My pledge to myself



My pledge to myself! Printed and hung up in several places to read everyday, reminding myself that I am the hero I need for me.
I WILL tend my fire and follow my dreams for my life! I will no longer allow other things, no matter how cool the idea might be, to distract me from the Warrior path I have chosen. I will stand in my truth and my truth alone as I walk the path that is uniquely my own.
#warriorlara #2018yearofthewarrior

Keep Going


Well I don’t know how exactly it happened considering while I was sick I ate off my plan much of the last weekend and spent 4 days with very little movement. I’m not counting moving from bed to the couch and back as movement. I lost 4 lbs this past week, putting me under 150 for the first time in 7 years. I’m now only 8lbs from the bulls eye goal I’ve set for myself. I should reach that by the first day of spring!
I honestly had doubts if that would ever happen again. Oh, I’ve been targeting getting back into the 140s but that quiet, self-doubting part of me has wondered (feared) that I’d never get past that 150 threshold. I even was thinking last night of starting my transition phase to just be happy with where I’ve been as I’m feeling so much better than I have in years.
I’m in shock, feeling very emotional, and my entire body is saying “thank you for taking care of me”. It’s as if I can feel my body singing this sweet song of gratitude to me. I’ve neglected it for so long.

This journey to health is intimately connected to my husband, Russell’s, death for me, as much of my Warrior path has been. Kirsten, Russell and I had just started our own health challenge with each other a few short weeks before he died in the desire to get us all out of dangerous places with our health. As I get stronger and healthier I often wonder if Russell might still be here if I had become a warrior for health – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical – back then. Obviously I can never know but it is part of my driving force today. I need to be as healthy as I can for myself and for my kids. I want to be with them for another 50 years.

Slow and steady steps forward every single day are the way to our goals. Warriors just keep stepping forward even if all they can do some days is baby, baby steps.

I’m so grateful to everyone in my life who cheers me on over and over and over again. You help me in more ways than I will ever be able to express. Each positive word fuels me to keep me going!

Go get it folks! Whatever your it is GO GET IT! It can all change in the blink of an eye as my story shows. Make this the year that you look back at the end and say I DID IT! I’m doing my best to make sure I do!

Year of the Warrior – Take back my life

I have declared for myself that 2018 is my Year of the Warrior.   It is the year that I don’t allow anything, including my own deep seated fears and BS stories to hold me back. It is the year that I radically, powerfully, joyfully take back my life and reclaim on a daily basis my belief that we can transform our lives in magical ways.

For 3 years, Rachel Platten’s song “Fight Song” has been my theme song.  I’ve written about it. I play it over and over again. I dance to it.  I share it with others who are seeking to come back from something and deeply need to believe in their amazingness.   It touches emotional cords in me that go deeper than even I know.  It calls me to more every single time I listen to it as the words and the music beat deep into my heart.

Tonight, as I ran on the treadmill I listened to Fight Song for my cool down as I’ve done for the past 4 days.  It is the song I need to listen to as the reminder that I AM A WARRIOR, passionately ready to release the phoenix who has slowly been rising from the ashes of my life over the past few years.   As I walked through my final minutes on the treadmill tonight, listening to Fight Song I felt like the drum was trying to pound directly into my soul.  Tears bubbled up and out as the refrain moved me stronger than ever before.

“This is MY fight song. Take back my life song. Prove I’m alright song.  My power’s turned on, starting right now I’ll be strong. I’ll play MY fight song and I don’t care if nobody else believes because I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”  

YES, YES, YES!  My year of the Warrior is this.  Being a Warrior is being ME as authentically as I can possible be. Being a Warrior means following my heart, my path.   Being a Warrior means being strong in MY power that is most definitely turned on.  Being a Warrior means acknowledging my fears and doing it anyway.  Being a Warrior means inviting others who are ready to journey with me to feel the magic of their own journeys.  Being a Warrior means saying yes and trusting that as long as I listen to my intuition and take action the path will open up before me.  Being a Warrior means believing in me and what I feel called to do even if it seems no one else does.  Being a Warrior means I will follow my heart and my path which means sharing my wisdom journey with the world.

NOW is the time for me to finally, joyfully take action on all of the hundreds of things that have been stirring inside for me the past several years.  As much as I may have wanted for these to come to be much sooner than now, I really wasn’t ready.  But I am NOW!  As I walk the land of Avalon, I can feel the magic of that land stirring again in ways it hasn’t been able to for probably 4 years.  Oh, magical things have still been happening because it is an amazing place, people and creatures.  But there is a magic that pulses through the land that I haven’t felt as deeply.  Until recently!

As I declare myself a Warrior for love, peace and joy I can hear the land of Avalon sing again.  It is as if the very land drums in beat to the new rhythm that is coming singing up from inside of me.  New life is pulsing through me and in turn new life is pulsing throughout all the areas of my life.   As I plan the upcoming “I am a Warrior” retreats, there is so much awakening inside of me.   I want to share the wisdom that has come to me as I have traveled in the shadow places between the light and the dark.  I want to help others find the Warrior residing inside of them who is wanting to give them the power to be strong and find joy.  And this is only the beginning!

“There’s a fire burning in my bones, still believe, yeah I still believe.”

Daily I am taking back my life and allowing life to take me back.   My commitment to living an entire year (and probably way more) with the mindset of a Warrior is exciting.   I feel the fire burning inside of me as my entire being is lit up ready to live and love with joy!



I am ready!


2018 is definitely going to be my Year of the Warrior! And I have started now to make some radical moves to significantly change my health – physically, emotionally, financially. I am DONE being stuck in ruts that cause me a great deal of pain. I am DONE feeling like I can’t find the joy I want because my body, mind and heart hurt. I am DONE feeling so uncomfortable in my being that all I want to do is hide under covers.
I am READY to rock my life! I am READY to become the very best, healthiest person I can be! I am READY to have a body, heart and mind that are free to feel joy all throughout! I am READY to throw off my cloak of fear, pain, and lethargy to fully become the Warrior Woman who wants to be fully alive!
Part of this change started just 7 weeks ago when I took a big leap to start on a path of drastically changing my eating habits. With the help of my health coach, Carrie Magill, I am learning new habits and saying YES to eating in a whole new way. In those 7 weeks, I have already lost 20lbs putting me at a weight lower than I’ve been in 5 years. For the first time in years, I purchased a medium shirt rather than the XL I’ve been having to buy.
But it’s not really about the weight. It’s about the fact that my body moves with little to no pain anymore. I had gotten to the point last summer and fall that I was seriously considering quitting Avalon because the daily, non stop pain I was in was just too much to run a horse farm. I could barely get up out of bed without hobbling, much less do the hard physical work of the farm and teaching in a sand arena. That physical pain caused me a great deal of emotional pain too as I felt blocked from living the life I want to live.
NO MORE! I am losing the weight that bogs my body down. I am learning new eating habits that are healthy and steadily move me forward without leaving me feeling like I am missing out on things. I am learning how to listen to my body and the second, literally the second, something doesn’t feel right I listen to it and make changes to set things right. I am slowing down and thinking about how I am fueling this body.
I am feeling light enough in my heart and body again to do the things I most love – dance, ride Magic, ride Karoly, teach without pain, walk the farm. I am saying YES, YES, YES to me! Tears of gratitude and joy rise up in me over and over again everyday as I feel the layers of pain, sorrow and fear fall away revealing the amazing Warrior Lara I long to be.

2018 is going to be my year! Make it yours too! What are the things you want to release and shed away that are keeping you from living a life of JOY and STRENGTH? What are the things you want to be able to do?
Let’s do it together! Together we are so much stronger and I am dedicating much of my new work at Avalon Horse Farm to helping myself and others step into our inner power. Watch for book clubs, support groups, retreats, exercise classes, art classes, health coaching, and so much more.
Let’s make 2018 the most amazing year ever, starting NOW!
Say YES to you! I AM!


Being brave and facing our fear



As I dig deeper into the center of my being to discover how powerful my inner warrior woman, I am discovering layers of fears that I have created against myself.  Some of these are small anxieties that niggle at me irritatingly like a fly that just won’t go away.  Some are fears of things that just don’t seem rational but are very real, like my fear of possums. They just creep me out.  Then there are fears that started off during small, 1 time scary situations that now have a grip on me and keep me from doing what I want to do with my life.

Moving through these fears, becoming aware of them and the power I’ve given them to keep me stuck, and slowly letting go of them is a daily endeavor.  I listen to what is at the core of these fears and then gently allow myself to start taking steps towards being braver.   More than anything I long to see myself and live my life as a warrior woman of love – deep, unconditional love for myself and my world.  I want to embrace life as fully as I can and not allowing my fears to have power over me is a huge step.

All this came  to me yesterday morning as I rode my horse, Magic, for the first time in at least 8 months.  Although, I really think it’s been a year since I rode him.  As I got him ready brushing his coat and tail that I love so much; smiling at his expressions; breathing in his horsey scent I realized that I was really afraid of getting on him.  I’ve known for awhile that the reason I don’t ride him and rather choose Karoly who is as easy as breathing is because of some left over fear.  But yesterday was the first time that I really, completely spoke out loud “I am afraid to ride him. I want to ride him, but I am very afraid I will fall, get bucked off, get hurt.  I love him, but I am afraid of him.”   Smack in the head!

My fear of Magic is gut level fear.  I want to throw up when I think of riding him.   I shake inside. I rage against myself for being afraid.  I think of selling him because it’s ridiculous to have a horse I can’t ride.  I feel sad because there’s such an obvious connection between us and I want to only feel that, not the fear.  I psyche myself up for every ride.  I try to talk myself out of riding saying “Brushing him is enough.  I don’t really need to ride.”  On and on the self-sabotaging goes.

This fear is rooted in an event that happened at least 4 years ago; an event that I came out of like a warrior woman. I didn’t get bucked off. I didn’t fall. I didn’t get hurt. No matter how hard Magic tried that day, bucking and twisting while cantering down a hill, I didn’t come off.  I was terrified but I survived like a cowgirl warrior woman!

4 years later I am still afraid.  4 years later, even after many more rides including months of lessons, I am still afraid.  4 years later with not another buck out of him with me (with others yes), I am still afraid.  4 years later and loving him more now than I did then, I am still afraid.  4 years later I still can experience the gut wrenching fear that day, I am still afraid.  4 years later my confidence in our connection and my ability to ride it out, I am still afraid.

With all that swirling through my head as we rode, I said yes to being brave.  With the fear of what could happen almost choking every step we took, I said yes to being brave.  With me shortening my ride to what felt the very most comfortable and safest, I said yes to being brave.  With needing my friend, Carrie, to come with us on the slowest walk ever just up the road and back, I said yes to being brave.  With my heart racing and my body on constant guard, I said yes to being brave.  With my breath easing as we walked back into the sanctuary space of Avalon, I said yes to being brave.  With my joy at having finally spent time with a horse who holds a part of my heart, I said yes to being brave.


The ways that we are brave every day are often things no one but us can see.   What would be the simplest of tasks for others might be the bravest act for us as we face the fears buried deep inside our beings.   No one but us can know how much courage it takes to do those things that want to strangle us with fear.

Being a warrior doesn’t mean taking on the world in a violent, forceful way. Being a warrior means gently and steadfastly loving ourselves through our fears.  It means taking steps forward towards the life we dream of for ourselves, even if those steps only move us forward an inch at a time.  Being a warrior means saying YES to us, not worrying about what others think of OUR journey.

Being a warrior means facing our fears and saying yes to being brave anyway!








From Hell No to YES

Just Breathe


As I sit here this morning in my lovely, little farm cottage trying to mentally create a backup plan for Avalon’s 10 year anniversary party in case it keeps raining, I am a swirl with emotions.  Yesterday afternoon with the sun shining and warm air soaking into my skin I was feeling more and more excited for today’s pony parade, bonfire, potluck, a full moon and more.   I could envision each glorious part of our evening as the sun poured down over me.

And then, the bottom dropped out, my kraken awoke, and the darker emotions came flooding to the surface.  All of the ways in which I feel inadequate as a mother, as a business owner, as a friend, as a person came rushing in, catching me up in a wave that’s dropped me down into a dark rabbit hole of emotion.  All of the things that I’ve been fearing and all of the emotion that I have been trying to not give power to are hiding in dark recesses of this rabbit warren I am.  They pop up one after the other as I blindly am walking through the rabbit hole trying to find the light and my way back out.

My inner warrior very strongly is nudging me forward and saying “Release your Muse. She is your sword. I am your shield.  We are here and we will get you out.”  Okay, I am listening to you both.  So instead of heading out to prep the farm I have dropped everything, much as I used to do right after Russell died, and I am pouring my heart out.  I am speaking it all out loud because only when it is out in the open can I breathe deeply enough to not have the tears overwhelm me.

Hands down, I LOVE Avalon’s Anniversary Party days more than any other days.   They are big celebration of all that has been accomplished in the past year and they are my public, recommitment days to saying YES to another year at Avalon.  They are days to remember and they are days to dream.  Joy and play is infused throughout it and I am always left with the best warm fuzzies.

As I do on every anniversary date I am reminded of Russell’s and my journey to saying YES to Avalon in the first place.  It’s kind of amazing that I am even here because my initial response when asked by Carrie Magill, owner of the property and my land lady,  if I wanted to run a 75 acre, 26 stall barn was HELL NO.  And I am most confident those were my exact words to her and to Russell when I first told him about it.

The amazing part is that Russell, who had never worked on a farm and knew very little about horses, said “YES, I think we should check it out.”  I know I looked  at him like he had 3 heads because I knew the crazy amount of work it would take and how hard it would be to ever, consistently, maintain a profit.  So I created a 4 page, single spaced document filled with all of the questions that we needed answers to before even considering this as an option for our family.  Details about hay, workers, landlord responsibilities, insurance, etc., etc., were needed before we could take the leap. At least they were needed by me.

Russell simply kept coming back to wanting to make my childhood dream to have a horse farm come true (aww geeze I can barely write through my tears).   He wanted this place for me. He heard the deep awe and connection I had for Avalon upon first seeing the land. I know there were lots of personal reasons why he said YES so strongly and quickly, but in all honesty it was really about ME for him.  He wanted me to be surrounded by horses where he knew some of my deepest joy can come.  He wanted to give that to me no matter what.

I think it’s taken me this long to really, completely get that.   Oh I’ve known it and tried to accept the radical generosity of that loving gift from him. But the business pieces of the farm, the budget concerns, the constantly worrying about something, the daily grind of running a large horse farm, all of these things would get in the way.  And my own struggles with feeling truly worthy of unconditional love wouldn’t let me believe it.  It’s very easy to not see the gifts people are really giving to us if we allow life’s worries and our own fears to cast shadows over those gifts.

But always on our Avalon anniversary days I could clearly see the joy Russell had for what we were creating.  He was in his element at that fire, talking with anyone and everyone who was there.  Always he was the last one to leave as he would relish the quiet of the fire, the farm and the few folks who wanted to stay as long as possible.  He would talk. He would laugh. He would tend a giant fire. He would celebrate the dream.

On these days when everyone is simply having fun at Avalon – not competing, not working on projects, not working more than necessary – I am deeply reminded of why I said YES.   Because for me, having the farm has been about creating a place joy and possibility.  It’s about creating a place in which anything might be possible and that the simplest moments are the ones most filled with joy.  It’s about creating magic with twinkle lights, silly play, deep conversations, and needed silence.  It’s about creating Sanctuary.

So today I am deeply aware of how much I am grateful that Russell said YES with a big leap long before I was ready.  His belief in what we could do and his desire to give me my heart’s dream are why any of us are here at Avalon celebrating today.  I could have never, I would have never, done it alone.

Today, more than any other days lately, I will miss him.  I will hear him and see him in the crowd  I know; I always do at these parties.  I have no doubt I will cry more tears and I will laugh a ton today.   I will dream new dreams.

In listening to my Warrior and releasing my Muse, I have found just enough light to see my way out of this rabbit hole I am in.  It may take me the rest of the day to get out, but out I will get.  I have a DREAM to celebrate and to live!








A Horse’s Gift


Horses. They hurt us. They heal us. Sometimes all at the same time.  Every single one that we come into contact with has a gift for us.  They stand ready to walk with us into a magical place of possibility, connection and wonder.  All they need from us is a gentle hand, a willing heart and trust in them to be ready to take us on adventures we can barely dream of.  With them we can fly.

I am the owner of Avalon Horse Farm, a large boarding facility set on some of the prettiest land in our area.  It’s a magical place that can leave people feeling like they’ve entered another world when they are there. As the owner of this business my roles are more numerous than I care to name here. It could take pages to identify every part of my job description.  And what is calling me to write today is a role that has developed over the 10 years Avalon has been alive.  It is a role that I have balked at, railed against, cried over, and yet that the horses themselves have called forth from me in their greatest time of need.  I can only write of it for the first time here today because of the final gift Samson, a horse at Avalon who died yesterday, gave to me as he spent his final hours on this earth.

I am going to attempt to share all that came forth for me yesterday, even if it is a stumbly, choppy sharing.   Writing is healing for me and it helps me become more clear about the path opening up before me.  Sharing it with others is a vital part of that process. As it goes out to the world there is an “ah ha” that settles over me that I can’t really explain.  I just know that writing and sharing it is something I just have to do when my muse awakes.   So I will share what came to me as unfiltered as I can.  I’m warning you all now it feels pretty twilight zoney writing this.  But this is all that came to me yesterday, rushing through me so strongly I had to take notes on my phone to not lose it all.

All of the horses at Avalon, not just the ones that I personally own, are mine.  They are my herd. I am their leader, the head mare of the entire farm.  Every single one of them, from the moment they enter Avalon, has a piece of my heart.  In the early days with us I spend time just being with them, listening to what they would say to me of their life before, what they bring to Avalon, how they connect with the world.  I watch, I listen, I feel all that I can to learn about them.  I know them and they know me.  I can walk into every herd and feel things from the horses, hearing what they want me to hear.

Death shaman – that is the unique role I have at Avalon that I have pushed against for a very, very long time. Because I know these horses and they know me, each of us connected by invisible, powerful threads of loving energy, I take the responsibility for their care deep inside myself.  The first few horses who died at Avalon in our early years left me with such guilt that I had somehow missed something, done something wrong, or just hadn’t done enough to keep them safe.  I would spend weeks after silently mourning their deaths, not understanding back then why my grieving was so deep.  You see, early on, I didn’t understand clearly my powerful role as leader of the entire herd of horses at Avalon.  I just kept blaming myself for not doing a good enough job somehow.

It was a mare named Cindy who broke her leg about 4 years ago (my timeline is foggy these days), who first started to shift my understanding of myself. As we stayed with her in her final hours the message she clearly kept speaking to me was “This is not your fault. Avalon is not an unsafe place that causes death. Avalon and you are the place that we need to/want to be for ourselves and our owners when our time arrives.   You are the one who can stand in the shadow place between light and death, at the start of the rainbow bridge, ready to hold our people as we leave this earth. We need you.   You do not cause our deaths. You ease the way for us.”    I was stunned for days at how loudly and clearly this message came to me as if Cindy herself was speaking to me, wanting to make sure I heard her final gift to me.

It took me years to process through that.  It took Russell’s death and my radical experience of being able to stand in the center space of powerful LOVE between the light and dark spaces of life for me to really begin to open up to the magic of what I can do in the moments before death.  I somehow can drop out of this world and sense myself in a different realm of being.   I truly experience these moments as not really being in this world but somehow being in a heightened awareness of the transition from life to death that is about to take place.

In the final hour of Samson’s time with us yesterday, my awareness of this transitional space seemed to explode.   For the first time I didn’t just sense myself there I could see myself there.   I wish so much I could draw that space because it was so vivid and so clear as I sat there.   Again the title Death Shaman settled over me like a cloak wrapping around me; though I don’t yet understand exactly what all that means.  I do know my role in this transitional time for the horses (and other creatures of Avalon) is to hold space for all who are there; to drum their way to the rainbow bridge; to hum or chant “be well” for them and their loved ones as they step closer to leaving this world; to be ready to open the gate and let them go; to hold steady as their humans make their way back.  And that is what I did.

This transitional place is in a grove of trees nestled right at the base of the rainbow bridge from this life to whatever comes next.  It is a peaceful place with birds quietly singing, water nearby, and the sun gently shining through the trees. It is an ancient space.   I sit there with my drum, steadily maintaining the beat.   Samson is prancy, ready to step into the new adventure that awaits beyond the gate.   He prances around Emily and Meredith, not wanting to leave but also ready to run really free.   He know they cannot come with them so he tries to wait until they are as ready as they can be. He tries to tell them it will be okay.  He prances around and around and around them.  I drum and quietly hum waiting until they are all ready.

Then, the moment arrives.  It is time. The air seems to pulse with energy as love swells all around us, infusing everything.   Quietly humming I stand and open the gate.  The rainbow bridge stretches out beyond.  On the other side stands a whole herd of horses waiting for Samson to join them.  After a final whinny and a loving nudge with his people, Samson walks through the gate and onto the bridge. All the pain of this life fades away as he walks across the bridge into the waiting herd. With a gleeful toss of their heads they turn and run away into their new adventure.

I continue to hum as I close the gate and return to my drum.   Here I sit holding space for those left behind.  Here I will sit for hours, maybe days until I can make my way back completely to this world.  I will sit here as those who loved Samson reel with shock and grief.   I will sit here ready to hug them all with all the love and hope I can muster.

I am learning it takes me awhile to fully leave this transitional space.  I am learning that it is hard for me to function well in the day to day tasks of this life while I am coming back from this Rainbow Bridge Valley.   I am learning that I don’t quite know yet how to release all of the emotion I experience in that space so that it doesn’t just fester inside of me.  I am learning how to accept this role of Death Shaman that the horses and other creatures have asked me to be for them when the time arrives.  I am learning to believe in things that others can’t see which makes it challenging for me to explain.  I am learning I don’t have to have all of the answers, I just have to be there doing what I can to ease the way.

All of this, Samson gifted to me yesterday in his final goodbye to me.  I receive it with awe and humility that I have been entrusted with such trust by him and all who enter Avalon.  For as long as Avalon is mine, I will do my best to lead with love through all that comes our way.  Thank you Samson for showing me all you did.  Run free sweet boy, run free!