LISTEN TO THE WHISPER AND DO IT NOW! In the blink of an eye life can change. PLEASE DON’T WAIT FOR ANOTHER TIME!
Holy schmoley, Facebook memories are something. This is what I shared 6 years ago, an hour and a half before I took Russell Peterson to the hospital where we took our first, crashing step into Cuckoo Luckoo Land. I’d say that was also the first step towards becoming a Warrior Woman for love, dreaming, living out loud and inviting people to live deeply in this time, this moment.
That whisper was very quiet 6 years ago. Finding and sharing this was probably my only awareness that I was hearing something coming. Now though? Wowza that whisper is coming through loud and clear every day.
What is whispering inside of you?
6 years ago I shared this passage and the passage pictured here. Little did I know that the trip to the ER soon to follow would not only change my day’s plans but it would change my life completely.
Don’t take chances that you have plenty of time. There is no way we can know that.
I am pretty sure the Peterson household has the plague. Kateri has had a fever and flu like symptoms for 4 days. Fever goes up and down but overall feeling horrendous. Russell is now having similar symptoms and feeling awful. Soren and I had about a day and a half earlier this week we were feeling sick. Hoping that’s all that occurs for us. Demetri only one who has remained totally healthy. Plans for my day will be changing as caring for two stickies is needed.
I wrote the following blog post on January 21 but it never felt like it was time to share. Since that writing, I’ve begun the slow process of putting the pieces of my shattered self back together. Things are becoming clearer again. Dreams are being dreamed again. Goals are being set again. Reaching out to others for support is happening again. Dancing more in the light than in the dark places of my soul is happening again. I share this today from that lighter, more healed space. I share it because I believe in the power of sharing my journey for my own healing and because someone else might find hope within it. I share it now because I’ve learned to trust my inner wise warrior woman when she says GO! Whoever you are who needs to read this, you are not alone even if it feels like it right now!
When I turned over the ownership/management of Avalon Horse Farm, my heart work, 1 & 1/2 years ago, something inside of me shattered into a bazillion pieces. Avalon had held me together in so many ways after my husband, Russell, died in March, 2015. Without it as work I loved and a community I loved even more, I honestly don’t know what I would have done to get through those first few years of grief. When I was there I could feel somewhat whole and life made a little bit more sense. I was completely enmeshed within it. And so, when I let it go, a deeper shattering of my identity occurred.
The wild thing is I didn’t realize completely that this shattering had happened. I was focused on dreaming of new things. I was diving into health coaching. I was enjoying not worrying about dozens of horses and even more people all of the time. As I shattered, it’s like the patched cracks that had been inside of me ever since that first shattering when Russell died became wider and longer and spread throughout my entire being. But they were still so fine and my core self was somewhat intact that the shattering wasn’t really complete and I couldn’t always see it clearly for what it was.
Those shattered pieces stayed pretty firmly in place throughout my dad’s battle with pancreatic cancer that started just a few short months after I relinquished ownership and care of Avalon. My ability to “step into my zone” as I call it and hold myself together to be caretaker and emotional space holder held those shattered pieces together and gave me focus and purpose. Other things slipped and slid out of my attention or my care because I simply couldn’t, and didn’t want to, handle all of the things. But, I felt pretty together most of the time in the early months of his battle. I think in my focus on my dad and my family, I somehow duct taped my shattered pieces back together for awhile. Russell would love the thought of using duct tape. My dad not so much. In all truth, that’s how it feels about how I navigated through that time.
Then, as my dad got better in the spring of 2020, winning his battle with cancer, I could breathe and hope again. No longer were we worried about how much time with him we had left. And then, the pandemic hit the world. After the first few weeks of living in “my zone”, once again, the duct tape around my shattered self started to fray and pull away from those bazillion, little shattered pieces of myself. As we all moved into creating safety zones around us and trying to figure out how to function in the world, I pulled into myself in a very deep, very isolating and needed way. It was in that deep internal space that I began to see the depth and breadth of my shattered self.
As I pulled deeper and deeper into myself, I realized how profoundly lost I feel. Who I am is no longer clear. Who I want to be is no longer clear. So much stopped making sense as I flounderd through the shattered pieces of my self. Just floundered around in the broken, shattered and scattered pieces of my identity of a dozen plus years.
No longer a wife.
No longer the caretaker/hub of a community.
No longer a retreat facilitator.
No longer resonating with being a health coach.
No longer a mother of young children who need me everyday.
No longer clear of a purpose or a path.
No longer sure of who the fuck I am or who I want to be.
As I’ve sat in these pieces, I’ve pulled away from almost everyone. I’ve pulled within. I’ve thrown out ideas of actions or work to try out like I was fly fishing, which I don’t know how to do. I’ve stopped feeling adequate, competent, capable, focused or enough. I’ve tried to keep teaching. I’ve tried to keep coaching. I’ve tried to keep dreaming and building. I’ve tried to keep being just a part of the farm. I’ve tried to keep writing. I’ve tried and tried and tried.
But the truth is, I’m mainly just sitting in all of those shattered and scattered pieces of my self, with very little REAL sense of what I most want to do or who I most want to be, or where I most want to be. I’m just sitting in the pieces focusing on loving myself as deeply and completely as I can. I’m allowing myself to do whatever I can to care for each and every little shattered piece of myself as I gather them up and hold them close. I’m trusting my journey. I’m remembering to focus on my breath when I can’t do anything else. I’m reminding myself as gently as I can that I am enough and I will find my focus again.
I write this not as a “woe is me” but as a “WOW is me”. Here in the sharing of this shattered and scattered, shadowy space is my mojo, my magic, my missions somehow waiting for me. This writing my real story, not a made up one I wish were true but the very real and raw story of me, is part of my best mojo. Being honest about the dark and the light parts of my journey, not being afraid to say the hard parts, and being willing to sit with it all – that is mojo making for me. When I share these shadowy part of my story, the shattered pieces of myself somehow start fitting back together. I stop feeling so exhausted and feel a new understanding of who I am and who I can be settle into place. And then I can move again.
So, I gather up each shattered tiny piece with love, knowing they are all part of the whole that is me, knowing that I am slowly figuring out the next part of MY journey, and knowing that I am exactly where I need to be right now. Those shattered pieces will become the most beautiful window into my way forward!
Get my MOJO back. Yep, that is what my intention is for 2021. I’m not making resolutions. I’m barely setting goals. All I know is I long to get my MOJO back. I don’t even really know what that means for me right now. I just know that is my energetic intention for this year.
For weeks, I’ve been reflecting, considering setting big goals, wondering why I don’t want to do a vision board which I usually do this time of year, and basically just spinning my wheels. Words and intentions to focus my energy around for 2021 have flitted into my mind and then flitted right back out as I’ve realized “Nah, that isn’t it. Nope not that one either. Hmm maybe, but no I guess not.” Absolutely nothing grabbed my attention longer than a second. And, I’ve come to learn if it can’t hold my attention longer than a second, there is no way it is something that will stick with me throughout an entire year of creating, dreaming, and living.
The picture here is soooo perfect for how I’ve been feeling the past several months. That mama lion is the tired, very tired, me who is both grateful for the gifts and lessons from 2020, while also being utterly exhausted by it all. She’s still awake but she needs to rest. That little lion is the 2021 me who is moving forward but has a whole lot of learning to do as she grows in understanding of her world. She is possibility. She is curiosity. She is wide odd wonder as she bravely steps into a new world to explore. She steps out knowing mama lion is still the protector and wise one ready to leap up to defend those new steps being taken.
This picture is the only one that I’ve put onto my 2021 vision board. One of the lessons that 2020 taught me is that I need to learn how to be more flexible and allow things to unfold in a more free flowing way. There is so very little that I really can control and I am wanting to adopt more of an attitude of “we will see” for this year. I will add pictures to my lion board of what DOES happen in 2021, of what I DO create. Then, at the end of the year I will have a very unique vision board that will feel amazing to behold.
It was a few days ago, as I was looking at this powerful picture, that my intention and focus for 2021 hit me with a surprise rush of YES energy. All I want to do is “Get my MOJO back”. That is what I want to weave into my year. I recognize that about 80% of me is that tired, watchful, resting mama lion right now. I simply have little desire to goal set at all. I’m just tired. I honor that mama lion me for all she has done and for the watchfulness she still is doing. The other 20% is that baby lion who is ready to go find our MOJO. That baby lion knows finding our MOJO will lead to more energy, joy, purpose and the discipline needed to achieve whatever goals we set. I am quietly cheering baby lion me on for her readiness to step into something new.
There is much rumbling around inside of me as I sit with all of this. I feel the hope awakening that more clarity around the next direction I want to step into for my life is possible. I feel the glimmers of excitement that maybe one day, someday, I will wake up feeling rested again. I trust that I am right where I need to be and that I am in for a new fascinating journey this year. I love the ideas slowly coming to me about what a “Get my MOJO back” journey can look like.
Do you know what one of the biggest lessons of 2020 was for me? It’s the reality that there are amazing gifts that come in surprise ways that others might think of as “oh crap” moments. I probably really started learning this a very long time ago and it was emphasized through my years at Avalon as well as my life journey since Russell died. But this past year has most definitely solidified it for me.
Today ended up being the absolutely perfect Day #1 of 2021 for me. PERFECT FOR ME! Am I bummed that I had to cancel lessons with 7 kids; losing income, missing spending time playing, and disappointing them? YEP! Did I also allow the day to unfold in ways I couldn’t have expected, but could have hoped for? Also YEP!
The precipitation overnight created an icy winter wonderland at Avalon. Because I live on property, it is SUPER easy for me to get to the horses when no one else can. I loved being able to help out the farm community. I loved moving my body first thing in the morning. I loved the quiet of the farm with only the horses, dogs and cats to amuse me. I loved the sparkle of a glittering land on the first day of 2021.
Because of the FABULOUS gift of time that an ice day gave to me I was able to dive into reflection, cleansing, dreaming and creating for my day. I was able to jump onto a Feminine Business Planning session that I forgot I had signed up for. I baked cookies from my grandmother’s recipe. I started a blog post about what I am ready to let go of as learned in 2020 and what I am taking with me into 2021. I made a fabulous dinner. I read a new novel. I messaged with dozens of people about their hopes for the new years. I reclaimed my desk space which is even more magical with cool new gifts from my kids and my students. I allowed my day to unfold as it would. And it has been pure magic! I even created our first JOY JAR out of an old vase we got from my parents. Seriously so excited about this first day of 2021 I have had!
2020 taught me on a deeper level that there is magic in the ordinary. That is where I find my deepest joys, in the ordinary things that sparkle throughout my day if I am only willing to see it. I love that I am taking this forward into a new year.
5 years ago when Russell died I made a commitment to myself to live out loud, not let things bottle up inside of me, and be as honest as I could with myself and others about where I was really at in my grief/life journey. For the first year, I didn’t second guess myself very much in following through on this commitment and I strongly believe it helped me navigate the emotional waters of early grief. And then, somewhere in that second year, I began to tell myself I was still committed to these things but I started second guessing myself a whole lot. I started saying or writing less and I started bottling things up more. That has not served me very well and actually make navigating any deep emotional waters way more challenging. My work coaching with the horses recently is helping me see how I need to make some shifts. They call me to be real and honest and feel my feelings! I am reminded of the importance for my own mental health to live out loud and share more story.
Today, I am reminded that it is okay to not be okay right now and to just honestly stop trying to act like I am. The ONE thing that has gotten me through the Christmas holidays each year since Russell died has been having all of my kids with me. Having us all together has infused me with enough joy and love and feeling of rightness that I’ve been able to want to celebrate. When we are all together I feel as whole as I possibly can. For those days, all is right with my world.
This year, as we inch closer to Christmas, I honestly could care less that it is happening. Because of reality of the pandemic and the massive surges happening throughout out world, we have made the very difficult decision to not have Kateri come home this Christmas. We are taking the warnings from the healthcare community very seriously. We are listening to our friends and family who are already exhausted beyond comprehension with how overloaded the system is. We are aware that a few of us have some factors that put at us at a higher risk level. We have lived the reality of having a loved one die in an ICU unit after a very sudden, unexplained illness. We are not willing to take chances this year that could possibly put us at a higher risk of losing someone we love.
Am I okay with our decision? Yes, in the sense that I believe we are making a joint, smart, safe choice. And no, in the sense that I will miss her more than I can possibly say.
I do not know who I will be seeing in my family this year during the holidays. I do not know what traditions will have to postponed until another year. I do not know what new traditions might unfold as we strive to create new ways of feeling some joy and connection. I do not know so very many things.
I do know that I will find ways to connect, to express my love, to feel joy and also to honor that things are not the same as they have been. I do know that I am uber sensitive to all of us in the world who are making REALLY hard choices to say no to parties and meeting with people in person outside of what we absolutely HAVE to do. I do know that I will say no to almost everything extra this year because if I feel it isn’t safe to be with my daughter and my other family members, it would feel very inauthentic and hypocritical to say yes to other things. I do know that I will continue to take one step in front of the other and be okay when I am okay, and not be okay when I am not okay.
For every single one of you struggling right now, IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY ALL OF THE TIME. And, it is okay to be honest about that. Find people who can hold space for you until you feel okay again.
One week into my rededication to leveling up with my dreams, my goal, and my life’s journey and I almost didn’t share this photo. Not because I don’t love what it is about, because I do. The honest truth is I don’t like how I look in this photo. I mentally smacked my head and reminded myself that is exactly why I NEED to share this photo tonight. I need to share because my deeper dive into getting real with myself, stop making excuses and take action toward creating my best me and my best is all about loving myself right here, right now and living my life out loud. Heck the very first thing I shared last week in my action plan was 1. Stop the negative self-talk and love myself through it. Well, okay Self, I will share the picture.
What makes me most happy about this picture is what was happening during the time it was taken. It was at the tail end of a magical, emotional, beautiful first Breathe and Be coaching session with a friend. It was a session of watching Penny invite my friend into recognizing the safe space she needed to listen to her heart. It was a sacred time of being allowed to hold space for someone as the whispers of her heart’s dreams were spoken out loud. It was an hour and a half of being witness to magic unfold.
This is what all of my work on myself right now is about; allowing my heart’s truth to be made visible so that I can step deeper into work that flows from my soul. I’ve taken action every day in the past week to open the door a little bit wider to stepping bravely onto a new path of being and acting in the world. Conversations with women who can act as mentors, cheerleaders, guides and teachers have been numerous this past week. Each conversation has felt like another thread to this new tapestry I am weaving.
My health journey has never been about how I look, though that can creep in at times like it does for many of us. My choices to become my healthiest self in my mind, body, and heart are about being able to FEEL most like the me I want to be. Yes, I am celebrating today that I’ve lost 2 lbs in the past week and 8 lbs in the past month. That means less pressure on my joints, more energy and a clearer mind. It feels great to have my body feel better.
What I am most choosing to celebrate tonight is the reminder this picture is giving me that it’s not about outward appearances and trappings for me. Living my best life and being my best me is about living with joy from being aligned with my heart and my soul. Well, that’s what I got to do tonight.
83 more days to go! Can hardly wait to see what is in store for me.
“You have this between you now as part of your history together. There’s been hurt on both sides. That changes things. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Either way, things will never be the same as they were. You break or you build from here.” The Queen’s Bargain Anne Bishop
Emotions rush through me, up from the darkest place of my being, like a swollen river raging out of control. Memories that have been playing in my mind for a weeks come flooding in with a fierceness that takes my breath away. I feel out of breath from the punch to the gut I experience. I am rocked to my core and want nothing more than to run away. I jump up out of my chair ready to run to something else to do, anything that will stop my feelings. Maybe I will get some food. Maybe I will turn on my phone and FB scroll. Maybe I will turn on Netflix. Maybe I will find some brainless task to do. Anything to stop the flood of feelings and the panic that rushes over me as I experience being very close to some truth that won’t be silenced anymore.
All of this happens in the span of a minute or less, though the intensity of it all feels like a lifetime. Then something inside of me, that wisdom self who seeks to call me to deeper healing, speaks up. “Stop Lara! Right now, stop running. Sit down and breathe into the pain that desperately wants to be healed. Breathe into and know that you are strong enough for this truth and you are ready to heal that wound a little bit more today. Stop. Breathe. Be.”
So I stop. I breathe. I allow myself to be in this time and this moment. I stop running. I breathe into the pain rather than push it away. I trust that I can hear what I need to hear. Stop. Breathe. Be.
Russell and I were in a very broken place in our relationship when he died. We had started counseling which helps me believe that we would have found our way back to one another. But we had just started and the brokenness was the predominant thread within our relationship. My memories of our brokenness and the hurts we had each inflicted upon each other have been playing over and over and over in my mind for much of this year. Why this year, I am not sure. Maybe because I’ve had so much more time to think about things. Maybe because I’m watching all of the hurt that people are inflicting upon one another in our world and so it is spotlighting my own history more. Maybe because I am ready to listen to what wisdom I can gain from these truths. Maybe because it is time to forgive myself for what I did and forgive him for what he did so that I can stop beating US up for the brokenness we created. Maybe so I can stop feeling like a complete failure. Maybe so I can let it go and move into a deeper place of healing and a new part of my life journey. Maybe because there is a growing part of me that wants to stop moving through my life as a sleepwalker. Maybe I want to fully wake up. Maybe, probably, all of these things and more.
Stop. Breathe. Be. Stop. Breathe. Be. Stop. Breathe. Be.
“Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting – whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us.” Comfortable with Uncertainty Pema Chodron.
Whatever the reasons are for why I can’t stop thinking of Russell, our brokenness and the hope I hold that we would have learned to build a new path for US, it is clear it is time for me to sit with it all. It is time for me to journal all that I can – the pain, the hope, the dark, the light. It is time for me to stop running from it all using food, busyness, and escapes to avoid thinking about it. It is time for me to say yes to listening to what needs to be heard. It is time for me to say yes to healing this. I stand at a tipping point of either breaking further or building from here.
Horses hold heart space like no other creature I have ever encountered. For anyone they will hold space in a profound way, and especially for one who have they have decided is worthy of their trust and their attention and their hearts. Tonight, I was radically reminded of the powerful way a horse can hold quiet, solid space even as deep emotions swirl around them. Tonight, I allowed myself to let go, trust and collapse into the heart space of a horse. I am in awe of the gift I was given.
A year ago, we could barely get near Penny, the sweet, little lesson pony who came to Avalon with clear evidence of some significant trauma having happened to her at some point in her life. She desperately wanted to connect with people. She desperately wanted to believe that the gestures of patience, love and healing were real. But it took her months and months of quietness before she stopped flinching every time someone came near her, especially around her head. It’s only been in the past three months or so that she gives into the bliss of being rubbed on her head and her ears. Now, she calls to everyone who comes near and is often the first to say hello. Her fear has turned into a trusting choice to believe that people really do want the very best for and will only shower her with love here.
Well tonight, this sweet, little thing stood with all the confidence of 100 horses as I stood with my head buried in her neck sobbing my heart out. Not only did she stand there with her heart wide open to me, she made it very clear to the other two horses in the field to back the hell off as she became my shield. They weren’t doing anything except being curious and wanting to love on me too, but for that time, I was 100% hers to breathe with and they weren’t allowed in. Considering she is one of the most gentle, forgiving, laid back ponies I’ve ever seen in a herd this was quite stunning. She quietly made it crystal clear that she was creating the heart bubble space for me to just let go and cry. That is what horses do when they show up to hold heart space for a person. Penny stood there with me hanging all over her, sobbing, and all she did was breathe. She did this even to the point of taking a huge inhalation and letting it audibly go as if to say “Lara, I have got you!! Until you can breathe deeply again, I will do it for you. Just let go as much as you need to. You are safe. You are loved. You are not alone. I am HERE!”
With all of the amazing blessings that are present in my life right now and I am deeply grateful for, emotionally I am in a very dark season of my life. The number of unresolved things from the past several years that I am becoming aware of how deep some of the hurts run is kind of stunning. One after the other they are bubbling up and out. I’ve been trying to just keep moving, not write or speak about it, and just stay focused on all of the positives. Well now, I am planning to keep moving and to stay focused on the positives, and I am also going to start writing and speaking again about what is REALLY going on for me.
I am at my very best when I am writing my truth. I am at my very worst when I am not giving myself permission to write and speak my truth but rather I allow some random (sometimes imagined) others to dictate what I should write and share. I am at my very best when I am being honest about my struggles and my pain. I am at my very worst when I try to just put on a happy face and act as if everything is ok. I am at my very best when I name my fears out loud, then breathe right through them as I bravely take my next best step. I am at my very worst when I try to act as if there is nothing to be afraid of and I just need to focus on something else. I am at my very best when I find joy in the simplest of things and share that with the world as if I have found the most amazing treasure. I am at my worst when I think the lens through which I view the world is silly or unnecessary. I am at my very, very, very best when I stay in this time and this moment and live out loud whatever is showing up for me RIGHT NOW.
Horses mirror back to us what is really and truly going on inside of us. And they bring hearts of love energy that is bigger than anything we can really imagine. Tonight, in this time and in this moment I am deeply grateful for a sweet little pony who held my heart with fierce, unwavering love. I am breathing deeper. I am opening my heart up to my most authentic journey. And I know I will not only be okay, I AM OKAY!
What are you dreaming of for your life? BE BRAVE! Speak it out loud or at least write it down right now. Don’t wait one moment longer!🌈🌈🌈
Do you dream of…
Better health? 🥗
Finding work you love? 💟
A new relationship? 👨❤️💋👨
A renewed relationship? 🤗
Creating a new business? 💰
Writing a book? 📖
Going on an adventure? 🪂
Starting a garden? 👩🌾
Finding a new hobby? 🏹
Whatever it is, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF & your ability to create a life you love. I know you can do it! 💪
Don’t be afraid to take that first step! Every journey, big or small all start with a single step!! ❤️👣❤️