Lessons from Epona Ridge (August 25) – #2

cropped-magictree.jpgThis was my final lesson as I was leaving Asheville.

During my drive to the airport, leaving Asheville which I fell in love with, the tears started to flow. Not sadness at leaving but the most powerful filling of my heart with light and love – a powerful, resonating YES flowing through me.  I almost had to pull off of the road the tears just poured forth so strongly.  I laughed at the bubbling love filling my entire being.

Yes I am where I am supposed to be.

Yes I am on the right path.

Yes part of my journey, a large part this year, is writing towards my first book.

Yes I have found the title of my book and the mission of Avalon Sanctuary which will be formed during this year – Dancing in the Center Between Light and Dark: A Journey in and out of Cuckoo Luckoo Land into LOVE.

Wow, wow, WOW! Love, joy, gratitude, power flowing in and through and all around me.

This time, this moment, YES!

Lessons from Epona Ridge (August 25)

cropped-magictree.jpgWritten in my journal the last morning I was at Epona Ridge, I am just now feeling compelled to include in my blog.  Much is a stirring again and arising in me to take voice.

Woke up rested but unsettled, aching and sorrowful.  With much of my being I don’t want to leave here.  In this sacred place I feel like I can walk in my truth crying, laughing, talking, being silent, all of it as I need to in every moment and every time.  I feel like I could stay here for months and find my way to healing and clarity so much better.

I cried in the shower speaking my fear, confusion and resistance. Breathed through my tears I then flipped/transformed my grieving into my growing belief that I can provide the self care I need most right now.

Yesterday was a full day.  I loved hearing others’ business hopes and dreams, all shared with energy, passion and joy.  I felt ready when it was my turn to speak.  I had notes. I thought I had a clear understanding of what I wanted to work on during this year of learning.  But, as I started to speak, it all seemed to drain out of my head.  Words fumbled; I felt wobbly; chest tightened with a heavy heart.  All I could think of was the pressure of being the only provider, the pressure of running a farm that doesn’t feed my soul in the running of it right now, the feeling that as clear as some dreamings may be I am not strong enough or ready enough to step onto new business paths no matter how much I want it to be so.  I’m not ready to get particular about my business plans. There’s too much rambling in my heart and my head.

And then it lit up inside of me – My self care must come first!  That’s been the message from the horses and other creatures at Epona Ridge this whole retreat.  “Don’t worry about what you need to ‘learn’. What is it you need to do to care for yourself.  Really, completely, deeply care for yourself. We will love you (and others will too) as you learn to just BE.  When you are ready you WILL dance between the dark and the light.  And then, only then, will others be able to join in your dance. For now, simply stand in the center, sway to the rhythm of our breath. The beginning of every dance is feeling the music all the way into your bones.”

Ah YES, this wisdom is what I most need to carry forward with me in this time and in this moment.  Not what products I might create, or what book I could write, or what program I can bring to others.  Stand barefoot in the love pulsing all around me and take care of myself (and my children).  Only then can I someday connect and eventually engage with others.  Stand in the LOVE!

As much as I long to share my wisdom with others and offer opportunities for heart connection with the horses, the land and all of nature, I MUST take care of myself and my kids, for as long as we need it.  No matter how much I want to get back to a sense of being able to function and work in the world, our self care radically comes first.  How that will play out I’m not quite seeing just yet.  I envision some of the following as areas of intention to play with in my/our care:

*Cleaning and decluttering our house, perhaps with outside help

*Cleansing and setting intentions in our house

*Dreaming, discussing and seeking what we each most need right now

*Cleansing and setting intentions at Avalon

*Dancing

*Drumming

*Singing bowl learning

*Care for Walter and supporting Kateri

*Grief family support group

*Fun classes in essential oils, healing crystals, homeopathy, reiki, aikido, cranio sacral

*Writing a lot more

*Ask lots of questions

These things are what make my heart say YES. These are the most authentic areas of focus to my journey right now. This is where I set my intentions.

In this time and in this moment I embrace the abundant, loving gift of time and freedom to heal.  I embrace my chance to start anew and awaken to a new understanding of who I am and who I can be. This year and this journey will be one of the most profound years of my entire life.

*Reading

Dancing in the center space

horsewisdom

I write this morning from a place of groundedness, peace, breathing deeply and quiet joy.  My mind is clear, my body feels light and I feel as if a fog is lifting.  Watching the fog lift off the mountain tops from the vantage point of Epona Ridge where I am retreating is a great joy to me.  I feel as if my feet are stepping onto a new path and I walk forward with hope and confidence that I am exactly where I need to be right now.

My journey here so far has been nothing but amazing.  To allow myself the gift of stepping fully into each moment, feeling all that comes up in that moment, is filling me with such hopefulness that I can learn to dance again with both the dark and the light.  There is such a sense of wellness and rightness that is flowing all around me and through me that I can almost watch myself dance a little bit more with each activity we do.  More and more I am feeling the energy of the earth, the sky, the horses, everything around me thrum through my being like the deep, bass beat of a drum.  I feel the pulsing all around inviting me into this paradoxical dance between grieving and rejoicing, darkness and light, sorrow and joy.  It is a powerful, powerful invitation.

It would be hard to fully explain all that we have been doing in these last few days. And as I write I realize I don’t need to explain it all.  The activities aren’t really the important thing; the wisdom that comes from them is.

First horse lesson in our meet and greet time was with Cierba, a lovely bay mare.  As soon as I went over to stand in front of her the tears started to roll down my face, just pouring out of me.  I was stunned as I had entered into this activity with joy to be meeting the horses of Epona Ridge.  But looking into her eyes the tears just poured out of me.  As I cried, her breath became more noticeable and her mouth was slowly moving.  The message clearly coming from her was “I will breathe into this sacred space for you right now.  Release, let it go, cry.  I will be your breathe as others can do for you in your time of need.”  My heart filled with gratitude and love for her.

During this time with Cierba I felt a pull on my pocket, lightly at first then stronger when I didn’t pay attention.  I turned to see the little paint mini, Bodhi, tugging at me clearing saying “come on pay attention to me now. Let’s play.” Laughter bubbled up and out of me as he chewed my journal, pulled on my shorts, almost giggling himself.  Cierba pulled my attention back to her briefly as she grabbed my pen. I think she just wanted me to say goodbye before I focused on Bodhi.  As I moved around the space to say hi to the other two horses, Magic and Zorro, Bodhi kept following me, pulling at me anytime I got too serious.

The message I took out of this first day from the horses and the amazing women gathered with me here was that I don’t need to tell my whole story, to bring my whole self to this time and this moment.  They simply want me to be in the moment, live and breathe and let it all go.  Cry and laugh and listen and speak and just be in it all.

Day 2 was a most powerful day with the horses for me.  Settling into just being and not trying to plan how I could bring my learnings into doing at Avalon was a conscious intention all day.  I listened to the worry I have, my vulnerabilities, my ticker tapes of negativity and honored that they are part of my story.  Then, before entering the space with the horses I began the flipping of this into thinking of all as opportunity to experience new things.  I am being given opportunities to learn new things, to open myself up, to align myself with the core being and the Source of all that is.  I can be right here and right now in this time and this moment and just Be Me.

Zorro was my teacher in learning about sensing energy levels and finding a mutually healthy place of respect and awareness. We practiced moving forward, holding our center and stepping back to find just the sweet spot of awareness.   As Zorro moved forward to engage and greet me I felt his openness to learn with me.  His nonverbal communication enable me to find just the spot near him that I could be what I needed to be in that moment.  If I was too far away from him (about 3 feet away) I felt myself disconnect with myself and him. If I got too close to him, wanting to lean into for support he would first lick my hand then nip as if to safe “nope that’s too close.” As I rocked back into a space about 1 1/2 feet from him, I felt him say “Yes” as the tears started to flow again.  I felt deep into my core all of the sorrow, confusion, grieving, and loneliness of this time.  In this sweet spot of respect and awareness with Zorro he relaxed his entire body, with eyes half closed, ears cocked slightly forward to listen to me, and let me be in my deep , persistent tears.

From this time with Zorro I took away the following messages:

*Horses are calling me back to my core center to honor whatever I need to honor in each moment.

*Connection with another isn’t always about being close enough to touch.  Sometimes we need a little more space between us and another to truly connect.

*Whatever I need to do right now is 100% okay.

In the afternoon of the second day I chose to play with Bodhi, as I felt like part of me needed to add some play to my journey that day.  My reflective question that I brought to my time with Bodhi was: “What do I need to know to be able to dance in the center space between the dark and light of my life?”   This was a lighter session with a lot of laughter in the midst of the tears.  I scratched Bodhi all over and took turns with him leading us in play around the arena.  I whistled and cried and laughed and talked with him and listened to the wisdom in his joyful little self.  After some playful “follow me, no you follow me” time and lots of chest scratching, Bodhi wandered over to Barbara for awhile and seemed to try and get her to come play with us.  I simply watched him for awhile vocalizing to Barbara what I was sensing from him and messages I was hearing.  Then, I went up to him and scratched his forehead one more time.  Instead of nibbling at me he dropped his forehead onto mine and just breathed into me.  I felt our hearts connect and love surround us until we both decided we were done.  Joy!

With Bodhi I took away the following learnings:

*Self-care always comes first. If you have an itch take care of it before anything else.

*Playing can be done with laughter and with tears.  The whole point is to play.

*Don’t have to be engaged with someone all of the time.

*I don’t have to do it all.

*You need others to play with you at this time in  your journey. And you need wise mentors to guide your way. (Thank you Barbara and my fellow journeyers for walking with me right now.)

*Watching can be just as much fun as doing sometimes.

*Just breathe the love in and out and do all with joy.

So, so much more has happened in the last day and a half. Lots more learnings and openings to myself.  For now, I find that the wisdom of these wise, horse leaders needs to stand on its’ own.  I know I will write again of the other reflections, my experiences with the wise women gathered here, the visitation by a hummingbird this morning and much more.  But in this time, in this moment, the horses are the wisest teachers I know.  I am filled with gratitude and love for all they are sharing with me.

A Little Secret

hardtobeself

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret.  I don’t really have my self all together.  In fact, in many ways I am barely all together.  Oh I am learning how to put on some kind of “got it together” face but it’s mainly just a face and a hope and a daily strengthening towards having it all together.  But honestly, much of it is based more on hope and sheer will than actual reality right now.

Daily I get up, make my lists, look over my overall goal/to-do list, get dressed, and try to do something. Many days I am trying to work in someway. Well, I guess I am working in someways, but wow, is it all hard, event the littlest of things.  I do my best to focus on what is good in my life and see the lighter side of things. I do my best to help myself and my kids find the ways we are stronger and more capable each day.  I do my best to try a little bit harder to simply walk through my day in a balanced way.  I do my best to believe that everything is going to be okay.

And everyday I know that much of what I am doing all day long is convince myself these things are true.  All day I try to act in the way I hope to live again. I try to pick up the pieces of my life and attempt to live it with strength and confidence again.  I try to let the events of the day flow over and around me without getting sucked into a quagmire of despair.  I try to focus on positivity and possibility and the abundance ever present in my life.  Some days I think I get it right, other days not so much.

I simply, shhh it’s a secret remember, am trying not to make it all so noticeable now.  I know that it could still be months and months before the littlest of things don’t set me (or the kids) spinning.  I know that it really hasn’t been that long since our worlds turned upside down, especially in light of the fact that I spent almost half my life with Russell.  It’s just not been that long, though it feels like forever.  But I do think, that for many folks, it is naturally fading from being something that is an everyday, every moment journey.  Oh, I am 100% sure that many still grieve Russell’s death.  It’s not that I think others have forgotten.  But it’s not daily memories or happenings that overlay others’ lives as it does mine.  And that overlay is what can come floating up out of nowhere for me, like fog rolling in at morning light.  You can see the light, you know it’s there, but it’s so foggy only glimpses can really be seen.  You latch onto the glimpses as hope that the sun will soon shine brighter than the fog. But the reality is the fog is always there making the way forward a little more confusing.

How this plays out for me, this trying to not have my fogginess be so predominant or noticeable, is I set goals for working, for playing, for meditating, for conversing everyday.  Simple farm work that I can do at my own pace with or without others is the best and easiest to do.  Planning, teaching, scheduling, are much more challenging. I am doing these things but it is easier for me to drop the ball, or feel like I’ve dropped the ball in these areas.  As much as I like the thought of being fully capable of managing Avalon alone again, or taking on new students, or even getting through a full week of lessons, it just can’t quite happen yet.

Reaching out to see folks or even talk with them on the phone is near impossible.  The people I see often are those who are at the farm when I am there.  I am trying to return to a more full work schedule so those who are out there get to see me.  I’m not really calling or texting anyone on my own. Just too much work.  There are many family and friends I’d love to spend time with, but if it’s left up to me being with it enough to set those things up it probably won’t happen for awhile. I know many who want to be there for me and I know that you all are.  It’s just I don’t have words to ask for things. I just can’t right now, unless you happen to be lucky enough to be right next to me when I am working on something and extrovertly start asking for things.

I’m wanting hugs and silly conversations just as much as I always have but have a hard time asking for those things.  I think I am becoming quieter in some ways because to speak out loud opens up flood gates of all the swirling thoughts in my head all the time.  It’s too much swirling for me most days. I don’t really want to spend all my time with folks rambling about the swirls. So instead I sit quietly in a group and just listen.  Actually kind of nice.

I am trying to be patient with myself and take the journey for what it is.  But I worry that others will lose their interest or their patience or their desire to walk with me. I’m not receiving messages like that, just an unfounded, underlying fear of ending up completely alone.  I’m guessing this is also a natural part of the process.

I’m also guessing that the reality for all of us is that we secretly are confused, and scared, and struggling and fearful inside.  We all try to put on a “got it together” face to just make it through our days.  We all look for glimpses of light in the fogginess of our own lives.

Yes, I do have lots of things that happen each day that I feel happy and content about.  And I am dreaming and scheming more.  And I am able to handle more projects and tasks each day.  I just look forward to the day that I can feel confident, really confident about who I am and what I am about again.

Crazy, fascinating journey!

P.S. Just thought of another thing that is most interesting right now. Making decisions about simple things like what movie to watch, or restaurant to go to, or shirt to buy, etc. are nearly impossible.  I’m usually pretty decisive and can easily share my opinion. Now, I find it much, much easier to follow along and let others decide.