Can it? Will it?

 

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Can it work for me? Will it work for me?

These are the two questions I hear the most when I explore people’s dreams for their health with them. Heck, they were the questions I asked myself before I started on my amazing transformation path. They came from a place of fear and have now become the fuel of hope and belief I have for myself and for everyone ready for more.

“Can it work?” – YES! It can work for just about anyone. It’s a massively successful, comprehensive program designed to help people create lifelong, healthy habits one step at a time. Lose weight, less stress, more energy, get nutritionally balanced, release the grip of emotional and stress eating, sleep better, etc. CAN all happen.

“Will it work?” – MAYBE! The choice is yours, as it was mine. I’m not going to lie to you. It will only work if you put in the work. There were MANY times that I almost quit. The choice was mine if I was finally going to say enough to my pain, my exhaustion, my misery at not feeling like myself, my ever-increasing weight gain and living a life less than what I truly desired. The choice was mine to go for it and say YES to my best, healthiest self.

If people are willing to do the work and work their plan, their plan not only can work, it WILL work. That means working it moment after moment, especially after the bumps in the road. It means keeping the reason you said YES to your health always in front of you, like a carrot leading the way. It means locking arms with me, knowing I WILL believe in you until you can believe in yourself.

It CAN work! It WILL work! You just have to say YES to taking the first step to explore what that can mean for you. I am ALL IN and ready to go.

ARE YOU READY?

Drop the Bag

weightofworldDo you ever feel like you are dragging around the weight of the world over your shoulder?   I sure do at times.

This jumped out at me as the perfect picture for what I feel was happening before my most recent Big Leap. As a person inclined to be a strong healer and caretaker for others (animals and humans alike), it’s very easy for me to take on more and more and more self-imposed responsibility until I am bending under the weight of it all. I do this to myself more than anything and am slowly, baby step by baby step, learning how to let that go. “Stop dragging the energetic bag, Lara, and let it go!”
My health transformation started with my body almost 2 years ago. While that has been life changing, it’s the underlying mental and emotional baggage I am slowly letting go that has been the most amazing part. As the weight dropped off, I began to see the ways I used food to cover up the intense emotions of grieving and being the center piece of an active horse farm business/community. That weight was like a shield and a security blanket all in one. But it was heavy with emotions and heavy with way too much responsibility for other people’s/animal’s lives.

My most recent Big Leap from running Avalon to this new life I’m creating was kind of a giant, “DROP THE BAG, LARA!” shout out to myself. It’s not that I didn’t still love Avalon – its’ creatures, its’ people, its’ land. It’s that I had taken on wayyyy too much responsibility for it all energetically and emotionally. And I knew I needed to stop dragging the bag around in order to free myself up for the rest of my own, personal hope, health and healing.

In just the few short weeks since passing off the management/ownership of Avalon I have felt myself be lighter, breathing easier, and turning less and less to ways to hide away from the heaviness I’d taken on. I have lots of things that I am still sorting and sifting through, but I am no longer dragging around a crazily heavy bag with the weight of the world inside of it.

I can hardly describe the relief I am feeling. The closest I describe it is like parasailing – being able to see this amazing horizon in every direction. There’s fear and excitement all twined into one as the harness supports my weight rather than me supporting something else. The world is opening to me in amazing new ways and I love the feeling of flying into my dreams.
AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

“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!!!

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!!!

2019 – Year of the Phoenix Warrior

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2019 – Year of the Phoenix Warrior

What will you create for your new year? Who do you want to become and be?

Intention setting is one of my favorite things to do. For years, I have set an intention or a theme for myself at the beginning of each year. Rather than declare specific new year’s resolutions that I often leave in the dust within a month or two, I pick what energy I want to create for my life in the upcoming year. Then throughout the entire year, I thread that energy, that theme, that intention into all that I do.

Interestingly four years ago at this exact time, the final Christmas /New Year’s week that Russell Peterson was still with us, I set my intention for the upcoming year as “Let go and just breathe”. There was much in our lives that was in chaos and disarray to a very deep level and I knew I had to let go of a whole lot to create something new. Of course, little did I know at the time, how that mantra “Let go and Just Breathe” would become the strength I needed to survive the hardest time of my life.

Setting intentions can be weird and kind of magical that way. There is a stirring that goes inside of me, and I believe most of us, of a deeper knowing what we need to move ever closer to our most authentic selves. Sometimes I listen to her and sometimes I don’t. This time of year in which there is the cool blend of letting go of one year and getting ready to step into a new one, I allow myself to listen pretty closely to what is needed to get even more real.

This year has been the Year of the Warrior for me and there have been some badass, wonder woman, mother of dragons kind of movements. Mounted archery, running a 5k, starting a new career as a health coach filled with passion and purpose, doing my first horse shows, holding warrior woman retreats, and axe throwing are just a few of this year’s awesome adventures. The ways in which these have changed me is kind of amazing.

2019 is going to be the Year of The Phoenix Warrior for me. I am rising more strongly every single day from the ashes of the past several years. All of what those years have been for me – sorrow and joy, peace and despair, love and loss, light and darkness – come with me as part of who I am. But they will not leave me bogged down in the ashes anymore. I am dreaming big, bold dreams for my life and the lives of my kids. I am working daily to learn how to fly with these new, powerful wings that my warrior has formed. I am becoming more disciplined and determined to be my absolute healthiest, bravest, and most loving self. I am letting go of the fears I have of what others will think and simply speaking what is in my heart, knowing others will choose to journey along with me if it is right for them. I am flying with purpose, passion and joy towards a life of abundance in finances and in experiences.

I believe that I truly can create the life of my biggest dreams. I WILL do what it takes to make that happen and by this time next year will have an even more amazing story of life transformation than I do right now.

I am a Warrior. I am a Phoenix. I am a Phoenix Warrior!

Watch me fly or fly with me – the choice is yours!