I have always been fascinated with the emotion of fear. Why are some people able to push through the fear and others cannot? At times throughout my life I have allowed fear to lead the way and at other times I have been able to take fear’s hand, quiet the fear and move forward into the unknown. There is no way as human beings that we will not face fear. Sometimes I find myself wishing that fear did not exist but I also recognize the biological necessity for it. Our ancient ancestors never would have survived if they did not have their “fight or flight” response when chased by a wild animal or anticipating a threat. We are fighting our biology when we push fear away.
The rhythm of grazing and milking that the farm brings this time of year allows me to sink into my thoughts. The repetitive and daily nature of these tasks allows me to have time to think in a meditative way. I feel fortunate for this time to problem solve things on the farm, dream up new ideas, and just think about things that I’m interested in. I am still accomplishing many things and moving in a very purposeful physical way but there is a stillness that I appreciate tremendously. My old professional life was filled with noise, stress, and traffic. The farm and self employment carries its own kind of stress but one I would not trade.
During this time on the milking stand my mind wandered to the subject of fear again. I ask myself why I have ben feeling slightly off the last few weeks. My inner critic chimes in to say “what do you have to be fearful about?” “You are sitting here milking a goat!” I listen to the milk hitting the metal bucket with its familiar sounds. I listen to Clover, the goat’s breathing as I milk her and the sounds of birds that fill the farm’s skies. My inner critic softens and I realize the things that bring me so much joy also scare me like tall grasses, grazing goats, and trail running.You see one of my biggest challenges has been overcoming lyme disease and its lingering symptoms. When I finally emerged from my sickest time with it my first instinct was to flee the farm and it’s lush wild environment. When those old fears emerge again I often find myself wanting to flee. But, what I was able to think about that morning while milking was that there are TWO parts to the flight and fight response, not just flight. I am glad that I did not give in to the feeling of wanting to flee. That I chose to fight through the fear and stay the course on the farm. That I chose to fight for my love of nature an not become afraid of it.
I hope whatever your big challenges are that you consider the option to fight through it. I am glad that I did.