The third Permaculture principle as expressed by David Holmgren is ‘Obtain a yield’. When working with the land, you can take that quite literally: make sure that you get a harvest at the end of your season’s gardening.
But yield can be so much more than that. When I’ve read about this principle, it always includes that ‘the potential for yield is infinite, only bounded by our imagination’. Every benefit that you can get from an activity is a yield. All you have to do is harvest it.
Harvesting yields that are beyond the material is as simple as recognising and appreciating the benefits that come to us every day. Just simply looking at my life from the point of view of its yields revealed a cornucopia of riches. I’m overwhelmed by how much there is to be grateful for.
Many spiritual teachers I have come across speak of the value of gratitude. I have always struggled a little with that. It felt trite and forced somehow. But now, just by shifting it into ‘harvesting a yield’ from the different aspects of my life, it suddenly clicks into place. I’m rich!
Just to give you one example: my Druid practice and my membership of OBOD produces a long list of yields. It gives me a sense of connection, of my place in the world. It gives me spiritual satisfaction and continuous learning. It has given me a community and many long-lasting friendships. It has given me the confidence to strike out into the realm of political activism. It has developed many of my skills. It gives me inspiration and enhances my creativity. And that’s just scratching the surface; the list may indeed be infinite. With gratitude, I can harvest all of that beauty and strength.
I would challenge you to look at your life through the perspective of harvesting your yields. What is it that your job gives you? Your family? Your home? Your relationships? Take some time to just recognise what benefits, what beauty you get from these things every day. And appreciate how rich you truly are.