Rural Reflection #8

When all you seem to do is work, work, work… there comes a time when you just crave for a breather.  A time to sit and reflect… to just appreciate your life and the wonderful people around you.  With drought smothering us on the farm and that natural ability to thrive seems to diminish somewhat… alas… there is someone reaching out to you.

They are special compassionate people, friends or strangers, extending an arm to you, listening, thankfully distracting you from an overload of work tasks and allowing you into their own world of thoughts.  It is then, that you truly appreciate the kindness and generosity in these extraordinary people.

That day was only yesterday for me.  A friend that was once a stranger, and her family lifted our spirits… unbeknown to them… and what a powerful effect their presence had created.  A family that moved to Tamworth from the Central Coast about 2 years ago, starting a new life in this beautiful northern region.  I met this quiet woman a year ago through CWA meetings and our friendship developed.  Interestingly, two women from two completely different backgrounds, from city and country, can form a connection and feel comfortable in discussions.  Our husbands then met, both leading different work lives, yet conversation seemed so engaging and relaxed.

Yesterday, I was feeling a little overwhelmed, as tiredness took hold of me and I struggled to fully function in work mode.  As farmers know, we do not have the luxury of work times… our work finishes when the job is done.  We work 7 days a week and with drought now, those hours are extended with earlier starts and working until dark.  We all pray for relief soon, rain to break this horrid drought.

So with work committments piling up and office jobs completed in priority order, I was feeling mentally exhausted.  It was then that I receive a little message from my thoughtful friend, suggesting her family come for a visit.  Honestly, my first reaction in my own mind was… I don’t really have time to socialise, I am so busy with things to get done, the house is a bit untidy, what food do I have in the fridge.  Why do farmers automatically feel guilty when they stop to relax?  I have no idea why, but I know now that it is more important than ever, that we do find a little time out and engage with other people.

Then, I took a breath from my anxiety… and yet it was then organised, on a spur of the moment whim.  My friend, her husband and their 2 sons arrived early evening, with a few dinner supplies in hand.  Her calm gentle nature somehow manages to relax me and I enjoy her normal and compelling conversation.  The men all went to shift a mob of cows, giving us time to catch up and prepare dinner.  The evening just worked out perfectly.

My beef roast had been cooking in the slow cooker, so we only needed to cook some vegetables to accompany the meal.  I do find on the farm, my slow cooker is used a lot because I never know when I will get home, so at least we have some meat cooked for dinner to motivate me.  And tonight it all worked out fine.

The men returned after moving the cows, with the hope of a storm in the hills behind them, but disappointingly it never made it’s way here.  I felt relief for other farmers beyond those hills.  Although we missed out, I was happy for the other farmers in the distance.

Today, I have been reflecting on the importance of friendships and allowing others to reach out to us and welcoming them into our unique world with open arms.  So I am sharing this photo with you all, that was taken a year ago.  It shows a track on the laneway of our property, that we use regularly when moving stock from the lower undulating hills to the valley out the back.  I really like this photo for 2 reasons.  The colours are enticing with cloudy blue sky above the dry landscape with a splashing of trees.  And the windy track as it dips over the hill arouses the curiosity of the unknown destination within the image.

Rural Reflection #8…

08 A Windy Track Beneath a Cloudy Blue Sky

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Yesterday, it was this winding track that brought the men back for dinner.  It made me think about not only the appreciation that we had for this visiting family in helping us, but the appreciation of the country and lifestyle that we were able to share with them.  A rural industry that they are very unaccustomed to, yet keen to experience.  An industry that we are passionate about… giving us the opportunity to share it with them.

Whilst the men enjoyed what the outdoors can offer, my friend and I enjoyed some open heartfelt conversation.  I find it so amazing that although we are new friends, we can connect, enjoy the company and find support in one another.  And our husbands in their own way, can do the same.  My farmer husband with his tough exterior, deep down enjoys sharing his passion with these new friends and relishes in seeking some downtime and laughter.  This visit meant so much to us, in a way that may be difficult to explain, but sincere gratitude expressed, especially at a time when farmers are so very sensitive and stressed.

Kindness does not cost anything and makes a big difference in the lives of those you touch.  No act of kindness, regardless of how small… is ever wasted.  Be kind to everybody that you meet, because everybody is fighting their own battles.  Regardless of our differences, our background, our experiences, our stories… we are all interesting people in city and country… kindness is the key to uniting us and strengthens our soul.

Take care, Karen.

“No act of kindness is too small.

The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple

that over time can turn into a tidal wave

affecting the lives of many.”

~ Kevin Heath

The Trust Crisis: Forgive or Forget?

Trust takes us years to build… but only a few seconds to break.  But can trust truly be repaired in a relationship?  You can’t truly love without trust.  We have all had partners, parents, children, siblings and friends… and at some point in our lives, the issue of trust has been diminished.  Some relationships can be mended, depending on the severity of the fracture in our faith.  But for other relationships, it is best to move on and start afresh… allowing both parties to heal.  But how does one decide what to do?

Trust is an emotional and logical act.  It is where we expose our vulnerabilities to people and believe that they will not take advantage of our honesty and openness.  Trust is a feeling… that we associate with love, friendship, comfort and relaxation.

A person who is trustworthy is considerate of others and cares for their wellbeing.  When you trust someone, you believe in them.  Trust also means that you know what is best for yourself and believing that you are worthy of trust.

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To trust… is to be honest and believe that you would never hurt your significant other, and to care deeply for them and their broken or painful past.  A desire to protect their esteem and believe in them.

To trust… is to know that your parents have your back and they love you unconditionally.  A belief that you are accepted just the way you are and that they are proud of you, your personality and your achievements.

To trust… is to raise your children into kind and loving adults, trusting that they will make their own mistakes in life, without harm.  It is believing that they will learn from these mistakes and we continue to love them unconditionally.

To trust… is to respect our siblings and be mindful of their feelings and to accept personal perceptions.  A family connection to help each other, encourage them, but also give them the space that they need.

To trust… is to have a friend that you can confide in, someone you trust in sharing your private thoughts.  They are your “confidante”, the keeper of your secrets and someone you can be yourself around.

Sometimes in our lives, whether it be bad judgement, outside influences or a mistake… trust can be broken.  Then we are left to evaluate, whether our trust has been misplaced or misunderstood.  I don’t believe the question is “should we trust again?”… but “how do we build trust so our relationships can grow and thrive?”.

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Communication is the biggest factor.  Communicating your expectations early and understanding the needs of your partner, is the foundation for building a long-lasting relationship.  To be in love with your partner, trust must be present.  Any relationship that is not built on a secure foundation of trust… will ultimately break.

Similarly, friends can disappoint you, if your concerns are not communicated clearly and a greater sense of trust has not been developed.  Trust is the single most important component of any healthy relationship.  If trust does not exist, you are unable to get close to that person and rely on them for support.  Without trust, you cannot be vulnerable and reveal your hopes, dreams and worries.

After trust has been broken, the key is to decide if the relationship is worth repairing and if trust can be restored in time.  The degree, as to which the trust has been compromised, will determine the action to be taken.  And as each person is unique, the decision will vary for all.  Some trust issues are deal-breakers and unable to be restored.  But other trust issues are repairable and worth it.  The key is knowing what is best for you…each and every one of us are worthy and it is for us to decide for ourselves.

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Sometimes, we need to make that decision to walk away and accept that our happiness is more important and we deserve better.  If trust will never be restored or will always be a major hurdle… then moving on is the answer.

Sometimes, the relationship is worth it or the trust issue can be resolved in time… that we can accept the mistake and try to rebuild the relationship again.  To build trust or re-build trust in any relationship we need to:

  • Earn It – Stop taking trust for granted and make it a priority in our relationships.  This will allow us to be conscious of our actions and understand how our partner or friend will perceive our actions.
  • Be Supportive – In a stage of building trust, being supportive of each other is of utmost importance.  Each party needs to feel that they can take a risk, make mistakes or try new things… and have the support that they both need.
  • Keep Secrets – Rather than keeping secrets from each other, instead keep secrets “for” each other.  Personal conversations in a vulnerable state, bring a sense of connection through this sort of trust.
  • Be Vulnerable – Allow yourself to be open and really honest when sharing things that you often keep hidden.  The ultimate sign of trust is allowing the other person into your emotional world and sharing your inner thoughts.
  • Do Not Judge – Although you might not understand why something is important to your partner or friend… but the fact that it is important is all that really matters.  We all have a history and a tangled web of emotions, so respect each other and your unique differences… without judgement.
  • Keep Your Promises – Make keeping your promises a priority and refrain from overlooking the little things.  These little promises may be small, but they go a long way towards building trust.
  • Communication – Be open and honest in your conversations and ensure you are both understood.  Each party has a need to be heard and understood, and trust is built when each party is honest.
  • Disagreements – Voice your issue and discuss privately, never in public to shame or humiliate the other person.  This will keep your lines of communication open, allow your thoughts to be voiced respectfully and ensure trust is retained.
  • Personal Growth – Take the time to work on your personal growth, which will give strength to not only you, but your relationships as well.  We all have something we need to work on… for our own well-being.

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Forgiveness is the key factor.  To forgive is not to excuse the behavior of the person that has offended you… but rather a process of allowing us to let go of anger, bitterness and resentment.  It is about us… it is about releasing yourself from the control it has over you. Forgiveness is genuine compassion for those who have wronged us and the ability to move on… for the sake of our own emotional well-being and happiness.

Trusting does not mean mistakes won’t happen.  Any relationship brings two people together with their own beliefs, ideas, emotional baggage, burdens, past history and personal perceptions.  Letting go of past transgressions is the only way to move forward and resurrect any relationship.

Letting go of the hurt and the disappointment, accepting the apology and be open for trust based on truth and love.  Time will heal… but you have the control, to control your own thoughts and actions.

I believe the significance of trust… is in yourself.  Trust that you have the ability… and the power… and the strength… to believe in yourself.  Life gives us ups and downs… but it is our choice what reactions we have and the decisions we make.  The decision is yours and you are worth it.

Take care, Karen.

“A bird sitting in a tree is not afraid of the branch breaking,

because her trust is not in the branch,

but in her own wings.”

~ tinybuddha.com 

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