Sunday, April 27, 2014

RDR Style.....When a Door Shuts...


A Window Opens.  I think I just have to be ready for finding the window.  I'm not sure "finding the window" is actual pursuing but I do believe "being open to" is action as well.  

I love this quote by Buddha ~

In the end, only three things matter:  how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

I ponder this.....how am I to know what IS meant for me and what is NOT meant for me?  My grand plans of hitting the road came to a screeching halt as Bella limped the sheep to me on a short fetch, my friend watching to asses movement.  Pretty silly because he did not need to asses....it was as plain as the pockets on my jeans....Bella had not healed and I needed to pry my bony fingers, that had their tight grasp on MY plans, off what might not have been meant for me.  I'd been looking forward to getting away for so long; not just a weekend, but three Divine Weeks of "away".  

This was not about Bella's injury, nor my part in that.  It was and is about me and how easy it is to say Buddha like words when life goes as I planned and desired....yet how, with each degree of separation from the map I've laid out, my grip tightens and I fight.  Too honest for some, allows for judgement from others, but hell, this is my life........and maybe just maybe by sharing my honest feelings, I will be a help to someone working on loosening their grip also.

So a friend mentioned that I had things to be thankful for in the "staying home" quick detour of my life's map.  I believe those might be my windows......

1) The cull ewes are thankful.....the bred girls were slated for a trip to the buyers yesterday had I been heading out on my door trip.  I could not leave cull ewes lambing to my friends who check the ranch.  These girls have now bought themselves another month to deliver their "gift with purchase".  Get with the program, girls but not until tomorrow when the sun is supposed to shine!

2) Sis is turning four months on the 1st.  Giving her another month to grow up and be used to days on end in her crate in the truck is another window opportunity.  That plus I would have been going it alone  and it's always nice to have a friend to help with a puppy.

3) It's always nice to travel with a friend...who can provide the best of conversations to keep the truck time interesting.  I was going this trip alone with a few books on CD......not a bad way to travel but I prefer a copilot that can keep me awake and the boogie man away!

4) I have a few old dogs here at home that are getting older.  Snook has been loosing control of her back left leg...it will be good to spend time with her while I still can because I have no idea how much longer I'll have her.  

The list could go on..it's a good exercise to look at what I have to be grateful for in the detour I am forced to take.  Here's the deal.....I don't believe disappointment is a bad thing.  I live life pretty darn passionately, doing all I can to squeeze out what I can from each day.  I make plans, and dream of what will come from those plans.....friends I get to spend time with, beauty I've not seen before, opportunities for improving relationships with each of my dogs, runs to be had, finding areas in myself that have either strengthened or need more attention (sometimes being on the road really allows me time with myself).  Being disappointed also does not lessen what other's have gone through.  I guess I've worked hard on making my life about me and not about comparing to other's lives......I have no intent on diminishing and minimizing what other's have gone through. I'm just disappointed is all and thankfully this will not last.

Bella has a PT appointment on Monday, in addition to all the massages, laser treatments, and walks we've been doing.....she's getting to see her favorite clinician.  I'm very thankful Bella is alive and will run again one day.  She would run now for me, limp and all, and I wonder what, if anything, I have done to deserve such loyalty from my friend.  But this in not really about Bella, this is about me gracefully letting go of the things not meant for me.  And THAT might take a lifetime.....

Gracefully Seizing the Day!

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Trying" Days

2014 goals included:

*Raise a puppy......man oh man, is this turning out to be one wild and crazy ride of learning to mold the mind of one very clever puppy!  I'm starting a list of all the things she has taught me......I'll post that later as said list grows pretty much every day.  One thing is for certain, I need to keep my bras in a drawer and that drawer shut!  Enough said!

*Get healthy.....this one sounded easier and simpler than what it is turning out to be.  Fine by me, I've got some house cleaning to do.  Days gone by "healthy" meant "loose some weight", "exercise a little"; instead I find myself, shovel, rake, pick, and broom in hand, cleaning out my heart and mind.  Attacking and mucking as I would the barn.  Too bad I can't fit the tractor in there....it is hard, yet good, satisfying, fulfilling work. Progress is measure incrementally; and care is taken to not be making messes along side the cleaning.

*Follow a well thought out plan for lambing.......hahahahaha!  I guess I must be good at lambing because it stays with me like fresh sheep pooh stink on a 3 1/2 month old puppy!  I'm lambing again, and with the Douala job comes the highs and lows of life....at their extremes.  As much as I try, I can NOT "not care".  Instead I try to find the balance between NOT over-caring while doing what I know to do and NOT beating myself up when things are not perfect.

I was chatting with a good friend yesterday, intermittently, small tid bits of feelings shared when each of us had time amidst a busy day. What am I to learn from this......never ending lambing seasons married to the lambing out of someone else's cull sheep.  I've felt "stuck" in the movie Groundhogs Day....hitting the alarm clock and living similar experiences each spring with lambing seasons seeming endless.  I'm now on take five, I believe; different versions of the same story.  One year, the ram broke out into the open ewes I keep for dog work.....lambing went on and on.  Another year, I used CIDRs on the ewes and a marker on the ram.  Once all the ewes were marked, I slipped into the comfort of "knowing" exactly what day each ewe was bred meanwhile leaving the ram with his harem to keep him happy until lambs appeared....lambing went on and on that year too!  Yet another year, I brought in some skinny old hags of some shepherds sharp pen of culling.  Needless to say, they WERE open, but my good and kindhearted friend, who would give the shirt off her back to her peeps, hauled a ram for another friend in the same trailer with the ewes.  Convenience and keeping that ram happy, left him in a pasture with the girls until he was hauled to his new home......and the lambing went on and on that year too!  I've hit the alarm clock and its 2014......first lamb of round two hit the ground yesterday....I'm off and running, hoping to get it right this time.

*Find Peace.....or in the negative....stay away from Drama!  This goal has had me attempting to limit my Facebook time.....seems FB really brings out the drama for me.  On the one hand, it is nice to read about other people and their "challenges" in life......makes me feel a little bit more, hmmm, well normal.  On the other hand, part of my barn cleaning is setting healthy boundaries and surrounding myself with those who come along side to share the journey of finding answers that are healthy and keep me headed in the direction of my goals: GET HEALTHY!  As I pondered this past weeks extravagant helpings I've been served up for life, I cannot help but let my mind slip into "what have I done to deserve this?" mode.  Am I living the payment of some karmic debt that I owe from something I did last week, last year, last lifetime?  Am I being "tested" to see what I am made of, how bad I want it, or how far I will go to get it?  Is my Creator tell me to hang up my crook, sell the sheep, watch reality TV during the day and get a boob job?

These questions don't just come about from Never Ending Lambing either.  Last Wednesday, I wrapped my Bella around a piece of cattle panel and put 25 stitches in her left shoulder.  The second it happened, I knew......I took off running into the bottom pasture where her outrun had propelled her, three legged, asking for that "lie down" we've been working on and getting it, thankfully, on the first command.  I lay with her, compressing her shoulder, slowing her heart rate, wondering what the hell I was going to do.  How could I, one person, keep her bleeding controlled, hold her shoulder together, while carrying her to the truck some 250 yards away.  We lay there, Bella and me......and I realized yet again so many of the epiphanies I always seem to promise to remember as they slide into the "taken for granted" corners of my cobweb infested mind.  My good friends began to show up for their day of sheep work; each of them working together to help me.....bandages brought down, tears dried, phone calls made to cancel the day and make room at the vet's.

"Trying" days"......LIFE!  I don't think we manifest all of our "trying days".  I don't think we are paying karmic debt, nor do I believe we "deserve" them.  I believe they happen......trying days happen to everyone regardless of belief or goodness.  We cannot escape them, wish them away, protect ourselves from them.  We can learn from them but learning does not prevent more and different "trying days" from coming around.....because they will come around until we breath our last breath.  Trying days are the yang to fabulous days and I surely don't want to live without those!

Here's what I am learning, again and again much like my lambing:  1) I have a choice in my "trying days"....I don't get to choose them, but I do get to choose how I will participate in them!  I get to choose how I look at them, how they make me feel, if I let them turn to drama.  I get to choose my attitude and behavior....if I try to eat them away, or sleep them away, blame them away or bitch them away.  I can choose to bring others into them; to help find answers, to share in the journey, to find some sympathy, or feed my ego.  I can laugh at them and learn from them and find a bit of what is to be thankful for amidst them.  I can CHOOSE MY ATTITUDE. 2) FRIENDS are priceless......I'm so thankful for the good friends that I have.  My "trying days" magnify both.....my attitude and the work that needs done there.... my friends who come along to walk beside me as I TRY.

Bella is going to be fine.  My plans are needing some adjusting as she mends and I am practicing the art of letting go mixed with patience.  The cattle panel has been removed...and those that are gate opening are being padded.  And me, well you can find me in the lambing barn working on my attitude all the while being thankful for my friends. One down....nine to go......

Seize the Day!!!!!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Doors and Windows

I've been putting it off.....for as long as I knew my shotgun side-seat driving friend could not go along. I've tossed and turned, shed a few tears, and grieved a little.....this morning I got up and pulled out of the Bluegrass.  I've competed in the Bluegrass for the past two years and really love the trial.  Kentucky is beautiful, if not hot, living on the edge with tornadoes and thunderstorms not seen here in the West.  And the competition, wowzer!!  Three lambs on a big field, each run a mini-clinic in handling!

I know there are times in life where "what you want to do" and "what you really do" are lessons in letting go.  I also understand that there are times in life where a person has to dig deep and ask "how bad do YOU want it?" soldiering ahead and sacrificing to achieve a goal.  Finding the balance between going and staying, buying and selling, moving and keeping still, training and recuperating are fine and personal lines.

I've also learned that "when a door is shut, a window is open" so I will keep my eyes wide open for the view through the window as I head out to new lands that have been on my list of "Oh the Places You'll Go".  Wyoming beckons to me this year; new adventures to savor and new places to run.  No looking back and wishing, no "coulda, shoulda, woulda".  I'm going to miss the Bluegrass but I will root from home!  And while I am cheering on and watching scores, I'll fondly relive all those sweet memories of my trips to Kentucky!

Seize the Day!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven

Life's a country song, so they say.  Kenny Chesney sings:

"Everybody wants to go to heaven
Get their wings and fly around
Everybody want to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now"

Exactly right, everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to go now.  I've shared I am reading three books right now: one on sport's psychology, one on mental management and the other I'm actually listening to in the truck and it's about living life.  I found a quote I can not stop thinking on...."I love the journey as much as the destination."  Really, when I think about life, my last destination will be my coffin and I'd like to take as much time getting there as I can.  Better keep to the task of loving the journey!!!  In the past, I've lived destination to destination.....I'm working on building my "journey/process muscle memory".  

Last blog entry I misquoted so I will quote again and get it right.  It's really worthy of another look:

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

I've had the opportunity to talk to many sheepdog handlers over the years and as I share about my longing for my scores and placements to not define me, my longing for finding the learning opportunities in each outing with each dog, my longing to find the miracles in each day....I hear how easy it is to cross the line into burnout when pushing towards a life where destination trumps journey.  I think in sheepdog trailing, it is different than say being an Olympic Athlete where a person only gets so many years to attempt being THE BEST.  With sheepdogs, each new dog that comes into our lives gives us the next shot at achieving our dreams.  Many of us have a number of dogs, each in different stages of competition which means our life of being competitive could be all the way to our end destination if we so choose and find a bit of good health along the way.  How do I find joy in the journey and not loose myself in the competition, caring about scores, when I compete weekend after weekend, year after year?

I've been asked to dig deep into the "why" am i sheepdog trialing. Really digging deep into the "why" is challenging. Every time I come up with an answer, I ask myself, "what else, why else?"    With much appreciation and gratitude to those who have helped mold me, my "why's" have changed, radically in the past few years.  My "why's" bring me joy now, instead of leaving lack; the why's bring me back to being true to myself and focusing on relationships.  i can rest in a run knowing I have put forth my best effort for the day and the process of the journey.

"After you have shifted your focus from “perfect” to “best,” ask yourself: “Did I get better today? Did I move another step towards my goal, my full potential?” ~ Beecham, Stan

I think Stan might have nailed me...."perfect"...oh how I long to be perfect.  As I let go of the idea of perfect, best feels so much more attainable and supportive of my journey.  Did i get better today?  Have I found things to work on to help me be better?  Baby steps to reaching my full potential.........I love the journey as much as I love the destination!

Seize the Day!