Caroline Khambatta with her dog Muppet in Northamptonshire England.
Prior to getting involved in MSIA, I can honestly say I’ve had more experience in storms than in the eye of them. John-Roger has said that the only way you can do spiritual exercises wrong is to not do them. On that basis, I’m doing brilliantly as I’ve been doing about 30 minutes a day for the whole of 2021. But how am I really doing? I’ve been involved with MSIA for 17 months, so I guess I’m too new to the learnings to know I’m “doing it right” and I’ve been here long enough to know it’s between me and Spirit and there’s no-one else to seek approval from.
In January I committed to join the Harmonic Self to explore, with a fantastic group of people, the nothingness and the sound in between (or is it the sound and the space in between?). The experience has been wonderful, and I feel I’m calming at a deep inner level. However, being a pragmatic and practical girl, I found myself wondering how I could bring the stillness out into my daily life.
So one morning last week, I left my house to walk Muppet, our 11 year-old cocker spaniel who loves a good walk in the fields around our village. Our most popular daily walk is up the road that follows the brook, enter the church field and double back on the other side of the brook. After that, it is the cow field, the rabbit field, say prayers with my oak tree and a leisurely walk home. Our road has only a few houses all of which face the brook and have a great view of the church. On entering the field, I bumped into my neighbour Dave with his dogs Poppy and Rodney, a pair of long-haired Dachshunds. He was complaining that the farmer had just driven dangerously fast round the perimeter fence of the cow field and could have run Poppy over who had been off the lead.
In the UK, walkers generally have right of way on ‘public footpaths’ across farmers’ land, but I’ve noticed some dog walkers forget how lucky we are to have access. During the covid pandemic and various lockdowns, walking freely in the farmers’ fields has been a lifesaver for many people. I’d love to tell you that by Discourse #17 I am calm grounded and non-judgmental, but that would be a whopping fib. I did judge Dave as seeing the world wrong and creating his own distress. I must admit I felt a bit righteous myself for being slightly less righteous than him. Oh dear, I have much to learn.
As these thoughts were circling in my mind, a disturbance of ‘yip, yip’ calls arrived in my external ears. Looking up, I realised I was too late. We’d had no cows in the cow field for months, the farmer had just checked the perimeter fence, so yes, you guessed it, the young male bullocks were being herded in, via the top of the church field. As I looked up, the ground began to vibrate under my feet as 25 very excited, large bullocks came stampeding towards me and Muppet. Now that’s what I call a storm! Just for the record, I’m a bit on the short side but make up for it by being feisty and speaking up for myself. In this situation I literally had nowhere to go other than towards the brook via a barbed wire fence and some stinging nettles. Something inside me made me stay still.
I’ve always hated bullying, and 25 against 2 really isn’t very fair, so I stayed where I was in my bright pink jacket and shouted at them clapping and flapping my arms. They literally scattered around me and past me. Standing my ground, I noticed my adrenalin had only gone up to about 30%, compared with say 90% a year ago on a frustrating call to a financial institution who’s internet banking has locked me out, again. “Progress” I thought “this is definitely progress.”
The farmer appeared in his truck and directed us to the top of the field, and after he’d re-herded the bullocks into the cow field and shut the gate, he drove over to apologise. I was pretty calm by then, say 5% adrenalin, and just said “It is your field and I’m fine.” The farmer said “Cows are very inquisitive, they thought you had food.” He really appreciated my response and it wasn’t what he’d expected from me.
Muppet and I did a quick circuit of the Church field and turned towards home having had enough excitement for one day.
I felt pleased with myself and was just evaluating the benefits of MSIA when I saw another neighbour who’d witnessed the whole thing from his front garden (USA translation “yard”). We refer to him as Dave the builder, as there are five Davids living in the street, but I digress. Anyway, Dave the builder was so cross on my behalf and started ranting and berating the farmer.
In response to his energy and emotions I felt my adrenalin rise to about 50%. I quickly explained that the farmer said the cattle associated humans with food, so they ran to me as they are very inquisitive. I also said it is his field….
I verbally “stamped my foot” by assuring him I was fine, and he calmed down as did I. Walking away I had no idea that the third storm was about to occur.
A few yards from my house, Dave (owner of Poppy and Rodney) opened his door and exploded with a hundred angry words charging towards me. “You could have been killed.” Up to 60% went my adrenalin. This was a much bigger storm than the cattle. I took a deep breath and responded with “But I wasn’t, and I’m fine.” This had to be repeated a few times in slow, calm tones before he started to calm down.
Back at home I had a cup of tea (the British answer to all of life’s challenges) and told my husband, Jim, what had happened. I did not sit peacefully and calmly in the eye of the storms, but I did keep at least one foot in the centre. Spirit gave me a series of storms to practice staying partly anchored in the eye of the storm!
Thank you, Spirit.
Today, we did our usual walk and there were bullocks in the cow field who have settled into their new home. Muppet and I walked on the path within a few feet of them and all was calm, well apart from maybe 1% adrenalin from the part of me that remembered what happened last week.
With Love, Light & Laughter,
From a little village in Northamptonshire England
P.S. I tried to take a picture by my oak tree and turning my phone, all my credit cards fell out of the phone case into the mud! So back home I’ve done my covid hand wash followed by 4 bits of plastic 🙄. Spirit is having a laugh today.