systems, societies, and cultures that are not mutually enhancing to the advancement of the creative processes of the universe. We may possibly be one of the most beautiful and creative forms of actuality, yet this alone does not make us more morally valuable nor does it give us any right to degrade or destroy other forms of beauty such as species, ecosystems, bio-systems, etc. All of existence has value for itself, for others and for the entirety of the universe. Understanding and becoming aware of this is crucial to The Great Work and to advancing it. However, learning how to apply that understanding to your life’s work is even more important. When I say life’s work, I do not simply mean ones career path, although that is included, I mean ones life’s work in its totality. Everything that one does should be working towards the advancement of The Great Work and working to create more Beauty, more inspiration and to work in a way that respects and recognizes the creative process of our dynamic cosmos. The understanding aspect is an inseparable function of acting upon it. So make no mistake, one cannot advance The Great Work without understanding The Great Work.
My girlfriend and I have gone through many phases of understanding The Great Work. But it was not until recently where we discussed the fact that we now feel we have a deeper understanding and a strong intuitive feeling that we know what our work ought to be in order to fulfill our obligation to advancing The Great Work and the creative process of the cosmos. We decided that we must try to live and work in a way where we are working more intimately with nature and her systems, cycles and rules. Working with the plants, soil, fungi, bacteria, and the total biotic community. We discovered that our part of The Great Work is to start a small scale organic bio-dynamic farm at our home in Newman Lake, WA which is 25 miles Northeast of Gonzaga University. For the last 8 months we have been interning at a small organic, bio-dynamic seed and mixed vegetable farm in Talent, OR. We have been working hard for over 40 hours per week in the blistering hot sun, pouring rain and howling wind of Southern Oregon and loving every second. We are learning how to improve soil quality by using local, simple, effective techniques that have been used since humans began farming way back when. We are learning how to create a completely self-sustaining farm with very minimal, to no inputs in order to grow and produce food and seed. We are aiming to get back to the land in a true sense, by being self-sufficient and sustainable in a deeper way. Our goal is to improve the overall health of the ecosystem of our farm and the surrounding area. We can do this by increasing the biodiversity of pollinators, plants, animal life, fungi, and bacteria. We plan to use a mixture and rotation of cover crops and animal life to enhance soil fertility. As well as planting as much native plants as possible in order to attract beneficial insects and other bugs.
We hope to be at farmers markets around the Spokane area as well as provide our food and seed to co-ops, natural food stores and restaurants that focus on local, organic products. Our LARGEST goal is to create a farm that will sequester more carbon than we emit, that way we will be helping combat climate change while providing clean organic food to our community and additionally improving the health of the surrounding ecosystem of our farm. We personally feel that climate change is the most important and pressing moral issue of our current time and we are obligated to treat the earth in a way so it can be in control of its natural systems without human manipulation and pollution. Thus, we must live bio-regionally, locally, and with minimal need for things that come long distances or emit unnecessary green house gasses. We must live simply, and be present to the beauty before us. We are ending our organic, bio-dynamic farm internship in Southern Oregon and planning to return to Newman Lake, WA and get started on this dream of ours and The Dream of The Earth.