My Bush Fellowship journey started with a roar. The planning, plotting and imagining the transformations I would make. The changes in my community, my region, my state and beyond. It felt like a justice warrior/ workaholic's dream came true. I understood the mission. I got all the outside parts; the formal and informal learning, the growing of networks, the succeeding, the getting good grades. I would become the perfect global leader. Oh, how I was a little right and a lot misguided. Luckily, Joseph Campbell’s wisdom kept whispering, “let go of the life you have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for you”.
I chose a deep, heroic journey into accepting, understanding and healing “me”. I got quiet, I listened, I grieved, I felt and I allowed all of it. It’s been a wild ride.
The highlights of study: sustainable development, holistic leadership, storytelling, regenerative food systems, the circular economy, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion, gender equality, fundraising, project management, creative writing, continuous improvement, Anti-Racism, Global supply chains, generational trauma, Indigenous farming, climate justice. The best part of my learning included farming, sustainable leadership, meditation, trauma healing, surfing, cooking, reading, coaching, resilience, and comedy.
I was awestruck by the United Nations Food Summit, it gave me hope for our future. Every conference, event, retreat, adventure, was a gift. I was surprised how life altering my work with Tanya Katan, executive coach remains. Katan taught me how important the spark and joy are to changing the world. How important it is to disrupt the status quo. She also gave me permission to “let my freak fly, unleash my inner rebel, take permission, level up my listening, refrain from blame, and when all else fails, keep rehearsing. I am now a creative trespasser, (wink wink). Most importantly, she encouraged me to seek trauma healing, meditation retreats, play, and laughter.
For the first time in my life, I prioritized being with people and places I love. Really being. Getting my fins on and getting in the waves before sunrise, climbing up and down cliffs, skateboarding, hiking, biking, family reunions, friends, pickle-ball, pranking people, and so much more. I am learning to be present.
I learned what it feels like to live a “long goodbye”. My father Knut, my family, those we love and our healthcare team faced Alzheimers, with grace, grit and a shared humanity. My father Knut was born into generational trauma, he gave up his homeland to be with his children, he worked hard, he was angry, he was violent-he was disappearing before our eyes. His diagnosis and subsequent death pushed family members on two continents beyond the brim. There is suspicion, there is little trust, there is fear, there are unresolved wrongs, there are forgotten rights, it’s messy. I am a leader in this shared trauma. I am grief stricken. I am living in a country and in a world with so many long goodbyes, so many hidden wounds.
I was drawn to: leaders, mystics, justice warriors, indigenous truths, historical patterns, truths, science, mysteries, the universe, our earth, whimsy, art and humanity. My leadership continues to grow and reflect a complexity, an understanding of what breaks my heart, what moves me, what fills me with awe, and what begs the answer to “ how do we heal our hidden wounds?”- in our soil, in our climate, in ourselves, in our communities, in our country and our world.
As I continue to work on a regenerative regional food system, I am humbled by how connected our earth, our soil, our resources and our choices are inextricably tied to our future. It is our long goodbye, unless we choose differently. I believe we can.
Sometimes, the world breaks your heart before Tuesday. Sometimes, brokenhearted is a catalyst for universal change, we are at a crossroads. We can choose to create a sustainable, just world-it’s time.
I admittedly feel grief, sadness, anger, pain and a pinch of hopelessness. Yet, I know deep down that we are here because we have forgotten that we belong to each other (thank you Mother Theresa for working to remind us). I know that humanity, our world, our climate and our future are worthy of our hard work. I know that the practices I’m building for radical self care are what nourishes , heals and allows me the time, space to stretch my leadership. I continue to explore, rest, reflect, adventure and grow using meditation, nature, water, people, imagination and creativity to deepen my impact in my region and beyond. I am whole.