Saturday, 17 August 2013

zen and the art of gathering horse poo

Never before has handling animal poo occurred with such regularity in my life.  

Our two "normal sized" horses, and one miniature, currently amble on a small couple of acres, which is relatively wee for big pooing animals.  And these animals are picky enough that they would rather go hungry than eat where they have let dump. 

There was a time in my life when the thought of manipulating animal excrement was cringe-worthy.  

Now, I find it om-worthy.

Dread of the task does factor in, at times, but consistently, after I am amidst the horses, watching their dynamics and shenanigans and feeling renewed energy with the physical activity-- I find myself adoring horse-poo-gathering-time.

I imagine that the horses are looking at me thinking, wow, that human really loves me to keep this paddock clean, and our bond is strengthened.  Coming up and asking for a snuggle is their way of saying thank you.

Frequently, polo comes to my mind as I swing the poo rake.

Zen gardening enters in, as well, and for a millisecond I might imagine looking down on long flowing orange gown, raking my stone garden, while exuding rays of joy and inner peace.

"Easter eggs" frequently involuntarily pops in my mind.  Ringo's (the miniature) mini-poo is found nestled in tufts of grass as if the Easter Bunny has dropped a load of chocolate eggs for someone to find.

The imagination flows freely.

What I do not do is review any negativity in my life. This job of servitude to other living beings,  I choose to do in inner-peace. 

Moving, shovelling, poo-gathering mindfulness: that's what it is.

As well as a convenient reminder that we have a choice of what to put--or not put--in our brains.  

Friday, 2 August 2013

dams, bridges, and new zealand's wily spells

Two years in New Zealand and life sings sweetly. It's not a crushing, predictable song with a heart-shaking beat, but an ambling, constantly changing indie tune that echoes the beauty and creativity we are surrounded by. 

(at times, something like this, which is by a local young artist who is obviously not waiting to make her dreams happen) 

This year has been flat out with visitors from the states-- most of them family. Time with adult children, full of beauty and uninterrupted time together that we wouldn't have if we lived in each others' laps.  

Magical planning and scheduling this past year is another reminder of how following the messages of your heart may actually be a part of "The Plan." February brought an uncharacteristically adventurous trip to Thailand where I met my adult daughter. Contemplating taking the risk, part of me wondered if we would ever have the chance again, and we took it.  

A week or so ago, that same daughter announced she will  make me a grandma by the end of the year.  I'm sure glad we followed our hearts and took that trip because it was THE time for that adventure of our lives and, to be sure, our hearts grew on that trip and our relationship expanded in a way not possible without that experience.

Today my ponder was: PhD program or no.  This has come up before and I felt that I needed to work through it once and for all. Now, a counselling instructor (something that, again, flew into my life), it was a more pertinent calling.  The answer is No. No. Never. Never. Uh-uh-uh.  (I know my childhood friends would be able to read that in the "cheer" format it was meant to be read, while waving index finger.)  And becoming a Nana has nothing to do with that decision.  oh no. 

Life in New Zealand has had flow, in part, because we have not been building barricades.  Where others have seen barriers, we've built bridges.  And one bridge was to an amazing land where people live and think outside the traditional box and show us every day that you do not have to have scads of money to travel the world, or live a creative life practicing your art or passion.  

Coming from a land where overseas travelling is frequently observed with trepidation we landed where the OE (overseas experience-- yes, it's so common here we all just say "oooh eeee" and know what we mean) is a right of passage.  Of course one saves their nickels and dimes so that when you are finished with, or take a gap from schooling, you are able to travel, and work odd jobs overseas, while experiencing the greater world.  

Of course you do. (she types while previously she would have been rolling her eyes) Americans, imagine living a life where that is the expectation, and not an unattainable dream. Where we expect our children to see the world, and it is not scary, too expensive, and unacceptable. Not so much money on hand, what you do have to have, is the ability to give yourself permission to make these plans, as if it's your right to see this world you were born into, and some guts and persistence in planning are very useful.  (read: save the nickels and dimes-- it will mean something if you let it grow)

For me, right now, embarking on a three year educational programme would create a dam in the flow of our lives.  If I was 32 or maybe even 42, I might be thinking differently, but at 52, and after a childhood and life that was sometimes less than flowing and easy, I think the Universe wants me to take the path of least resistance and stay afloat on this stream that keeps giving the message that is deliberate in its flow.  Giving myself permission to do that isn't always easy, but I'll keep trying.

Below are a few shots that capture our "winterless north."  Catch the surprise ending, which is actually part of a new beginning.
Taken last week at Sandy Bay- renowned surfing beach where our kids took winter surfing lessons.

Sandy Bay last week

The following shots are taken from land we will be living on for the next few years. How did this happen? Absolutely. Serendipitously. (i know it's my buzzword

Living on 300 acres, our horses feeling like wild horses as they romp in huge pastures, waking up to see the sun rise over the Pacific, overlooking the third most beautiful coast in the world with our own beaches and fishing and riding: it's our own O.E. (overseas experience). Without the O (overseas).  Our child will not even have to change schools, just views.