Who am I?

roulette

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?

 

Just Breathe – All will be well and All is well

keepbreathing

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!

Returning and Rising

returningandrising

Returning and Rising – that is what has been running through my mind all day. Really it’s been moving around inside of me for awhile, but today especially I’ve been thinking about my journey and the ways in which I am returning and rising all in the very same movements.     It’s as if with the inhale of my breath I am returning to myself at the time when I first me Russell which was a time in my life I felt the most confident about who I was in my body, heart and mind.  And then in the next moment as I exhale, I am rising into a new, on fire me who is once again gaining confidence in herself body, heart and mind.  Returning and Rising!

Today this is especially true as it is the 20th of the month.  Russell died on the 20th of the month of March and so every single 20th day since then I have been uber aware of him, like the tingling of skin with a mild sunburn.  There is a kind of constant awareness that occurs, sometime super painful and at others just an enhanced awareness. This is what life is like for me on the 20th of each month.   Most of the time recently it is just an enhanced awareness, but I can still slip into that super painful place at a moment’s notice.   Today was just an enhanced awareness kind of day which brought more thoughts of him and what he would think of who I am becoming.

Today also marks my 1 year anniversary of becoming a health coach, which was a flukey kind of undertaking simply because my friend, Kathy, wanted to get healthier and my coach, Carrie, told me I should try it.   I went into last year not thinking I’d do anything more than “coach” Kathy.  Heck, I live a busy life with one business I run already. Who needed two?  Not me.  But now, a year later, I am in love with OPTAVIA and the profound opportunity it provides for people just like me who are wanting to get healthier but just need  the extra support, the extra education, the ease of a program to help them on their way. I am in love with getting to be part of people’s journeys to awakening to what a healthier life for their body, minds, hearts and finances can look like. I’m in love with being part of a ginormous community that is ALL about positivity and empowerment.  In an entire year, I’ve experienced not bit of negativity and that is astounding to me.  I am in love with how cheerleading other people helps me stay on my best path.

I am in love with the person I am rising into as she is also the one I am returning to.   She is a woman aware of her own power to influence her world.  She is a woman falling in love with her body again and finding joy in it.  She is a woman who feels confident about her path forward. She is a woman who knows that cravings are only temporary and so she chooses healthier options most of the time (margaritas and chips still call like a siren to me – lol).  She is a woman whose creative brain is so awake and energized that sleep is becoming less of a priority – what?!  She is a woman whose body feels stronger, younger and more capable than it has since it started birthing children. She is a woman whose body and mind feels like her own again, not just an extension of others.  She is a woman who is falling in love with life and seeking new adventures because her body can handle it again.  She is a woman whose heart is healing more rapidly and more deeply because it’s no longer hidden under layers upon layers of comfort food clogging it all up.  She is a woman who is rising from the ashes of her grief with a passion and a desire to help people live their very best lives in whatever way they dream of .  She is a woman who is a warrior, refusing to let fear of what others will think stop her from speaking her truth and going after her dreams.

So today on the 20th day of December I am remembering Russell, missing him and wishing he was here, while also knowing he would be my biggest cheerleader for my own health journey and for the ways I am using my greater health to pay it forward to the world.  He would cheerlead me loudly and persistently as I dreamed of a world where people were healed and whole and believed in themselves as much as I do.

So today I am returning to that woman he fell in love with as I also rise into the woman I can once again be in love with.   What a massive reclaiming of who I am and who I want to be is happening right now in this time and in this moment.   The gratitude I feel goes beyond words.

I am More

 

wonderwomanme3

 

 

“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!!!!!

amI-PRINT

My Deepest Why

soulard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On The Other Side of Fear

othersidefear

Fear and the recognition of the things that I am afraid of has become quite a lively interaction within myself these past few weeks. I’ve never really thought of myself as a fearful person and have always worked hard to act from a place of thoughtful calmness rather than from an anxious, reactive place. Heck, all that I have gone through in the past 3 1/2 years with my commitment to living my life out loud has been about acting towards my dreams rather than reacting from my fears. While that hasn’t really changed some new awarenesses of myself are arising with the entry of Phoenix into my life.

Rising from the ashes indeed with new intentions of living my bravest, most daring life is what I am being called to do. This photo of me with my two horsey loves right now is such a perfect depiction of what they signify for me. And it speaks to the part of my journey right now of moving past comfort, even if that feels shaky and crazy scary sometimes. I will continue to speak my journey out loud as I move through my fears one by one because I must if I am to release the stranglehold they can have over me.

Karoly is all about comfort for me. Just riding him is like riding the comfiest couch – it’s 100 %safe, it’s cozy, it’s like being permanently wrapped in a perfectly heated blanket, it’s about bringing light into my dark days. There is never any fear in riding Karoly. In fact, he can dispel the dark threads of anxiety from me quicker than just about anything. Just grooming him warms my heart and eases my breathing into a gloriously balanced space. This photo of me with him is from a mere 3 weeks after Russell died and it was a day of laughing and joy in the midst of one of the heaviest periods of my entire life.

Phoenix, I am discovering, is all about tapping ever deeper into my inner warrior. I fell in love with him immediately and was drawn to the fact that he is the image of what I have wanted since I was a young girl. A black pony with a desire to explore and connect with everyone and everything around him. He comes when I call. He loves to be groomed. He wants to trust. He’s the perfect riding size for me. And he also has pulled back the curtain of comfortable contentment I’ve had with Karoly to reveal some real fears lurking in the shadows. Fears that I must face if I am ever to be free of them. Fears I must move beyond if I am every to completely become the empowering warrior woman I dream of being. In many ways, Phoenix is symbolizing the dark threads within the light. Fascinating.

Phoenix wants to go and be in charge at all times. He’s super willing to try and listen to me, but definitely has a lot of anxiety hidden behind a mask of confidence. (Hmmm, sounding like me). He is so forward and so quick to react I can too easily see falling if I can’t learn to stay calm and balanced on him. Staying balanced on Karoly is as easy as breathing. Staying balanced on a much smaller and narrower pony is not quite so easy. I often hold my breath as I ride, forgetting that the very act of breathing deeply will help me stay grounded and balanced. So many life lessons being opened up before me to embrace or to ignore. With every moment I feel scared of what might happen if he spooks or bolts and I fall, and then I keep going anyway, I add a small bravery thread to my inner warrior and I’m a little less afraid.

People often comment on how many white animals I surround myself with – my dogs and 4 of my horses have all been white. While I think it’s circumstance, there is also the reality that in all things I try to focus on choosing the light paths of life – hope, love, possibility, joy, positive spins on things. Intentionally buying a black pony speaks to my belief that the dark side of life – pain, despair, grief, fear – all of these hold just as much value and wisdom for me. Walking the place between light and dark is a lifelong commitment of mine to live all of life to the fullest I can.

I am committing to exploring my fears as they pop up then gently yet firmly calling myself to step forward through and past them. I imagine I will be sharing lots about this in the comings days, weeks and months as I seek to lie a brave, transformative, hopeful life. I am so grateful to have 2 horses who are facilitating such a radical part of my rising and transformation. What an amazing, absolutely precious gift that is.

In Love

lovelife

I’m in love!  No, no, no before anyone gets too excited, it’s not a new relationship.  They very thought of dating, honestly, still leads me to throw up a little.  Okay maybe a lot.  LOL. I’m so not there yet.

I am in love, even giddily so at times, with aspects of myself and my journey right now.  I guess it is kind of like developing a new relationship with myself and with my life.  More and more each day, I am embracing the things that excite me enough to make me want to jump out of bed each morning and leap into my day.  I am feeling deep, profound gratitude for all that is part of my life and it definitely creates feeling similar to “being in love.”  Wow, how cool is that?!

Here’s what I am most in love with right now.

First and foremost, my children. Hands down they are my favorite people to be with. I love talking with them, playing games, traveling, journeying with them as they become adults, watching them grow, and just hanging out in their presence. They’re all such awesome people and I feel super blessed to be part of their lives.

Second, the vision for my life and what I believe my foundational purpose and mission are.  My most recent falling in love with health coaching is a mere extension of my lifelong love and desire to be part of people’s dream creating and life transformations.  I feel reawakened and rejuvenated!   I bring this love and desire to my work as an instructor, a retreat facilitator, barn owner, health coach, and with my friends and family.

Little more in all of my work/play excites me as much as seeing people light up with joy and freedom because they’ve found new ways of being the person they most desire to be.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE journeying with people seeking to make their dream a reality and live their best lives possible.  Within every aspect of my life, I have opportunites to do this. PURE JOY!

Third, Avalon in all that it is.  The very land itself is part of my heart and breath.   I had a deep flash of this a few weeks back and was almost rocked to my knees as I realized how much I am in love with Avalon.  To be called to be caretaker of this land and all that is part of it is such an honor.  The community strengthens me and holds space for me in amazing ways. The animals speak to me just as I always dreamed of as a kid.  There is pure magic that sings throughout all that is Avalon.

Fourth, I love my writing.  That my Muse continues to be awake and speaking through me gives me great joy and hope that I am inspiring others to seek joy for themselves and believe they deserve it.  I love that I can speak of my dark trips into the rabbit holes of life as well as my light trips soaring on my dragon as a mighty warrior woman.   To say that I AM a writer – ahh yes, that leaves me giddy with love.

My entire journey, my entire self – the good, the bad, the dark, the light – I love it all for the wisdom it gives to me.  What an amazing thing it is to feel “in love” with one’s self and with one’s life!