Since the first supermarkets in the 1930’s,  a general disregard for nature has been increasing. The need for growing one’s own food has become an inconvenience our “modern age” has conquered. With the rise of factory farms and greenhouses the size of small cities, the need to follow the “whims” of Mother Nature is behind us. The question for us now is: “For better or worse?”

The alarm clock on my iPhone starts with a quite beat, increasing in volume and luminosity until I reach over to put an end to its escalating rajas. It’s five a.m. and the call of the fresh, cool air reawakens my memory to the duties of the early morning. I stagger out of bed and grab my dirt-stained jeans with a lingering sweet and earthy smell. I head upstairs, grab my jacket and headlamp, and make my way to my car. In the wintertime, on a clear early morning, the stars are as bright as I’ve ever seen them. It’s one of those simple wonders of life that never cease to amaze. Once to my truck a short 3 min. drive gets me to my destination.

As I pull down the drive to the barn my headlights catch three noses poking through the metal gate. Already “Awake and Ready,” my three cows, Jessie, Daisy and Buttercup, are waiting patiently. Walking into the barn I wrap my arms around Daisy and put my head on her neck to solicit some of her warmth. After a few minutes of commingling with my friends I prepare for the morning’s milking. They stand there quietly chewing their cud in a sort of tranquil repetition. I prepare their food, grab the buckets, and let Daisy into the milking room as the first customer of the morning. Each cow takes about a half-hour to milk. It’s probably the quietest part of my day, besides mediation and sleep. Cows don’t ask questions nor do they insist on filling the air with chatter; they are silent observers, ever present and content.

The cows are just one of my farming responsibilities. I also care for some 300,000 insects. Not just any insects, honeybees to be exact. By day they fill the air fulfilling their noble duties of nectar, pollen, propolis and water collection. And by night they exude a barely audible hum, generating warmth to keep the hive the constant 98 degrees that they need to survive. The creatures are magical! The more I delve into their mysterious ways the more I am enraptured by their intricate simplicity. They have systems and means for accomplishing anything, and together, as a community of thousands, they accomplish wonders.

I believe that there is a major shift going on in the world. A shift driven by the need for change. Young adults are abandoning jobs in the city to pursue interests in farming. People are beginning to recognize the value of communities. And most importantly, we are beginning to ask ourselves, “What truly matters?”

For years the media and popular culture have guided the world toward the need for instant, momentary, gratification. But what years of suffering and unhappiness have taught us is that momentary gratification only leaves us with momentary satisfaction. So, in contrast, what does working hard and working with purpose leave one with?

In Living Wisely, Living Well Swami Kriyananda writes, “Your reactions to events are more important in your life than the events themselves. Make sure that you react always in such a way as to increase your inner peace and happiness.” The only sure thing in farming is that things rarely go the way you want them to. In itself that is not a bad thing. It gives one ample opportunities to practice faith and patience without sacrificing determination and joy. Nature has its own design and timing. It is up to us to work with and adjust to that evolution.

Life is not about arriving at destinations. Life’s value lies in the lessons we learned, from the journeys that guide us toward our destinations. In today’s world we spend most of our effort trying to eliminate the time spent in getting us from where we are to where we want to be. All of our industrialized models are built around the idea of producing, “more, bigger, and faster.” But to what end? What kind of world do we create when “Who we are” and “What we have” is never enough? Paramhansa Yogananda said, “The whole world was created for our education and entertainment. But ah, how few are either educated or entertained!”

I would like to extend a personal invitation to any young people out there looking for a more fulfilling day-to-day experience. There is so much misguidance out there and at times it can seem almost impossible to do anything other then to accept the status quo. However, from my own experience, I know that we have the ability to create any reality we could ever dream of. It is time we gave up the dreams of others and embraced the dreams of our own calling.

Ananda’s mission is to offer individuals the tools necessary to living a fulfilling life based on universal teachings emphasizing simple living and high thinking. If you are able, we would love for you to come and join us; for an afternoon, a weekend or forever, the door is open.


  1. Oh! If I were twenty years younger I would be joining you immediately! My dharma lay elsewhere at this time and so much of what you have written applies to my life, my responsibilities, and I want to thank you for sharing such a wonderful invitation. I LOVE the ending, come for an afternoon, a weekend, forever! I am with you friends!

  2. Wonderful reminder and great call for not just young adults, but for everyone.
    Because of my time visiting Ananda it has been an important part of my life to grow as many veggies and fruits as I can… there is nothing like heritage seeds and organic crops!! And to just walk into my garden is the best. Even large pots have created an abundance of tomato’s, beans, assorted lettuces and more…

  3. I liked your article…. thoughtful and inspiring too. I can see calf spiritual eye visible & beautiful too.Thanks steven.

  4. wonderful to read an account of your early hours at work—thanks for sharing………

  5. Steven, Divine Mother has so wonderfully blessed you with such inspirational writing ability! Many times I find myself being able to have wonderful ideas and thoughts in my mind, but once they arrive at my mouth they seem to lose their flow and coherence. I very much resonate with what you have written and I pray that my karma will allow me to join when the opportunity presents itself! Thank you for your wonderful article!

  6. Beautiful article! If I were not already here I would want to move here. Thanks for the reminder about what our life here is about. And the milk is amazing…I get some every week as a herd share member.

  7. Great article, dear Steven! Thanks for sharing your wisdom as well as thanks for ALL the many ways that you so serenely serve in our community. Mangala

  8. Wow Steven,

    Great energy. Wonderful!

    This is so inspiring. I hope many souls read this and feel the calling in their hearts to come and explore a lifestyle that helps us to grow in harmony with nature, the universe, and our own inner truth.

  9. Great article, Steven. May you be a shining light in this world and awaken love in all you touch.

  10. Awesome article Steven. Ananda has such an amazing young community! May this inspire it to grow ever more widely and deeply!

  11. Thank you Steven. What a beautiful post! I also love to tend the garden, and especially have such respect for the honeybees.



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