Cuckoo Luckoo Land – I’ve Walked Here Before

grief

I am not stronger than you. I am not living with some magical power special only to me.  I am not doing “okay” because I live in a fantasy world.  I am not better than anyone else out there trying to make sense out of what is happening in our world right now.  I am no less afraid than others who are doing all they can to keep the demons at bay.  I feel no less in control or less helpless than many of us are feeling.  I feel no less confused and spun around like a top out of control than anyone else.

I am feeling hopeful because I have walked this road before.   We are all, as an entire world, in the middle of Cuckoo Luckoo Land, in the most radical experience of collective shock, loss and grieving the world has probably ever witnessed.     We are all in the place I described so long ago when I first stepped into the rabbit hole with Russell that dropped me into a dark world.  It’s like Alice’s Wonderland only wayyy darker and more confusing.   What I wrote 5 years ago of my experience of this place after Russell got sick and died is eerily true of what our world finds itself collectively living in today.

In Cuckoo Luckoo Land, not only are things bizarre and weird, but even the most joyous of events like birthdays and holidays are twined up with pain, confusion, and grief.  It is such a bizarro place.  What’s up is down. What’s in is over. What’s under is out. What’s out is in between.  There are no clear opposites.  There is no straight forward path to get from here to there.  There is a little of everything in life – light, darkness, pain, joy, hope, despair, love, loss – and you never know which  you will find as wander the dark, twisty paths of this place. It’s simply Cuckoo Luckoo!

Walking along through life, in this new reality, we don’t know where the next rabbit hole might be.  Just when we think we have a “new normal” figured out, the world spins and down the hole we go again.  These are the hidden places that we drop into, often sliding as fast as lightning down into a warren of twisted up paths.  The trip down into a hole feels like someone suddenly and without warning has pushed us down a really steep slide greased with oil.  It is almost impossible to do anything on this slide but breathe.  In this space we can feel like we must be on hallucinogenic drugs, as everything is very, very twisted up and confusing in this space.  Following one path that seems to be going forward can lead to a multitude of paths going in every direction.

Am I less afraid and more awake because I am stronger than you?   NO.  I feel less afraid and feel more awake because this Land is soooo familiar to me.  I know that those dark corners just around the bend don’t necessarily hold more things to fear, but might actually hold the answers we just can’t see yet.  The whispers in the dark aren’t always the demons of our fear and our nightmares.  Some of those whispers in the dark, are the wisdom and warrior parts of ourselves seeking to remind us that we are far stronger than we’ve ever imagined.

I walk this time with confidence because I know, I mean REALLY KNOW, that I can survive walking through this place and even find ways to thrive.  I believe I walk with less fear strangling me each day because I was offered the gift of grieving within a community and surrounded with abundant love for so long that my heart felt like it was that love acting as a light to lead my way through the dark paths of Cuckoo Luckoo Land.  I have walked this place before and survived what once seemed unimaginable to survive.

Am I afraid? Oh yes, I am.   The thoughts of fear about $, getting sick, others getting sick, when will the answers come,  how long will this last, etc., etc. niggle at my mind and my heart.  When those fears take hold of me I escape to Netflix or scrolling Facebook and Pinterest, or eating too much.   But, do I know I can survive my fear?   OH HELL YES!  I stand in this knowing I am a Warrior for love and hope BECAUSE I have walked in Cuckoo Luckoo Land before and I have come out the other side.

I didn’t survive because I was stronger than anyone else.  I survived because I have gathered tools and wisdom along my life journey that could help me navigate through the darkest of paths.  I have learned to feel my feelings and focus just on my breath alone until I have the strength to move forward to the next place.  I know the power of being willing to give and receive love and help from others along the way.  I know how to listen to what feels okay for ME and tap into what is good and tap out of what isn’t without feeling the need to explain why to anyone.

The journey we are on is not a straight forward one.   It will twist and turn and flip us all around as we learn to navigate this new reality.  We will move through shock and fear and anger and helplessness and joy and determination sadness and hope and loss and defeat and gratitude and grief and love, over and over and over and over again.   Slowly but surely we will learn how to survive in this cuckoo luckoo space of time. We will figure out how much we need each other and how strong we really can be.  We will walk this road together.

Though radically different circumstances, I have walked this road in Cuckoo Luckoo Land before and I have come out the other side.   The path ahead of us maybe a very long, twisty, dark one but I am ready to walk with you every step of the way, sharing my tools with any who want them.  I believe in our strength and our resilience and can see the glimmers of light on the other side.  I believe we are not alone and that we will one day walk out of this place.   I believe because I stand here having survived this place before.

Dear World, You May Keep Revolving

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Today was the first Big Day – anniversary or birthday or holiday – since Russell died 4 plus years ago that the driving thought all day wasn’t “World, WTF?  How are you still revolving? Russell isn’t here!   Everything should stop!”  It was the first Big Day I didn’t brace myself from beginning to end waiting for the crash into the darker, despairing side of memories. It was the first Big Day I didn’t feel the need at the very start of it to “rally” my troops and make specific mention of what is missing. It was the first Big Day that I just moved through my day with flashes of memories that brought only smiles, joy, love and peace.

Big Days are WICKED hard for people who are grieving.   And, those Big Days stay wicked hard farrrrr longer than the first year that the world seems to think is the “okay” time to grieve and be sad.  It’s incredibly hard to understand how the world doesn’t come to a screeching halt, when it feels like that is exactly what our hearts have done.  I’m at the tail end of year 4 and just now experiencing a Big Day as one I can simply breathe with love and joy through, without expectations that the entire world stop for the day.  4, ALMOST 5, YEARS!  And I am in no way the exception.

We MUST find ways to love people as fiercely in the years after that first one as we do in the first shocking one.  We must gently walk with people with compassion and patience until they one day walk through a Big Day without a thread of pain woven throughout.  We must allow people their own journeys, in their own time no matter where they are.   We must remember that grief has no time frame or blueprint for how to navigate through it.

So tonight Dear World, thank you for continuing to ebb and flow around me as I navigate this still new, often strange journey I find myself on.  Thank you World, for loving me gently, fiercely, unendingly as I dance my dance between joy and sorrow, dark and light, love and loss.    Dear World, you may keep revolving.

When you lose your mojo…

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Stream of consciousness writing is one of the things I usually reserve for my journal only.  As inspired as I usually feel when I write one of my musings, they tend to write themselves almost completely in my head before I put them into my blog.  Not this morning.   My mind has been such a muddle the past week or so and I have no clear idea of what sent me spiraling down into the land of muckity muck but there I am.   Stuck, not really caring that I’m stuck, and yet feeling ickity enough that I want out.

I’ve created some amazing things in my life.   I consider myself a successful, inspired, dedicated to going after my dreams kind of person.     I think I am resilient, creative, resourceful and can be hard working.   I can usually motivate myself to go after what I want but also love the support of a community.   The last few years especially I have done some awesome things, especially in light of the dark thread that has woven through our lives.

You know what though, I am tired.  I don’t mean physically tired really as I am finally getting enough sleep most nights.  I mean emotionally, mentally, energetically tired.  I mean to the bone tired. Actually deeper than that even.    I am weary of being strong, of going after bigger dreams, of working, of staying connected, of trying to figure it all out, of trying to be the absolute best I can be, of doing anything more than just being in each moment.  I am afraid I have not only set aside my mojo, but that I have somehow completely lost it.   I am tired.

This exhaustion is leaving me with such a pervasive “whatever” mentality that I actually feel like I am going backwards in creating the life I want for myself and my family.   Oh, I am still going through the bare minimum things I need to do to stay afloat but striving to really create a life of massive financial and time abundance – pfffttt!   That doesn’t seem to be happening right now. I’m too tired.

I don’t even want to think about or do the things that I know may pull me up and out of this funky place.   Because when I am just resting in the place of being tired and not sure if I want to be a massive go-getter anymore, I feel less tired.   There is a peace in that space.  And then, I wonder if maybe I don’t REALLY want to be a massive go-getter.   Maybe, I just want to find a job that has insurance and a 401k, so I don’t have to constantly worry about these things.   Maybe I just want to go do my hours and then be done for the day.   Maybe I don’t want to do the constant work needed to create new businesses, even though I love coaching and retreat facilitating.  Maybe I am too tired to be constantly dreaming, doing and creating.   Maybe I am too tired because I’m done being in charge of everything in my life and I just want to be a minion for awhile.

There are lots of maybes and lots of things to explore within this muckity muck place. While I am here I will do what I can. While I am here I will write all the muckity muck in my journal. While I am here I will be gentle with myself and trust that I won’t be here forever. While I am here I will try to just be curious about all that is rising up in me. While I am here I will do at least 1 thing each day that gets me moving just a little.   While I am here I will be grateful that I have my writing which provides some magical relief for me.   While I am here I will just be tired and focus on one thing at a time, without expectation that I do a million things each day.  While I am here I will love myself and know that I am doing the best that I can even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

“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!

 

Just Breathe – All will be well and All is well

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When I left teaching high school at Althoff 20 years ago to be home full-time with my kids, I never thought I’d find something to do as work that I loved so much. For years, I didn’t but poured my heart and soul into homeschooling my kids and being the best mom that I could. Then, almost 12 years ago, along came Avalon. To say that I fell in love with this place is putting it mildly. It really was love at first sight as I drove into the farm that first day just curious to find a horse farm nestled back in here. Avalon will always be considered by me as one of the great loves of my life. My kids, Russell and Avalon – those three have held my heart in hugely transformational ways.

As Avalon grew from a handful of folks who bought into my dreams to the massive community of 100s of people who now are able to see beyond the mists of the world to magic that is here, my heart has grown with joy and love and awe that I’ve gotten to be part of something a rare few experience in their lifetime. There really are not enough words I will ever be able to pull from my Muse to share what this place and this community has meant to me.

For the past 4 years especially, you all have been my hands, my life lines, and in many ways the keepers of my heart. There is NO WAY that what this farm, this community has become, nor what I am becoming, would have happened without all of you after Russell got sick and died. For that I am grateful beyond measure and love each and everyone of you for the role you have played in our dream like transformation.

Now, it is time for me to pick up the pieces of my heart and allow the heart of Avalon to be cared for by others who love her. I have been stuck in a swirly, stagnated place for a long time and that has begun to leave Avalon stuck in many ways. I am ready for a massive shake up and so is Avalon. I am ready to stop defining my life as before Russell’s death and after Russell’s death. That has kept me stuck in ways I can barely articulate but I NEED to change in order to live a life filled with joy and purpose and love. I deserve that and all of Avalon deserves to have someone who is deeply in love with all of it as I used to be. It is time for new leaps forward to be taken and that means some deeper changes must be made.

For 3 plus years I have been writing in my journals of a new vision for Avalon and myself. In that vision I let go of the managing of Avalon. For 3 years I’ve been writing of my desire to be a coach, facilitate retreats and workshops out of Avalon Sanctuary, of being free to write and follow my genius work. That genius work does not include stall cleaning or worrying about frozen hoses. 😊

For me to continue to love this land, the horses, and all of you it is time for me to step away from being the manager/owner of Avalon Horse Farm. I am ready to grow in radical new ways for my personal and family healing and my financial health. Avalon Horse Farm is also primed and ready for its’ next big leap forward into even bigger and better things. I am not the one to lead the way there. I simply cannot do it anymore. The farm tasks and daily stress of keeping this farm going physically and financially drain me to the point there is no extra energy left for all of the things I most love and what I believe to be my greatest gifts to the world.

While I have dreamed of making changes for 3 years, it wasn’t time until now. Only now, has someone spoken the words I needed to hear to be ready to let go of this part of my heart and trust that all would be well. I have every confidence there are many who would have said yes to doing what needed to be done to keep things running. But only recently has someone stepped forward saying it is a heart dream to one day be the caretaker of Avalon, out of a place of love, joy and deep desire to keep dream weaving and building the magic of Avalon. In that speaking a door opened to taking grand leaps of faith.

Emily wants this farm as much as I wanted it 12 years ago. She wants it for all that is and all that her dreaming self can already envision. Her dreams are wrapped in love and joy for the farm, the creatures and the amazing community. She is ready to pick up the torch that I am ready to pass. On July 1st, Avalon will become hers. She is excited and scared and so much more I am sure cannot be named. The core team is already meeting to begin new dreaming while helping make our transition as smooth as we possibly can. The greatest joy for me is that Avalon will continue with love, respect, amazing care for its’ creatures and the land, and new ideas will be able to flourish with new eyes and new hands to make it so. Watching Emily’s joy at stepping into making her dream a reality is so exciting to me. She will rock it!

I will be continuing to live in the cottage and keep a couple of my horse here. I am dreaming of continuing to offer retreats, workshops, private healing coaching, book clubs and other spiritual opportunities out of Avalon Sanctuary. I’m keeping the tractor in my name for the farm community to use and for me to volunteer my services while I play on the tractor I love. I am excited to be just a volunteer and be part of the community in ways that feel good for all of us. I have EVERY confidence that the amazing core team will continue to support Emily and make Avalon be the best, most magical horse farm it can be.

The words thank you will never be enough to express my gratitude for this community. The core team has helped me keep things going in ways seen and unseen. Avalon would have crumbled years ago if it wasn’t for Denise, Nikki, John, Lynette, Carrie, Mike and Emily. These people have helped with every aspect of keeping the farm and me going for years. THANK YOU! For each and every one of you who are part of this community and have done your part to make it function and grow, thank you! Your support, your dedication, your work, your playfulness and your belief in me and Avalon is part of the magic of this place. Together, we have created something that is outside of this world. That’s a powerful thing.

There will be many more writings from me I am sure as I move forward in the next few months. My Muse has been waiting for permission to speak of this new journey and she is ready to go. For now, know I am here to talk, to listen, to be with all of you, to dream, and to reassure you that all will be well. Because ALL WILL BE WELL AND ALL IS WELL! As you settle into this new information please know that I am here, Emily is here and the core team is here to answer questions and help ease the fear that naturally comes with any change. Change is scary but it can also be an amazing time for new growth.

This is going to be amazing for ALL OF US!

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!!!

Seagulls and C-Goals – Where the magic happens

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As I sat at the beach this afternoon, soaking in the sun, the sounds of the waves and the wind, and reflecting upon this past weekend of learning one seagull became my friend.  A whole flock of them came swirling around me for several minutes, looking to see if I had anything for them. They swooped close, called to each other to come check me out and watched me closely, waiting to see if I’d drop anything of interest.

But, this one special seagull stayed after all of the others flew away, In fact, not only did she stay, she also flew off 3 times returning to rest nearby, a little bit closer to me each time.  For a short period of time she actually followed me up and down a stretch of beach as I looked for shells.  She just quietly, slowly walked along within a few feet of me.

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I can’t make this magic up!  But I sure do revel in magical moments like these.

As I gloried in the amazing gift of connection with my new  friend I began pondering about one of our learnings for my Global Freedom Summit, C-GOALS.  C-Goals are those dreams; those ginormous , BIG LEAP DREAMS/GOALS that you REALLY want without knowing how to get them.   Unlike A goals (achievable) and B goals (challenges), C-Goals can scare us and excite us to the same degree.   They are those dreams and goals some of us only get glimpses because we get stuck in trying to figure out the how to such a degree we give up on them.

As my seagull friend and I connected with one another, the 1 or 2 C-GOALS of mine I’ve started to identify kept circling back around to my consciousness even as the other goals/dreams flew away. Just like my seagull friend!  These are the C-Goals that I never really lose awareness of. They are what make my world and my journey experiences of magic activated.  These dreams/goals are the ones that fuel me to keep moving forward even on my shadow days, because they just quietly and persistently keep circling back around to remind me they are there.

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My heart is feeling filled by the magic of my seagull who chose me to connect to today, as well as my C-GOALS that I have chosen to connect myself to as a path towards a bigger, bolder life.

What a magical life I lead!