Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Losing My Mind In Manual Labour

This was a day of work. Non-writing work. For the first hour this morning, knowing I wasn't going to my office, knowing every plan for the day involved things other than writing, I was a bit twitchy. Because writing is what I do, it's what I want to do. There's always something to write (ahem - as I'm doing now at the end of a non-writing day). 
But in my quest for better balance, I decided physical labour was called for. A day of work.

And as you know, I love cleaning out the chicken coop. It's not such a chore in the warm weather, when there are fewer layers of poop and shavings to dig up. As I shovelled and swept, I thought about when I was taking riding lessons in 2016, and how about a week after the election of you-know-who in the United States, I needed to get out of the house. So I went to the barn and cleaned my lesson horse. I did his hooves and curried his coat then brushed him out all over, and combed his mane and tail. The barn was empty and quiet, the radio wasn't on, and I didn't say much more to the horse than, "Good boy". 
I needed the silence and the work. The distraction from the world that silence and work provides. 

I needed the sense of accomplishment -- the sight of accomplishment -- that comes with physical work, with cleaning or building or planting or mowing. Something gets DONE and it looks good so it feels good. 

That's what I remembered today as I worked away in the chicken coop, cleaning out the main coop and the "nursery" where Phyllis and Little Cheepers are living. How I needed to "escape" and find quiet, to "escape" and rest my mind. 
As in November 2016, there is so much -- sound -- shouting -- discussing -- telling -- so many words -- so much information -- so many ideas -- coming at us these days. 
Read this, say that, don't say that, do this, don't do that. A mind cannot absorb it all in two weeks. A mind cannot process and realize and alter its patterns with all that -- noise -- all those -- voices. 
We need to step away from the TV and the timelines, from flipping channels and scrolling feeds, from listening and watching and talking...
...and find silence and manual labour.

Change only comes after contemplation. And contemplation is only possible when the body is engaged and the mind drops into neutral. 

We must learn to sit with what we're being told, with what we're being asked to believe and accept and act upon. Without silence and manual labour, we can't begin to do that other work. 

We must learn to sit  and be still.
To not think -- and let our subconscious do its work of revealing and releasing and showing us the way. 
We must take a moment to sit and watch a hen and her chick. To listen to the work she does of teaching, to hear the different sounds she makes that indicate a different kind of knowledge. To learn from her how to scratch for food, how to watch for danger, how to sit in the sun and let your feathers get warm, how to snuggle in under a wing and rest. 

The chick is starting to show her Barred Rock feathers. 

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