The difference a belly full of warm milk makes

It was a dark and stormy night.

As I pointed out to Nibbles (the ewe), technically it was dusk and although there was a bitter southerly setting in, it was hardly stormy. But she insisted.

So. It was a dark and stormy night and Nibbles gave birth to her lamb. After some time, I went to check on her and meet her little one. The lamb, tiny and mewling and still goopy, had slid under the fence and was pathetically trying to shove her way through number 8 wires to get back to mum. After a spot of rescuing, I left them to poddle off and figure nature out.

The next day. Lamb was spending an awful lot of time curled in a tiny ball. And, worryingly, I hadn’t actually seen her have a drink yet. Eventually, I wandered out with a bottle of colostrum, ignored mum’s foot stamping (yes, Nibbles, it was totally scary), and proved why I can put “bottle feed recalcitrant, has-no-idea-what-to-do-with-a-teat baby bovids” on my resume. Lamb had the suckiest suck so she got another couple of feeds from me while she and mum sorted out the milk situation.

They didn’t.

Early next morning, I found a cold, floppy lamb. You know it’s bad when they’ve gone past the crying and shivering stage. Blanket, hot water bottle, and heat lamp is the first step.

A lamb snuggled in blankets, lying on a hot water bottle, under a heat lamp.

When they’ve warmed up, the next step seems to be the critical one – get some milk into them. And if they’ve lost their suck, you rummage around and find the tube feeder! This little one was so teeny, it was a quite a struggle to get the tube down her throat. It’s not even a lot of milk, only 100mls, but an hour later, lamb was trying to stand up. And complain. And decided she’d quite like to drink some more milk now please.

In fact, she perked up so much and it was such a sunny day, that I popped her back outside with mum. I told Nibbles she needed to get her lamb to feed. And since she wasn’t doing the honours, we stepped in to help. It took two tries with a haltered Nibbles and a squirmy, clueless lamb but finally, lamb got a drink from mum! Yay, everything will be fine now.

Nope.

Now the lamb knew where to find the milk, mum wasn’t having a bar of it. No way was that bitey, head-butty thing was going near her udder thank you very much. Bother it.

Lamb spent that night sleeping in front of the fire. Next morning, I took her out to mum again and she’s been outside ever since. Now the lamb has two mums – the four legged, woolly one to follow in the paddock, and the gumboot-wearing one that turns up with a bottle.

And even though the weather that week ran the gamut of sun, frost, torrential rain, hail, and biting southerlies, little lamb with her belly full of milk was fine!

She’s pretty cute. A few million times a day, I stomp to the paddock and call out. I hear a gurgling bleat and a black ball of wool detaches itself from the herd, bowls up, slams into my leg, and attacks me with a little nose.

Lamb being bottle feed in the paddock.

My ah-ha takeaway moment from this saga?

Lambs are incredibly resilient critters – as long as they have a belly full of warm milk.

I think it’s true of us too. We can face all sorts of challenges as long as we have our own metaphorical “warm milk.”

Of course, that means we have to know what that is, be aware of when we run low, and know how to fill up. (That last one was where the lamb got stuck!)

Mine, for the past year, has been the Creative Immersion with Lisa Sonora. Lisa is an artist, therapist, creative entrepreneur and guidess. Her visual journalling + weekly art dates + workshops + community have been a creative practice-saver and life-saver.

It’s been a journey of breakthroughs, dream-awakening, compassionate awareness, clarity, feeling better, and the joy of playing with the paint, shapes, colour, images torn from magazines, and scribbles that make this magic happen!

Stack of visual journals that I've been creating during the Creative Immersion with Lisa Sonora.

Part of the Creative Immersion was facilitator training so I can teach and coach others. But to be honest, I’ve been stuck on how I wanted to make that happen.

And then, lo and behold, a huge Creative Immersion epiphany!

A way I can share this visual journalling goodness with you!

A way I can support you on your own creative journey or living a creative life. A way I can share the magic of visual journalling as a coaching and therapeutic tool. A way Lisa’s lifelong art-as-medicine work can be your own “belly full of warm milk”.

The seed of the idea is a new home on the web where you can find articles and guides and videos. And if you LOVE what I’m doing, and crave clarity, creativity and perhaps breakthrough moments of your own, then you can subscribe for more in-depth, workshop-like content that will help you do just that!

Ok, at the moment it’s just the seed of an idea and I know there’s all sorts of resistance and pitfalls and dragons to get past first. Fortunately, that’s just the sort of thing the visual journalling process can help with!

As I head off to make up some more milk and stomp out in the rain to be attacked by a hungry ball of wool, I’ll leave you to ponder this:

What’s your “warm milk”?

PS Lamb is bugging me to tell you that in fact, I am RUBBISH at feeding her and she is constantly starving. So I poked her little rotund side and asked why I could hear milk sloshing around in there at this very moment…

xo

Ailene