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  • Writer's pictureElanda Ra Anderson

Gratitude ~ the courage to ask, the openness to receive ~

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

My heart is bursting as I sift through the photos to capture the gratitude that I feel for the help that has been given to me this year, and over that past 3 years since I moved to upstate NY. I must admit that the depth of gratitude matches the depth of exhaustion and burden that moved through me throughout this year of incubation. Recently a friend said to me that I had to go down so I could rise up!

I had no idea of the huge responsibility there would be care taking an 80 acre parcel of land. I moved from an urban area and had a house on 1/4 acre of land. We had wonderful neighbors who were always eager to lend a helping hand, and all flowed very effortlessly. When I moved to the vast rolling farmlands of Southern Washington County, I felt its majesty and knew that I had a lot to learn about living here. I have always lived in urban or suburban areas.

After moving here, and before finding my home, I was blessed to find the perfect accommodations for a few months. I found out about it from one of those phone calls that said "there was no room at the Inn", but the phone tree became active and a friend of a friend of the proprietor of a local inn called me and gave me the Ackland's phone number. They have a bunk house on their 400 acre farm and it was available for the two months that I needed. Ordinarily the bunk house is rented in July, but synchronicity was in my favor and they were the perfect place for the to stay while looking for my new home.

Bob and Carolyn Ackland welcomed me to their farm and I was surrounded with the beauty of Southern Washington County, New York. Fields of hay and corn, acres and acres of forest and four beautiful horses welcomed me here. My first introduction to the friendliness of neighbors was being invited to a "Tractor Party" fir very first day I arrived. Their neighbor had just purchased a tractor and so it was cause for a fun celebration. Carolyn rounded me up and brought me to the festivities. What fun! The party was a great introduction to the wonderful neighborhood where I now live and began to give me an understanding of this new experience in the beautiful farmlands of Southern Washington County.

In August, I had a wonderful opportunity to be part of neighbors helping neighbors. The Acklands own 4 large horses who require a LOT of hay for the winter months. I learned that if the horses eat hay in the winter to keep their body temperature up. They would not survive without this. When it was time to bring in the hay for the winter Bob Akland summoned the neighborhood team who rallied around his antique farm equipment and pitched in to help get the task accomplished. It was amazing! Right then and there I recognized the fragile nature of farming, the reliance on help and the willingness of the people who live to help one another. It was a very hot August day, the antique baler kept breaking, but lots of teamwork, determination, watermelon breaks and the promise of a swim in the Battenkill River down the road kept us all going.

I did not know the magnitude of how much the folks who live out in the country depend on each other to not only survive, but to thrive! I am learning that as I get acclimated to being the land steward here at Natures Gate. I am surrounded with trails to maintain, lawns to mow, streams to keep clear, ponds to dredge, firewood to gather for winter and roads to maintain and to plow. Slowly but surely, I am acclimating to the rhythms and cycles of the seasons and the tasks to attend to in each season.

As mid fall approached, I knew that it was time to prepare for the coming winter. That meant I needed to ask for help in order to accomplish all that needed to be done For some people asking for help comes easily, but if I am truly honest, asking others for help is one of the hardest things for me to do. I have become adept at "surviving" on my own and am a very independent person. Yes, I set myself up to accomplish that independence, but realize it is time for another life lesson. Fortunately, I designed into my life plan (unbeknownst to me till now) a mission that is so large that I would have to muster up the courage to ask for help, be open to receive and to have complete trust that my request is being answered. During a recent meditation with Red Tail Hawk, her message was quite clear "Just Ask". Simple, right?

Ahhh, that proverbial chorus ..."ask and ye shall receive"... While I know that message is true and I counsel my clients in that manner, often I am the cobbler with holes in my own shoes. If nothing else, I have tremendous courage to step beyond my own inhibitions and personality traits. We are all divinely human and have a lot of limiting patterns and belief systems that we are asked to overcome. The wonderful news is that once we step forward into right action with trust, the universe will catch us when we jump, I encourage everyone to try it and if you are ever scared to take that step there is always an angel by your side to help you.

Trust courage and faith are a huge part of my life. I would not have ended up moving here to upstate NY unless those qualities were a part of me. I asked for "home", I was given a vision of an actual GPS map that brought me here to Natures Gate. When I finally found my new home here, it was beyond my wildest dreams! And bigger than a single person on 80n acres can manage... so my life plan unfolds and takes me out of my hermitage into community.

I realize how much asking and letting go are intertwined. I have set myself up in a way to not expect things... that is kinda of sad, but in reality, what actually occurs is a letting go of what I think things will be and and opening up to receiving what the universe has in store for me. It always surprises and delights me in a myriad of ways, bringing a depth of gratitude that is difficult to convey and actually has no words.

I began this blog intending to be very specific. I wanted to give thanks to those people who have helped me with my fall clean up. As I searched through my photographs, the memories of people who have helped me over the past three years began flooding in. There are so very many people to thank for all that I have received since moving here!

During this month of Gratitude, I feel incredibly blessed and deeply grateful for my friends and my community!

Post November notes...

It is now a few days before the new year of 2019 and the Gratitude, Trust and Surrender trinity fills my heart. We as a collective whether conscious or not, have just passed through a tremendous portal of light. Winter Solstice brought the meaning of community in a new way as close friends celebrated the return of the light through great food, and creative expressions of poetry, storytelling and musical adventures.

The world is truly changing and needs our love and hope now more than ever. For me that translates to deepening surrender to listening to how I may be of greatest service as I move forward with my mission here. I am so very grateful to all that I have learned and experienced this year of growth and expansion.

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