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Friday, March 15, 2013

"We can do this the easy way or the hard way!"

I usually don't talk to my co-workers (horses) but this was different. He is different. His name is Moseley, named after a Redskins football player. ( I can explain that another time) He doesn't reach my waist, but has more personality and attitude than most full size horses. After having that really little guy yank this really substantial (I'll let you decide what that means) farrier back and forth in the cross ties three or four times, I looked down and made eye contact (very aggressive in horse body language) and shouted, "we can do this the easy way or the hard way, it's your choice!"

His feet were long, I'll admit it. It wasn't that I was putting off trimming him, he just hadn't risen to the top of the list. But this was the day, and he was as ready as I was. After we finally negotiated a truce (you usually have to negotiate with mules and mini's) we settled into a reasonable struggle which resulted in a successful trimming. He is still walking, and so am I; just a little slow straightening up. :) Once the struggling part is over and I start to work on "auto pilot" is usually when the insights hit. So...................I started to think about resistance and cooperation and the reasons we make things hard for ourselves and the people around us. Here are a couple of thoughts relative to that:

1) This was only my second time trimming this little guy. I am not responsible for the reasons he was resistant, that fault lies elsewhere. Knowing this makes me more patient and willing to compromise. In our lives we face the same thing with those around us. When we can come to this realization, we can be more patient and willing to compromise in all that we do.

2) Part of the negotiation with Moseley was me taking a time out. I went to the truck, had a drink (of water :)) and took a deep breath or two. I don't think that this is hard to apply to our relationships. The hard part is exercising the discipline to stop and do it instead of running headlong into a train wreck.

3) I may have succeeded with Moseley yesterday, but I don't always walk away satisfied. Sometimes in our relationships the best thing to do is cry uncle and walk away. What keeps us pursuing an impossible situation is our pride. We can do better than letting pride ruin our day and our work.

One thing I know is that the next time Moseley and I meet (in a professional setting :)) I will approach him with greater confidence and an expectation of an even better outcome. Wouldn't it be great if we could do this with all the people in our lives.

Remember that not only am I the blacksmith, but you are the blacksmith too. The force for creation and change in your own life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s "The Village Blacksmith"

This poem is the inspiration for my blog. I have found through the years that there is much to learn from the work and events of our everyday lives. I can find many very helpful analogies in my work, and it is my hope that you and I can benefit from exploring them together. Please take a few minutes and read and think about the words of the Longfellow poem below, I know that you will be richer for the effort.

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
 The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
 With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
 Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
 His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
 He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face
 For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn to night,
 You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
 With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
 When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
 Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge
 And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
 Like chaff from a threshing floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
 And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
 He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
 And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
 Singing in paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
 How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
 A tear out of his eyes.

 Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
 Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
 Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee my worthy friend,
 For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
 Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
 Each burning deed and thought.