1 Jan

10 December 2012.  It had been exactly two months since I was in New Zealand. I left Cambrian and headed to Palmerston to WWOOF for a woman named Cath. Every day I try to start the day with an intention. Sometimes my intention is success, love, prosperity, openness, clarity, etc. On that day my intention was to be totally open. I had the most intense intuition from being in the middle of nowhere in Cambrian. Having no electricity, cell phone signal, etc, offered me the perfect opportunity to get in touch with my deep inner self-more so than I am. It almost became creepy. There were times when I would think exactly what Bob would say, and it would be something I hadn’t known or learned yet, and then he would say exactly that. I trust my intuition and stay open to it. Therefore, at the start of this trip to Palmerston, I knew that something epic would occur within the short five days that I would stay. I looked forward to what I had not yet known. I believe that is my favorite part about life-catching a glimpse of something beautiful and then growing into it.



I glanced at the sign on the gate that read: “Switchback Farm. Certified Organic 100%”. My first emotions were intense pride for the keeper of this land. With now two months experience of hard work, I understand the intense and extensive efforts it requires to become fully certified organic. My smile grew bigger as I let myself in the gate. I was keen and life was perfect.

After quite a long stretch, I pulled up to a house where I was greeted by a Jack Russell terrier. There was a younger male sitting on the porch in the hot sun, fully bearded with dark hair and wearing his work clothes. Aside him sat an older blonde woman. She was skinny-lean and fit. She appeared as if she was a hard worker, with naturally cut biceps and a tiny waste, with aged skin from the hot New Zealand sunshine. I got out of the car and introduced myself. The male’s name was Zack; he was a wwoofer from upstate New York. Then there was Cath. I knew immediately that there was something truly special about this woman, and our purpose during the next five days. Her smile was broken, and her eyes were full of pain. It was as if they were crying out to me, but her heart was to humble to wear her emotions. She was damaged, and it was fresh. She was a powerful woman, and reminded me of my mother almost entirely. My heart bled for her and I had not yet learned a thing about her. I knew right away that this was exactly where I needed to be in the world, and in exactly that moment. She made me a coffee and Zack and I went out to pick some berries for the afternoon.

epic view

epic view

I got to know Zack a briefly while we worked. He explained to me that Cath had recently been in a bad situation with an old relationship, and she is still dealing with it greatly. I wanted to think about the situation I had in Tuatapere, but I couldn’t. Although it was similar, it actually wasn’t at all. There was something different about this. I sympathized with this woman who I knew next to nothing about. She was beautiful, and I could sense that it was profound.

Cath lived on 52 acres of 100% fully certified organic property. She has worked very hard her whole life to achieve this. She took risks and followed her heart, and she accomplished her dream. She had veggies, flowers, sheep, pigs, turkeys, hens, a horse, and several dozens of cows for milking and for beef, and a dog and a cat for pets. She manages all of this on her own. I have never seen anything like it.

pic3           pic3.5

After a few days of getting to know her, we grew on one another. She did not open up right away, and I could tell she had trust issues. One night after a long day’s work, we sat down for our “tea” (New Zealanders call dinner tea) and had a couple of beers. From one moment to the next I felt a shift in the universe and with our energy. The resistance had gone. There was nothing between us, simply two naked hearts facing one another. Her eyes spoke so strongly without ever mentioning any words. I have never seen such a strong soul behind two eyes before. Then she poured her heart out in the most humble manner.

Cath’s story:

She has been married and divorced twice and has three sons-all adults now. For the last seven years she has been in a relationship with a man. This man started off as the perfect match for Cath, having everything in common and every day was full of love and laughter. Cath worked many jobs her whole life, and at this point she owned a flower shop in Dunedin, in order to save money to buy this piece of land in Palmerston, in which she had an eye on for quite some time. She and this man, Steve, (I believe is his name) were not living together. They had talked about it for some time, but Cath was (and is) quite the independent woman. Eventually Cath sold her business and purchased her dream property-52 acres, and then she worked to make it certified organic. She did all of this on her own, with the help of the occasional wwoofer. Steve wanted this land as well, but was in serious debt, with no means or will to dig himself out. Toward the later end of their seven year relationship, he began drinking excessively. It was gradual, so Cath hadn’t noticed. They had talked about Steve moving in with her, but she wasn’t ready, and had begun to notice his changes. He insisted he was moving in with her, and began moving his things into her home-ignoring everything Cath would say in regards to having a serious conversation about this serious move.

Once Steve had implanted himself to Cath’s livelihood, he began his parasitism. He lost his job, drank heavily, and didn’t help out around the farm. (This reminded me greatly of my own childhood with my parents-perhaps why I sympathize so deeply). Cath began to resist his actions, and he drank more. Shortly thereafter, as one could guess, the abuse began. She described it as extreme highs and lows. She loved and hated him. They shared so many laughs and had loads of fun when they were together, but when they had a disagreement and Steve had drinks in his system, the abuse grew more frequent. It became worse every time. Cath explained that she began to believe the things he was saying to her because she was so damaged and ungrounded. She began to lose herself. She is normally quite intuitive and open, and trusts the universe. Steve had blinded her from her intuition and stole pieces of her soul. That’s what parasites do, they see beautiful and loving energy and want to rip it apart because they don’t have the will to allow their own to grow stronger. The abuse eventually got so bad that Cath started to fear for her life. Steve hunted, so he had many guns and knives. She said that after a horrible beating she would run away and hide in her land in fear until she thought she was safe. Then the worst happened…One day they had a bad fight, and Steve put a gun to Cath’s head. He threatened to kill her. I don’t know every detail, but she got away and was able to ring the police. Steve was arrested for attempted murder. Cath began to heal and root herself once again. Then Steve got out of jail…

I’m not too sure how things work in New Zealand as far as the law goes, but I do know that one in twelve women are killed by the hand of their partner, and that it is very sexist in this country.  When he was released from prison, the placed him in her house! The law officer explained that they would work with him to help better him. My jaw dropped as she explained with a heavy heart. Unless he became violent again, this was his residence because he had nowhere else to go.

As one could imagine once again, it did not take long for Steve to become abusive again. After a brutal battle, Cath rang the police and had him removed from her property with a restraining order attached. They did not arrest him, but rather removed and replaced him and allowed him to camp-which just happened to be right down the road from her property. My heart sank. She has so much strength and will power, yet all of these challenges present themselves to her-yet she remains open to the universe. It’s beautiful!

In that present moment during my stay, she had been dealing with removing the remainder of his items from her property. In the meantime he would sneak onto her property at night and break little things here and there, or move some of the animals around to let her know he was there. The police wouldn’t do anything about it. We would set up a video camera every night in hopes to capture some real evidence, but it was hopeless. He would leave his mark but it wasn’t enough. It sickened me that the police wouldn’t help her out at all, or at least relocate him so that it wasn’t so easy for him to reach her property.

Throughout my five day stay I grew quite close to Cath, having deep discussions about the universe and staying open, loving, and positive. I was only required to work four to five hours a day, but I felt so bad about all of the work that needed to be done that I would put in about eight hours a day, sometimes more. She would always come get me and make me take breaks and stop working, but as soon as she became busy with something, I would make my way to the garden/kitchen/workshop/etc. and get work done. Sometimes it was simple things that made her day, like weeding and cleaning up the porch so that it appeared more welcoming and comforting. She appreciated everything so much. I felt her exhaustion. She knew she had too much on her plate, and needed to sell off a bit of land, as well as some animals. It was just a matter of time and organization-a bit of a Catch22.

My Life-Changing Moment:

I had been using a grubber to dig out some massively overgrown weeds in order to create a functional garden when it came to me more clearly than anything had ever been before. It wasn’t a thought, or words, it was a vision. I was listening to The Doors and enjoying the day when I envisioned myself in a yurt, with a head full of dreadlocks, preparing something. The location was quite clear, it was Southern California. I was on my own land, and I was preparing it. I was living in my yurt and building my straw bale home, and creating my sustainable and organic land. There is was. I need to buy land. My reason for this was also clear. If I buy a piece of the Earth and make it sustainable, that is my donation or contribution to saving the Earth, just in a smaller dose. If I have ten acres of sustainable land, with cows, hens, a sheep (because I LOVE sheep!!), a veggie garden, some fruit trees, some solar panels, and some sort of efficient water supply if possible (in order to avoid chlorinated/fluoridated garbage city water-so a mountain spring would be ideal). I would buy or build a yurt, live in it while I build my straw bale home, and have some teepees and tent sites for anyone who wishes to camp or wwoof on the land that I will care for.


How will this unfold? Here’s my plan. I will commit to two years in Iowa in order to work, save money, and pay off any and all debts, as well as build my credit. This is something that needs to happen, and has be neglected for quite some time. Timing is everything though, and I’ve discovered that I am less of a procrastinator that I had thought-I simply go with the process of life and trust that timing truly is everything. Everything always happens exactly when it needs to. It will be the perfect time to focus on this when I return to the states. After one year I will begin to search for and visit properties in Southern California. I have decided this (although the vision knew before I decided) because although there is a draught issue and land is a bit more expensive (not much though), I will be saving money in the long run by not having the long Midwest Winters. I will not have to buy hey that will dry out my milking cows to feed them in Winter, nor will I need to build a bigger shelter for them. I won’t need to heavily insulate my house because it’s 75 F and sunny every day in Southern California as well. I mapped it out and the costs will even out, and my happiness will be optimal in California. I’ve always known that I would live there, but the timing has never been right. I am not sure why, but five years sticks in my head, so I will commit to developing my land for the next five years. After five years of learning, building, making mistakes that will teach me profound lessons, and saving a piece of the Earth from factory farming, I will then teach my brother and his girlfriend how to care for my land. Perhaps my parents can move there as well, as there will be plenty of loving places to reside on this land. Once I am sure and secure that everyone has been properly educated in the care for the land, I will then venture off to Africa, and potentially work on projects involving Habitat for Humanity.

This is obviously just a plan. I am fully aware that life changes every single day, and in ten minutes something can take a turn. The beauty of this is that I remain open at all times, and I am totally willing to go blindly in any direction that the universe takes me. Perhaps in the process of developing my plan something entirely different occurs because of it, and then I would be grateful I began the process which led to happiness, peace, love, and success. Regardless, I have a plan that I am entirely excited about moving in the direction. If Cath can manage 52 acres, I can manage ten. I know many things already, and I will continuously learn more. I am excited for the present, and for what is to come. Every single day is new.

pic2         Fergus

After a painfully hard working long five days, I was sad to say goodbye to Cath, but I knew I needed to. Timing is everything, and there was something incredible awaiting my arrival. My next stop was Wanaka-near Queenstown (the world famous bungee city).  It was a painful goodbye. I hugged all of my favorite milking cows, as well as Fergus-the terrier. I hugged Cath and drove away with eyes full of tears. I wanted to give my all, but I also have to take care of me, it was all about balance and timing. Cath is a strong woman, and I trust that everything will be okay for her. Perhaps I will visit again or wwoof again for her, perhaps not. Nonetheless, I have had a life-changing experience and learning from her, as well as the development of my plan. My time there was completed. I headed West with an open heart full of love for life.



One Response to “Palmerston”

  1. asrai7 January 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    What a beautiful story. I feel like I am at a similar point in my life, minus the plan- but one thing this year has taught me is that timing is everything, and the universe will in fact, reveal what it needs to you when the time is right. Best of luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: