Always see the MAGIC

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MAGIC – I hope and pray every single day that I will always believe that there is magic alive in this world. I’m sure I will as long as I continue to be part of things like yesterday as the very land of Avalon seemed to pulse with it from beginning to end. It was if a giant bell had been rung upon first light of the sun that sent reverberations through the horses, the people, and the land itself throughout the entire day.
This is the MAGIC I hear and feel to some extent everyday that I am part of Avalon. From the first moment I stepped my foot onto this property, I could hear and feel the land speak to me, no more like sing to me a song meant just for me. It’s weird to me to talk of it at times as it feels so twilight zoney and foreign to world that seeks to have such tangible proof of things. But yesterday and now this morning, the MAGIC continues to sing to me and through me so powerfully I am alternating between laughing and crying with joy and amazement.
Watching people come to Avalon and hear for even a short amount of time the MAGIC song that is there always leaves me feeling humbled and awed that I get to part of something so much bigger than a horse farm. I love the events themselves and watching people ride their horses to personal successes is wonderful. But it is watching people smile and laugh while they volunteer or compete or watch their loved ones compete that leaves me a tingle with love that seems to expand forth from the deepest part of my heart. I open myself up to feel all that energy and channel it right back through my heart to reconnect with all that is Avalon.

Beyond, so far beyond, my desire for us to create successful events is my desire for us of the Avalon community to create a place where people realize, or rather remember, MAGIC is alive in our world. It is the MAGIC of love, connection, community over competition, hope, joy, patience, humility, respect, learning, and always seeking to do things just a bit better than the time before.

This is the life I want to lead – a life that ALWAYS see the MAGIC in this world, in its’ creatures and in the humans who walk it with me. Every single day I want this to be my focus, no matter what swirly places my mind and the tasks that can weigh on me seek to take me.

I tell you what, I may not always get things right and I may not always handle the things in my life as well I would like, but that’s okay because I know I am always striving to grow and become a better friend, leader, mother, daughter, and person. Plus, I can see MAGIC at work in the world around me and I can hear the land that holds a large piece of my heart sing. How AMAZINGLY cool is that!

 

One of those days and I still won!

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Today was one of those days on top of several of those days on top of several of those weeks.  You know what “those” are right? The days that you just seem to be a swirling ball of emotional chaos.  The days that no matter how much you use your special, self care tools you just can’t seem to get yourself balanced. The days that feel like one land mine of challenges pops up and explodes every other step you make. The days that  you really want to hide under your covers and have someone bring you hot chocolate and soup throughout the day.  The days that you should probably wear a large, flashing sign around you neck that loudly warns people to steer clear or risk being drawn into the cesspool of emotions.  Yeah, one of those days.

I’ve been struggling with insomnia again for the past couple of weeks.  I’m awake from around 2:00am to 5:00 or 5:30 am every night.  It makes waking up at 6:30 for the day a real struggle.  This morning was even more challenging.  My dreams right before waking, of which I remember none, left me crying, full on bawling as I awoke.  Not a great motivator to want to get up to face the day when I am already sleep deprived and can’t stop crying.

I somehow forced myself to get up, get dressed, have some tea and toast, and get myself out of the house to go to work.  A little voice inside kept whispering – don’t give in and quit today; at least get yourself to Avalon even if it means working with tears streaming down your face all day.  So I listened to that quiet little voice and made it to Avalon.

The day was a roller coaster of a day with lots of conversations (many of which I cried through just because), silliness with the young people, snuggling with my pups, trying to figure out winter layering (coats on and off and on and off), horses being spazzes, vet visits, and on and on.  The hour I spent quietly enjoying Avalon’s new Sanctuary room with the sunlight streaming in helped start some rebalancing.  Hugs from several folks has helped too. Laughing about the goofiness of life and dreaming of running away to warm places helped too.

I feel tons better tonight than I did this morning and am also ready to just curl up under my lovely covers and go to sleep soon. Yes I know it’s still early in the evening, but hey sleep is a good, good thing for me.

More than anything I am just glad I pushed through today. I didn’t say anything to anyone that was awful. I didn’t quit anything. I was able to work and puzzle solve and tell stories and plan new things and laugh and cry and just be me today.  I’m feeling pretty good about that right now.  It’s nice to end my day feeling like it’s been far better than I imagined it would be when I started.

 

 

 

Why oh why?

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Why oh why do we not do the things that bring us the most joy more often?  Why do we put off the things that energize us, that inspire us, and that make us smile?  Why do we spend our days longing to spend even just a little time following our bliss? Why do we insist on filling our days with only the things we have to do, leaving no time for the things we most want to do?  Why do we not love ourselves enough to say yes to seeking joy?

I’m pretty sure if I could come up with the answers to all of these questions I could radically change my life.  Or at least get closer to clearing out the things that block me from saying yes to me.  And as I get clearer I could spend more time each day seeking joy.

Tonight I rode one of my horses, Karoly, for the first time in 6 to 8 weeks.  Now the silliness of it is that I own/manage the horse boarding farm where I keep him. I see him at least 5 days a week.   I could be riding for even a little while everyday I am there. But I don’t.

My heart filled with this singing kind of peaceful joy as I rode him bareback tonight. I felt the stress I’ve been feeling melt away a little bit more with every step he took.  My breath slowed and deepened as I allowed myself to drop into sync with him. I laughed and chatted with my student as she rode alongside of me.  I allowed myself to just simply and very profoundly be in the moment for a good hour.

What if I did this everyday?  Would I be able to flow better through the rest of my life by giving myself permission to ride everyday? Would I maybe get more done by fueling myself first?  I’m betting I would experience a great deal more peace and joy if I spent more time on the back of a horse.

I am feeling very grateful that I had this gift of time with Karoly tonight.  I begin my settling into sleep with a smile on my face thinking of this lovely time.  Oh what a gift!

Today’s Gratitudes

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My heart is filled to overflowing with love, joy and gratitude for an amazing weekend of celebrating people’s love stories.  I had the great honor of being part of two love celebrations over the span of two days.  The preparing for these two events, playing at each party and the days following these celebrations have left me with much to be grateful for.

On Saturday night my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in their magical back yard with close to 100 family and friends surrounding them.  Together we got to stand witness as Mom and Dad renewed their wedding vows in a ceremony filled with deep emotion.  As Neil Diamond’s song “Story of My Life” played, I watched my parents stare deeply into each others eyes as if the rest of the world no longer existed.  The world seemed to dissolve around them as I could feel their love wrapping visibly around them.  It was truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I know much of their story and I know how much it means to them to have been able to recommit themselves to one another as they were surrounded by many who love them.

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Then, on Sunday afternoon and evening, I was able to be part of the first wedding to be held at Avalon.  The magic that I feel pulse throughout Avalon all of the time seemed to broaden and unfold like a blooming flower as Amanda and Matthew claimed their love to the world for the first time.  Their wedding was like something out a fairytale – horses, flowers, joyous guests, music, playfulness, flickering lights, and a bride and groom glowing with their love and joy for one another.  One couldn’t help but smile watching them float through their day and night together.

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As I moved throughout my very full weekend – preparing pretty party spaces, dancing, laughing with family and friends, working hard to make sure things went smoothly, conversing with hundreds of people, taking moments of quiet rest and reflection – I thought often of Russell.  It’s in moments like these that I sense both his presence and his absence the most.  He loved gathering with friends and family more than just about anything in the world.  Well he probably loved his silent retreats just as much, but parties were a joy to him.  I had several moments throughout both celebrations that I could feel my breath catch as I swore I had just seen him in the crowd talking to this person or that person.  A lot, and I mean A LOT, of emotions ran through me this weekend.

What I am left with today, after a full day of rest yesterday and beginning the clean up of spaces today, is a long list of things to be grateful for.  While my body, mind and heart are saturated and a little achy, they are also smiling with gratitude for all of the many blessings in my life.  There is no way I can name all of them here but I am definitely going to try to name as many as I can that have popped into my thoughts over and over again this last week.

*I am grateful for parents who have traveled a long road together filled with many joys and sorrows.  To watch them recommit to one another with deep love after 50 years of marriage is a wonderful gift.

*I am grateful for children who I love more deeply every single day.  Watching Kateri be part of the wedding at Avalon glowing as the beautiful young woman she filled me great love.  Watching my sons, Demetri and Soren, snazzily dressed up and helping in whatever way possible over the weekend made me feel so proud of the wonderful young men they have become.   The very best thing Russell and I did together was bring these 3 amazing people into the world.

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*I am grateful for the opportunity to work and dream at Avalon Horse Farm – a magical place filled with possibility for love, joy and healing.  The farm literally glowed this weekend and I could feel the very land pulse with magical dreams.

*I am grateful for family – near and far – that I love spending time with.   To be friends with my family is a wondrous thing.  They are talented, compassionate, giving, fun people. I am grateful I got to be with them this weekend, even if the time was way too short.

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*I am grateful for friends who know me so well I don’t even need to speak for them to step in with a hug, a smile, a “you’ve got this”, a hug, whatever I seem to need in the moment.  Even in those times when I slip into feeling alone I know I am not truly alone ever!

*I am grateful for being in place that I can miss Russell, even to the point of overflowing tears, but not be dropped to my knees or feel like I have to run from a situation.  Integration is happening slowly and steadily.  Love is the strongest thing I feel.

*I am grateful for feeling and being super strong, capable of spending long days working.  Seriously, I feel like I kicked some real booty the past couple of weeks prepping the farm and my parents (at least a little) house for several big events.  I couldn’t be prouder of how the farm is looking right now and I am grateful for the work I do to make that happen.

*I am grateful for the incredible Avalon Community that is in place right now.  Leading this community to help our dreams unfold is joy, with something new happening all of the time.  Yes I am proud of my work but even more so I am proud of the work that I coordinate to make it shine.  I feel a little like Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek with his – “Make it so” leadership.   To be part of an authentic community that works hard to make our shared love of Avalon shine is wonderful. So many folks have shown up in the last few weeks to help out wherever they can. And many of them have shown up just when my own energy was flagging.  Together we are so amazingly strong and mighty!

*I am grateful for my core Avalon team.  There is absolutely no way that I could pull off any of the things we dream of without them.  Over and over and over again, these folks show up asking “what more can I do to help?”   John, Denise, Nikki, Kenny, Lynette, Mike – all of these folks have spent dozens of hours every single week in the past few months helping make Avalon better and bigger.  Without me asking they have helped into the night-time hours to make the farm sparkle.  I would probably be a weeping puddle of a mess without the work they do.  There are many, many others who help keep me strong and sane helping out in so many ways, but these folks always seem to pop up just when there’s one more project to get done.

*I am grateful for my pups, especially Miss Tara right now.  Dogs have that amazing way of making you feel like you are the center of the universe. Tara especially does that with me, following me around and wanting to just be near me. Plus her sweetness just makes me smile everyday.

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*I am grateful that my life is filled with opportunities for growth, love, joy, connection, and walking my authentic path.  There is much I am still figuring out but then that is life isn’t it?  That everyday I am able to walk in nature, be with my children, learn something new, laugh or cry with friends, rest my weary self, and dream of new possibilities fills me with such gratitude I feel ready to burst sometimes.

In this time, in this moment life is good, very good!

 

Healing and Brave – An invitation

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Wow, what a difference one year can make in our journeys!  A year ago I shared one of the most raw musings I wrote in my healing journey. It popped up this morning on my Facebook memory feed and I’ve been reflecting upon it all day.

I wrote of being broken and afraid of many, many things.  The dark places of loss, confusion, grief, anger, etc. where my Kraken swims was the landscape I swam through at this time last year.  The deep, dark places of those waters often left me feeling very alone and so very lost.   Everything in my life felt like it was hovering on a precipice ready to vanish forever.

I wrote…”In the end it doesn’t really matter when the breaking began. What matters is the here and now.  And in this time, in this moment I feel broken and afraid. I feel as if all of the pieces of myself – my heart, my soul, my physical body, my gifts, my strengths, my weaknesses – all that I am is laying jumbled around my feet in a million tiny pieces.  All of it is scattered around me waiting for me to reassemble it all into some kind of cohesive whole again.”

Today I live most often in the light places, filled with hope and curiosity about what comes next.  Oh the dark places still thread throughout my being and rise up at odd moments as I think of missing Russell and the life we shared.  But each day I am making more and more choices to become stronger, more joyful, filled with gratitude and possibility.  I find that even on the darker days I don’t fall into the depths quite as far or as long.  And I am able to soar with my butterfly dragon more and more often.

Healing is possible.  Holding the pieces of my being – light and dark, hope and sadness, loss and connection – together in one magical piece has become a part of my daily dance.  I no longer fear the things I shared in last year’s writing.  I am doing the best that I can to live my life wholeheartedly and trust that all will be well.  I have come far in reassembling the pieces of myself into a cohesive whole.  No longer do they lay jumbled at my feet. Instead I can actually feel the pieces fitting back together piece by piece by piece.

As I become stronger I find myself wanting to walk with others on their own healing journeys. I find myself wanting to share the wisdom and the tools that have helped me along my healing journey. I wish to share the healing power of the horses, the community and the land at Avalon that has held me in sacred space all along the way.

The next steps on my journey include creating opportunities for people to come to Avalon and hear what wisdom the horses have to share with them.  I am creating Equine Facilitated Learning workshops that will open the new possibilities for people to heal, hope and live more authentic lives.  If all goes as planned the first of these workshops will begin in the fall.  If you are interested in receiving more information I invite you to send me a note in the comment section and I will include you on our mailing list.

In this time, in this moment I am filled with gratitude for all of the ways I have healed in this past year.  I am ready to see what the future holds!

 

If you are interested in reading last year’s blog to see how far I have come click here. Thanks for sharing in my journey.  https://larapeterson.com/2015/06/30/broken-and-afraid/

 

 

 

 

Avalon Speaks

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AVALON…

From the very first step I walked this land as if it was my own.

I could hear the land speak to me saying “Yes, this is yours. And you are mine.”

The trees sway in the breeze inviting me to join their dance.

The creatures of sky and land call this place home.

People enter here feeling their hearts lighten and expand.

Avalon is a land that sings to me of quieter things, of sunlit skies and magical nights.

The magic of this place wraps around me like a form fitting shield protecting me from the world outside.

It is here, in this place, when all is quiet and still that my heart heals one little bitty piece at a time.

When the bustle of the day is done and Avalon settles into stillness I can feel myself truly exhale.

Only in these times of solitude can I feel the jagged, separate pieces of myself try to ease back into place.

Avalon speaks of healing, grounding, dreaming, being.

Avalon is sanctuary.