29 06 2010

So I have a horse:

Missie says, "Wake me up and I'll bite you!"

 Yes, she’s beautiful, believe me she knows it…. anyway, to get training for her (which I need since she’s much smarter than I alone) I clean stalls at a local ranch every Monday in trade.

There’s a fine art to cleaning manure. Horses walk, all the time, constantly; they even sleep on their feet. So the poo doesn’t stay in nice easily-scooped little piles (well, not little, exactly); it gets trampled all over heck, and you have to use a rake to get all the pieces, or else spend hours more than necessary.
It was Monday. I raked… I scooped… I defended my wheelbarrow against horses who like to scratch themselves on it and inadvertently tip it over, I dodged bites, I sweated, I raked again. Then (in the middle of a particularly juicy curse aimed at a diabolical pony named, deceptively, Sugar) I looked back and saw the rake’s marks in the dust. They were beautiful. Heatstroke may have had a hand in this, but I swear, the whole ground was just these lovely soft curving lines, like the tracks of a hundred mysterious snakes.
Before Sugar ran off with my shovel, it reminded me of one of those Zen gardens, where monks comb lines into the sand around big boulders.
It was an unexpectedly tranquil moment and I am really glad I didn’t miss it. There were even a few butterflies in my ‘zen’ garden (they are attracted to the salt in the horsie pee). It was the perfect touch. So, lesson: look for the beauty that is left after poo is removed!

The Greater Things in Life

3 11 2009

Have you ever had one of those moments when your focus sharpens, a shiver runs up your body, your heart speeds up and the earth shakes? I’m not talking dirty, either, people! I’m talking about running across a certain quote, a movie, a person, a song, a place or a picture that has such a deep and hidden meaning to you and you alone that it becomes somewhat of an obsession, burning up your brain as you try to swallow it all up. Anything that provokes days of convoluted thoughts and inspires new resolutions for your life qualifies.

I am a firm believer that everyone should seek out these kind of moments, because they are what forces us to the highest skies, to plumb the depths of our spirits. For me personally, the days have been weighing down more and more lately; the daily grind is becoming all too tedious and crude, like a gritty old movie. Halloween morning I woke up and I had a rather odd moment in which I realized that I didn’t like the people I was with and that this wasn’t where I wanted to be. At that exact moment, I wanted to be sitting alone on top of a mountain, staring at the blue sky, more than anything in the world. It put me in a very pissy mood, to say the least.

It’s hard to explain, but I hope you all understand the kind of thoughts I’m talking about. I don’t want to call it a revelation or an epiphany, it’s too serious and yet it trivializes the thing. I had that moment, a conscious thought, word for word in my head, “I want a change in my life.” Then I went home and ran across this quote, which I sat and re-read at least ten times before immediately copying it down.

“There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death. They don’t honor their own lives, they piss on their lives. They shit them away. Dumb fuckers. They concentrate too much on fucking, movies, money, family, fucking. Their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton. They look ugly, they talk ugly, they walk ugly. Play them the great music of the centuries & they can’t hear it. Most people’s deaths are a sham. There’s nothing left to die.” — Buk. (via Love Letter to the Universe)

It’s an understatement to say this affected me deeply. Sounds silly, yeah yeah, but face it, the very largest portion of what makes us takes place invisibly as neruons fire in the darkness of our skulls. For the past months, I’ve felt like I was walking through quicksand, a weight on my head and a little ball of panic in my stomach. I can’t explain it, but I feel on fire now, electric, confident and creative, unstoppable, a warrior; a Leo for the first time in a long time. Be on the look out for things that will follow you your whole life, don’t let them pass you by. If you spend your days looking for tiny amazements, you’re that much more likely to find them.

Living Life to the Fullest

1 10 2009

As much as we may want to avoid it, we’re all going to be packaged up neatly and put on a shelf by other people. They may see our hair, our outfit, the car we drive or the place we live and categorize us by that. You know how it goes – “Oh, she’s a goth/poor kid/nerd,” or whatever other group they think we are. Yes, this is stupid. Yes, it’s almost always wrong. This doesn’t change the fact that people will continue doing it forever and ever.

But you know, getting put in a group isn’t always bad. It can give people a feeling that you have something in common and lead to new friends, or spark conversations with people you don’t even know. Hell, maybe you are proud of being a hippie, or a bookworm (guilty!), or a biker chick.

Embracing the inevitable categorization or not, that doesn’t make it ok to just sink into the masses and lose our individuality! So here are some do’s and don’ts.

Do: Be what you want. Dress how you want, decorate your home the way you want, and say what you believe. There’s no way to make every one in the world happy, so it’s just a bit ridiculous to spend your whole life trying, right?

Don’t: Be pushy about it. Maybe you believe in karma. That’s all well and good, but if karma is the only thing you ever talk about, that’s not so good. Sharing the things you believe in from big hair to fly fishing is admirable, but don’t let your hobbies become your entire personality.

Do: Make others envy you. I’m not saying go buy a convertible, I’m saying live your life with grace, purpose, and determination. Do things that improve the world, and even if people think your pink hair is weird, they’ll probably be at least a little inspired. You can be the smartest, funnest, coolest person in the world and if you’re still living in your mom’s basement at 45, all the good things go out the window, noticed by no one.

Don’t: Be different just for the sake of it. This never works out; it’s the life equivalent of being that drunk chick at a party who brags that she can outdrink all the guys and then projectile vomits all over the house an hour later. No one is impressed, and no one thinks she’s cool. Acting a certain way just f0r attention is so junior high.

Do: Be prepared to give in once in a while. Let’s say you’ve got a rad look going on that you adore madly, complete with dreads, cat-eye contacts and neon clothing. That’s wonderful, but you may have to tone it down a bit sometimes, say for a job. It doesn’t make you a ‘quitter’ or a hypocrite; it just makes you sensible and realistic. Nothin’ wrong with that.

Don’t: Make certain people uncomfortable. This goes a bit with the one right above. Is it really necessary to shock your old, buttoned-to-the-neck Grammy by telling her that you’ve joined a nudist colony? The general public can suck it up and deal, but I’m sure you can think of times when it’s easier on all parties involved to just stay mute. Consideration never hurt anyone.

Do: Have friends of all types. Don’t feel constricted by others’ ideas of you, or like you have to only hang out with a certain kind of person because they’re ‘your type’. Surround yourself with people who make you happy, and damn the funny looks on other’s faces! It’s your life, not theirs, and in the end it’s you who should be happy.

Focus on the Now

11 07 2009

Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting my life, like it’s all going by too fast and for no purpose (I know, I know, melodramatic). This is patently ridiculous- I’m not yet seventeen, and if I look at my life objectively, I know that I’m doing pretty all right and contributing my fair share to improving our world. I believe that this ennui is just a result of being an itty bitty human in our great big world, floating in the sea of problems.

The doldrums are no place to live your life, though, at any age! Sometimes it takes a reminder to discover anew that our lives are generally not as bad as we think. Just take a big breath of beautiful air, pet your dog, significant other or best friend, and take a moment to count off all the wicked awesome parts of your life happening right now this instant. Realize that you are fabulous and you are making this world better with every step you take, even if they are small.