Hardship constructs the skeleton of homesteading, of farming, or of running a small business. Hardship is all the stuff we consider bad, stressful, and full of difficulty. These past few weeks have been so filled with hardship that I’ve actually had to laugh at it all. How ridiculous, I thought, how unthinkable that as I began to live my dream in earnest, I would be overwhelmed with hardship at the precise point when things seemed to be getting better.
I’m not going to go into detail right now about my specific hardships because it really doesn’t matter. In a lifetime, hardships are ready to introduce themselves at the drop of a hat. What matters is that what I consider my personal problems bunched up into coils around me that seemed about ready to squeeze the life out of me. But at this point in my career as a human being I’ve seen these ropes before – I can also see how often I reach out and wrap those ropes around myself and wonder why I am all tied up. Setting forth on a path that includes homesteading, farming, and running a business will break you down into your component parts. There are so many rules and regulations to follow, and so many dangers lurking around every damned corner, that one wrong step and down you will go, kicked in the chest by a seemingly cruel and uncaring world.
Time to get back up. I’ve found that I have to start by untying the ropes that wrap me up, seeing where I really am, and probably taking a few deep breathes, or moments, or days to come back to reality. Here I am, full of troubles and hardship, but also full of life.
And life is incredible. The marrow of life is joy – as we grow in wisdom from the pains we suffer and the hardships we go through, at the center of life is the sweet marrow of living and breathing in this world, at this moment, with a sip of coffee and the smell of woodsmoke in the air. No better gift, to be able to pause and take a breathe of fresh air.
Let go of the ropes.
I thought perhaps you would be interested in how I built our cabin – these plans should educate you on the basics. I offer them purely as entertainment, they are in no way to be used in lieu of actual architectural and/or engineering plans.
One day you feel good, the next day you feel bad.
We search for oracles to give us some guidance on this roller coaster. What sage words can guide us through the bad and back to the good?
Amazing how our imagination creates pressure and stress where there is nothing at all. We create patterns out of the waves of the past. We wander a desert of our own making. We are thirsty after drinking. Nothing is very unusual, but in all ways we are unsatisfied.
Dukkha. The inevitable unsatisfactoriness of existence. It is a way to understanding life – Buddha and Jesus couldn’t stop talking about it. Sukkha – satisfaction, the joy of just being alive. Here we are, up and down, but it is obviously our confusion about dukkha that creates the Big Mess. Perhaps also our confusion about what satisfaction is.
What do we truly need to be happy, alive, and satisfied? What are some of the erroneous thoughts that we have been programmed to think that leads us into dukkha?
Watchin my animals, I see that they have a simple way – they are unsatisfied if they are thirsty, hungry, uncomfortable, sick, or alone. They have urges to run, fly, roam, be alive, and breed. All in all, same as us, but we’ve added layer upon layer of complexity to our lives within our complex cerebrum.
Is there a code to crack here? Does happiness lie in cessation of dukkha? Or is sukkha and dukkha simply the crest and trough of the waves we call life?
Solitary, we stand rusting in the winds of time.
But the inverse is also true. Everything is so interconnected there is no “I”. As the rust forms molecules are born that spark the next cycle of life.
Stand or sit in silence for a minute. What happens?
Nothing, or everything, you choose. Within us, we are busy being born and dying. Each “thing” reflects that truth.
In any case, what is today all about? A broken camera, piglets eating hay, drinking rich coffee? Or is it about rushing around, trying to make sure your life isn’t a waste of time? Or is it simply making ends meet?
Being awake is seeing the rust, is being the rust, is loving the rust.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
I’ve learned how to judge everything with as much prejudice as possible. This is a learned behavior, not natural, but extremely prevalent in our society. We are a large pack of apes sitting around judging the shit out of everything around us.
The internet makes it easy to point fingers and judge. What a waste of time! At the end of the day, who cares about what anybody on the internet is doing – there is nothing on the internet that is more important then your own life, your own journey. The internet is a seemingly endless judgement parade.
I’ve found that the more we judge others the more we are judging ourselves. Getting rid of judgement can significantly reduce conflict. So the question is, are you addicted to conflict? Does anger and hatred get your Amygdala all jazzed up?
I only say all this because I have my own issues with judgement as an addiction. I’ve found that sometimes I can judge myself so harshly that I end up living in state of fear – fear of my own hatred. What a crazy way to live, and when I found myself there I try to tell myself that I can go ahead and relax. Breathe a little. Remember that my days are numbered and all the judgement in the world will not change my next breath, will not foster wonder or joy or happiness within me or my loved one.
Stop criticizing your every action and start loving yourself. It’s very simple but difficult. I think we are probably all in it together.
Each moment I sit here – filled with whatever is in me – I can feel the life pulsing in a rhythm shared by all the other life in the universe. The life, the love, the laughter, even a few tears, some broken bones, a couple false starts. So precious our every moment. Remember that, when the day falls silently around you.