Warrior Woman Seeking Joy

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2017 is the year of this Warrior Woman Seeking Joy!  This focus, this intent, the idea of what this could look like for me is the only thing that is waking me up and causing me to actually want to leave the warm safe shell that has formed around myself in the past year or so.  And for the first time in weeks something has excited me enough to want to write again.  The relief of that is huge!

This second year of living without Russell has kicked my ass.  That really is the most honest way to put it.  The first year was hard but this second year has been so subtly challenging that it’s only been in the past month and a half or so that I’ve been able to get a handle on what all has been happening for me.  I’ve tried many, many times to write about it either as a blog post or even just in my journal but the words just keep flitting away from me like those no-see-um gnats in the summer. You know there is something there annoying you but you just can’t see it to get rid of it.  So there is a constant irritation that you can’t get away from.

One of the most challenging things of this second year has been that some of the things I used to love the most – horses, dancing, teaching, spending time just talking with people – no longer energize or even interest me enough to want me to actually leave my house.    It’s made living the life I have chosen seem empty and rudderless. My go-to things that used to leave me feeling happy and confident just don’t anymore; more often I just feel “meh” or very sad missing the joy I used to feel. Not a very fun thing to feel everyday.

Someday soon, I think, I will write more about this second year and the insights about it I am growing into.  But today is about what it means to me to become a Warrior Woman Seeking Joy.    It means finding those things that grab my interest and hold it for longer than a few seconds.  It means seeking the things that leave me excited enough to readily say yes to leaving my house.  It means doing things that leave me feeling powerful, strong and capable of anything.  It means breaking out of my “always done and loved” into “now I do and love” activities. It means digging deep, listening to my inner self, and trying new things or sometimes old things in a new way.  It means saying yes to breaking out of my shell and living deeply again.

This morning I tried something brand new. Soren, Demetri and I started archery classes.  They have both been wanting to take archery for a few years but we just never quite pulled it together with a time that works.  I got hooked on the idea a few months ago when I saw video of a woman who does archery from horseback.  The horse looks like Karoly and I could immediately envision myself someday doing that.  It began the awakening thought of becoming this wild, free Warrior Woman.

The glee that I had during archery this morning was amazing.  I was so excited I kept rambling about my excitement to our instructor, Jack. He just smiled, along with Soren and Demetri, and would tell me a few more stories.  When Jack told all 3 of us that we were doing much better than the average beginners I felt like a kid who had just gotten a gold star.  And the two times I got a bulls-eye I whooped so loudly I startled everyone.

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My inner Warrior Woman Seeking Joy gave a resounding YES today. Archery will definitely be one of the regular things I add into my schedule.  All day I have felt lighter, stronger, more awake and those are glorious things for me to feel again.  Demetri and Soren expressed similar feelings which simply adds to my joy that all 3 of us have found something fun and new to share.

While I hope to find renewed joy for the things that I’ve always loved, I am most hopeful that I will continue to seek new, interesting things to continue my awakening, my emergence from my protective shell.  Already other ideas are popping into my head of things to try. I am committed to listening to what feels right for me, doing it even if I must do it alone. I want to feel strong, purposeful, brave, and able to handle anything.  I want to let go of the lethargic, sad, rudderless feelings that have wrapped around me for far too long.

Most of all,  I want to become a joy-filled woman who is a warrior for healing herself and the world.  I want to be a wild woman who brings wonder and happiness to those around her.  I want to free my muse to write with power and vulnerability again. I want to live as a Warrior Woman Seeking Joy who lets nothing and no one stop her from living a powerfully authentic, joy-filled life.

2017 here I come!

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Project Seeking JOY

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There is much swirling around inside of me this week and many musings that I am writing in my journal to be shared on my blog soon.  But this one that I started on Thanksgiving in the early morning hours, reflecting upon the trip to Mizzou with Walter, my daughter’s horse, the day before and all of the crashing into the dark places I went that day.    Since much of this musing is connected in with things I want to and need to reclaim for myself at Avalon I wanted to share it with all of you first.
THIS – Project Seeking JOY! This is one of the bits of wisdom that flitted into my being last night as I drove home from the farm after getting Walter settled back in. In the quiet of my truck I heard this quiet, yet very confident whisper “Your next focus is to reclaim JOY – joy of horses, joy of the land of Avalon you’ve been entrusted with, joy of play, joy of living. This will be your new fight song, your reclaiming of a power that is unique to you alone. Joy in all of the little ways it can lighten our hearts; seek this again.”
 
I felt my body breathe a sigh of relief as I imagined just sitting with the horses again, grooming them, breathing in their smell that I love so much, remembering the joyfulness of horses not just the heartaches, taking Karoly or Magic for walks to the pond, walking with my Tara, Willow, and Hinata through the woods, sitting under our Magic tree to just be (and now in the Sanctuary room), playing with the kids and teens in my life in all the silly ways I used to do; and profoundly playing my way back to a joy for life that I miss.  Choosing ways to play first!
I can feel the YESNESS of this welling up inside of me as I write.  The picture I shared here is one of those wonderful moments of JOY – barefoot, bareheaded, riding bareback on Karoly with one of my wonderful dogs by my side.  Ah yes and the sun is shining, and I had just finished swimming with Karoly in the pond.   JOY!
I’ve become so very bogged down in the tasks of my life – chores, work, business planning, helping the kids find their way forward on new paths – that it’s become easy for me to forget the great JOY available to me everyday. This is especially true at Avalon.  As has always been and always will be true there is way more to do each day than any of could ever possibly get done. Projects, events, coordinating lessons, teaching, farm work, problem solving, on and on and on.   Yes all of these things are important things but it is easy to lose the joy, the pure, unadulterated JOY for the horses I’ve known all my life in this.
So I am taking steps forward to SEEK JOY.  All of the extra horsey things at Avalon – sunrise rides, parades, full moon rides, drill team, just hanging with my horses, finger painting Karoly, brushing a horse – these are the things that bring that sweet, innocent, playful joy of horses to me.  I think this is probably true for most of us and that each of us could stand to remember that doing the playful things together and with our horses helps us remember why we want to do what we do.
Saturday we will ride at sunrise. Yes it will be EARLY and it will probably feel cold too.  But it is one of the most magical things to ride a horse as the sun comes up, feeling the heat of their bodies warming your legs.  And wow does the hot chocolate taste even better after we’re done.
I will be seeking many, many ways to play more paying attention to the kids in my life to help remind me of what I want to bring forth into my life.  I will be inviting anyone and everyone to come along with me as I seek ways to play again and experience joy in my life.  I will be seeking ways at Avalon and outside of it to just be silly and have fun.  It sure can make all of the work a whole lot easier to deal with if I play first.
So if you’re ready to play more, to lighten your heart and breathe a little easier join me in Project Seeking JOY!  It might make winter a whole lot more fun.

Embrace the Shitty

 

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It is time!

It is time!

It is time!

I wrote this in my journal first thing this morning.  I went onto have this be a thread throughout my day as I reflected upon what this means for me.  After conversations with a couple of friends, my life coach and lots of reflecting I’ve come to a few ideas.

What “it” is I don’t really know but I feel something rising within me, just about ready to be born.   Something is wanting to be created NOW.   But what?

Start something, anything – JUST START!  It’s time to stop trying to have everything figured out ahead of time, have the outcome clearly in my mind’s eye, and just do something already.  In order to crack open my heart I’ve got to just do it, do anything, just start!

As a perfectionist, who does try not to embrace becoming obsessed with getting things just right before acting, I get myself stuck all of the time.  I want to have all the pieces of the puzzle in place before I share it with everyone.  I have a vision of what things can or should look like and that vision can keep from taking simple steps forward.  Until I see the how I can stop myself from doing anything at all.  So I keep picturing possibilities without acting on any of them.  Stuck!

Writing increases my mindfulness so that I no longer feel numb or asleep as I move through life.  Writing daily helps me to pay attention to what is happening in the here and now as I become curious about what will grab my attention enough for my Muse to awaken and begin to speak.

So I need to just do “it” whatever the it is that calls to me each day.  Even if that means doing something I haven’t completely envisioned how it will turn out.  A friend said to me today as we were talking about all of the retreats/workshops I could lead but I stop myself because I worry I don’t known enough yet (not perfect), “Just embrace the shitty. Just do it even if it’s shitty the first few times out. Focus on what’s simple and fun and don’t worry about the outcome.”  Only by doing it can I get any better and actually figure out what most brings me joy.  It’s okay to not have it be perfect before I present it.  Gasp!

Well isn’t that a fun new mantra for a perfectionist to try out “Embrace the shitty”?  What a freeing thought it is to let go of any obsessive commitment to the outcome (life coach addition to the day long conversation with myself). Embrace where I am and let go of the rest.   It would mean digging deep and not allowing my desire to have it all be perfect before presenting it to others be what is my highest truth.   It means believing wisdom can come to others even if I don’t have all of the answers.

It’s definitely worth trying if it can help me just do it and start to take new action with something, with anything.   It won’t hurt anything to simply start trying out all of the dozens of ideas rambling around inside of my head.  And it may actually be a lot of fun to play with possibility rather than getting stuck in perfection.

It is time!

It is time!

It is time!

 

 

I’m learning

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Grief is a long, twisty, bizarre journey .  I’ve been feeling good overall, feeling as if my heart has healed a lot and I’m ready to move forward with life in ways I hadn’t been previously.  I’ve felt ready for something.  But I’ve  not really known what that something might be.  I’ve tried this and that, wondered this and that, moved forward on this and that.  But there is no this or that catching my attention past the point of taking the first steps forward on a path.  I am living in the hope that something, anything will just grab me and scream to me “Yes, this can feed your soul enough to carry you through the rough days.”  I keep moving forward, one tiny step at a time.

I’m realizing today that this second year of grieving the death of Russell is even more treacherous to journey than the first.  The path is so much more foggy.  Life has taken over and I spend most of my days dealing with work, helping my children figure out their journeys, and spending time with family and friends.  I don’t as much as I want to.  I am caught up in living a life.  I am trying to just live.  I go for weeks feeling stable, whole, and able to handle life. And then something triggers me and I find myself in the midst of one of those darker places again.

I think of Russell. I miss him everyday.  The kids and I talk about him more now than we could a year ago.  We dream of adventures.  I pay my bills.  I line up doctor’s appointments.  I try to eat healthy.  I cook more.  I laugh some everyday.  I talk to Russell in my head of how proud of our children I am.

I am also finding that my heart is hurting so much the past few weeks.  And little things can pop up that leave me feeling as if I’m unraveling all over again.  I know that I am strong but I am feeling weaker as time goes along rather than stronger.  And than I realize that this second year, this year of rebuilding and integrating the shock of last year, has so many lessons to learn.

I’m learning to tap out again, just like I did much of last year.  There are just some days, some moments that I just need to be away from the world.  In those moments I collapse into myself, sob a lot, and hide under the covers for at least a few hours.

I’m learning to not feel guilty about continuing to place great emphasis upon my self-care and encouraging my kids to do the same.  There is a part of me that believes I need to suck it all up and just get the job done, no matter what my emotional state might be.  I do work hard most days on many, many things. But other days I give into the need to focus primarily on self-care.

I’m learning to find the one or two things that I can do each day that always make me smile.  Usually these involve my children or my pups.

I’m learning that the unraveling I experience is needed so that I can start to weave a new life web. I’m strengthening the strands of my web, spinning new ones, and dreaming.

I’m learning that I need to write everyday, and not just in my journal.  Blogging feeds my soul in ways I can’t quite understand.  There is something about writing and sharing my journey – the good, the bad, the challenging, the easy – that heals me and gives me purpose.  Even if the writing is short I think I need to start blogging everyday, no matter what.  Considering I have the topics for at least 15-20 blog posts already written down it should be fairly easy to do.

I’m learning that not knowing what I want to change in my life is okay.  I’ve got to settle into this unknowing place as a good, normal place for me right now.

I’m learning that part of what makes me strong is being able to say I’m not strong all of the time.

I’m learning that grieving impacts us on such a deep and broad level that it can take a very long time to rebuild our lives and learn to still be able to move even when those little things try to pull the rug out from under us again.

I’m learning that just when I think I’ve got this grieving thing under my belt, it is really that a new layer of learning is being reached.  Just because I have bad days or rough weeks it doesn’t mean that I’m not healing or that I’m not strong.

I just need to be sharing my story, not worrying if others get it or if they are even listening or how rambling my writing seems to be to me.  My path doesn’t have to be a linear one, it just has to be my path. I don’t know why it feels so important to share my story. Maybe because it’s one of the few things that seems to come easily to me.   There is so much in my life that seems hard to do or figure out still.  Writing, sharing my life journey, loving my children, listening to other people’s stories, these are the things that seem real to me. These things feed my soul.

I’m learning!

 

Saying yes to this time, this moment

butterflywoman     How many of us really live in the here and now, not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future, just living in this time, this moment?   All of us get caught up in stress, in worry, in imagining all of the hundreds and thousands of things that have either happened to us or might happen someday.  That stress and that worry can drive us crazy and lead us down paths of very unhealthy and unhappy living.

I know I can easily fall into the “whys?” and the “what ifs?” of life.  Why did this or that have to happen to me?  What if something awful happens in the future?  Why did I make that stupid decision years ago?  What if I can’t make things work out in a year or two or three?  And on and on the list of obsessive negative thoughts can go.

One of the magically wonderful things that happened for me when I first dropped into Cuckoo Luckoo Land 17 months ago, and for most of my steps forward since then, is that I made the choice to pretty radically live in this time, this moment.  The personal knowledge that life truly and completely can change in the blink of an eye led me to commit to living a Year of Yes.    How could I focus just on thinking about the past or the future when I learned to the depths of my being that I can’t control the past and I definitely don’t know how much of a future any of us really has.

I wrote the day before Russell died of my desire and commitment to living in the now. I have been learning how to stay in every single moment finding gratitude for the littlest of things. It is much easier to abide in Hope if I stay right here, right now, being simply happy for the little achievements.  It’s not an avoiding scary possibilities or avoiding learning more, it is simply not letting those scarier things take hostage of my brain and soul

That commitment has extended beyond the first year of living without Russell.  I have set new habits for myself and find it easier than every before to move myself back into a Now Focus, even if I find myself spinning out about the whys? and what ifs?  I anticipate that this new habit of Living in a Yes to Now will continue in some way, shape, or form for the rest of my life.  There is profound joy and peace that can be found in staying in this time, this moment.

At the beginning time of this commitment to the now I made choices to invest in things out of pure need for myself and for my kids.   Saying yes to things that made us feel some joy, some hope, some peace has been fairly easy to do.  As I begin to experience a new awakening, an unfurling of my wings, and an unfolding of my dreams it becomes clearer how these early investment choices have been so critical to my healing.

First and foremost,  I made the choice to make my number one priority self-care for myself and my children.  Anything that is a potential path to healing our wounded hearts gets a quick and forceful yes.  Counseling, massages, chiropractor, yoga, YMCA membership, spending time with family and friends, good food, and anything else that feeds our souls and our bodies we say yes to.  We are learning to listen carefully to the quiet workings of our inner self, saying yes to the things that feel right to us.  Healing our hearts, while caring for bodies and spirits has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Second,   I have encouraged us all to say Yes to a variety of adventures.  There have been camps, trips with friends, trips with family, new classes, horse shows, new instruments, my mentorship, and so much more we have said yes to.  As we explore new dreams, new ideas, new hopes for our lives I see each of us become a little more strong, a little more balanced and a little more at peace.  We’ve each done more traveling and said yes to more new things in our lives than in many previous years combined.  Adventuring with each other, with friends and with family has brought great joy to our lives. There’s a surrealness in not being able to share our adventures with Russell.  More importantly I feel immense gratitude for the new things we’ve all experienced and the people we’ve been to share them with.

Third, I chose very early on to say Yes to new things at Avalon.  Only in the last few days as deeper unfolding of my dreams for the farm and completion of projects is occurring have I realized why I’ve made some of the decisions to invest (both my time and  my personal money) in the ways that I have in the past year and a half.   There are so many dreams, from early childhood through all of my life up to the present, that are twined in and around themselves in connection to Avalon.  I know I have much more to write about this web of dreaming.  For now, in this time and in this moment, I simply, finally know why I’ve made the decisions I have made for the farm.  I couldn’t bear the thought of one more thing so intimately connected to my heart and to my core self dying.  The Magic of all that Avalon is and all that it can still become has had to survive with me.  I’ve needed it to survive for me and for the community who have been part of my healing web.

As much as I sometimes wonder if I should have, could have done many things in the past differently, I am 100% confident that the choices for healing, for adventuring, for dreaming that I have made this past year were all the best things I could have done for myself and my kids.  I will continue striving to say Yes to Now, to living in this time and in this moment.  I will continue to encourage my children, as well as all who cross my path, to make similar choices.  If all we can really be sure of is this very moment we are in don’t we all want to have that moment be one filled with joy, love, gratitude and the awareness that we are listening to what our hearts are saying yes to?

I end this writing with the same mantra I did almost 17 months ago. It is just as true for me today as it was back then.

To the depth of my being: 
I remain hopeful for healing (and living a life of joy).
I remain grateful for so many reasons and people. 
I remain filled with love.