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It was the hardest winter in the sixty-plus year history of our family ranch. Record rains, snow and freezing weather many times from December through early March. The extremely abnormal weather put a big stress on the pregnant mama cow’s right at the time they were ready to give birth.

We had several cows with newborns that needed a stay at “Hotel Corral” where they had shelter, extra hay and room service (high protein grass pellets) delivered in the morning by yours truly. We had four calves who lost their mothers from complications pre-or-post birth and a young first-calf heifer who we had to help give birth, pulling the calf as she pushed. Its head was too big and both could have died. Thankfully they are doing great now.

I helped bottle feed the calves, massage them, encourage them to walk and love them. Being in close relationship, I began to recognize the unique soul signature of each calf, cow or bull just like I see my dog and humans.

It was emotionally hard to witness them suffer, while doing all we could to help. It brought up a lot of questions for me. I’ve always felt good about the way our family raises cattle organically, the old-fashioned way. Lots of room to roam, graze and in winter hay cut from our own non-chemically treated fields.

Now I was asking myself uncomfortable questions. What is my relationship with eating meat? How did humans become so detached from the source of their food? And what is my soul agreement with each of the calves who I know are being raised to be someone’s dinner in a couple of years?

Hard realities for a cattle rancher’s daughter to look at after being away from it for 25 years. I bonded and had a soulful relationship with each of these calves. My soul agreement was to love them and care for them while learning the signs of health and illness. These vulnerable orphans taught me about bonding, showed me what their souls were interested in experiencing by being born as a cow or bull, and helped me surrender, what is out of my control, a little more.

I used my energy tools to give healing to each of the calves and their mamas. I became particularly attached to a calf I named Teardrop, whose mom died when he was four days old.  On his white face, he had a little black teardrop mark by his right eye (he’s pictured in this post).

It is a rare occurrence to have a bottle-fed-calf at our ranch. We aren’t set-up for it long-term. So Dad ran an ad on craigslist to find someone interested in bottle calves, typically it’s a 4H kid. I prayed that whoever would come for the bottle calves would give them a good home.

The next day a couple came out to take a look at Teardrop and decided to take his buddy too. They have a big cattle ranch in Montana (not a feed lot) with mother cows who had lost calves. They planned to match these calves up with new mamas, using the method my grandpa used long ago to get the mother cows to accept a calf that isn’t their own.

While I know, their ultimate fate hasn’t improved, this is the best possible scenario for the days they get to enjoy being a soul in a calf’s body. As I explore my soul agreements with animals and that responsibility, I am learning from my ranch experiences that even if my encounter is brief, I have an opportunity to honor each unique soul and offer love.

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Last Friday at our family ranch, I stretched out on the grass in a cow pasture looking up at the pale blue sky.  Doing nothing but listening to the sounds of birds, bugs, gurgling water and a breeze gently blowing in the trees.  The moment of rest and nothingness penetrated my soul.  It dropped me into a place of awareness of all the distractions I’d been carrying in my body and mind from the psychic density of living in the city and the busyness of day-to-day activity.  It felt as if the earth instantly absorbed the entire disturbance that had been filling my mind and the tension in my body.

I found a deep inner-peace and gratitude for the beauty, raw ciaos and simplicity of plant and animal life.  It made me think of our human tendency to seek purpose.  In the desire to find some greater meaning in life, we believe the cultural programming that our purpose is outside of us, something we do, some function we fulfill in the world. 

Those things that make us feel joy tend to be attributed the label of our purpose: creative arts, music, writing, activities that have an element of service to others. We want to clearly see what our purpose is and we want it to be fixed, one thing for our entire lifetime.  When we experience purpose for awhile through some activity like being a parent, or working on a creative project, then that stage of our life comes to transition or completion; we feel a sense of meaninglessness or lack of purpose again.  The self questioning begins.  

We struggle with a desire to know our purpose and want a life focus that is guaranteed to give us a sense of fulfillment.  We are haunted with a subtle yet chronic dissatisfaction and sense of yearning, feeling unfulfilled, looking for this purpose outside of ourselves.  We decide that we are doing the wrong job or in the wrong relationship because we don’t feel satisfied.  We give our power to this concept of finding a purpose beyond simply living.  We feel disappointment and self-judgment that we haven’t figured it out yet. 

It appears from the outside that other people have figured it out.  We see the bright light of successful athletes, actors, writers, politicians, healers, musicians.  We believe that they have a sense of purpose and are at peace because they are living their dream.  Yet it is an illusion. Those in these positions that venture to reveal their humanity will confess they still question their purpose.

We have been sold a collective lie, a belief that if we discover something to do that is our purpose we will feel forever fulfilled and at peace.  But the source of fulfillment and inner-peace isn’t a job or a relationship; it’s in our approach to every day activity. 

While I sat in the pasture noticing the cattle grazing, birds soaring and little bugs foraging for food, I realized that they were at peace with simply eating, drinking, sleeping and creating a nest. They didn’t experience dissatisfaction.  There was no belief that something out in the future, some bit of insight or self-awareness that they hadn’t figured out yet was going to make them perpetually feel better.

A more satisfying focus of our energy, than this illusive question of purpose, is identifying what creates a sense of meaningfulness in our lives. Here are some possibilities to contemplate:

  • Connecting with others through conversation and touch
  • Creative expression and sharing our creations with others
  • Having interests that keep us curious to know more
  • Setting goals that are attainable
  • Teaching, parenting, learning, nurturing
  • Knowing we have friends to call on when in need
  • Spending time outdoors or creating a beautiful sanctuary in our home

The belief that we haven’t figured out or are not living our purpose, denies our power to create a meaningful life.  It leads us to focus on people or activities outside of ourselves that we think are to blame for our lack of satisfaction and to judge ourselves.  The deeper need behind the quest to find our life purpose is our desire for fulfillment.  Sustainable inner-peace comes from choosing what inspires, expands and energizes us day-to-day.

Snowboarding and skiing exercise the same muscles we use to access our intuition.  Here are five ways that they can contribute clarity to other areas of your life:   

1) Align with Your YES

Flying downhill at high speed with gravity as your motor, split second decisions are your power.  Every turn, every choice of direction is an inner yes that aligns you with the mountain and puts a smile on your face.  When your choices align with your yes they bring pleasure.  Your intuition is validated and responds by informing you with increasing speed and accuracy.

2) Wipeout Prevention

To survive and stay injury free skiing you must pay attention and be present in the moment.  The consequence of having your mind on anything but what you are doing is painful. The same is true when acting on your inner-guidance.  Being distracted muddles your perception, often with painful results.

3) Give Your Analyzer a Break

Snowboarding connects you with your inner child.  As a kid you didn’t spend so much time analyzing life. You were curious, playful and stuck your tongue out to taste the falling snow.   Trusting your intuition requires that you approach life with child like openness to non-linear answers.

4) Read Your Surroundings

Navigation of the slopes includes maintaining awareness of the skiers around you.  A portion of your consciousness is engaged in quickly reading what those in your path will do next to prevent collision.  Your intuitive guidance is meant to help you navigate life through perception of how those around you are behaving. Then direct your life in a way that stays on course and avoids negative impact.

5) Move Forward in Whiteout Conditions

When there’s poor visibility, flat light or blizzard conditions, the way to stay injury free is to relax your body, trust its perception and response to the terrain.  If you try to be in physical control rather than flow, your body will be stiff when you hit a bump, launching you in an unintended direction.  When you strain to see what is not ready to be seen you meet whiteout conditions.  Relaxation of control is required for supportive information to flow.

So get out there and rip it up! Your body and soul will thank you.

Divine Provision

Natalie —  September 15, 2010 — Leave a comment
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This content is for members only

Moving Forward

Natalie —  July 2, 2010 — 7 Comments
This content is for members only

This content is for members only