Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘health

My Choice

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The other day I picked up a pitchfork and worked up a sweat stirring compost. It was late afternoon and I was already tired from a full day of chores, so my energy was waning. My arms sent a notice of complaint to my brain.

“Tired. Don’t feel like working anymore.”

It occurred to me that, despite a prevailing mindset to use machines to do all our exhausting tasks, I prefer the precise control I can achieve with hand tools. I’m not as fast as a machine, and I tire easily, but I get more satisfaction.

In my head, I imagined someone interrupting my effort to suggest I use the bucket on the tractor, because I was huffing and puffing, straining at the effort, and breaking a good sweat.

I actually like the exercise, despite my body complaining that it is tired.

How hard is it to convince yourself to get up early and go to the gym for a healthy workout? The body would rather remain at rest, for sure. But to be physically fit, we have to push ourselves out of that resting comfort zone.

Next, I imagined myself at the gym, huffing and puffing at the effort to work my arms, lifting weight. Would someone suggest that there is a machine to do that for me, so I don’t have to work so hard?

I choose my pitchfork.

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Written by johnwhays

September 13, 2017 at 6:00 am

A Nutshell

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Have I already shared this? I don’t recall. In a nutshell, here is a synopsis of the Wintervale Ranch story, composed for our “About” page on the Wintervale website.

Wintervale Ranch is a one of a kind retreat center started by Cyndie and John Hays upon their relocation from the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in 2012. Inspired by their travels and life experiences, they began to explore the wonder of equine wisdom. Cyndie enrolled in an Epona apprenticeship program from which blossomed their life-changing move to a gorgeous paradise property in the rolling countryside of west-central Wisconsin.

With a wise herd of four Arabian horses and the beautiful setting not far from the Twin Cities metro area, Wintervale Ranch has become a destination for a variety of opportunities in personal and professional development, as well as rejuvenating health and wellness retreats. On twenty acres with forested trails, open pastures, an 11-circuit Chartes labyrinth, rolling hills with wild berries, perennials, flowers and towering trees, the setting provides an ideal atmosphere for quiet reflection, and opportunities for personal discovery and professional growth.

Wintervale Ranch is a perfect setting for individuals, teams, and small groups to explore possibilities beyond the usual limited focus of daily demands, while connecting with the wonderful wisdom of horses in a natural outdoor nurturing environment.

We invite you to inquire and begin your exploration of discovery. Find what dwells in your possibilities.

In the relatively short time that we have been striving to develop the vision we have for this place, it has become clear to us that our most rewarding outcomes result from the wonderful expressions of our guests, both their words and in the looks on their faces, as they take in the powerful ambiance of the overall setting. That type of reaction becomes magnified even more when the people spend time exploring the lessons and interacting with our horses during Cyndie’s workshops.

It is a thrill to witness learners discovering what dwells in their possibilities.

People visiting Wintervale bring this place to life, and at the same time, Wintervale reveals a broader depth of life to visiting people.

That’s it, in a nutshell!

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Natural Medicine

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During my drive to work earlier this week, I heard this inspiring story on public radio about an increasing trend for Forest Bathing, a practice that started in Japan back in the early 1990s.

It’s what we do almost every day at our place. Each time we walk Delilah along the perimeter trail through our woods we are breathing healthy phytoncides emitted by the plants and trees. This reduces stress levels and boosts our immune systems.

Wandering along the trail among the trees while listening to all the bird-calls and the sounds of rustling leaves is inspiring enough on its own, but add in some of nature’s medicinal forest air filling your lungs and you enjoy quite the bonus!

Forest bathing is a perfect complement for the workshops Cyndie leads with the horses and labyrinth. It has always been part of the experience here, but we never described it with as much clarity as the variety of published articles on the subject are now offering.

I believe that giving the experience some specific definition of what is happening serves to enhance the results. Thank you MPR!

In my mind, nature has always seemed the best when it comes to medicine.

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Written by johnwhays

July 19, 2017 at 6:00 am

This Why

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This is why we can’t have a nice paved driveway like the other folks around here whose asphalt looks incredibly well-maintained.

We have an ongoing need for dump-truck loads of lime screenings for our paddocks.

That loaded dump-truck really makes an impression on the land. As he prepared to depart, I asked the driver to NOT center his truck on the driveway on the way out, and instead to run one set of wheels right down the middle. I’ve been trying to do the same with our vehicles ever since his visit last year, but haven’t had much effect on the eruption of cracked pavement the truck left for us that time.

Household discussion last night:

John: “Should I try to spread some lime screenings tomorrow?”

Cyndie: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I pull the T-posts instead?”

C: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I move the composted manure out?”

C: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I work on dividing the chicken coop?”

C: “Maybe.”

I think she got my point, and seeing as how I wasn’t getting any help with prioritizing, I chose not to continue with the thirteen other things also deserving attention.

It’s a good thing we are so smitten with each other, or these kinds of exchanges would take on additional unstated intentions. In our case, it just added to the love already present. Her refusal to take my bait brought a smile to my face. Our current healthy communication is a return on an investment we made long ago toward a few years of couples therapy.

This is why we can have nice conversations unburdened by alternate unstated agendas.

Well, that and the fact Cyndie gracefully puts up with my endless ribbing. If she wasn’t so saintly, I’d have needed to make myself a bed out in Delilah’s kennel years ago.

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Successful Surgery

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We are happy to report that Cyndie’s surgery was all good yesterday. There were no complications in the 4 objectives of cleaning out the arthritis, removing a spur, cleaning up the rotator cuff, and reattaching the ruptured tendons.

The outpatient procedure allowed her to be home by the end of the day, where she immediately began experimenting with our variety of chairs and couch in search of a favored perch. Pain management was easy last night, as the nerve block hadn’t yet worn off and the whole arm down to the hand was without feeling.

Today will likely be a bit more challenging for her, we presume.

They had her strapped into the brace before she even woke up from the procedure. She will wear it for the next 6-weeks, except for taking showers.

Quite a fashion statement, don’t you think?

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Written by johnwhays

June 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

Being Me

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It’s been a long time since I just let words flow from my fingertips without any preconceived notion of where I was heading or what would come out next. One reason for that is, it doesn’t tend to produce a result that holds much in the way of value for anyone reading other than me; and even I don’t get much from going back and reading the words that have piled up.

However, I’m feeling like lately my writing has settled into a somewhat humdrum pattern of dreary detail about waking up, driving to work, coming home, seeing our pets, clearing some snow, cleaning up after the horses, and lamenting over the news.

Where is my soul in this chronicle of the day-to-day?

When you write and publish a narrative of a personal everyday, there develops a pattern. The longer it goes, the more likely it can become something of a facade.

I suppose regular users of other social media are already well aware of this phenomenon.

mejwhcrosshatchedIt is likely that I am only writing what I want the world to know about me. Of course, there is probably a portion of who I really am that readers glean from my choice of subjects and words over time, which defines me more precisely than I think I am actually doing. But that is happening somewhere beyond words. It’s out there in our intuitive perceptions.

I guess I inherently accept that level of revelation.

I remember actually pondering over how to traverse the long walk in front of the packed bleachers of my high school gymnasium during basketball games without appearing to be the hypocritical fool I was attempting to be.

I was overly-selfconsciously trying to stroll as if I was not the least bit self-conscious about being an awkward adolescent walking in front of hundreds of classmates, parents, neighbors, friends, enemies, and strangers who shouldn’t care, or even notice me in the first place, yet were likely doing that very thing themselves; actually noticing and judging me whether or not they recognize the pettiness of doing so.

Hypocrisy.

I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Somewhere along that adolescent time period, I experienced a profound epiphany that inspired me to strive toward being the same person in every moment. Regardless of whom I might find myself with at any given moment, I want to be my most genuine self. It’s not easy to achieve, but it is a noble goal.

I believe I have failed probably as often as I have succeeded over the years, but with that as my goal, the failures have been minor. I still judge others more than I mean to. I still say things behind a person’s back that I wouldn’t say to their face.

But I catch myself doing it most of the time, and that is the key to interrupting the pattern and making a correction toward the goal of integrity I ultimately seek.

One tool in aligning words with noble intentions is the art of saying nothing when you have nothing good to say. Another is to think before you speak (or write).

What I’d like to achieve is a place of enlightenment where I can write without thinking or filtering and have the flowing words reveal my pure soul and the narrative of the day to day, hypocrisy-free.

Wouldn’t than be a nice me to be.

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Written by johnwhays

February 4, 2017 at 9:47 am

Keeping Calm

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I’m trying to keep calm and carry on. In the past, my prescription for maintaining a positive outlook about the world included turning off the broadcast news. I would, instead, get news from sources which allowed a choice over the content. I could pick what I allowed to infiltrate my thoughts. That involved scanning headlines of online publications or perusing the local paper at the day-job.gnews

It’s not working so well for me anymore.

There are less and less headlines that don’t have something to do with a certain kleptocracy in process.

Now I am struggling with the option of isolating myself completely from the news of the day and focusing on whatever positive happenings I can cultivate from my immediate surroundings.

I can choose to associate with healthy people. I can commune with people who aren’t phobic about things they misunderstand, or are uninformed about.

But something is eating at me about a potential risk in that choice.

Should I turn my back on what is really happening in the world?

Looking back at some horrific outcomes that have played out in history has me wondering how I could live with myself if I chose to turn a blind eye in the way many others did at times when hate and fear became the rule of law.

Today, I’m sending love to those who are poor, suffering, oppressed, at risk, and afraid, even though I’m choosing to not read the latest headlines about their present predicaments.

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Written by johnwhays

January 29, 2017 at 10:45 am