Opening the gates

One of my favourite childhood memories is of grabbing my horse and heading off through the fields for the day. It wasn’t until I started learning about meditation and the importance of connecting to Source (or God, or Nature) that I realized that this is what I was doing as a kid. Riding has always been a very spiritual activity for me and I have been blessed to have been able to ride for miles and miles in quiet freedom with the companionship of a beloved pony.

I haven’t come across a lot of really difficult gates in my adulthood – either they’ve made them easier to open or I’m not heading into difficult fields, I’m certainly not venturing as far on horseback as I used to. But, when I was a kid there were some incredibly difficult gates. I’m sure part of it was my age and size, but a larger part of it was those gates were made from insanely tight barbed wire – they were made to stay closed. Once in a while I’d be lucky enough to come across one that had a stick wrapped around the wire for extra pull – or I’d get really lucky and it would have that metal snap that went over the top. But, often I’d be stuck at some gate that was just barbed wire wrapped around a pole.

They were so hard to open. I’d stand there with my patient pony beside me pulling and struggling at the gate. Harder yet was when it would open and we would go through, because closing those tight gates was so much harder than opening them ever was.

For some reason it never occurred to me to just not go through the gates. I was busy exploring the ranch and if there were places I needed to go, then I needed to get to them.

Today when I was driving into town I saw a man come out from one of the fields where they are shooting a movie. He was standing at the gate trying in vain to close it. He didn’t have the technique down at all – the posts and wire were only half way up as he was trying to snap the gate closed – and I knew he was going to be there for a while. As I drove past he turned and looked at me with a face of frustration and impatience. I actually thought of stopping to help him, but there were a few other men standing around and I figured surely one of them would help him out. I was late for kid pickup, and things have changed just enough that I’m not comfortable stopping on back roads to help strangers the way I once was.

It made me think though, as I continued to drive to town, how much time I used to spend struggling with those gates. I would have been out all by myself, and have opened the gate so there was no option but to close it. I had been well-trained in the rule that if you come across a closed gate you alway, always, close it after you go through.

I am grateful for that part of me that felt like quitting was never an option. When I come into struggles in life now I think back to how I was as a child and I used to just keep moving ahead. Even if it seemed impossible, if I had a goal in mind I just kept working at it until I reached it. I think about it now as I’m on the quest to be the best me  which has involved stripping myself down and looking at the deepest and darkest parts of my soul. Walking away from that is also not an option. I can’t turn away from that anymore than I could have turned away and left one of those gates open. There’s certain tasks that need to be completed.

Sunrises seem to be my happiness scene these days. I started the day off looking at this:

The sun rising over the barn where I spent so many hours of my childhood. There are bits of all of my family’s souls in this building my grandfather built. It brings me constant happiness to be able to look out my kitchen window and see the barn. My happiness moment today was watching the barn be awoken by the sun this morning.


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