Reflections

mountain scenery

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It’s the last day of the month, the last day of the year, the last day of a decade. In the shadow of the first day of the month, the first day of the year, the first day of a new decade. A perfect time to reflect on what has been, what is, and what will be.

Every decade brings it’s celebrations and sorrows and this decade was no different. But aging from the 40’s to the 50’s is a turning point for most people. I took for granted that I could push my body and it would do as I requested, even to the point of abusing it.

No more. Falling out of trees from my childhood, car accidents from my teens, habitual stress from adulthood … it all caught up with me this decade and I ended up with a chronic pain diagnosis.

But that was not the end of the story, it was just the beginning of a new chapter. The title of the chapter dating from 2010-2019 is “Exploration.” I broke down and I wanted to fix it and make it better for years to come.

And that’s what I did. I delved into holistic manual medicine (osteopathic bodywork), I started using essential oils, I did a make-over of the personal care products I used and paid attention to labels using the EWG guidelines, I worked on naturally balancing my changing hormones, and I completed a gentle heavy metal detox that lasted a few years.

I was in this for the long haul and although I tend to be an impatient person who wants quick results, I decided to notice the small changes over time. What type of changes have I noticed?

The chronic pain is gone (although I still have residual aches here and there).

I can think clearer and remember better.

I haven’t been down for the count with a cold or the flu for 5 years (no flu shots either) and yes, I can feel a sore throat coming on but my body just takes care of it and it’s gone after a good nights sleep with no other symptoms.

Stripping off the clothes hot flashes are almost gone.

And the most surprising change came after I invested in coaching and energy work … the ever present hum of anxiety in life stopped. That low level fight-flight stress reaction underlying everything in my life dissipated. It’s amazing to feel time expand and to have joy bubble up.

I’m entering 2020 a new me, feeling the wonder at what amazing things will happen, having a new capacity to live with change, being willing to share what I’ve learned with others, and wanting to just enjoy this new decade.

Just like the metaphor of the photo, reflections create a clear path to follow if you take the time to peer into them. Have you taken the time? Could you make the time? Would you? When?

 

Merry Christmas

white ceramic mug

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Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

May God watch over your travels.

May you find quiet time in the midst of the busy-ness.

May God shower you with graces.

May God embrace you with His warm love this Christmas.

May God keep you safe.

May God give you peace.

Merry Christmas to you!

 

The Why

brown and black leather horse saddle on white and gray animal

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What you do is most likely because of who you are … there is always a “why” answered with our behavior. And this is a story of my why …

Even as a little child I liked things to stay the same … I loved holiday decorations but the transition between having them up and taking them down was very stressful on my little nervous system and I found myself wondering why people would go to all that trouble when it causes so much stress.

This stress wasn’t something I picked up in my family, it seemed peculiar to the way I saw the world. It also wasn’t due to being rebellious against Christmas or the religion I was raised in because I always felt close to God. It was just that change caused stress.

There were other things too, like tags on clothes and certain fabrics like wool … these things were so irritating I wanted to crawl out of my skin and I certainly couldn’t attend to anything else (i.e. school work) with all of my attention on how awful I felt.

And crowds … I hated them … I positioned myself at the end of the line and tried to sit at the edge of a bench during school assemblies. The chaotic sounds were so annoying to me that I had tunnel vision and inside I felt so anxious, I just wanted to run away.

Everyone has sensory sensitivities to a point … certain smells are noxious, continuous loud banging sounds can give you a headache … but I was one of those kids who was wired to experience stress under seemingly “normal” conditions. I didn’t know what this was when I was growing up but I did know I was different. I was also very very good at keeping this hidden because I didn’t want to be different.

The one area where I always felt free and normal was around horses. I was happy, I didn’t feel stress, my body would relax and move normally instead of being clumsy. I craved horse time. And luckily I grew up next to a horse farm.

In college we had to take physical education classes and I signed up for horseback riding lessons. I credit those lessons for helping me get through the stress and sensory challenges of college and it was no wonder that shortly after I graduated as a therapist, I began offering therapy to others with horses.

As a riding instructor and therapist specializing in hippotherapy, I wanted my lessons to be safe and fun for my clients. One time I chose a comfy western saddle for a client and put this saddle on a kind old horse. But when we asked the horse to walk, he started to crow hop. I wasn’t new with horses, I’d owned them for a dozen years and I was an equine professional, but this surprised me and put me into problem solving mode. And what I found opened my eyes to the horse’s need for sensory comfort in order to do his job without stress.

What happened? The old horse had a higher wither and the western saddle sat so low in the front I couldn’t even get one finger between the gullet and the spine. With the weight of the rider it settled even lower and was putting pressure right on top of the wither bone. Ouch! It was so simple, why hadn’t I paid attention to saddles before? I began to pay attention. A lot of attention. I read books, I watched DVD’s, I took courses, I queried saddle fitters, I talked with saddle sellers and I studied my own horses and saddles.

And then I began teaching my centered riding clients about keeping their horse comfortable with a good fitting saddle so they could have a good ride. I knew personally how little things like tags and wool clothing affected me, how I couldn’t focus, and how irritated I was and because of my own sensory sensitivities I had more compassion for the horses under my care. They just wanted to feel comfortable and safe too.

A couple of years went by and I was asked to teach a saddle fitting clinic, then I taught more. And finally this led to putting the basics of saddle fit into an easy to access online course. There are three basics of saddle fit: 1) the saddle matches the shape of your horses back; 2) the saddle tree pressure does not sit where it shouldn’t (i.e. not on the top of the spine or on the shoulder blade) and does sit where it should (along the ribcage muscles behind the shoulder and in front of the loin); and 3) you use about one inch of saddle padding between the horse and the hard saddle tree to allow for the movement of the horse.

This isn’t rocket science but if you never considered it, like I hadn’t until I had a problem, it can seem overwhelming. I understand that feeling and I’ve created a free gift to help you get started on saddle fit … just go to http://www.SaddleFitSimplified.Info. I’m also teaching a free class in 10 days on Thursday December 26, 2019 @ 12:30 eastern time on the topic of the Five Top Problems with Saddle Fit … it’s a teleclass, so you attend by calling in via your phone, but you have to click the link for the free registration and then you’ll get the call in number.

No, as a disclosure, I’m not a saddle fitter by trade. I’m a therapist who intimately understands the need for feeling comfortable and safe. I’m in business for myself and I have the responsibility to reduce liability when working with my horse clients and poor saddle fit does increase the risk for an accident. Also I deeply love horses and want what’s best for them.

That’s my why. I went into therapy to understand my own sensory sensitivities and then because of a safety issue, I applied my occupational therapy skills to analyze the basic components of saddle fit, spent hundreds of hours studying from other professionals, and honed down all the practical information for others to learn from.

I don’t sell saddles, I just want you to be able to judge your own saddle fit. And you can! Join me Thursday 12/26 if you’re interested in learning a bit more on keeping your horse comfortable, happy, and safe.

What Should Have Happened

photo of girl sitting near christmas tree

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Once upon a time a little girl was happily playing with her cousins and everyone received a gift. The little girl was only 5 years old and she was elated … it was a ‘big girls’ gift … it was a paint-by-numbers set! Her cousins were older and she was thrilled to be included in the fun.

Her aunt had everyone sit down at the table and open their kits. The little girl watched what her cousins did and she did the same. She was smart and figured out that you matched the color number to the number on the picture board. She was good at spying out the numbers and so she started painting. It was exciting and fulfilling at the same time.

She loved painting. She loved being included. Then something happened. One older cousin complained she was painting out of the lines. Another older cousin said she shouldn’t be allowed to have a paint brush because she was smooshing it down and ruining the bristles. It was like a balloon deflated and all the joy the little girl was feeling left and was replaced with self-conscious shame.

Her aunt didn’t say anything. The little girl felt very hurt inside but tried to soldier on and reclaim the fun. It didn’t work. She was too little. She was too crushed. She excused herself and went down into her aunt’s basement, into a little corner and crouched low trying her best to just hide and disappear. No one came to help her feel better.

The little girl grew up. The paint-by-numbers incident was a memory locked deep away. Whenever this grown up girl tried crafts she experienced a mixture of joy and anxiety. It was confusing. She wanted to explore and experiment but another part of her was driven to rigid perfectionism. She was ultra sensitive to criticism, it was crushing, however you wouldn’t know it by looking at her, she kept it inside. But keeping everything inside took its toll and she would want to hibernate from the world.

The girl was driven to be successful and wanted to discover why she felt so burdened. She took stress-management classes and self-awareness courses. And she hired a business coach. The business coach had the girl do a visualization on the roots of her blocks to creating the business she wanted. And this old memory came up … the paint-by-numbers memory. She had a lot of buried emotions there and she used the emotional freedom technique to release the old stress.

And then her coach had her go back and look at the scene and imagine what should have happened. And this is what the girl came up with … her little self was only 5 years old and it was her first experience with paint-by-numbers … she should have been encouraged to play and congratulated on how good she was at matching the colors and numbers … the brush was disposable and who cared if it was crushed, she could learn more about brushes later as her motor skills matured. The adult girl sent love and compassion back in time to her little girl self.

Then she imagined her aunt stepping in and quickly redirecting her older cousins criticism by reframing the situation … telling her older cousins that it’s ok to play and experiment, that they were older and had learned more from experience, and her aunt praised everyone for how they were doing.

In the visualization the little girl beamed … she felt safe and understood, she felt she had permission to continue to enjoy her time with her paint-by-numbers, and she felt ok with her cousins again.

After the session with her business coach, the girl began to feel more creativity and permission to explore in her business. She wasn’t blocked anymore and her business began to grow. She felt more connected to others around her and she felt so much more happiness and energy inside. She was amazed at the changes that occurred after that coaching session.

Is this just a nice Christmas time story? Nope, I know this girl personally … because I am her and I experienced the power of coaching using a technique called “healing forward” and recreating what should have happened.

Reverse Engineering

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What is reverse engineering? For coaching, it’s looking at where you are now and looking back to where you were, and then seeing all those changes and steps that have occurred to create the change and healing in your life.

Sometimes those changes are so subtle, they are easy to overlook, thus I love to use journaling as a way of capturing themes over time. Looking back over the past 6 months of journaling, these are some of the themes I’m noticing …

I began to practice mindfulness more.

I began to feel more powerful.

I began creating more in my business.

I began to feel more flow and ease in my day.

I started to notice what resistance feels like in my body and the pain it creates.

I worked in my garden.

I didn’t feel so much overwhelm.

I practiced better self-care.

I feel happy.

I’m getting a lot done in my business and it doesn’t feel like work.

I feel more connected to others.

I’m noticing others and complimenting them more.

I’m cooking for my parents.

I’m playing.

I feel I’m making a difference.

I notice more about me, my likes and dislikes, and I honor me.

I’m trying different things in my business.

I’m giving myself lazy relaxing days off.

I’m focused and working through my schedule and list of things to do.

I’m cleaning out clutter and it’s just easier.

It’s easier to accept compliments.

I took several bags of clothes to Goodwill (I mean several dozen of bags!).

I’m feeling my life purpose more clearly.

I don’t need excuses, I do what I can each day.

I’m speaking my truth.

When I feel resistance, I acknowledge it and then decide if I need to comfort it or push through.

I live in abundance, I’m thankful for my life.

I’m laughing more.

I have less pain.

I notice how everything I’ve gone through has been an experience I am able to use to help others.

I’m doing it, I’m following through, I’m moving towards my success.

I notice there are moments of outer action, moments of self-care, and moments of inner healing. It’s pretty interesting to review. The changes are HUGE! I feel like the real me is starting to shine through. I feel less like a slow moving turtle who carries around its shell to hide in and more like someone skipping and dancing through life.

When people ask about coaching, it can be difficult to talk about, so this blog is an effort to capture some of those ineffable changes that occur through the coaching process.

The Transformational Coaching process focuses on four areas:

  1. The Healing Shift – Deep Healing at the Root Source of the Blocks.
  2. The Belief and Possibility Shift – Redefining a Radically New Future.
  3. The Empowerment Shift – Stepping into Confidence and Power, Fearless and Real.
  4. The Action and Upleveling Shift – Steady Progress Towards Goals and Manifesting Unexpected Opportunities and Support.

Within each shift there are in-depth, step by step, highly effective coaching processes designed to deliver specific steps in the journey AND provide measurable WOW results and Aha moments that you can see, feel, and appreciate.

When I reverse engineer and review the things that have happened in 2019, I’m blown away. But the change hasn’t happened by chance, it’s been by choice … I chose to invest in me.

There are many investments we make in life … in our home, our retirement, our health. Have you ever thought about investing in something that will upgrade your mindset, supercharge your outlook on life, something empowering and confidence building, something that will make you more YOU, something that can impact every other area of your life including your relationships, your health, your finances, your work?

2020 is the perfect year for clarity and vision. I’d like to plant the seed whether you should consider investing in your own healing shift, belief and possibility shift, empowerment shift, and action and upleveling shift.