Being brave and facing our fear

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As I dig deeper into the center of my being to discover how powerful my inner warrior woman, I am discovering layers of fears that I have created against myself.  Some of these are small anxieties that niggle at me irritatingly like a fly that just won’t go away.  Some are fears of things that just don’t seem rational but are very real, like my fear of possums. They just creep me out.  Then there are fears that started off during small, 1 time scary situations that now have a grip on me and keep me from doing what I want to do with my life.

Moving through these fears, becoming aware of them and the power I’ve given them to keep me stuck, and slowly letting go of them is a daily endeavor.  I listen to what is at the core of these fears and then gently allow myself to start taking steps towards being braver.   More than anything I long to see myself and live my life as a warrior woman of love – deep, unconditional love for myself and my world.  I want to embrace life as fully as I can and not allowing my fears to have power over me is a huge step.

All this came  to me yesterday morning as I rode my horse, Magic, for the first time in at least 8 months.  Although, I really think it’s been a year since I rode him.  As I got him ready brushing his coat and tail that I love so much; smiling at his expressions; breathing in his horsey scent I realized that I was really afraid of getting on him.  I’ve known for awhile that the reason I don’t ride him and rather choose Karoly who is as easy as breathing is because of some left over fear.  But yesterday was the first time that I really, completely spoke out loud “I am afraid to ride him. I want to ride him, but I am very afraid I will fall, get bucked off, get hurt.  I love him, but I am afraid of him.”   Smack in the head!

My fear of Magic is gut level fear.  I want to throw up when I think of riding him.   I shake inside. I rage against myself for being afraid.  I think of selling him because it’s ridiculous to have a horse I can’t ride.  I feel sad because there’s such an obvious connection between us and I want to only feel that, not the fear.  I psyche myself up for every ride.  I try to talk myself out of riding saying “Brushing him is enough.  I don’t really need to ride.”  On and on the self-sabotaging goes.

This fear is rooted in an event that happened at least 4 years ago; an event that I came out of like a warrior woman. I didn’t get bucked off. I didn’t fall. I didn’t get hurt. No matter how hard Magic tried that day, bucking and twisting while cantering down a hill, I didn’t come off.  I was terrified but I survived like a cowgirl warrior woman!

4 years later I am still afraid.  4 years later, even after many more rides including months of lessons, I am still afraid.  4 years later with not another buck out of him with me (with others yes), I am still afraid.  4 years later and loving him more now than I did then, I am still afraid.  4 years later I still can experience the gut wrenching fear that day, I am still afraid.  4 years later my confidence in our connection and my ability to ride it out, I am still afraid.

With all that swirling through my head as we rode, I said yes to being brave.  With the fear of what could happen almost choking every step we took, I said yes to being brave.  With me shortening my ride to what felt the very most comfortable and safest, I said yes to being brave.  With needing my friend, Carrie, to come with us on the slowest walk ever just up the road and back, I said yes to being brave.  With my heart racing and my body on constant guard, I said yes to being brave.  With my breath easing as we walked back into the sanctuary space of Avalon, I said yes to being brave.  With my joy at having finally spent time with a horse who holds a part of my heart, I said yes to being brave.

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The ways that we are brave every day are often things no one but us can see.   What would be the simplest of tasks for others might be the bravest act for us as we face the fears buried deep inside our beings.   No one but us can know how much courage it takes to do those things that want to strangle us with fear.

Being a warrior doesn’t mean taking on the world in a violent, forceful way. Being a warrior means gently and steadfastly loving ourselves through our fears.  It means taking steps forward towards the life we dream of for ourselves, even if those steps only move us forward an inch at a time.  Being a warrior means saying YES to us, not worrying about what others think of OUR journey.

Being a warrior means facing our fears and saying yes to being brave anyway!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Hell No to YES

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Just Breathe

 

As I sit here this morning in my lovely, little farm cottage trying to mentally create a backup plan for Avalon’s 10 year anniversary party in case it keeps raining, I am a swirl with emotions.  Yesterday afternoon with the sun shining and warm air soaking into my skin I was feeling more and more excited for today’s pony parade, bonfire, potluck, a full moon and more.   I could envision each glorious part of our evening as the sun poured down over me.

And then, the bottom dropped out, my kraken awoke, and the darker emotions came flooding to the surface.  All of the ways in which I feel inadequate as a mother, as a business owner, as a friend, as a person came rushing in, catching me up in a wave that’s dropped me down into a dark rabbit hole of emotion.  All of the things that I’ve been fearing and all of the emotion that I have been trying to not give power to are hiding in dark recesses of this rabbit warren I am.  They pop up one after the other as I blindly am walking through the rabbit hole trying to find the light and my way back out.

My inner warrior very strongly is nudging me forward and saying “Release your Muse. She is your sword. I am your shield.  We are here and we will get you out.”  Okay, I am listening to you both.  So instead of heading out to prep the farm I have dropped everything, much as I used to do right after Russell died, and I am pouring my heart out.  I am speaking it all out loud because only when it is out in the open can I breathe deeply enough to not have the tears overwhelm me.

Hands down, I LOVE Avalon’s Anniversary Party days more than any other days.   They are big celebration of all that has been accomplished in the past year and they are my public, recommitment days to saying YES to another year at Avalon.  They are days to remember and they are days to dream.  Joy and play is infused throughout it and I am always left with the best warm fuzzies.

As I do on every anniversary date I am reminded of Russell’s and my journey to saying YES to Avalon in the first place.  It’s kind of amazing that I am even here because my initial response when asked by Carrie Magill, owner of the property and my land lady,  if I wanted to run a 75 acre, 26 stall barn was HELL NO.  And I am most confident those were my exact words to her and to Russell when I first told him about it.

The amazing part is that Russell, who had never worked on a farm and knew very little about horses, said “YES, I think we should check it out.”  I know I looked  at him like he had 3 heads because I knew the crazy amount of work it would take and how hard it would be to ever, consistently, maintain a profit.  So I created a 4 page, single spaced document filled with all of the questions that we needed answers to before even considering this as an option for our family.  Details about hay, workers, landlord responsibilities, insurance, etc., etc., were needed before we could take the leap. At least they were needed by me.

Russell simply kept coming back to wanting to make my childhood dream to have a horse farm come true (aww geeze I can barely write through my tears).   He wanted this place for me. He heard the deep awe and connection I had for Avalon upon first seeing the land. I know there were lots of personal reasons why he said YES so strongly and quickly, but in all honesty it was really about ME for him.  He wanted me to be surrounded by horses where he knew some of my deepest joy can come.  He wanted to give that to me no matter what.

I think it’s taken me this long to really, completely get that.   Oh I’ve known it and tried to accept the radical generosity of that loving gift from him. But the business pieces of the farm, the budget concerns, the constantly worrying about something, the daily grind of running a large horse farm, all of these things would get in the way.  And my own struggles with feeling truly worthy of unconditional love wouldn’t let me believe it.  It’s very easy to not see the gifts people are really giving to us if we allow life’s worries and our own fears to cast shadows over those gifts.

But always on our Avalon anniversary days I could clearly see the joy Russell had for what we were creating.  He was in his element at that fire, talking with anyone and everyone who was there.  Always he was the last one to leave as he would relish the quiet of the fire, the farm and the few folks who wanted to stay as long as possible.  He would talk. He would laugh. He would tend a giant fire. He would celebrate the dream.

On these days when everyone is simply having fun at Avalon – not competing, not working on projects, not working more than necessary – I am deeply reminded of why I said YES.   Because for me, having the farm has been about creating a place joy and possibility.  It’s about creating a place in which anything might be possible and that the simplest moments are the ones most filled with joy.  It’s about creating magic with twinkle lights, silly play, deep conversations, and needed silence.  It’s about creating Sanctuary.

So today I am deeply aware of how much I am grateful that Russell said YES with a big leap long before I was ready.  His belief in what we could do and his desire to give me my heart’s dream are why any of us are here at Avalon celebrating today.  I could have never, I would have never, done it alone.

Today, more than any other days lately, I will miss him.  I will hear him and see him in the crowd  I know; I always do at these parties.  I have no doubt I will cry more tears and I will laugh a ton today.   I will dream new dreams.

In listening to my Warrior and releasing my Muse, I have found just enough light to see my way out of this rabbit hole I am in.  It may take me the rest of the day to get out, but out I will get.  I have a DREAM to celebrate and to live!