My Deepest Why

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(This photo is from Soulard, one of our favorite places, a few months before we got engaged.)

Well, the horses will have to wait a little longer this morning to eat because my Muse has awoken with a loud, very clear “Now, it is time now to write this!”  When she so strongly speaks to me that I can hear nothing else but her voice starting to write the words, I drop everything and start to write.  For she is the link to my deepest, truest, more powerful self and honoring what is ready to come forth into the world is essential to my journey.

I knew yesterday morning when I was with my mom, celebrating her amazing health transformation, that my Muse was awakening and formulating the words to write about “My Deepest Why”.  Because you see, my mom getting healthier, my dad now getting healthier, my sister-in-laws getting healthier, my brother exploring getting healthier, my friends getting healthier, my kids getting healthier, and my growing passion for encouraging everyone I know to get healthier in whatever way works best for them – all of this is twined around My Deepest Why.

My Deepest Why is the reason that I truly feel like a Phoenix bird rising up out of the issues as if on fire herself.   The ashes of my life created by the sudden burning up of the life I knew over 3 1/2 years ago,  have been the bed I needed to heal, to explore, and to sort through what must I let go of and what will go with me as I rise into a new life, a new me.   I love and honor those ashes for every bit of comfort and every bit of wisdom they have given me.   And now, I am rising from them to further live a life of passion and purpose and meaning – one of the greatest truths that Russell and I tried to bring to our lives in all we did.  As individuals and as a couple, we believed ourselves to be seekers and dream weavers, helping to create a world filled with love, peace, and hope.

I distract myself even as I write.  My Deepest Why, at this time this moment in my life, is to encourage everyone and anyone I can to create a life for themselves that is as healthy and as happy as they possibly can.  Actually wait, that’s more my purpose than my why.  Writing my WHY, my Deepest one, is scary I think because there is so much emotion in it and around it that saying out loud is feeling a little huge.  But my Muse says keep going, you can do this, say it, own it, feel it.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.   My Deepest Why for all that I do in my life and most specifically for my new found passion for helping people transform their lives  as a health coach, is that I never, ever, ever want to again watch someone that I love die who might not have if they had been healthier in body, mind and spirit.   I can wish all of the time that we had found this before Russell died.  But wishing won’t change the fact that we didn’t.  I want to have the people I love be able to be with me for as long as they possibly can!

Daily, I am grateful that I have transformed my own health so that, hopefully, I will live a very long life with and for my children.   Being here for them as the best mom I can be is so much easier now that I am not consumed with physical pain everyday.   I am bound and determined to do all that I can do to live my most healthy life so that I can stay with them.

Now, I do more than wish and dream.  I am acting and deciding to live my life with no excuses of being too scared, too busy, too unsure, too whatever gets in the way.  There are people I love and care about who need what programs, what wisdom, and what purpose I have found or created.   I don’t want to live my life “wishing” I had told them of another way, after they are gone.

I lost Russell and the dreams of us living our best life together for a very long time.   I lost myself for a long time in the ashes created when my life burned up in a moment.  I am now rediscovering the wonder woman I want to be for myself and the world.  I don’t ever want to lose myself so radically again.  I don’t ever want to lose anyone else I love because their weight and the unhealthy habits of their life led to a sudden and way too early death.   I want to impact live and constantly expand my heart work to love this world and all of the people in mine with all that I am.   I want to know that what I have gone through and my sharing it with others might just help even one person feel like they aren’t alone.  I want all of us to get healthy so that we truly can create the lives that we only dream of right now.

In this time, this moment, I choose health, hope, love, and living my life as bravely as I can.    It’s all I want for all of us!

Thank you my Muse! I stand in awe of my rising from the ashes.

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.

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!

 

Halfway Point

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Winter – Day 45/89

We’ve done it folks! We’ve made it halfway through winter. Today, Imbolc, marks the halfway point between winter and spring.

Now is the time to dig deep and believe that we can make it all the way through. Holding onto the hope for spring while allowing the beauties of winter to still gift us can be a challenging thing for many of us. At least, I know it often is for me.

The first half of winter I can usually stay pretty positive with myself and with others. But then we hit February and I start to slip and slide into the more negative places of myself. Oh, I keep trying to stay positive but I find myself getting pissier and more desiring hibernation as winter progresses.

Last winter and this winter, with the added reality of grieving Russell, the pissiness is really more of a bone deep weariness and a lethargy that is very hard to shake. This morning I didn’t even want to go to archery and this has been my new found joy. We went anyway with me pushing myself to not give into the weariness. the first half of our time was okay. I didn’t feel as excited as I have but I intentionally channeled all of the sadness, weariness, angst, and powerlessness I’ve been feeling into each shot. I focused on breathing deep, standing tall and just shooting my arrows.

Then halfway through just as Demetri and I were about ready to stop shooting, I got to shoot at balloons. The first time I hit one it felt like a jolt of energy shot through me as the balloon popped. It woke me up and infused delight through my entire body. I felt the excitement for this new joy arise in me again as I shot 3 more balloons. I felt all my swirly, weary emotions drain away as I laughed each time I hit a balloon.

The rest of the day I’ve felt lighter and more ready to keep on moving forward. And I bought some balloons to use as targets at archery from here on out. If popping some balloons with arrows can create such a charge for me I think I need to go shoot arrows as often as I can.

At this halfway point in winter what might your balloons be? What can keep you moving forward this winter and give you the extra charge you need to stay energized?

We’ve got this people! WE CAN DO IT!

#embracingwinter #warriorwomanseekingjoy
#halfwaytospring #archeryrules

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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Project Seeking JOY

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There is much swirling around inside of me this week and many musings that I am writing in my journal to be shared on my blog soon.  But this one that I started on Thanksgiving in the early morning hours, reflecting upon the trip to Mizzou with Walter, my daughter’s horse, the day before and all of the crashing into the dark places I went that day.    Since much of this musing is connected in with things I want to and need to reclaim for myself at Avalon I wanted to share it with all of you first.
THIS – Project Seeking JOY! This is one of the bits of wisdom that flitted into my being last night as I drove home from the farm after getting Walter settled back in. In the quiet of my truck I heard this quiet, yet very confident whisper “Your next focus is to reclaim JOY – joy of horses, joy of the land of Avalon you’ve been entrusted with, joy of play, joy of living. This will be your new fight song, your reclaiming of a power that is unique to you alone. Joy in all of the little ways it can lighten our hearts; seek this again.”
 
I felt my body breathe a sigh of relief as I imagined just sitting with the horses again, grooming them, breathing in their smell that I love so much, remembering the joyfulness of horses not just the heartaches, taking Karoly or Magic for walks to the pond, walking with my Tara, Willow, and Hinata through the woods, sitting under our Magic tree to just be (and now in the Sanctuary room), playing with the kids and teens in my life in all the silly ways I used to do; and profoundly playing my way back to a joy for life that I miss.  Choosing ways to play first!
I can feel the YESNESS of this welling up inside of me as I write.  The picture I shared here is one of those wonderful moments of JOY – barefoot, bareheaded, riding bareback on Karoly with one of my wonderful dogs by my side.  Ah yes and the sun is shining, and I had just finished swimming with Karoly in the pond.   JOY!
I’ve become so very bogged down in the tasks of my life – chores, work, business planning, helping the kids find their way forward on new paths – that it’s become easy for me to forget the great JOY available to me everyday. This is especially true at Avalon.  As has always been and always will be true there is way more to do each day than any of could ever possibly get done. Projects, events, coordinating lessons, teaching, farm work, problem solving, on and on and on.   Yes all of these things are important things but it is easy to lose the joy, the pure, unadulterated JOY for the horses I’ve known all my life in this.
So I am taking steps forward to SEEK JOY.  All of the extra horsey things at Avalon – sunrise rides, parades, full moon rides, drill team, just hanging with my horses, finger painting Karoly, brushing a horse – these are the things that bring that sweet, innocent, playful joy of horses to me.  I think this is probably true for most of us and that each of us could stand to remember that doing the playful things together and with our horses helps us remember why we want to do what we do.
Saturday we will ride at sunrise. Yes it will be EARLY and it will probably feel cold too.  But it is one of the most magical things to ride a horse as the sun comes up, feeling the heat of their bodies warming your legs.  And wow does the hot chocolate taste even better after we’re done.
I will be seeking many, many ways to play more paying attention to the kids in my life to help remind me of what I want to bring forth into my life.  I will be inviting anyone and everyone to come along with me as I seek ways to play again and experience joy in my life.  I will be seeking ways at Avalon and outside of it to just be silly and have fun.  It sure can make all of the work a whole lot easier to deal with if I play first.
So if you’re ready to play more, to lighten your heart and breathe a little easier join me in Project Seeking JOY!  It might make winter a whole lot more fun.

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.