Fallow can be growing nothing on purpose, though it could also be by neglect or uncertainty.
Sometimes fields are ploughed and harrowed; others are left to their own devices.
Fallowness works as a great metaphor for thinking about our lives.
We’re waiting to do something. We don’t know what to do. There’s nothing that we can do. Others will tell us what to do. Something might happen of its own accord. We’re resting and it’s hard to get going again.
Seth Godin’s recent blog is pretty pertinent.
‘If the railroad didn’t make it to your town, or if the highway didn’t have and exit, or if you were somehow off the beaten path, we wrote you off.
Now of course, if wireless signal can reach you, you’re in the middle of everywhere, aren’t you?’*
Also, the culture and education is changing.
When the ground is finally broken open and sown, the seed comes from a past harvest and its easier than ever for it to find its way to us. Richard Rohr reminds me that the word person once meant the opposite of how we use it. Per sonare originally meant to “sound through.” We are what others have shared with us – seed from a past harvest.
Others argue that we’ve always had the seed – we’ve just never sown it.
And, as with so many things, a problem can be our godsend, bringing everything into focus:
‘Identify the key issue. What problems keeps you up at night? […] Work to identify the market failures that led to this impasse. Peel back the layers and determine what’s at the core.’**
Impasses and layers sound very similar to fallowness. When it gets personal, the problem wakes us up to do something.
If we break open the ground of our lives, the harvest we bear will be shared by us with others: per sonare: a flowing in and a flowing out. We welcome the seed and rain and sunshine to do their work:
‘And, remember, if it’s not flowing out of you, it’s probably because you’re not allowing it to flow toward you.’^
One more image: this breaking open, this being open to the flow, is also a first step in a quest:
‘The pace of words is the pace of walking, and the pace of walking is also the pace of thinking.’^^
A quest is only a series of steps in the direction of a challenge or need.*^
(*From Seth Godin’s blog: The middle of everywhere.)
(**From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(^From Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell’s The Divine Dance.)
(^^From Geoff Nicholson’s The Lost Art of Walking.)
(*^In answer to Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s question about what is my challenge, I found myself saying it is the Alchemy Quest, to offer a journey of transformation.)