Jun 12

Old Gold

Pardner came to live with us about 6 months ago.  He's 26 years old and blind in one eye.   He's not registered, pedigreed and, as far as I know, has never won great accolades in horse shows or competition.  He's got a few health issues and needs a little extra TLC.

Pardner is a very fortunate horse in that he was raised and trained with Parelli Natural Horsemanship principles.  Most importantly, this means his outlook on humanity is that they are partners, not predators to him.  He has lived a life expecting mostly good things from his humans.  He has never developed vices because he never had anything to escape from.

As Pardner and I have developed our own relationship, he has begun to greet me at the gate each morning, usually waiting to be let out to graze as I work with one of our younger horses, or do chores around the ranch.  More and more frequently, I'll jump on his back and go for an impromptu ride.  He's helped me to find the confidence in my body's; balance, flexibility, timing as we(I) get increasingly brave about riding bareback again, chasing cows, cantering and riding without reins.

He's also teaching me many things.  Especially about aging.

He's the oldest horse on the place and the most physically limited, but he's worth his weight in gold.

The sum of the good experiences in life have left him with a positive outlook.

The fire of impetuosity has given way to a quiet power.  No wasted energy on fidgeting or fighting against what is, but he's still got what he needs, when he needs it.

He's got a large enough perspective to be gracious to the young and inexperienced, but has maintained the sensitivity to respond to subtle cues from the right people.

He's doesn't need to be the boss of the herd, but DOES have a limit to what he will put up with from the youngsters.  He's got the boundary thing down.

His innate goodness has landed him in a good place.  He's got a home for his remaining years where he is loved and accepted as he is.

He's passing on his experience to my boys as they learn to ride and to me as I use him to hone the skills I need for my younger horses.  His ability to teach is probably greater now than ever in his life.

I've decided I want to be like Pardner when I get old.

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May 12

Praying to the Cultured Marble God

The Dark of the Moon coincides with the peak of  my PMS.  As the month's actions and intentions are designed to come to fruition, I frequently am at my most vulnerable, self-critical and drained.  It's as if I use up the entire month's life energy in the first 25 days and am running on empty by the cycle's end.

This month, I recognized that pattern, opening a space for me to step outside myself, observe and ponder.  While still emotionally charged, I wasn't overwhelmed by the usual feelings of inadequacy and irritability. By stepping outside I felt more as if I was merely participating in the periodic shedding of the earth's and mankind's accumulated dukkha/sadness to make way for renewal and rebirth.

I wonder how much more ease I would have in my life if I accepted and planned for this stage of emptiness each month, rather than trying to power through and plow on?  Surely I, (and those around me) would be better off than when I deny the need only to have it come upon us like a rogue wave.  What would it look like to schedule self-care and appropriate mental "quiet time" in acknowledgement of the natural rhythms?

One way I DO indulge myself is with aromatic bubble baths, to soothe mind, body and soul.  Carefully choosing the right essential oils, lighting the tea lights around my deep tub and sinking in to the gentle pulsing of the jacuzzi jets, my mind drifts, body relaxes and my soul finds a resting place.

After getting out of the bath, the sight of the flickering candles around the perimeter of the tub recalled the offering bench at the Catholic church of my childhood.  Like an altar, it called me to kneel in a prayer of gratitude; for the beauty and peace of my big cultured marble tub in the house we so recently finished after 7 years of working and saving on our ranch.  For the husband who understands the breadth of my spirit and emotions and who encourages me to accept, nurture and express myself.  For my children and the gift of the challenges they bring that help me to grow and discover myself along the way.  For ranch life and how it keeps me connected to the natural world and the circle of life.

To be honest, it's been a tough week on a lot of levels, and I'm not sad to see it end.  It is nice, however, to be able to see it as just the turning of the wheel.  And so, I roll on to the beginning  of the next cycle of my life.


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May 12

Spirit Drives the Bus

When spirit fuels the mind, the mind can be trusted

When spirit rules the mind, the body's wisdom will be heard

When spirit guides the mind, the mind will have insight

When spirit drives the bus, the journey reaches dreams.


Which came first: the need for spiritual connection or the need for a clear mind? I see a swirling yin/yang symbol of how these two elements interact.  My mind is powerful, but being powerful, is also a cause for derailment, distraction and destructive patterns.  My spiritual essence ebbs and flows, much as our moon does.  Sometimes pulling so strong as to direct oceans of movement in my life.  Sometimes lying quiescent, allowing the mind to create the waves and eddies in my life.

A life work to create balance manifests now, as opportunities open and the web of connections in my life seems to be expanding exponentially.  If my life's calling is to BE, then spirit must be the underlying force that guides my more mortal aspects.  When I am being guided by my spirit, my mind sees and manages body, emotions and circumstances with wisdom, compassion and clarity.


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Apr 12

The Wheel Turns

New Moon follows the Dark
A thousand twinkles
One Source, many reflectors
Light is not extinguished,
Merely changing form
and place
and time

Dark nights precede dawn
Ride the swells
Rise and fall
Follow the tide
Little deaths
Shed skin
Grow a summer coat

Reborn again amidst my dying
The Wheel turns

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Apr 12

Spending the Now

The moon has reached its fullest glory and wanes its way to the end of this first moon-cycle. It is a time not for retreat, but implementation. What is it I need most to bring forth into my life right now?

I find myself facing my own tendency to get derailed. I am very creative at distraction and sabotage. Perhaps by not sticking to something nor seeing it through, I am avoiding some fears:

  • Imperfection. In conception all is perfect; implementation is flawed. I must learn to see the outcome as being perfect in its own way. It is right for right now.
  • Boredom. I’m a ‘new’ junkie. I eagerly plunge into new projects, new ideas, while neglecting the existing children of my mind. I shall remember that old 4-H song: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold”. If I don’t value the things I already have brought into my life, I devalue my self.
  • Unworthiness. There is a part of me that, deep down, feels guilty and undeserving of luck, success and happiness. Therefore, when I sabotage myself, I am only creating what I deserve (even if the Universe isn’t smart enough to know it yet). When I commit to care for myself and my self, I affirm through all parts of my being that I AM worthy.
  • Responsibility. Some days, I channel Peter Pan. Living in Neverland without deadlines and responsibilities and unaffected by other people’s schedules. One of the ways I don’t care for myself is in allowing enough space for Pan to visit, not allowing enough down-time for free-play (mental or physical). Then that time sneaks in sideways through dawdling, distractions and unwise choices in using my time. I will acknowledge and embrace my need to be unscheduled part of every day.

Just for today, I will be aware that each moment is worth its weight in gold. I choose to spend each now in a way that is nurturing. I will use what the Universe serves up to support my vision of how I wish to exist in Creation.

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Apr 12

If you would have wisdom

If you would have wisdom, you must first give up judgment

In my morning meditation/visualization I started beneath a tree, covered in tiny new spring-green leaves and began a slow walk down a path of 13 large flagstone steps. At each stone, a ghost-whisper of one of the 13 Clan Mothers joined me. At the fourth step, Looks Far Woman came and took my hand, walking with me the rest of the way. The steps led through lush grass, sloping gently down to water’s edge and curving to end at a hidden cut in the bank. There, in a horseshoe shaped alcove, lined above by rocks, sat a well-worn stone bench. There I sat with Looks Far Woman.
I asked her to be my guide this month; to call me back when I lost my sight or to hold my hand and keep me on the path of my desire to stay connected with the All and to let go of critical thoughts and judgments.
“It is not for me to call you back or to hold you, but I will be here when you remember where you need to be”

I asked for help in seeing my connection to all things and in feeling that connection, especially in times of stress. I had a vision of a vast web, stretching across the horizon of earth and into space. My perspective was from edge of the web, but I knew that I was also part of its center.
“You cannot yet see your connectedness unless you are still. As you learn to be and feel your own center, your awareness of your place in the web will travel with you. But for now, be still”

I asked for particular help with my tendency to be critical and to blame others when things were not perfect, or when I am feeling less than perfect myself. I asked for wisdom to see that all things have their place and things are as they should be.
“If you would have wisdom, you must first give up judgment”

And so begins the journey of my Circle of Self.

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Apr 12

Tend My Own Garden

Tend My Own Garden

A poem written at the beginning of my Circle of Self year

This is the year to tend my own garden
In the midst of moving, preparing, starting and becoming,
I am incubating;
A cocoon--quiet, yet busy in its own way
Gestating its own life
Assembling its own power

I am a seed
Insulated by warm, moist earth
Swelling with the healing rains
Which have finally come to quench my thirst
Embryonic leaves, perfect and fragile
Waiting to push upward to greet the spring sunshine
My first roots venturing downward
To anchor and take in the nourishment Mother Earth provides

This is the year to tend my own garden
To pay attention to my body
To nurture my mind
To feed my spirit
Not indulgence, but necessity
My vessel expands, changes shape.
The pottery needs time to cure

I will love my self so I can have discipline to continue the journey
I will understand I am best for others when I am centered and balanced
The soft, dark spots within can only be healed and cleansed
By bringing the Light of Love and Acceptance
From myself to my self

This is the year to tend my own garden
Who knows what fruits may come.

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