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“Being overjoyed is part of the work, too”: Things I Learned at a Goat Farm

By April 9, 2015September 24th, 20192 Comments

Virada goat selfie

In February, Rockwood held its winter staff retreat at Harley Farms. The idea of visiting a goat dairy was actually proposed two years ago, then cancelled – to my disappointment. It’s been a dream of mine for some time to milk a goat. But good things come to those who wait… and to those who give Akaya a hard time and make it known to staff that this year, the Year of the Goat, I would fulfill my wish of goat-milking.

After learning about the farm and its history from our guide, we were ushered into the goat pasture. Before I knew it, my arm was around any goat willing to humor me in a selfie. I was elated. I was beside myself. I was three years old. The wave of delight was a little embarrassing.

I was reminded of the first repeated questioning exercise in the Art of Leadership: “What brings you joy?” Friendship. Laughter. Silliness. Goats. The stuff of besties, staycations, children, and puppies. Except I wasn’t on a day trip with friends… I was at work!

Social justice work is not easy, and creating change in our communities can feel like a heavy responsibility. But my time at the goat farm reminded me that being overjoyed is part of the work, too. Along with shared partnership and trust and vision, goat farm moments are also needed, and the power of cultivating joy, delight and good energy should not be taken lightly.

Borrowing Leonard Nimoy’s final tweet, shared just days before the end of his well-lived life: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.” So while doing amazing work in the world, make space for your own “goat farm” moments.


What’s been your latest “goat farm” moment?