Monday’s Musings: Silence

I don’t know if it’s because I had hearing issues as a child or because I’ve experienced the deep, unyielding silence of the desert that even the wind refused to disturb, but lately silence is the one thing I crave.

I don’t know if it’s because I had hearing issues as a child or because I’ve experienced the deep, unyielding silence of the desert that even the wind refused to disturb, but lately silence is the one thing I crave. Sure, it’s quiet here at Serenity Cove for the most part. Most people would find it very quiet, but I find the spring symphony of crickets, frogs, buzzing insects, song birds and even the content sounds of the geese and chickens deafening.

I was contemplating my craving this evening while putting bedding hay into Asset’s stall. It dawned on me. I am not craving the silence of my surroundings, but of my mind and heart and emotions. I’ve been so mentally caught up in what needs to be done for our up coming workshops, the spring garden, getting the early spring medicinal herbs gathered in from forest and field, writing my book, and listing items in the Etsy shop that I haven’t taken the time to clear my mind and just be.

Sometimes letting go of “need to” thoughts is difficult, especially for those of us who take responsibility seriously. But this evening as I was in the sheep stall being nuzzled by half a dozen noses it struck me: Need to thoughts are just another distraction from enjoying the moment. So I let go of my mind and just enjoyed the feel of Andromeda’s warm muzzle, the softness of Daisy’s freshly shorn head, the weight of Iris’ head and neck leaning on my shoulder, Broccoli and Lilac behind me gently nosing my neck and hair bun, and the soft brush of Sade against my arm. And then something wonderful happened amid the sounds of breathing, chewing cud, geese chattering, the rushing of the waterfall, and all the other thousands of little sounds; silence crept in, wrapped her gentle arms around me, and there was not a thought nor care in my soul.

The joy of each moment is when silent peace abounds.

Until next time,

Craft No Harm,

Moriah

 

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Shy Sade

 

 

Monday’s Musings: The Illusion of Control

Today (Sunday) was one of those days. I overslept, and while stumbling from my camper up to the main house I discovered the cattle were out. Cash had “the calves” out front and upon seeing me directed them towards to logging road leading up to the woods – and eventually Kentucky. I hollered at mom and ran after them. Remember that running… it’s a theme. Fortunately, Profit, my little Jersey Angus ox to be likes me happy and helped me bring them into the barnyard. He and his baby brother Asset stopped off at their stall and had a snack while the rest of the bunch returned to the momma cows. I went back to get the boys and discovered that Asset was bit, well, on his namesake. He’s also bit on the leg. I think either a dog or coyote got after the younger animals. I lean towards a dog running them.

Later, we made a hay run. It was pleasant. But we spent a great deal longer than expected. We came home, started chores, and then chased the cows and “the calves” across the river and through the woods. Okay, I chased the cattle. Finally, mom appeared with the grain in the front field (after I chased them there) and into the secured paddock they all went with plenty of hay.

They sheep were WILD. The excitement with the cattle really lit a fire under their silliness. It was actually pretty funny to watch. My rooster Kang and his hen got out. I finally ran him into a stall and closed the door. Nancy the Gander became separated from the rest of the gaggle. Again – running. I no sooner had him in when Dragland the head gander attacked him. Draggy is spending some alone time this evening. Somewhere during all of this Henny Penny, my blind hen, started having breathing issues. We rushed her into the house and performed the necessary vet care. She’s much better.

These are just the highlights from today. Today with plans of fencing, baking breakfast bars, gathering wood violets for homemade candies violets, clean sheets drying on the line, and a Sunday afternoon nap. We had a plan. We had poise. We had control.

No. We had a plan. We had poise. We had chaos. Control is only an illusion. I can call today a bad day, or I can call it today. Today was just today. I accept today just as it is, as it was, as it will be. I have no control over today. I have no control over tomorrow. By simply accepting today as today I have no real disappointment. While chasing the cattle I discovered a patch of dyer’s broom, a glorious patch of violets, a new red flower I’ve never seen before, and found out my old retired milk cow has allot more agility than I thought. Profit proved that he can listen even in trying circumstances. We have a new hay source.

The only control I have is to accept and allow each day, or to fight every moment and rob myself the pleasures that each moment bring. Control is only a feeling, and it’s a feeling born of fear and disappointment. I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I really want in my life.

Until next time,

Craft no harm

 

Moriah

Monday’s Musings: Saying “NO”

 

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Sunset over Serenity Cove

I’m finally over my back injury, thankfully. Spring is here almost and the yearly push to do is starting. In years past I’ve taken on more than I should. It’s easy to learn boundaries and saying “no” to other people’s demands. But that’s not so easy to say to yourself sometimes.

 

For several years I’ve started a garden during lambing and shearing season. I’m also usually out selling early produce, eggs, jam, honey, and other items this time of year at the farmer’s market. It’s busy. But last year I drove my health into the ground. I had an accident that led to internal injuries and an infected organ. I kept pushing. Lambi was ill, and I was up checking on her all hours of the night. I put in a garden, pushed through the early farmer’s market season, pushed myself training my ox, milking, managing and working cattle, etc. By June I was exhausted. I’m not a girl of twenty five, or even thirty five anymore, but I was determined to meet my short term goals.

It’s so easy to do that in life. We jump into something full force and don’t pace ourselves for the long haul. We use gusto instead of technique and consistency. Too often we are the hare and not the tortoise. This year, I’m the tortoise. Shearing, wool, teaching, and writing are my focus. Why? because long term that’s what brings me joy. Long term, that joy and passion bring my success. This year I’m saying “NO” to my little short term goals that don’t align with my long term goals. It’s not easy. I enjoy many of my short term endeavors. But ultimately, they don’t create the life I am intentionally creating.

I challenge you to look at the long term effects of your short term goals. Are you being the hare? Are you wearing yourself out mentally, physically, or emotionally following a path that cares for the moment and not for your life? It’s tough to admit sometimes that what we give our energy to isn’t working. But in the end, having the energy to care for our lives is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves, and for those we love.

In all you do craft no harm,

Moriah

 

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Same sunset from the ridge

 

 

Monday’s Musings: Intention and Failure

The key is leave our hesitation and self doubt behind.

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where a character, Data, does everything “right”, with the best intentions, and still fails. While he’s moping in his quarters, questioning himself, his job performance, and goals, his captain, Picard, comes to speak to him. Picard tells Data that even when we do our best with the most noble intention, take every precaution, we sometimes fail. The key is leave our hesitation and self doubt behind. I love that scene.

So often we become emotionally entangled in what we perceive as our failures. We become focused on results. We cease to first exam our intention. We become wrapped up in self doubt and we hesitate to live our highest ideals. We become stagnant, putrid in our own self rejection.

By examing intention before planning or acting we expand our definition of success, and the human experience. If our intention is kindness, mercy, justice, the betterment of society, and wellbeing towards ourselves and others then we are less apt to judge ourselves as failures. We become more mindful of our plans and actions. We measure success not in a promotion or high paying job, but in lives transformed, a kind word, a smile. We measure our success in leaving self doubt and hesitation behind. In short, when we live by pure intention first, our plans may not happen how we desire, but we succeed in living a full and meaningful life.

Until next time,

Craft no harm,

Moriah

Monday’s Musings: Quiet Time and Balance

My family has a wonderful tradition of easing into the morning. We get up, lounge in our house clothes, drink coffee, plan the day, pray, meditate, read, and linger in the stillness. Of course, this necessitates early rising, but it’s well worth it. Four a.m. is a wonderful time.

We also have a tradition of the mid day nap. Now, I’m not big on the napping part, but I am becoming a fan of the restful part as I slowly begin to age. We also wind down and relax before sleep. We chat, read, meditate, or in my case journal and listen to music while reflecting on the day.

You’re probably thinking we don’t get much done. Quite the opposite is true. Or that farm life must be exhausting and boring. It can be tough occasionally, but not really harsh. And farm life is never boring. No, my family has self care built into its fabric. This self care carries over into other areas.

It’s so easy to over extend ourselves into exhaustion, frustration, and self harm. We become tired, short tempered, and we slowly begin to compromise ourselves. This leads to compromises in how we interact with others, our work, and ultimately our life goals and dreams.

These past few weeks have been tough weeks. The freezes meant hauling water by hand, gallon after gallon to the animals. Now that it’s warm we are hauling tons of manure to the garden one wheelbarrow load at a time. My tablet’s power port broke. I have been staving off the flu going around and my body needed extra rest. I could have pushed myself into heroic self sacrifice mode, fixed the tablet, stayed up late writing and filming. But I chose a different path.

You see, I can’t live a life of kindness and integrity while denying myself kindness through self care, nor can I practice self care while ignoring my core responsibilities. Our culture seems bent on two conflicting modes at one time.

One is a never ending drive to produce. Our cell phones are constantly attached, we respond to emails and messages at every hour of the night and day, we work late, need overtime, and just can’t seem to turn off work and enjoy our relationships and time.

The other mode is play mode. We become so wrapped up in pleasure and rest that we end up just as burnt out emotionally as when we over extend ourselves. We sleep in, lounge to the point of ignoring responsibility, and act without consciousness towards others. To me, this also is self harm.

The challenge is to become mindful of work and play. To be within the moment while still practicing compassionate awareness of ourselves and others. To care for ourselves, to play, and to be productive with balance. It’s a choice, a habit of cultivating self directed kindness each day before we head into the world.

Until next time,

Craft no harm,

Moriah

Monday’s Musings: Self Speech¬†

It’s been a busy Christmas day, and things are finally quiet enough to get today’s post done. Since it’s been so busy, today’s post is a quick video.

I’ll be expanding on this topic of how we talk to ourselves over the next few weeks.

Happy Christmas,

Moriah

Monday’s Musings: Stories We Tell

What are the stories you tell? Are they true? Or have you bought a lie at the cost of your heart, the collapse of your soul, the shrinkage of your emotions?

Photo_1513626191777.pngI love to listen to stories, especially family stories. One of my favorite is of my Papa as a boy in the late nineteen tens getting into the driver’s seat of his father’s Model T and replying when asked what he was doing, “I’m cryin’ to crive this car.” I can just imagine Papa, a determined tow headed little Welsh boy in turn of the century clothing and a tiny newsboy hat and full confidence he was capable of driving that car.

But what are the other stories we tell? Especially those stories we tell ourselves, and where do they come from? My grandfather told himself the same story he his Papa told him: “You are capable man. You are an honest man. You are a good man.” The story my grandmother heard the first ten years of her life was similar. “You are loved. You are safe. You are good. You deserve good things.” But during the depression both of their young lives where torn unsounder.

My Papa had to leave home at fourteen. His Papa could no longer feed him and the passel of young children at home. My Mimi’s Mama died, and her father turned to alcohol to cope. He sent her to Grandma Anderson, the woman raised by her pirate grandfather. Papa was sent off with his story intact. He eventually joined the Navy, saw the world, and came out of the service at nineteen just as World War Two began. Mimi on the other hand had her story altered with long lasting effects.

Mimi’s story became “you’re no better than that drifter father of yours, you’ll never be anything, you don’t work hard enough, there’s nothing to cry about, be harder, if you’re raped it’s your fault”. Quite a different story than the one she heard for the first ten years. The conflict in the story she told herself haunted her throughout life.

But we are not the stories we tell. We are the authors of the stories we tell. YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF YOUR LIFE. Being the author doesn’t negate the pain of loss, the parents you are born to, or even your physical apparatus for exploring this world. What it does is change you.

I’m a big into journaling. You might want to get into it, too. But, even if you’re not, do yourself a favor. Get a notebook, a pen, and write out the story you tell yourself about you, your family, your life, your mistakes, and your successes. Be honest, the kind of honest that twists your guts and lays bare your darkest thoughts. Then imagine reading that to your five year old self. Would you call that five year old child worthless, undeserving, bad, shameful? Then write the heart story you’d rather that precious child hear. That heart story is your story. Read it to yourself. Let it seep into you. Believe it. Live it.

My grandmother never had the chance to write out her story, to be her own author. I sometimes wonder what it would have been. But I did have the chance to write my story, and it has made all the difference in my heart’s life.

What are the stories you tell? Are they true? Or have you bought a lie at the cost of your heart, the collapse of your soul, the shrinkage of your emotions? It’s the stories we tell that make our lives full and good. Tell your story well.

Join me next week for a little talk on how to chase out those negative thoughts that keep buzzing around your ears.

Until then,

In all you do, Craft No Harm.

Moriah

 

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