Saturday, February 9, 2019

KonMari My Winter: A Heart for Now, an Eye to the Future

We were a bit spoiled in the northwest, but winter finally did make her appearance.

It's not easy to spend time in the barn without feeling like your fingers are going to freeze into ice cubes and fall off your hands--even with heavy gloves.  So, I do my thing: feed, clean stalls, work with Tumbleweed.  We don't do much.  He stands tied for his supplements, and then I stand in the breezeway and work at petting his face.

T'weed had started this bite, jump, bite, jump routine, that needed some smoothing.  Being a baby, he doesn't know what to do with his mouth and, invariably, he nips at Foxy and then turns to run.  But it was also filtering into our relationship.  I'd try to pet his face, he'd try to nip, then he'd turn to avoid getting kicked.  But I don't kick.  So, I wave my  hands around his face, ask him to look on in the center, then pet him in the middle of the face, between his eyes.  I do it over and over until  I don't get a reaction from him.  So far, it's working.  When I'm petting him, and he wants to taste my hands, I just rub his lips with my other hand, and that seems to take care of it.

We installed cameras in the barn since we don't get to be out there as much.

They rotate 360 degrees and have night vision and audio.  I can hear them and talk to them.  Leah is by far the most responsive to my voice, and Cowboy comes in second.  Leah, will whip her head up and look right at the camera source when she hears me call  her name.  I think that means she's the hungriest and she knows my voice means food.

So, I'm surviving winter with an eye to spring.  I've started doing yoga--holding poses that will strengthen my core: Goddess pose, Warrior 1, 2, and 3, Dancer's pose, Triangle pose, Dolphin and pigeon poses.

I set my mat up in front my bedroom window, face looking out at the mountains and pastures (where the horses are eating), next to my Echo, then I ask Alexa to play new age or meditative music.  I light a candle, and start by meditating and stretching, then ask Alexa to set timers for two minutes, as needed, when I hold the poses.  (Alexa is a very helpful assistant.)

(the book that got us to think differently)

I had this mat for a long time, as well as two great books on yoga, but I didn't start using them until after I KonMari'ed, and simplified my life.  As we were deciding what to keep and take forward in our lives and what we no longer had use for and would give away, I found the mat and the books and was reminded that this was something I always wanted to do.  Then, I found two different articles about yoga that help you strengthen your core for horseback riding--and I chose those poses.   Here they are:  One in Dressage Riding Training and one in Horse Illustrated.  They don't recommend the dancer's pose, but I find it really helps with balance.

I also do a relaxation exercise at the end of the poses--asking Alexa to set a timer for five minutes.  It is always the fastest five minutes ever.  I lay flat on my back with arms down at my side, palms up, and start with my toes. In my mind, I tell them to relax--breathe out tension, breathe in relaxation--and let them fall to the ground.  I move up my body and focus on relaxing each part--letting them fall to the ground--all the way up to the top of my head.

I've also started surrounding myself with flowers: azaleas, hydrangeas, lilies, and some unknown (to me) flower.

the essence of KonMari is choosing what to KEEP,  not throw away--even though you do end up discarding a lot.  when we really examine what brings us joy, we also want to experience that item.  the vase below was made for me by my youngest son, but it was stashed away where I couldn't see it.  I pulled it out and placed it in our main bathroom.  It sparks so much joy to see it every day.

the platter behind the next set of flowers is one I etched and painted when we traveled every week to Gig Harbor, WA. another good memory.

With inspiration from both KonMari and my sister (who was born to KonMari without ever studying her methods) I remembered that I had a Shopko framed picture in my bathroom that I didn't even know what it was about--some little girl on a beach in a gilded frame. Maybe it did spark joy for me when I bought it, as a young mother, but it does nothing for me now, and we use that main floor bathroom all day.  On the other hand, downstairs, in a guest room that is rarely used, one of my favorite pictures has been hanging, virtually unseen, for twelve years--Audacious, by Nancy Glazier.

I took the time to buy the limited edition, signed print, and invested a lot of extra money to have it framed, but I NEVER got to see it!!  Well, as you can see, I remedied that!  And, I also added a candle underneath. (Not shown in the picture--as well, as decluttering the magazines--unshown)

We had our first guests over since the big change and when the husband exited the bathroom, his first words were, who is Audacious?!?

I replied that I think of it as Cowboy, my heart horse--because he is who I saw when I fell in love with it.  Cowboy. In fact, my house is full of art that sparks joy because it looks like Cowboy.

Here is the original horse, Cowboy:

And here are the paintings I have around my house:

Sense a theme?

It's a journey, and our feelings change about things (like I can envision some pictures of buckskins in my future), but each day I do ask myself what is most important to me, and I try to make those things  happen--or pay closer attention to the beings and things I love.


  1. Interesting nipping technique, glad it is working. What a lovely view to inspire yoga/meditation! I play similar music, and if inside also burn essential oils. Not sure why, but I have a harder time dropping in and not thinking. Outdoors it's just me on a mat, in nature (including our horses) and yoga practice lasts for however long feels right. Thanks for sharing the articles. I haven't been on my mat much since being stuck inside, it sure benefits me tremendously to just do it tho. You sound so content and at peace, even with Winter's confinements. Spring is just around the corner, and life will get busier. Enjoy these slower months and all they have to offer.

    1. Nipping is a better way to put it. Nip, run, nip, run. Yoga is such a great thing to do--you can customize the poses to fit your own needs, hold them as long as you want--and it's free. All you need (and you don't have to have it) is a mat. I didn't know the poses, but the book does a good job explaining them, as do those articles. I tried doing yoga with a computer app, but it didn't work for me. I really don't like being told what poses to do and when. I listen to my body. Also, I think the place I chose, the living room, was too chaotic. Once I found my mat under the bed and pulled it out in front of that window, it just seemed perfect. I love it so much, I leave the mat out all the time now. It's just sitting there, and I can't wait to get back to it! I hope you can find a warm spot to continue yours. Yes, I'm so at peace, I don't ever know what day it is. I've read several books, written several poems, reconnected with several people--life is ssssllllooooowwww. I think I was born to be a Buddhist monk that rides horses.

  2. Nipping seems to be in the air right now! (no pun intended....) Drifter quit after the one time he tried it- he doesn't like getting in trouble. But then Mesa nipped Shayla when she was doing something- don't remember what, maybe adjusting a strap on the off side of the saddle. I think it's a herd behaviour that they carry over into their people relationship, and just need to learn that it is unacceptable in that scenario. So much nipping amongst the youngsters as they vie for dominance.
    Sounds like you are in a really good place right now! And I hope this cold snap is nearly done!

    1. Funny that it’s going around. Tumbleweed has a very playful side, and he is constantly nipping at Foxy to get her to play with him. Foxy is so patient. She is really giving him confidence. He thinks he’s pretty tough. Every time I take him out, he gives the wolfhounds his best stink eye, and they move out of his way as fast as they can...because they’ve had his warning kicks. I think he was born to herd cows, because he has that kind of personality.

      I am ready for this cold snap to end, too. I can’t wait for spring. I’m trying to make the most of winter, but there are moments when I wish I could get outside more. I’m trying not to go there and just accept this time as a season to be still and work on the quiet place. Recalibrate. Reconnect. Rest. Remember. Reenergize. ...lots of R words. 😂 Reflect.

  3. You almost make me want reorganize my things. Almost... It actually probably wouldn't take long, my house is so small. But I'd have to drum up the energy. Maybe through yoga! I'm going to check out those links you posted.

    1. The best thing I’ve done in a long time is the whole process of KonMari. I really can’t speak highly enough about it. When you’re finished, your life is both simplified and magnified. Less materialism, more gratitude. I just finished the book, but the shows are really good—they cover it all. You’d be surprised at how much energy you have when you start down the path. Once you collect all your clothes and dump them in one pile, pick each piece up and see how it makes you feel—you start to look at other things in life differently, too. If you have a small house, it will seem much bigger when you’re done! When you move, you do a lot of this, but my husband and I haven’t moved in twelve years, and we don’t plan on moving for at least another twelve, and hopefully longer! 🙏

  4. Sounds like you've found the perfect way to get through the winter! Yoga is something I've always wanted to try and I'm definitely going to check out the online links you've put up.

    The pictures are all gorgeous! I have some in my house that remind me of Dusty and Erik.

    It's good you're stopping the nipping now. And I love the cameras in the barn. I've always thought we should get some just to see what they're up to when no ones around. Hang in there Spring is just around the corner. At least that's what I told myself this morning while feeding and turning out in 15 degree weather.

    1. I hope you are inspired to do yoga. It is a good way to keep our core strong during these months. I love that you don’t have to go anywhere to do it. I have friends that take classes, and I was under the impression I would need to, too, if I wanted to learn, but that’s not the case at all.

      It won’t be long and we will be back on our horses. 😀 Speaking of which, they seem all too happy to be taking a snow break.


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