Door of Locks

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It’s story time. I LOVE reading and have several book series I read over and over and over again as they speak to my soul and continuously entertain me. The following story (condensed a little) is from “Belladonna” by Anne Bishop. This resonates on a very profound level with me. It’s about choosing where your heart needs to go; very powerful stuff!
DOOR OF LOCKS
Now the Door of Locks was hidden in a garden that lived in the heart of a magic hill, and the hill was the country home of the spirits who resided in this part of the land…. When one reached the garden, which was protected by high walls and a barred gate, a spirit would appear and ask “What do you seek?”

…the correct answer is “I seek the hope that lives within my heart.” Give that answer, and the garden’ gate will always open….When you’re ready, the spirit takes you to the Door of Locks.

There are one hundred identical locks on the door, and while you’re standing there, trying to fathom it all, the spirit reaches into your heart and takes out a key, and says, “Every lock leads to a different place that lives within you. Some are dark places, some are light places, some are full of struggle and sorrow while others will shower your days with joy. Choose a lock. The key will fit any of them. Choose where your heart needs to go. Choose.” (LOVE THIS!)

And that is what you must do – CHOOSE. Now, some people are hasty, ignoring the spirit’s warning about the nature of the locks and thinking that since the locks all look the same they’ll be the same. And some people don’t ask for the lock they truly want because it’s high up in a corner of the door or too low to the ground and they don’t want to be inconveniencing the spirit and they figure a lock that’s easy to reach will do just as well.

But it won’t do as well. IT WON’T DO AND IF YOU SETTLE FOR WHAT IS EASY INSTEAD OF WHAT YOU TRULY WANT, YOU MAY NEVER DISCOVER THE HOPE THAT LIVES IN YOUR HEART.

So you choose wisely, and you choose well, and you pick the lock that matters the most to you AT THAT MOMENT. Then the spirit takes the key that was plucked from your heart and slips it into that lock.

It changes you. It doesn’t matter if you end up in place you didn’t know existed or in the place you’ve lived your whole life. It changes you – and you will never again see the world in quite the same way.

What if you fail?

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We’ve probably all heard the question “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” I’m quite sure I’ve answered this question a bazillion times in my journals and on vision boards. But now I ask a new question, a flip of the coin, to this famous one.
First read in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book ” Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”, I now ask “What would I do even if I knew that I might very well fail?” I agree with Elizabeth that it is a fiercer question and one that is radically shaping my world right now. It plays over and over in my mind as I choose to do those things that bring me consistent joy, even in the moments of “failure” that are inevitable with following authentic, life long paths of joy seeking.
Without a doubt, it is quite evident that I choose to “do” horses even in the midst of daily “failures”. Heck running a horse farm means constantly remaining open to trying new things, having tried and true methods not work, and still doing it because of that magical love with a horse. I simply can’t imagine a life without them, nor can most of the horse folks I know, even though we are loons to put up with all we do surrounding them.

My current path of new adventures with Phoenix is a daily endeavor in becoming more humble, more trusting, more brave, and more creative as I step into worlds I’ve only been a witness to for a very long time. Tomorrow will be our first dressage show ever, for both of us. We are the very first dressage ride of the day (at 9:00am if you want to watch) and we aren’t really ready. We are both still noodly and simply trying to trust one another. We will probably walk the entire dressage test, though we are supposed to trot at least half of it, simply because in that mode we trust each other, stay in sync and look pretty balanced. As far as the test is concerned, walking the whole thing will be a fail. But, we are doing it anyway because I am loving this horse, he is at least liking me, and I want us to do things together that I have never done before. I don’t care if we fail because I will love every single moment doing it with him. We are rising into a new life together.

This horse, this sweet sweet living Phoenix, is the clearest symbol of me embracing so many new things that leave me acting from my heart. Facilitating retreats, coaching others through their own health transformations, writing, and teaching are things I LOVE to do. There will be ongoing moments that feel like failures in all of these areas but that’s okay. I’m going to do them anyway. Because I WILL live a life from my heart and not from my fear of failing.
What do you love so much you would do it even if you knew you might fail? Go do those things!

 

In Love

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I’m in love!  No, no, no before anyone gets too excited, it’s not a new relationship.  They very thought of dating, honestly, still leads me to throw up a little.  Okay maybe a lot.  LOL. I’m so not there yet.

I am in love, even giddily so at times, with aspects of myself and my journey right now.  I guess it is kind of like developing a new relationship with myself and with my life.  More and more each day, I am embracing the things that excite me enough to make me want to jump out of bed each morning and leap into my day.  I am feeling deep, profound gratitude for all that is part of my life and it definitely creates feeling similar to “being in love.”  Wow, how cool is that?!

Here’s what I am most in love with right now.

First and foremost, my children. Hands down they are my favorite people to be with. I love talking with them, playing games, traveling, journeying with them as they become adults, watching them grow, and just hanging out in their presence. They’re all such awesome people and I feel super blessed to be part of their lives.

Second, the vision for my life and what I believe my foundational purpose and mission are.  My most recent falling in love with health coaching is a mere extension of my lifelong love and desire to be part of people’s dream creating and life transformations.  I feel reawakened and rejuvenated!   I bring this love and desire to my work as an instructor, a retreat facilitator, barn owner, health coach, and with my friends and family.

Little more in all of my work/play excites me as much as seeing people light up with joy and freedom because they’ve found new ways of being the person they most desire to be.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE journeying with people seeking to make their dream a reality and live their best lives possible.  Within every aspect of my life, I have opportunites to do this. PURE JOY!

Third, Avalon in all that it is.  The very land itself is part of my heart and breath.   I had a deep flash of this a few weeks back and was almost rocked to my knees as I realized how much I am in love with Avalon.  To be called to be caretaker of this land and all that is part of it is such an honor.  The community strengthens me and holds space for me in amazing ways. The animals speak to me just as I always dreamed of as a kid.  There is pure magic that sings throughout all that is Avalon.

Fourth, I love my writing.  That my Muse continues to be awake and speaking through me gives me great joy and hope that I am inspiring others to seek joy for themselves and believe they deserve it.  I love that I can speak of my dark trips into the rabbit holes of life as well as my light trips soaring on my dragon as a mighty warrior woman.   To say that I AM a writer – ahh yes, that leaves me giddy with love.

My entire journey, my entire self – the good, the bad, the dark, the light – I love it all for the wisdom it gives to me.  What an amazing thing it is to feel “in love” with one’s self and with one’s life!

Continuing Inspiration

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This morning’s #pennyhello! Stepping up the shinyness and the abundance. WOOHOO!

Russell was the master at meeting new people and talking to EVERYONE we met. I used to watch in awe as he made quick connections with strangers, though I don’t think he ever thought of folks as strangers.

This is the energy I WILL channel for my life. I love all of the opportunities in my life to impact the world in a positive way! I’ve got to stop hiding behind my fears which are many.

Thanks Russell for continuing to inspire me! I see you smiling at me saying “GO!”

(Written July 22)

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!

 

When a shirt is more than just a shirt

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I know I keep sharing A LOT of stories right now about how happy I feel with my health transformation.  But I just can’t help myself.  Everyday there is something new that I am discovering and experiencing.  For all of you have been following me through the rollercoaster of the past 3 years, I want to share the ways that joy is becoming a stronger thread in my life.  As I unfold more parts of my healing journey I stand in awe of the power we have to heal ourselves, especially if we are blessed enough to be wrapped in love from communities of people.   I simply can hardly believe how many shifts I am personally experiencing right now.

The shirt I am wearing in the picture here is one I bought on a shopping spree with my kids in the first few months after Russell died. We were quite impulsive in those first few months, saying YES to anything that brought even a few moments of a smile and some happiness. When I bought this shirt I bought it because of the tree that reminded me of the tree necklace my sister, Becca, had given me that never left my neck in the week Russell was in the hospital and for the months after he died. That necklace was my talisman and I held it ALL of the time as I would focus on just breathing through my days. When I saw the shirt I knew I had to have it, even though it was way too small and I might never be able to wear it. Just having it in my closet as another visual to take a breath and be gentle with myself was all that I needed.

Grief clogs our bodies as if lead has been poured directly into our bones.   As we travel through the first days, weeks, months, and years the toll upon our beings goes far beyond anything we can imagine.  The shock of everything in those early times can send us spinning into a space of seeking comfort in any way we possibly can, just to find even a few moments of ease for our aching hearts and minds.  We practice self-care. We cry. We laugh at the craziest of things. We hugs the people and animals who bring us relief. We shop. We sleep. We look for things that can bring us glimmers of joy. We spend time with people who will support and love us even on our darkest days.  We just focus on our breathe some days. We eat whatever brings us comfort.   We do whatever we can simply to get through our days without falling completely apart.

Some of the things we do are able to bring us true comfort and ease, even if only for a short time.  But some of the things, in bringing us temporary ease, can set us onto a path that further clogs up our hearts, our minds and our bodies.    The unclogging of ourselves, after the shock has settled, can be as monumental of a task as learning to live a life without our loved ones.   Even with a lot of support, it can feel so daunting that we spend years moving through our lives as if we are stuck in mud up to our knees. Oh we can make progress forward towards living a new  life, but getting there through the muckity muck we are now immersed in can feel beyond exhausting.   We take a step, yanking our leg up out of the mud that keeps us stuck, then we take another and wonder if we will ever, truly feel free to move again.

It is only recently, in my new dedication to learning healthier habits and reclaiming my body, that I am coming to realize how deeply the emotions and internal struggles of the past 3 years since Russell died have settled into my physical body.   All of the aches and pains and inability to move has been connected to my physical weight, but more powerfully it has been the physical manifestation of my emotional, grieving and healing journey.  My poor body has held sooooo much pain of my own and the others close to me who are grieving.   That I’ve not had a complete physical breakdown is a kind of miracle. Actually, I think that is true for all of us who experience traumatic losses in our lives.

As I lose the weight that has physically weighed down my body, the greater joy for me is the feeling that my heart and mind are losing the heavy weight of grief as well.   It’s as if, in saying YES to fueling my body in healthier ways and watching the pounds melt away, I am also saying YES to releasing some of the threads of grief that are wrapped around me.   Not only is my body moving more freely but my whole being feels lighter and ready to transform into a newer version of me.

For 2 1/2 years my tree shirt has hung in my closet, front and center all of the time, to serve as a goal for that someday that I can wear; that someday that I have released enough of the weight to fit into it. On Saturday night, I decided it was time to try it.  And IT FIT!  I cannot describe adequately enough what it felt like to wear this shirt that is sooo much more than a shirt.  Yes the shirt is one I love and am very excited to be able to wear again because of my physical transformation.  But more importantly, it speaks to the heart transformation I am experiencing.

Just as I’ve held onto a lot of extra pounds, I’ve held onto my grief for the deepest loss in my life so far.  As I stared at myself in the mirror with this shirt that I had to have “just because”, I was struck by the freedom I felt.  The freedom to wear something I’ve wanted to wear for 2 1/2 years; the freedom to believe that my transformation is really happening; the freedom to admit that the mantle of grief I’ve been wrapped up in is beginning to ease away.

I have no doubt that there will be moments for the rest of my life that I will grieve but for the first time in 3 years I am freely moving with new things that are completely my own, not connected with Russell.  The cottage we live in is ours.  The new “I am a Warrior” path and retreats are mine. The new steps as a health coach are mine.  I am actively creating a life for myself that is not under the umbrella of my grief.  And that brings me great joy.

This tree shirt is about way more than a shirt or even about losing physical pounds. It is about how, like a warrior, I am striving for the transformation I want even if it takes me years to get where I dream of being.     I am feeling way too good about my body, my heart, my mind, and my life’s purpose to stop now.   And if I can hold onto a shirt for 2 12 years with deep hope that someday I would be able to fit my body into it, then I can most definitely hold onto hope that I WILL  become the person I most long to be.  What a joyous thing that is!

 

Year of the Warrior – Take back my life

I have declared for myself that 2018 is my Year of the Warrior.   It is the year that I don’t allow anything, including my own deep seated fears and BS stories to hold me back. It is the year that I radically, powerfully, joyfully take back my life and reclaim on a daily basis my belief that we can transform our lives in magical ways.

For 3 years, Rachel Platten’s song “Fight Song” has been my theme song.  I’ve written about it. I play it over and over again. I dance to it.  I share it with others who are seeking to come back from something and deeply need to believe in their amazingness.   It touches emotional cords in me that go deeper than even I know.  It calls me to more every single time I listen to it as the words and the music beat deep into my heart.

Tonight, as I ran on the treadmill I listened to Fight Song for my cool down as I’ve done for the past 4 days.  It is the song I need to listen to as the reminder that I AM A WARRIOR, passionately ready to release the phoenix who has slowly been rising from the ashes of my life over the past few years.   As I walked through my final minutes on the treadmill tonight, listening to Fight Song I felt like the drum was trying to pound directly into my soul.  Tears bubbled up and out as the refrain moved me stronger than ever before.

“This is MY fight song. Take back my life song. Prove I’m alright song.  My power’s turned on, starting right now I’ll be strong. I’ll play MY fight song and I don’t care if nobody else believes because I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”  

YES, YES, YES!  My year of the Warrior is this.  Being a Warrior is being ME as authentically as I can possible be. Being a Warrior means following my heart, my path.   Being a Warrior means being strong in MY power that is most definitely turned on.  Being a Warrior means acknowledging my fears and doing it anyway.  Being a Warrior means inviting others who are ready to journey with me to feel the magic of their own journeys.  Being a Warrior means saying yes and trusting that as long as I listen to my intuition and take action the path will open up before me.  Being a Warrior means believing in me and what I feel called to do even if it seems no one else does.  Being a Warrior means I will follow my heart and my path which means sharing my wisdom journey with the world.

NOW is the time for me to finally, joyfully take action on all of the hundreds of things that have been stirring inside for me the past several years.  As much as I may have wanted for these to come to be much sooner than now, I really wasn’t ready.  But I am NOW!  As I walk the land of Avalon, I can feel the magic of that land stirring again in ways it hasn’t been able to for probably 4 years.  Oh, magical things have still been happening because it is an amazing place, people and creatures.  But there is a magic that pulses through the land that I haven’t felt as deeply.  Until recently!

As I declare myself a Warrior for love, peace and joy I can hear the land of Avalon sing again.  It is as if the very land drums in beat to the new rhythm that is coming singing up from inside of me.  New life is pulsing through me and in turn new life is pulsing throughout all the areas of my life.   As I plan the upcoming “I am a Warrior” retreats, there is so much awakening inside of me.   I want to share the wisdom that has come to me as I have traveled in the shadow places between the light and the dark.  I want to help others find the Warrior residing inside of them who is wanting to give them the power to be strong and find joy.  And this is only the beginning!

“There’s a fire burning in my bones, still believe, yeah I still believe.”

Daily I am taking back my life and allowing life to take me back.   My commitment to living an entire year (and probably way more) with the mindset of a Warrior is exciting.   I feel the fire burning inside of me as my entire being is lit up ready to live and love with joy!

THIS IS MY FIGHT SONG!  I AM A WARRIOR! I AM READY TO FLY!