By Aeon Mapa
Happy New Year to all our stakeholders in the ecosystem for sustainable agriculture! I hope that you are happy and well as you read this. I’m sure we are all eager to look forward after a historically difficult year in 2020. While we are all hoping for something different in 2021, let us remind ourselves that now, more than ever, our own future is in our hands. We cannot lose sight of our shared dream despite all the tribulations that this pandemic has brought. After all, this pandemic is merely a symptom of the ailments of our society and environment. Unless we do something about the bigger picture, there are more “symptoms” to follow. Yet let us face this new year with hope! For the key to healing our reality lies in our own hands. The cure will not be found in a vaccine or a breakthrough of materialistic science, rather it can be found in our relationship to ourselves, to others and to the earth.
Many people are fond of setting New Year’s resolutions and goals. For some it is to achieve a certain benchmark of success, whether in one’s own body or mind or perhaps in business or in other endeavors. As members of an organization that has set out to create change, let us this year, strive to create change in ourselves. In 2021, let’s examine our choices and strive to discern which of them come out from our programmed self* and which are an impulse from our higher self. Slowly, let us begin to listen to the divine purpose that lives in each one of our spirits, and align ourselves to reach our goals. May this alignment lead us to make more conscious choices! Whether something as small as choosing environment-friendly products or sustainably farmed produce, or something as big as choosing a new career, let this new year be a time to find even more ways to heal ourselves and the earth.
In 2020, social distancing was enforced around the globe. Despite this, we must remember that the greatest hope for the future still lies in interpersonal connection. We cannot allow fear to rob us of this essential human need and right! Although the protocols in place make it more difficult, connection is more important than ever. In 2021 let us strive to connect with the other members of humanity. Connect with our families and share with them the importance and beauty of our mission in sustainable agriculture. Reach out to our fellow ESSA stakeholders and support one another, reinforcing the idea that we are not alone, that we are growing in number, and that we are making a difference. An ecosystem is only as strong when it is interconnected, so keep those relationships strong.
Last but not least, we must always remember our connection to the earth. The entire concept of sustainable agriculture springs from the idea that we are not separate from nature, rather that all life on earth is one. For some of us, nurturing this connection has been difficult, especially for those who have been locked down in urban settings. This connection however need not be a physical one! If we carry in the forefront of our hearts the idea that the earth is a part of us, just as we are a part of the earth, it will guide our actions and thoughts. By considering this relationship in every choice that we make, we will find that our connection with the earth deepens everyday. In this we can find a deep and fulfilling peace, no matter where we may reside.
So once again here we are, a the beginning of a new year. Perhaps, the most significant one of our lifetimes. Let us take this opportunity to re-align ourselves with our spiritual source. As individuals who have chosen to make a stand for change, to advocate sustainable agriculture and to bring the light of spirituality into our practice we hold the cure for humanity and the earth. That cure is connection and love. *Programmed self- the aspect of our persona that was created by our upbringing, some parts of which may not be ideal. For example: A love for fast food or the idea that money is the most important thing in the world.