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Growth and Change

Expansion and movement are a part of our life force.

Beth Anstandig's picture

“Never say never.” I’ve heard that phrase throughout my life and mostly blown it off. These days, it’s the mantra by which I’ve been living.

"I’ll never leave the ranch. I’ll never move away from California. I’ll never be in another romantic relationship." These are things I said -- out loud and in the presence of others who remember I said them. In fact, my mother wrote one statement down after I told her to "mark my words.” She even saved the piece of paper with my extreme declarations of "never."

And now, I am in awe of the unexpected, the way life unfolds and reveals things we never imagined or dreamt were possible. The most powerful development and growth in my life has resulted from hundreds of leaps of faith. My mentor, Jim Maddock, used to say we don’t get to know ahead of time how life is going to go. We can only know ourselves and those trusted others around us to support us as we take one step at a time into uncertainty. Our stable self-leadership and our chosen human herd. Our skills and capacities. Our resilience and resourcefulness. These are the things we know. Everything else is a beautiful (sometimes terrifying and frustrating) adventure.

With Jim’s wisdom whispering in my ear and a loving herd encouraging me, I am taking another leap. This one is 3500 miles! I'm moving my herd (animals and people!) from our California ranch to a mid-coastal Maine farm. This has been a thoughtful process with several months of conversation, counsel, and reflection.

Ultimately, I’m taking an important lesson from nature, one Jim talked about, and I observe with the animals and land. All living things move forward in some way or another. Expansion and movement are a part of our life force. When we resist this out of fear or stubbornness, we can become sick, both in mind and body. The other day I stood at the creek’s edge at our ranch and listened to the water flowing, forcing the rocks and dirt to expand around it, to change. There’s no fighting this. We have to adjust and move with the flow. Grow. Develop. Evolve. Change.

When I looked up, I noticed one of our cats rolling on the warm rocks, the sun heating her belly, her body stretching toward the sky. I was inspired to close my eyes, stretch my arms, take a breath, and to expand into the moment, to expand into my life. To let my life expand me.

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