About Pooh and the Brown Piglet
Make your own playground…stop playing in their playground! You are what you dream you are – become greater – make your own place – make your own universe.”—Matt Drudge
Pooh and the Brown Piglet-Cindy Pickard and Jody Armijo live off the grid on 31 acres in the mountains of northeast New Mexico.
Coming from vastly different cultures and walks of life, both of us have experienced the very dark and painful side of life and have worked hard to climb out of that dark place. But we have, and we have found the joy, and the appreciation for life that perhaps can only come from experiencing deep suffering.
Working together with an understanding that goes beyond words, beyond any language or cultural barrier, we have created a beautiful place, surrounded by an animal family: Tilly the dairy cow, the horses, Puck and Redman, the wolfdogs , Dakota and Shiloh, Phantom, the cat and several doves/pigeons.
JODY milks the cow and takes care of the animals..sometimes it’s challenging…..
And I work on our documentary films, learn more about growing food in the greenhouse……. And have an idea of something new to create almost every day………..
Our relationship is best expressed by this quote:
Piglet to Pooh: “If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.
”–POOH’S LITTLE INSTRUCTION BOOK
I have been wanting to write this blog for a while, in order to share projects, ideas, our films, art, photos and things we are learning that may be helpful to others as we are always learning something new and creating things here in this remote and beautiful place I call HOBBITON
ABOUT CINDY PICKARD [POOH]
LOSS, GRIEF AND DEATH
“If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you, no humility, no compassion.”
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross often said “If you sat in a beautiful garden all day and someone served you beautiful food what would you be?” And the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle frequently talks about people who have had a difficult childhood as “being destined to go very deep” and about suffering: “If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you, no humility, no compassion.”
The early years of my life can be summed up by these words: loss, grief and death: my mother when I was nine to cancer, my 16 yr old brother, Flip to suicide when I was 19..
loss of almost all of my family, the homes and places and people that I loved… just about everything.
I was in fourth grade, coming to terms with my mother’s death and the life changes it brought about, when a child psychologist suggested to my dad that he get me a horse [I loved horses!]. He did and I was so happy. I rode every day, feeling free in my own world but most of all having someone to love who loved me-my horse, Smokey
And then I was twelve and my dad came up to my room and asked me if I wanted to go to a wedding. “Whose?” I asked. “Mine” my dad said. “What will happen to Wrighty?” I asked. “She’ll find another job .” said my dad.
Wrighty [Mrs Wright] had come to live with us and take care of my brother and me when my mother first got sick. She had lived with us for 4 years and had the gift of understanding young children. She made fudge and beautiful paper mache costumes and her favorite saying was “Pretty is as pretty does” Flip and I loved her and she loved us. We thought that she would always be there.
But suddenly, very suddenly it seemed to me, we got a new family-a stepmother, two stepbrothers and a stepsister and later a half sister. We got a new house too and a new, formal lifestyle [my stepmother was a former Texas debutante] and we were given 2 weeks to start calling our new stepmother ‘Mom’. Which was confusing because that’s what we had called our own mother.
From second grade on, I went to The Hockaday School in Dallas. I liked school but I was not one of the popular girls, which was very disappointing to *my stepmother. She suggested that I copy their personalities so I could be one of them. At the dinner table-we always had formal dinners served by the maid-she told me how ugly I was. My skin was very broken out then and my hair, no mater how often I washed it, was very oily.
*I want to add that in the last years of her life, my stepmother and I came to truly appreciate each other and I was able to understand that she was trying to raise me in the way that she had been raised–the only way she knew. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross often said this was what was meant by the Bible verse “The sins of the father shall be passed down..”]
It was the summers at my grandparents’ cottage on Lake Michigan that kept me going during those years. From the time I was a year old……..
playing Capture the Flag with my cousins and taking our inner tubes out to ride the waves after a storm.When I was 16, my grandparents, who never recovered from my mother’s death, sold the cottage. My grandmother told me their plans and I went outside and sat in the sand and I have never cried that hard in my life…before or since.
I had been able to hold on, knowing that summer would come and I could escape from my miserable life in Texas but when the cottage was sold, life became unbearable and I often prayed to die. I fell into a deep depression, which led to self-torture and a dark hopelessness. Often I wondered what awful thing I must have done to deserve this kind of life.
There was a time in my 20s when I slept all day and nearly drank myself to death. I lived on the dark side. I had a small son and I was raising him mostly by myself. I loved him so much and I tried to keep living for him
He had been the one greatest thing in my life. I was 22 when he was born and while I was in labor, a nurse came in and asked me if I would like to participate in some special programs available for the babies born at that time. I said no, not because I didn’t want to participate but because I knew that nothing that came from me could live…everything always died. I had already had a miscarriage on my 21rst birthday.
But then, just a little later, there he was, Andy my beautiful boy, healthy and weighing a little over 8 pounds. So I tried to keep going for him but just staying alive was getting more and more difficult.
And then came a miracle…
ELISABETH KUBLER-ROSS, MD
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
A friend sent me a ticket to a lecture given by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the pioneering teacher and author of the international best seller, On Death Dying. The lecture was at the University of Houston but shortly after Elisabeth began to speak, the sound system in the auditorium failed and Elisabeth, who was very soft spoken and had a heavy German accent, asked everyone who wanted to hear her to move to the front row.
It seemed most of the audience preferred to remain in their seats and complain but I felt this as a life-changing event and I moved up to sit directly in front of her. That afternoon, I put my name on the six-month waiting list for the next available workshop. It was the beginning of hope and the beginning of tremendous change
LIFE, DEATH AND TRANSITION
“In our most anguished moments may reside the greatest of gifts – not only for ourselves but for the world.”
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD
My first ‘Life, Death and Transition’ workshop was at The Old Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, California. There were sixty people, many of whom had experienced life’s most painful experiences: a man whose wife had died the week before in a plane crash, a woman who had watched helplessly as her 10 year old son skied off a mountain and fell to his death, a couple who had lost their young son to cancer and were now losing their 12 year old daughter,
as the Lakota People say: Mitakuye Oyasin “We are all related”
Many who experienced Elisabeth’s workshops went on to create some type of helping organization almost as if they were compelled to do so and so in 1988, I founded a non profit organization called AIDS Care and Assistance, now known as Rites of Passage. In 1988, in Austin, Texas, it was the beginning of the AIDS epidemic….
ABOUT JODY ARMIJO [THE BROWN PIGLET
“You see you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from the concrete
had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its
tenacity. We would all love its will to reach the sun”. –Tupac Shakur
Jody Armijo was born and raised in a rural mountain community in northeast New Mexico. He was taught by his grandparents who lived and understood the skills needed to live off the land.
When he was 16, he moved to Colorado and later, when he was in his 20s, got involved in dealing drugs-mainly cocaine. He was sent to prison for five years in Colorado and when he was released, he moved back to New Mexico.
After he was released, he got in lots of fights and got stabbed so severely that he almost lost his life.
His attitude changed after that and he moved back to the rural community he was raised in. He is very close to his grandma….
and to his uncles who live in the community.
It is his nature to help wherever and whenever he is needed whether it be changing a tire, shearing sheep, branding or rounding up cattle, cooking for his grandma or cleaning out a spring for a friend….When he moved back to his community, he also returned to his art, which is continuously evolving…. He is an example of someone who has been able to completely transform himself…from a lifetime of violence and the darkness of prison to a creative and peaceful life…from a devil to an angel, from a monstro [as he and his uncles were once called] to a BROWN PIGLET