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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Old Brains, Old Gardens

I’ve always believed we are born knowing everything and become numb as we age. This theory was tested during the Organic Growers School’s first Ignite Agriculture rehearsal when 12-year-old TEDx speaker and Slow Food protégé Birk Baehr waltzed through his presentation with ease while I stumbled through every word of mine.

See, according to Nature and her cycles, late winter is a time when seeds stir in the earth, when we emerge from the dark womb of hibernation and journey into the unfolding plan of light. So I thought I’d make like a seed and get a jump on emergence by throwing myself onto center stage for the inaugural event. What better way to get on with the business of awakening, I thought, and maybe land a few speaking gigs, or even a job offer in the process.

But, my senior brain doesn’t appreciate being thrown. It likes to be awakened gently, coddled with a rubdown before a big stretch. Let me go on record right now: Ignite presentations are akin to fast pitch softball. You wind up, hum it on in there, zing the zone, and then repeat nineteen times. Your aim must be true.

As of Friday morning, I wasn’t sure my brain had game.

I tripped up the mountain anyway while listening to the Dalai Lama sing healing chants, then unpacked the truck, found a quiet place, and grounded myself with a short meditation. Seeds emerged, brooks ran free, and buds appeared; I wasn’t on a softball field after all! I was in a beautiful garden, growing. By Saturday night’s show time, my brain had been properly rubbed down, stretched and rooted firmly in the earth.

I’d have to scrape years of tartared misconceptions from the hallowed recesses of my cranial cavities to match Birk’s malleability. But, I’d lose memories of such sweetness that my knees buckle in gratitude just knowing they’re there, although I don’t remember all of them.

Old brains are the body equivalent of a well-loved garden full of glorious heirlooms and a few obnoxious weeds. Every now and then, it’s a good idea to set them afire.

OGS information is here.
Ignite yourself here.
Birk Baehr's stellar TEDx presentation is here.

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