Don’t quit!

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Smacks upside the head are happening again this morning. Loving smacks but smacks none the less. I’m in awe of the ways that life drops just what I need to hear or see into my lap at times. Mind is being blown and inspired daily right now.

“Sometimes trauma happens, and if we’re being honest, a part of us rejoices, thinking (I am being honest this is true for me) ‘Well, now nobody can expect anything else from me because it’s a miracle enough that I’m upright.’ You are nobly doing your best to battle your way through it. You are a warrior because of the trials you are going through, but don’t you dare squander the strengths you have earned just because the acquisition of it was painful (or still is). Those are the most important stories to share. You can use the strength to pave a path for others to follow along behind. You do not have permission to quit!” Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis

There is so much YES in this for me. So many hidden, secret truths to some of my personal blocks and excuses right now I can’t even articulate them coherently. Yes, there has been a lot of trauma in my life over the past several years. And there are pieces of that which still play a part in life journey now and forever. But it is time for me to let go of a thread of belief that I am somehow still living that trauma today.

All I know is that I will shush that part of my brain that wants to hide my story or hide my joy for the new amazing opportunities before me. I will not quit at any of the things that are giving me hope and energy to go after my dreams, not just talk about them as if they are fantasy of someday. Writing, coaching, facilitating retreats, creating – these are my joys.

No, I want to make my dreams a reality now. I want to wake up each morning and go after what I want not just grumble about all of the things that I don’t want. I want to use my story, my pain, my joy as the fuel to create a life so glorious and so full of love, health and positivity that I never need to escape from it. I want to turn every single excuse I into the reasons why I keep trying. I want to stop using my moments of sadness, pain and hurt as ways to stay complacent.

I want to see what my life could truly become if I stopped quitting. Seriously, it is time already!

Promises, promises

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“Promises, promises – How I’ve done what I’ve done.”

Ask my kids and those who know me best; they will tell you that I rarely make promises. Even when I agree to do or not do something, it is the very rare occasion that I will make a promise. Folks have tried for years to get me to make promises and I just won’t do it. When I do make a promise you can be sure that I will do anything within my power to fulfill it. That includes to myself.

Rachel Hollis writes in “Girl, Wash Your Face”, “I’ll start tomorrow… as many women do. We talk about the things we’d like to do, be, try and accomplish, but once we get to the moment of actually DOING it, we fold faster than a card table after bunco night….If you constantly make and break promises to yourself, you’re not making promises at all. You’re talking.”

Smack upside the head happened again as I read this chapter. I think I need to get really REAL and start making more promises to myself because those I won’t back out of. Anything less than that is all talk and excuses for me. And the big dreams I have for my life and my family right now are very worthy of me making some promises.
I made a promise to myself 13 months ago that I would get healthy no matter what I had to do, no matter what I had to change, no matter what I had to let go of, no matter what I had do to cover any costs, no matter what I would get healthy for myself and for my kids. I couldn’t take the risk and refused to continue to put myself at risk of serious health issues that could leave my kids completely alone. I promised I would stop risking my life for the sake of eating all of the incredible junk I was eating just because I gave into my cravings. I promised myself I WOULD follow my plan, listen to my coach and community and do the work. No more just talking a very good game but a promise to myself to live my best life no matter what I had to do. I am worth having a healthy body, mind and finances.

There are still a bazillion areas of my life that I am more talk than daily action. Believe me I mess up and fail in so many ways everyday. But my health – oh that is still the area that at least 80% of the time I am making good choices. Because I made a promise to myself that 2017 would be the last year I would feel miserable in my own skin. It was and will always be the last year that I walk around with 60 extra pounds on me leaving me hunched and hurting. Never, ever again I promised this body I am remembering to love.

If you are ready to promise to choose your health and loving your body and mind at least as much as you love the others around you, I am ready to lock arms with you and be a companion on your journey. I so much want everyone to feel the incredible joy I feel to have a body that is free and full of energy.
I promise you can do it too!!!!!

I am More

 

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“You are more than you have become.”

I just started reading Rachel Hollis’ book Girl Wash Your Face and I got stopped right here.  Only page 6 of the intro and I mean I got stopped cold like ice water washing over me both waking me up and numbing/freezing me in place.   Flashes of insight flood over me so fast and furious I can do nothing but stop everything to write.  It’s either write or I will choose my comfort food replacement of choice – Netflix – because “I’m just too tired”; “It’s too late to start an engaging book”;  “I’m not ready to handle or deal with all that is flashing fast and furious through me”; “I just want to relax my brain not wake it up.”  The lure of Netflix sings like a siren call luring me to the sweet bliss of numbness.

But, my Muse has awoken and at least She is committed to moving forward with my life.  Even if my inner Sloth is saying “Shhhhhh, let’s just chill out and relax our brain”, tonight my Muse has won as she has both Dragon and Kraken – my massive inner movers and shakers – on her side.   So I jump deeper into the fire of insights created by one simple sentence “You are more than you have become.”  Buckling up and moving forward!

These flashes come to me as my Muse speaks, no more like shouts at me.   YOU HAVE BECOME…

*a half risen Phoenix.  One minute you are flying with power and grace, then the next you are fumbling around in ashes of your own making.  These aren’t the ashes of your grieving and loss.  These are the ashes from continuing to burn your own passion for a mission of empowerment to the ground.   You are letting fear clip your wings and leave you floundering.  BE THE PHOENIX RISEN, not the one in the ashes of dreams you don’t pursue with all you could be.

*a mess of doubt about speaking your truth; your own unique, powerful truth that is your gift to the world.  You are second guessing EVERYTHING.  STOP ALREADY!  Live it – your truth, your dream – out loud in every time and every moment.  Love it as the truth that is you.

*a hit or miss person.  Somedays you hit it and others you completely miss it.  Every single day, just do it! Hit your goals hard, taking you ever closer to making your dreams more than just dreams.  Only consistency and persistence will equal your success.

*a warrior woman dragging her shield and her sword behind her like an anchor.  Pick them up already.  Carry them like the badass, warrior woman you are and stop making excuses.   You ARE a warrior. BE ONE!

*a woman who is not using her full gifts for why?  Why? Why? Why?   Why are you not writing more? Why are you not shouting from the rooftops “I’ve found a way to greater health that WORKS! Who needs more for their lives and is ready to run with me?”  Why are you not running towards creating an empire around “I AM A WARRIOR”, your mantra and your deepest desire for all women?  Why are you selling yourself short every blessed damn (yes it is both and) day?!

I want to be the more I dream of, the more I write of when my Muse awakens.  I want to be the Phoenix who has not only risen but is flying towards all of her dreams.  I want to expand in abundance, love and success every day while inspiring others in my life to do the same. (The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks)

I WANT TO BE MORE!!!!!

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On The Other Side of Fear

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Fear and the recognition of the things that I am afraid of has become quite a lively interaction within myself these past few weeks. I’ve never really thought of myself as a fearful person and have always worked hard to act from a place of thoughtful calmness rather than from an anxious, reactive place. Heck, all that I have gone through in the past 3 1/2 years with my commitment to living my life out loud has been about acting towards my dreams rather than reacting from my fears. While that hasn’t really changed some new awarenesses of myself are arising with the entry of Phoenix into my life.

Rising from the ashes indeed with new intentions of living my bravest, most daring life is what I am being called to do. This photo of me with my two horsey loves right now is such a perfect depiction of what they signify for me. And it speaks to the part of my journey right now of moving past comfort, even if that feels shaky and crazy scary sometimes. I will continue to speak my journey out loud as I move through my fears one by one because I must if I am to release the stranglehold they can have over me.

Karoly is all about comfort for me. Just riding him is like riding the comfiest couch – it’s 100 %safe, it’s cozy, it’s like being permanently wrapped in a perfectly heated blanket, it’s about bringing light into my dark days. There is never any fear in riding Karoly. In fact, he can dispel the dark threads of anxiety from me quicker than just about anything. Just grooming him warms my heart and eases my breathing into a gloriously balanced space. This photo of me with him is from a mere 3 weeks after Russell died and it was a day of laughing and joy in the midst of one of the heaviest periods of my entire life.

Phoenix, I am discovering, is all about tapping ever deeper into my inner warrior. I fell in love with him immediately and was drawn to the fact that he is the image of what I have wanted since I was a young girl. A black pony with a desire to explore and connect with everyone and everything around him. He comes when I call. He loves to be groomed. He wants to trust. He’s the perfect riding size for me. And he also has pulled back the curtain of comfortable contentment I’ve had with Karoly to reveal some real fears lurking in the shadows. Fears that I must face if I am ever to be free of them. Fears I must move beyond if I am every to completely become the empowering warrior woman I dream of being. In many ways, Phoenix is symbolizing the dark threads within the light. Fascinating.

Phoenix wants to go and be in charge at all times. He’s super willing to try and listen to me, but definitely has a lot of anxiety hidden behind a mask of confidence. (Hmmm, sounding like me). He is so forward and so quick to react I can too easily see falling if I can’t learn to stay calm and balanced on him. Staying balanced on Karoly is as easy as breathing. Staying balanced on a much smaller and narrower pony is not quite so easy. I often hold my breath as I ride, forgetting that the very act of breathing deeply will help me stay grounded and balanced. So many life lessons being opened up before me to embrace or to ignore. With every moment I feel scared of what might happen if he spooks or bolts and I fall, and then I keep going anyway, I add a small bravery thread to my inner warrior and I’m a little less afraid.

People often comment on how many white animals I surround myself with – my dogs and 4 of my horses have all been white. While I think it’s circumstance, there is also the reality that in all things I try to focus on choosing the light paths of life – hope, love, possibility, joy, positive spins on things. Intentionally buying a black pony speaks to my belief that the dark side of life – pain, despair, grief, fear – all of these hold just as much value and wisdom for me. Walking the place between light and dark is a lifelong commitment of mine to live all of life to the fullest I can.

I am committing to exploring my fears as they pop up then gently yet firmly calling myself to step forward through and past them. I imagine I will be sharing lots about this in the comings days, weeks and months as I seek to lie a brave, transformative, hopeful life. I am so grateful to have 2 horses who are facilitating such a radical part of my rising and transformation. What an amazing, absolutely precious gift that is.

Warrior Lara Standing Outrageously Open

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The Christmas a few months before Russell died was a low spot in my life.  Honestly, up until Russell’s entry into the hospital which ended in his death a week later it was probably the lowest spot of my life. It was definitely the lowest spot in our relationship.  We were struggling to find any joy in one another and had determined that after the holidays we would have to have some very hard conversations about how to move forward in ways that were healthy for each of us and for our family.  It was a dark time with very little glimmers of hope sustaining us.

That Christmas my mom gave me the book Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver.  In it she inscribed the words pictured here naming me, I think for the first time, Warrior Lara.  I remember how much that naming rang with truth and rightness as I read it.   It felt like a mantle of strength and power was laid upon my shoulders with all the love that a mother can bestow upon her children.  Warrior Lara – yes that is who is needed for the dark journeys into the soul.  A warrior infused with light, love, knowing all she needs to know, a protectress, a woman capable of bending with the winds of chaotic life changes.

Little did we know at that time that in fact my heroine’s journey would indeed call upon me to become a Warrior of light and love for Russell, myself and my family a few short months later as we dropped down into Cuckoo Luckoo Land – the dark, twisty, mysterious path of his sudden illness, death and my healing journey moving forward.  But warrior I became as I somehow found the ability to stand in the shadow lands between life and death; sorrow and joy; despair and hope.  I found the unbelievable gift to breathe through it all, stopping myself from spinning into despair with a quick grab of my tree necklace, closing my eyes and focusing upon my breath.  I look back on that time and still wonder how I did all I did with grace, hope, and a love for those around that seemed to pulse from the center of my being.  I think because I became that Warrior Lara my mom named me.

This naming of me as Warrior Lara and the inhaling way that I read the book Outrageous Openness are two of the things that I credit as key factors for how I made it through Cuckoo Luckoo Land with Russell.  Those and the unbelievable web of love, support and healing that surrounded us then and still does to this day.  But this book impacted me in ways I am just now able to start remembering. (It’s funny to me how much is lost in the first months and years after losing someone.)  I read it at least 3 times between Christmas and the day Russell entered the hospital.  I wrote quote after quote in my journals and I practiced everything, allowing Tosha’s wisdom to sink deep into bones.  Because of that I believe I was able to keep my heart and mind open to the world around me and move through things with deeper ease.

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I wrote the following quote in my journal just days before that first step into the rabbit hole “I’ll move as if there’s a Force of Love waiting to aid me in every area of my life, big or small.”  I not only wrote this down I repeated it to myself every morning and every night.  I allowed the words to burrow into my core, infusing me with hope and light.  As I read them I could feel Warrior Lara stand a little taller and hope a little stronger.  I could believe that Russell and I were on the right path towards healing our relationship and I trusted that all would be well.

It didn’t end how I had hoped, nowhere near that.  And the journey since has been a tumultuous ride through both the dark and light places of myself.  For the past 6 months it’s been a dark, shadowy, confusing journey. I’ve lost a great deal of my ability to trust, love and just breathe.  Fears I never, ever, ever used to experience have crept into my heart and wrapped vines of panic around it.  Guilt about all the things I didn’t do with or say to Russell, as well as guilt that I’m not doing enough for my kids. I have barely felt like I could move or speak much less breathe with trust and love.

But I feel myself moving into a deeper openness again.  I am naming myself Warrior Lara again and approaching life with a renewed determination to allow life to unfold again – breathing; standing tall; trusting that Love surrounds me; not trying to figure everything out all at once but simply staying in the Now;  seeking wisdom sources that speak to me; and finding joy where I can.  I am naming my fears and then letting them go.

I’ve started reading Outrageous Openness again and last night I began looking back through my journals of past 3-4 years.  I’m following the seeds of wisdom I planted there as I seek to open myself back up to living an amazing life again.  I am trying things that terrify me knowing that each little step of bravery builds upon each other to create a brave, magical new world for myself.

I am Warrior Lara standing outrageously open to life!

Warrior Woman Seeking Joy

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2017 is the year of this Warrior Woman Seeking Joy!  This focus, this intent, the idea of what this could look like for me is the only thing that is waking me up and causing me to actually want to leave the warm safe shell that has formed around myself in the past year or so.  And for the first time in weeks something has excited me enough to want to write again.  The relief of that is huge!

This second year of living without Russell has kicked my ass.  That really is the most honest way to put it.  The first year was hard but this second year has been so subtly challenging that it’s only been in the past month and a half or so that I’ve been able to get a handle on what all has been happening for me.  I’ve tried many, many times to write about it either as a blog post or even just in my journal but the words just keep flitting away from me like those no-see-um gnats in the summer. You know there is something there annoying you but you just can’t see it to get rid of it.  So there is a constant irritation that you can’t get away from.

One of the most challenging things of this second year has been that some of the things I used to love the most – horses, dancing, teaching, spending time just talking with people – no longer energize or even interest me enough to want me to actually leave my house.    It’s made living the life I have chosen seem empty and rudderless. My go-to things that used to leave me feeling happy and confident just don’t anymore; more often I just feel “meh” or very sad missing the joy I used to feel. Not a very fun thing to feel everyday.

Someday soon, I think, I will write more about this second year and the insights about it I am growing into.  But today is about what it means to me to become a Warrior Woman Seeking Joy.    It means finding those things that grab my interest and hold it for longer than a few seconds.  It means seeking the things that leave me excited enough to readily say yes to leaving my house.  It means doing things that leave me feeling powerful, strong and capable of anything.  It means breaking out of my “always done and loved” into “now I do and love” activities. It means digging deep, listening to my inner self, and trying new things or sometimes old things in a new way.  It means saying yes to breaking out of my shell and living deeply again.

This morning I tried something brand new. Soren, Demetri and I started archery classes.  They have both been wanting to take archery for a few years but we just never quite pulled it together with a time that works.  I got hooked on the idea a few months ago when I saw video of a woman who does archery from horseback.  The horse looks like Karoly and I could immediately envision myself someday doing that.  It began the awakening thought of becoming this wild, free Warrior Woman.

The glee that I had during archery this morning was amazing.  I was so excited I kept rambling about my excitement to our instructor, Jack. He just smiled, along with Soren and Demetri, and would tell me a few more stories.  When Jack told all 3 of us that we were doing much better than the average beginners I felt like a kid who had just gotten a gold star.  And the two times I got a bulls-eye I whooped so loudly I startled everyone.

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My inner Warrior Woman Seeking Joy gave a resounding YES today. Archery will definitely be one of the regular things I add into my schedule.  All day I have felt lighter, stronger, more awake and those are glorious things for me to feel again.  Demetri and Soren expressed similar feelings which simply adds to my joy that all 3 of us have found something fun and new to share.

While I hope to find renewed joy for the things that I’ve always loved, I am most hopeful that I will continue to seek new, interesting things to continue my awakening, my emergence from my protective shell.  Already other ideas are popping into my head of things to try. I am committed to listening to what feels right for me, doing it even if I must do it alone. I want to feel strong, purposeful, brave, and able to handle anything.  I want to let go of the lethargic, sad, rudderless feelings that have wrapped around me for far too long.

Most of all,  I want to become a joy-filled woman who is a warrior for healing herself and the world.  I want to be a wild woman who brings wonder and happiness to those around her.  I want to free my muse to write with power and vulnerability again. I want to live as a Warrior Woman Seeking Joy who lets nothing and no one stop her from living a powerfully authentic, joy-filled life.

2017 here I come!

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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.