Farmgirl Advice for a Happier Life

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1- Just because you are very good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it.  You can always reinvent what your life looks like.

2- Life is meant to be experienced.  There is no one purpose. You will have plenty of time to ponder the meaning of the universe, right now be human and experience life.

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3- Change is never easy.  Allow yourself to mourn.  But keep that glimmer of hope because the best is yet to come and closed doors lead to wide open opportunities.

4- Quiet your chattering mind.  Tune into the activity around you.  As I sit here on the porch on this lovely late summer day I watch a mouse quietly approach the bird seed and begin to nibble as dozens of finches take flight, their silhouettes artful in the filtered light.  I listen to the crickets’ songs of summer and feel the cooling breeze on my skin before the dog days of summer heat that is to set in later.  There is a much bigger world than what is going on in our minds.

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5- Listen to your passions and follow their road.  Do not try and figure out where they go, just follow their lead.

6- See people’s spirits.  See them as children.  Banish ignorance.  Don’t give into fear.

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7- Release the past.  Past relationships, events, hurts, happenings, eras.  Leave them behind with a blessing and move forward.  Cut the ribbons that keep you bound.  Fly.

8- Be enchanted.  Life is brief and blissful.  It is what we make it.  It is what we create.  A large black bird lands on a trellis next to me.  He is fascinating in his mottled browns and blacks and tussled feathers.  I wonder if he was born this very year.  The glorious blue jays screech their joyful song across treetops.

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9- Have faith.  Know that you were not just dropped on this earth without lifelines.  Fear is the lack of faith.

10- Treat yourself with care, my dears, and follow your heart.

How to Accept the Challenge of Living Fully and Embrace Destiny

ninjaThe biggest challenge is living life in the fullest right now.  To be neither in the past nor the future.  To face fears as one experiences them.  To constantly reassess one’s temperaments and ideals, perceptions and reactions to become a better, kinder, more graceful person who lives with great compassion.  To find what destiny was designed for us and follow the cues of passion and interest to find where we make the very most difference in the world.

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Writing a memoir was a profound experience for me because I was able to start at the beginning of this life journey and walk through it.  I saw myself at three years old, at eleven years old, I watched as I experienced bliss, intense sadness, confusion, joy, and I nodded at each character that has helped mold me in my life, from my mother to my mentors.  I was able to see, understand, forgive, embrace, appreciate, and release.  I highly recommend that you purchase a journal and begin telling your tale.  Everyone has a message and a life of lessons to share.

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When one finds themselves fretting about the future or reliving a memory in the past, try to pull yourself to this moment.  I believe the reason I love great food, cooking, and the mysteries of wine is because it makes me grounded.  It forces me to use my human senses.  Otherwise I am always flitting about spiritually or stuck in my head.  Balance is needed.  Try to close your eyes and smell, hear, touch, breathe, taste.  Hear the birds.  See the colors of nature out the window.  Feel the breeze on your skin.  Taste the tannins in a cup of tea.  Feel the air fill your lungs.  Put your hands together in front of your heart and feel gratitude.  This acts as a reset and brings you back to now.

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In my book, The Making of a Medicine Woman; the Memoirs of Bird Woman, that is soon to be released, I experience facing fears.  You will always have to face your fears.  They will keep coming until you do.  My fear has always been of ghosts and bad spirits.  Nightmares from when I was very young and stories that haunted me (I should not have watched “The Exorcist”) through adulthood kept me from doing the work that I do.  I lived in haunted house after haunted house and had experience after experience until finally I turned around and realized I wasn’t afraid anymore.

What are you afraid of?

On my birthday I posted some crazy what-if’s.  What if I stopped writing out a to-do list, what anything get done?  My fear of not being productive enough prompts me to write elaborate lists.  I stopped writing them for a week.  And sure enough, not a dang thing got done!  So the lists are back, just smaller.

I wondered if I stopped worrying about money if it would come easier.  Our income didn’t increase but once I stepped back and stopped worrying, I realized we make enough.

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I wondered what it would be like to shave my head.  It felt like a beautifully symbolic new beginning.  A spiritual oath.  A bit of freedom (from tangles, hair products, and dye).  But what if people thought I had cancer?  (White girls with shaved heads are unfortunately assumed to be ill if they have very short hair, it turns out…)  Well, sure enough, lots of messages came pouring in and strangers walked up to me and asked if I were ill.  I dealt with the fear straight on with a smile.  And I LOVE my hair.  I don’t look in the mirror much now.  It certainly is freeing.

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Challenge yourself!  That is another way to live fully.  What do you want to do with your life?  How can you become a better person?  How can you live more compassionately?  How can you spread your light to the world?

Maybe open doors for people.  Give some leeway on the highway.  Give hugs, compliments, forgiveness, and small gifts.  Give of yourself.  Laugh.  Notice.  Be here.  Follow your desires.

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If you are not happy, figure out why.  It’s time to live your destiny and your birthright of joy.  Joy follows when you are following your highest self and living for now.

 

What If? (a birthday pondering)

DSC_6435My birthday is Saturday.  The years fly by in the breeze faster than I can blink but I am grateful for each and every year that I get to celebrate being on this beautiful earth.

New Year’s makes me ponder how I can do things better and makes me set lofty financial and personal goals.  Autumn makes me rethink what I need and what I don’t need.  It is a cleansing of sorts.  My birthday makes me think of ways that I can live.  How can I take in each day more deeply?  How I can be more present and more compassionate and more alive?  It makes me think…what if?

What if I stopped making a to-do list?  Would anything actually get done?  Instead of cramming sixty-two things into one day, what if each thing was done as I thought of them.

What if I stopped counting every penny?  Would money begin to flow in after I loosened my grip on worry?

What if I stopped circling back every time I began to move forward in my work?  Can I let go?

What if I got a Buddhist hair cut?  Would people think I was sick?  Or ugly?  What if it didn’t matter?  What if I released my appearance and symbolically started anew on my journey?  How fun would that be to not do my hair.  Or to not have a headache every night from hair ties?

Why is cutting my hair or releasing worry or moving forward or not having a to-do list so monumental?

What if I took more time to do yoga and to sit in coffee shops writing or got a bicycle and rode around town?  What if I spent more time in the garden or with my children or reading?  What if I had tea time every day at 4?  What if I cut my hair?

Maybe this is the year of boldness.

Of courage.  Of peace.

of living.

New Year’s Part 4- Blessings

 

family picNow that we are geared up to release 2015 in a glass of champagne and have our 2016 hopes and dreams laid out we must take a moment to be grateful.  Goodness, I don’t know anyone that came away from 2015 unscathed.  Yikes, it was a doozy.  But there are reasons behind change, behind life.  We must take our lessons and see where they lead us all.  But we must always hang on to hope.  And hope comes in the form of 2016 today.  Take a moment and write down all the things you are grateful for while I jot down mine…

Mine filled a full page.  The opportunities, the love, the kids, marriage, health, family, friends, animals, shop, lessons learned, and memories made; riding in a small plane and communing with wild horses.  It was an interesting year.  Please share your dreams, ideas, and blessings in the comments if you wish.  See you next year!

Being Present, Manifesting a Home, and the Pumpkin Lady

I am reading a fabulous, fabulous book.  “What I Know For Sure” by Oprah Winfrey is both compassionate, real, and thought provoking.  It is allowing me to read it while nodding, for those things I know for sure too, and then consider whether I really put those things in motion.

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I finished the first section last night about Joy.  The secret to a joyous life is to be present.  So true when one thinks about laughing hysterically in a moment with friends over something nonsensical, drying one’s eyes, and then embracing in the moment.  That is joy.  I ought to laugh more.  In the mornings as I enjoy my cup(s) of hot, dark coffee and write to you at sunrise, I look out the window and thank God for this little “vacation” I am on.  No deadlines, no to-do list, no….then I get antsy and want to-do list back!  I have been sitting and thinking for two months.  There is a real possibility of losing it!  Shh, be present…

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I love watching everything that Maryjane does.  Listening to her little words.  Spending so much time with Doug.  Taking walks and holding hands.  Tending to the greenhouse.  Watching the leaves turn.  Visiting friends.  Resting my body.  Resting my mind.  Ok, well, trying to rest my mind.

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But, there must be balance.  I cannot be present all the time or I would get nothing done.  I am presently manifesting with help (Divine and friends!) and dreaming (because that is what I do).  We have always known what house we want.  Out of the twenty-five places I have lived in my life there is only one that really felt like home.  It was our house in Kiowa.  The one we moved out of last year because they couldn’t keep up the mortgage payments and needed to sell it.  We thought Calhan was our forever farm.  It was a mere stepping stone.  What we really wanted was to own a home.  I guess the only way that we could own a home was by losing everything.  Our friends want to buy us a house and hold the note until we can get our finances in order.  A gift beyond measure.  We know which house we want.  It has been empty since we left it.  People around town wonder where the Pumpkin Lady went.  Not a bad nickname.  There are lots of hoops to go through.  But Friends, we are ready to go home.

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Winter Rest (and making it last all year!)

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A time for rest, a time for play, a time for work.  Balance.  I am great at all but the first one.  I feel like I have been going really fast for forty years!  I sit down to read but there is something more pressing to do.  I try not to make lists, to just go about my day, but then I feel like nothing gets done.  I make lists and they are impossible to complete.  I expect everyone around me to be working if I am!  And I feel guilty for taking a break.  What the heck is that?  This month, this year, will be different.

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After our whirlwind year of events and then moving, I am tired.  Happy, but tired.  Now that I have less to do (though there is always something to do) I find that I can convince myself a little better to take it easy.  I am not sure why I have been rushing through my life!

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This homestead is changing me.  The beautiful stillness outside, the complete silence, the feeling out here is not rushed.  This time of life is changing me.  The children don’t need to be rushed anywhere.  Doug doesn’t need to rush to work.  I don’t have to hurry and get things done and supper on the table before everyone gets home.  Things are slowing down on their own.  Now we need to.

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We have spent a lot of time rushing places.  Always ridiculously early.  I still do not like it when people are really late but I am learning to relax a little and let things fall into place without stress.  We are still on time, we just aren’t an hour early to everything.  We’d be two hours early to farmers markets.  I would get so frustrated with Nancy for not being there early.  For coming in right before we opened.  But we were always set up and ready for the crowd.  It was when she died suddenly that I realized what a waste of energy and time I had spent wishing she would be on time.  Our relationship during the markets wouldn’t have been strained and I would have more delightful memories (and an hour longer of sleep) if I had just settled down.

We are spending more time visiting with people when we drop off medicine. Here Maryjane got to meet a horse that did tricks!
We are spending more time visiting with people when we drop off medicine. Here Maryjane got to meet a horse that did tricks!

We had one market that we did for years that if you didn’t get there two plus hours early then you got squeezed out of your spot.  Doug was always frantic to get there and even though he tried not to be frustrated with me while I was picking last minute produce to take, it was still stressful.  We dropped that market and won’t return this year, opting instead for markets where we know we will have a spot.  It is time to stop rushing here and there.

I need to keep in mind that I don't have to be on vacation to relax!
I need to keep in mind that I don’t have to be on vacation to relax!

Here in the house on this beautifully foggy morning I let Doug sleep and take in the silence of a cold winter morning where I have nowhere to be.  I realize that our bodies cannot possibly withstand constant work and play with no rest.  I must learn to take a magazine over to the couch with a cup of tea and not get up for its duration.  I must learn to take leisurely walks and breathe.  I must learn to breathe.  Especially now that we have fewer places to be.  Come summer, when the chaos begins, hopefully I will have learned to breathe, move methodically, smile, accept, get there when I get there, and notice life around me.  Increase my senses and take in this beautiful world we live in instead of rushing through it.

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What are your favorite ways to rest?

Lessons From a Homestead

 

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1. Thou shall not procrastinate.

It was such a lovely day Tuesday that at the end of the day, with the clothes lines weighed down with garments still barely damp, I thought, ‘Oh I’ll just get them in the morning.’  And then we woke to this.  Whoops.  The clothes on the line were rows of wintery mass, crystals of ice surrounding each thread.

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Just like with bringing in clothes before a new cold front hits, we must also make sure to harvest when crops are ready, preserve when bounty comes in, get wood and hay stockpiled before winter, get seeds ordered so they have time to arrive before its time to start them indoors.  Procrastinating on a farmstead (or in life, I suppose) is never really a great thing.

2. Better late than never.

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Ahh, but the sun shone brightly this morning and I do believe the clothes will dry and be fresher than ever.

We were at a funeral all day yesterday and I mentioned to someone I was chatting with that we wished we had started farming twenty years ago.  How much we would know and have accomplished by now!  But then I thought, you know?  I am here now.  We took the plunge.  We combined our strengths and courage and changed our lifestyle to one of vast simplicity and peace out here on this homestead.  It has its fair share of worries, as anywhere does, but it is just where we are supposed to be and we hope to have another 40+ years of farming.

It is never to late to prepare for a dream to come true, to learn new skills, to make amends, to make new friends, to change one’s life, or just to relax more.

3. Live seasonally.

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When we lived in the suburbs our life revolved around school and work.  It was either cold outside or not.  We ate whatever was on sale at the grocery store.  Our life was the same year round.  Now, our senses have been heightened, intensified, we live much more deeply,  more fully living seasonally.

It is the coldest winter we can remember but the summer heat will feel all the more sweet.  Since we work outdoors most of the year, we experience all elements.  Heat, cold, rain, snow, hail, sweet perfect warmth.  This summer, according to the Almanac, will be hot and rainy.  It will warm our bones and make us feel wonderful and then maybe we will be ready for the coolness of Autumn by the end.  Then the respite and warm fires that come in winter.  We go through hard work then long breaks.  We long for markets to start.  We can’t wait for them to cease.

We eat what is available.  The first strawberry is ever so sweet.  The ones later in the season trucked in are dreadful.  We enjoy food so much more in their proper season.  We feel the warm soil, kick the soft snow, dream of spring, and can sense weather changes in the air.  We are keenly aware of every scent, sight, taste, sound, and feeling on our skin.  This is a powerful way to live.

4. Be home more.

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My favorite days are those I can spend on my homestead away from the world.  I love being able to get things done around here, then curl up with a book, to know what is going on here, and to keep the house warm.  Last night when we came home rather late, something shot around the greenhouse away from the chicken coop as Doug was closing up the ladies.  Fifteen minutes later and we could have had trouble.  The house was 45 degrees from our neglecting the fire all day.

Your home is your respite.  Decorate it and fill it with things you love and be there more.

5. Take chances.

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We lost so many animals last year that for the first time I was a little shy about getting more.  Our middle child, Shyanne, works at a hardware store and the shop cat had kittens.  Shyanne wanted to assure they went to good homes, so she took one, my son took one, and we were designated two.  Nine cats again.  Oy.  What if they get sick?  What if they get the others sick?  What if they die early?  What if…..we took them home.  They are healthy little things, full of fun and mischief and keep Doug and I laughing.  Between the kittens and Maryjane’s antics when we babysit her, we can’t stop laughing.  Great medicine.  Worth the chance.

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6. Embrace life.  Life the life YOU want.

I often find myself plagued with worries and regrets.  Bad memories or the coulda shoulda wouldas.  This year every time one pops up I will quickly shut the door on it.  No use worrying about past things.  In fact, there is no use worrying about future things!  Life right now.  Right this second.  This life we are living right now is what we need to embrace fully.  Do the job you want to do.  Live where you want to.  Live the lifestyle you want.  Everything else will fall into place.  Walk softly on the Earth and in accordance with nature.  Take walks.  Notice everything around you.  Notice all your senses.  ‘Tis a gift to be alive!