An Unexpected Decision:
It has felt like I’ve been seeing things from the wrong end of the telescope for quite some time now. I’ve begun not to recognize myself. Normally, no matter how sad or stressed or grief-stricken I am, there is always this well-spring of joy deep inside me that bubbles up and eventually washes away the sorrow.
This time is different somehow…
The duties, expectations and pressure of getting this little ranch up and running all by myself have been somewhat inexorable. I’ve enjoyed much of it and I have wonderful, talented and integrous people working for me. The land is truly God’s country. The horses are happy.
Yet, for the past three months, I’ve awoken each morning without my usual excitement to greet the day. Instead, I’ve been waking up with an anxiety that recently has turned into what I imagine panic attacks to be. Usually, going out to the barn to do the morning feed, even in subzero weather, has helped to calm down the panic attack symptoms. But not by much.
Then, since the diagnosis of my beloved cat, Hercules’ lymphoma and the aggressively growing mass in his abdomen a couple of months ago, I’ve had the constant pressure of unshed tears behind my eyes 24/7. Oh, I’ve shed many MANY tears in private, but in order to do the work at the ranch, with folks around, there were many hours I couldn’t let them fall. Any potentially joyful moments, instead of transcending the worries I was having, have fallen with a thud on my spirit.
I’ve needed to continually give myself pep talks that I’m doing right by my horses and that they’re okay if, for instance, the farrier flakes out on me, the temperature drops to zero in the middle of the night and I hadn’t blanketed them, if I don’t clean their hooves regularly, if, if, if….
Eventually, I found I’d stopped wanting to do anything and had just been “powering through” the hours in the day.
Then came help, in the form of a couple of dear friends, who were very vocal about my state of mind, “Christine, who the heck are you”?, “We don’t recognize this Christine”. “You’re vibrating at too low a level for you”. “What are you trying to prove”?
And the most eye-opening of all, “Did it occur to you that you weren’t meant to run this ranch all by yourself? Maybe what God has planned was that you get the land, the place and the home ready. Ready for the people and animals that are to come. Now it’s all just about done. Others can finish it up. Why don’t you take a breather”?
I thought long and hard about all this input. And here’s what I realized.
The pressures and grief about my cat and other personal losses had put me into a “dark night of the soul” which was actually a profound blessing. It was while wandering in this dark landscape of spirit that I realized I was tapping into areas of my being that were not yet healed. Areas I hadn’t been able to access until now.
This healing is not a cathartic “one and done” type of process. Instead it feels somewhat like the aftermath of food poisoning when the poison is out but one’s whole body is aching, cramping and sore. My soul is aching, cramping and sore right now. It will take as long as it takes…
So in order to take this “breather” (since, indeed, I’ve prepared this place and it’s ready!) I’m going to take the three darling horses and we’re going to rest in Florida until Spring. I found a beautiful farm where I can board them and where they can be turned out in a spacious pasture just as they are here. Their stalls are together and they can come and go into their stalls at night, as they please, just as they do here.
The grounds are beautiful. The people are kind. I will be visiting my sweetheart horses all the time but, for these months, they will be full-boarded. In the meantime, I will get myself back to myself but, hopefully, stronger and more healed. I will ponder the miracles that, even as I write, are pouring down upon me…as though God and the angels are trying to wake me back up to live in the joy that is normally mine!
And I will incorporate the lessons taught to me by Hercules, the cat and by my three horses.
As Hercules’ illness progressed, I observed him being slightly confused by his ever-changing condition BUT always finding a way to roll with it. He adapted over and over again. He showed me that one can adapt to just about anything. It just feels different.
Baby Doe, my paint mare, has taught me to express myself honestly or just not bother expressing myself at all! 🙂 When I come to her with, either a hidden agenda for what I want to accomplish with her or with trying to hide what I’m feeling, she bites the air and throws her head and wants NONE OF IT. But if I just talk to her with my voice and heart being in complete authenticity, she’s right there with me.
Spirit, my gelding, has taught me to find the fun in everything and anything, even if it’s just finding a huge stick in the pasture and carrying it up to me in his mouth. He has also taught me that it’s okay to be very strict with him, albeit with tons of kindness and love, but to not cave in to him when he challenges me.
Serenity, my other mare, likes to take a nap in her stall after evening feed. When I come down to the barn to let them out, there she is, lying down, sleeping with her eyes open in a trance, her breath soft and slow. I sit next to her, pet her and breath with her. She has taught me by communicating these words, in thought, “Just rest, child. Rest, next to me. See how lovely it is”?
I will miss Wyoming SO much in these next couple of months but it will be there strong and awe-inspiring, waiting for us to return. We will return!