Hey everyone, I may not return to the Goat of the Week stories for a few weeks yet. I am still struggling with the emptiness in my heart, and in my barn without Gigalo. Besides, at the moment there are plenty of other things for me to write about with all of the stress and fear everyone is feeling with the COVID-19 situation, myself included. It is hard not to be stressed when we are all impacted no matter where we live in the world. A week ago I was riding a wave so high I felt like things were turning around, and today I am faced with a very new reality. One where we may need to adjust to a new normal. Hopefully we can make a better new normal in the world!
This morning I woke extremely stressed. My heart and mind began racing the moment I opened my eyes. Worries about my loved ones at home and abroad filled my head. My mind racing in a thousand directions, I could feel my control over anxiety slipping. The best place I know when I am this stressed is to be with my animals or go into the forest. Where I live I have close access to both, of which I am so grateful. I stood out in the crisp morning air, listening to the sound of happy birds in the trees, and the soft nicker of my mare Cheyenne asking for her breakfast. While I stood there on my driveway, halfway to the barn, the sun on my face, a steamy cup of coffee in my hand, I took a very long and slow deep breath. I felt the rising fear and uncertainty of the current times dissipate and fade into the background noise of my brain. Anxiety is always close by for me, and it is something I work hard at keeping at bay. I instead focused on the sound my feet on the hard frozen ground while I continued walking. I felt the impact of my feet on the sturdy ground, the musical sounds of the birds, the crisp late winter morning smells on the breeze, the way my lungs felt as they filled with the frosty morning air. I took notice of how it felt to be alive and said some prayers in gratitude for my life. With the COVID-19 crisis literally all around us right now, it can become very overwhelming quickly if we spend too much time dwelling on the realities. Instead, I take stock of what is real around me. I think about what I can actually do in THIS moment as opposed to thinking about all of the things happening that I can't control. I remember that I am only able to impact my world directly through my own actions and that if I focus my energy on the things that I CAN do, I don't focus on the things I CAN'T do. One of the things I can do right now is continue to take care of myself to the best of my ability. Caring for myself ensures I can care for my family and community. I will admit I do not take the best care of myself yet but am going to make a few more changes to improve that.
As this virus continues to spread, none of us really know how long our lives will be disrupted. I don't believe there will be a single person left standing that is not impacted by this situation in some way. On a personal level, the COVID-19 outbreak is devastating to my business. I have had no choice but to cancel bookings, and shut down my entire operations. Financially this is a very scary reality and puts a huge strain on me, as I personally fund all of my operations, and we have a rather large herd to feed and care for. I am grateful that the snow is almost gone and the goats will be able to browse freely again soon, and the other large animals will be back on pasture. That will be a huge help and savings. This past weekend I managed to coax the goats into the bush and up the hill for a small walk so I know we are getting close :) I plan to use the next few weeks getting the herd back into shape for hiking season! As walking with my goats has been my life saving personal therapy for many years now, I can't tell you how passionate I feel about being able to get back to this activity. I am hopeful that we will be able to continue to operate so others can join me! The benefit of walking in nature with a large number of animals is pretty remarkable and is something that needs to be experienced personally. I have been so stoked and pumped that I am finally open for business and able to share the herd with everyone - and now this. SO! I think it is definitely time for a pause. The alternative choice is to risk exposure and spread of the virus which we do not want to do. So for the next couple of weeks I will have plenty of time to get caught up on all of the things I never have time for. I have separate lists for the farm and for my personal life, and I have already come up with a short list for where to get started and I plan to expand this list later as I come up with more ideas. This time in isolation will not be wasted! :) A few personal goals and plans I have to help me pass this time away:
* I may UNPACK!! I have lived out of boxes for two years now and been so disconnected from my stuff that I haven't even unpacked yet. I am hopeful that the majority of what I packed I now no longer want. I am excited to purge more from my life that I don't need. Moving so many times in recent years I have purged a lot and I am looking forward to doing more.
** I still have not hung any pictures on my walls. This goes along with unpacking - when I do that, I might actually hang up some pictures!
*** I may actually choose colours and paint my walls! Also a fun project that I am looking forward to.
**** Over the course of the last 10 years I have acquired a great deal of books that I have yet to find the time to read. I am longing to find all of these hidden un-cracked treasures and see what marvels hide within their pages :)
***** I have been saying for years that I would dedicate some real time to writing more. If this new pace for the next few weeks allows, I would like to write more, which means blogging more. I guess we will see where this one ends up.
****** Just last night I started a new 30 Day Yoga challenge. I want to continue to give myself at least that time every day to take care of my body. Yoga has impacted my life in such powerful ways I want to ensure I continue to dedicate time to my practice each day.
******* I am also choosing to dedicate more time each day for one on one time with my herd. The last few years as my herd numbers have increased I have noticed that I have less time to continue to connect and bond with them individually. This is one area I wish to improve greatly on as without my herd, I have no business to run. I owe them everything and they deserve my attention and care.
In the days ahead, I think it is imperative that we all remember that we are not alone. We are all feeling the same fear, and uncertainty. This is all new territory for everyone and we are all in this together. Even if we are experiencing quarantine or self isolation from recent travel, or if as a family you are choosing self isolation to do your part to stop the spread. We can all remain connected through our technology. We can pick up the phone and connect with our loved ones. We can skype or zoom, we can inspire and uplift each other online through our individual social media accounts. We can each individually make a choice to be a positive impact through these dark times. We can each individually find ways to better ourselves during this time of isolation so that when we all emerge afterwards, we are all stronger, better people. There are small and big ways that we can all make improvements in our own lives, in our relationships, in our interactions with our planet and with others. What a perfect opportunity we all have to make the best out of a terrible situation by choosing to improve ourselves during this time so that as a community we can be better and stronger together. Imagine if we all took use this time and use it in ways that improved our lives, made our families stronger and connected our communities in ways that we have yet to see. As scary as this virus is, it does come with a unique and beautiful gift that we all have been given to transform our society and humanity in ways that can really have a positive and lasting impact on our world. We can bring back a sense of community that has been missing when we reunite with our neighbours and share resources. When we connect online to support and share - even just in words, that say we are not alone in how we all feel right now. We can all use this time to come together and really reshape the world. I have a great deal of faith in humanity and I believe that when we work together there is no task that can't be accomplished. We are a highly skilled society and if we all work together to share the skills and resources we each individually have, we can get through these hard times. I love my Muskoka community and am already seeing the beautiful signs of my town coming together to support each other. I hope that wherever you are at this moment that you take in your surroundings and see what you can do to help. What can you do or offer to someone? We all have skills. We all have strengths. We all need to learn and recognize the strengths we all individually possess and as a community band together to make sure that we all come out on the other side of this health crisis stronger as a community. Let's all make a commitment to each other, that we will empower each other by pointing out each others gifts and abilities - as many of us do not recognize our own. Let's share the beautiful lights we can all shine and in shining together we all come through. I myself am committed to finding ways to uplift my community through these dark days. One thing I have ready access to is GOATS!!! I promise to fill your news feeds with goat pictures, goat videos and silly goat antics to help get you all through these days ahead. With all of the stress inducing news on our screens, we can use a healthy dose of goat joy. I am sending love out to all who are reading my words. Let's do all we can to help each other <3 In beauty, Angee