Thursday, May 26, 2016

I implore you...

I implore you:  Don't put your dreams on hold because you don't have enough time, money, energy, experience, youth, wisdom, courage, or the right life partner. Instead, follow your heart's pull towards your vision, even if it doesn't make sense in the conventional sense, even if it might go against the grain of how everyone else lives.


I'm saying this because the reality of death loomed large this week, which made me realize that if I died tomorrow, I could honestly say that I lived my unconventional life richer and fuller than I ever thought possible. I'm living my dream, homesteading in tune with nature's rhythms, homeschooling our children and teaching them how to care for the earth. We grow a lot of our food and raise goats and lots of other livestock. I have always wanted this kind of simple life.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the work, or I get impatient because I want more of my dreams to be realized faster.  But then things get put back into perspective, just like it happened this week.

This week, my friend's husband (just a little older than my own husband) died in a horrific car accident. They have four children who are now fatherless. Two days after this happened, I sang with my a cappella group at a memorial service, where about a hundred people gathered to celebrate the life of a woman who used to rescue Greyhound dogs and was Mother to all. At this memorial, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen for ten years, and he told me that our mutual friend (who used to be my best friend before we had a falling out) had shot herself after a terrible battle with breast cancer that I didn't know about.


I came home that night dazed, rattled and deeply sad. First, I hugged my family. Second, I stepped out into our wilderness backyard and sucked in the sweet scent of honeysuckle that is climbing the side of our house.  Third, I walked to the goat barn and sat down in the straw to play with the baby goats, who happily jumped on my lap, leapfrogged in the air and head-butted each other.  Goat babies are the best cure for sadness.



I know that I could die tomorrow and that life could be over in a second.  The absolute worst thought is that something terrible might happen to my kids or husband.  It could happen to me, to you, to all of us, and that's why I'm saying: don't put off your dreams or live in fear.  Let's live with gratitude for what we have, and let's do it with gusto.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for these beings in my life:





And I can't tell you how grateful I am that I have mustered the courage to follow my heart, even if it seemed crazy to others - but always, always felt right in my own heart.

I am blessed with amazing people who call me friend and family.  I am blessed with our piece of land that sustains us.  Our garden is flourishing and will nourish us for many months.  











Oh, and six baby piggies joined our homestead this week.  They're loving all the fresh pasture, organic non-gmo grain and whey from my cheesemaking.





Now I would love to hear from you in the comments.  What are some dreams that you have been putting off?  And if you feel like it, share why.  It's good to be witnessed and heard, and I witness and hear you.


29 comments:

  1. Love this post. I JUST asked Hewitt if he might write about death and impermanence. (how coincidental). My best friend who is a few years younger than me has survived for 3 years with an unsurvivable brain cancer. Now they tell her they can't do anything more so she calls me slurring her words and says something about having lunch and then playing a lot in the next few months before she goes bye-bye.

    I struggle. I surrender to the struggle.

    I sent away for a book by Stephen Jenkinson called "Die Wise" (not "dee- veesa", I keep laughing about that). I had read a interview with him in The Sun. I have NO one to counsel me how to think or consider dropping the body so I am turning to his words.

    I, myself, got close to death in 2011 when I contracted Valley Fever. I always acted as if I was invincible up until then.

    Now I'm struggling daily to NOT be impatient because I, too, get overwhelmed with how much work a homestead is. I also am very impatient. Yesterday I thought "I have Poverty Fatigue!" I can't accomplish my goals because we are so broke. My little job does not start until August. In the meantime, how to stay. How to stay with the feelings that come up.

    I have nothing.

    It's somewhat depressing but do not read into my words. I am not depressed. No feeling is final. But death is. So what then?

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    1. Ohhhhh.... this sounds so hard with your friend and her brain cancer. Struggling and surrendering, struggling and surrendering... Yes...
      I also read the interview with Stephen Jenkinson in the Sun and loved it. What an amazing heart this man has, and what wisdom. I think you did well ordering his book.
      Interesting choice of words (Die Wise) because (Die Wiese) in German is The Meadow. Hmmmmm.....
      I chuckled over the word "Poverty Fatigue". Steve and I were so very, very poor most of our marriage, and now we are not very, very poor, but just kind of poor, although I do feel very rich.
      Sending you love, Renee, and I don't read depression into your words: just authenticity, and a woman who is struggling to surrender because she is sick of being poor and afraid of loosing her best friend. Sending so much love your way, dear.

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    2. Thank you Corina. It means so much to me that I have your sympathy and understanding. Your words brought tears to my eyes. And.... German is such a smart, poetic language. Maybe Jenkinson would appreciate that his book has an alternate title like that.

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    3. If somehow it is meant to be that you succeed you will. There will always turn up a solution in one way or the other.
      Judging by the conversations we had, this place is meant for you. And you will receive help or solutions in due time. My own path has convinced me that this is the way. We are given goals, we are given lessons and we will receive help, when we truly need that. But we will also receive reminders to not forget our lessons, current or previous!
      So... step back. Look at what you had, look at what you have and look at what your goal is..... Break down the trajectory in small steps, overseeable projects, but above all have faith. faith in yourself and faith in what is coming your way.
      You will make it, if it is meant to be. And only you know if that is so.

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    4. Very, very true. Everything you say is true. When I am in fear I get really worried and don't know what to do. It's hard to remember to just let it be and wait. You know. I know you know. Both of you. So I really appreciate your words and wisdom. I am really looking forward to reading that book.

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  2. After recovery from an inexplicable heart attack I had 22 years ago, I considered every experience and connection a bonus and a gift. I had forgotten. I now remember. Thank your for the nudge.

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    1. It's easy to forget these things when our lives are going so well. I do remember when my son Luke almost died from a heart aneurysm, and how very precious our lives are. I am glad you are in mine, Rob!

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  3. My heart goes out to you for your losses. My brother's suicide at the end of 2013 was a very big wake up call to me. It made me realize how little difference I was making in the world, plodding along like I was asleep, putting off the things I wanted to do because of some perceived lack (time, money, etc. etc.), being alone because I was afraid to put myself out there. Once I woke up, I stopped bemoaning my lot in life and started putting things in motion - I met my husband; became a step-mother; we've started planning for a family together; we've expanded our gardens and started raising chickens to sustain us; we support my best friend's farm (where I get my goat's milk from and where we will eventually get our own goats from); we're supporting wild bees now, until we can get our own honey bees next year; I've started switching us over to homemade and homegrown, rather than store bought and unsustainable. And I've never been happier.

    Thank you for sharing your stories, your recipes, your pictures and your life with us. I find great inspiration in all of it!

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    1. Tiffany,

      what you just wrote is very inspiring to ME! It sounds like you stopped being a victim and became a co-creator with life, taking charge of your destiny! And look at you now: You've never been happier! That makes me happy!

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  4. I'm really grateful to read this today. We're about to embark on a new journey with my husband going back to school. The change has been a little overwhelming as I look at all we need to take care of and we have some health issues with one of my children looming. Yet it feels right and continuing in our current course does not and truly won't be possible for long in any case. So thanks for the reminder. It will be better! Thanks too for building this place to come that is always inspiring and a place of peace to me. Thanks for sharing your lives!

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    1. Chiska,
      Good point: change and following our hearts can feel overwhelming, but we still know that it's the right thing to do. It doesn't mean change is easy, but if we truly listen to our gut and believe that things will be better, they will be! Good luck in your journey. I'm glad I can help a little by inspiring you and offering a peaceful place for you!

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  5. great reminders, corina. i'm sorry to hear of such loss among your friends and community. you always seem to have the right perspective and sensitivity. xo (and how about that tree stump crow pose?)

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    1. Yes! Lukas is doing this crow pose everywhere: on tree stumps, on logs sticking over rivers (Yikes!), on the beach in the sand... He's a strong guy, that one!

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  6. What a gorgeous space you have! I often get overwhelmed by all the work too, but it certainly is worth it, isn't it?

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  7. I read Jenkinson's book and it rocked and rattled me into the deepest chasms of my soul.....
    Anyone who can read that one until the end will emerge, changed fundamentally. It will forever alter one's view on life and life (general and one's own).
    I am sorry for your sadness, because loved ones have died, but it is something we all must and will do one day, at any given moment and realising that takes us one step closer to "dying wise".

    and I very much can relate to poverty and impatience. The prior has lifted slightly these last few months, the other one is still very much on the daily agenda..... but I do believe that people like us live much more fully, colorfully and deliberately, simply because these "limiting" factors force us to! We are the lucky ones!

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    1. Okay, that's it. I'm ordering Jenkinson's book.
      And, you are right: we are the lucky ones, indeed!

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    2. By all means; DO!!
      It is by no means an easy book. You will most likely not finish it within a week. Took me nearly three months. But it is so worth it! Or was so to me.

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    3. That we are lucky is a really interesting way of looking at it. Not what most people would think. But I can see that not being rich and having to figure things out for myself and work like a dog has made me a fuller person. Maybe stronger. So, yes, I can see how that makes us lucky. Just some days I really think winning the lottery would be really nice!

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  8. When I lived in CA I loved gardening. Then we moved to N. NM and the season is very short here and at a high altitude gardening isn't easy. Two years ago I had a problem with my heart. Now I take several medications and recently got Neuropathy in my feet. It is painful to walk and I have a hard time getting myself in the garden although I want to very much. I have decided that what I need is to hire someone to help me garden and then I can get something accomplished. As for friends dying, it seems to be all around us right now. Our neighbor's daughter who is only 48 has metastatic cancer and has come home to Hospice. What can I do? I can bring food and be present with her and her mother. Having worked for Hospice for many years I understand how important it is to just show up if you can and be present. There is very little to say but being willing to do some small thing like bring food or just sit by a friend's bedside and hold their hand for a short while is very helpful.

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    1. Whatever it takes! If it's to hire someone to help you garden, that is great. I bet your helper will enjoy the time in the garden as well.
      About your neighbor who has cancer: your presence is the biggest gift, showing up, supporting them, being helpful is very, very powerful. Good for you. Bless you.

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  9. Corina, every word you wrote is so true! We never know what's around the corner. I'm well into middle age, edging on old! I think a lot about what I want for my next chapter as I near retirement. I've lived my whole life in Ilinois and it's not where my heart is, except that my whole family is here. My dream is a house on a few acres where my husband can have his garden and the dog has space to run. Where my grandchildren can come and stay with us. I'd love some chickens, maybe some goats, and a horse! Do you think 60 is too old to learn how to care for those animals? I love reading your blog because I feel your life is so beautiful.

    So sorry for the losses you had this week. Thinking of you.

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    1. Okay, lady, let me tell you somethin': 60 is not to old to start! Just start small instead of getting a whole huge flock of chickens or goats. A few chickens will be such a pleasure. And a couple of goats are doable!
      Actually, I am right now working on an online course for raising chickens AND goats!!! So maybe you can take a course when I'm ready to launch it! (I even filmed my goat giving birth to triplets for it!)

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    2. I can tell you what starting out at 65 feels like and it's definitely not as easy as 25, for example, but as Corina says you sure can! We can all help you when you start doing it. I agree with Corina to start with chickens and goats. I'd wait on the horse. I often thought how I could be if I had stayed in Iowa instead of coming to California and I can think of 100 ways to be happy. Being near family is a big big blessing. If you love your family. It's worth almost any sacrifice. Illinois is sweet. It has great soil. The people are amazing.

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    3. Thank you! Your words give me hope I can have what I desire! I'll take you up on the offers of help! My husband is already retired and I'm not far behind. Just have to convince him! The horse may be a dream, but I may be able to do the chickens and goats.

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    4. Corina, so glad to have found your blog.

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  10. Corina, every word you wrote is so true! We never know what's around the corner. I'm well into middle age, edging on old! I think a lot about what I want for my next chapter as I near retirement. I've lived my whole life in Ilinois and it's not where my heart is, except that my whole family is here. My dream is a house on a few acres where my husband can have his garden and the dog has space to run. Where my grandchildren can come and stay with us. I'd love some chickens, maybe some goats, and a horse! Do you think 60 is too old to learn how to care for those animals? I love reading your blog because I feel your life is so beautiful.

    So sorry for the losses you had this week. Thinking of you.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this with us in a beautiful, touching way. These reminders are like a 2 x4 upside the heart, though a real 2 x 4 would be less painful. There were a lot of things my mother was going to do after she retired, but instead, she died when she was only 56. I learned a lot from that difficult lesson. I have one more big thing to accomplish, and that's my dream.

    My dream. I'm going to muster up the courage to write the book I've always wanted to write, sell it, and see it in print. Blogging is an easier way to put myself under a microscope than the book has been. I am going to get there. I am.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your dream with us. You WILL get there, Robin! If the book is your heart's dream, you will write it, and the right circumstances will conspire together to get it published.
      So sorry to hear about your mother's death. What a difficult lesson to learn: not putting off our dreams, because you never know what's around the corner. Sending you love!

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