News from the Ranch
Sometimes it's the little things in life that create the most angst.
(and it's also the little things in life that can create the most joy!!!)
PEPPER AND SADIE AND THE FOXTAILS
It's foxtail season here at Summerhilll Ranch in the Central Coast of California. I know that this sounds like there are lots of cute little red foxes gamboling throughout the meadows, but actually the kind of foxtails that I'm talking about a kind of grass with a soft cylindrical spike that resembles the tail of a fox. They look so beautiful blowing in the wind ... and they are deadly to animals.
When our dogs, Pepper and Sadie, go for a walk with me and my husband, the foxtail seeds hop a ride on their fur and in a matter of minutes begin to burrow their way in the skin. These seeds seem to have a life of their own. One time I gently laid a few foxtails on my kitchen tablecloth and I was shocked to find that within a few minutes they had somehow buried themselves in the fibers. How did they do that? Weird.
Once they are inside an animal they continue to travel through the body, until sometimes they cause an abscess or even death by damaging organs. Both Pepper and Sadie have had numerous surgeries over the years to remove foxtails and both have had surgeries in the last month. (The only way to avoid foxtails is to keep our dogs indoors for four months of the year . . .they are not happy campers when we do this. And even then, some of the weed seeds manage to make it into the house and into their skin.)
Although both of our dogs have had encounters with mountain lions, a bear, and coyotes that have left them tucking their tail and running to lick their wounds, surprisingly the most damage in their lives have come from the small, every-present weed seed. It seems that the bigger encounters have been less damaging than the constant, chronic foxtails.
STRESS FROM UNFINISHED TASKS
I can't help but think that this is similar to our human lives in which constant and chronic low-level fear is much more debilitating to the body than periodic high-level stress. Of course, the stress of major life events such as losing a loved one, getting a divorce, moving house, or getting fired can dramatically impact your health; but surprisingly a recent study found that the worse stress in life is from prolonged unfinished tasks. The stress of constantly putting off a chore, or having an unfinished job that hangs over your head day after day (like constantly postponing changing the filter in your furnace or cleaning the garage) has the same negative impact on the body as smoking over a pack of cigarettes a day!
Nagging stress exhausts you and gnaws away at you. It's been estimated that having a number of unfinished tasks in your life can dramatically age you. It can age you anywhere from eight years for one persistent unfinished task to thirty-two years for having a number of uncompleted tasks!
So if you're 40 years old in chronological age, your biological age could actually be 72 years old! Arrrggh!!!
When I read this study, I immediately made a plan to begin to get some of my nagging tasks done . . . and to simply let go of the ones that really weren't important anyway. However, one low level nagging stress in my life that probably won't go away—at least until is August—is the ever-present foxtail.
The GREATEST JOY!!!
Although, I have some unfinished tasks that seem to constantly loom over me, I also remember that it's the small things in life that can bring the greatest joy. Simply sipping your coffee in the morning while watching the sunrise with a chorus of birds in the background, or taking a moment to truly connect with an old friend, or enjoying a slice of cold watermelon on a hot day---taking time to cherish the small moments of pleasure in every day can profoundly increase the overall quality of life and can add back some of those years lost to nagging unfinished tasks.
Below is a listing of some of my courses coming up. I hope to see you at one of these events.
All my love..always and forever!!