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Digging Deep

I hadn’t really planned on double posting, but as I was out hacking at the 50 foot weeds in my vegetable garden tonight I was reflecting on what I’d said in my earlier post, and thinking about what I had meant to write about. 

I find usually my blogs take on a life of their own and no matter what I have planned, my fingers and heart just do what they want. 

What I had been reflecting on during my ride this afternoon though is worth making note of. I was thinking of my strength and how I recently came from a place of such weakness. When I fell apart my sprit and body were both broken. Smashed and crushed may also be accurate terms. I had to fix everything. 

I feel like I’ve spent the past few years working on my spirit and I know that it’s getting stronger and finding its voice and gaining confidence. Sometimes though I feel like my body has been so much slower to follow suit.  In order for me to be who I want to be I need both a strong body and a strong spirit. In my youth I was an athlete and strong. I had a brief period in my mid 30s where I was strong again, but I have felt like in this rebuilding process that my body seems to be taking longer than I want it to to gain strength. 

Lately though, I’m finding that in fact I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. Often over the past few years things have happened where I’ve needed either external or internal strength and I’ve looked around for someone to lean on, someone to help with the burden. More often than not the only adult in the situation has been me and I’ve had to figure out how to dig deep and get through. 

  
I realized today how I’m getting more able to dig deep in the physical as well as the spiritual. When we were tacking up the horses I was the only adult around. So it fell to me to saddle and check cinches and bridles. Having grown up riding English, this usually is a pretty easy task. But here at the ranch we ride western, and those saddles are heavy!! I’m lucky because my saddle is light and comfy, but some of those other ones….. Oh my. 

I let Jenna use my saddle today and I  borrowed my nephew’s. I have actually decided that my new threat of punishment will be to carry his saddle around for a while. It is heavy!! Like throw up in my mouth a little and cry inside while trying to aim it in the general direction of my horse while not breaking his poor back heavy. 

But I did it. I put the saddle on the horse not just once but twice today. I was strong enough. I can dig deep. I’m stronger than I know. It’s kind of cool to finally be able to accept and celebrate the growing of strength. 

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That Dharma Thing

I firmly believe we all have those things that we shine at. Things that we must do, that bring us joy, that make our soul sing because we know that we are doing what it is that we were put here to do. 

Some people know what that thing is from an early age and have the faith, the support, and the courage to do it no matter what obstacles are thrown in their path. Others of us are plagued with self doubt and fear and it takes us a bit longer to get on that path. 

If I could have a life redo I would go back in time to those moments where I wanted to follow a dream and I listened to the negative voices either from others or from inside my head who told me that I shouldn’t. The voices that said I wasn’t good enough, not deserving, or that the dream I had wasn’t ever going to be a reality. 

The first thing I would do is not listen to the voices that made me give up riding. Should it have mattered that I was being told that I would never make a living at it (I could have), that it would never give me a secure future (nothing about my future so far has been secure anyway even though I gave up and tried to take the safe path), that I needed to find a real job and grow up? Had I had the kind of self esteem I now wish for myself  and for my kids I would have never heard the external doubts and I would not have had the internal ones. 

Somehow I took all those messages and decided that my value as a human was based on what career path I would take and the amount of money we could produce. So I took a career that I didn’t really want and when I gave it up to be a full time mom (which I love) I became devalued again because I wasn’t doing something that was producing money. Forget all of the things that I actually do as a mom, there is no value to that. So then I struggled with the strong feeling that I was doing what I was meant to do, but also held the false belief that it had no value. 

Today we went out for a long ride through the fields. It just brings peace to my soul. I have a confidence when riding that I am just now learning to bring to the rest of my life. On a horse you need to be confident enough to have faith in what you are doing, and stay humble enough to know that you are a part of a team – and that the other half of your team is much bigger and stronger than you – you must work together through whatever comes up. A good way to walk through life. With humble confidence. With the knowledge that I am following my dharma. That I am good enough just because I am me and that I know I’m doing the right thing because I feel it in the depths of my soul. 

That is happiness. 

Here is a photobomb of happiness. Johnny the horse having a moment of FOMO (fear of missing out) and peeking through the fence as I took a picture of my niece. She rode today with Jenna and me, and it was so heart warming to see those girls giggling and enjoying their horses in the same fields I used to spend hours in as a child. Pretty sweet for me to enjoy this time on Princess the boy horse. 

  

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Love thyself as thy neighbour

Sunday morning I was meeting for coffee (or tea in my case) with a wonderful friend of mine. We try and meet up every Sunday morning before church and visit, check in with each other and also discuss our spiritual goals. We each pick something we want to work on for the week and then discuss how it went the following week. Although on the surface the two of us are completely different (she’s a math teacher and loves to run. When I finished high school the best moment was realizing I would never have to take math again and I’m much happier as a walker than a runner), we actually have a lot in common on our spiritual journeys.

About a year ago I was reading an article that was talking about the quote “love thy neighbour as thyself” and how today it needs to be reversed. My friend brought up the same idea last Sunday and it got me thinking about it again.

I think that although we should always be showing and sharing love towards others, that applying the phrase “love thyself as thy neighbour” is one that would have great impact on many of us if we implemented it in our lives.

Now that I’m paying more attention again to my self talk I realize that I say things to myself that I would never ever say to someone else. Sure, someone may have called me fat (that’s my trigger one), and it may even have been someone whom I considered a friend, a trusted person, but the “fat” that I called myself thousands of times after that were much, much worse than some other person’s opinion of me. Because really, what they think or feel about me does not matter nearly as much as what I tell myself about myself. I’m the one who has to live with me, grow old with me, share every moment with me. Why on earth would I be saying mean things to myself? I’m the one person who should have my own back, always be in my corner.

And yet, for some reason, I’ve allowed myself to say some really hurtful things to myself. Not even intending to. Just that idle background chatter that goes on quietly underneath everything. Like a song on repeat playing quietly in the background.

But, what if the myself I was talking to was one of my kids? Would that song on repeat say “you’re never going to lose that 10 lbs you talk about, gawwwwd you should at least do your hair, those jeans make your butt look fat, eat a cupcake – it won’t make a difference anyway”? No the song on repeat if I was inside their heads would be “you’re a perfect child of God, He made you perfectly, you’re such a good friend, look at your beautiful smile, I love being around you, you bring joy into the world, you’re so smart (and maybe – I came as close to perfection as exists when I made you, I can’t believe I made you with my body).

But, if I love myself as my neighbour I would be saying those things to me all the time. I can guarantee I would be a much happier, healthier person if that was the soundtrack playing in the background of my life.  Not only would I be in a better place inside myself, but I would be sharing that joy and love with the rest of the world making it a better place to. Which I think should be a goal of all of us – to bring joy and happiness to the world.

So, that is my intention. Pay attention to that inner soundtrack, put on some happier tunes, and love myself as my neighbour.

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