You are Stronger than You Think
With the end of the growing season fast approaching, there was one final project to complete on my to-do list. It was a big one for me, so I had been avoiding it. My barnyard had always been too large to safely sort cattle, when trying to load the bull on the trailer. And in the wet springtime, the nutrient-dense, water-logged soil of the lowland inside the barnyard emitted a nasty smell. So I had this idea that I would set more posts in the ground, and then board off different sections, with the intention of creating a more efficient loading chute for the cattle. Within this modification, I would also create a large garden inside the barnyard. The cattle would not be able to access the barnyard garden, but my free-ranging chickens would. The plants within the garden would utilize the nutrients that settle in the barnyard (from the cow and chicken poop), and the chickens would harvest their own food from the plants. My barnyard, the focal point of my ranch, would be turned into a piece of art.
I’ve never been very good at setting poles in the ground with the backhoe. In the past, if I wanted something like this done, I’d ask my husband to do it. Because he’s a lineman, he could always do it much faster (and better) than I could. There were a couple down sides to him completing my work, however: he would lose his very valuable and much deserved free time, and I would not improve my backhoe skills. This project was a perfect opportunity for me to strengthen my abilities, learn, and grow.
I was able to dig the first couple holes and set those poles pretty well, but soon reached a major stumbling point. The poles I use for heavy-duty fence posts are actually segments of old electric line poles. I would guess that each cedar pole, which is around ten feet long, weighs about 500 pounds. I use and strengthen my muscles on a daily basis (I’m in fantastic condition), but my 5’5″, 125-pound body couldn’t even lift one end of some of the heaviest poles. I had the hole dug, but I couldn’t move the damn pole into the hole. I stood there crying in my frustration. I felt like a little kid, inhibited by my own strength.
I wanted to go inside the house and ask my husband to do it for me. But I didn’t. I kept going. I decided that I was going to do this, even though it seemed impossible. Once this shift happened inside of me, ideas began to enter my mind. I knew I couldn’t physically lift the pole by myself, but I realized I had a fantastic tool that could: the tractor. I took some straps from the garage and attached one end to the bucket of the tractor. I attached the other end to the pole, and I used the tractor to pull the pole closer to the hole. Once the pole was next to the hole, I readjusted the straps and slowly lifted the pole up and into the hole by moving the arms of the tractor. With the pole in place, I could then finish the job by filling in the dirt around it. Over the course of three days, I set thirteen poles in my barnyard. Another couple days later, I had all the boards in place to complete my new chute and fencing.
To some, the work I described may not seem like a big deal. But that’s not the point. To me, this project was a huge challenge. In the past, I had never even considered setting poles by myself. I didn’t think I was capable of that. This time, however, I saw an opportunity to grow. I attempted it. And with each pole I set, my confidence grew. The more I experienced, the more I learned, and the less challenging it became. I also realized that my own physical strength wasn’t what was stopping me from completing this task. The thing that was inhibiting me was actually my beliefs about myself. Once I decided I was open to finding a way to do it, the way showed up. I didn’t magically gain body mass and physical strength. The idea of using the tractor came to me. It wasn’t about my body at all. It was entirely spiritual. An internal shift happened. I opened up. I cleared away all my limiting beliefs. Within this space of openness, the answer arrived.
It is this act of opening to inner wisdom that creates such beauty. This theme of quiet surrender is the path I prefer to take in all of life’s challenges. Going within, to the Source that created everything, brought forth strength that I didn’t think I had.