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by Julie Dees

There is a lot of talk about the benefits of living off of and working with the land. Most of what you’ll hear revolves around the tangible things that people routinely attach a value to. These might include having only the freshest food on your table or ensuring your kids know how that food they’re eating came into being. Or it might be the weight you’ve lost from the physical exertion of working the farm. Seeing your hard work pay off at harvest with a bountiful crop is another. All of these things can be assessed or measured in some way. They can help you find satisfaction and worth, but can they really help you find your inner peace?

Inner peace isn’t talked about as much because it is intangible – it can’t be touched, seen, or gauged. But it does have an impact and is a direct benefit to your inner being. Your inner being can be called whatever you like: soul, psyche, ego, spirit, chi, or life energy. It is whatever YOU choose to call your inner self or consciousness. The key here is that no matter what name you’ve given it, it needs to be fed and nurtured just as your body does.

Much of what we do on an everyday basis is done in order to feed our bodies and replenish our coffers. That seems to be the priority and is just the way it is. There are a lot of benefits to working with nature that feed both our bodies and our souls, but we can’t always see them. Taking a break from the craziness of today’s overly connected world can help us find that inner peace. This occurs even when we don’t realize we’ve been searching for it.

See the Unseen

You can connect with your inner being and find these unseen benefits if you just take the time to reflect and look for them. Some examples might be:

  • Think of how you felt when you saw that very first row of corn seedlings peeking up through the soil. Do you remember the excitement as you picked that very first ear off of the stalk? YOU did this!
  • Be proud that you’re canning peaches and making cobblers just like Grandma did fifty years ago. You may even be using her hand-written recipes and keeping the family traditions alive.
  • Enjoy the fact that your entire family is unplugging from technology and thriving away from the rat race. Your kids are beginning to understand the cycle of life in a way no textbook could ever show them. They also now know what it means to be a “good tired” when they go to bed.

Find Your Inner Peace Now

You don’t have to be physically on the farm to tap into that happy place inside you. Learning to slow down and breathe while letting your imagination wander can be done anywhere at any time.

Shut off your electronic gadgets, close your eyes, open your mind, and let your senses take over. Now imagine…

~ the rhythmic sound and feel of the hoe hitting the dirt as you weed or the soft thud of the ax as you chop wood.

~ the peace and calming routine of picking each piece of fruit and gently placing it in a basket.

~ the feeling of the soft dirt crumbling across your fingers or the bumpy-smooth hardness of that walnut shell you’re cracking.

~ the taste of an almost-too-ripe strawberry as the sweet juice hits your tongue and taste buds.

~ the smell of sun-warmed hay being tossed into a feeder as hungry goats mill around you.

~ the beauty and joy of a cow nuzzling her newborn calf or a flustered hen trying to corral her wandering chicks.

The act of visualizing these images can help bring your blood pressure down while giving your spirit a boost. Allow them to help you find your inner peace – even if you’re stuck in that office chair at the 9-5 drudgery for now. Get in touch with that inner you and let it know you’re heading home to the farm soon.

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Gas Savers: These Small Changes Save You Money

Lead fuel may be a thing of the past, but the lead foot continues to thrive, and can be found on any part of the globe. Gunning the engine, racing to the next stoplight, and weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic are unsafe practices that also waste gallons of gas. Want to squeeze the most fuel economy out of the vehicle you own? Try altering the way you drive.

Slow down…

In the 1970s, the U.S. government reduced the speed limit to 55 miles per hour on all highways. Neither safety nor the environment were the concerns. Because of an international embargo on oil, gas in the U.S. was in short supply, causing long lines at the pumps across the nation. Driving slowly, the government knew, was one way to conserve what we had.

And it’s true: driving slower than the current highway speed limit of 70 mph consumes less fuel. The folks at tested 3 types of vehicles on a 100-mile highway journey, and found a significant difference in savings (up to 14%) between the tests at 75 mph and 65 mph. Others have estimated that drivers will spend 54 cents a gallon for every 10 mph driven over 60.

Fuel economy decreases more rapidly the faster you drive, mostly due to wind resistance. The faster you drive, the harder the air in front of you pushes back. For example, a much greater amount of fuel is spent between 70 and 80 mph than between 60 and 70 mph. This exponential increase means those with lead feet have the most to gain by slowing down.

Avoid Quick Acceleration

Jeepney drivers in Manila like to put the pedal to the metal between stoplights, racing as fast as traffic allows, stopping suddenly when red stoplights can see the whites of their eyes.

This constant stopping, starting, and racing in between is one way to spend more gas than you have to. Do the herky-jerky and gas mileage decreases by 33% on the highway and 5% at city speeds.

Flooring the pedal from any speed and stopping on a dime doesn’t help conserve gas. Slowly ease forward when the light turns green, without causing yourself to feel like you’re being pushed back into your seat. Keep two car lengths behind the car in front to avoid sudden stops on the highway, and ease off the gas pedal well before a red light.

Keep Your Cool

Does rush hour traffic adversely alter your personality? Not only does it require those neck-snapping movements mentioned above, it may also turn on some internal competitive hot button in your brain. I’m going to get there fast, and I’m going to get there first!

Aggressive driving is one of the worst gas wasters as driving methods go, according to tests by Stop all that weaving and surging and you can realize significant savings of up to 37%. To maintain optimum mileage, turn on the cruise control for highway driving when traffic allows. If you have to commute to work, consider altering your work schedule to avoid rush hour traffic.

Conservative driving will reduce more than the amount of gas you have to put in your car. Driving moderately and safely creates less pollution and makes the world a happier, more peaceful place. If you don’t believe that, take a trip to Manila. 🙂

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