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Staying committed ...but with boundaries

In early January someone who previously engaged me to give a few foraging tours for a homeschooling group, asked me to join a Cooperative Study Circle.

Yup, I didn't know what that was either, but I wanted to expand my knowledge base, meet some other creatives & activists in Philly, and since the time commitment was limited to two, two hour meetings, twice per month, I agreed.

I knew it was going to take a bit of juggling, with work, and gearing up for a series of tours in collaboration with the Painted Bride, Shortly after agreeing, I discovered I'd also been accepted as a vendor to provide tours for the Free Library.

There were days when I questioned the wisdom of continuing with an already crowded schedule, but I decided to embrace the challenge, and the time crunch; I mean, we all get the same 24 hours in a day, right? I just needed to be a bit more disciplined, and hone my time management skills. So I kept my word and knuckled down.

We had discussions both academic and abstract, grassroots and gritty. Our meetings were predominantly virtual but we visited a physical space for proposed project. I read the books, watched the videos, engaged in the poetry exercises and forged ahead. We lost one person before our inaugural meeting, and two more along the journey, but six months later, must of us made it.

Maybe we didn't get exactly where I thought we'd be, but since I didn't even know how this would work when I started, this was a massive progression. I think the group did create a framework for a project and I feel positive about the accomplishment collectively, and personally.

I learned about co-ops, read how ideas, embedded in social arrangements produce effects, and how to deal with a group of individuals with varying ideologies. And I found, even when I thought some ideas were just plain loco buttons, there were generally points, if not broad swaths of middle ground, upon which we could agree.

And the ability and willingness to see that ground, is rare in today's climate.

So I'm happy to have had this informative leaning experience, but by our final meeting, I was ready for both a breather and for pastures new. And when rumblings about extending the project began, I said my adieus and made a hasty exit.

You see, I'm big on adhering to commitments I've made to others, but most importantly, to myself. To do what I want to do, as well as I can, requires limits. Sometimes that's difficult. Sometimes opportunities come your way and FOMO entices you to agree to it all; I mean, opportunity only knocks once, right?


Sometimes the opportunity isn't what's knocking at your door, it's the chance to step away, to take a moment. People who are willing to help most, are called upon most often, and that can quickly lead to burn out,

Limits are crucial to prevent that. Although I'm happy to proselytize about the benefits of foraging, I know what feeds my knowledge base, is the time to study and read; to take myself foraging and explore. I can't be great on that next tour, if I don't have the time to prepare; so breaks, and timeouts are built into my process. They have become my non-negotiables.

I try to inform, entertain and spark interest in those who take the time to go on a tours or attend a talk, although I'm always a bit nervous, It's the same anxiety I feel when hosting a party. I've crafted the canapes and prepared the bevvies but as the hour approaches, I'm hoping for the best, and praying people actually turn up.

So, as I finish one flurry of projects, and before I start adventures in wild plant workshops, I thought I'd leave you with a little teaser of another project I've been involved with.

Forager and food writer Nevin Martell, invited me to be a part of a show in development called Forage (click for info) , I can only hope, with the writer's strike still going, that an unscripted show about foraging generates a bit of interest. So fingers crossed, and below is the link with a cameo from yours truly, filmed here in Philly at the fabulous Cesar Iglesias Gardens. I love the way it looks and I plan to watch it whenever it gets a home and a release date.

I'll commit to that.


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