Fear versus Creativity

During our summer holidays my husband and I visited an experimental farm in Austria. Sepp Holzer calls himself a »rebellious farmer« and works miracles at the height of 4200 feet above sea level. He turned a steep pine forest into a land of ponds, fields and fruit tree gardens. How? By building terraces. The rain water descending from pond to pond comes down as spring water full of life energy at the bottom of the terraces. By creating a humid microclimate Holzer is able to grow even apricots and lemons at an amazing altitude. He says: “My farm is not supposed to be a recipe. It is merely an inspiration.” He is trying to invite people to think creatively instead of being afraid and asking questions: What if …? Holzer’s core philosophy could be shortly described by three sentences: Back to nature. Do not be too greedy. And: Turn disadvantages of your situation into advantages.

I will write about the back to the nature concept and about the greed in my next blogs. Let me concentrate on Holzer’s approach to disadvantages here. Instead of whining about how he cannot grow anything on very steep slopes, he built terraces. Instead of complaining about the cold weather at 4200 to 4900 feet above sea level in Austrian Alps, he built a pond system to compensate with humidity and he grew mixed plant culture to make the plants stronger as a community to compensate even more for the low temperatures. He also applies rocks that accumulate heat and warm his plants, especially Mediterranean herbs and fruit trees.
It is one thing to listen to people talk about turning disadvantages into advantages or problems into challenges. To actually see people in action however is what really inspires me. On Holzer’s farm you can literary see the saying »Life is what you make of it« coming to life.

Holzer’s positive attitude is not applicable only in farming. You can see challenges instead of problems and turn disadvantages into advantages in any area of your life. Mental illness happens. It is a fact. You had no saying in whether you would get it or not. In other words – it is your destiny. What you do about your illness however is your choice. Read in my book about my choices. It is coming out next year. My book is also not a recipe, it is just an inspiration. Just like Holzer’s farm.

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