Memorial Day

Memorial Day was previously known as Decoration Day because that’s when the mothers and family members decorated the graves of their sons and husbands who died in the civil war. North and South came together in grief to honor the fallen. Our country feels more divided in conscience than ever. Today I pray for the mending of our country, I beg that those who have died in the civil war intercede before God for us so we don’t repeat our mistakes, and I ask God to have mercy on all those who have died in war in the service of our beautiful and free country.

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In the Garden

Flat of Flowers

I’ve been in my garden. Dirt under the fingernails. A flat of flowers ready and waiting. Patio pot is planted. Temps were 90 last week and 50 this week. It’s May. The perennials are blooming nicely now. The annuals in the flat will debut their show in the heat of the summer.

 

Gardening brings meditation time. I thought about pressure. Mental, emotional, physical … it doesn’t matter … fear and pain are companions of being under pressure. The situation causing the pressure … giving a talk, saying no, exercising, may be different but do you avoid pressure, procrastinate, run away from it, get irritable? Or do you stick it out, giving yourself an opportunity to grow? I’ve thought about my response … I’m an avoider … and when I know I really need to step up, I do on the outside but on the inside, I avoid. I have a place inside of me that I can hide out, which means I miss out of being fully present and fully growing from whatever the pressure causing situation is. But I’m working on that … working on being congruent inside and out.

As the hoeing continues (there’s a lot of weeds in the garden), I think back and realize my jaw is no longer aching daily. I had dental work the beginning of April and that triggered a mild flare of the trigeminal neuralgia that lasted 6 weeks. It’s nice to go through a day with only the normal aches and not the throb of chronic pain.

Thoughts have run their course, now it’s simply time to feel the breeze, notice the texture of the earth, hum a tune, breathe in the spring garden … a moment to just be.

Outliving a Dream

A Facebook memory came up and I can’t believe it’s been a year since I finished the Brown Pony Series. The first book was published the end of 2013 and the last in the spring of 2016. Writing was not only cathartic, I felt I had a duty to share what I knew before I left the field of hippotherapy. The books have been selling well on Amazon … there are sales all over the world … England, Ireland, Europe, Japan, South Africa, and of course America. I only make a dollar or two on each book sale but each month I get about a hundred dollars in royalties. I’m happy others are finding the information helpful and I’m honored by the kind comments I’ve received. (You can see the books at www.BrownPonySeries.com).

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In 2016 I gave all my hippotherapy equipment away to a new graduate in Occupational Therapy and now I’m cleaning out the barn and selling extra horse equipment on eBay. It’s time to move on and follow a new dream. The only problem is, I’m not sure what that new dream is?

After specializing in hippotherapy for 20 years, it’s been hard to find a new path, to decide on who and what my professional business focus should be … I was one of the first clinical specialists in hippotherapy in the USA, taught hippotherapy at a University, spoke at most all the National Hippotherapy Conferences, published hippotherapy research nationally and internationally, mentored undergrad Master’s level and Doctoral level college students … how do you top that? You don’t, in fact I won’t even try!

Actually, I never had ambitions to do any of the things listed above (including the writing of the Brown Pony Series), they were simply opportunities that presented themselves as I walked the path of my dreams, the dream to share hippotherapy with others. I still can’t believe all the professional blessings that I’ve experienced, especially with those people I’ve worked with over the years. Looking back, I went with the flow of life and stepped up when I saw a need … well that’s somewhat true … what happened first is that I waited for others to fill the need, I procrastinated, I initially said “no,”, and when I finally said yes, I was filled with anxiety that I wasn’t good enough. That’s the truth of what led to a multitude of accomplishments that I probably never deserved but which occurred anyway. In spite of myself, the dream pushed me forward.

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I’ve outlived the dream of hippotherapy, but I still don’t have a perfect grasp on a new dream … right now it’s about healing and relaxing. Following the hippotherapy dream did not come without a cost, I gave so much of myself that I have had to work on overcoming chronic pain for the past four years from a type of overuse syndrome. However I’m feeling stronger, I feel the healing slowly strengthening my body and mind. And I’m getting that feeling of restlessness to start new ventures … I wonder what the next few years will bring?

I know the path to a new dream will appear in front of me as I keep walking towards those things that excite me, offering the talents I have been gifted with to others … it will be something combining women, transitions, chronic pain, natural healing, stress management, wellness, horses, energy medicine and holistic health. But how, in what combination, and where is unknown to me. If you have any good ideas, let me know, I’m open to expanding my vision on how this will manifest.

Have you outlived any of your dreams? What have you done to move forward in life? Was it successful? What would you recommend to others who are in the process of moving on? How did you keep from getting stuck in the past? How did you take care of yourself during the transition? What other questions should I be addressing?

Pushing Through Life

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I went to a riding instructor update clinic and just recently returned. It’s mandatory to attend these clinics every few years to maintain the instructor credentials. And it’s nerve racking … the travel, the being watched and critiqued over your teaching, and instructing riders you’ve never met before and will probably never see again.

I’ve been attending these clinics for 15 years and yet I never seemed to get used to it, I’d be anxious for months beforehand … the anxiety over this event spilled over into all other areas of life … affecting sleeping, affecting constipation, affecting energy level, etc. I love learning new things but I was never excited for these clinic “learning” experiences … on the contrary, it was really hard to take in new information or do anything else except to grin and bear it, persevering until the update clinic was over.

I tried to spice it up by going to interesting places like Steamboat Springs, Colorado for one update and by experimenting with having clinics from different lead instructors but the stress continued to blend into other areas of my life. I was a bundle of nerves. I still did it anyway … because that’s what I do … I push through and carry on towards the end goal, but I pay a terrible price doing it that way. Not at the expense of unfulfilled dreams (I do live my dreams), but rather it’s the ‘wear and tear’ that pushing through life causes on a body. I have my dream life, yet I haven’t been able to enjoy having it. Instead I feel that self-induced heavy load creating unnecessary muscle tension and pain.

But something is changing. Really changing. A couple of years ago my body broke down from pushing through life and I’ve slowed down … was forced to actually. And I find I like a slower pace … it suits me. I don’t even canter much when I ride anymore and that surprises people and I’m ok with that. I’m enjoying life, relaxing, and smelling the proverbial roses along the way. I’m acknowledging my limits and not striving to be Wonder Woman anymore. And you know what, stress is no longer bleeding through into other areas of my life … it’s contained. Yes, there is still stress (that’s an unavoidable fact of life) but it’s only brief and is appropriate to the situation and I don’t lose sleep over it anymore.

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This last update clinic I went to Vermont, the home of the founder and I had an amazing time. I learned a lot. I enjoyed the people. I slept at night. Yes, I was nervous when I taught but it was within the boundary of the teaching time. And when the evaluation time came at the end of the clinic, I felt good.

It just amazes me what happens when we stop pushing through life, slow down and start going with the flow of life. Saying no more often, being ok with our personal limits, and saying yes with integrity. Everything opens up and all of life feels like spring again. New and refreshed.

Month Five, Living a Natural Life

At the beginning of each month, for this entire year, I’m blogging about simple ways I’ve incorporated into living a toxin free life (as much as possible). It’s daunting … where to start … why start at all … and why are there so many “trusted” products still being sold that are actually unhealthy for people???

Where to start? With one simple change each month that you can easily maintain.

Why start? Toxins shorten our life and impact the quality of our life. If you want to avoid pain, help your body fight cancer before it even starts, and have energy to enjoy life, then avoiding toxin buildup is a must. Your body has the natural ability to detox if it’s not overloaded. Small toxins here and there add up to an overwhelming toxic load and the resulting health problems. It’s often not just one thing, but rather the combination of mercury fillings, roundup, lawn fertilizers, bug spray, synthetic room air fresheners, etc. Start changing your exposure to the toxins that are under your control and you can change your life!

“Trusted” products are sold because people buy them. The more people understand toxic load, then less unhealthy products will be purchased. Awareness comes first, then action.

Have you started yet?  Here’s a review of the first four months of this year …

January, Month One, Living the Natural Life – Switch to a Natural Deodorant without Aluminum (doTerra, Schmidts)

February, Month Two, Living the Natural Life – Switch to a Natural Shampoo, Soap, and Lotion without endocrine disruptors (doTerra, Arbonne, POSH, etc.)

March, Month Three, Living the Natural Life – Switch to Natural Pain Relief with Essential Oils (doTerra’s Deep Blue Rub, a natural capsaicin cream, Peppermint for Headaches, or a Blend of Juniper Berry and Black Pepper for nerve pain)

April, Month Four, Living the Natural Life – Switch to a Natural Toothpaste and avoid the dangers of toxic fluoride

It’s May and Spring is in full flower. Spring has always been associated with spring cleaning for me, so let’s looks at limiting our exposure to toxic cleansers. First, take inventory of what cleaners you currently have in the house and then go to the EWG Guide, type in the name of your cleaning product in the search bar and see what rating those cleaning products have. Look up common products you may want to switch to. If you’re not finding good alternatives, then make your own. Really, it’s not hard. Buy a 15ml bottle of a quality LEMON essential oil … you don’t want pesticides or heavy metals found in cheap EO’s (trusted brands are doTerra for $13.33 or Young Living).

Here’s a recipe for a grease cutting all-purpose cleaning (counters, toilets, sinks, walls, and window spray):

Use a 1 or 2 (recycling code on bottom) plastic spray bottle

Add 1 cup water, 1 cup white vinegar, and 30 drops of Lemon Essential Oil. Shake well before each use.

Here’s some more ideas for your cleaning routine HERE and HERE.

I challenge you this month to make over your Spring cleaning and take the next step to supporting your body with a toxin free lifestyle!