Here, in the beautiful Berkshires, on this incredibly snowy day (over 2ft!), I have time to reflect! I believe there is something here in the soil, that brings out my creative muse! Melville, Thoreau, Holmes, Wharton, Dickinson, even a little further to the North West... Frost; my heroes who all tramped these same streets and fields!!
So... to me, it makes sense that I would be inspired to write about future mapping, and vision boarding while sitting during a lecture on fecal sampling for parasitic load; obtaining a semen sample with an electric device aptly named the PULSATOR; how to skirt wool, and vertically integrate product into market; and a kick ass marketing seminar( Which was, coincidentally, spoken by an incredible woman I know from High School; and am wonderful friends with her mom, who was also there... This woman lives in Pennsylvania!! This should never have happened!) on how to pull this all together, create value add, tie on a beautiful bow, and WORK IT! ( All this was through and for my daughters’ 4H Sheep Workshop. Yay 4H!)
First... what is a Vision Board? This entire blog experience has, for me, had this beautiful intertwining of completely disassociated worlds... because; truth be told, there are no such things! Each influence we have, each conversation, prayer, interaction, thought... influences our outcome! So exciting, and weighty! I take pictures of bugs a year ago... we all get a great laugh... I then get to use them to illustrate a blog post I never even imagined! A friend of mine, my husband and I all co- facilitate a family support group. The friend I mention, Jazmyne... mentions we should create vision boards within the group as an excercise. I have been doing similar journaling on my own. We project this thought into the ethers... weeks later... BAMM! Vision Boarding shows up here as a writing prompt! This stuff is for real!
I go to a music venue (Blind Boys Of Alabama... I’m from Alabama... so that’s even more serendipitous! More on that later!); that, years ago I had only hoped to see... a chance photobomb ( that has subsequently become a great part of the whole experience!), links me here, to a fellow blogger! To also make the experience even more incredible.. breaking down the after-stage, were two #Namazing guys from our Art Collective Common Folk! (Hi again Matt and Leigh!) ... MAGIC!!
Wow... where was I?... oh, yeah... Vision Boarding!
My life happens in these bulk happenings... I’m pretty sure it’s the same with everyone! We have to try to focus the flow of this river we are all happily, travelers within! How do we do that? How do we build conduits for all this energy? We are only here for such a short, explosive time!
So... fecal samples for parasitic load! I learned all animals have parasites... we can’t ( and shouldn’t ) eradicate them all. In fact, it’s quite safe for these sheep to live with a certain load... Actually, there are a few factors that affect the parasitic effect upon the host: the health of the animal; quality of feed; crop rotation to name a few. There are animals who are RESISTANT; there are some who are RESILIENT!!
Thank you Dr. Katherine Petersson: URI for this wonderful presentation that was perfectly educational for farming purposes (it really was interesting, and informative!); but also, for me, became a philosophy class!
I would love to say I am resistant in life... but , if not resistant, I am definitely resilient!
A vision board is just what it says! A board visual we create for ourselves, upon which we place anything, and everything we wish to “create” within our lives. We then place this board in a place we will pass by frequently throughout our day. We meditate on our vision... pray over our vision... then envision ourselves successfully within our creation. Do we wish to write; go on vacation; become healthy; have successful relationships...etc?
The point? We have to speak what we want; we then need to SEE it!
This is so exciting because we actually do have power to create in our lives! We are not simply passive targets of fate. I actually believe this is our God given Power; the power of our thoughts and words! However; we will perish for lack of vision! I have to say... that is a Biblical quote!
So why mention fecal samples in this same thread of thought! Let’s face it... we are surrounded by some sort of fecal sample everywhere we turn; be it physical, spiritual, or metaphorical... these samples are usually produced by large male bovine... getting my point? Sometimes we have to sift through it, to get to it!
One of the best quotes I heard from this day was from Roz Price English... I’m not sure if the quote is hers or not, but “the greatest enemy of completion is... perfection.” Tooo true!! How many times do I wait for something, or someone to be perfect before I feel I can or should go forward? I feel I’m constantly wading through the bull#$%@... to get to the true vision... the true plan... the heart of the matter; THEN I will proceed...
This will never bring the success I wish for! I have to test the sample for parasitic load... how much of this can I actually deal with, and still get the job done successfully? I’m not advocating forgoing change...But, honestly, will all factors be perfect? Ever?
I still need to move forward!
To my next point... the PULSATOR... not as wonderful as it may sound.
While no animal is hurt in this process, and Dr. Gately is incredibly kind, caring, and professional... it is by no means enjoyable; yet necessary. ‘‘Tis is an electrical (not electronic) device... that stimulates the bull to produce a testable semen sample... for the purpose of testing viability.
Sounds like life itself. While there ARE gentler, more organic processes that produce the same product... those encounters are more for pleasurable enjoyment. Life, I have experienced, sometimes just kicks it out of you! (The pulsator does not, in any way, involve physical kicking!) It is in these more painful moments, my own viability has been tested! I hate to equate us to Bulls... Yet, metaphorically speaking, I feel over time, I have developed the appropriate hardware to be so compared! So, bring it!
These hard kick moments come... we bend, and bunch over. We groan, we stop... sometimes we throw up...
But then, we get back up. And when we do... we need a map; a reference point... a VISION! I also need a healthy dose of prayer and support. We need to remind ourselves of hope, and innocence, and joy! We need to remember we have life inside us... we are able to propagate seed... if not sperm... then most certainly thoughts, and WORDS... concepts... ideas!!
We may be the only person there to encourage ourselves!
The Vision Board...
What is skirting the fleece, and Why?
In the large mass of what should be profitable effort... there are some things that need to be thrown out! Maybe some matting... maybe a fiber break ( Where the animal underwent a trauma, which caused a temporary, internal break in the growth of its wool... that can now be seen in the outward visible growth... like if we hit our finger, and the nail gets wonky)... Maybe we rolled in something we shouldn’t have, before someone caught us, and helped us avoid!
Skirting is laying it all out for inspection! Usually by many hands. I love a good skirting of my life... If not of my life, then even just of my ideas. I need to surround myself with reliable, reputable hands who will lovingly examine all I bring to the table to expose for inspection!
Why would I do this?
Because I want to bring quality product to the mix! I want to be a quality covering for others! I want to be a fleece of excellence! Thank you Matt and Jozi Best for this beautiful teaching on fleece production!
And finally, how do we make the sell? To ourselves... much less to others?
Marketing! Online presence (both actual, and theoretical) ... images... interactions... VALUE ADD!!
And here is where we must be careful of the fecal factor! We must find the balance between being fascinating and fictitious! The more fiction we add... the greater the fall after the big kicks come... If we stay real, we tend to bounce right back on our feet!
I equate here, the parasitic load as our possible flaws... Its ok to have them... just try to keep them at a minimum! Every now and then, an analysis is a great thing! Don’t be surprised, they will be there! But, we can still try to correct, and go forward! This is also called Grace! The strength from God to do things when we have no real power of our own! Prayer is essential here!
Lastly, Value Add... a term I just recently learned from Price English Marketing, straight from the heart and lips of Mrs. Price English herself. (Thank you Roz... this truly was a wonderful life changing experience!)
There are apparently hard sells... I have something I wish to sell... please buy...
And Value Adds... which are, IMO, brilliant!!
I will saturate you with audio visuals of how I use my product, and the VALUE it has added to every aspect of my life... Which will, in turn, make YOU realize your desire/need to live this way... thereby causing you to realize your need for my product!
Marketing! Before I can market myself to the world... I must first, within myself, realize my own UNIQUE value!
Thus... the VISION BOARD!
Visibly set out my goals... with a plan... and a set, flexible, forgiving schedule!
And willingness to stick to it!
The wrap up...
Little girl grows up in poverty in rural Alabama... leaves... comes of age... becomes successful... makes some relational mistakes, and is diagnosed with a “life ender”... becomes sad... yes, finds God, but is very disillusioned with hurtful people within that lifestyle as well... refuses to quit... no matter how much sense it makes to... gets up again... prays... God didn’t mess up!... renewed vision... takes painful, slow steps forward... but still taking steps... decides to encourage others along the way... recreates possibility... not sure where going next... but still GOING!!.................. what’s next, and for how long?? We will have to take a look to see!
THE VISION BOARD....... We all need at least one!
Always thankful for fellow travelers on this journey!