Monday’s Musings : I Can’t Do EVERYTHING

I was raised in a time of shifting ideology in this country. Traditional gender roles and second wave Feminism clashed in the media and stereotypes clashed around me as the child of a single mother in a male dominated industry. A male teacher told my mother he was shocked at how “well adjusted” I am considering I was from a “broken home”. Mom’s reply “children are only broken if you tell them they are broken”. Feel free to use that line.

I was fortunate enough to have my Papa. As a ninth generation Florida Cracker Native he believed a woman can do anything, but that doesn’t mean women should do everything. My grandmother and mom worked the fields alongside him. My grandmother was a better shot overall. We came from an older society where men and women had to be equals to survive. Women had to know how to shoe a horse and brand calves, and men had to know how to make dinner and clean house. There was never a doubt in my mind I could do or be in any occupation. My gender has nothing to do with my ability for accomplishments.

So, I went to South America. I rode horses, earned degrees, called out a few Vice Presidents at major companies, and was even a professional ballroom dancer for a while. I hike, train oxen, tramp through the woods on my own, work on my vehicles, shear, shoot, and I’ve even been known to wrangle a few orphaned calves. I can do anything.

And this, ladies, is the part some of you will dislike. Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I should. In addition to my accomplishments I have broken my ribs numerous times, broken four vertebrae and fractured a hip. I have bone spurs, arthritis, tendon damage. I have a permanent brain injury from one too many concussions. My left shoulder has dislocated three times and my right ankle twice. I’m missing bones in that foot, too. Everyday is pain. Sitting is painful. Walking is painful. Breathing is painful. Laying down is painful. Attitudes have consequences, especially for adventurous girls.

Am I equal in value to a man? OF COURSE! But as I’ve aged I’ve realized just because I can do anything doesn’t mean I should do everything. I simply lack the physicality to do things that men can do, and I’m a pretty robust gal. As Paul pointed out in the Christian Bible “all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial”.

At some point, overdoing physically becomes self harm. The “I can do anything” idea is dangerous without the tempering “but that doesn’t mean I should”. That holds true for everyone regardless of gender, because even in caring for ourselves physically we are all equal.

Until next time,

Craft no harm,

Moriah and the flock

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: The Mask of Kindness 

The Mask of Kindness 

Play nice with others.

Think before you speak.

Share.

Be kind.

We all remember hearing these statements as children, and some of us may even still hear them as adults. So, we split the last piece of cake, or we allow someone to step in line ahead of our loaded cart at the grocery. That’s being nice, showing kindness. But there’s a dark side that no one addresses. A side I watch showing up in people under thirty five over and over again. I call it the mask of kindness.

Someone wearing the mask of kindness puts on a smile, holds their head up high, and helps the proverbial senior across the street. But inside that kind act is done out of guilt, shame, self loathing, and fear of rejection. Or someone offers to help on the spur of the moment because it’s “the right thing”, but escapes as quickly as possible, then emotionally batters themselves for “being too nice” while chastising themselves for “being a jerk”. I watched it happen not too long ago.

This mask of kindness addresses everyone’s emotional needs except the wearer’s. Sometimes the wearers are easy to spot. She’s the mom staying up til midnight cleaning up after a spouse and two teenage kids while muttering how much she does, how little she’s respected, how she’s so tired she might as well lay down and die.

Sometimes the wearers are harder to spot. She’s the beautiful, talented, single woman who has it all together. She volunteers, teaches Sunday School, organizes blood drives, and feels that she’ll never measure up. She tells herself she’s a complete fraud, that if people really knew her no one would even speak to her. But when pressed, she can’t tell you anything other than she’s wearing a mask.

He’s the guy that drives everyone home, is taken advantage of by people but doesn’t complain, or feels guilty when everyone around him isn’t happy. He blames himself for that unhappiness, even though he has nothing to do with the problem. He’s the guy that says “I don’t know what love means”.

Sounds like real head cases right? Not really. You see, the mask of kindness is the cruelest thing we can put on our souls. It robs of our dreams, our joy, our confidence and a sense of self. It manifests as people pleasing, self deprecation, anxiety, and playing the martyr. But, it’s not the end of the world, just a bad habit of putting yourself on the back burner and never really seasoning the flavor of your heart.

How do we change? How do we drop the mask, get beyond fear, and start living as our authentic self? By showing Loving Kindness to ourselves so we can show it others in an authentic way. That’s what we’ll be exploring each Monday.

Until next week –

Play nice with yourself.

Think before you speak to yourself.

Share with yourself.

Be kind to yourself.

In all you do, craft no harm,

Moriah