a good day to swap a cow?

“You should never hesitate to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans.”

I came across this Tom Robbins quote whilst blundering around on the internet and fell in love at first read. As a child fairy tales loomed large in my world and I still occasionally stoop to check for wolves under my bed.. 

When grown, I used to be the kind of woman who’d merrily make off adventuring up a beanstalk. I believed in taking chances, taking the rising road that had been just a bit less trodden. But since dad got sick the sky got lower and the clouds closer and more brooding. Since he died I have found myself a little timider, a little smaller than before. When part of your world disappears, you feel less inclined to wander far from what is left of your certainties. The ground is a little less steady under your feet.

Previously I posted about the chance of going back to work. My job is messy, demanding, challenging and gobbles up about 95% of my life – but all that said I kind of love it. It has wriggled its way into who I am, coloured me into something a bit brighter.

The possible job that was ‘right now’, in fact proved to be all ‘hurry up and wait’, as is so often the case. Now it seems to be ‘now’ again or at least ‘now next week’. The beans are being offered to me by an outstretched hand. 

It’s in a part of the world I’ve never been before, with ten thousands unknowns. For all I know there might just be ogres! I’ve made this kind of leap before but now I feel hesitant and nervous, peering out over the edge of a question. It all feels brand new and a more than a bit scary. Am I still strong enough to climb this beanstalk? Do I have enough strength to hold on when I feel so battered?

Inside I hear a ‘hell no!’ shrieked fearfully but also a quieter voice that gently says ‘yes’ . I suspect I should pay attention to the ‘yes’ and trust that I will find enough of myself to manage whatever comes my way. I think I should believe in who I am, even in these days when I’m not quite sure who that is!

I think a lot about how grief has so much beauty in it. It’s the blackest darkness streaked through with beams of light. Death for me has spoken eloquently of the beauty of living fully, living now with your whole heart.

I talk about learning from my loss, growing from these tears, but I am actually sitting home, mourning, moping and kicking my heels. Maybe it is time to walk the talk a little.

I guess if you never say yes to magic beans you never get even the chance of something magic.. 

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6 Responses to a good day to swap a cow?

  1. Ah, I’m glad that ‘sleeping on it’ helped give you a different perspective! You sound much more bouncy today, while I have dropped down again… It’s been a very tough afternoon and evening, but I’m sure tomorrow will be a brighter day. I fall increasingly in love with your writing by the way – it’s really beautiful 🙂

  2. Felipe Neumann says:

    Life’s toughness makes us grow increasingly afraid of saying yes. “No” is just so much more comfortable, so full of certainties – no, I don’t do it, therefore, I won’t have it. The end.
    Saying yes might be hard to do, but if you ask me, I can’t think of any other way of growing stronger, of getting better, of being tougher.
    I have a friend who always says: dude, I’m going anywhere as long as it takes me out of my comfort and doesn’t pull me back.

    • Hey Felipe, mmm when I am faced with these choices I sometimes think when I am (hopefully) old and wrinkly on my death bed looking back, how do I want to have lived my life? When I think of it like that, the answer is almost always yes.

      • Felipe Neumann says:

        I read it somewhere one of these days “I’d rather have a life full of oh wells than a life filled up with what ifs”.

  3. “Grief has so much beauty in it”. Indeed it does, hence the thought of grasping the bean. It makes one realise how precious life is, and not exploring yourself and the world around you is wasting the opportunity it gives you. Very happy to have come across this blog

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