We are often asked why we have named our business and homestead Peculiar Ambitions. We were inspired by a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s first political announcement where he states, “Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition.”
We, as a family, each have our own peculiar ambitions, as do almost everyone we meet. We feel that in living out and by pursuing our ambitions, that we become more content, more emotionally connected, and deeper thinkers. We have the ability to share our peculiar ambitions with those around us, encouraging others to share and pursue their ambitions with us and with the rest of the world. This combination of peculiar ambitions in our family has evoked the “tag line”, our motto… to explore a more mindful and creative life.
A more mindful and creative life….What does this mean and what do we consider more mindful?
We all need to slow down and savor what is really important to us, to spend time with those we love and take time to just BE. Although cliche, there is still truth in the idea that we each need to create the life we feel we are meant to live. Pay attention to what tugs at your heart, to what brings you peace. Do you indulge this part of you? It’s not easy to do in our culture that encourages busyness, competition and the idea that if it is not making a monetary profit it is not worth doing.
What is your peculiar ambition? It does not need to be a big, profound thing. It can be as simple as cooking a meal for your family and friends or taking the time to learn to knit, make wine, paint a picture, write a poem or do whatever peculiar ambition you have always wanted to learn to do.
For us that peace comes from a quiet place to live. Creating manifests itself in many different ways for us, from raising as much of our own food as possible to making pottery and art. It’s simply about taking the time to be thankful, to be aware of each other and our neighbors and to pay attention to each precious moment. We have made an effort to encourage our girls to follow their passions and talents. Our goal by sharing our peculiar ambitions is to encourage you to seek yours, and likewise, you can encourage others to do the same.
Below are some of our favorite poems that have inspired us…
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.