Summertime Curmudgeon

For some…
Summer is fruit drinks after being tanned,
Walks with popsicles and toes in the sand.
It brings surfboards with tiny two-piece fun
For hours and days beneath that never ending sun.

But for me, no way, I’m not budgin’:
For I am that notorious, summertime curmudgeon.

They run with joy, the summer folk
With coconut oil on their skin to soak
The kisses that the sun sends down
Flipping over any summertime frown.

Except for mine, this frown ain’t turnin’:
For I am that notorious, summertime curmudgeon.

Their speakers blare with top-forty pop
While glasses clink and selfies swap
From person to smiling person so hot
I think I might want to join them…NOT.

I pull my shades closed, my Netflix a-runnin’:
For I am that notorious, summertime curmudgeon.

An eternity it seems that the summer is here
And in Texas it sometimes lasts all year.
I should move way up north where there’s snow and big moose
And I’m far, far away from tropical smoothies and juice.

But that requires effort; I’m too busy being shut-in:
For I am that notorious, summertime curmudgeon.

Only a few more months, I can do this, I can.
Then autumn will come: I’ll make pies with pē-kan!
The leaves will turn colors and die and fall down
And then it will not be me with a frown.

Until then, in ice-blasting A/C I’ll be bummin’:
For I am that notorious, summertime curmudgeon.

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Turtle World

Reread this blog this morning, it being Father’s day once again. I love your little turtle world, dad, and I love that my life has been shaped by it.

That Ranch Life

For three days, I’ve watched a turtle become less and less a turtle and more and more a dark stain on the one road that leads out of town. I wished I had seen the turtle when it was alive: I would have pulled over to move it to the other side.

Once, when I was 10 years old, I sat in the passenger seat of my dad’s car as we drove along a similar country road—two lanes with woods and pastures on either side. I couldn’t tell you where we were headed or coming from, but I remember my dad suddenly slamming on the brakes of his car with a stick shift so that when reached his arm out across my chest instead of shifting gears, the car bucked violently and stalled.

I’d pinched my eyes shut during all of this and when I opened them, my dad was…

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It Bites

Ranch life just got more real.

For over two years now, King Ranch, Little Foot and I have been exploring the ever-offering wonderland that is our small ranchette in nowhere, Texas. We’ve seen the souls of donkeys (although not the bottom of them because to get there would require years and years and probably some NASA made vehicle). We’ve witnessed the one evening in late February where the knockout roses come out to dance their twirling dance and then go on spread their pink petals for the bees and for us all to enjoy. We’ve watched shooting stars and satellites and our hearts glide across the sky at night and the deep love that roosters can actually have for their hen companions. We’ve seen lives turn on and lives turn off just as rhythmically as the fireflies flash their sulfur yellow undersides around the pecan trees.

But like a vinyl record scratching and halting the blinkless stare we’ve had at the glittering world around us, we snapped into reality last weekend when King Ranch got bit by a brown recluse.

Before I go on, I should mention that he’s very thankfully doing fine. In comparison to accounts we’ve read of others who’ve been bitten by this venomous spider, King Ranch’s bite is minor (although it’s still gnarly and painful). No hospitalization has been required. Thank goodness, no vendetta required at this time. 

After we noticed the bite and then went on to spend hours researching brown recluses, their bites, the side effects, their behaviours, and more than I ever thought I’d know about any one kind of spider, I assumed they were these evil, drooling spiders waiting on the insides of cupboards to hop out at you and dig their fangs into your cheek. The thoughts of their long, thin legs intimidated me and even just typing this out, I can feel about 80 of them crawling along my spine.

But what I’ve read is that brown recluses are actually very shy spiders and don’t bite unless provoked. They have sloppy, unkempt, little webs, usually close the floor or on the insides of boxes, but don’t use their webs to trap their prey. They, instead, hunt their prey. They are identified and confirmed by two things: 1) the shape of a fiddle on their backs and 2) their six (not eight) eyes. They’re also called fiddle-spiders (aww!) They bite because YOU’RE big and scary.

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Still, the brown recluse, as shy and intimidated as they are, can do a lot of damage in their bites and lucky for us, King Ranch is fine, but what if it had been Little Foot? So since the bite, we’ve done an overhaul of cleaning out and inspecting our house and garage for any other introverted arachnids and, lucky for us, we’ve only found a plethora of house and wolf spiders which means that the recluse event was either isolated or they’ve all spoken to each other and hidden that much more diligently.

I guess the point of my posting all about this is to be aware—introverted and shy or not, the recluse can really do some damage if it feels threatened, so be careful. Look for brown recluse signs. Don’t keep cardboard boxes around your house or clothes on the floor because they love those hiding spots. If you live out on a ranch or anywhere in Texas, really, you definitely have them around, so be careful. All the rainbow glitter magic that’s swirling about your farm or homestead has an underbelly of creepy-crawlies that really just wants to be left alone. So be safe. 

In other news, if you missed this video on my Facebook or Instagram yesterday of Bunny trying to eat my phone, then here it is again. I’ve watched it at least 8,000 times and I’m still giggling. What a goose.

 

Brown recluse bites. Bunny bites. Nom nom nom.

June Afternoons

Long are June afternoons
Where the sun floats in blurry
Waves above every shiny surface,
Where densely-leaved trees sway
Lazily as if to fan themselves,
Where clouds thinly sprawl in
Wispy, white brush strokes across
Windless, endless blue sky.

Long are June afternoons
Where wonder floats gently like
Wished upon dandelions;
Scattered pseudo petals soaked in
The desires of dreamers and blown
Into directionless breeze.
Where thoughts dangle like dying lilies,
Drifting down petal by once vibrant petal.

June Afternoon

Rain Thoughts

It’s pouring outside. Like one of those real, north Texas, springtime storms that we haven’t had many of this year. I think about how many of my blogs last spring and the spring before were stories about hunkering down in these storms of epic proportions: the kind of storms from which tornadoes and old, forgotten childhood fears spiraled. But this year’s been different…only a handful of noteworthy systems have moved through our little town, most of which have been more wind damaging than anything. 

I’m also laying in my bed right now, typing this blog post on my phone with my right thumb because my left arm is wrapped about a sleeping, slightly snoring Little Foot. He’s started chatting in his two-year-old sleep recently, mostly about dinosaurs, cars, and sharing and it’s downright adorable. I wish, so badly, that I could see his dreams. What do the colors look like there? I wonder how many more times Little Foot will sleep curled up next to me. That’s one of those things I won’t realize it’s the last time until way after the fact. 

The plants outside must be thrilled: their roots are probably chugging the draining water with fury because it’s been that long since they’ve had a drink that wasn’t poured by me and we all know that water from a hose just isn’t the same. I hope that this storm refreshes my struggling garden and peps up the lawn a bit. We thrive on these storms and in their absence, everything’s just seemed…I don’t know…a bit off. Everything has been so tense and tired and stressed out. 

I know there’s a cliche metaphor in there: the whole, “can’t have a rainbow without the rain” concept. Which I mean, it’s true and I love that idea, but what I’m laying here thinking about isn’t what lies on the other side of this storm. I’m thinking about how much we need it and how much I’m loving this rain… The kind of rain that will take days to fully soak into the ground. How grateful I am for the fury of this storm upon us because I think everything needs a good wash out from time to time. A good cry. A purge of the build up that happens when it’s too hot and heavy for too long. 

There’s a meditation technique I learned once where you close your eyes and focus on one sound that you hear at a time. The rain. Little Foot’s heavy breath. The clock ticking in the bathroom. The chimes clanging outside. My own pulse… Can I really hear my own pulse right now? Or do I just feel it that heavily in my temples? 

Pitter-patter, inhale-exhale, tick-tock, clang-clang, thump-thump. 

It’s pouring outside and right now, I want it to last forever.

We’re Back!

Greetings, friends! We are happy to announce that we are BACK! After taking a month-ish leave from here and our social media accounts, we have returned and are refreshed…ready for anew!

If you’ve been following this here little Donkumentary, then you’ll remember that I took leave to focus on a “big project” and, indeed, that project has been worked on and is finally nearing completion. So here’s what it is:

It starts with a tiny seed that’s been quivering and twisting in my mind since, well, as far back as I can really remember. For as long as my brain has started building upon a memorable and conscious foundation, I’ve loved poetry. It began, I believe, with Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” a collection of poems and illustrations that my folks and later, grade school teachers would read to us when we were young. That collection taught us to see the world in wacky, weird ways—to smell the wind and to wonder about the color of things and what it all means. Then there was Dr. Seuss who, when the right words didn’t quite exist to illustrate his visions, simply made up his own and taught us all that we could wriggle and stretch out our own imaginations to places undiscovered by anyone. I loved the world through the words of those books and well, I’ve always had this dream that one day I’d have a book of my very own weird way of seeing the world so that I could share it with others. I’ve forever imagined that I’d have my own book of poetry.

I am so pleased to announce that this little seedling of a dream of mine has finally sprouted: I’ve completed a small collection of ranch-scene poetry. The editing process is not quite finished, but the bones, I believe, are sturdy and healthy and ready to have layers placed atop them. Soon, King Ranch and I will be releasing a collection of poetry and photography from our little donkey ranch! Just typing this out brings tears to my eyes. Y’all, I have been dreaming of this and chasing this for so long and I’m so excited to share it all with you. I’ll keep y’all posted as this project tiptoes closer to final completion—whatever that looks like. I’m thrilled. Also, shoutout to my talented partner, King Ranch, who’s collaborating on this with me. It’s been a treat to have a creative project to share.

It’s terrifying too, if I’m being completely honest, to put my heart and soul onto a platter to be sliced into by anyone who chooses to read this soon-to-be book. Have you ever cooked for a large crowd? Not everyone will enjoy your style and, being an overly sensitive person, I’m nervous to put myself out there. But, more importantly, I want to share this with y’all. This ranch life has been such a magical ride for my family and me and in a world moving so quickly and often chaotically, I want to spread a little bit of this fairy dust around in hopes that it can bring calmness or connection or even just a break to those who choose to read it. Plus, donkeys are cute.

I think it was Ray Bradbury who said something about jumping off a cliff and learning how to make wings on the way down and so well, here goes nothin’. *gulp*

Other than that, it’s been business as usual, here at the ranch. Bunny, Tee and Tink have all lost their winter coats as the brutality of Texas summer is upon us. I have three donkeys left of the 10 I received in March that are still available for adoption. Little Foot is growing in mind and body every day, surprising us with his knowledge and wisdom. The zucchini and squash plants in our garden are blooming fabulously…although this year, our tomatoes and cucumbers are struggling. It’s just the way of things, I suppose.

I’m glad to be back and even more excited to share stories with y’all again. I don’t think I’ve told y’all about the white rabbit, yet. Stay tuned for that story. I feel like it’s an omen or something. I’ve got stories about storms and wind and guinea hens. Stories about spiders and struggles and travel. But for now, I just want to say hi and that our hiatus has ended…although, the digital detox was refreshing. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been sans-screen, you should take a break. See the world again through your own eyeballs…smell the air and ponder about the colors of the stars.

Much love.

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We Were Friends When…

There’s a photo on my parent’s refrigerator back home of my mom and me—it’s a selfie of the two of us way before selfies were a thing. My hair was bleach, bright blonde and we both wore a pair of dark brown, oversized sunglasses. We were on our way to Austin for a weekend away, just us. I think about this photo often—it was taken, gosh, 14 years ago? I think of it often because in that photo, my mom and I have the exact, same smile and behind our bug-eyed sunglasses, it’s difficult to even tell us apart (but for the hairstyle) and I love knowing that there is another person out there who’s just like me. Not only that, but that person who’s out there who’s just like me happens to be one of the most important people in the world.

I’m one of the lucky ones: a daughter whose best friend has always been and will always be her mom. It goes all the way back to when I started forming memories. My mom and I were friends when she’d share milk-shakes with me in the car as we drove home from kindergarten—the Gin Blossoms or Spin Doctors jamming through the radio of our 1985 GMC Woody. We were friends when I fell out of the tree in our front yard in the second grade and although my pain was excruciating, we still laughed together after we reached safety following our realization that she’d turned the wrong way down a one-way road in Houston’s confusing-as-hell medical district. We were friends when, in the fifth grade I think, I left a Ziploc baggie of Cheez-its crumbs in the center console of that same GMC woody and instead of just throwing it away, my mom left it on my pillow the next day with a note that I should learn to throw away my own garbage. In retaliation, I left the baggie on her dresser. I found it a few days later in my sock drawer. It was then placed under her pillow. Back and forth, back and forth the baggie has gone between our changing residencies and just weeks ago, I found that same Ziploc baggie in a box of koozies in my utility room. (I’ll have you know, that two decades later, Cheez-its crumbs still look exactly the same which is very telling for either Cheez-Its or Ziploc.)

My mom and I were friends when my heart broke in my early twenties…both figuratively and literally. Still numb over the loss of friends and terrified in a hospital bed on my way into heart surgery, my mom held my hand and told me she’d be waiting for me on the other side—and that she loved me more than I could know. When my eyes opened in the recovery room, there she was with tear-streams down her soft cheeks and a smile waiting to tell me that I was going to be okay.

My mom and I were friends when Blackberry Messenger was still a thing—she was my only contact for a long time and I was totally okay with that—it being her messages that got me through the long afternoons of corporate paper pushing. We were friends when we attended our first yoga class together and then continued to attend that same class week after week for years. It would be a decade later that I’d be leading my own yoga sessions and wouldn’t you know that it was my mom who attended one of my first classes.

My mom believes in magic—the kind that floats around and connects us all to one another. She believes, wholeheartedly, that we’re responsible for one another—that if someone is suffering, we should help. That if someone is acting like an idiot, that there’s probably more to that story and maybe we should look to understand before snap-judging. That if you’re giving it your best…your real best…then that’s all you can do and that’s okay. She believes in gentleness and open-mindedness and forgiveness (even when *I* personally think that forgiveness in certain situations is no longer an option.) But my mom is stronger than me in that way.

My mom is the strongest person I know—she’s overworked and underappreciated and gives and gives and gives without question. She’s sensitive and she’s thoughtful—still giving me gifts in an Easter basket because why wouldn’t she? She bakes homemade cakes for her friend’s birthdays. She loves roses and knows just how to help the grow. She reads books aloud at the library for elementary students. She answers my midnight calls and calls me on my numbskull actions when I have them. She makes lunches for the members of her church. She loves King Ranch as if he were her own son and is impressed with every single thing that Little Foot does. She always does what’s right. She always thinks of others before herself. She never ever quits.

I think of that photo of the two of us on their fridge and I think how lucky I am to have, by chance, been her daughter but more importantly by choice, be her friend. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t talk to my mom, even if one of us is angry at the other. I am the spouse and the mother and the person I am today because of my mom and not a day goes by that I am not grateful for all she’s endured to raise my brothers and me. She gives so, so much and I can barely keep it together when I think of how much she means to me.

And here’s the thing—my mom will read this and her cheeks will blush and she’ll probably gripe at me to take it down because she’s too humble to have nice things said about her in any sort of a public forum—she’d rather the spotlight be on someone else. She’s modest like that. She’s never the kind of person to boast about herself even though I think she’s one of the few who actually deserves to. So if she tells me in seriousness to take this down, I will respect her wishes.

In the meantime…

I love you, mom, more than you could ever imagine—and I’m only capable of that because of the love you’ve instilled in me. The friendship that we’ve formed that continues to evolve is one of the best things in my life. I think of you every day and am grateful, beyond comprehension, for the woman that you are and the positive impact you continue to make on the world. I’m grateful that I was born your daughter and that you are who you are. Thank you for all that you’ve done and still do—I truly believe the world’s still on its axis because you’re here. 

As my mother, my friend, and one of the people I most admire, I love you.

Happiest of birthdays to you.

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Springtime Shifts & Snips

It was a misty afternoon as I drove along obscure county roads through small-town Texas’s prairies and lakes region on a solo-trip to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue’s headquarters in San Angelo. My trip’s purpose was to volunteer and assist in what would be 150+ male donkeys being castrated. I’d be another set of hands to help in any way I could for the large team of vets and employees of the PVDR ranch.

I don’t get the opportunity to make road trips on my own very often and on the occasion that it happens, I remember how much I enjoy that solitary time. To boot, I love Texas in early spring when the leaves are a bright, playful green and infinite bluebonnets blanket the grassy slopes along every road. This lone trip came at a perfect time because much like this seasonal springtime shift, my life has gone through some blooming of its own and I’ve not had the time or space to really process it all.

The drive was a strange one—the mist making it too wet to not run the windshield wipers but not wet enough to keep them on their lowest setting, so I had to be diligent about manually clicking them every minute or so. I also wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from my time at PVDR seeing as I’d never witnessed one donkey castration, let alone over 150. From what I knew going into it, the procedure can be pretty gruesome to the weak-stomached and although I consider my gut to be pretty strong, I was still finding it difficult to imagine what I was driving into. But I wanted, so badly, to help. I’m not really sure why…I just really, really wanted to be there.

I drove on along a route that Google Maps decided was best and really, it picked well. The roads climbed and tumbled over rolling hills and through patches of low-hanging trees and wildflower clusters. The roads rose and fell with such rhythm that soon, it felt like the Earth itself was breathing and I simply slipped along the ebb and flow of its beautiful breath. I found myself mimicking her breathing—inhaling as the car climbed up and exhaling as we slithered down.

I breathed in my recent doubts—doubts like, was it really the right decision to take leave from the studio where I’ve been regularly teaching yoga for nearly two years? Only two days before this trip, I’d held my final, regularly scheduled yoga class in an effort to have more time at home with my family, my donkeys, and my ranch. But that decision was no easy one to make—I loved that space where I could lead yoga classes. It was friendly and fun and oddly enough, a place where people didn’t feel the need to compete with one another. I liked that. Competition makes me uncomfortable. Maybe that’s why I was a really crappy softball player once upon a time.

I breathed in doubts about myself—the cassettes on repeat in my mind that question if the things I do are the right ones. If I’m a good enough mother. A good enough partner. A good enough guardian for donkeys. The insecurities I have over not making much money and being so anxious about absolutely everything all the time. I breathed it in and in and in and with every downhill exhale, I imagined those doubts fluttering away like a frightened murder of crows. Gather it up and let it go. Up and down, gather and let go.

I arrived at my destination around dinner time and was welcomed with warm hospitality by two of the PVDR ranch residents who put me up for the night. It felt like home, sleeping where the donkeys bray, and the next morning, we woke before sunrise and got to work.

There was hardly a moment to be lost in my head that day and perhaps that’s why I enjoy manual labor so much. If monkey mind has a task, then it doesn’t have time to waste on bottomless pits of “what ifs.” It makes hard work an escape for me. I love it. Every minute of it…sweat and blood, included. Hard work is therapy.

After while, as the castrations were beginning, I found myself in the line where I assisted in haltering and identifying the jacks who were in the queue for vaccines, sedation, and castration. I’ve not had much experience with wild donkeys who’ve not been handled much by humans (or handled in negative ways) and it was a little bit intimidating and a lot bit eye-opening. I’m so used to my sweet Bunny and Tee and Tink who lean their weight and their trust into me that I forget how much work and effort goes into these donkeys to help them feel safe.

So many of the PVDR donkeys have come from a neglected, abusive, and abandoned backgrounds and to come out on the other side hungry for human interaction is a real testament to the effort that PVDR folks put into these donkeys. It’s humbling. And it’s a ray of freaking sunshine in an often selfish and apathetic world. I wished I could’ve stayed to help with castration day two, but life was still happening at home and I didn’t want to miss any more of it. Plus I really wanted to spend time with my donkeys and the 5 left in my care that were available for adoption. I wanted to pet their noses and show them that they were loved especially after seeing where a lot of their journeys may have started—wild and scared and having no reason to trust humans.

Perhaps it was the seemingly 35 gallons of sweat I lost along that line of dozens of donkeys and perhaps it was the snipping away of bit after bit after bit, but as I drove home late that night, beneath the star-studded sky, my spirit felt cleansed or….castrated, if you will. It takes escapes like this, sometimes, to get out of the woods of your mind—to retreat from your comfort zone and spend some time with people who’ve dedicated their lives to making the world a better place. “What ifs” struggle to exist in places demanding of your strength and my, how I need my “what ifs” to be put out of their misery sometimes.

I guess the point of all of this is that we could all stand to snip away our unnecessary bits sometimes—especially if all they’re doing is causing us and those around us, trouble. Find some alone time. Scare the crows away. Admire the stars and most important, breathe as deeply and with as much purpose as you can. Use that deep breath to create space for peace within you—to make way for the blooming wildflowers of your soul.

Gather it up and let it go.

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The Value of Donkey and Self

I should start with an apology to my readers for having neglected to keep you all abreast of what’s been happening at our little donkey ranch lately. There are times in life that I swear the gods must be pressing fast-forward on their giant remote in the sky because it seems like only yesterday that I was basking in the afterglow of our successful “Yoga for Donkeys” fundraiser (that story here).

Since then, we’ve acquired a new shipment of adoptable donkeys—10, to be exact—so last week, our total donkey count for the ranch jumped from 3 to 13. Here are some photos of our new arrivals:

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Within this shipment is the largest donkey I’ve so far fostered (Gus) as well as the smallest (Spartan) and between those two are vibrant and far-ranging personalities—from mischievous to debonair to spunky and inquisitive. This Motley Crew of snorting snouts and twitching tails leaves no room for dull moments. Then again, life rarely leaves room for dull moments. As my role in donkey rescue chugs along, so does my ever-evolving role as a mother, partner, yoga-instructor, gardener, daughter and oh yeah…self.

The self.

The self is and should be on your schedule for regular maintenance just like oil-changes and air-filter replacement. The self needs love and attention and like your teeth, needs regular polishing.

I struggle with this. I struggle with taking two steps back and turning my sights inward to ask, “Hey, you doing alright in there?” I do this so infrequently that when I do muster up the strength to take a look inside my heart and mind, my gaze acts more like a needle penetrating the outside of an about-to-burst water balloon, causing violent gushes of pent up emotion to pour out of me and down the streets, white-capping and destroying property.

The self needs itself. The self needs to know it’s loved unconditionally and the self needs to know that it is valuable beyond measure. The self does not increase in value because it makes more money or looks a certain way. The self does not increase in value when it has popularity or followers. The self needs the self to recognize its shared value simply by having been born into this world.

I realized this from spending time with my donkeys—this new crew specifically. Gus, my larger-than life donkey, carries no more value than Spanky, my orphaned ball of fluff who keeps rubbing his face on posts creating a perma-scab likely, because he’s anxious. Tink has no less value than any other donkey just because he has to wear a boot. They are valued simply because they are who they are.

With us (humans) it becomes so convoluted because of things like religion and politics and classism and so on but what I wish we could all do is to just stop and look inside for a moment and ask, “How you doing in there? Like really, how are things?” I get the sense a lot of us would be surprised at what we saw. If we could understand that we all carry worlds within ourselves (and those worlds are, I believe, infinitely valuable and immeasurably capable of love), then concepts like dehumanizing groups of people simply because they’re different wouldn’t exist like they do so frequently throughout our history as a species. How lucky we all could be if we’d stop, polish our insides, and then use our newly-filled cup to serve those who could use a hand.

I hope that you can appreciate how complex you really are—how there’s no way that one word or one concept could ever define you. How you were a child once who dreamed of going on magical quests and that if you think about it, life really is exactly that—a fantastic adventure. Be the hero—the one who saves the day with empathy and love, not with violence and hatred. Who fights for what’s right. Who falls and has two choices: to give up or to muster up the strength that you’ve always had to keep going. Be Gus, the gentle giant. Be Spanky, the fighter who was not expected to survive but now thrives. Be Tink, who wears his boot proudly. Be Bunny, the one who would do anything to ensure that you felt loved.

Be you. Complex, weird, creative, and sensitive you. And when you feel the emptiness begin to creep in, step back. Recharge. Love on yourself. You’ll be back up in no time.

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Yoga for Donkeys

Last week, I hosted an event to raise money for the charity in which I volunteer to help save donkeys. I considered the potential to serve a greater good by combining two of my very favorite things: yoga and donkey rescue. The result was an overwhelming success where not only was money raised to help save donkeys, but so was awareness of the issues facing donkeys and why it’s important that we give them a voice. I led a short and somewhat unconventional yoga class beneath a clear sky as the stars and my donkeys watched curiously.

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{Here, I’m saying, “look at the stars!!”}

Of course, the donkeys didn’t stay idle for very long before deciding to join the yoga class.

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Yoga and Donkeys: It was a marriage of two worlds I’d not previously imagined but somehow, it all came together—and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, one of the common themes in this entire blog that’s been going on for nearly two years is how much the relationship I’ve built with my donkeys has helped me manage my anxiety. Yoga is also an essential tool in my anxiety management box and so I suppose the connection was merely a matter of time.

That’s not to say I haven’t done a bit of my own yoga practice from time to time out in the pasture with my donkeys around, but I guess I was particularly touched with just how many people were eager to participate in the event. Most of the participants had never spent any time with donkeys but suffice to say that everyone left that night with a little hoof-print on their heart.

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It was a strange yet magical night—increasingly chilly as the night aged, but as we mingled with each other and with the donkeys, self-perpetuated warmth grew just as quickly. It was a gathering of huge hearts that thudded within the chests of admirable and generous folks and I’ve spent the days following this event baffled over how I managed to become so lucky in life that I was given the opportunity to do something like this: teach yoga to save donkeys all in the company of the very best people. I well up just typing that.

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I realized that night that I never tire of talking donkeys. I could go on for an eternity looking for the words that would chart the depth of their existence but honestly it goes so deep I reckon I’ll never see the bottom. Even better was that the people who spent that evening with me under the stars wanted to know everything about donkeys and wanted to touch them and look into their eyes the same way I do—the same way I wish we all could because your life is never really the same after you’ve seen the soul of a donkey. And if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, then go look again—their worlds are infinite and peek out in little sparks around their eyes when you look just right.

Thank you so much, from the bottom of my bleeding heart, to all of you who have donated your time and your money to help save donkeys. They are beings worth fighting for because the obstacles they face are dire. Donkeys are being slaughtered by the millions across the globe for their hides (you can read more about that issue here: Under the Skin – Donkeys at Risk) and before it’s too late, we must speak out.

If you’d like to donate to the cause, please feel free to visit this page for more information.

And finally, special shoutout to Lambert Photography for snapping pics in such a unique environment 🙂

The light in me honors and loves the light in all of you—that same light that we all share that peers down from the sky at night, that winks from the eyes of animals, that seeps from your skin and tingles when it feels seen. It’s the light that’s fueled by adventure and risk-taking but also shines just as brightly when there are no words but simply still contemplation of the stars above. That light in me salutes that light in you. NamasBRAY.

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