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Lucky Cats

November 7, 2009

Life is good for the cats of Rolling Stone Farm.  Though the many feline residents here carry the classification of “barn cats” their existence is closer to that of a well loved house cat.  The various cats that share my life here are far better off than the barn cats of my youth… those banged up, battle scarred, skinny mousers who barely tolerated our being in the same hay loft as them.  They were seasoned veterans of many a battle for prime hunting territory.  They survived  and were tolerated by providing a valued service, keeping the rodent  population in check.  These cats were the ultimate aloof and independent felines who hid their kittens in the hay loft to keep them safe from our pestering hands.

Rolling Stone Farm Cats bear little resemblence to these working cats of my memory.  Though  each came here under different circumstances, they all have adapted to the life of privelege they share.  Gone are the ferrel cats rescued from the ruins of the World Trade Center rubble.  Replaced with the feline kings and queens who now reside in the hay loft waiting for their bowl of organic, natural cat kibble to be filled by the working men of the farm. They scuffle among themselves for the prime sleeping spots  in the laundry room that stays warm during the coldest winter day and growl and hiss over the best electric water dishes in the Winter.   Here also reside the skittish former house cats who were dropped off by misguided  owners.  I suppose  they  justified their abandonment with the thought that a farm always needs more cats.  These poor feline citizens are  too stubborn or stupid to use the litter box in favor of defecating on floors and countertops as they go about their day.   We care for the friendly, petite, long-haired kitty that showed up a year ago who isn’t accepted by any of the factions of the barn cat heirarchy,  She has gained favor with the working men of the farm who share their breakfast sandwiches with her.  The lean hungry days of their past lives are a distant memory, replaced by the steady knowledge and experience of the full food bowl.

Three short weeks ago two new members were lucky to end up at the farm.  On a cold, blustery, raining morning Sebastian and Alex were placed into a box and put on the rock wall outside of the farm gate.  They waited there, hungry and flea infested.  Their little noses were crusted over from the remnants of an upper respiratory infection.  I like to imagine they were put into the box by some young child who took them in hoping to be allowed their company for a lifetime.   Children forced to get rid of their kitties  by parents who where barely getting by.  In this economy, it is not difficult to understand  this truth.  The box they were in was poked with holes and illegible names written in a childish hand scratched on the surface.   These are the true “lucky cats” of Rolling Stone.

Sebastian and his younger foster brother Alex became “my” kittens by default.  I brought their box off the wall an into my basement feed room.  I bought their first kitten chow and filled a litter box for them.  I took them to the vet for health check, immunizations and flea control.  Now when I enter the room downstairs where I prepare the horses’ feed and store medicines and supplements, I am greeted by the baby meows of two very lucky cats.  And you know what?  I feel pretty lucky too!  I haven’t had a single bit of evidence from the ratzilla population that used to plague the feed room.  Looks like the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

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Taming the Hamster

November 2, 2009

This morning I stepped onto my yoga mat to practice.  As I began to breathe and stretch, the random thoughts that are usually at bay started running rampant in my awareness.  Like a hamster in his wheel, these thoughts scurry around and around, going no where…. “what will my day be like today, did Helen get up, is Dana ok, what should I wear outside, what horses should I put in the walker first, what is that noise… etc” These unproductive thoughts begin to cause a feeling of worry if I let them have their way.  Like the hamster, I could run myself into exhaustion without a single productive positive result. 

As I lenghtened my spine in updog, downdog sequence, I gave these pesky thoughts no where to go.  I just let them be and immersed myself in my physical awareness.  One by one, they quieted.  I breathed in peacefulness and let them go. 

I entered into a daily yoga practice about 6 years ago.  Worn down and challenged by my changed life circumstances I was looking for PEACE.  I found it in classes at a local yoga school.  As I learned the asana, I had something positive to focus on.  I realized I did have the self-discipline that my teacher spoke about.  It gave me a feeling of success as I became comfortable with the physical sequence of Sun Salutations.  My mind stilled and  my breathe deepened.  I moved through the challenges outside of the yoga school with a better awareness and sense of calm.  This has been my path of taming that crazy hamster.  It still works!

A little over 6 months ago, I was looking for something to help keep my practice fresh.  I have had to stop taking classes at the yoga school because of my work schedule and hours.  Fortunately, I already had established a personal daily practice, but I was not being challenged.  It is so much easier to give yourself over to a teacher and let them be in charge.  Home practice requires a different discipline.  In looking for that thing to spark my practice and challenge me again,  I came across an article that mentioned hoop dancing as a compliment to yoga.  I was intrigued and went on a search for information.  YouTube provided great visuals of accomplished and beginning hoopers.  I was excited about the tricks that moved the hoop off the body and the rythmic, hypnotic essence of the dance.  I ordered a hoop, got a couple of videos, and started on this hoop path… 

At first, my practice was mostly learning tricks that I thought were cool.  I warmed up with yoga asana, and then started hooping.  Eventually, I realized that there was something changing in my awareness and experience of life.  My riding and my connection to the horses I care for improved and deepened.  I found it easy to smile and laugh off challenge…. I had my hoops!  The hamster stopped chattering so much.

Peace of mind is available to all of us.  We have different paths.  Different challenges.  But finding joy in life is sometimes as easy as playing, dancing, laughing.  Find your joy and get that hamster a new place to run!

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The Circle Begins

November 1, 2009

How is it that I am sitting at my computer, starting my very first blog post? I finally accepted the writing challenge put out there by my high school friend, Nina Amir. And here, it begins.
I am many things…. carry different tags to different people. I am daughter, mother, friend, and lover. I am employee, therapist, partner, sister and boss. I am all of these and none of them. I am really just spirit… in a body…. here to learn and grow. Today is the anniversary of the birth of my younger daughter. Seventeen years ago, she entered the world as I decided to stay here and watch over her journey through life. The years from that deciding moment to this one have been filled with challenges and change. The journey has been amazing and beautiful and I plan to share some of my insights here in this blog.

The circle is a symbol familiar to the youngest of us. The simple shape we first drew with a crayon to represent the sun, it is both linear and infinite. I chose this symbol to represent my life’s journey. It resonates strongly or me. My daily yoga practice starts my day on a circular yoga mat. I am a hoop dancer so I stand in my circle, on my circle and spin. The circle reminds me that wherever I am on the path of life, I will always come back to center. There is no real beginning and no real end. We are all connected and separate at the same time.

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Hello world!

November 1, 2009

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!