I was listening to a fascinating radio discussion about a farming technique called no-till farming. The benefits are that it requires many less chemicals, there are higher yields and it actually replenishes nutrients in the soil. That’s right, instead of depleting the soil it actually enriches it.
There are many steps to this process but one of the really stood out. The process depends on planting multiple crops on the same land. Traditional farming techniques are to plant one type of crop with rows of bare dirt in between. The inevitable result is that nature tries to fill in that bare area with other plants, what we’d call weeds. That’s because, as one farmer explained, nature craves diversity.No-till farmers know this and address it by planting multiple crops and not leaving bare areas.
People are much the same. When our lives become narrow and so focused we eventually start depleting our lives instead of enriching them. Just like planting a single crop over and over depletes the soil. When we throw ourselves into one endeavor, others suffer. Parts of us don’t get fed with new energy, with connection, with emotions. That can lead us to a place where suddenly we look around and there aren’t the pieces of our life that make us happy and fulfilled.
Focus is a good thing. Having passion for something in life is even better. That doesn’t mean that they should be done to the exclusion of the other parts of your life. It is never too late to enrich your life. You can’t expect it to change overnight but you can start today and replenish all of the parts of your life. It does take time.
When the no-till farmers start farming a piece of land that has been depleted for years, they know it takes several seasons to bring it back to a state where it is enriched and fertile. During that time they have to support it with chemicals and fertilizer that they one day want to do away with. They know that it took years to deplete the soil and it takes time to bring it back. And it does come back. With property attention AND diversity, it becomes rich, productive and self-feeding.
With the same investment our lives can be the same. If you have neglected parts of your life, invest in them. It doesn’t matter if it is relationships, personal interests or whatever. Put in the effort to support those areas so they can support you. Learn something new. Take up a new hobby. Meet new people. Eat new foods. Travel somewhere new. Be more active. Be silly. Take time off work. Change the work you do. Spend more time with your friends. Listen to music. Be creative. Meditate. Feed your body, your mind, your soul.
What you choose to do isn’t important. The fact that you are increasing diversity in your life is.