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Self Care Lessons from a Lamb

Last updated on June 10, 2021

When I was little, I used to love sticking my head between the bannister on the stairs (I was probably quite a strange child).

Most of the time, it would be easy to extract myself but sometimes, I’d panic and get my head stuck and I’d worry I’d have to live there forever. (In reality, my parents might have noticed me on their way up or down but I was a born catastrophiser.)

In the past 24 hours (at time of writing), I’ve rescued two (or maybe the same one twice) growing lambs who had their head stuck between my and my neighbour’s fence. I’d already been more focused on the creatures than usual because two lambs and a sheep from another field have been spending a lot of time in mine this past week.

They’re gorgeous (I hope you can see them on the Insta Reel above) AND, they leave a lot of mess, are eating my trees and have even knocked the bench over.

Still, the closer than usual proximity (they appeared to want to move in the other night) means I’m more aware of them than when I simply say ‘Hi, love ewe, and ewe and ewe’ on my daily walks.

You may have seen them on my social media

What does any of this have to do with self care?

I imagine some of y’all are reading this thinking, ‘Boundaries, Evie!’ but while I’ll be talking to the farmer to get the fence fixed tomorrow (at time of writing – am drafting this early as I’m being shot next week) this isn’t a blog about boundaries. I could use less concern about the trees I’ve planted and all the poo I’ll be clearing up BUT they are so adorable, it doesn’t feel too intrusive and that actually feels great in terms of all the healing I’ve had over the years

The self care link is the two I’ve rescued (of course, in my imagination, I’m David Hasslehoff on Baywatch, wading through nettles instead of the sea. The reality is far less dramatic).

In both cases, I spoke as soothingly to them as I could. Last year, I helped an adult sheep get his horns back onto the right side of the fence but he was a grown sheep and less stressed. He was helping me help him.

These (or if it was the same growing lamb) were in panic mode.

I was stroking its face while grounding and centring myself (here’s a link to a simple way you want to expand your repertoire. Mine was super quick because I practice a lot) to keep my own energy as calm as possible.

When something isn’t working, don’t do it harder

The poor little (growing) lamb/s kept trying to force its entire body through the little bit of fence the head (much smaller than the body) was stuck in but I was able to guide the horns back through to the right side and gently push in the right direction and get an immediate PURPOSE AND MEANING dopamine hit as lambie and maaa-maaa were reunited.

I imagine the lamb isn’t used to the growing head and used to be able to get in and out fine (like me with the bannister as a 5 year old).

Do you ever do this?

I’m not talking about sticking your head into too small spaces, panicking and getting stuck, but doing ANYTHING in a more panicked, chaotic way when you hit an obstacle?

There was a gorgeous recent Marie TV interview for Martha Beck’s fab new book, The Way of Integrity recently (you can click here then scroll down to read my interview with Martha Beck from several years ago).

In it, Martha talked about the need to NOT force the issue, attempting to do whatever isn’t working harder.

In psychosynthesis terms, this would be dialling down the Strong Will and amping up Skillful, Good and/or Transpersonal Will

You can watch the whole Martha Beck and Marie Forleo interview here:

It’s basic NLP

With NLP (neuro linguistic programming), we’re:

  1. ‘Setting a well formed outcome’ (aka figuring out what we want)
  2. Using sensory acuity (aka using all our senses to discern whether what we’re doing is working or not and
  3. Being flexible (ie, if it ISN’T working, we adapt our approach).

If the lamb had been able to pause for a moment, it would still have massively struggled to have extracted its horns without twisting the wire and getting more caught up but we humans generally have more resources available to us.

Generally, if we pause and take stock, we notice options. We’re able to reach out when things are beyond us (eg, I’ll be asking for recommendations re getting the fence fixed as it’s totally outside my wheelhouse and my friend who tried to help today reassured me that it’s not just me being a clueless Londoner but that it’s a big gap that’ll need 5 or 6 stakes and wire, not just a little hole needing boarding up).

What, in your life, isn’t working right now?

Instead of attempting to do whatever isn’t working harder, what other options might be possible solutions?

It’s terrifying having your head stuck somewhere small. It might be 40 years ago since I put myself in such silly (literal) positions but L’il Lambie has reminded me and I was able to be WAY more compassionate with it (or them) than even Five Year Old Me managed with myself at the time.

So whatever situation you feel stuck in or obstructed by, how can you bring in some compassion for yourself? I think Lambie understood that I was trying to help and meant no harm.

How might you do that for yourself?

Maybe journal, get curious and allow yourself to come up with silly ideas as you figure out your next move instead of putting pressure on yourself to get out of a mess with grace, agility and effortless ease?

What else might you do?

If you’d like more support, the Feel Better Every Day online membership programme may be of interest as you can access lots of resources in your own time and space as well as joining weekly group calls.

But whatever your situation, take a moment to simply pause.

Give yourself a break. It’s hard enough feeling STUCK without giving yourself a hard time about it as well.

Let yourself get still.

Ask your Highest Self / Self / Wise Self / Wild Self / Atma / True Self / Miraculous Self what your next best step might be and be open to even the silliest seeming ideas (obviously then using your discernment and good judgment before actually acting on anything).

Imagine yourself as an adorable stuck lamb and be kind and gentle with yourself as you figure out your next move.

[Edited to add this link to a piece about ‘productive struggle’ READ MORE…]

With love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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