The Name of the Game is Trust

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The name of the game is TRUST! The question of the game is who is teaching who? (Umm, or should whom be in there somewhere?)

I write this as a person who is taking daily strides to create her best life. I write this as a person who has moved from being the manager/owner of a large horse farm to being a boarder at that same farm. I write this as a person who believed she had much to teach/share/show another creature. I write this as a person who is realizing that she is the one who is learning far, far more from this creature and the situation of her life than she could have fathomed.

Trust can be a tricky thing. Oh, we can say we trust something or someone but do we really? Our words and even our actions speak far less of our true trust level than do the fears that wake us up at night. Those that keep us awake reveal how much work we may still have to do to really, truly let go, breathe and trust that all will be well.

Penny, or Little Miss Thing as I still like to call her, came to us a month ago with some significant trust issues. She arrived at Avalon Horse Farm just 2 weeks before my final day. It quickly became clear that she wanted to be near people but touching her was not something she was willing to allow. Hmmm, that can be tricky when a horse is going to live outside and be used as a lesson horse. She’d hover close by and even come when called but a halter had to remain on her 100% of the time to allow for easier “catching”. The energy coming off of her said “I think you are okay. But, I have thought that in the past and received too much pain. So, no, I cannot trust you. I want to but NOPE!”

The plan for her full intro into farm life slowed wayyyy down. Usually, horses are integrated into a herd within about two weeks which includes a quarantine period. No way would that be enough time. But ack, that’s all I had. Okay, “breathe” I told myself and just focus on what this sweet, little mare needs to feel safe. So we all did lots of hanging out near her. She got turned out into a smaller space and came into a stall at night. Slow, steady movements were made. She’s food motivated so that helped as she wanted to come into eat. The quietest, gentlest of touches were offered. And she was given tons of room to begin to believe all is okay.

Fast forward a month to the final move to introduce to a herd and full-time turnout. Here’s where it gets super interesting for me and my own trust journey. I couldn’t be here last night for her turnout with the full herd. Just the conversations with Emily Hall Butchart around when and how this would happen opened up some fascinating rabbit holes of fear and anxiety. As the caretaker of Avalon, I always felt in control (key component here) of the introductory process. Yes, there were always weird things that could happen but I didn’t fear the process.

As a boarder, ooooh that changed really quickly. It’s been a herky, jerky letting go and deciding to trust Emily’s process that I’ve done this past week. But what if? what if? what if? ran rampant through my brain for days. What if she never is catchable again? What if she gets hurt? What if she never comes to any of us? What if? What if? What if?

I finally, two days ago, told Emily “I trust you to make the best decision, at the right time for you, for Penny and for the needs of Avalon.” And then, I committed to staying there when Emily texted me last night “I’m doing it tonight.” Ack, fear rose again until I said “Shh, remember we are trusting the process and believing that all will be well.”

This morning when I went out to see, just see if Penny would come when called as she has been guess what happened? She came running right up to me when I whistled, with no fear coming off of her and completely trusted me to keep her safe as we walked past the horses who still aren’t quite sure of her. She happily ate and then leaned into me while I brushed her. I am still a bit stunned.

Horses have soooo much to teach us and this little mare and I are going to learn together how to deepen our trust as new adventures unfold. My heart is so full right now for the opportunities unfolding for me to become ever a more trusting, conscious, hope-filled person.

Flip of a Coin

In the time it takes to flip a coin, our lives can change.  I mean completely, radically change.  The world reminds us of this in moments that can leave us stunned with the ferocity of emotions that can arise from fear to joy and everything in between.

Earlier today, I witnessed a car accident. Not just a fender bender but a brakes squealing, cars smashing, spinning all around, cars totaled kind of crash. Miraculously, the drivers are both okay and able to move.   The young woman I talked with could have been Kateri’s  age and all she wanted was her mom.   My heart is filled with gratitude that she and the other driver are okay, at least physically so.  Because it was bad enough that the coin could have flipped the other way.

THIS RIGHT HERE is my reminder of why I live my life the way that I do.   This is why I seek out pennies.  I love them as hello reminders of Russell. But even more so, I love how they remind me of how fast our lives can change.   Like the flip of a coin.

We can make choices that quickly to change the trajectory of our lives.  We can make choices to create a life filled with hope, health, healing and joy.   We can make choices daily to say enough to our fear – to that part of us who tends to believe it’s just part of life to feel in pain and miserable in our bodies, minds and spirits.   We can go after a new job, move somewhere new, get healthy, meet new people, try something adventurous.   Or we can stay stuck right where we are.  Like the flip of a coin.

So many of us don’t flip to hope and joy because we’re afraid.  And then, it will take something so huge, so shattering to happen before we finally give ourselves permission to say yes to something more.  The world will flip the coin until it feels like we are spinning out of control.

I don’t want to ever wait for another huge wake up call, flip of the coin in my life to be all I can be, to live as joyously as I can.  I’ve lived through some of the hardest years of my life and I’m just coming out the other side.   Because, I remember everyday how fast it can change and I don’t want to wait for tragedy to strike before saying YES to my health, my hope, my healing, my joy.

PLEASE EVERYONE, own your power to change your life and flip the coin today.  Just making 1 tiny flip towards a life you can love will make a huge ripple.  Make 1 step, 1 call for help, 1 choice – JUST 1!

Don’t wait for the coin to be flipped for you!

 

“Get over yourself already, Lara”

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“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!

 

Crossing the Bridge: From Here to There

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Life doesn’t really happen in big leaps.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do firmly believe that we have to take big leaps of faith throughout our lives to get to the life we dream of living.   But those big leaps are really just one moment in a long line of choices and actions that stretch behind and in front of us.   They are scary to make for sure because going into the leap we have to take such deep breaths and tap into such radical trust that all will be well, even when we can’t see the other side.

What I am finding after having taken the big leap a few months ago to make the choice to step away from being the owner/manager of Avalon is that this transition time is wayyyyy harder than taking that first giant step towards a new dream and a new life.  I’ve never, in all of my life, made a decision to end one job to head towards another one that then created such a HUGE transition time.  The maximum was probably 3 weeks for past jobs.   This transition, from the moment my decision became public to the day I’ve set as my last day, is 4 months.   The swirl and dissonance and herky jerky movement this is creating for me is almost unbearable some days.

This is what I experience happens when we take those big leaps to move from the here of our life to the there of our life we dream of.  You want to be there, in that place of new possibility and joy, but you are here, in the place that no longer resonates as deeply into your heart as it once did.  Once you make the decision to step onto a new path the amount of testing and resistance that arises out of that part of you that doesn’t’ want to change is HUGE!  It can feel as if the universe and everything around is conspiring against you.

What I really think is happening is that your excited, dreaming self is wanting to run to the other side right now.  Your fear, stay in the comfortable self is trying to tell you to stay.  And every single thing in your life becomes an opportunity to get crystal clear about what you really want, what you really dream of, what you really believe in and how committed you are to the big leap choice you have just put out to the world.  Everything becomes layered with more emotion, more thoughts, more confusion, more possibility, and on and on and on.

The journey, then, from here to there is more like crossing a shaky, way too high in the air, questionable rope bridge than a mere leap from one side to the next.   Every step is a question – will you stay shaking here on place in this very uncomfortable limbo land; will you turn and run back to the “safety” of what you know; or will you keep stepping forward inch by inch no matter how scary it feels knowing that your deepest self is already on the other side waiting for you.

All you can do; well, I should really say all I can do is breathe and hold onto the pockets of joy and complete sense of rightness that will pop up every step of the way.   Staying in the excitement of the new path that is unfolding is far more enjoyable and life giving than being consumed by the fear within and swirling all around you.   Trust that the bridge will hold and you will get to the other side if all you do is simply keep moving foward.

BREATHE, TRUST, AND STAY IN THE JOY!!!

Step away from the rabbit hole

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Early on in my grieving/healing journey I wrote often of my drop into Cuckoo Luckoo Land.   It was the land I believed I stepped into the day Russell went into the hospital for a still mysterious reason.   I stayed there through his week of hospitalization and then for months after his death as our kids and I wandered around in shock and sorrow.

In Cuckoo Luckoo Land things are even more bizarre than in Alice’s Wonderland.  Not only are things bizarre and weird they, but even the most joyous of events like birthdays and holidays are twined up with pain and grief.  It’s such a bizarro place.   What’s up is down. What’s in is over. What’s out is in between.   There are no clear opposites.  There is a little of everything in life  – light, darkness, pain, joy, hope, despair, love, loss.  It’s simply Cuckoo Luckoo.

Most of the time now, I no longer wander in that land.   My healing journey has slowly and steadily brought me out of that space which I am very grateful for.  But every once in awhile I can feel myself inching closer to there.  What I discovered last week is that I will sometimes start seeking the hidden door that would drop me down in there again.   As memories pop up on Facebook around this time it’s super easy to get sucked back into Cuckoo Luckoo Land as I remember all of that crazy first 6 months.   I read one thing and next thing I know I’m reading dozens and crying my way through my day.

I did that goofy, open the door to the memories and Cuckoo Luckoo Land several times last week, getting pulled deeper and deeper into the depressive dark places. It really sucked considering there were some gorgeous, sunny days and I didn’t want to leave my house even for the sun.  Finally after a few days of that, which included some emotional eating, I said enough and stopped reading the Facebook memories.  Well now, what a fascinating thing.  I stopped slipping and sliding as much through my days.

So often we simply can’t stop ourselves for just taking a peek at the memories from the past, no matter how painful they might be.   For me that can take me way too close to stepping into Cuckoo Luckoo Land and I’ve just got to STOP!  I experience enough pop up memories and grief bursts that I don’t need to go seeking them out.

I’m in control of what I look at and what doors I choose to open.   That’s what I am remembering and embracing this week!  I really can say no to reading all of those things in the past and say YES to staying in THIS time, THIS moment.  Hmmm, taking my own wisdom advice might be a good thing.

 

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!!!