Hearing words I never thought I’d hear

You may have heard of a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde called Pay It Forward. Recently I was reading The Wake Up, by the same author. In this story we see through the eyes of the lead man what it is like to be a sensitive and an Empath. The fact that the author chose a rough and tumble cowboy for her lead character was genius. No one expects a person who is tough on the outside to be sensitive on the inside. We see him discover new found awarenesses and sensations, and the arc of his life is changed forever. It is awkward for him as he wakes up to this new way of being. Some people in his life cannot deal with the change. But he knows he cannot go back, nor does he want to. He must live this new life making his way forward in a totally new landscape. He finds his true north by surrendering to the new, and going in a new direction.

Much of the book was like reading about my own life in the lead character’s sensitivities. My IBS was going full blower at the time. This was partly due to many different worries eating away at me. I am in my head too much. Part of IBS is in your head. Yes my doctor even told me that. Worries will translate to the ganglia in your gut they refer to as your ‘second brain’. A network of half a million nerve cells and neurons in the gut wall, responsible for controlling the gastrointestinal system. Your gut and your brain are in constant contact. A gut feeling…yes you guessed it. That’s it too. In horses this huge nerve network in their gut helps them survive. Read Linda Kohanov’s, The Tao of Equus—a book that changed how I see the world. I am still in a phase of waking up to this ability of sensing with my gut. I’m in the early phases of finding out how to read these new signals. This uncomfortable experience helps me to open up and be less complacent and has made me hugely vulnerable and sensitive. I am trying my best to surrender to it. To do otherwise would be avoiding personal growth.

During all this internal upheaval I have a dream. In order to better understand the dream, you will need a bit of my history. I went through years of abuse, verbal and emotional, with a narcissistic hoarder who went through 30 jobs in 18 years. I was constantly told I was not good enough, and there was always this invisible, unknowable thing I was ‘responsible for fixing’ but he would never tell me what it was. My every action and sound was harshly criticized. I had no rest from the chaos. This life drove me crazy. He had complete control of my life, as I had given my power away totally. It was to the point I thought I would not get out of the marriage alive. I am eleven years free at this point and rarely think of that life anymore.

In this dream I am with my ex-husband, and the scene is chaotic. I am getting ready for work, trying to be responsible. All the while my ex is trying to buy some huge piece of junk like an old sailboat or an old house trailer. It’s another crazy project we don’t need to complicate our lives. His friends are living with us eating us out of house and home, and acting like children. I’m being run over roughshod again and have that familiar sick feeling of trying to hold everything together while he does crazy stuff. I am the eye of the storm trying desperately not to be overtaken by it. He is totally ignoring my needs, and our situation. I am standing facing my ex husband trying to salvage things so I don’t end up paying for his chaos. Time slowed down to a stop. When time stops in a dream I know what comes next is important. As I try desperately to tell him I need to get to my job! Please! Finally he looks me in the eye and says…

“Let’s get you to work, what I want is not important.”

His words are sucked into me like a sponge gulping up water. I am still. My heart opens for healing. I feel relief. The chaos is gone. I can hardly believe what I hear. The words sounded sincere. Heartfelt. This tiny, momentary acknowledgement in a dream, of my ex actually seeing me for even a few seconds was big. Really big. The person that had been my oppressor stopped what he was doing, saw me, and apologized for his behavior. Wow. Even this small admittance was huge, because I never got that in life.

You cannot get out of the after effects of being abused overnight. It has taken eleven years of happy on-my-own-ness to get here. Did I really hear those words? What a lovely feeling it was! What a gift! I feel a relief I never knew was missing. Maybe that is what I am processing and why my body is rebelling, and finally dumping the debris from these hard years. Maybe that is what all this churning miasma my gut is about. There was something big that was coming and my body sensed it before it became something to intellectualize. It is not something that would have ever happened in ‘real life’ so it had to happen in another plane of existence. It was time.

Writing to the public about this personal experience may help others who feel they will never hear words they need to hear in order to heal. In the dream state, time and space are no longer hurdles to overcome. Therefore it can happen even if your oppressor is deceased. It happened to me even though I had not been thinking of my ex-husband or that old life. On some basic level, I needed to hear those words in a heartfelt and believable way. On some level I created this experience for healing. It is a healing that will most likely take place over the rest of my life. Not to say I am damaged goods or that I feel like a victim. Quite the contrary! I feel very empowered and happy with my new life. Ecstatic even! This experience is more like the Japanese art of Kintsugi where broken ceramics are fixed with gold. Kintsugi makes the scars hard to ignore because now they are beautiful and part of the story of the piece. I felt so lucky I was sent this dream, this scenario, this message. This healing. I am in gratitude.

Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. “Likes” tell me someone is out there listening. Love and Light, Patty

Losing a horse helped heal my heart

My horse Silver left the morning after a blood red moon this past January. I had to make the difficult decision to have him put down after two days of pain, confusion, and chaos. His leaving had me totally spent physically and emotionally. I was gutted. My goofy, silly, drama queen horse and loving friend was gone. He was 22 years old and I only had him for four and a half years. I expected him to live to see 30 and be a gentle old bag of bones wandering around my property keeping me company in my upcoming retirement. My soul dog Google died in March 2017 and my first horse, Scar, died three months after that. Only seven months had gone by. This was heavy. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

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Horse people will tell you that they cannot imagine a day will come when they lose a horse, much less don’t have any horses. It does not seem conceivable. It is a way of life that gets into every pore. My horse dream was not realized until I was in my mid 50s. This was so rich and beautiful a life! I recall every morning before the sun was up I would walk out of my home in the darkness with the yard light on. My two large horses would be standing at the bottom of the steps waiting for me. I’d throw my coat on and walk down the four steps and reach out my arms and run each hand along the side of my horses tracing a line all the way to their rumps. I would think, and sometimes say out loud, “I am such a lucky lucky girl!” I could not believe my luck and my life, with these two huge galoots as partners in crime. Scar, the 1400 lb. overly muscled quarter horse who I referred to as an old war horse, and Silver the 900 lb. skinny but fast off-the-track thoroughbred. They had spent much time together before they came to me. Scar always protecting Silver. They were without a doubt brothers from another mother. Horses are the best of companions! I can tell you, it’s not about the riding, it’s about the companionship and the horse soul you get to share.

A week after Silver died, I was still in shock. Walking to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee I heard myself say out loud, to no one, “I feel like I was slammed to the ground again. Unexpected loss can hit hard. I started writing this post in January and needed until October until I could even look at it again. In fact I quit blogging altogether. The feeling of abandonment over losing him is there, but muted with some distance now. Time is your ally when it comes to loss. When I think of him I still feel a stab of pain. I wish I didn’t feel so vulnerable. So hurt. There are friends of mine that have lost people, and all I lost was a horse. Who am I to grieve so much? So deeply? Why am I so hurt at being left here, feeling abandoned? That is sometimes how the mind thinks, trying to minimize the loss of a pet. No, not a pet, a companion, a kindred soul. Matters not if it be clothed in fur or skin.

This reminds me of a chant to honor the animal kingdom. Citing: Sable Taylor in her interview in Ellen Evert Hopman’s “Being A Pagan”. You can listen to a lovely rendition of it here. 

Fur and feather and scale and skin,
Different without but the same within,
Many of body but one of soul,
Through all creatures are the gods made whole.

When I lost my dog Soul Dog Google, I knew he was leaving for many months. Over time his aged body would freeze up with arthritis. He wore neoprene hock braces and took pain meds. He would not eat unless I cooked him something soft and hand fed it to him. He gingerly took the offering and politely nibbled it. Then that look of “Gosh I sure do appreciate the home cooking darlin’ but I just can’t do it no more.” Since his decline was natural and slow, there was time to plan his last days. I would snuggle with him in his den outside, a 10×10 enclosure filled with straw under my porch. On his last day many friends came over to say their goodbyes. I had him from almost day one, to the last day—his entire life! Losing him was a natural part of his life, and our time together. Everything about it felt good.

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My heart and body have been bombarded with physical challenges, losses and change for many months. It is a time of great personal change. Constant pressure is part of making stiff leather into something soft and pliable. Another example is a caterpillar in its cocoon magically transforming from a worm to a beautiful winged creature, resembling nothing of its former self. Humans and science still marvel at these transformations shrouded in mystery and magic. We don’t know what is going on inside that cocoon. This time of personal change is a time of transformation and opening for me.

Through Silver, I learned that I’ve had a closed off heart to protect myself, and I didn’t even know it. Now I understand I no longer need to protect my heart. But you can’t open your heart by wishing—it is a process. Silver knew exactly what he was doing by leaving how and when he did. He timed his exit just right to be part of helping open my heart and my transformation. You can still see the hoof print and cracks on my heart from his dramatic exit. That reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s lyrics,  “… There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  

There is much more in this that I would love to explore. Many more paths of healing have opened for me and this excites me greatly! Imagine a lotus with a thousand petals. There is magic yet to come! Silver was a gift I treasure on my path to living much more openly. What a great message and parting gift from my friend Silver. What a lesson! Long may you run!

Moving toward the tipping point, by writing

I have been feeling for some time that I am almost at the tipping point of purging my soul and body of the after effects of an abusive 18 yearlong relationship. I have been out of that relationship for ten years now, and in my mind, I think there is nothing to purge. I’m over it, right? I have a brand-new life I created myself, right? I’m the captain of my own ship co-creating like crazy, right? Everything is peachy keen, right?  But the body is not the mind. It holds onto things for a very long time. To me, that is what PTSD is. Abuse or terror held in the body to protect the whole.

A great purge is coming and I am glad of it. It is so close I can feel every cell in my body quivering in anticipating of dumping what needs to go, and breathing a huge gulp of new, fresh air! But you can’t plan such things now, can you? My Capricorn mind wants to schedule it in along with everything else. Grocery shopping, trip to the hardware store, purge of a lifetime, then a nice massage. Nope, it does not work like that. Spirit does not move in a linear fashion or according to a day planner. Sigh.

IMG-3702In order to help move toward this tipping point, I have promised myself a new writing habit. This is a luxury I owe myself. It’s a tool I should have not ignored for many months. Don’t be scared by the word habit, it’s a good thing. Habits are easy to start and hard to break. That’s good news if you want to start a new habit. If you want to break a habit, put another new habit in place of the old one, right on top of it. It will take some time, but it will happen. Like moving to a new office in the same building. My feet want to travel to the old office every time I walk into the building. But every day I get closer and closer to wiping out the old maps of my neural network of walking to that old office, as I correct my course to the new one.

I have decided to write in the morning because that is when I feel most myself. It is the time I love the most with morning light being so different than any other time of day. My energy is at its peak, and the promise of a new day is at hand. It is the NOW time and I have a few hours before I must honor my obligations of going to my day job. The birds are just waking up, and since I feed them, they are plentiful in my back yard. I see sparrows, little yellow warblers, Towhee’s, large mountain blue jays, and a huge family of Gambles’ quail with the little quivering top knots all dancing, making those funny squeaking noises as they bounce along. My dogs sit at my feet on the back deck as I sip coffee and we watch the birds have their breakfast as the sun rises.

I have not written for many months. Although I don’t consider myself a writer by trade, I am disappointed in myself for missing out on writing about my experiences. Sometimes just the act of writing helps process events. I have had many experiences and insights about life that were good and showed growth and possibly a new way around things. I should have written about those important life changes. But writing to the general public in a transparent way doesn’t always seem to fit the bill when you feel vulnerable. It’s too hard. The flip side is, I regret not getting things down on paper because insights that come from difficult experiences can get lost in the shuffle quickly. I wanted to hold onto those insights a little while longer. I wanted to explore them and share them. I admonish myself for not writing about them, because it could have helped someone else.

You get the lesson or the insight, and instantly you feel jazzed that you got it, and at the same time relieved that life can go on as normal. Getting that normalcy back into your life always feels like another sort of elation. Humans rely so heavily on habit to feel secure, and I’m right there along with everyone else. After the difficulty you were facing ends and the smoke clears—the moment it is all freshest in your mind—you don’t want to sit and write about it because it might break the spell. It’s too close to your heart. You feel like holding your cards close to your chest a little longer because you feel tender. But you feel like you have a great secret and can still feel that lovely glow of having successfully navigated life.

I also think it can wait till later so I make the mistake of not writing about it at the moment. When later comes, the nuances of how those insights came about are lost and it doesn’t seem all that magical a thing to write about or share.  I regret not having written about things when they happen because I cannot get them back. And those things were part of my life’s path. They seemed important at the time. Creating a daily writing habit will help me process what is going on in my life and bring me to another level of understanding about myself and about life. Even if I don’t share what I write, I know it will benefit me. In a way I get to know myself a little bit better.

But writing has one very important quality that is not readily evident. It can change how you think about yourself, in surprisingly good ways! You might realize you had the strength to do something you thought you couldn’t do. You might be able to see the bigger picture. It’s a great way to get to know the nuances of You. When I start writing something and it’s in draft mode, I feel like there is a carbon copy of me saying “I got your back”. Isn’t that worth the effort of creating a new habit?

I may not post every day, or even every week, but you can bet I will be writing every day! I hope this encourages others to write, even if it is a private journal. This is such a good healing and cleansing and even fun thing to be involved in, for yourself, and possibly for sharing with the world. Until next time my friends…

Acting on a feel

Did you ever get little nudges and hints from the Universe? Recently I’ve been getting nudges to slow down. I have mentioned before that I usually get the Cosmic 2×4 on the head because I am simply not paying enough attention to fill-in-the-blank. I hear messages, feel and sense I must pay attention to something, and start making changes to accommodate. Sometimes my efforts are not enough. I’m dancing around it but not getting it. And I don’t realize I am not getting it because my nose is too close to the grindstone. When the Universe sees you working on it, but you don’t really get the core message, it will let you know. The following story illuminates this perfectly.

Starting the Work

I started slowing everything down. Work is as slow as it gets this time of year so there is no frenzied feeling. My right rotator cuff went on the fritz about 5 weeks ago and is not healed yet. So I cannot do any small projects around my house. That really bugs me but I can’t do a thing about it except let it heal. My personality and energy needs something to work on. I have a driving need to be productive. About 50 times a day I’d have to remind myself I can’t do this or that project. Sigh. I would often have people over to my home because I enjoy their company and the conversation. But it can also be draining for an empath. I put that on hold. I can’t walk my dogs due to the over 100 degree heat (unusual for this time of year). I can’t ride because my horses have since gone over the rainbow bridge. In this slow environment, I had cleaned and rid myself of clutter on ever single level. Every drawer and file cabinet and cupboard. Every molecule of things at my home is about as perfect as it can be. So there is nothing TO do. I had slowed down, or so I thought. This was a huge, huge shift for me. But was I really slowed down energetically and in my mind? Is this my best effort? 

Uh Oh

This past Friday as I left work for my 48 mile commute home. For the record, I’m not a speed demon. For two miles there is a stretch of road that is one lane per direction of traffic. There are no houses or businesses of any kind, and no intersections. If you don’t go faster than the limit, people will tailgate you, honk, flash their lights, and make it clear they are unhappy. I was going along and felt I was not fast enough to warrant a ticket. Didn’t see a soul on the road, bright sunny day. The Universe was still waiting for me to really embrace slowing down. However I wasn’t there yet and the Universe was about to show me just that.

Out of nowhere a police officer going in the opposite direction flashed his lights and I knew I had to stop. I always have my license, registration, and insurance at the ready. He dispensed with the ticket, giving me a few pieces of friendly advice. The ticket was not much money and I was guilty as charged. The good news is that I had recently received a rebate that would perfectly cover this ticket.

The Cosmic 2×4

About five minutes after the ticket incident I was thinking about why I attracted that into my life. After all I have been driving this road for almost 17 years five days a week. I go the same speed every trip, along with the flow of traffic. Why today? What’s up with this? What part of the Law of Attraction am I not doing right? Where’s the message? When it hit me like a cosmic 2×4 on the head I burst out laughing. The Universe sent a message that could not be ignored! It was so obvious. SLOW DOWN! Really slow down! Waaaaay slower than you think is necessary. Because you don’t know what slow really is! Explore this and take it to heart starting now. 

The Right Work (Fine Tuning)

The rest of the way home I went well under the speed limit not caring if I was harassed by other drivers. There was no reason to rush, so why not change the pace of my normal race to get home? It might be fun to really embrace slowing down. The rest of the weekend I slowed down my mind chatter by meditating, and putting on meditative music. I did a few sessions with my Mala beads, had no company over, stayed off the computer, and spent as much time out in nature as I could despite the heat. I read a book. Sat doing nothing. This was different. I can tell you, I’ll be doing this a lot more often. Slowing down in earnest gets me out of my head. I started with my environment, then my body, and the mind followed. This. Feels. Better. Slowing down means more than going slower. It’s being more mindful on every single level. But the payoff was about to happen and I didn’t see it coming.

The Payoff!

Along with signs to slow down, I had been also getting hints about acting on a feel. I had heard the person training a neighbor’s foal talk about this. It’s the way training is done with horses. Not by force, but rather showing the horse how to act on a feel. I actually saw the foal get it! I saw the moment when the penny dropped. The foal acted on a feel, got the idea, and acted accordingly. Isn’t acting on a feel part of how we receive intuitive hits? Isn’t that how we best manifest? Feel is what it is all about. I have been reading a book that talks about how important feel is to manifesting the life you desire. More so than I thought.

Ah HA! Now I am really getting why slowing down was necessary. It declutters your head so the rest of you can see things clearly and receive information quicker. Many small pieces were starting to show up because I could see them swirling above my head, and gather them to me. Pop, they would drop into my head and the big picture became clearer. Pop, pop, pop, more pieces keep coming! ❤ I love this! ❤ This is the first wave of  insights and messages about the next chapter of my life. Gotta love how the Universe works! So, the point is not slowing down per se, it’s what slowing down did for me. It allowed an environment where information could come to me, where before it could not get through the clutter. Now I get it! Now the real work can begin. This is a new way of operating for me, for the rest of my life.

 

Slammed to the ground

Earlier this summer (2017) I was on my tall thoroughbred horse, Silver, and all was going well. It was an ideal day, warm and lazy. Everyone was very relaxed. We stopped so I could move a small canteen of water from my partner’s horse to my horses’ saddlebags. Apparently he did not like the new item in there, the sloshing noise, the clinking of the ice cubes in it, or the shifting of weight on his hind end. After 2 steps he started bucking hard. As in rodeo hard. I managed to stay on for almost 3 of those bucks, and since I was not expecting it, was unable to hang on and slow him down. Once my rear was out of the saddle, it never touched it again. Without being IN the saddle, yanking on reins that are flying all over is useless. I was going to have to launch hoping my head would avoid the many rocks around me.

Slamming to the earth on hard packed ground took a great deal out of me. I literally could not breathe for what should have been the beat of three and a half breaths. My diaphragm stopped working until it could recover from the shock. Since I could not breathe even though I was trying, I thought I was a gonner. It felt like my lungs were full of cement. I was hoping my transition would be fast, let’s get this over with. I was curious about the transition anyway. Oddly I had no regrets or other thoughts other than, let’s get this over with. After the third non-breath I was able to inhale a tiny bit of air. And then more, and more, until I could sort of breathe. Okay I guess I won’t be making my transition today.

My partner took the horses back the mile and a quarter to the truck and trailer, and drove through a dry riverbed to pick me up. My dogs made me proud that they stuck by me and guarded me even though my pup whimpered and felt conflicted that his brother dog, the horses and the other human left us behind. He trusted that he needed to stay near me. He laid down and did not leave my side, and same with my other dog. ❤

The impact was so hard I could not stand up for a full 45 minutes. I managed to get on all fours to breath and then I lay crumpled on the ground. As I gasped for air, I saw the imprint of my leg on the road. Visible on the hard packed earth was every single stitch of the side seam of my jeans. My partner helped me up into the truck, and laid the seat back. I was in such pain. It took two days until I felt well enough to stand an hour long car ride to town to go to urgent care. Since I knew nothing major was broken I did not call 911. X-rays showed a cracked pelvis and 3 cracked ribs. Ouch-ola.

There were many unwanted changes due to my immobility and pain levels. It’s a bit frustrating that my summer plans were all cut short in an instant. It’s like The Tower card from a tarot deck, which indicates large, sweeping changes. Tough but necessary for a clean slate. I wanted to get out more and go to events around town this summer, finally. I wanted to exercise myself and dogs more every day and had a good start on it, finally. I wanted to do tarot readings in public at a local restaurant and had worked up the courage to do it, finally. I would not be able to ride any horse for months. All my plans, ideas and inspirations for summer were gone in an instant.

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I found it humbling to have someone help me to the bathroom, help me into or out of bed, in a home that was not mine, with a man I had no intimate relationship with. My friend slept on his rock hard sofa for two days until I was well enough to go to town to get x-rays. I had to depend on someone else and my usually fierce independence had to melt away into total appreciation and acceptance. Luckily I was able to work from home and keep my job.

Finding a nice cocoon of time around me I now had acres of time for other things that were not physically taxing. I finally felt more balanced, more real. Why did it take being thrown as if a giant picked me up and slammed me to the ground to get into this more balanced zone? To a place where I was truly doing nothing and totally okay with it? I have been known to have a very thick head [read stubborn] and I had to let go of a lot of my concrete plans. I call that the proverbial Universal 2×4 across the head because I must have ignored the dozens of other signs from Spirit that said slow down and pay attention.

A few weeks into my convalescence I got an email from someone I have followed for years who does animal communication. I knew her work, and of her authenticity. She was offering classes and somehow that inner bell rang for me that this was to be followed up on. About 8 years prior I had taken classes from a local person learning to do intuitive readings. Intuitive information and readings was something that came naturally and easily to me. This new class I could do from the comfort of my own home and had been meaning to take it for years, and included animals. Woo hoo! Most importantly, I felt had time to do this. There seemed to be a wide swath of time ahead of me with nothing on the docket. This felt perfect, as if my entire life full of love for animals was coming into sharper focus. Thanks to my large white animal for creating a time for me to work on this. Talk about animal communication!

There were other gems that came out of this about face that are still coming to light. The accident was in early August, and it took me until December to even write about it. I knew there was a bigger picture I was not seeing at the time. There have been many realizations, appreciations, changes to my life since the accident. All of them good. Sometimes gifts come in the strangest of packages! But don’t be so stubborn that you have to be thrown to the ground to wake up! 😉 ❤

 

Those uncomfortable feelings that come with change

Being in a new landscape between point A and point B is very disconcerting. It’s downright annoying, uncomfortable, and I wish it would go away. Sort of. Lately I have been changing the landscape of my life. Getting out of the habit of visiting with my riding partner every day for coffee, dropping off groceries, horse medicine or tack, or what have you. They have all been excuses for me to have someone to talk to before or after my work day. An excuse to ‘play house’ when that’s not what is good for my future or his. This is not my new family. I’m pretending and I’m hiding. For awhile it has meant someone to bond with. Someone to talk to. But this is not a good choice for me going forward.

My riding parter and I have a totally platonic relationship. He’s a good friend, but that is where it ends. I do not wish anything more with him. To say I have been hiding inside that relationship as an excuse to not take chances with my heart would be stunningly accurate. It has been a nice place to rest, on a plateau, for awhile, to let my soul stretch out a bit. For the record, single life has meant a lot of enjoyment for me to do exactly as I please, when I please. After having lived with a controlling abuser for 18 years, it’s been a lovely ride being on my own! I have created an almost perfect life for myself. Almost.

I have known for a long time now that things need to change. I have still not made the change totally but I’m almost there. Otherwise how will I ever move on to the next phase of my life? When will I have time or opportunity to meet my new life partner? Don’t I have a dream of meeting that perfect man who has a great sense of humor, loves horses and animals, and has his own property? How will that happen if I am not getting myself out there or always at someone else’s home hanging out? Where is the partner I can wake up next to that has fun over a cup of early morning coffee as we both try and squeeze open our eyes to the supposed real world. Where is that guy I go on long rides with and can spend my remaining years with as a lover and friend? I know he’s out there.

The first part of going from point A to point B was drastically reducing my visits to my platonic partner. He has done nothing wrong at all. In order to change, I needed to refocus. Making the change was hard and yet in some ways it was easy. It meant a lot more time alone at my somewhat isolated home in the sticks. I made the change a few weeks ago with the plausible excuse that I needed more time to prepare for my job, more time to cut stress out of my life by meditating each morning, more time to prepare for my day. I had a stressful week the week before and it showed on all levels. This was mostly true so it felt like a natural way to break things off, with the exception of the one weekend ride we do together. Okay, that’s done and no one got their feelings hurt. What’s next?

This change would mean a talkative person who likes to converse, being alone much of the time and it was not something I was looking forward to. How would I handle it? I knew that I needed to face my fears before moving forward. This happens one moment at a time. To give you an idea of my mindset, it is important to know that in the past five months I have lost my soul dog, my first and most loved horse, Scar (which about tore my heart out) and two geese, one of which was with me for over 13 years. My little farm family was greatly reduced. Today I am hurting and still numb. Spending more time with myself at the core, at the center of things, energetically was a scary prospect because of my recent losses. What would I find when I went within? How would I handle it?

Once I spent some time alone and slowed down, something really good came up out of the numbness. I had this picture of my much smaller animal family and myself, all our hearts in unison, in a smaller orbit. It felt like a smaller but higher quality life we were all building together. Good juju. New. An unknown and unexperienced landscape.

The next month is being spent being alone and sometimes, doing nothing which is actually almost impossible for me. I crave accomplishing things at my property and home because it needs work, and my ego loves seeing progress. Doing nothing is much harder said than done but will get my human doing mind to be a human being mind again. I need to get back to ground zero, a new ground zero. In a way it is like getting to know myself better, as opposed to filling the time with activities that avoid the inevitable meeting myself at my brand new level of existence. This is a big part of creating a new inner landscape.

I am a big proponent of the saying, you are the author of your life. Authoring your life moment-to-moment can be the in-betweeny part that hurts like hell. It feels so odd, so new, and yet so darned uncomfortable. There are no way markers in this new landscape to know if you are on the right path, or lost. Hey maybe being lost for a bit is good? That’s also food for thought. Here is where great insight and change is felt and experienced. This is the time for me to stick with it, form a new alliance with myself, my new life and prepare for the next step. I can feel the runway is clearing for takeoff!

Comments are welcome and encouraged! Please click on the title of this blog entry so all you see is this one entry, and scroll to the very end to make a reply. 

Scar, the horse that changed my life

A few years after my divorce and I was finally feeling pretty good. As I was driving to work on my long commute I was thinking, what do I really want to have in my life that I truly desire? Maybe there is something I have put off that I have forgotten about? Really reach out there and think about what I want that I had denied myself. Make it really big! A few ideas came to mind and then I realized what would be the jackpot. How about a life with horses in it? Something I had wanted my whole life but never attained. Yes. Exactly! I would be over the moon if I could spend my time with horses.

As a child, the idea of owning horses was a rich person’s hobby. It seemed impossible. So, that dream and that yearning went unfulfilled for over 40 years. For some reason the dream of having my own horse as an adult seemed impossible, due to my thoughts and memories as a child. Don’t let that happen to you!

Shortly after my desire to revisit the idea of horses in my life, a popular coupon company had a special on riding stables around town. I started  hanging out every Saturday at a stable all day long. I loved all the girls that worked there, we had a great time, and I became a regular. But I was no closer to getting a horse of my own.

A friend of mine always seemed to have horses coming and going. She knew of my desire to get a horse that would be my speed. She was familiar with my level of experience so I trusted her judgment. One day she said “I have a horse for you that is blind in one eye and lame, but he would be a perfect starter horse for you.” We went out to take a look at Scar. He was probably around 22 years old and was a beautiful, large quarter horse. But his overly long hooves needed a lot of work before he would be rideable.

After three months of farrier work, Scar was no longer considered lame. I was able to ride him and finally had a horse to call my own! I boarded him at the feed store for about a year, and then brought him and Silver, another horse I got from the same place, to my house. Scar and Silver spent a lot of time together at another ranch so I knew they would get along fine. I had purchased $1000 worth of corral fencing, found a spot to keep hay, and built a tack room for saddles and equipment. Keeping horses on my property was what I would consider the ‘jump to light speed’. Totally new territory, and terrifying at the same time to be in charge of such large animals.

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Scar had a lot of issues however. He would go bronco at the drop of a hat. And I mean like a bucking broncho, not just a little upset. Saddling Scar was most difficult when the wind blew. And wouldn’t you know it, the wind almost always came up when I started to get Scar ready for a ride. As if the wind was saying, “Hey you can do this!” in a test of my abilities to quiet the fears of my panicky horse. Scar had been in an accident many years previously and still had huge, deep scars all over his body, hence his name.

I suspect the scars were more than skin deep, and he had a lot of fear and panic issues. I had to be so careful putting his blanket and saddle on. Working on his right side where the scars were, was the hardest trigger area to work on. I would be working on him slowly but firmly and then his whole body would shake all over and his eyes would roll back in his head. His body was ready to pop up in the air like a rocket. It’s as if he wanted out of his body. He never went bronco with me on him, he settled right down as soon as I was in the saddle. It took work and courage for both of us to get to that point where we trusted each other and we worked through all the panic triggers.

A girl’s first horse is a right of passage, and he was the best horse I could have asked for! Scar tipped the scales at 1400 lb, with muscles upon his muscles. I called him the Charles Atlas of horses. A Roman gladiator in horse form. He was a standoffish glutton and I loved him! Working with Scar made me very careful around horses in general, as in respectful, not fearful. I loved this horse and we bonded deeply. I appreciated every ride and every experience with him.

Horses are a mixture of opposites. They are extremely powerful animals. At the same time they are totally unaware of their own power, much like I was at the time. Since they are prey animals, they spook and are frightened of almost everything. Even a plastic bag would scare most horses unless they have been trained not to be. They have incredible sensitivity to everything around them, especially energies (and you know my mantra of everything is energy). It’s why a horse can sense if you are scared or not. They can sense your nervousness a mile away, even before you get near them. They are a mixture of raw strength, subtle energy sensors, and are ninjas of graceful movements. They are the only animal I know of besides dogs that are innately eager to please. It’s hard to believe an animal of that size can be so lithe and full of grace and poise. People could take a thousand lessons from being around horses. I did so in my years with Scar.

Scar was not a loving horse, nor affectionate in any way. When I would give him a treat and try and hug him, he’d grab the treat and try and get away from me. He was a moocher, not a lover! But I still loved him anyway. It was his way. He ate anything and everything and would come up to my front door, bang it open, and try and grab the treat pail a few feet away in order to spill its contents and eat the goodies. He continued to do that long after I moved the treat bucket behind the door. He would lift the cover off a metal garbage can over and over with his nose (even if it had a bungie cord on it) until the damned thing opened and he could rummage around in it. Ever the moocher.

I rode Scar for five years and retired him in April to life at pasture. He’d had a hard life before he came to me, and he deserved a good, long retirement. However less than two months into his retirement he got laminitis and was in excruciating pain. I had to quickly find a vet to come and take a look at him. Both my equine vets were either out of town or unavailable for almost two days. Finally my country vet made a special exception in his schedule for me. It was bull season and they were moving cattle around on the mountains working 14 hour days. Plus there are a lot of logistics involved in bringing a horse with painful hooves to a vet in a trailer, etc.

When the vet came to give Scar the once over, I knew what the prognosis would be before he even came. Having put down Soul Dog a few months earlier, this was crushing news. How could I lose Soul Horse so soon afterwards? But I knew he needed to be put down as soon as possible. I had to wait almost another whole day until all the stars were in alignment and we could make it happen.

That last day I had Scar and his brother from another mother, Silver (an off the track Thoroughbred), out in the front pasture. We all hung out with Scar saying our goodbyes. Scar still explored the garbage cans for food! Even in his pain, he was being himself to the last. In life, Scar was very stand-offish, not a lover or affectionate at all. But on his last day he was cuddling, nuzzling and hanging out with me most of the day. I am sure he knew it was the end. I thanked him for the short but amazing time we spent together. He changed my life forever.

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My Native American vet did a wonderful job and put Scar to rest quickly and quietly with prayers and a small ceremony fitting an old war horse. We were even graced with the presence of a large hawk, my vets favorite wild animal, at the end of the ceremony. The large bird was sitting atop a large Juniper tree, confidently surveying her domain. We cheered to have confirmation that all was well on the other side. A sign that we had done the right thing.

My very best and first horse, is laid to rest on a mesa in central New Mexico. Scar, I love you so much, almost to bursting. Long may you run.

Comments are welcome and encouraged! Please click on the title of this blog entry so all you see is this one entry, and scroll to the very end to make a reply. 

A lesson in trust

After work in summer I take my dogs for a cool walk down my little river. During irrigation, the river is about one inch deep and mostly stagnant. The river boasts crayfish, gigantic arroyo frogs, dragonflies, butterflies, dark fishing spiders, tons of minnows and other wildlife. Because I recently had to deal with a rattlesnake I said out loud, “Hey is there anything up the river I need to be aware of?” The answer was both felt and heard. “Yes.” Me: “Oh, good. Wait! Is it deadly?” “No.” I could feel this in the core of my entire body, head to toe, as an unmistakable feeling of confirmation. Probably the strongest physical confirmation I have ever received. Consider me warned. I would be on the lookout for…whatever, and it was not going to kill me. Well now doesn’t that sound promising.

As we walked upriver I was observant and cautious. Would I see a deer, or a raccoon hunting for crayfish? A heron fishing for minnows? I did not know if it would be something dangerous, or something delightful. This feeling of confirmation was with me the whole time. The pond was more shallow than usual, and the large minnows were there by the gazillion! What fun! Gypsy had a blast swimming in it, while my other dog Goat Cheese was nearby.

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I walked into the edge of the 5 foot deep pool where the water was about 2 inches deep and took video of Gypsy swimming around. As I finished taking the video I turned around to go back to dry land taking one step with my left foot. The sand gave way and I sunk into the sand up to mid hip. Quicksand! Oh $hit. It felt like there was nothing supporting me and I dared not move one muscle. My right leg was bent at the knee and out sideways on what I hoped was firm ground. With quicksand it is hard to tell. I had no idea how much further down I would go if I tried putting my hands out in front of me to support myself. Sinking in another 2 and a half feet would be fatal. I desperately called to my dogs.

“Get over her NOW! Mama is in trouble and needs your help!”

Both dogs came over, oblivious to my plight. I grabbed them each by the collar and relied on their distributed weight to pull me out. They started tugging backwards, which is exactly what I needed. I was able to test that ground ahead of me and gingerly crawl out. I could hardly believe what had happened. Here on my little river there is quicksand and I managed to blunder into it. But I came out safe and sound. On my walk back home, I grabbed a large stick and held it sideways just to be on the safe side.

Homeward bound, I reflected on what happened. Well for one thing, I was alive! Yay! At the beginning of my walk, Spirit let me know where was something ahead for me. Sure enough, there was. But it was an event, not an animal. I got a very clear, very strong message from the Universe that there was something up ahead for me, and it was not fatal. I was to trust in that. Bottom line is, trust in the messages you get, especially if you ask for them! That was a big lesson in trust and I won’t soon forget it.

Comments always welcome and encouraged. View this blog entry by itself by clicking on the headline, in order to make a reply at the bottom. 

Of snakes and men

On hot days I take my dogs for a walk in the river on my property. In the heat of summer most of the water is diverted for the purpose of local irrigation, growing crops of New Mexico chili, pinto beans, squash and corn. Irrigation for local farmers restricts the river from a five-foot deep rushing torrent to a creek that barely runs at all. It’s fun to take the dogs up the river and back, chasing minnows, crayfish and dragonflies. On the way back to the house, we run up the slope through the small forest of knee high plants with cabbage like leaves and bright white flowers.

On our run back to the house from the river about five weeks ago, I heard a distinctive sound. Your ear never forgets this sound after the first time you hear a rattler. I quickly yelled at the dogs to stay away, get away, and yelled ‘no’ very loudly. They were unaware of the dangerous reptile at their feet. My feet were bare as were my legs. I am no stranger to snakes and have a great respect for them. Their symbolism, independent strength and grace are to be admired. But anything venomous on your property is not a great idea when you have horses (who fear them), and dogs who love to play with reptiles.

I have had rattlesnakes on my property before, but since they were thick as my upper arm and five feet long, I have had to call in neighbors to deal with them. I called my riding friend a few houses down and told him what was going on. He said “You can handle it. Just take a shovel and do it.” I was stupefied. Me? Kill a snake? Oh, no I can’t do that. No, no, no! Every fiber in my being fought the idea. I hemmed and hawed and danced around and could not do it. But I still had a problem on my hands. I needed to act quickly.

I finally saw another neighbor next door. I said “Hey there is a rattler on my property and I am scared of it.” He said “Well just bring it over here and I’ll take care of it.” Huh? Bring it over? Say what? Oh, the sarcasm was there but, I was stunned at such a flippant and uncaring answer. I have been nothing but a good neighbor to this person. He has even said so to may face on many occasions. But for some reason he was playing with me and being downright rude.

In a panic, I called back my riding friend and said “Look I really don’t have the nerve to do this. I like snakes! This is a living thing and I don’t want to kill it, but it can’t stay on my property.” Since soul dog left, none of my dogs would know what to do, and soul dog would have handled it perfectly. Sigh. My riding friend did not come over, and I would never ask outright. I figure if I outlined the situation it was up to him to offer, and not feel obligated at the same time. He insisted that I could do it. He said I had to learn to do this sort of thing, if I was going to live in the Southwest. He continued in a friendly voice and said “Just suck it up and do it. I know you can do it!” I hung up, and did the deed, which made me uncomfortable on many levels. It made me sick to my stomach. I realized after I did it that this was the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life. It took more courage to do it than I imagined I had. By a factor of 10!

I took a walk to blow off steam, and on the way back I saw a snake curled up on the side of the road basking in the late afternoon sun. I went a little closer to take a look and saw it was a bull snake. Harmless and also beneficial in its appetite for eating mice. I wanted to make sure it was not another rattler in my area. There are a lot of mice on my property and I always welcome most snakes to live there to help with that ‘natural balance’ of things.

This was a tale of two snakes and two men. One man and one snake were dangerous, and the other man and the other snake were beneficial. Had my friend not insisted I had the courage to kill the rattlesnake, I would never have found that supreme amount of courage and guts it took for me to kill it. The ‘bad’ neighbor had been shitty to me, and I would rather have had him say “No, I can’t help you” or anything rather than his sarcastic and dishonest reply. My good friend had done me a favor, in terms of giving me courage, that he is probably to this day not aware of how much he helped me.

Courage can come from anywhere, deep inside you, even if you don’t think you have it.

Comments always welcome and encouraged. View this blog entry by itself by clicking on the headline, in order to make a reply at the bottom.

Goodbye Soul Dog

It’s been just over three months that I let my soul dog, Google go forward to his journey off planet. He was 12 years and 8 months old. Not bad for a 72 lb dog. It was so hard to do, but I feel I had a very complete experience with him. I waited for a sign from him that it was time. Believe me, your animal will let you know when it is time.

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On his last day on the planet, I invited close friends to sit and visit with him out in the yard and the sunshine. All his dog friends were there and people came by to say goodbye. It was one of the very rare sunny days we had in a cloudy and cold early Spring. When it was time to go, we had to plan how to get him into the truck to get to the vet because of his severe arthritis and inability to move much. We decided to place his jumbo sized memory foam bed into the back of the pickup truck. Then three of us lifted him as gently as possible onto it. Then I got into the back of the truck with him and lay down behind him, hugging him and talking to him. I told him to look at the gorgeous sky of blue with tons of white fluffy clouds, and that he was a New Mexico dog for his whole life, and not to forget that. I saw him sniffing the air and still being curious about life.

The experience at the vet was very special. I stayed in the back of the truck with my dog hugging him. We agreed it was best to have it happen outside. Google was an outside dog and going inside the vet’s office would make him unnecessarily uncomfortable. My veterinarian is a member of the Jemez tribe. He said, “I am going to talk to Google. This is my Indian prayer.” He said a very special prayer speaking to my dog, in his tribe’s native language, before Google Doggen passed. This was so different than having someone pray over my dog. Then my vet interpreted the prayer and told me what he said. After everyone went back inside, I spent more time with his body, it was so hard to let go. I wanted a few more minutes to nuzzle his neck and dig my nose into his soft fur, like I had done so many times while he was alive.

At the crematorium I had several items picked out to go with him from home. I had a Mexican falsa blanket to wrap him in, some locally grown sage, incense sticks, and the most important item, his favorite old, deflated basketball. Hey if a dog spends his whole life chasing a basketball, he should get to have it in the end! I told the staff to ‘wrap him up like a burrito’ with all the items. Google deserved the best sendoff I could give him. I picked out a great urn, had it engraved, and also selected some jewelry where you can have some of the ashes inserted. One of those necklaces is hanging on the rear view mirror of my car, so he always rides along with me.

When you give it your all, for every part of the process, it helps with grief and loss. Don’t hide from any part of it. Be with your pet until the end. When you are fully present for the entire journey, it helps with grief and loss. Part of that experience was having him cremated and making a shrine in my home on a bookcase. Every week I buy fresh flowers at the grocery store. I have his old collar wrapped around his urn. It is a way to honor his memory, and still have him near me. It is hard to believe I can’t go out and find him in his usual spot under the porch, or pet him.

The Shamanic experience is about ‘soul retrieval’ for parts of your life you lost along the way—when your heart feels broken. What I did with Google Doggen was so complete that there is no part of my soul that needs retrieving. That is the best way to describe it. Yes, I miss him, but I feel so complete in his full experience here on earth, and with me, that I don’t have a heavy heart when I think of him. It’s finished. The feeling in my heart is light and free.

Sweet Dreams Google Doggen

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