Return to Bedlam Farm Part 5: Training the Mind’s Eye

The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

So fellow travelers, the voice on the other end of the cell tower connections was my friend and fellow farmie Kate Rantilla. Just hearing her speak settled my fractured nerves, even though Kate herself sounded a little harried, as she was leaving far later than she had planned from her home in Keene, New Hampshire.

Since meeting at shared accommodations during the Bedlam Farm Open House in October of 2013, Kate and I have roomed together for each event as well as a few other local farmie gatherings. Our connection quickly evolved from “roommates for life” into a sister-friendship of true depth.


The room plaque at CTK Retreat which proclaimed us as sisters.

This weekend Kate would be reading selections from her soon to be published book of poetry.  It still floors me every time she mentions she wrote her first poem just two years ago when she realized her “writing had a kind of rhythm to it.”  She writes as if she has been carving hand crafted word art her whole life.

As we discussed when and where we would meet later that afternoon, I felt my resolve put random fears securely in their place. Publishing a first book is a landmark achievement and I wanted to be here to celebrate. Right after Kate and I finished making plans, my phone lit up again.  It was our other roommate for the weekend, my favorite intrepid adventurer Jennifer Bowman. She was literally headed down Main Street just minutes away from the apartment and I convinced her to make a quick stop to get keys and unload some bags.  One hug and a quick sharp witted tour of the gallery was all the hot glue I needed to stick my vision of the weekend back together.

I knew I may have felt like I was loosing my mind less than an hour ago, but no way could I be crazy enough to let random fears send me packing before this adventure even started. Jennifer headed for Bedlam Farm and an evening of wood fired pizza at the Round House Cafe.  I would meet Kate at the Now-a-Tradition Potluck Barbecue hosted by Jeff Anderson, our Creative Group photo guru.

With a little over an hour to pass before I had to head out, I wanted to keep my mind from wandering back down the staircase of  fear.  Our experiences come from where we focus our attention. So I grabbed my camera and started snapping photos of the eclectic art and atmosphere of the gallery and loft.  As I worked I sorted through my thoughts and emotions.


A rattling tail pipe would not send me home when I had plenty of options to get around this weekend.


Asking for help does not come easy when years of steel plated self sufficiency locks in certain mindsets, choices and behaviors. I am someone who is always ready and willing to assist when help is needed. Now it would be my turn to seek assistance. I could get rides as often as possible and limit driving the noisy loaner to reduce the risk of scattering car parts along the scenic roads of Washington County.


Changing roles might not feel comfortable but growth requires an open mind. Creativity requires growth and creativity was the reason I was part of this amazing community. Already my energy was shifting, quickly finding expression in what I was seeing through my camera lens.

Besides, if I went home now I would miss the Golden Hour photo walk and the amazing food art of another cherished farmie friend.

to be continued

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready




Deborah H Rahalski

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