My Story as a FHT Volunteer

My name is Mitch and I am a 23 year old young man from the Lake District who has been living in the FHT Shepherd’s Hut and volunteering for the charity for the last two months. I would like to share with you a little of my positive journey over the last couple of months.

How I ended up here is quite an interesting story.  I had no intention of coming here  and getting involved in the work of the trust and knew nothing about this community before I arrived here.  How I got here actually involved a tube of toothpaste!  I was working for the army base down the road at Kinloss and was looking on my phone to try to find out where I might get a non-fluoride toothpaste and came up with the Phoenix Shop here at the Park.  Afterwards I took a little walk around the place and into the woods where I happened to meet and start talking with Luna, the previous FHT volunteer.  She told me about her work and that started to bring up a lot of questions inside me.  I went away and thought about it for the next five months or so and I just couldn’t let it go and ignore the fact that the place was just up the road – it felt like the right place to be within my heart so after a lot of thought I left my job.  It aligned with the time I needed to move on and I felt that I couldn’t go back down to England before spending some time here.

Two months on it has been everything I hoped it would be and more.  The interaction with nature has been a highlight.  Living in nature, living in the forest a hundred metres away from the sand dunes and heathland makes you appreciate the little things – you start to live in their world and begin noticing strange little things happening in the earth and around you.  For example the other day I saw ten magpies in one tree playing around and dancing and this morning I woke up and there was a red squirrel two metres to my left watching me eating my porridge!  People ask me if it is difficult living in the Shepherd’s Hut as they see that I don’t have very much – no electricity and only a small gas stove and wood fired heating stove.  They say it must get quite cold  and I say look I may not have much but I feel that I have everything.  I feel my eyes have  been opened to what the world actually holds.  You don’t need to have much as so much is already here and has been given to us.

Physically what I have been doing has been connected to this season.  There has been a lot of gorse that has needed to be cut back which is a repetitive task but I have found that the task can be a meditative way to work rather like when I am running – I find I can think whilst I am doing.  A lot of the work here I have found has enabled me to think and be introspective.  Kajedo Wanderer, the FHT Land Manager who I have been working with, is good at externalising these thoughts.  For example with working cutting back gorse he has got be to ask the question, “What do these actions represent within you?” He starts to help me think about the prickly things in our life and inside us which can over grow and block out the small things that are intricate and don’t often have a lot of fight.  What does it represent cutting back those prickly things in you?

I have also been working with Jonathan Caddy and others which has been practically and mentally stimulating involving creating and working as an individual in a team to build beautiful products such as the chunky wooden benches and even the platform to lay the body on for a funeral that we did the other week.  It is all just good – I am not doing it for myself or to make money but doing it for the good of the people and the planet.  I am finding what you put out comes back to you.  I think people are beautiful around here – I find them whole, genuine people being open and willing to speak and to have interesting, intellectual, spiritual conversations about really meaningful topics which I have not necessarily felt elsewhere in a 9 to 5 job.  This has been something that I feel I really need to do again.

Being brought up in the Lake District I had access to the wild from the towns and villages that I come from.  When I was little I pushed the nature aside that was around me – I wanted to be inside playing games and whatnot.  As I got older I realised how important nature is.  I used to intellectually understand why people would love horses or why people would love flowers but I didn’t really feel this myself.  It has been only by giving something and fully interacting with nature that that has definitely changed.  For example I came across the three  horses kept on the land in the pony field the other day.  It gave me joy witnessing them watching me as I watched them, patting them and looking at the flowers.  I now find myself all inquisitive and asking questions about the nature around me: “What is this flower?  How did its seeds get here?”  A new world has opened up to me in which my eyes have been opened and I can see more.

I have had this experience between jobs.  Unfortunately I am moving on to find a new job in a new sector.  Sales in an entrepreneurial world is what I am looking at but I am going to take lessons from here with me particularly from Kajedo and see how I can apply them in the entrepreneurial and corporate landscape.  Hopefully I can bring good to that area of the world as I am aware that there are a lot of corrupt minds, narcissism and selfishness in that world and I am hoping to spread love throughout it.  When I start my own business, right at the beginning I want to have my new employees come here and experience some of the life changing magic I have experienced.

Mitch Tarbit
FHT Long Term Volunteer
March to May 2024

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Findhorn Hinterland Trust, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC045806
228 Pineridge, Findhorn, Forres, Moray IV36 3TB