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My name is: Elettra Wiedemann.

I’m known as: Executive director of Mama Farm.

My expertise is in: Food.

What we do is: Mama Farm’s mission is to build community and to promote conservation and biodiversity through our CSA (community supported agriculture) and live programming. Whether through our CSA or our seasonal programming, our goal is to promote and conserve biodiversity by delighting the senses, and through inspirational and thought-provoking programming.

My role involves: I am in charge of farm member-facing programs, our CSA and farm events and private activations. I occasionally help with seeding and stuff like that, but a wonderful farmer, named Patty Gentry, works the land and educates all of us about that.

I stay physically healthy with: My Peloton bike and yoga, at least three times per week (I try for more). I also try to take our son and dog for hikes whenever weather permits. Connecting to nature has always been a big outlet for me. A bright spot of the pandemic has been that it has forced us to discover all the amazing nature trails on Long Island and in New York State, in general.

I keep my emotions balanced with: I don't know if I keep my emotions very balanced right now; in the context of pandemic, balanced emotions feels like a luxury to me. Honestly, I vacillate every day. Sometimes, my daily meditation practice helps and sometimes it makes it worse. I think the real goal of meditation is just to sit with what is and not try to gloss over anything.  If you are resisting an emotion or meditating for it to go away, then you are standing in opposition to the emotion itself and that’s just a form of denial (which ultimately makes things worse). Sometimes meditation for me is just about acknowledging how angry or sad or frustrated or whatever I am feeling on a particular day or in a particular moment. Sometimes meditation helps me to float above everything to see the bigger picture and embrace the moment, whatever that looks like—good or bad or all the things. Again, it depends on the day and I am sure sleep, my diet, my hormones.—a lot of things.

I’m intellectually stimulated by: Honestly, the pandemic has basically totally starved me of intellectual stimulation. I am just trying to stay above water with work/life responsibilities and stay as positive as I can for my family and our son. A lot of our energy is devoted to making this as fun for our son as possible, since he is not in school and really misses his friends and play groups. I recently resumed French lessons once a week on Zoom for an hour with FIAF and that’s been nice to work that muscle in my brain again. 

I was recently transformed by: I do not have an answer for this. We've been in total quarantine for more than 12-months now for the sake of our son and my mom, who is almost 70.

In the last six months, the ritual that has become so important for me is: At the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic hit, my New Year’s resolution was to meditate once a day, every day for 365 days. I aimed for 20 minutes per day, but I allowed for five minutes to “count" because sometimes you only have 5 minutes. By the end of 2020, I had meditated over 100 hours. I think that dedication and discipline has really helped me a lot, even when it's just made me confront how sad or tired or lonely or frustrated I am. At least I know where I am and can operate from there, and take ownership of myself and not place those feelings on externalities or, worse, other people. I think that has been invaluable to me and to my family throughout this time. It's become such a part of my life now that I have continued the practice into 2021.

Here’s how you can do it too: My choices and capabilities are very personal and I don’t like to impose my way of doing this or what works for me on anyone else. Even a 5-minute daily meditation for some people would be considered a total luxury. (I am thinking, for example, of a single mom who is also a nurse right now with a child doing virtual school).   

It helps me live my process because: Feeling physically strong and mentally resilient helps me to keep going, stay disciplined and help our son, our family and myself to smile through all of this as much as possible. It also helps me to stay focused on all the ways that we are incredibly lucky and blessed and not get sucked into a negative thinking/feeling spiral. 

Photography of Elettra Wiedemann by @ioulex

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