“Each of us actually believes that things should be the way we want them, instead of being the natural result of all the forces of creation.” Michael A. Singer
I felt more than a little overwhelmed this spring when I realized there was no way I could continue my plan to keep the pecan orchard cleaned up – not this year and maybe not until FD can retire. Storm after storm arrived, producing mostly wind and very little rain, and bringing down more limbs and branches. There had not yet been an opportunity to get chainsaws out to cut three downed trees and huge limbs from the previous year and, even if we could have managed that, we had not yet been able to purchase a wood splitter to properly process firewood for sale. Even the smaller debris could not be picked up and burned because of a burn ban in the county due to a continuing drought. And then, as the heat came on and a little rain arrived, the grasses and weeds began to grow and the wood became harder to get to, tangled in a snarl of vine and vegetation. A barrage of insects moved in, and a bumper crop of ticks made their appearance. I was miserable while working in the orchard as I attempted to keep a few pathways open throughout. Of course the usual summer work started up as well – gardening, watering and mowing, which kept me very busy. Finally, when the summer heat hit, we decided to abandon clearing downed wood in the orchard. As a result of that decision, I was spending less time in the woods, which meant I was not spending quality time in my sanctuary of solitude, nor was I connecting with nature. Working alone in the woods has always been positive therapy for me.
Meanwhile, some personal disappointments had hurt me deeply. And for a long time I had been unhappy watching the news. Every day my cage seemed to get rattled, triggering thoughts of upset and helplessness. Much of my past anger and hurt, thoughts of injustice and betrayal began to surface. I shut down some of the noise by deleting my Facebook account, and simply limiting my TV watching to the local news and weather. But I found myself backsliding into some of my poor coping skills of the past. Like a wounded animal, I retreated to my den. I couldn’t venture out much. I had lost my trust and faith in people yet again. I felt betrayed and misunderstood. I knew I needed to distance myself from the noise and chaos. It is the reason I have not been able to write in many months.
Years ago, I got my hands on Michael Singer’s first book, “The Untethered Soul”, which really spoke to me about how my mind rambled on all day, telling me lies and having me faunching over situations I had no control over. For years I allowed my mind to run wild with thoughts of seeking justice, or being prepared for the worst, and having a plan for every possible situation or condition. I worried about “what if” situations. I realized of course, that most of these scenarios I cooked up never happened and, if I truly looked at a scenario, that maybe if I broke it down to the bones of the problem, it really wasn’t as bad as I had conjured it up to be. Still, I felt it was better for me to have a plan and be prepared and at the ready, just in case! Having read The Untethered Soul though, I was now cognizant of this crazy voice in my head that kept me tormented with persistent, meaningless, repetitive dialogue. It took a long time to shut off the noise. Raising Daisy deer was the beginning of my journey in finding my truth. And in spending so much of my time in nature, I found the greatest education of my life.
Knowing that, I shouldn’t have needed to read Singer’s second book, “The Surrender Experiment”. When I finished that book, I realized I was not ready for the greater lesson. In The Surrender Experiment, Singer writes about how he simply surrendered to every experience and opportunity that came his way, and was open to what came to him, in order to fully experience what life brings. That just seemed too “trusting” to me. What person just accepted everything that came along without question or tapping into inner radar? That sounded foolish to me, but I had to admit, his story was intriguing. Most of my life I had been going about with my “Lori measuring stick”, thinking I knew the right way something should be done, having a plan for everything, and believing hard work and common sense could accomplish anything. Singer’s way of thinking seemed completely risky and far out to me.
And then one night I had a dream. I was walking down the buggy path into the woods, and I had deer legs. They were spring-action and I could run faster than I could have ever imagined. I was weaving in and out of trees, dodging obstacles in front of me, and leaping over downed trees and waterways. I felt my heart beating wildly as I stopped. I had never felt such elation and freedom! When I awoke, I could not help but wonder at this wild abandon. Was this truly what the deer lived by being in the moment?
At the height of my dismay, and being overwhelmed at having to scrap my orchard plans for the rest of the year, I just gave up. I was tired and I felt defeated. I was dealing with nature, after all, and Mother Nature does what she wants – we cannot control her. My personal struggle with a few people was the same as it always had been, and my expectations about what it meant to be an American were rigid, but I knew I would continue to be respectful of my family and others. I still believe that love, compassion, kindness and acting in non-violence is key to any success in life. I thought of The Surrender Experiment book and knew that this time I was ready. I gave up my plans and “to do” list. This decision felt good and right. I decided to try out those fantastic, springy deer legs I dreamed about. And I am very glad I did, as this year has become nothing short of amazing for FD and me.