Weekend Coffee Share – Empowering Zen Strategies, That Sprinkles Every Day Bliss Over Your Life

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This is Shasta Dam, with Mt.Shasta in the background. We hiked the Upper Sacramento Ditch Trail last weekend, and the trail head is just behind the parking lot of the dam. It’s gorgeous out there. I love coming to the dam on a regular basis, mostly to watch the ospreys, that likes to fish there. I saw at least 20 birds of prey there last weekend. Hiking in magically beautiful places is one of my most effective strategies for a blissful zen life.

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Imagine. The power is yours. You can choose. You have a full tank of gas. Where are you going? Are you taking a scenic dirt road? Or the highway, to get where you want to go fast? This morning while I was sipping my first cup of the black magical brew, I thought about how I own the power. How I can make a choice every morning. Despite responsibilities, and personal challenges, we all have them, it is possible to choose amazing. It’s possible to choose a blissful day, every day. Even when a day doesn’t start out feeling awesomely amazing. Naturally a great cup of coffee helps a lot too 😉 How do you like yours? Perfect. 

While sipping my second cup of that magic brew, I thought about a horse trainer/mentor I worked with for several years. She recently passed away. She was a wise woman. A very wise woman. Completely, totally no-nonsense. She kicked my *ss right after my divorce. What she said made me so mad at first, but it was the best advice I ever got. As I was feeling sorry for myself one morning, she simply said; What are you choosing to do about it? Then she left the room. It took a while for it to sink in, but it changed my life. I could actually choose how to react to a situation that seemed totally unfair, and undeserved. 

Later on we had a few more conversations about the subject. She’d let me borrow some empowering books, and of course we worked with my horse. She was filming horsemanship videos of her methods (inspired by Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance, and some Pat Parelli.) My horse was in several of the videos, so we spent a lot of time together. Which I’m very grateful for. I learned a lot. In one of the books she gave me I found this inspirational quote:

Our Outer world reflects our inner commitments. If we want to know what we’re really committed to, all we have to do is look at our lives. We are, whether we are aware of it or not, always creating exactly what we are most committed to.

The choices we make are ALWAYS in alignment with our deepest commitments.

By examining what we have and what we don’t have.. we are able to uncover and see what we are TRULY committed to. – Debbie Ford

Those words became a guiding light. I started to make a list of things that meant the most to me, and compared it to what my life looked like at the time. My list did not have a whole lot to do with reality back then. I decided to do something about it. I still revisit my list once a month, and evaluate if the things on my list still are important to me, if I need to add, or withdraw things on the list. ..and then I compare the list to my reality. (It’s crucially important to be honest with yourself while doing this.) I quickly discovered that the more my list and my reality are in harmony with each other, the happier I am. I believe that the most important thing in the world is to be kind and compassionate to others, follow the golden rule, and treat them like you would like to be treated. That means that I need to treat myself right as well. Maybe I’m only talking to myself, but I think it’s a thousand times easier to be generous and kind, when I feel good. The things on my list keeps me grounded, and balanced. The list is meant to include things/activities that are a priority, and that you do on a regular (preferably daily/weekly) basis. Are you tempted to make a list? It sure does make it easier to choose amazing. 

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This is what my garden looks like now. I’ve divided my garden into two separate rooms. One for traditional gardening in the ground, organic of course. The second room is the home of my container garden. I’m planning on getting a greenhouse for my container fruit trees this fall. Spending time in my garden is one of the things I love the most. Definitely helps to keep me grounded.

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I’m 5’10, and the highest corn, growing in the best part of my garden, is as tall as I am.

 

These are some of my feel-good priorities:

  • Time with my daughter, indulging in any activity she is interested in at the moment. 
  • My horses, and my dog.
  • My garden.
  • Learning new things related to my vision. Most often related to gardening/homesteading/parenting/horses/photography.
  • Reading for fun.
  • Hiking.
  • Photography.
  • Road trips.
  • Exploring old towns.
  • Meditation.
  • Enough sleep.
  • Healthy, organic, (preferably homegrown) homemade food.  
  • Blogging.

At the moment I feel that there is a balance, and that I have made room for these important feel-good priorities on my list. They are a part of my daily, or weekly schedule. I am happy, and I know that to stay happy I need to meditate over all the things I have to be  grateful for in my life. I need to do this at least every morning. This strategy works for me. It makes me feel empowered, to choose these things that I know makes me feel good. It makes me feel strong and happy. I also know that if I get sloppy with my habits, I don’t feel very good. If I don’t go on at least one longer hike every week, I get tired. If I don’t listen to my daughter’s ideas, and indulge in something she’s interested in, I miss out. My horses makes me breath deeper, and stay in the moment. They are both doing fantastic BTW. I rode Fancy in my new dressage saddle for the first time this week, and it was a blast. I hear Ghost calling for me right now. It’s 6am, and he’s expecting his breakfast, and some grooming. (..I’ll better hurry up.) My dog, well, she’s the most loyal friend I have. My garden helps me eat healthy, and even get some exercise. I often meditate, and read in my garden. It’s peaceful. I practice my photography every day, while doing the activities I love. Do you need a refill on that coffee?

Sometimes I ask people I meet, friends, and acquaintances, about what makes them happy. Some have lots to say, which makes me happy. Others become very quiet. So tell me now, what makes you happy? What’s on your feel-good priority list? Any fun plans for the weekend? Imagine. The power is yours. You can choose. You have a full tank of gas. Where are you going?

Love,

Ms Zen

Ps. I forgot to mention I started a new part-time job last weekend, taking care of some horses at a nearby estate. I’ve been going there after finishing my own morning chores, every morning this week, and absolutely love it. The horses are well mannered. The place is gorgeous, and well kept. The owner is really nice. It doesn’t feel like work. 

SUNDAY STILLS: THE #FUTURE

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This horse, my young half Arabian Ghost, is the greatest challenge that I’ve met so far in my life. So full of love and emotions of all kind. Extremely sensitive and smart.

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He is related to Abu Farwa (a famous endurance horse,) on his Dam’s side. He is athletic and very fast. I did not know of his relation with this famous endurance horse when I got him. I just had a feeling when we met, that this horse is somehow related to my future.

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A friend is a second self, so that our consciousness of a friend’s existence…makes us more fully conscious of our own existence. ― Aristotle

This guy’s inner and outer beauty inspires me to be better, and try harder every day. There’s truly no better teacher in mindfulness than the horse.

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I did notice that this horse had something, but how complex and beautiful he truly is, I could not see that first day. He have challenged me to question many things about myself, and my horsemanship. What the future has in store? I wouldn’t know. I do know that this guy have changed mine. Thank you for visiting with us today.

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share

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Imagine. You’re sipping coffee under the big fig tree, in the center of my back yard. The birds are singing away. The last of the roses in the rose garden are still smelling as lovely as ever. The horses are neighing their welcome, as they see you walk in. My dog gets up from her regular place next to me, to give you a greeting suitable for a most important celebrity. Why don’t you come on in? Take a 15 min break out of you busy day, and have that amazing dark liquid rejuvenate your soul. I have all sorts of tea as well, if that’s sound more appealing. Sitting down for a while sounds pretty good, don’t it? You know you’re dying to tell me about your week. 

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Pomegranate trees in my container garden.

How is you week? Spring is in full bloom? My favorite time of the year. I think I might say that about every season, depending on where I am, but it is true every time I say it. I usually feel like it is the best day ever (one of my daughter’s favorite phrases right now,) every day when I wake up. The weather is perfect right now, around 85 degrees. We’re having a high of 103 later today. yeah..it’s here, the heat. We had the first three digit day earlier this week. I’ve been spending  a lot of time organizing in my vegetable garden since that first really hot day. My garden has two fenced in areas/rooms. I prepared the container part of the garden with extra mulching, so that my plans and trees will be able to handle the heat better. They all got a layer of used tree shavings, from the barn. The container garden area, is closest to the house ( and closest in the photo.)

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The area furthest away, has plants planted directly in the ground. With one small exception, of kitchen herbs in containers. This is what the garden looked like 6 weeks ago, when I moved in to this place. I’ve done all the work by myself, by hand, with help of my 5 year old daughter.

My garden is organized by the amount of sun hours that each plant needs, and by age. Have you tried succession planting your garden? In my area, the gardening season is long, and I hugely benefit from succession planting. It helps keeping my garden in harvest, and producing all through the growing seasons. I’m sure there’s as many ways of doing this as there are gardeners. I practice three varieties of succession planting;

1. Crops that only harvest one time, gets completely cleaned out after harvest, and replaced with a new type of plant. The space will not remain empty.

2. Some crops like different types of salad greens, I plant a few seeds every two weeks. In that way I have fresh greens longer. (Until it gets too hot to grow them here.)

3. The third method is similar to the second method, but more extended. I use it for plants like tomatoes. I start all my tomato seed indoor in March/April. (I only grow my vegetables from seeds. I never buy seedlings to plant.) During April-June I plant the seedlings I raised outside, with a few weeks intervals. My upper garden contains the tomatoes that I transplanted first. They are planted directly in the ground, and will produce the first harvest. This is the biggest harvest, of around 30 tomato plants. Planted within three weeks of each other. In my lower garden, I have big containers with tomatoes (among other vegetables.) The containers are just planted this week, and are tiny at the moment. When my harvest in the upper garden is finished, they will start producing. I mainly apply the third method to tomatoes, and squash.

If you have a garden, do you have a method to maximize your harvest? As silly as it may sound, the harvest is not my only priority. I know that there’s things that I could do to work less, like install a drip system for watering my garden. I have done that in some gardens I’ve built. However, when I don’t hand water every day, I miss so much of what’s going on. I enjoy the process, even if it’s not the most efficient. Our weather is extreme and changes fast. I’m more in control when I water my garden every day. I notice the little sign of distress, or need of one thing, or another. I don’t use any chemicals, or pesticides, which forces me to be on top of the game with pests. I need to notice all the little bugs before they get to established. What’s your thoughts? Do you enjoy the convenience of having your garden irrigated? Or do you prefer watering by hand? I definitely see pro’s and con’s with both methods. 

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Mini corn field, with tomato plants in the background.

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The fig tree cuttings I planted  almost a month ago, got repotted in bigger pots earlier this week. 

There’s a wonderful peace settling in between my horses, Fancy, and Ghost. From time to time Ghost is a little rascal, and chases Fancy around, but for the most part it’s very peaceful. I couldn’t be happier. They both have glossy summer coats. I’d like Fancy to gain a little more weight, and muscle up, but that’s going to take time. Her hooves can only take light work at the moment. Slowly she’s tapping in to her potential. Fancy is showing more and more of her personality. She is a highly intelligent horse. More so than I thought in the beginning. I’m starting to see a more powerful horse. A horse that still chooses to be gentle with my daughter. This new discovery only makes her more valuable in my eyes.

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This is a close-up photo of Fancy’s face. Fancy has two swirls/whorls/cowlicks close together, placed high up in her face, far above her eyes.

Many knowledgeable horsemen, along with several recent studies, show a connection between a horse’s personality and the pattern/number/placement of the swirls in their face. I do believe there’s something to it, and have compared all the horses I’ve been in contact with for the past 7 years, after I first heard of this. I’ve also studies photos of my favorite horses prior to the date I read about this, for the first time. All my favorite horses throughout the years (30+,) all had two swirls a little above their eyes. Interesting, don’t you think? One swirl in the middle between the eyes is much more common, and indicates a stabile, kind, predictable horse. Swirls that are higher up in the face usually belongs to high energy horses. Up until now Fancy have been the fist exception to the rule, or rather, I have not seen her personality in full light until now. Which makes perfect sense, since she wasn’t herself when I first got her, due to prior neglect/abuse/starvation.

Many Grand Prix horses in both dressage and jumping, and successful eventers have very high, side-by-side double swirls. This type of double swirl seems to give the ability to hyper focus. These horses are challenging and gritty, like most double swirl horses, but the ability to hyper focus and not back down from a challenge can be an asset in professional hands. The side-by-side swirls do give the horse access to both sides of its brain in a flash, ‘wickedly fast thinker’ is a description often given to them.

– Charlotte Cannon, multi-World Champion trainer, who learned the study of Swirlology from NSBA Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Stanford.

Fancy has that kind of hyper focus, is a fast thinker, and is gritty.  I see more and more of this every day, as she is gaining strength, and health. If you’d like to read Charlotte Cannon’s study, I recommend this link. It’s a very interesting read.

Ghost and I take it slow, but we’re going forward. He seeks my company more and more, and I have been successful in letting go of my expectations. He is growing a lot. Arabians, and mustangs mature later, and it’s not unusual that they keep growing until they are 8 years old. He’s a cross of those breeds. I’m thinking that with the quality feed he gets now, he might make up for some growth he missed earlier in his life. Most of all, it is a pleasure to enter the pasture every time. I was going to finish this post with a flying photo I took this morning. That is rather spectacular, if I may say so. However, a bird sang in my ear that tomorrow’s Sunday Stillsis going to be Fur and Feathers, so you’ll have to check in tomorrow to see it 😉 LOL. Or (hint..) you might be able to catch a sneak peak on Instagram.  

Any fun plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear about them! Would you like another cup of coffee?

Love,

Ms Zen