Lion King

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Lion King kind of wrecked me. I cried off and on from beginning to end. Here’s why…

1. Not only was it the first movie Russell Peterson and I saw together, it was when I first admitted (to myself) I was irrevocably in love with him. And he was on track to be a priest so it felt a little doomed.

2. This is the first time I’ve allowed myself to watch it since he died.

3. The symbolism of life, death, purpose, passing the torch, and so much more has always been enough for me to write a book.

4. The dad dying tragically and suddenly, leaving his kid, is way too close to home.

5. The belief that we carry on the mission and the love of those who’ve died is powerfully alive as I strive to create a life in which I can bring change to the world. That was Russell’s greatest desire – to make a difference.

6. I just really miss Russ tonight as I had a great evening with two of our kids. That all of my kids still like and seek to spend time with me is one of my greatest joys and gratitude’s.

7. I know Russell would be so proud of the adults our kids are growing into and I hope someday they can really believe that too.

8. I feel emotional things so deeply sometimes, even if it’s “just” fiction. To me, who has a very active imagination, even fiction becomes real for at least a little while.

Circle of life! 💖💖💖💖

Can it? Will it?

 

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Can it work for me? Will it work for me?

These are the two questions I hear the most when I explore people’s dreams for their health with them. Heck, they were the questions I asked myself before I started on my amazing transformation path. They came from a place of fear and have now become the fuel of hope and belief I have for myself and for everyone ready for more.

“Can it work?” – YES! It can work for just about anyone. It’s a massively successful, comprehensive program designed to help people create lifelong, healthy habits one step at a time. Lose weight, less stress, more energy, get nutritionally balanced, release the grip of emotional and stress eating, sleep better, etc. CAN all happen.

“Will it work?” – MAYBE! The choice is yours, as it was mine. I’m not going to lie to you. It will only work if you put in the work. There were MANY times that I almost quit. The choice was mine if I was finally going to say enough to my pain, my exhaustion, my misery at not feeling like myself, my ever-increasing weight gain and living a life less than what I truly desired. The choice was mine to go for it and say YES to my best, healthiest self.

If people are willing to do the work and work their plan, their plan not only can work, it WILL work. That means working it moment after moment, especially after the bumps in the road. It means keeping the reason you said YES to your health always in front of you, like a carrot leading the way. It means locking arms with me, knowing I WILL believe in you until you can believe in yourself.

It CAN work! It WILL work! You just have to say YES to taking the first step to explore what that can mean for you. I am ALL IN and ready to go.

ARE YOU READY?

The Name of the Game is Trust

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The name of the game is TRUST! The question of the game is who is teaching who? (Umm, or should whom be in there somewhere?)

I write this as a person who is taking daily strides to create her best life. I write this as a person who has moved from being the manager/owner of a large horse farm to being a boarder at that same farm. I write this as a person who believed she had much to teach/share/show another creature. I write this as a person who is realizing that she is the one who is learning far, far more from this creature and the situation of her life than she could have fathomed.

Trust can be a tricky thing. Oh, we can say we trust something or someone but do we really? Our words and even our actions speak far less of our true trust level than do the fears that wake us up at night. Those that keep us awake reveal how much work we may still have to do to really, truly let go, breathe and trust that all will be well.

Penny, or Little Miss Thing as I still like to call her, came to us a month ago with some significant trust issues. She arrived at Avalon Horse Farm just 2 weeks before my final day. It quickly became clear that she wanted to be near people but touching her was not something she was willing to allow. Hmmm, that can be tricky when a horse is going to live outside and be used as a lesson horse. She’d hover close by and even come when called but a halter had to remain on her 100% of the time to allow for easier “catching”. The energy coming off of her said “I think you are okay. But, I have thought that in the past and received too much pain. So, no, I cannot trust you. I want to but NOPE!”

The plan for her full intro into farm life slowed wayyyy down. Usually, horses are integrated into a herd within about two weeks which includes a quarantine period. No way would that be enough time. But ack, that’s all I had. Okay, “breathe” I told myself and just focus on what this sweet, little mare needs to feel safe. So we all did lots of hanging out near her. She got turned out into a smaller space and came into a stall at night. Slow, steady movements were made. She’s food motivated so that helped as she wanted to come into eat. The quietest, gentlest of touches were offered. And she was given tons of room to begin to believe all is okay.

Fast forward a month to the final move to introduce to a herd and full-time turnout. Here’s where it gets super interesting for me and my own trust journey. I couldn’t be here last night for her turnout with the full herd. Just the conversations with Emily Hall Butchart around when and how this would happen opened up some fascinating rabbit holes of fear and anxiety. As the caretaker of Avalon, I always felt in control (key component here) of the introductory process. Yes, there were always weird things that could happen but I didn’t fear the process.

As a boarder, ooooh that changed really quickly. It’s been a herky, jerky letting go and deciding to trust Emily’s process that I’ve done this past week. But what if? what if? what if? ran rampant through my brain for days. What if she never is catchable again? What if she gets hurt? What if she never comes to any of us? What if? What if? What if?

I finally, two days ago, told Emily “I trust you to make the best decision, at the right time for you, for Penny and for the needs of Avalon.” And then, I committed to staying there when Emily texted me last night “I’m doing it tonight.” Ack, fear rose again until I said “Shh, remember we are trusting the process and believing that all will be well.”

This morning when I went out to see, just see if Penny would come when called as she has been guess what happened? She came running right up to me when I whistled, with no fear coming off of her and completely trusted me to keep her safe as we walked past the horses who still aren’t quite sure of her. She happily ate and then leaned into me while I brushed her. I am still a bit stunned.

Horses have soooo much to teach us and this little mare and I are going to learn together how to deepen our trust as new adventures unfold. My heart is so full right now for the opportunities unfolding for me to become ever a more trusting, conscious, hope-filled person.

Drop the Bag

weightofworldDo you ever feel like you are dragging around the weight of the world over your shoulder?   I sure do at times.

This jumped out at me as the perfect picture for what I feel was happening before my most recent Big Leap. As a person inclined to be a strong healer and caretaker for others (animals and humans alike), it’s very easy for me to take on more and more and more self-imposed responsibility until I am bending under the weight of it all. I do this to myself more than anything and am slowly, baby step by baby step, learning how to let that go. “Stop dragging the energetic bag, Lara, and let it go!”
My health transformation started with my body almost 2 years ago. While that has been life changing, it’s the underlying mental and emotional baggage I am slowly letting go that has been the most amazing part. As the weight dropped off, I began to see the ways I used food to cover up the intense emotions of grieving and being the center piece of an active horse farm business/community. That weight was like a shield and a security blanket all in one. But it was heavy with emotions and heavy with way too much responsibility for other people’s/animal’s lives.

My most recent Big Leap from running Avalon to this new life I’m creating was kind of a giant, “DROP THE BAG, LARA!” shout out to myself. It’s not that I didn’t still love Avalon – its’ creatures, its’ people, its’ land. It’s that I had taken on wayyyy too much responsibility for it all energetically and emotionally. And I knew I needed to stop dragging the bag around in order to free myself up for the rest of my own, personal hope, health and healing.

In just the few short weeks since passing off the management/ownership of Avalon I have felt myself be lighter, breathing easier, and turning less and less to ways to hide away from the heaviness I’d taken on. I have lots of things that I am still sorting and sifting through, but I am no longer dragging around a crazily heavy bag with the weight of the world inside of it.

I can hardly describe the relief I am feeling. The closest I describe it is like parasailing – being able to see this amazing horizon in every direction. There’s fear and excitement all twined into one as the harness supports my weight rather than me supporting something else. The world is opening to me in amazing new ways and I love the feeling of flying into my dreams.
AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Flip of a Coin

In the time it takes to flip a coin, our lives can change.  I mean completely, radically change.  The world reminds us of this in moments that can leave us stunned with the ferocity of emotions that can arise from fear to joy and everything in between.

Earlier today, I witnessed a car accident. Not just a fender bender but a brakes squealing, cars smashing, spinning all around, cars totaled kind of crash. Miraculously, the drivers are both okay and able to move.   The young woman I talked with could have been Kateri’s  age and all she wanted was her mom.   My heart is filled with gratitude that she and the other driver are okay, at least physically so.  Because it was bad enough that the coin could have flipped the other way.

THIS RIGHT HERE is my reminder of why I live my life the way that I do.   This is why I seek out pennies.  I love them as hello reminders of Russell. But even more so, I love how they remind me of how fast our lives can change.   Like the flip of a coin.

We can make choices that quickly to change the trajectory of our lives.  We can make choices to create a life filled with hope, health, healing and joy.   We can make choices daily to say enough to our fear – to that part of us who tends to believe it’s just part of life to feel in pain and miserable in our bodies, minds and spirits.   We can go after a new job, move somewhere new, get healthy, meet new people, try something adventurous.   Or we can stay stuck right where we are.  Like the flip of a coin.

So many of us don’t flip to hope and joy because we’re afraid.  And then, it will take something so huge, so shattering to happen before we finally give ourselves permission to say yes to something more.  The world will flip the coin until it feels like we are spinning out of control.

I don’t want to ever wait for another huge wake up call, flip of the coin in my life to be all I can be, to live as joyously as I can.  I’ve lived through some of the hardest years of my life and I’m just coming out the other side.   Because, I remember everyday how fast it can change and I don’t want to wait for tragedy to strike before saying YES to my health, my hope, my healing, my joy.

PLEASE EVERYONE, own your power to change your life and flip the coin today.  Just making 1 tiny flip towards a life you can love will make a huge ripple.  Make 1 step, 1 call for help, 1 choice – JUST 1!

Don’t wait for the coin to be flipped for you!

 

“Get over yourself already, Lara”

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“Get over yourself already, Lara!”

This is what I am repeating to myself over and over again today.   I’ve written it on index cards and posted it in several different places.  I will read it over and over and over again, for as long as I need to until I get my head out of the sand. Thought I was going to say something different there, didn’t you? LOL.   I almost did.   My head is definitely in hiding. So whatever image works!

I have never thought of myself as a particularly fear-filled person.  I’ve always thought of myself as one who sees the rays of sunshine and possibility and hope even in the darkest of places. I’ve thought of myself as one who seeks to spread positivity and encouragement and believe that for myself.    I’ve thought of myself as one who can stand strong and grounded in the face of adversity.

While I still think this leaning towards hope and possibility is true for and of me, it has become increasingly clear to me that I have allowed my deepest, dreaming self to get wrapped up in thorny branches of fear and anxiety that are twining so sharply around me that every move I make seems to cause them to tighten more painfully.  So for weeks, maybe even months, I have allowed this ever increasing fear and anxiety to leave me paralyzed.  I mean paralyzed into such a depressive, angry, terrified place that leaving my house seems near impossible at times.

Living out loud in this time and this moment – the profound commitment I made to myself about how I would live my life from the point of Russell’s death forward – has become like a shadow for me in many ways.   The more I feel anxiety around the Big Ass Leap I am taking and the fear that I am going to fail myself and my kids so hard we will end up with nothing I dream of, the quieter and more isolated I have become.   I come out of that anxiety in little, baby bursts of hopeful action; kind of like a dolphin coming up for quick breaths of air before diving back under the surface.  But leaping fully with trust into this new journey forward, with joy like a playful dolphin;  BWAHAHA  that just isn’t happening right now.

Instead, I’ve been locking myself up inside of my heart, inside of my head, and away from the world spinning around and around and around about every single thing that not only could go wrong, but also about everything that IS going wrong right now.   That fear just pours over me and through me and off me, as it twists tighter and tighter around me.  Except for those short bursts of confidence and remembering who I am and what I am all about, I am locked in a dark, thorny mess of a place with my inner critic who knows all of my red hot, “you are a failure” buttons all too well.  The terrifying, self-limiting talk inside of this place is awful.   I have felt so paralyzed by it all that I have stopped living out of my best self and have been living out of my scared self.   Ickity!

Today, I am saying “ENOUGH!  Get over yourself already Lara and start focusing on what could go right, that dream that you have to inspire the world and help people live their way into their best selves.   Get back to living it all out loud in every time and every moment, because that is where your gift lies.  Not in hiding the fear away but speaking it out loud so it loses its’ stranglehold on you.    Live it out loud all the way through into the life you are dreaming that is just waiting around the bend for you.   Be the fricking warrior already and stop being the wuss hiding under your covers.”

Well, okay!  Facing my fear, naming it for what it is, writing it out to release it and then focusing on my dreams of everything that can go right is what I AM going to do; because those dreams are fricking amazing and I know that it is a life I both deserve and can create.   Watch for a whole lot more musings  as I return to living out loud in every time and every moment without worrying about what others will think (one of the strangling fears right there.)  It is my life and my mission and my dreams and my hopes that are the only things I can really live.

Here’s to getting over myself and getting out of my own way!

 

JOY WARRIOR

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JOY WARRIOR – A transformational journey of my body, mind and heart

I LOVE that time with my Karoly has become a barometer of my health and joy transformation This horse has helped me heal in the past 4 plus years since my husband, Russell, died more than any other animal in my life. With him I breathe and let go of the bazillion worries I have faster than just about anything else. He grounds me, he holds space for me and he brings me such delight. What a heart partner he has become!

2015 (1st picture – 186 lbs) Forcing Joy – On a trip to Forest park a mere 3 weeks after Russell died I was inching towards my heaviest weight – weight in my heart, my body and my mind. At that time, I was desperate to find anything that could bring even short periods of relief and joy. This day at Forest Park, celebrating with my daughter and our friends with her birthday trail ride, was one of the greatest highlights of a very emotional spring.

2018 (2nd picture – 150lbs) Seeking Joy – Ah what a glorious weekend I had with my Karoly on our first overnight trip with friends. I was introduced to mounted archery for the first time which has definitely brought me much joy. With over 30lbs off of my body and a heart in a much happier place, being with Karoly that weekend was just fun and playful. I felt like a true warrior woman as my body and mind felt strong, light and grounded.

2019 (3rd picture – 136lbs) Breathing Joy – What a glorious thing it is now to feel as if I am breathing joy every single day. No longer do I have to seek out Karoly simply to slow my breath and regain my balance. Now, feeling strong, resilient and confident even in the midst of a very chaotic part of my life, I seek him out just because. I breathe in joy and breathe joy right back out. Having a body that feels like my own again is an amazing thing.

I can hardly wait to see what fun adventures we will continue to have as I live my healthiest, most joy-filled, and amazing life.