Breathe and Be. You break or you build from here.

whenbrave

“You have this between you now as part of your history together. There’s been hurt on both sides. That changes things. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Either way, things will never be the same as they were. You break or you build from here.”  The Queen’s Bargain Anne Bishop

Emotions rush through me, up from the darkest place of my being, like a swollen river raging out of control.   Memories that have been playing in my mind for a weeks come flooding in with a fierceness that takes my breath away.  I feel out of breath from the punch to the gut I experience.   I am rocked to my core and want nothing more than to run away.   I jump up out of my  chair ready to run to something else to do, anything that will stop my feelings.   Maybe I will get some food. Maybe I will turn on my phone and FB scroll.  Maybe I will turn on Netflix.  Maybe I will find some brainless task to do.  Anything to stop the flood of feelings and the panic that rushes over me as I experience being very close to some truth that won’t be silenced anymore.

All of this happens in the span of a minute or less, though the intensity of it all feels like a lifetime.  Then something inside of me, that wisdom self who seeks to call me to deeper healing, speaks up.   “Stop Lara! Right now, stop running.   Sit down and breathe into the pain that desperately wants to be healed.   Breathe into and know that you are strong enough for this truth and you are ready to heal that wound a little bit more today.   Stop. Breathe. Be.”

So I stop. I breathe. I allow myself to be in this time and this moment.   I stop running.  I breathe into the pain rather than push it away.   I trust that I can hear what I need to hear.   Stop. Breathe. Be.

Russell and I were in a very broken place in our relationship when he died.   We had started counseling which helps me believe that we would have found our way back to one another.   But we had just started and the brokenness was the predominant thread within our relationship. My memories of our brokenness and the hurts we had each inflicted upon each other have been playing over and over and over in my mind for much of this year.  Why this year, I am not sure.   Maybe because I’ve had so much more time to think about things. Maybe because I’m watching all of the hurt that people are inflicting upon one another in our world and so it is spotlighting my own history more.  Maybe because I am ready to listen to what wisdom I can gain from these truths.  Maybe because it is time to forgive myself for what I did and forgive him for what he did so that I can stop beating US up for the brokenness we created.   Maybe so I can stop feeling like a complete failure.  Maybe so I can let it go and move into a deeper place of healing and a new part of my life journey.   Maybe because there is a growing part of me that wants to stop moving through my life as a sleepwalker.  Maybe I want to fully wake up. Maybe, probably, all of these things and more.

Stop. Breathe. Be. Stop. Breathe. Be. Stop. Breathe. Be.

“Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting – whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention.  That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us.” Comfortable with Uncertainty Pema Chodron.

Whatever the reasons are for why I can’t stop thinking of Russell, our brokenness and the hope I hold that we would have learned to build a new path for US, it is clear it is time for me to sit with it all.  It is time for me to journal all that I can – the pain, the hope, the dark, the light.  It is time for me to stop running from it all using food, busyness, and escapes to avoid thinking about it.  It is time for me to say yes to listening to what needs to be heard.  It is time for me to say yes to healing this.  I stand at a tipping point of either breaking further or building from here.

Stop. Breathe. Be. Believe.

 

Breathe! It will be okay.

pennyheart

Horses hold heart space like no other creature I have ever encountered.  For anyone they will hold space in a profound way, and especially for one who have they have decided is worthy of their trust and their attention and their hearts.    Tonight, I was radically reminded of the powerful way a horse can hold quiet, solid space even as deep emotions swirl around them.  Tonight, I allowed myself to let go, trust and collapse into the heart space of a horse.  I am in awe of the gift I was given.

A year ago, we could barely get near Penny, the sweet, little lesson pony who came to Avalon with clear evidence of some significant trauma having happened to her at some point in her life.  She desperately wanted to connect with people.  She desperately wanted to believe that the gestures of patience, love and healing were real.  But it took her months and months of quietness before she stopped flinching every time someone came near her, especially around her head.  It’s only been in the past three months or so that she gives into the bliss of being rubbed on her head and her ears.  Now, she calls to everyone who comes near and is often the first to say hello.    Her fear has turned into a trusting choice to believe that people really do want the very best for and will only shower her with love here.

Well tonight, this sweet, little thing stood with all the confidence of 100 horses as I stood with my head buried in her neck sobbing my heart out.  Not only did she stand there with her heart wide open to me, she made it very clear to the other two horses in the field to back the hell off as she became my shield.   They weren’t doing anything except being curious and wanting to love on me too, but for that time, I was 100% hers to breathe with and they weren’t allowed in.  Considering she is one of the most gentle, forgiving, laid back ponies I’ve ever seen in a herd this was quite stunning.  She quietly made it crystal clear that she was creating the heart bubble space for me to just let go and cry.   That is what horses do when they show up to hold heart space for a person.  Penny stood there with me hanging all over her, sobbing, and all she did was breathe.  She did this even to the point of taking a huge inhalation and letting it audibly go as if to say “Lara, I have got you!!  Until you can breathe deeply again, I will do it for you. Just let go as much as you need to. You are safe. You are loved.  You are not alone. I am HERE!”

With all of the amazing blessings that are present in my life right now and I am deeply grateful for, emotionally I am in a very dark season of my life.  The number of unresolved things from the past several years that I am becoming aware of how deep some of the hurts run is kind of stunning.  One after the other they are bubbling up and out.    I’ve been trying to just keep moving, not write or speak about it, and just stay focused on all of the positives.  Well now, I am planning to keep moving and to stay focused on the positives, and I am also going to start writing and speaking again about what is REALLY going on for me.

I am at my very best when I am writing my truth.  I am at my very worst when I am not giving myself permission to write and speak my truth but rather I allow some random (sometimes imagined) others to dictate what I should write and share.    I am at my very best when I am being honest about my struggles and my pain.  I am at my very worst when I try to just put on a happy face and act as if everything is ok.  I am at my very best when I name my fears out loud, then breathe right through them as I bravely take my next best step.  I am at my very worst when I try to act as if there is nothing to be afraid of and I just need to focus on something else.  I am at my very best when I find joy in the simplest of things and share that with the world as if I have found the most amazing treasure. I am at my worst when I think the lens through which I view the world is silly or unnecessary.  I am at my very, very, very best when I stay in this time and this moment and live out loud whatever is showing up for me RIGHT NOW.

Horses mirror back to us what is really and truly going on inside of us.  And they bring hearts of love energy that is bigger than anything we can really imagine.  Tonight, in this time and in this moment I am deeply grateful for a sweet little pony who held my heart with fierce, unwavering love.  I am breathing deeper. I am opening my heart up to my most authentic journey. And I know I will not only be okay, I AM OKAY!

 

Take the first step

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What are you dreaming of for your life? BE BRAVE! Speak it out loud or at least write it down right now. Don’t wait one moment longer!🌈🌈🌈

Do you dream of…

Better health? 🥗
Finding work you love? 💟
A new relationship? 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨
A renewed relationship? 🤗
Creating a new business? 💰
Writing a book? 📖
Going on an adventure? 🪂
Starting a garden? 👩‍🌾
Finding a new hobby? 🏹

Whatever it is, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF & your ability to create a life you love. I know you can do it! 💪

Don’t be afraid to take that first step! Every journey, big or small all start with a single step!! ❤️👣❤️

How Will I Show Up?

highest self

How will I show up?

This is the question I am pondering this week as I navigate my way through anxiety around the massive unknowns right now, flashbacks to 5 years ago which also was a very dark time, a hopeful belief that somehow all will be well and a deep desire to not lose who I am and who I most want to be in this time, this moment. The whole world has stepped into Cuckoo Luckoo Land, the place I’ve written of where things are not only inside out, they are upside down, outside in, twisted up and ever spinning. Eerily, I know how to walk in this place. Heck, I can even walk in this place as if I own it when I remember who I am.

I am a survivor. I am a traveler of the dark places of the soul. I am a writer who can find words in these dark places. I am a light for others who walk these dark places alongside me. I am a grounding rod for the swirl that threatens to spin us out of control. I am a mystic who can move beyond the veils of what is to see the possibilities of what could be. I am a woman who finds joy in the simplest of things. I am a believer that we are all far more powerful than we will ever know. I am a hope dealer who believes in the immense power of health and healing. I am a Warrior who does not allow the darkest places of Cuckoo Luckoo Land to ever completely forget how powerful and beautiful we all are.

So, how will I show up in this communal time of walking in Cuckoo Luckoo Land? I will show up as a Warrior for light, hope, and belief that we WILL survive this. I will show up believing we are all doing the best we can with a whole ton of uncertainty. I will show up sharing whatever glimmers of hope, health and healing I can. I will show up honoring everyone who is digging deep to be light bringers, healers and hope dealers. I will show up staying true to who I AM! ☀️

World, we have got this! 💖💪💖

lifepriorities

Where do YOU want to be in the next 6 months, the next year, the next 5 years? What are you willing to do and invest in in order to become that person? What are you willing to say is worth it to do for YOU?!

I’ve got a growing fascination with the belief I have inside myself that if it’s for my kids paying for their growth is not only worth it, it’s necessary. Classes for them, health care for them, supporting their passions – all of these I’ve barely blinked at figuring out how to make happen.

But for me, my first response is often I don’t have the time or money for that. Maybe another time. Why am I not worth investing my time and money in me? The money I am earning? The growth I need to create my best life which will also benefit my kids? What message am I giving my kids about adult self-care if I say no to the things I really want to do and that will help me become my best self? 🤔🤔

These are the things I wonder about as I strive to constantly be growing. I’m learning to place higher value on my health, growth and development needs than I have given myself permission to do in the past. I pay for a counselor for my kids AND myself. I buy healthy foods for myself AND my kids. I invest money in my growth AND for my kids. I am worth spending money and time on things that will make me grow.

What could your life look like if you said yes to you more often? You would do it for your kids so why not for yourself? You’re worth doing it for yourself. You cannot become all you want to be until you believe you are worth your own time and money.

Beach Joy

beachtransformation

“We’re not unhealthy because we eat too much. We’re unhealthy because of WHY we eat too much.”
4 years difference in these beach pictures. 4 years of living through so much self exploration – both the darker and the lighter parts of myself. 4 years of learning I am worth the BEST choices I can make for my health and my life. 4 years of moving through grief and learning not to eat my feelings. 4 years of moving from struggling to find pockets of joy to living joy easily.

The 53lbs I’ve lost and kept off in the last year has been AMAZING. What I have gained – energy, body movement, better sleep, clearer mind – are even better. The BEST is the new found purpose for my life as I help others find freedom for their body, minds, spirits and finances.
The joy you see in my 2019 photo isn’t just for the photo. It’s for my whole, reclaimed self who is saying 100%. YES to her healthier self!

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?

“Get over yourself already, Lara”

getbusy

“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!

 

Crossing the Bridge: From Here to There

ropebridge

Life doesn’t really happen in big leaps.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do firmly believe that we have to take big leaps of faith throughout our lives to get to the life we dream of living.   But those big leaps are really just one moment in a long line of choices and actions that stretch behind and in front of us.   They are scary to make for sure because going into the leap we have to take such deep breaths and tap into such radical trust that all will be well, even when we can’t see the other side.

What I am finding after having taken the big leap a few months ago to make the choice to step away from being the owner/manager of Avalon is that this transition time is wayyyyy harder than taking that first giant step towards a new dream and a new life.  I’ve never, in all of my life, made a decision to end one job to head towards another one that then created such a HUGE transition time.  The maximum was probably 3 weeks for past jobs.   This transition, from the moment my decision became public to the day I’ve set as my last day, is 4 months.   The swirl and dissonance and herky jerky movement this is creating for me is almost unbearable some days.

This is what I experience happens when we take those big leaps to move from the here of our life to the there of our life we dream of.  You want to be there, in that place of new possibility and joy, but you are here, in the place that no longer resonates as deeply into your heart as it once did.  Once you make the decision to step onto a new path the amount of testing and resistance that arises out of that part of you that doesn’t’ want to change is HUGE!  It can feel as if the universe and everything around is conspiring against you.

What I really think is happening is that your excited, dreaming self is wanting to run to the other side right now.  Your fear, stay in the comfortable self is trying to tell you to stay.  And every single thing in your life becomes an opportunity to get crystal clear about what you really want, what you really dream of, what you really believe in and how committed you are to the big leap choice you have just put out to the world.  Everything becomes layered with more emotion, more thoughts, more confusion, more possibility, and on and on and on.

The journey, then, from here to there is more like crossing a shaky, way too high in the air, questionable rope bridge than a mere leap from one side to the next.   Every step is a question – will you stay shaking here on place in this very uncomfortable limbo land; will you turn and run back to the “safety” of what you know; or will you keep stepping forward inch by inch no matter how scary it feels knowing that your deepest self is already on the other side waiting for you.

All you can do; well, I should really say all I can do is breathe and hold onto the pockets of joy and complete sense of rightness that will pop up every step of the way.   Staying in the excitement of the new path that is unfolding is far more enjoyable and life giving than being consumed by the fear within and swirling all around you.   Trust that the bridge will hold and you will get to the other side if all you do is simply keep moving foward.

BREATHE, TRUST, AND STAY IN THE JOY!!!

It’s time to ACT

 

“We are the most obese, medicated, addicted, and in-debt Americans EVER!” Brene Brown

Brene Brown’s words shared below ring so true for me.  For decades, I “knew” all I needed to do to lose weight and get healthy.  I’d tried so many different paths each one with varying degrees of success.   I “knew” if I could focus on meal prepping consistently with lots of good protein, veggies and little starches it would do the trick.  But “knowing” did nothing for me, because I didn’t want to do meal prep all of the time. I didn’t want to think about food so much. I didn’t really want to do any of the extra stuff I’d need to do.

See the problem wasn’t what I “thought” I knew about food.  The problem wasn’t even what I judged to be laziness about meal prep on my part.   The real problem for my steady, deep decline into the darker places of my health was my emotions.   The depth and breadth of my overwhelm finally took over completely and I used food to mask, soothe, “heal”, reward and deal with all of the pain and stress in my life.

I for sure don’t beat myself up about any of those choices I made as I firmly believe that was doing the best I could throughout it all.  But wowza, am I ever grateful that I am learning to feel my feelings in every given moment, instead of feeding them with foods that leave me feeling worse than I did before I ate them.  It can be a harder road to travel at times, but most of the time it is a freeing, joyous one to journey.  And the reward is spectacular – a body and mind that is free to move through the feelings and not allow them to become barriers to growth.

From the Gifts of Imperfection…

“We know how to eat healthy.  We also know how to make good choices with our money. We know how to take care of our emotional needs. We know all of this, yet…

We are the most obese, medicated, addicted, and in-debt Americans EVER!

Why are we struggling like never before? Because we don’t talk about the things that get in the way of doing what we know is best for us, our children, our families and our communities.

We don’t talk about what keeps us eating until we’re sick, busy beyond human scale, desperate to numb and take the edge off, and full of so much anxiety and self-doubt that we don’t act on what we KNOW is best for us.”

 

YES, YES, YES!!!!!  It is time to ACT!!!