Autumn Challenge; Creating the Life You Want

Life is really beautiful, isn’t it?

Ever since I was a small child, I always had the innate sense that time here on this earth is limited. That each day is anew with experiences and exhilarating breath. I feel like I blink and my husband is kissing me goodnight again. These days go fast. Better be living in a way that brings about joy! How do we balance living in the present, moving towards a future that we dream of, and learning from the past?

Let’s start with the past. Okay, great- now let that go. Seriously, the past is filled with learning lessons and decisions that got you where you are now, of bittersweet memories of when the children were little and of people past, and traumatic experiences. Tip your hat at it, close the door on it when things pop up, and then look around you in the here and now. Breathe. Look up. There is simply no time to waste on it.

Present. No time like the present. Several times today, just look up. Look around. Smile. No matter what is going on. Gratitude can get you through anything. It can fortify the best days. Notice the details. There is a breeze kicking up. The mountains look bright against the deep blue sky and the horse across the street is running circles around his house- all muscle and brilliance- to wake his dad, who has apparently forgotten breakfast. I am writing- my favorite occupation and pastime- and, I am afraid, I made my coffee too weak. The kittens are running around the house. All these moments make up a life here. Seemingly minute details of everyday life, each decision we make, moves us towards a life well lived, and affects the future of the next generations. How do you want to live?

In my lowest moments I have often wondered what is the point? If we are just going to be struck down dead at any given time, what is the point of pursuing a new career, or completing a dream, or dreaming at all? We are painting a picture of the new world to come, of life for future generations, for- depending on your beliefs- our own future when we come back to try again.

Each one of us are given a set of lessons to learn here. Every circumstance and coincidence in your life is a means of learning and mastering the lesson. Every passion, every talent, every dream is there on purpose to move you towards and through the lesson and gives you an opportunity to paint a brighter world and future. We are always one step into the future. Already, everything I just wrote is in the past. Let us live moving forward.

I tend to get stuck in the status quo, what always has been done, how things have always been, and figure they are the way to be. But we change, things change, our dreams change, we must morph with it. Even if it doesn’t make sense, or if it doesn’t seem possible, if you have it in your heart, and it feels right to you, then it is good. If you lead with kindness, and lead with love, you cannot go wrong.

My last post prompted me to reanalyze how I am living my life. I do that often, particularly this time of year, as Autumn always seems a good time for contemplating. Ask yourselves the same questions and see where they take you:

  1. How do you feel physically? How do you feel mentally/emotionally? How do you feel spiritually?
  2. Does your work bring you joy? How does it serve others? How does it serve you? (It has to go both ways.)
  3. What are your dreams right now? What are your goals? If you could do anything and not fail, and had ample money to do it, what would you do for work? What would you do for play? What experiences do you want?
  4. What is heavy on your heart?
  5. What are you passionate about?

I tend to look at the past to govern my future, but the things that made me happy before do not do so now. The ways I have lived in the past do not serve me now. So, even if it is difficult, not socially acceptable, or risky, answering these questions helped me paint in my mind what I do want my life to look like. When you paint that in your mind, the universe goes straight to work painting it with you. (So, watch your thoughts and words!)

Using bullet words helps it all come together. Animals. Farming. Herbs. Writing. Health. Homesteading. Family. Vitality. Life. Kindness. In my life now, I don’t feel the need to be a professional herbalist in the ways that I have been. I don’t feel the need to do a lot of things I used to do. My job and life desires have changed, as I have.

Create a new mantra. I do this every year and it really helps me make decisions and move myself to where I want to be. “Never make a decision based on fear” was one year’s. I think my new one will be, “Lead with love and promote life.”

My daughter and I are now working as Doulas. (http://SacredHeartbeatDoulas.com) A new way to use my herbs and my expertise but very different from what I have been doing. I have a great desire to farm, and I can visualize my herb gardens, my vegetables gardens, the orchard, the wild land left untouched so the wild life have a place to be and the wild herbs can flourish, and the animals. But the animals are not going to be for meat and milk. We will rescue some furry farm kids and allow them a life of fun and ease and love. That feels tremendously right to us. I will eat plant based, because I am spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthier when I do. I will continue to write to inspire. My family is the most important aspect of my life. Everything else will be filed under, the past. All of that matches my new year’s mantra;

“Lead with love and promote life.”

What will your mantra be?

New Year’s Project Day 1

Five days until the new year begins.  Just another day, but still in my heart the dawn will shine bright and this year will be but a whisper in time.

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We will be starting a new tradition this year.  At Pat and Rodney’s house, after Pat and I make a delicious celebratory dinner and before we sing karaoke until the new year, we will write on slips of paper.  Write.  Each bad happening.  Each disappointment.  Each bad habit we want to change.  One by one they will slip into the roaring fire of New Year’s Eve and dissipate.  Then we will write each thing we want to manifest.  Send it the universe in a prayer of smoke.  A symbolic resolution.

I will be glad to see 2016’s hopeful face.

And for the next few days leading up to the New Year I will lead you through an exercise.  Not necessarily writing down that you promise to go to the gym six days a week and drink green smoothies for the entire year but really big things.  We are all going to manifest what we want.  Document.  Detail.  Release what we need to release.  Heal broken hearts.  And start whirling into motion exactly what we want.

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Doug and I bought a calendar last night.  Of baby goats.  Let the manifesting begin.  Start thinking about what you are ready to release and manifest.  It’s going to be a good year.

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!