Welcome to "walk" number six. I am discovering that I seem to be on an every-other-month schedule with these newsletters, although to some it may have seemed longer this last time. I write an Annual Letter every year around the holidays, which took the place of this newsletter in December. It is mostly about how the year went for me from a philosophical standpoint, so a little more on the personal side. I posted it at the web site, too, so if you are interested it is available for you to read, as are all my Annual Letters. If you are just tuning in now, you may wish to check out the May, June, July, September and November Newsletter archives, as well, the links for which you can find at the top of this page.
February Newsletter Contents:
Story Time...The Nature of Intimacy
Playground Activities and Calendar
Vacation Rental Specials
One aspect of relationship which I so often overlook is the time I spend with myself or another that is not about interacting. Being such an action-oriented gal, I am most comfortable when I are "doing" and I am quick to fill quiet moments with something, be it a movie, a chore, a phone call, an e-mail, a book, a new idea to ponder or whatever. I am very proactive in this regard, maybe even a little reactive at times. I imagine I am happiest when I am busy and busy means interacting. However, it becomes increasingly evident to me that the moments in which I allow myself to exist with the simple intention of being fluid and malleable are some of the best.
This morning I had finished cleaning the barn and was heading in to weigh hay, feed the rabbits, sheep and chickens and then go back into the house. Crossing the pasture with the empty wheelbarrow, I glanced around at the surrounding hills, now bright green with fresh, new grass. The tall pines were silhouetted against cloudy skies and the steady sound of the swollen creek mingled with the calls of wild turkeys just leaving their roosts to begin their daily foraging. As I drew nearer the horses I could hear the gentle sound of their munching. Indie ate at the feed box closest to where I park the wheelbarrow and I found myself considering the pleasures of his company. Speaking softly to him, I crawled through the pipe gate and joined him at his box. I was a little more tired than usual and it felt good to lean my elbows on the edge of the box and just allowed myself to be. Indie snuffled his nose deeper into the hay looking for the sweeter morsels of alfalfa amongst the more prevalent grasses. I just watched, unattached to his behavior or thoughts. It felt good to just hang out. Indie lifted his head and wiggled his lips in my hair and on my cheek. I let my head move around from the pressure of his touch. His breath was warm and sweet smelling and he left a wet smudge on my cheekbone. I stayed only a moment longer and then crawled back through the gate to finish up my morning chores.
This was just a short stop on the path, and so vitalizing. My awareness of the space I occupy and the movement therein is essential to my sense of empowerment and creativity in any segment of my life, be it my career, my marriage, my relationship with the animals, or even parenting. For example, I had a friend ask me for some small step she could take towards feeling better about her parenting. I said to her, "You know that old (and still valid) rule in airplanes, ‘Put your mask on before putting on your child's'? Well, that is what you will need to ponder here."
In other words, secure your own sense of well-being first. In my Harmony Programs with the horses, an important step to self empowerment and regaining the freedom to playfully create is the development of the ability to purposefully acquiesce space in order to allow movement, after which you can experience what it feels like to hold space and clear space. You can be entirely comfortable within a space of your choosing, knowing you are content with the movement that is in and around you.
Establishing your ability to acquiesce space means you have the desire and ability to be near another and you simply occupy space where it is available. You do not try to claim space another occupies or direct the movement in any way, but simply enjoy what is available, which can mean giving up space if necessary. I have found this is actually pretty easy once I commit to it. However, at first I tend to be nosey and needy. So, in order to create clarity for myself (in other words, to ground myself) I start with the concept of "Acquiescing Space". Among other things, it is fun and requires very little actual time commitment at first. My version of this "game" can be modified to fit your needs and you do not have to even tell anyone what you are doing.
So, here it is for you. Have fun!!!
"Acquiescing Space" Game
Decide on a time you will consciously become aware of the space you occupy and the space others (like one of your children or your dog or a co-worker) occupy. I recommend a time when there is only one other with you, but if this is not possible, choose the next easiest time. Choose a time that is normally pretty mellow as opposed to a typically chaotic time.
Next, allow yourself to just enjoy the space you are in. Notice the way things look, feel, smell, and sound. If this is not comfortable you may choose to move about doing whatever appeals to you, whether it is washing dishes, reading a book, filing papers, etc. and you can let the more passive state of allowing to come later. If the other makes a demand or wants to do something, completely acquiesce and allow them to direct the movement. (This of course does not mean allowing dangerous things to happen, so you use your judgment.) Give yourself up to the moment. You can do this for five minutes, ten minutes, 30 minutes...it is up to you. There is no right or wrong here, so you can learn as you go without guilt.
Story Time...The Nature of Intimacy
One thing I say quite frequently when I am coaching people is, "No two expressions of life can occupy the same exact space at the same time." This would be impossible, wouldn't it? And although we do not necessarily perceive this, there is always movement in and around us. Life is never stagnant. So, if no two expressions of life occupy the same space at the same time and there is always movement that means that each expression of life is always moving into a space that was vacated and, simultaneously, vacating one. It is an amazing and intimate dance and one of which we do not even need to be aware for it to happen. It is this dance that actually defines us as members of a larger whole and I have found that purposeful awareness of it in conjunction with deliberate making of choices surrounding the way I move invites incredible intimacy within the dance.
One of my most poignant lessons in this dance awareness was when I was in my late teens or early twenties. I took a speech class in which the very gifted teacher, Mrs. Carr, came up with simple "games" to heighten our awareness of the role we play in relationships. One of her games required we find a partner, which was not an uncommon requirement in classroom settings. However, it was that particular time that I deliberately decided to allow something to inspire me to move rather than to move because I was afraid to wait for inspiration. In other words, I did not crumble in fear that I must pick someone to avoid being partnerless.
I sat at my desk and contentedly waited for someone to pick me. I did not move from my desk, nor did I make pointed eye contact. I just sat there and waited. This guy, Bob, came to my desk and asked me if I would be his partner. I said yes, his request inspiring me to acquiesce. The next step in this game required I sit across from Bob and raise my palms so they faced towards his. Then, Mrs. Carr instructed us to begin "feeling" the other person's palms without actually touching. Once this was established, we were free to explore the other person's hands even more, but never touch. We could move wherever we wished with the intent to explore our space as it related to our partner's. That meant we were constantly vacating and filling space around each other and as it related to each other, but without ever making demands upon the other. It was a blast! We were sharing space and the intimacy that evolved was intense.
Nature moves with us in that way. Out in my woods there are deer, turkeys, bobcats, raccoons, opossums, jays, owls and hawks. There are firs, oaks, wild iris and blue-eyed grass. There are lady bugs, crickets, ants and worms. There is dirt, sweet and soft, supporting all this life. It fills and vacates space. Although, Nature is always present and intimacy can be felt, it deepens exponentially when we purposefully join this dance. When I am inspired to explore Nature, ideas, myself or friendships without making demands, I am caught in the most delightful net of sensuality. It is at those times that I become completely aware of my intrinsic connection to everything and I am at peace.
I am excited to tell you about my newest venture, T'women Productions ©. T'women evolved out of my desire to create something in tandem with other passionate coaches. Some of you have already been actively creating with me, even for years, which even further strengthens my desire to expand on this subject because it is such fun. The cool thing is I am putting together a page to be posted at my web site that will begin to bring to the forefront the opportunity for this powerful co-creating opportunity.
For me, one of the most exciting aspects to this new venture is my brand new (and still developing) Garden Tea Room, a room designed specifically for supporting gatherings during the Spring, Summer and Fall months. This room provides table or floor space for up to twelve participants (maybe more depending on your medium), warm lighting and a HD Flat Screen, as well as the potential for the preparation of hot or cold food and drinks. The gorgeous French doors open up onto the intimate garden area and then the wide-open pasture lands beyond that slope upwards to oak groves. There is easy access to Nature, the garden, the farm animals and the horses. There is also the Vacation Rental on the property, so perfect for residential gatherings.
However, it is not essential that we work together here at Full House Farm. I can go to your neck of the woods, too. Although I do travel for workshops elsewhere with no connection to any other facilitator, I actually prefer the idea of joining up with you. You have something uniquely yours and together we can be awesome! I want to stress here that the combination of talents is really quite limitless. It is mostly a matter of imagination. No matter if you are a tour planner, masseuse, author, cook, wild food instructor, yoga teacher, life coach, hospice caregiver, farmer, dancer, or whatever; I believe it is in the sharing of who we passionately are at our core that we invite others to do the same.
For those of you who decide it would be fun to put together a joint project, I envision this page being a place where I can highlight who YOU are and champion YOUR unique creation. You would be listed in alphabetical order with a picture of your choice and a paragraph about your work (play.) This would be followed with the dates and prices for our specific event or events, and contact information. All of this is my gift in appreciation of you.
If you are curious, have questions, want more details or whatever, just let me know and we will go from there. I am hoping to begin setting dates, gathering the information on you that I will need for the page, and having fun.
February / March Vacation Rental Special!
Mention this newsletter and receive 5-4-3. Book Sunday through Thursday and you will get all five nights for the price of three!!
Know anyone who could use this?Imagine arriving at Full House Farm Vacation Rental & Retreat for a short reprieve from your fast paced life. You drive down the driveway and park next to the little path leading towards the house. Climbing out of your car, stretching out the kinks, you follow the path into the lush, shaded landscape. Just over a little rise you hear the soft murmur of a waterfall as it tumbles into a small pond at the edge of the patio. A patio table and chairs call to you, but you decide to check out the house first. Inside, a bottle of locally grown and bottled wine sits on the kitchen table with two wine glasses beside it. On the counter is a tray with a luscious loaf of fresh-baked bread from