Today is Sunday and it was a Sunday kind of day. My day begins at 6am with the crowing of the biggest, blackest cock around, followed by the rest of the ranch gang waking up hungry. Somehow without the help of digital watches, satellites and cell phones, each mouth asking to be fed also has a stomach clock that keeps perfect time.
Gus and Woodrow, the burro brothers, start baying at exactly 7am, followed immediately by the neighing of their stable mates, Susu and Chico. The gang of three, Tommy, Edna and Chuy pipe in reminding me that there is no way I am going to the barn without feeding morning kibble. Whining as though their last meal was a week ago, I do my best to avoid the guilt tripping noise surrounding me as I drink my amazing cup of cappuccino.
Here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, my usual Sundays are catch up days. Days to review the upcoming week, finish up writing projects, take care of animals and talk with my family. Sometimes this day can actually feel stressful and filled feelings of, “I just don’t want to do anything today.” Sometimes I feel resentful that I can’t just hang out. Sometimes I think if I only had two more days of uninterrupted hours to get ahead of the game.
A whack on the side of the head moment came crashing down just after I finished cleaning the stables and feeding the horses when my beautiful “branches hanging down to the ground” Pirule Tree whispered to me, “Hey, aren’t you in charge of your life? Stop whining, come and sit.” Even though my ranch home with animals has been my lifelong dream, I rarely just stop, look and listen to the heartbeat of my land.
So I pause, wondering what drives me to keep going on a day that is called, “The day of rest.” Raised by depression survivor parents, my childhood was filled with messages about how to live my life. Messages such as, “Don’t stop until you are finished, never stop or the wolf will crash through the door, work hard then harder, keep your nose to the grindstone, you can rest when you are dead and my favorite, “an honest days work for an honest days pay.”
While these messages might seem old-fashion and no longer relevant in today’s self-focused world of pleasure and “me-ism,” being a post-war baby boomer meant a beautiful childhood of safety, innocence and playing outside in the dark. Growing up in the very best time ever in the United States to parents of Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation has been my life’s biggest gift. Parental words of advice have been the foundation and fertilizer of who I am today.
As I sit under my secret hiding place with the gang, I consider the pull between taking time to just go with the flow and messages from my childhood, coming to the decision that seeking balance now is my mission. Now working at a different speed, not necessarily less, just working with awareness that I now have choice about the “how” of working. Pause and listen long enough to know that the world will not come crashing down if I sit under my tree today and possibly end the day with an incomplete to do list (with the exception of hungry mouths satisfied).
So happy I took my time to enjoy the empty, silent, “pregnant with potential” white space today. So I sit longer than I could of imagined, watching the sun cross the sky and say, “Thank you!”
I loved and related to every piece of this story. Even got a little misty about our luck to grow up with the freedom and safety of the 50’s and early 60’s.
How fortunate we are in every way and yes, let’s take the time to reflect and appreciate all we have.
Hi Pam, Yes, both of us were especially lucky to have continued our “growing up” in Hawaii!
I love reading your messages, always so positive! I’m glad you’re doing well. Please let me know if you ever need to make a trip to Houston. I’ll happily be your “Uber” driver!
Thank you always for your thoughts. Would love to see you again in Houston!
Beautiful sharing and reminder that we are in control. I needed that message today:)
Boxing Beth, Miss boxing with you every day. Looking forward to your return to San Miguel de Allende!
Just exactly what I needed to hear this morning as I make some decisions in my life about where I need to be and what I need to be doing with the rest of my life. Today is a day of white space for me. Thanks Janis! Loving you from Texas!
Betsy, My long time friend! Thank you for letting me know that my story touched you!
Beautifully written and thank you for making me aware of why I am always driven…..and I do not have a ranch!
Hi Joan, Your drive comes from years of being an athlete. What else could you use that amazing force for now at this point in your life?