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It’s Hard to Place a Hat on a Headless Cowboy

Myphoto.jpgThere’s so much I’d like to say to you. I started an exciting new job this week, working for an authentic western clothing store that has been in this here Colorado town since 1905. The store has been run by its founding family for five generations which makes it iconic. Locals, tourists, folks from everywhere visit our store. We sell high end western style clothing, and accessories like hippo leather boots, bear skin soap, cowboy hats, Wrangler and Levi jeans, leather jackets, belts and more, along with lots of shiny bling.

On Saturday, former vice president Dick Cheney came in and was gifted a pair of fine leather boots.

I met a man who comes from the family of some well-known
cowboy poets, and have been hearing lots of country western and blue grass music in the store..

One day, this one line lyric just came through my hand:

“It’s hard to place a hat on a headless cowboy.” © 2013

It’s just something I picked up on this week, as one of our sales girls tried to place a fallen cowboy hat on a headless mannequin. When I think about it, it’s a metaphor for a lesson I’ve learned before, admittedly, again and again, which is… we can’t change other people, or mold them to fulfill our expectations, unless they are willing, in which case they change themselves, consciously or otherwise.

I believe we can encourage positive changes in our world, but ultimately, it boils down to changing ourselves. When we change, people around us may also change, but more importantly, our experience of those people will change, even if they themselves don’t seem to. When our experience changes, we can learn to accept things as we perceive them.

When we can do this, we can then decide how we choose to show up and what we can do to be supportive from where we are, in response to our new perspective.

Poetry? There will be more poetry to come. I can feel it at times when I’m tangled in clothes hangers, caught in the groove, still doing the best I can…

Until next time, POETRY FOR LIVING AN INSPIRED LIFE: POEMS AS SPIRITUAL MEDITATION, my newest book, available at http://micheleharveyauthor.com/books/ is a book I believe you and your friends will truly enjoy. (Also available on Amazon) and if you haven’t yet read, From Confusion To Clarity, my last book, it is available on the home page of this site at http://micheleharveyauthor.com

17 Responses to It’s Hard to Place a Hat on a Headless Cowboy

  • Becc says:

    I absolutely love that quote and how you have interpreted it. You really must start change within yourself in order to create change around you.

  • Great title and it captures the essence of trying to change someone to meet our own design. When you think about it, it’s amazingly arrogant to think you can change someone. It’s hard enough to meet our own ideal self. 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment Debra. I suppose it sometimes seems to people that hoping someone else will change is easier than surrendering that hope and just accepting things as they are, or as they seem. I believe that accepting things as they are is healthier as it allows us to decide how we choose to show up in the face of the situation and what we can bring to it, if anything.

  • Yes, I agree Elizabeth. We have been given free choice and I also believe that no one does anything inappropriate given their model of the world, which is something I learned from Neale Donald Walsch.

  • Michele, Isn’t it amazing how people ask your advice or opinion but when given they completely ignore you? As Susan said, you can’t make it drink. I have seen this so much in the corporate world.

  • Arleen says:

    Very good analogy. I think that is the problem with many people in marriages, they think that they can change one another. I have been married for 48 years. My husband was not the type to bring me flowers and no matter what I would say I wasn’t going to get him to buy them. I accepted it and today I really don’t think about it anymore. Good advise for all. Congrats on your new job.

    • Funny Arleen, when I was married and wanted flowers, I used to write it on my husband’s to do list and it actually worked. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to give me flowers, it was just something he didn’t think of doing without a prompt. Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you have surrendered that expectation rather than making it a requirement. These days, I buy myself flowers from time to time. You might consider doing the same. Thank you for your input.

  • Cassi says:

    That reminds me of the time Larry Bird walked into my first job (at a country club). I just stayed back and watched while everyone else flooded him for autographs. He was just trying to enjoy dinner with his family and friends.

    Maybe my weight loss will encourage my husband to actually look for a job and quit smoking. No matter what I say or do he won’t budge from either.

    • Maybe it will encourage your husband unless it doesn’t, Cassi. Either way, you are doing it for yourself while setting an example. Thank you for your comment. Wishing you all the best.

  • Joanne says:

    Ah, poetry in a headless cowboy – it makes me giggle and yet it’s still quiet poetic. Interestingly, I am dealing with someone right now who has an archaic way of thinking about women. For the most part, I roll my eyes at his chauvinism but he is an instructor to adults and kids and last night he “preached” to the class that his wife did not clean the kitchen and he yelled at her because it was disrespectful to him and their kids (who are 3 and 1). It’s one thing to feel this way but to teach others that they should do this is – to me – wrong.

    For the most part, I agree – let people be who they want to be, however if sometimes we don’t raise our voices, if we don’t protest and say no, this is wrong – I think we’re doing an injustice.

    • Thank you for your comment, Joanne. My last book, From Confusion To Clarity, talks in a gentle yet compelling way, through the use of anecdotes, about spiritual consciousness, and points to the ultimate realization that as people, we are all one. It sounds like this gentleman you describe might find it valuable. As far as raising our voices in protest, I don’t think his point of view is wrong for him, meaning that while I don’t agree with it at all, his point of view comes from his personal experience and most likely, the way he was raised. From Confusion To Clarity is available @ http://micheleharveyauthor.com, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, both in print and as an e-book. Thanks again.

      • Joanne says:

        You sound like a cowgirl Buddhist 🙂

        I agree it was his point of view (he is not originally from this country) – however it doesn’t make it right.
        It’s ironic that it’s the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s, “I have a dream” speech – whose peaceful but loud protest changed a country.

        • Thank you Joanne. I ask you to consider the possibility that aside from violence being wrong, perhaps there is no right and wrong, and that everyone does what they believe is appropriate based on their view of the world. As a peace activist, Martin Luther King did not work against the status quo or say that it was wrong, he simply worked hard to give a voice to what he believed in his heart was right, and that makes all the difference.

  • Thank you for your comment Suzanne. I think the metaphor is also akin to the expression, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” My mention of Cheney is in no way a reflection of my political views. It is just something that occurred. Had Obama or Clinton come into the store to try on boots, cowboy hats, belts, or anything else, I would have been picked up off the floor and the event would have received a lot more than a one line mention.

  • Susan Cooper says:

    You are so right on about not being able to change others. It is like the saying “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” Wow what did you do when Cheney walked in?

    • Great minds think alike Susan. Thank you for your comment. I just kept doing my job when Cheney walked in. I didn’t have an opportunity to interact with him at all. He came into the store with his wife and a few other folks, and was swiftly whisked away by one of the store owners who apparently knows him quite well, and expected his visit. There was a camera crew as well, of course. I did manage to get a close look at him on his way out, and I believe Cheney looks a lot better in person then he does on TV.

  • “It’s hard to put a hat on a headless cowboy” is an excellent metaphor for relationships — maybe a little akin to the lipstick and the pig thing. 😉 If I saw Dick Cheney walk into where I was working — I’d probably have to be resuscitated. I’ll let your readers draw their own conclusions about my feelings about Dick Cheney. Hint: I’m off to watch Rachel Maddow 😉

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