Posts Tagged ‘goats’

Looking Ahead to Blessings

December 17, 2017

Having stressed repeatedly to different clients the importance of a personal goal, apart from improved health which most of them seek, and having heard my husband reiterate this same objective to his parents as an key contributor to continued energy and engagement despite the various pains and slowly of age, I am guilty of failing to keep my own personal goals updated. The result is that lately I’ve been feeling weighed down by all the “have to’s” of my daily life, and also as though so much of my core energy is being expended on those requirements that I am simply depleted and have “nothing left” to expend on enjoyment.

To some extent, the energy drain is unavoidable – there’s only so much reserve left in this aging body, and so very much that it is being required to get through by way of work, housekeeping, support of mate and extended family, and the myriad chores of daily living. But what I recognize I’ve shorted myself on – and also recognize as a frequently encountered shortcoming in all those people whose work or life roles fall under the heading of care-giving – is making sure our activities that refill the reserves get as much priority as do our daily duties.

So my personal goal that is being re-established as I write, is to assure that I do refill the cup with activities that give me pleasure in and of themselves. My daily spiritual practice is one of those that has not been neglected; it is absolutely necessary (but apparently not sufficient yet) for me to maintain at least a semblance of balance, and a comfortable engagement with my outer life. I’ve cut way back on attention to the broader political and social scene, the hysterical reactivity of which is totally exhausting and debilitating. I continue to distance myself from whatever will trigger the “been there, done that, didn’t think I’d have to do it again in my lifetime” discouragement of seeing so much hard work, and advances toward a kinder and more caring society, erased and replaced with unfettered greed.

My work as a Medicaid-program Care Coordinator is rewarding, and as jobs go, just about ideal. I get to work from home (no daily commute), see my clients in their homes, support people toward improved health and management of their lives, experience directly their appreciation and pleasure as their circumstances improve, and know that I am functioning as part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. My home life is all that anyone could ask for, and more sustaining than I ever imagined I would enjoy. Overall, my health is apparently still fine, with only this irritating decline in energy and will that I need to sort out.

I don’t have the answer(s) yet. Only some hints as to where to look. For the physical depletion, I’ve resumed taking an adrenal supplement recommended to me some years ago, and it does seem to be helping. For the psychological, I’m looking to specific activities that I’ve enjoyed in the past and have not been participating in lately, notable among those being more regular blog posts.

I’m also taking seriously the increasing evidence that substantive ‘screen time’ alters mental functioning. My work requires a good deal of computer data input. Keeping up with news summaries on my phone (we don’t have TV) adds to the screen time. Writing will do so also, but more productively than the hours I have lately been spending in somewhat mindless Solitaire or Scrabble. I am undefeated in Free Cell and win better than 97% of hard level games against the computer in Scrabble. So what. Neither accomplishment is nourishing me. At best they have provided a sort of ‘zone out’ from thought, akin to ‘stopping the mind’ in meditation. I can do better, focusing my attention where the inflow of energy will be beneficial, not merely neutral.

I have yet to understand what those targets of focus will be, other than a continued extending of my attention to spirit. But now, the goats have escaped their fence and need to be corralled, and dinner needs to be put into the oven. I am reassured by the knowledge that when I  pose a question in my daily spiritual practice, I will receive needed answers, including on how to refresh my psychological energy.  I am so very grateful to have that guarantee in hand!

May these blessings be, for all who seek them.

Odd One Out

November 19, 2017

I’m vacillating between two topics, Michelle Obama’s recent concise advice to “focus on what you can control”, and a rather more controversial reflection on color discrimination across species. I sense there’s a linkage underlying the two subjects which may emerge as I write. We’ll see.

We have two mother goats of the Boer breed (white with brown and black markings around the head and neck) who were each impregnated by a handsome white billy and each produced twins. One set of a male and a female are shades of brown, the other of two males are opposites, one all white like his daddy, the other all black like none of the rest.

Knowing nothing more, if you were required to bet on which kid is the odd one out, how would you place your money?

Years ago when there was only one main prison facility in the state and I was teaching psychology in the New Mexico Penitentiary, an albino Black man in my classes wrote a paper about the unique discrimination of being an “oddity” within his culture. I’ve read that in some African cultures, albinos are considered to be evil, and are persecuted and driven out, if not killed shortly after birth. Albino individuals in Caucasian society are also at risk of suffering from humanity’s’ general intolerance for differences.

Have you now concluded that, as is the case, the pure white kid is the one who is pushed away from food, isolated and scorned, and the only one whom our dog actively harasses? Was the white one also your first bet?

I can discipline my dog to refrain from attacking and harming the white goat. I can do little about its isolation by the rest of the herd, beyond assuring that it gets enough food which, given the large pasture they all inhabit, is fairly well guaranteed.

By extension, does that mean I am right to focus my energies these days within my own world where I can have some influence, perhaps make small changes for the better without wasting energy on much of the larger political scene? I sign the petitions to those I think will listen, or who may be influenced by sheer numbers; I don’t bother with the ones I am certain will fall on deaf ears.

And I continue to wonder about the evident cross-species tendency to exclude, ostracize, put down and otherwise do harm to those perceived as “different”. Have we any hope, as thoughtful human beings, of altering on a large scale what appears to be a fundamental biological motivation? Is the current atmosphere of intolerance and defensive anger perceived in many countries around the world, simply a resurgence of basic human nature rather than a “swing to the right” or some other philosophical trend?

I have no answers. I do take comfort from following Mrs. Obama’s advice to “focus on what you can control”. Anything else is just a waste of energy.

The challenge, of course, is discerning what one can – and one one can never – succeed in controlling!20170727_092225


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