Saturday, December 27, 2014

Making room for the New Year

Every day is a new beginning, a new start. Unfortunately, I have a habit I need to taper and let go; each new day I drag along pieces from my past, expectations for the future and an attitude of "someday I will be truly present". 

Like many reflecting on the year that is about to draw to a close, there was a great deal of challenges faced, opportunities seized and expectations of what is to come in the new year. Here I am, sitting down to snuggle up with the present, let go and allow my writing to flow. 

The front paddock is currently housing all three boys, the donkey and the two geldings. All three are undoubtedly entertained snacking on and nosing through a dozen different piles of hay. There is even a hay net stuffed to the brim hanging from the fence that Finn, the comedian Foxtrotter will tug at and torture pushing the limits of the poor craftsmanship of the net. No rain, a crisp clean smelling air that is warm for the end of December at 42 degrees, and clear sky showcasing bright stars makes for a lovely late evening. 

The present is beautiful. 

When I embrace just how things are right now I find myself naturally grateful. 

In the present the anxiety of what could be, what might be or what I hope to be, becomes diluted and frees up much needed room for the now. Now requires the search to pause, the haunt the senses go on to scan the area, turn sound and smell into logic and craft stories from the world based on assumptions. 
I softly, as if to tell a timid child, place a thought before the mind that becomes a song to the rhythm of my breathing, "I have had anxiety like the rabbit, yet my roots are strong like the redwood, my spirit is enduring like the river and my opportunities are limitless like cosmos". My body, like my mind also needs to fixate on a story that captures it's attention, "Channel that of the tree that stands tall and strong on the brightest summer day and steadfast during the coldest winter storms". With each breath the present becomes reality.

As the past calms it's voices and fears the images as if to relax fade. Following the lead of the past the future ends it's pleading and begging for action. The future then releases it's stubborn death grip, and as if to relax finds honor in bending and becoming shaped. 

Cheers to another year, another chapter to close with lessons learned, memories created and opportunities planted. Cheers to a harvest of joy, challenges that guarantees growth and great unlimited love.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I couldn't comfort the mother

The first title that came out was,"I buried a baby", that is true, yet, with context the title is lighter when I share it was a baby chicken. I decided to focus on what was left, it's mother.

Tweedle, my lost but now found hen.
This was her secret hiding place for over a month
The one and only Autumn baby that hatched.
I knew the baby wasn't doing well. Born at the start of Autumn as the only chicken in the nest that hatched, it's timing into the world meant cold and dreary days ahead.

It's mother, Tweedle is one of my oldest and most determined of hens had disappeared. After an hour long search the night she went missing, and a few laps of investigation around the property in the following days I thought she was gone for good.

If a chicken doesn't show up for the evening ritual of check-in, find your spot and settle in for the night they are not coming back. Raccoon, weasels, the neighbor's cat and even just plain old little no-mercy nature can show up at anytime and demand a chicken tax. Getting attached or choosing a favorite chicken is accepting they may not be in the coop the next time I go in there. A missing bird is a little easier to process than finding them lifeless on the floor.

Gardening in the late evening I heard a chirp, a peep, convinced I wasn't going crazy I went looking for the peeping chicken. After over thirty days of not seeing Tweedle there she was. I scooped her up to hug and give her love. She did not return the gesture, she furiously attacked, bit and tried to get away from me. I didn't mind, I was so delighted to see her I ignored the attacks until I was done hugging.

She had gone broody, her hormones had kicked in and she was determined to hatch eggs. There under her was a tiny baby chick, no bigger than a small plum hatching before my eyes. It's long wet wing sticking out of a now broken shell. How adorable! Where's my camera. I found my lost chicken and *POOF* a new baby has arrived. Then the gloomy thought began to sink in, I knew the baby's chances were slim. Yet, why not let life have a shot and let Tweedle carry on doing what her raging hormones were telling her to do, even if they were risky?

As a child seeing a dead animal was a crapshoot between horribly traumatic or intensively interesting and curious. The spectrum of my reactions has softened over the years. I now understand that life has no guarantees. As my husband would say, "good thing chickens don't understand statistics" as their life contract seems to be poorly written. Unless I heavily intervene a clutch, a group of chicks chance of making it adulthood seems to be about 60%. Six out of every ten chickens get to see if they crow or make eggs.

An example of a
lethargic chick.
The tell tale sign I know a chick isn't doing well is how they hold their wings. I call it the Charlie Brown pose. They are becoming lethargic, dehydrated and basically they are giving up. For those who are frowning, just because they have given up doesn't mean it's the end. Yet, I am not surprised when it is the end.

Sad? Sure, that is one feeling that bubbles up when I see a sulking bird. There have been cases I have been successful in doctoring a chick and getting it to scramble into adulthood. Extending life means a little bit more life, but once again no guarantees. I have buried plenty of doctored birds before their second birthday. Tough gig.

The little Autumn chick showed me it's Charlie Brown pose yesterday. In general the little bird seemed willing to go along with it's mother's insisted prodding, it would eat food when the hen pointed it out, and drank alongside the hen and then follow her a bit more. However, it seemed to know it's body for whatever reason wasn't progressing, it was slowing down, shutting down.

Today, I found a tiny lifeless chick in the chicken coop. The tiny body only knowing the earth for a little over a month now on a bed of hay, eyes closed, body out stretched in a peaceful rest. Tweedle still fighting off other chickens from getting too close, just as she had done for weeks. She too was tired, but not willing to give up. I scooped up the chick to find a proper place to bury the baby. Tweedle wouldn't allow me to comfort her, when the chick's body was removed she instantly left and went back to normal chicken routines of looking for food, dusting herself and such.

I couldn't comfort her even though I would have liked to. She went about her business and seemed to tell me. as she did when I found her after a month of her being missing, to go about mine. Okay, universe, give me a hint to this lesson. I don't completely understand.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's an Indoor Mutt Dog's Life

In his eyes, this is totally normal behavior; the fuzzy eleven year old nudges my arm and demands I acknowledge from my horizontal attempt at sleeping. Sure, I will pet you. Then comes the hot warm breath. That’s when I flip over, face the couch. I am passively standing up for my right to breathe non-dog breathe.

Throughout growing up dogs have created a special role for themselves in my life. They squeeze into the role of being the 6:30AM alarm clock. They nudge and prod into the role of reminding me to be responsible, take them out, feed them and of course daily full body massages.

There are two four legged carpet sharks roaming my home. Both dogs are seriously lacking in a lot departments:
  • The ability to open and close doors
  • Feed themselves
  • Control their overpowering desire to eat the other dog’s food
  • Sleep in past 6:30AM
There are only a few signs of aging that would indicate Pal is actually an adult dog. Pick up a Chuck-it or any object that can be thrown and then retrieved and he is hyped up like a two month old pup. Multiple obese tumors have sprung up and have begun, for the second round, a bother to him. Some are operable, others the recovery time and risk goes up especially on the spine and throat. If you look close his normally leaking, droopy eye is developing a cataract. Winter’s frost seems to have stuck on his muzzle with just a dusting of grey hairs intermixing with his normally jet black coat.

I am not ready to accept the idea that his or anyone else’s days are truly numbered. A morbid fact I am not willing to dedicate brain space to today, maybe tomorrow, but not today.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The year of break through or be broken

I am okay with this not being my lucky year. The year of the horse is reminding me it is the year of break through or be broken.

Notice the energy? Feels different. Even as I increase the space between me and the news and the negative the eerie unsettling feeling washes over me.

I know we are swallowing more fear knowing it will sicken us.

I know we as a culture are letting our commitments be pushed aside by our complaints.

I feel like everyone around me is treading water in their lives in hopes of maintaining just enough air for another day. The mention of years in the distance instantly provokes tears. They all seem exhausted. I too am tired.

Just because this isn't a lucky year doesn't mean I haven't been blessed. Just because I am tired does't mean I am close to giving up.

I can either choose distance or connection. I can choose to break down the walls or build them up. I can choose to break through or be broken.

Submitting to becoming broken is a thought that enters my mind then I beat it out like a pest with a broom. Shoo! Be gone from my mind, don't tread on my heart, there is no space disease that weakens my mind, attempts to dilute my vision and lessen the value of my divine commitments.

I choose to break through.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Instead I Learned.

Instead of seeking happiness,
I have learned to seek understanding.

Instead of expecting the best,
I have learned to expect to grow.

Instead of inviting resentment,
I learned to nurture and speak my own needs.

Instead of accepting assumptions as truth,
I have learned to ask questions and receive reassurance and clarity.

Instead of accepting unfounded fears,
I have learned to be vulnerable and find freedom.

Instead of turning away,
I learned the power of turning towards.

Instead of looking for evidence we were growing apart,
I have learned that looking for ways to grow together creates passion.

Instead of counting the years,
I learned to appreciate and treasure every moment.

Today, I am thankful for the last seven years in marriage. Thankful for continued commitment, investment and confidence in our friendship. Thankful for my best friend and the love of my life, my husband Eli.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Being Right is Often Wrong

We grow up being praised for being right. The praise, the rewards and the glory of being right is often misdirected. There are those exceptional leaders that mention and attempt to facilitate the concept of being right but not at the expense of others. Did I hear that part correctly? Being right but not at the expense of others. That piece doesn't sink in unless I am actively paying attention, actively choosing to create a safe space and continually being committed to being present. 

Being right is often wrong. When I feel myself distancing myself from those who care for me and snuggling up to being righteous - I am wrong. Pulling out emotions and using them as ammunition to be right is a bit like picking up sand and stones from the ground in a nasty defensive and immature fit. 

Emotions are not facts. Every emotion I have ever had was twisted, pulled and pushed from various sources. The weather, my blood sugar, the comment I took personally that had nothing to do with me and all of the other things. The clutter in my mind makes my emotions unreliable as sources. 

Giving into being right and allowing being righteous to be who I am is investing in a pursuit that only leads to distance from those who care for me. There is no space for them, at least not a safe one. 

While I am not responsible for the feelings of others I am committed to my relationship with them. The unspoken covenant I should learn to share is that I commit to crafting a safe space, one where I will support them, listen with empathy and speak my needs without hesitation. It's a work in progress.

Cheers to a life that chooses connection over distance. Cheers to a life that chooses nurturing and love. Cheers to a life that doesn't seek out happiness but instead finds joy in growth together.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Manly Scrapbook of Sorts

I know I am not alone. Father's day, just like any other Hallmark day feels very commercial. Packed with marketing messaging, sales and isle end caps filled up with counter cluttering things for Dad. I can't help but shake the sentiment. Even if the intention behind it all is to sell cards and barbecues.

My Dad passed away in 2001. I eventually learned he was cremated and the remains distributed into a few small jars. Odd. I can only assume that because I was fifteen I wasn't "old" enough to add my opinion into the decision of my father's remains.

Sometimes I imagine the non-existent grave site. The grandiose gravestone, sometimes a statue. There would be a built in bouquet holder for flowers as well as overhead roof with lighting for all year long visiting hours. 

I even allow myself to dabble in day dreams crafting a colorful celebration of life. An outside ceremony led by a fluffy haired spiritual guide with a slick sense of humor. A handful of people that as they entered the space made a commitment to support one another from the moment they step into the ceremony until the moment they leave this earth. The stories that would paint my father Rick would exercise everyone's gut with hilarious recounts of the past. I might actually be disappointed if there wasn't an incrimination story. 

Rick Grimes and his infant daughter Lyndi aka me 
Today, as I let myself wander with my thoughts as I often do I thought of what I might do for my Dad's grave site. There might be times a bouquet of flowers could be fitting. Growing up our family ran a plant nursery. Selling hanging baskets, roses, annuals, veggie starts and other plants like evergreen shrubberies. Maybe for Christmas I would bring a miniature Christmas tree. Bring it home and plant it once the new year had begun. For his Birthday I would set out a cheap beer or two with a note reminding him to stop smoking, just to push his buttons. 

Today my silly thoughts rambled on about our newly purchase printer paper. I could print things! A picture of fried chicken, a scene from a big bug movie, an image of a Polaris four wheeler, a picture of STIHL's chainsaw stopping chain-link pants, a picture of Kelly, Arthur, my sister and Corvettes lineup in a row, of my brother's family, and other things like my one ton truck and how fat I have grown. I would make them into a book of mementos. A manly scrapbook of sorts. If I could get my hands on some cigarette ash I should rub that in to for good measure. Think of it like a charm bracelet for an old dead guy. 

If by chance his spirit happen to pass by, I am confident he would flip through the pages and laugh. Tickled I had created something rather than bought it, happy I still remembered the fun times and thankful I came by to visit. Then, our spirits would for a moment agree to wallow in the bittersweet sadness of being apart and appreciation we have a scrapbook of oddball memories to cherish.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Who Wants to Babysit Me?

Not hours, days or even weeks, after the car accident I had to be babysat for months. After each of the three surgeries I had to be babysat. The element of being babysat I often reflect on are those who were wiling and up to the task. 

A few were asked and compensated much like a traditional toddler babysitter. Others came of of the woodwork demanding they bring over a freshly cooked meal and watch me savor the bites as they massaged my feet. No joke.
"I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching they are your family." - Jim Butcher
I am spoiled I learned early that every decision I made either creates connection or distance. I must be approaching that 10,000 hour mark of practicing that lesson and making it a skill. Before long I may even be able to say I am a master of choosing between those roads. Next skill I hope to add to my life resume is becoming a master of repair.

While no one had to wipe my under carriage keeping me occupied and safe was part of the job description. For those who nurtured me back to where I am today, about a C+, I want to have a party. A HUGE one. This isn't a new idea, just one I am starting to mentally craft. Where, when, what will we eat? The point is to celebrate those who took the time to invest, encourage and support me.
"The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed."- Ernest Hemingway
The vision that is coming together is one that reminds everyone they are appreciated, gives them another piece of evidence they have a safe space and a community around them. I am thinking once I am a little buffer I will be up for being hostess, making a keynote and crafting a celebration to be remembered.