As I sit here this morning in my lovely, little farm cottage trying to mentally create a backup plan for Avalon’s 10 year anniversary party in case it keeps raining, I am a swirl with emotions. Yesterday afternoon with the sun shining and warm air soaking into my skin I was feeling more and more excited for today’s pony parade, bonfire, potluck, a full moon and more. I could envision each glorious part of our evening as the sun poured down over me.
And then, the bottom dropped out, my kraken awoke, and the darker emotions came flooding to the surface. All of the ways in which I feel inadequate as a mother, as a business owner, as a friend, as a person came rushing in, catching me up in a wave that’s dropped me down into a dark rabbit hole of emotion. All of the things that I’ve been fearing and all of the emotion that I have been trying to not give power to are hiding in dark recesses of this rabbit warren I am. They pop up one after the other as I blindly am walking through the rabbit hole trying to find the light and my way back out.
My inner warrior very strongly is nudging me forward and saying “Release your Muse. She is your sword. I am your shield. We are here and we will get you out.” Okay, I am listening to you both. So instead of heading out to prep the farm I have dropped everything, much as I used to do right after Russell died, and I am pouring my heart out. I am speaking it all out loud because only when it is out in the open can I breathe deeply enough to not have the tears overwhelm me.
Hands down, I LOVE Avalon’s Anniversary Party days more than any other days. They are big celebration of all that has been accomplished in the past year and they are my public, recommitment days to saying YES to another year at Avalon. They are days to remember and they are days to dream. Joy and play is infused throughout it and I am always left with the best warm fuzzies.
As I do on every anniversary date I am reminded of Russell’s and my journey to saying YES to Avalon in the first place. It’s kind of amazing that I am even here because my initial response when asked by Carrie Magill, owner of the property and my land lady, if I wanted to run a 75 acre, 26 stall barn was HELL NO. And I am most confident those were my exact words to her and to Russell when I first told him about it.
The amazing part is that Russell, who had never worked on a farm and knew very little about horses, said “YES, I think we should check it out.” I know I looked at him like he had 3 heads because I knew the crazy amount of work it would take and how hard it would be to ever, consistently, maintain a profit. So I created a 4 page, single spaced document filled with all of the questions that we needed answers to before even considering this as an option for our family. Details about hay, workers, landlord responsibilities, insurance, etc., etc., were needed before we could take the leap. At least they were needed by me.
Russell simply kept coming back to wanting to make my childhood dream to have a horse farm come true (aww geeze I can barely write through my tears). He wanted this place for me. He heard the deep awe and connection I had for Avalon upon first seeing the land. I know there were lots of personal reasons why he said YES so strongly and quickly, but in all honesty it was really about ME for him. He wanted me to be surrounded by horses where he knew some of my deepest joy can come. He wanted to give that to me no matter what.
I think it’s taken me this long to really, completely get that. Oh I’ve known it and tried to accept the radical generosity of that loving gift from him. But the business pieces of the farm, the budget concerns, the constantly worrying about something, the daily grind of running a large horse farm, all of these things would get in the way. And my own struggles with feeling truly worthy of unconditional love wouldn’t let me believe it. It’s very easy to not see the gifts people are really giving to us if we allow life’s worries and our own fears to cast shadows over those gifts.
But always on our Avalon anniversary days I could clearly see the joy Russell had for what we were creating. He was in his element at that fire, talking with anyone and everyone who was there. Always he was the last one to leave as he would relish the quiet of the fire, the farm and the few folks who wanted to stay as long as possible. He would talk. He would laugh. He would tend a giant fire. He would celebrate the dream.
On these days when everyone is simply having fun at Avalon – not competing, not working on projects, not working more than necessary – I am deeply reminded of why I said YES. Because for me, having the farm has been about creating a place joy and possibility. It’s about creating a place in which anything might be possible and that the simplest moments are the ones most filled with joy. It’s about creating magic with twinkle lights, silly play, deep conversations, and needed silence. It’s about creating Sanctuary.
So today I am deeply aware of how much I am grateful that Russell said YES with a big leap long before I was ready. His belief in what we could do and his desire to give me my heart’s dream are why any of us are here at Avalon celebrating today. I could have never, I would have never, done it alone.
Today, more than any other days lately, I will miss him. I will hear him and see him in the crowd I know; I always do at these parties. I have no doubt I will cry more tears and I will laugh a ton today. I will dream new dreams.
In listening to my Warrior and releasing my Muse, I have found just enough light to see my way out of this rabbit hole I am in. It may take me the rest of the day to get out, but out I will get. I have a DREAM to celebrate and to live!