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Ojo-heart

It’s the gratitude season.

Thanksgiving (at least here in the U.S.) is a time to remember the many blessings in our lives, and to give thanks for them. I try hard to live in a space of gratitude every day, but I’m not always successful. It’s another one of those things about life that’s simple but not easy. Interesting isn’t it that feeling down, blue, discouraged, and/or stressed are more familiar than feeling good, feeling content, feeling grateful?

Here’s my list of Ten Gratitudes from the Pasture for 2014:

  1. We are healthy – horses and humans. So grateful for this blessing.
  2. The Golden Girls are heading into winter in really good shape.
  3. We have an abundance of kind and caring people in our lives.
  4. Our human family here in Fort Collins has increased – so grateful to have them living here.
  5. There is a brand new shed in the pasture which means more room for everyone to get out of the elements when they need shelter.
  6. The Herd of Oldsters, while down to three members – Pepper, Chickadee and Amigo – is back together. This makes me happy!
  7. Every day when I go out to feed, I get to step away from my computer and be outside. And almost every time, I see or hear or experience something beautiful; something magical that I would otherwise miss.
  8. My son and daughter-in-law took over the feeding responsibilities when Rick and I recently took a little vacation. We didn’t worry for a minute – what a relief to have such good backup. (Heart photo above from Ojo Caliente and that trip.)
  9. I have a community of horses that know and trust me. At least they know I’m the one with treats and they trust that I’m a pushover when it comes to handing them out!
  10. You! Even though my blog posts have slowed, your interest in our little patch of the world keeps me writing. It is an amazing blessing to have you out there, watching and caring about what goes on in the pasture. Thank you from the depths of my heart.

And Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

Tree-sunset

I’ve been practicing something for a while now.

Truth be told, some days I’m better at it than others.

But I keep coming back to the practice of “taking in the good.”

It’s a phrase (and action) I’ve learned from Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and mindfulness author. He teaches that our brains are hardwired to notice negative events. That’s why you can still remember in vivid detail that humiliating book report you gave in front of your entire fourth grade class, while you can’t remember a single wonderful thing about that year.

It’s called the negativity bias, and we all have it.

So a way to counter that negativity is to focus on the good that surrounds us each day–to notice the many gifts that seem to come from nowhere and fill our souls.

Hanson suggests that we take each one in fully, reveling in the moment, allowing it to seep into our every nook and cranny and warm us like sunlight on our backs.

 

I’m grateful that I have so many opportunities to take in the good when I’m out with the horses.

There are many days when I grumble about having to go to the pasture. Days when I’m so darned busy I think my head might explode, or my entire body will burst into flame if I add one more thing to my list of things to do.

 

Then I remind myself (again) that feeding is not an optional activity.

It’s a commitment–one that I’ve made to these horses and intend to keep.

 

So one day this week I’d had a particularly busy day, and was late getting out to the horses. I was stressed because I knew it was going to get dark soon, and I wanted to be finished with feeding before that happened. I could feel that knot in my chest expanding; my head buzzed with negative self talk.

 

Until I got there.

And then I took a breath, and another.

The horses had been moved to the far pasture, so I had to walk to find our Golden Girls.

The exercise felt good, as did the brisk air.

I came upon these trees backlit by the setting sun, and my entire mood shifted.

It was just so beautiful. I let myself take it all in, every gorgeous limb. I took a bunch of pictures and then went off to find the horses, who were very glad to see me, and their dinner.

 

Happy Thanksgiving dear readers.

Give yourself a moment or two today to take in the good.

And know that I am so very grateful for your continuing connection to my adventures in the pasture.

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