Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch, a mantra surfaces in my consciousness for some period of time. It plays on loop in the back of my mind, humming behind every observation, interaction, experience. The world fades into a certain shade, a mantra-muffled spectrum, wavelengths with the volume cranked. It tries to prove itself to be true, and holds itself up for examination against everything it can.
When I was 20, I left. I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have money. I had a pair of overalls, a couple of t-shirts and some crazy idea that I could live in the mountains of North Carolina, that I could find a new person inside of myself. I didn’t have any special equipment, no knowledge of the world. And I was scared, I wasn’t sure what would happen. But things just happened, good and bad, and altogether unexpected.
I returned home later that year, returned to college energized and affected by travels. Classmates would often tell me how much they wished they could do what I did. Confused, I’d explain to them, “You can.” Most didn’t hear me. Instead they’d give me a list of reasons why they couldn’t. And then they didn’t.
Belief produces our reality.
It defines our lives, it affects our relationships and our self-esteem. It becomes what we’re able to accomplish. If we believe that I can’t, you can’t, they can’t, the system can’t, she can’t, we can’t, we’ll search for the reasons why we can’t and then we won’t. But if we believe something new is possible, we’ll search for a way to make it true.
Belief can be a weapon, a tool, magic. We can crush ourselves with destructive beliefs or create incredible moments when we put our mind to it. We believe that she’ll get into college, he’ll never fix the door handle, our business will succeed some day, she’ll never change her ways, they’re taking our jobs, we’re losing our minds.
The stronger the belief, the more it comes true.
If we believe that the industrial model food system is the only way we can feed ourselves, then we’ll keep eating hormone-laden chicken tissue, tomato-like cardboard fruit, ammonia-soaked steaks, bacteria coated greens. We’ll plump up like cattle on chemically separated corn that compose 60, 70, 80, 90 percent of the products on our shelves, never knowing which lot number will contain the next strain of who-knows-what E. coli.
All of us change the world every day with our beliefs. I believe there are ways to farm that build, enhance, strengthen soil. Ways to produce food that encourage abundance, that foster health by creating diverse, balanced ecosystems. Ways to steward the land that increase the nutritional value of food grown on that land, and like a ripple effect improve the health of the human, plant, and animal communities and economies that surround it.
If belief creates our world, then I believe the world is full, rich, abundant. I believe it can be more abundant, that it can be better, keep becoming better. That I can affect the world through small actions, through my beliefs, my behaviors, my attitudes, my relationships.
I plan to keep believing wonderful things about the world. Lets see just how many come true.