Who am I?

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Who am I?

Maybe it’s just me, but I am constantly asking myself this question.  Constantly.  As I get older, I realize more and more how reflective of a person I really am.   Hmmm, maybe why I need days of pure quiet sometimes is less about other people and more about simply telling myself that I need to shush for awhile. Hmmm…

The last few years, the answer to this question has felt like a giant roulette game.   Just when I think the ball will drop into place, the wheel keeps spinning just enough to say “nope, not this one”.    Then, just as the ball settles into place and I start to feel like I’m settling into a new understanding, life spins the wheel again and the ball spins, spins, and spins.   At those times, it can feel like I may never be able to adequately answer the question “Who am I?”.

As disconcerting as this can be at times, there’s a wild excitement too.   I can feel a certain, pingy energy that permeates the world around me as I explore new understanding of myself.  The possibilities really are endless about how I can and will answer this on any given day.  My answers vary based on my confidence level in that identity, my current focus of reflection, and the spins of the wheel I am currently taking part in.

The spins of the wheel that can come out of nowhere aren’t always fun, but I’m getting better at just breathing while I wait for a new answer, a new understanding of who I am to settle in.  I can’t really do anything while the wheel spins anyway, so I might as well just breathe and watch it spin.

So, how do I answer this right now? These are the ones I am probably most able to say “Yes, that is who I am.” right now.

I am a mother.   My kids are ever present in my mind and my heart. Always!

I am a warrior.  Everyday, I am striving for more discipline to work hard and create my best life.  I am far stronger than I believe and I am practicing telling myself this.

I am coach – a coach for growth, for health, for learning, for transformation.   There’s little I love to do more than help guide people to find ways to grow in believing in themselves.  I’ve always leaned towards this identity and now I’m stepping more deeply into it.

I am a hope dealer and a dream weaver.   I am ever hopeful that we can make our dreams a reality, as long as we are willing to do the daily work needed to make it so.   I almost always can see hope, even in the midst of the darkest of days.

I am a community creator.   Together, we are so much stronger and there is great power to heal when we come together.

I am a writer who is deeply in love with the musing part of herself.

I am a widow.   This is still twingy to write but it is oh so true.

I am a phoenix widow.  A newer identity I am playing with as I experience myself rising from the ashes of my grief.

I am seeker.   I am constantly exploring more understanding of myself, my purpose in life and my experience of the world.

I am a person radically committed to her own transformation.   I am bound and determined to become the absolute best, happiest, healthiest person I can be.  That means I will do things every single day to understand myself more, to create new habits and to make the very best choices I can in each given moment.

I am a believer in magic.   This means play, glitter, bubble, a belief that dragons might really be real, and massive imagination.

I am a joy seeker.   I truly love to look for joy, even if it is just in little bitty pieces within the dark.

I have every confidence that I could continue to write more in answer to the question “Who am I?”.  It’s such a fun thing to explore.   But, for today, these are good to breathe life into and through.

How would you answer this question for yourself?

 

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!

 

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!

 

I am More

 

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“You are more than you have become.”

I just started reading Rachel Hollis’ book Girl Wash Your Face and I got stopped right here.  Only page 6 of the intro and I mean I got stopped cold like ice water washing over me both waking me up and numbing/freezing me in place.   Flashes of insight flood over me so fast and furious I can do nothing but stop everything to write.  It’s either write or I will choose my comfort food replacement of choice – Netflix – because “I’m just too tired”; “It’s too late to start an engaging book”;  “I’m not ready to handle or deal with all that is flashing fast and furious through me”; “I just want to relax my brain not wake it up.”  The lure of Netflix sings like a siren call luring me to the sweet bliss of numbness.

But, my Muse has awoken and at least She is committed to moving forward with my life.  Even if my inner Sloth is saying “Shhhhhh, let’s just chill out and relax our brain”, tonight my Muse has won as she has both Dragon and Kraken – my massive inner movers and shakers – on her side.   So I jump deeper into the fire of insights created by one simple sentence “You are more than you have become.”  Buckling up and moving forward!

These flashes come to me as my Muse speaks, no more like shouts at me.   YOU HAVE BECOME…

*a half risen Phoenix.  One minute you are flying with power and grace, then the next you are fumbling around in ashes of your own making.  These aren’t the ashes of your grieving and loss.  These are the ashes from continuing to burn your own passion for a mission of empowerment to the ground.   You are letting fear clip your wings and leave you floundering.  BE THE PHOENIX RISEN, not the one in the ashes of dreams you don’t pursue with all you could be.

*a mess of doubt about speaking your truth; your own unique, powerful truth that is your gift to the world.  You are second guessing EVERYTHING.  STOP ALREADY!  Live it – your truth, your dream – out loud in every time and every moment.  Love it as the truth that is you.

*a hit or miss person.  Somedays you hit it and others you completely miss it.  Every single day, just do it! Hit your goals hard, taking you ever closer to making your dreams more than just dreams.  Only consistency and persistence will equal your success.

*a warrior woman dragging her shield and her sword behind her like an anchor.  Pick them up already.  Carry them like the badass, warrior woman you are and stop making excuses.   You ARE a warrior. BE ONE!

*a woman who is not using her full gifts for why?  Why? Why? Why?   Why are you not writing more? Why are you not shouting from the rooftops “I’ve found a way to greater health that WORKS! Who needs more for their lives and is ready to run with me?”  Why are you not running towards creating an empire around “I AM A WARRIOR”, your mantra and your deepest desire for all women?  Why are you selling yourself short every blessed damn (yes it is both and) day?!

I want to be the more I dream of, the more I write of when my Muse awakens.  I want to be the Phoenix who has not only risen but is flying towards all of her dreams.  I want to expand in abundance, love and success every day while inspiring others in my life to do the same. (The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks)

I WANT TO BE MORE!!!!!

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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.