First. let me take a moment to acknowledge each and every one of you who take the time to read my words. Knowing some of you do read these posts helps to keep me on track, and dedicated to my own commitment to write these posts, but most importantly it helps me to stay true to my commitment to myself. Thank you for that, I need the push right now. Some days daily. For that I thank you, and send my loving gratitiude to you all <3
Lately it has been getting a bit more challenging for me in choosing a theme for my blog. The world is spinning in such chaotic circles at the moment, defining ONE theme when so much is happening.... when so much can be said.... so much confusion, pain, anger, hate, division.... Looking around the world, in the news and in our own home communities, I am seeing widespread FEAR. An emotion that most of us would rather not face or ever feel. This is something that we, in white priveldged western society, have been very privledged to be protected from due to the service men and women willing to stand up to protect us. Fear itself is in fact an emotion, and like all emotions, they exist to give us information that is vital to our survival, and overall well-being. I will definitely get into that much more later on in this post. For now, let me introduce my GotW. This absolute darling, sweet, young man is SRM Remus. I chose him to go along with this week's theme due to his own struggles with processing his own fear, and how he has worked through so many of those issues. Young Remus was born sensitive to the energy and emotions of others, and was also a bit delayed in developing when compared to his peers, which added some additional challenges to his early months.
Remus and his beautiful twin sister Nymphadora, were born on May 17, 2018. They were the first kids born during my "Harry Potter" naming theme. Remus originally started out as being called "Newt", but I eventually settled on naming him Remus - the decision always comes down to the personality having to fit the character name from my theme (nerdy, I know). They were born just a few weeks prior to our major farm move to the Woodfield True Nature Campus property, and at a very exciting and rather unstable time. This unfortunately for Remus, added to the challenges he was already facing. When Remus was born, his umbilical cord was caught up with his sister, and as she was born first, he became oxygen deprived for a brief time during the birthing process. This may have caused some lasting damage to Remus's cognitive abilities. I don't think many visitors ever notice anything different about him. For me, it often just appears that Remus takes longer to process information than the rest of the herd. Therefore it often looks like Remus behaves with a bit of a delayed reaction - or in some cases, a VERY delayed reaction. Often when he was quite young, by the time Remus would react to a situation, his herd has already fled, leaving him behind and running frantic to catch up. I do believe that during the first few months of his life, these delays caused undue fear stress to be more active in his life than his herdmates. When we moved, the entire herd had to adjust to a completely knew and unknown environment. We moved from a forest setting to a vast open sky. It was a pretty hard transition for my gang and for the first few weeks they were quite afraid to venture out into the open. Herd animals, like goats, have horizontal pupils that give them an amazing 350 degree visual range. However the downside to this is no vision above their heads, making them very vulnerable from above. This change was hard on them all and it took weeks before I could walk my herd out in the open after the move. For weeks every time a large bird flew overhead and cast a shadow while we were out on a walk, the entire herd would all flee back to the safety of the barn - leaving Remus behind of course. Each time this happened, I think poor Remus was traumatized a bit. I was there so he was never in any actual danger, but I don't think he felt that way about it, and besides, nature doesn't agree with us silly humans anyways. :)
Due to the potential brain injury he suffered, Remus took a lot longer to learn things such as the simple routine of where he was fed twice a day, and how we generally worked with the herd. Most goats can learn something with three repitions if they are willing and curious - which almost all are. With Remus however, due to no fault of his own, there are parts of our routine that I am not sure he will EVER learn. For example, something I witness him do OFTEN. At feeding time, we put all the grain bowls down in a seperate area and then let the herd in to eat. This happens almost every time unless I specifically intervene. Remus will be facing the opposite direction the herd is, so he won't notice the gate open, or the herd leave. He will continue to just stand there while everyone else has left, and is eating. Eventually he will turn around, and panic because everyone is gone! He has missed out on meals because of this, so I try to be diligent to make sure he is paying attention before opening the gate. This is not so much an issue for Remus now that he is 2, but when he was smaller the other kids his age bullied him relentlessly. It seemed to me that he was an easy target. I don't stand for bullying of any kind and that includes within my herd. I do have a few bullies and Remus's own mom Maisie is the biggest and meanest bully I have in the herd. Part of the training the herd gets is also in being kind to each other - which they are happy to oblige with as long as I am within eyesight for the most part. You can't blame a goat for being it's true nature, and goats do enjoy a good fight afterall!
For weeks now, due to the pandemic, as well as a multitude of other issues, we have been inundated with the emotion of fear. Fear of a virus. Fear of recession. Fear of more lockdowns, more restrictions, etc. For some, there is even worse fear of racism or even being murdered by the very people paid to protect us. Currently there is violence and unrest across the entire globe, as well as a plethora of things in our daily lives that will cause us all to feel fear. So what does fear want us to know? What is the messge in fear? The messge in fear is: There is an imminent threat to one's physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well being. So how do you honour your fear when you feel it? You ask the questions: "What is the threat?", "What must I do to move to a position of safety in relation to that threat?" We all have had to make adjustments in our lives to deal with the new threats facing us in 2020. We know there is a virus that threatens us, so we take precautions, we socially distance, we wear a meask etc. Once we take actionable steps to reduce the risk to ourselves, we need to allow the emotion (fear in this case) to move through us. When we hang on to the emotion it will intensify. In the case of fear, it will intensify into anxiety, confusion, sleeplessness, dulling of the senses, panic, terror, dissassociation and other physical and emotional effects. Animals are amazing teachers in that they can give us perspective in order to normalize so much for us. Humans are funny in how we over analyze or even make assumptions instead of just asking questions, seeking information and making necessary decisions based on that information. When learning about emotions with animals as our teachers, we open ourselves to wonderful opportunities of observing how they deal with situations and compare it to our own lives. As I was saying earlier, emotions are there to give us vital information about the world around us. Each emotion has a message to give us, and we honour our emotions when we receive that messge, and then make decisions and sometimes changes based on that information. A very wise teacher of mine explained it to me this way, that emtions are E Motions. E = ENERGY, in motion. In other words, emotions are like water, and therefore they flow. When we hold onto them instead of moving through them, we become stuck in them and then those emotions can, will and do intensify. Those emotional intensifications can lead us to illness, and ultimately immune deficiency which is not something any of us need during the a pandemic.
As humans though, we love to intervene against nature and force things to go a different way. The same could be true for me nurturing Remus instead of letting nature do it's thing. If I had done that though, I never would have had the last two years of observing how his delayed start has delayed his maturity but did not stop him from getting there eventually. His reaction time now at 2 years old is more like a 10 second delay, so he does show vast signs of improvement. The same can be said of other special needs animals on my farm too though :) I bring attention to this now as we have all been living in intense fear for weeks and it is having a negative effect on each of us. Long term exposure to certain things will have an impact and lasting effect. When we hang onto fear long term without honouring it and moving through it. we actually begin a slow process of traumatizing ourselves which can lead to PTSD. It is like the analogy of the pot and the frog if you are familiar? Try to drop a frog into a put of already boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out to safety. But take the same frog and place it in cool water, slowly bringing it to a boil, that frog will sit there and slowly boil to death never making a move to save itself. We've all been sitting with fear for 10-12 weeks depending on when you chose to isolate. We are the frog in the pot and it is causing lasting damage on a cellular level in our bodies. Out of love, I want to draw attention to this for each of you, so that you individually have the opportunity to examine your own lives, and emotions to see if you are holding onto emotions, or are you finding a way to adapt and find solutions to the direct new problems in your life. It is only through making adjustments to our lives, and the things that fear brings awareness to, that we can move through the emotion of fear. Sorry that was a lot.
So let me bring dear Remus back into the story for perspective. As Remus had a delayed start and needed longer to mature and develop, I had a lot of extra time to learn and observe his unique challenges. As a prey animal, goats by nature have a more heightened and sensitive flight or fight response. Although Remus's natural responses were delayed, they were still intact. He would eventually respond and react. Yes, it was consistently a good 15 to 30 seconds after the rest of the herd reacted, but he did REACT. I guess what fascinates me is that in nature poor Remus would have been chosen by naturel selection to fail. He likely wouldn't have made it through the first week. That is just a fact of natural life.
My point with this is that even if we struggle with certain parts of our existence for a time, it doesn't mean we won't get there eventually. Learning, gaining understanding, and personal growth are never instantaneous. We must always remember to be patient with ourselves. We are only children in this life. We are here to learn some very important lessons before we can attain that higher place in our souls journey. In all things natural, there is balance and a rhythm to things. Perhaps what may help indivdually to find balance is to go right back to the basic building blocks. Humans are animals - fact. We are of this planet and a natural being just like so many other beautiful natural beings. For me personally. when life gets overhwleming, I break it down to the simplest form and build back up from there. I immerse myself in as much nature as I can find and ask myself some very important questions. What can I personally change? What can I do? How can I help or make an impact? How can I be better? These are all realistic questions we can ask ourselves to stay more present in the current moment, and not get overwhelmed by the things that we just can't personally impact within our natural limits. We are only human after all. We all only have one brain, two hands, two feet and the same number of hours in a day. Some days we are strong and other we are not. Some days our mental clarity may be astounding and others we feel like our brains are stuck in cement. Life and all natural rhythms have an ebb and flow. Find your flow and be gracious, gentle and loving to yourself. These are hard times for each and every one of us. Let's love ourselves, and love each other, and together we will all get through this. I am always here for anyone who feels I can help or guide them in any way.
Sending out so much love to you all, now and always. <3 ~ Angee