This has been one heck of a challenging year! But in a lot of good ways. Today I realized that we have lived up here in the White Mountains for nearly 5 years! Where did the time go?! As I sat back and watched my sheep play I thought about all the trials we have been through and how blessed we are to be where we are today.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years...
I always hated that question... because it was always expected that the answer SHOULD BE-- going to college, having a family, starting my career, owning this, owning that,... and as time moved on: taking a lead role in the company, cashing in on this investment, etc. etc.
I always thought that I would live the typical boring-mediocre life of the people around me. Have an apartment, maybe a town home. When I retire get a home in the country and have my animals... never thought I would have lived in a trailer in the desert, taken a shower in an ice bucket, learned to shoot a gun, become a goat herder, live in a canvas wall tent, or walk along a trail that Calamity Jane and General Grant would ride on to patrol & fight with Indians.
And never would I have ever thought I would pick up reading Torah! Life is a strange place. And I am often asked why did I do these things-- or would I do them again. I would do them again... and as to why, well.... I have never had (or held) a popular view of the world around me. I wanted things simple-- everyone else expected complicated....
I chose to be Fearless
I have always been a HUGE fan of Western Movies... I think partly because of my mother's influence, her love of horses spilled over into my life, but took a different form than what I feel most would have expected. Sure, I did 4-H. Did the Western Pleasure thing for a season, loved learning Reigning and Cutting, and thought about showing on a more competitive level, but I appreciated horses more on the ground than in the saddle....
But I sure loved watching those crazy bandits winding through canyons! And had a bit of a draw for the 'Pioneer' life I saw on TV. So much, that when asked once (as a teen) when I was going to get my own place to live-- I told the person who asked that I was going to be a hermit in the mountains! That didn't go over very well with who had asked... but I just couldn't see myself working for 30years at the same horrible job.. sharing an office space with people trying to re-live their "high school glory days", and being enslaved to the debt of expectations.
It was really hard for me to force myself to go to college--seeing my graduating peers returning back to change their degrees, or not get hired. Hard to justify working for peanuts to afford a dumpy apartment (not that the buildings were dumpy, but the residents were in all aspects of the definition 'scum.'). Nothing could be truly owned, everything has taxes, and if you had less than the people around you--you were a quintessential low-life. An under achiever. Poor.. heaven forbid you should look or be poor.... homeless people are poor-- no one in their right mind wans to be homeless-- and If you are content with being poor--well, ...... call the people with the white lab coats!
I would hear people murmuring about impoverished third world countries, people living in shacks, and how horrible it is that these people don't have TV, refrigeration, cars... O how miserable they must be, and to be honest-- I envied those people...Especially these Russian Fur Traders living in Siberia. They have real jobs that actually involve work, they have nothing to loose, and if they can have clean water, medicine, and food they are happy.
The people in the US (who have everything at their finger tips) are not happy. Not happy with just having water. They are not happy with having a roof over their heads, not happy being able to get whatever food they want at a super market year round, having access to health care-- they have NO IDEA what happiness is. Not a clue. So, people here fill their lives with material possessions, lust for things they cant own/afford, occupy their day with gossip and self-promotion, justify their sin, then drown in self-pity/misery, drink too much, eat too much, try to 'meditate on nothing' to find peace... and wake up drunk with a disillusion they call 'Living the Dream.'
Most people agree (verbally) that money doesn't bring people happiness--TRUE? But in their heart they pursue money to get the things they think WILL bring happiness. The problem, is that we view happiness as a temporary thing. That, no one can be happy all the time.... which is NOT true. You can be happy. You can be content, and you CAN have peace of mind. Not through some magical Hindu chant, or universal crystal vibration, or light awareness non-sense... But through a basic principle that was taught to humanity from the BEGINNING...... Humility and Meekness. ....
Being HUMBLE can apply to more than just our words. It can also apply to our daily lives--the choices we make the way we choose to view the world around us. And MEEKNESS doesn't mean we are a door mat for other people either. But it does free us from expectation. In our minds, we hold ourselves prisoner by our own expectations. Becoming meek changes our perspective of ourselves, of others, and frees us from the obligations/ commitments that we thrust upon ourselves to become something we are not.
We are not all capable of becoming Bill Gates. We are not all capable of becoming an All-Star VIP sports athlete. We don't all have the same job/career, so why are we all expecting our neighbors to own a $60k car? To own property? To have a 2400 sqft home??? These are NOT the basic necessities of life-- SORRY!! Electricity is a new invention-- people existed for thousands of years with out it... Running water.. most communities SHARED a well (and it was MILES away!). Having amenities because they make life 'better' is nice. But requiring a human being to have these things and comparing them to trash if they don't-- is not HUMBLE or MEEK. Feeling you are trash for not having what a 'civilized' nation has is not HUMBLE OR MEEK either. Neither scenario brings peace. Making use of what you have--- now THAT will bring peace.
Realizing that you can live without X,Y, and Z-- produces Humility. Accepting that you can live without X,Y, and Z-- produces Meekness. Living within your means gives you peace-- and PRODUCES LIFE. But racking ourselves for failing to obtain a life others around us have, kills us. It demoralizes us, causes hate, jealousy, envy, suicide, MURDER, stealing, injustice--- FEAR.
And when we are in constant FEAR our bodies literally break down. Our children inherit fear, and react with deadly consequences because they have no understanding/ or ability to deal with that fear. Fear of rejection, fear of not living up to a parent/peers' expectation, fear of poverty, fear of being powerless, fear of not having respect, fear of being 'second class/rate,' and its this fear that rules and motivates the world we live in. Fear perpetuates unreasonable expectations and causes humanity to literally turn in on itself.
Breaking the cycle takes courage. It requires strength, fortitude, determination, and a guide. We need a compass or a model to follow, so that we do not go back into our respective 'pits of despair.' Which is why so many people are turning to self-help books, gurus, and other empty wells.. that literally teach you nothing, based on a foundation of nothing...written by people who have not overcome fear, and who at their worst, will lead you right back into fear. Because you will have changed nothing in your life to break that cycle.
The only place that offers peace--that promises peace, and has a permanent lasting, or TANGABLE effect on Fear-- is to rely on something that is concrete, never changing, and predictable. The best compass hands down for this life is Torah. Why? It gets into your business. It tells you where you are going astray, lights up those dark places in your mind that you try to hide from other people, and challenges you EVERY DAY to follow it. When you are so focused on following Torah, you don't have time to contemplate fear.
The Torah's purpose is to teach us to be HUMBLE, and how to become MEEK. We can over come fear through the practice of Torah in our lives, and be satisfied with peace in the process. No Hindu-- or Buddhist retreat has ever produced the peace I have found in Torah. And no therapist has ever given such sound advise... even when it didn't want to be heard. Torah is not a money making, get rich now and live on a planet of gold story book. It strikes the heart of reality, and gives purposeful meaning to people caught in the cycle of Fear... and a clear door-- OUT.
I lived in poverty before Torah (by CHOICE), I made that choice, because expectations were very distracting. I'm not much good at living a conventional life... but I do well living within my means, doing what I love-- herding my goats, milking them, and making a living off of whatever piece of land we occupy. Someday I would like to make a cobb home, but that is more money than I can afford, so I enjoy living like an American Pioneer in the mean time. And above all-- love the freedom that Torah gave me.
Torah-- means 'Teachings and Instructions' .. and includes the first 5 books of the Bible-- which together are called the "Tanak"... or as Christians call it-- "The Old Testament" or "Books of Moses" .. in these 5 books the teachings and instructions that God gave all man-kind is given, explained, and put to practice. Yeshua (Hebrew name for Rabbi Jesus), and His disciples teach, and often quote these books-- eluding to their importance, and how people of Faith are to live.
Torah, is not just a Band-Aid-- Torah is a way of Life that can be experienced by any human being on the planet-- rich or poor. You can live Torah in the city, in the country, in the US, in Africa, in a mansion, in a shack; Torah goes where you go--because you become apart of it. That is what a way of life IS. Its more than just a habit or culture, it becomes your persona.
Millions of people (including JEWS) follow Torah.
Torah is not some idyllic /utopian/ un-achievable level of HUMAN "perfection". When you are in Torah, you come as you are, but are expected to transform. We change from selfish-fear-driven motives, to motives that are patterned after the Master-Himself (because he wrote it, inspired it, and lived it!). It takes a lifetime commitment to live up to the changes in your life.. And ALOT of awareness, desire to be Humble, and a dash of Meekness to follow whole heartedly.
Coming to Torah means you no longer have the right to seek revenge, hurt people out of spite, slander, murder, etc. It gets deep into your personal life as well-- showing the believer that what they do in the physical is a direct reflection of the spiritual. And how we treat ourselves (or others) Is a direct reflection of our relationship with God. Its uncomfortable for a lot of people who don't want to change, or who want to continue living they way they have-- but its a blessing to those embrace it.
Following the precepts of Torah can heal broken relationships, strengthen established ones, remove toxic people from our paths, and give a fearful person comfort (when we stick to it).
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