This week, Silk was limping on her back right leg. It was particularly frustrating and worrying since I am not able to even pick up her foot to see or feel what’s wrong. I was able to cajole my daughter into cleaning it and putting Animalintex and a boot on for a couple of days but Silk seemed like she was in more pain. Daughter was overwhelmed by all the other barn chores and feeling very sorry for herself. It hasn’t been the summer she expected to have. All she does is take care of her parents and the animals.
So, I was very relieved when Johnny, my dear sweet farrier rushed in and helped us by draining the abscess. Instantly, Silk felt better and I did too. It left me noticing how hard it is to just sit still and heal. I have a huge list of things that I’d like to do around here. My husband’s list is even longer, and he only has a small window of time before his work schedule gets really busy again in September. So, we’ve been stewing and bemoaning how our doctors won’t let us do what we need to do.
I watch how Silk just accepts what’s happening and adapts to the circumstances. And when I feel guilty that my daughter is so bored by her daily routines while her friends send her notes from the fabulous places they are on vacation, I remember all the summers of my childhood. I had long days with nowhere to go, and I hated being stuck in a small town in the Midwest. Yet, it was good for me, forcing me to stretch my imagination. I drew and painted and read. I dreamed about escaping to a glamorous life in New York City. I had the time and space to rest and think.
I’ve become a big fan of Margaret Wheatley. Someone gave me a wonderful book of hers called “Perseverance” which I've read over and over. I’ve been exploring her other writing and work, and I like her clear thinking. Here’s a quote from an essay about the stress that our children are feeling:
“I hope we don't have to wait until our children reach adulthood for them to discover, as we may have done, that a healthy life requires peaceful moments, and that being present in the moment is a wondrous skill. I hope we can teach them that plans are not the answer to all of life's needs, that there is truth to the old joke that if you want to make God laugh, just present your plans. I hope we can teach them to expect moments of chaos when everything falls apart, and to dance with those moments rather than fear them. I hope we can teach them to not be afraid of boredom and loneliness, so that they stop grasping after entertainment, drugs, or alcohol to fill the void. Loneliness, boredom, restlessness-these are conditions of being human. No matter how much we deny them or run from them, they always return. As we mature, hopefully we learn that we don't need to fill the emptiness, that we can just sit with it and it will pass. ”
Soon, I’ll be racing around, using both hands again. My husband will be hard at work. My daughter will be buried in homework and the stresses of high school. It all changes. One minute, my horse can’t bear the pain on her back hoof. Then, the pressure is relieved and she’s happily eating hay.
“If we have been aware of the process of our lives, including the moments that we hate, and are just aware of our hating – “I don’t want to do that, but I’ll do it anyway” – that very awareness is life itself. When we stay with that awareness, we don’t have the reactive feeling about it. Then, for a second we begin to see, “Oh, this is terrible- and at the same time, it’s really quite enjoyable.” We just keep going, preparing the ground. That’s enough.”
Joko Beck, Zen teacher