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,


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,


Monday’s Musings: The Mask of Kindness 

The Mask of Kindness 

Play nice with others.

Think before you speak.


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,