Cuckoo Luckoo Land – I’ve Walked Here Before

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I am not stronger than you. I am not living with some magical power special only to me.  I am not doing “okay” because I live in a fantasy world.  I am not better than anyone else out there trying to make sense out of what is happening in our world right now.  I am no less afraid than others who are doing all they can to keep the demons at bay.  I feel no less in control or less helpless than many of us are feeling.  I feel no less confused and spun around like a top out of control than anyone else.

I am feeling hopeful because I have walked this road before.   We are all, as an entire world, in the middle of Cuckoo Luckoo Land, in the most radical experience of collective shock, loss and grieving the world has probably ever witnessed.     We are all in the place I described so long ago when I first stepped into the rabbit hole with Russell that dropped me into a dark world.  It’s like Alice’s Wonderland only wayyy darker and more confusing.   What I wrote 5 years ago of my experience of this place after Russell got sick and died is eerily true of what our world finds itself collectively living in today.

In Cuckoo Luckoo Land, not only are things bizarre and weird, but even the most joyous of events like birthdays and holidays are twined up with pain, confusion, and grief.  It is such a bizarro place.  What’s up is down. What’s in is over. What’s under is out. What’s out is in between.  There are no clear opposites.  There is no straight forward path to get from here to there.  There is a little of everything in life – light, darkness, pain, joy, hope, despair, love, loss – and you never know which  you will find as wander the dark, twisty paths of this place. It’s simply Cuckoo Luckoo!

Walking along through life, in this new reality, we don’t know where the next rabbit hole might be.  Just when we think we have a “new normal” figured out, the world spins and down the hole we go again.  These are the hidden places that we drop into, often sliding as fast as lightning down into a warren of twisted up paths.  The trip down into a hole feels like someone suddenly and without warning has pushed us down a really steep slide greased with oil.  It is almost impossible to do anything on this slide but breathe.  In this space we can feel like we must be on hallucinogenic drugs, as everything is very, very twisted up and confusing in this space.  Following one path that seems to be going forward can lead to a multitude of paths going in every direction.

Am I less afraid and more awake because I am stronger than you?   NO.  I feel less afraid and feel more awake because this Land is soooo familiar to me.  I know that those dark corners just around the bend don’t necessarily hold more things to fear, but might actually hold the answers we just can’t see yet.  The whispers in the dark aren’t always the demons of our fear and our nightmares.  Some of those whispers in the dark, are the wisdom and warrior parts of ourselves seeking to remind us that we are far stronger than we’ve ever imagined.

I walk this time with confidence because I know, I mean REALLY KNOW, that I can survive walking through this place and even find ways to thrive.  I believe I walk with less fear strangling me each day because I was offered the gift of grieving within a community and surrounded with abundant love for so long that my heart felt like it was that love acting as a light to lead my way through the dark paths of Cuckoo Luckoo Land.  I have walked this place before and survived what once seemed unimaginable to survive.

Am I afraid? Oh yes, I am.   The thoughts of fear about $, getting sick, others getting sick, when will the answers come,  how long will this last, etc., etc. niggle at my mind and my heart.  When those fears take hold of me I escape to Netflix or scrolling Facebook and Pinterest, or eating too much.   But, do I know I can survive my fear?   OH HELL YES!  I stand in this knowing I am a Warrior for love and hope BECAUSE I have walked in Cuckoo Luckoo Land before and I have come out the other side.

I didn’t survive because I was stronger than anyone else.  I survived because I have gathered tools and wisdom along my life journey that could help me navigate through the darkest of paths.  I have learned to feel my feelings and focus just on my breath alone until I have the strength to move forward to the next place.  I know the power of being willing to give and receive love and help from others along the way.  I know how to listen to what feels okay for ME and tap into what is good and tap out of what isn’t without feeling the need to explain why to anyone.

The journey we are on is not a straight forward one.   It will twist and turn and flip us all around as we learn to navigate this new reality.  We will move through shock and fear and anger and helplessness and joy and determination sadness and hope and loss and defeat and gratitude and grief and love, over and over and over and over again.   Slowly but surely we will learn how to survive in this cuckoo luckoo space of time. We will figure out how much we need each other and how strong we really can be.  We will walk this road together.

Though radically different circumstances, I have walked this road in Cuckoo Luckoo Land before and I have come out the other side.   The path ahead of us maybe a very long, twisty, dark one but I am ready to walk with you every step of the way, sharing my tools with any who want them.  I believe in our strength and our resilience and can see the glimmers of light on the other side.  I believe we are not alone and that we will one day walk out of this place.   I believe because I stand here having survived this place before.

How Will I Show Up?

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How will I show up?

This is the question I am pondering this week as I navigate my way through anxiety around the massive unknowns right now, flashbacks to 5 years ago which also was a very dark time, a hopeful belief that somehow all will be well and a deep desire to not lose who I am and who I most want to be in this time, this moment. The whole world has stepped into Cuckoo Luckoo Land, the place I’ve written of where things are not only inside out, they are upside down, outside in, twisted up and ever spinning. Eerily, I know how to walk in this place. Heck, I can even walk in this place as if I own it when I remember who I am.

I am a survivor. I am a traveler of the dark places of the soul. I am a writer who can find words in these dark places. I am a light for others who walk these dark places alongside me. I am a grounding rod for the swirl that threatens to spin us out of control. I am a mystic who can move beyond the veils of what is to see the possibilities of what could be. I am a woman who finds joy in the simplest of things. I am a believer that we are all far more powerful than we will ever know. I am a hope dealer who believes in the immense power of health and healing. I am a Warrior who does not allow the darkest places of Cuckoo Luckoo Land to ever completely forget how powerful and beautiful we all are.

So, how will I show up in this communal time of walking in Cuckoo Luckoo Land? I will show up as a Warrior for light, hope, and belief that we WILL survive this. I will show up believing we are all doing the best we can with a whole ton of uncertainty. I will show up sharing whatever glimmers of hope, health and healing I can. I will show up honoring everyone who is digging deep to be light bringers, healers and hope dealers. I will show up staying true to who I AM! ☀️

World, we have got this! 💖💪💖

“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!

Returning and Rising

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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

 

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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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