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!

 

“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!

 

On The Other Side of Fear

othersidefear

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.