A Good Life To Live

The rain on the tin roof is the only sound of the morning struggling to dawn through heavy, black clouds. When I checked the weather last night, I only saw brief interludes of light rain forcasted. I didn’t expect this monsoon that we’re getting. Luckily, the rain brings warmer temperatures which is always a relief from cold blustery days and nights of remembering to leave faucets dripping so the pipes don’t freeze and we’ll still have water in the morning. Too many past winter mornings were met with just air sputtering out of faucets and the ensuing panic of just how to source water for 5 horses and a herd of goats…not to mention the house and its inhabitants.

In the bad old days I met every challenge with an I-don’t-know-what-to-do-attitude. And also fear of failure, and a fear of disappointing, and enraging the person I shared my life with. I could usually incite disgust and hatred by simply waking up in the morning, but often, I could spare myself somewhat by hiding upstairs, or out in the woods until he had left for work. Round bales of hay made good hiding places, as did the pig pen, or the cluttered garage. I did not understand at the time what emotional abuse was. I am still not sure I understand how someone can create such trepidation in the heart of another without actually physically harming them. Although there were often threats of harm or death or violence.

In the old days, I might have carried that pain of rejection and failure around with me like a worn out badge of courage, but I had already spent the better portion of my adult life “getting over” something. I was ready to stop being a victim, and start being the creator of my own experience.

Last night while pulling hay off the round bale for the horses, my mind slipped back down that slope into a conversation with the person who used to share my life. Those old feelings of helplessness and futility, guilt and shame washed over me. It’s been a year and a half of living on the other side. Most days I don’t even go there. I’m not sure why I did last night. I know we can’t always have perfect thoughts. But the thing I was able to do. The thing I wish everyone could do, and everyone CAN do, is to recognize where my thought train was heading, and stop it. In its tracks. Years ago that wouldn’t have been an easy task. Now, it is much easier, and the most important thing is that I am AWARE of what my mind is trying to do to sabotage me, and I can halt it. Some people call this negative self-talk, the devil, or satan. Certainly, giving a name to it can help identify it, and rectify it. But, I think what often happens, in the negative, devil-talking-to-us-circle-to-no-where, is that we feel guilt for switching our minds to better feeling thoughts. I know I used to. Try it sometime. In the middle of beating yourself up for not being able to be the best you can be, stop, and start thinking about the flowers you want to plant in the spring, or that new puppy you’ve got your eye on, or how good a hot tub would feel right now, and notice how you feel a little guilt, like you are avoiding the problem. And you are. For good reason.

There is absolutely no reason to think negative thoughts. Ever. Even when the world is falling apart, it does no good to think of all the ways the world is falling apart. That will never make it stop falling apart, but only ensure that the falling apart will continue. Instead, we have to focus on the solution to stopping the world from falling apart. We have to focus on how the world will look when it stops falling apart. And it will stop falling apart. Immediately. Did your lover just leave you? Well, it does little good to think of your lover leaving you. He or she can only leave you once and then they are gone…unless they come back…once they’ve left, there is nothing to be gained by thinking of their absence, but everything to be gained about thinking how much better life will be now…now that there are no arguments, you can come and go as you please, there is no more jealousy, you can finally be free to be yourself…and then perhaps, when a new state of mind is achieved, one of fulfillment and contentment, another lover will appear who is also fulfilled and content, and will be a great match to your new vision of yourself.

I didn’t think I could ever live without my partner. I didn’t think I wanted to. And I don’t blame the abuse. Or him, or his childhood. Not most days anyway. But I also don’t blame myself anymore. I am no longer envious of others marriages and partnerships. I have my own life to live and I’m the only one who can live it. I stopped measuring myself against other people who were deemed by society to be more successful than me. I am who I am…a 50 year old woman pulling hay off of round bales for horses in the rain and making soap at midnight. I have a baby goat in a playpen in the living room, two dogs who sleep on my bed, and a grandson with leukemia who doesn’t let that dampen his outlandish imagination one bit. In terms of richness of life, I am richer than I’ve ever thought possible.

Some people might look at my rusty old farm house or my falling-down fences and outbuildings and feel pity for me. They might see all the work I have to do and run away as fast as they can. I used to feel overwhelmed and in despair, trying to do it all alone. Feeling lonely. But once I realized I had control of my thoughts, which control my emotions, which control the way I look at life….I realized, I had no reason to feel any negative feelings or emotions at all. Not one of them ever served me to the good. Not one…except to help me sort and sift and decide what I like and what I don’t like.

And I like my life. I like the rain. I like catching new born baby goats on clean feed sacks in a 4 by 6 goat shelter. I like squishy mud and big rain puddles. I like dirty horses, and tarping round bales. I like hauling wood, and building fires. I like making soap in a cluttered kitchen, and writing in the morning while the rain is beating down on the roof. I like fixing up this old house and making it into a warm home. I like coffee in the morning, and a hot shower at night. I like playing games with my grandson in front of the wood stove, and listening to my dog snore while cuddled up to me at night.

I am in charge my life on this five acre piece of dirt on this backwoods country road, 40 miles from Walmart. And that, my friends, makes me a very happy woman.

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Another Rainy Day

My dogs just ate my lunch. It was a huge bowl of piping hot, thick, chicken, lentil, and vegetable stew that I had fixed and then sat on the dinning room table to eat. I remembered that I needed to call a wood cutter to order a load of firewood, and turned my attention away from my food a moment too long. Both dogs are sound asleep now, having ate their own bowls of food as well as mine.

It is a cold, wet, grey day outside, but I’m enjoying it. Inside the house it is wood-stove warm, and there is a pan of chicken roasting in the oven. This morning I dressed warmly for chores, and with no wind to speak of, the softly-falling rain gave me inspiration…on where I need to create walkways to the house, which gutters need replacing or removing, and just where to put the loads of gravel in the horse paddocks.. I also realized I am just about out of firewood, hence the need to order a load.

I am no yard expert, but today seemed like a terrific day to over-seed grass in the mostly bare yard around the house. I know I might not appreciate the thicker grass come summer time, but having grass in the yard is preferable to bare dirt, so that’s what I am going for.

There are dozens of tiny birds resting in the trees right outside the front door in the rain. I wonder where they go at night? And do they get cold? I hope they don’t eat all the grass seed I just put down. But if they do, I still have seeds left in the bag, and I will seed again…and be happy to have grass AND birds, come spring of the year.

 

 

Of a Smokey Stove and a Cold Morning

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I might say, it’s a wee bit cold in the castle this morning. The chimney is a little clogged but the clean out cap is solidly rusted on…thanks to a chimney sweep who removed the old, cumbersome chimney cap and replaced it with a new version that never kept the rain out, turning the chimney pipe into a steam heater, solidly gluing deposits of burned wood to the sides of the pipe. Summer dried the deposits out and loosened them, and gravity made sure they all fell to the bottom of the pipe, effectively inhibiting the flow of smoke up the chimney.

We have a fire going this morning, but it’s a bit smokey upon opening the stove door. A chimney sweep is being sourced at this time, after my failed attempts at removing the cap as well as the entire lower pipe piece. None of the pipe moves without moving the stove, and I am no match for a 1000 pound wood stove.

The clogged stove pipe reminds me of a few interesting insights I’ve experienced lately, being less focused on my personal problems, and more focused on things that make me feel good, like a clean sink, a swept floor, that sort of thing. It’s funny how that happens. It’s always unexpected, and only happens after you take your focus off the thing you are trying to figure out.

Kind of like a clogged chimney, where the heat and smoke don’t flow freely, and when looked at, back up out of the stove door as soon as it’s opened. When we look at our problems, and focus on them, they clog up our minds and our bodies, making us depressed, anxious, and a bit crazy. But taking the focus OFF of our problems and the things we DON’T like, and focusing instead on the things in our lives we DO like, even little things, or anything else, besides our problems, we clear the way for solutions and answers to flow freely to us, uninhibited.

So, I play games with my five year old grandson with no guilt at all. In the grocery store, we pretend we are crawling through the ductwork in the ceiling, at home we play genies and gems on the computer, get excited over new pokemon we’ve caught or hatched, animate the dogs and stuffed animals, and make up new dances and short plays…

Everyone should have access to a five-year old child. We could all throw away our prozac while constructing an imaginary world that is a lot more fun and less problematic than our “real lives”.

And that is all.

Construct

Liminal

Today WordPress’s one-word prompt of the day is “Liminal”.  Merriam Webster defines Liminal as: 1) of or relating to a sensory threshold 2) barely perceptible 3) of, relating to, or being in an intermediate state, phase, or condition: in-between, transitional, as in the liminal state between life and death.

Whoa, doesn’t that just describe me and this farm most days to a T? I don’t think I’ve ever had a day when I could say, “okay, this is it, I’m where I need to be, now it’s time to get down to the business of living.” Instead, most days are spent trying to figure out how to get over the next hurdle; what to do about a partner who wants to end a relationship and I have no where to go, finally ending the relationship and then finding myself the sole owner of an old, run-down house I have no money or knowledge to know how to fix, watching the hay supply get smaller and smaller with no funds to buy more, watching my grandson get sicker and sicker, and then finally being diagnosed with Leukemia and all the horror that treatment entails.

As I watch  myself in the mirror every day getting older and older, realizing I can’t stop the train of aging, I teeter in the Liminal state of one day looking in the mirror, or perhaps passing that certain birthday, where I will actually be old enough to be “old”. And dreading that day, while looking forward to it at the same time. Old people don’t have to worry about all this liminal stuff. They can wake up anytime they want, take some meds, go back to sleep, watch TV, play with their great grandkids, go for a walk, fall down, pee in the bed, spit food all over their nurses, and finally hold their breath long enough that they die.

The End.

I don’t know if anyone ever gets to the place where they can say “I’ve arrived”. Except maybe when they get to Walmart, that’s kind of hard to miss, and you certainly know you are there. And maybe this great lostness, and unknowingness we all feel at some time or another, is yet but another really good reason to just to super nice to each other all the time, and help each other through our liminal phases. After all, in the end, we all travel the same road into eternity…or maybe some of us head south while the rest of us tarry on towards the much cooler north, but maybe that’s really the only state of non-liminalness that exists…the state of finally being with our Lord. Thinking about it that way kind of takes the pressure off down here, don’t you think?

I wish you all a less liminal, beautiful Sunday.

 

 

 

 

Liminal

It’s Too Dark To Exercise!

Even though I did no feasting over the Thanksgiving holiday, (I know, dieters everywhere are hating me right now), I feel sated. Full. Stuffed. Over-full. Like I need a 10 mile run. Times 10. With shorter winter days, it’s getting harder and harder to find a safe place to get outside for exercise while it’s still light.

When I lived in the city, I often ran in the dark on well lit streets or at the gym. Living in the countryside, down a narrow back road with no hint of a street light or sidewalk or even a place to jump off the road when a car full of drucken teenagers or a farmer late for milking comes barreling down the road, unless you count the ditch.

And I’m not a fan of night time, country roadside ditches. They are full of road-kill stew…only not the edible kind…rather a mixed brew stew of opossums, deer, racoons, dogs, cats, vultures…and any other kind of  vehicular homicide varmit victim, with broken glass and paper wrapers thrown in for good measure, or maybe seasoning. Nope, especially after a rainstorms when the ditches are full of water and the “stew” is much more stew-like, and even more gruesome. Nope. Can’t go there.
Where I live, in the middle of no where, the only gym in town, a ladies-only gym, opens from 10 am to 4pm. I mean, who can actually use a gym with hours like that? And so, the satiation factor seems to be growing, increasing, maintaining a wider girth, etc. Luckily, I live on a farm where there is always free exercise to be had, although not quite the kind I’m wanting, and I rarely have junk food in the house…or if it does manage to wiggle in through the doorway with my daughter or my grandson, it’s soon gone, and then there is none any more.

So today, I’m thinking up a plan. One to beat down the satation feeling just a bit, and increase the feeling of being a lean, mean, (I’m actually nice, but nice doesn’t fit here), farming woman machine. Something I can do in the house, but not a treadmill. If I ran on a treadmill in the living room, me and the treadmill would soon be under the house, probably with the house on top of us.

Must. Think. Of. Something. Else.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Sated

A Day of Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving morning has dawned grey and cold, with the anticipation of rain in the air. We desperately need the rain. Fires are burning in nearby counties because everything is so dry and the winds have been unrelenting.

The winds haved calmed today and I am thankful for that, and for all my many blessings; a roof over my head, a warm home, food to eat, a hot cup of coffee, the ability to sustain myself with my own businesses, peace, hope, love.

Some of us are not quite so lucky. A friend and nearby neighbor lost their home to a house fire in the wee dawn hours of yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving. I can’t even imagine the horror of that. The humans and dogs got out okay, but life for them will never be the same. Today, after chores, I am going to see what I can do to help with clean up or animals or whatever is needed. A fitting way to spend today…and a huge reminder of just how lucky I am to have shoes and clothes to wear that fit, to have a kitchen table, a coffee pot, a working refrigerator, a hot shower, my books, my computer, and my peace of mind.

On this Thanksgiving day I wish you all peace and love, and if you are alone today, I challenge you to be of service to another…walk someones dog, visit an animal shelter to love on the homeless dogs and cats, cook someone a pie, visit a nursing home, call an old friend, write a letter to someone in heaven, or maybe just sit down at your kitchen table with a cup of hot chocolate and make a list of all the ways you’ve been blessed in life…I’ll bet your list is a long one, just like mine.

May peace be with you, today and always.

via Daily Prompt: Anticipation

Anticipation

Like a Worm In A Hole

real-worm-in-a-hole I have been in hibernation. Deep hibernation. And frankly, I’d like to stay hibernating. I like my dark little worm-hole of a tiny slice of this earth of ours. And yet, I’ve been choking on the dirt so I feel like it’s time to poke my head up and look around a little. Just a little.

I often feel I am just on the verge of getting my life back together when yet something else happens that throws me out of whack and so I shimmy back down my earth-hole to wait out the tide of negativity. I binge-listen to Esther Hicks and read the bible while I am in hibernation, which gives me the strength to try life again. I know I am not alone in this. We all have our seasons. And some of our seasons are more pleasant than others.

Esther Hick, (Abraham) always talks about emotions, and how we feel, as being the ultimate indicators of whether we are on the right path or not. As a woman, it’s often been my practice to disengage from what I am truly thinking about a thing, and instead, replay what I’ve heard others say about something that may have happened or been happening to me or in my life. As a society, this is where we jump on the bandwagon of crowd-thought… it’s where we get the idea that prejudice, subjugation, ridicule, hate, etc. is okay since everyone else is doing it.

But I do not want to talk about prejudice, subjugation, ridicule, or hate today, enough attention is being given to those things already. Today I want to talk about Love. Doing what I love, based on the emotions I feel while doing those things I believe I love.

I grew up on a mini-farm near the coast of Oregon, in a family of two parents and three younger brothers who all loved to make things.  My mother was always crafting something in the house, and my father was always outside, building things, making tools, and fixing things. My brothers and I followed suit, and I always felt great when sewing, crafting, or interacting with the animals we had. When I left home, I got a normal job, went to school, got married, got divorced (a couple of times) had three beautiful children, got pets, lost pets, got hired, got fired, and developed a low self esteem and feeling of worthlessness. I think many women and men can relate to feeling beat down by life. During that time I didn’t really know how I felt inside. I know what society was saying about everything I was going through. But I didn’t really know what I, myself felt, other than an overwhelming sense of sadness much of the time.

Being self employed has given me the opportunity to hide from the world, at least part of the time. But in doing so, I’ve been forced to meet my emotions head-on, and deal with them instead of burying them. Being down in the worm hole, with a set of earphones on, listening to Abraham, meditating, studying the bible, I’ve finally been able to meet myself. And surprisingly, I am learning to like myself. Today, I am not mortified by the fact that I am 50 and single. That my home is old and that the money is scarce. I don’t feel guilty being in my beat-up farm house making batches of soap…for people who really seem to like them by the way. I don’t feel guilty working my shop site, my blog, making food for my dogs, or spending hours outside with the animals, just being with them. I am enough just the way I am today. I am not a less worthwhile person because I don’t have a regular 9 to 5 job or make a certain amount of money.

My soap business has been failing miserably, and not because I don’t have buyers for my soaps, nope, just the opposite….people are begging to buy my soap, but I’ve been too depressed to even make any. Too worried that my house looks like an unorganized soap shop and not like the houses I see in magazines. Often I feel paralyzed by the sheer amount of work that needs to be done both in the business and on the farm, and it’s just me doing it all….while most of my friends have partners or are married, I seem to be unlovable for some reason that I am unaware of, which adds to my feelings of failure.

Slowly though, after another recent “loss”, and spending much-needed time down in my worm-hole, I’ve been able to do small things again, like organize areas of my business, make products, one by one, and it’s starting to add up. My inventory is growing. My customers are happier, and I am feeling better and better about this thing we call life.

Are you a fan of Esther Hicks? Do you read the bible for inspiration? How do you deal with loneliness and self-loathing? I encourage you to share. We can all help lift each other up. God be with you.

Namaste