Sunday, March 17, 2013

What's Stopping You?


There are few guarantees in life. Stability, certainty, and financial soundness aren't any of them. What is a rock solid theory, though, is that life is a high percentage what you make it. I don't think I fully comprehended the "attitude is everything" cliche until I was well into my thirties. And some lessons are still hard to fully learn. Some, still, are not learned yet.



Some days it isn't all pretty chickens, egg counts and Jersey cows with hats on, here. But what I can be sure of is that the consequences of taking risks must be worth the effort. How does the old quote go? "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." Eisenhower. Rest assured, dear reader, that one day may look entirely different from the next, here, and then...some days simply repeat themselves.

Lately it seems that the less I try to control things (money, weather, laundry, dishes, child, etc.) the more they work themselves out. This is not to say that I don't constantly, on some level, touch base with the consciousness that wants to scream, "You don't have a JOB," but I keep it at arms length. I do know there are many out there that worry enough for all of us combined. And it isn't really any of their business.

Fear can be a motivator. It keeps us from stepping out into a busy avenue without looking right, left, then right again, first. It can also cause paralysis: That mountain is too high to climb, I'd rather just sit down. Fear can be an instigator, "you tried that once already, and failed, what makes you think you can do it right this time?" Fear can squash our dreams. If we let it. Fear can distract you, for instance: I'm supposed to be writing an essay in my Social Problems course about euthanasia, but I'd rather be here, pontificating with you.



Life = experience. How do we gain experience if we don't "do" and "be" what we want? This isn't to say we should just give in to the whims of the hedonistic human nature and only do what the ego would benefit from. This is to say, what makes you come alive? What do you do that makes time stand still? What happens to you when your work feels like your play? Chase that. Believe that you are deserving of your dream. Don't take anyone else's negativity to heart. It isn't yours - it's theirs. Let them carry it around for it is heavy.

By contrast to doing what you love, how does it feel when there is too much on your plate and you've said "yes" when you really meant to say "no?" Tipping, sliding, grasping, and dropping things is absolutely counter-productive to living the life you want. We can't have it all. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I present the truth. It's impossible. We must pick one. We can't be IN the world and OF the world. We can't serve two masters. This does have some spiritual connotation to it, but really, it is meant more as a way to capture the full meaning of living the life we dare to dream or never daring to live the dream life for fear of not being accepted. Or the fear of failure.

How do we get there from here? Right now, there's an old outdoor water stove outside that's on his last leg, so to speak, and we're fairly sure that the ugly beast is well over 20 years, perhaps into the early thirties. He has served us well for over 3 solid years - nonstop, winter, spring, summer, and fall - and even though it is an inanimate object, the squeaking door, the smoke-belching pipe has been an integral part of our homesteading and daily survival here on the farm. From hot water for dishes and showers to heating the 123 year old wooden-girl that is our home. The answer is one day at a time.



We don't "happen" all at once. Life is the accumulation of those "bit by bit" pieces that may be a mix of sweet, bitter, salty, and downright rotten. We compost. We turn. We burn. We dissipate. And sometimes we steam. In the journey, though, is the realization that we must listen close to that still, small, voice. What do we want? And then, when we have figured that out, we need to ask ourselves one. more. question. What is stopping us?


Then, we tackle the answer to that question one. day. at. a. time.

Doing something you know to be true to yourself is terrifying. Shocking. Wave-making. Gossip-starting. Are you afraid not of what is stopping you but of what others might think? We all are. Even if we say we aren't.



Tonight I'm a farmhousewife. A un-knowing and un-sure entrepreneur. A farmer. A mother. A lover of the simple (but hard!) life. Tomorrow I might be a housecleaner. The day after that a student. The day after that I might be wondering how I'm going to turn vegetables, eggs, and crocheted rag-rugs into income for my family to use as a tool to continue this simple (but hard!) life. One day at a time. Do what you love. Figure out what is stopping you and use the fear as a motivator. In the next two years, I will be second-guessing my commitment of continuing my education in order to chase my lifelong dream of working with individuals and horses with the goal of helping people. It isn't an option, though, for me. It is what I must do.

What's stopping you?



Don't answer me. Answer you. Aspire to make a difference, not just a living. Join me.



13 comments:

Shannon Thompson said...

I am with with you my friend...and I am so proud of you! It is beautiful to watch you step out on faith into the unknown....as it turns out the net is slowly appearing in many different ways...

Julie said...

Beautiful.

Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl said...

I love this and agree completely.

Lesa said...

Wonderful Sheila!

Gretchen Stuppy Carlson said...

Shiela - what a wonderful post! There are so many things stopping us, holding us, controlling us, yet we have the power to make changes and the rethink what we want in our lives. Wonderful words!

Gretchen Stuppy Carlson said...

And I just totally spelled your name wrong - blurg!

A View From A Brown Dog said...

What a wonderful post, wise words friend. I couldn't agree more!

Shanyn Cascia said...

Wonderful, wonderful essay Sheila! Thank you for sharing and I couldn't agree more. I am sure you will inspire and encourage many through your journey.

Sheila Menendez said...

Thank you, dear Jen, I appreciate your words.

Sheila Menendez said...

Thanks, Shanyn, I'm grateful you stopped by - thanks for the encouragement!

Meredith/GreenCircleGrove said...

Well done! Very wise words, Sheila. I believe you are already making a difference in more lives than you can imagine.

A Daughter of the King said...

Love is the perfect motivator ~ Love never fails.

A Daughter of the King said...

Love is the perfect motivator ~ Love never fails.