I recently visited Joan Ellison, The Shepherdess, and her husband Dave, The Shepherd + ER Doc, in Northern Minnesota during lambing season. These lovely people are aunt & uncle to my dear friend, Jared.
We saw a number of lambs birthed with the mothers licking and talking to the lambs directly after; all of us encouraging them to breathe, shake off, and stand up. We witnessed 2 still births, and a ewe (female sheep) who passed away due to toxicity during and after childbirth.
Upon experiencing these moments I felt a deeply connected Universal love, while also a nonchalant-ness. It was so crazy beautiful and heartbreaking. I was reminded that birth and death are such natural parts of life; blood, placentas, pain, and all.
I also experienced 2 firsts:
-I gave a shot to a ewe who needed antibiotics – until then I was nervous to puncture skin.
-I split my first piece of fire wood – until then I’d practiced to no avail.
What a weekend of wonder and growth!
Honored to bottle feed lambs not even 24 hrs. old
Mama & Quads (rare to have 4 at once)
I share these experiences because they directly relate to our daily creative work in the world.
What do I mean?
First let’s remember that as performers & entrepreneurs, we must be constantly committed to our craft, take risks often, and change with the times. After tons of adjustment and re-inventing ourselves, we must be brave enough to authentically share our message with the world, again and again!
What strikes me about Joan and Dave, and the commitment they have to their current life’s work, is that after all the challenges they endure – weather conditions, making sure feed is healthfully grown, sheering, lambing, living, dying, sickness – they wander through literal muck and manure to tend to their 30-150 sheep.
They operate at the deepest level of dedication. They don’t have the option of shutting down their computer to conclude their work for the day or week. Being 100% responsible for that many lives throughout the fluctuation of life cycles and seasons, no matter how they feel is a part of their daily existence.
Not to mention they’re also bee keepers, beer & wine makers, Sugar Bush owners (tap and make maple syrup), a professional writer (Shepherdess) and knitter, and much more. Amazing beings!
Have you chosen a livelihood where no matter what occurs in life, you’re committed to being responsible for it and fully committed to it day in and day out? Do you find that kind of responsibility and commitment attractive, or repulsive?
Remember that you are the shepherd of your life, your work, and your current moment. One of the best ways to tend to your flock is by remembering that you are enough, you have all you need, and that this moment is a beautiful one.
Below, let us know:
To what FLOCK do you TEND?
What does birth and death look like in your flock?
There are no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ answers here.
Please SHARE with friends that desire to be passionate about their flock…