Thank YOU!

Thank you for following along with me for the past seven years as I’ve climbed out of the pit of chronic pain.

Blogging provided the perfect outlet for an introvert and a journal of the things I’ve tried and the progress that was made.

The journey to wellness has lasted several long years and I’ve certainly struggled with impatience over the slow progress.

But here I am, out the other side of the storm, whole and living without pain and without any pain meds.

I never realized the side-effects of implementing natural living with essential oils, body work, vitamins, healthy foods, and regular detoxing would be a becoming … emerging strong in my own personal identity.

I know myself better.

I deep self-awareness.

I accept my imperfections.

I love me.

Along this path, which I admit felt like walking through fog and worrying about the direction I was taking, I discovered I’m very happy with a simple life.

I don’t feel ruled by time, everything feels more expanded and free. I still have my aging parents to care for, but now it’s not a chore, it’s something I feel good about offering.

And that makes all the difference … that outlook. Can you detox your outlook by detoxing your body?

This journey has certainly taken me places I never dreamed of. It’s been a journey to ‘me,’ the real me, being unapologetically me. A me that isn’t keeping things bottled up.

I was so burnt out when I first started on the road to recovery. And stress was the fuse that lit the bomb of chronic pain. I’d like to say I ignored the symptoms of burnout and soldiered through like a good self-employed entrepreneur does, but that means I made a choice.

To make a choice you have to have awareness of at least two options but seven years ago I didn’t feel like I had any other option except to keep pushing on and thus the break down of my body.

I know that’s not true now but I had to work through a deep resistance to change, the feeling of unsafely in the unknown, and the time needed to cultivate the energy and skills required to reinvent myself.

I worked with partnering people with disabilities with horses for 20 years and now I have a new mission. A mission to help the horses.

My “BIG WHY” in my work has always been “how much good can I bring into the world today?” And now I hope to honor those sweet horses who never complain but break down with stress like I did and those horses who are judged as being bad when their behavior is just a reaction to pain.

I understand those horses. I’ve been there myself. And I plan to bring all the holistic tools I’ve learned in my own journey to healing to the table in this new direction.

Saddle Fit Simplified is the name of this new venture and it’s a unique venture because it’s about teaching everyday horse lovers how to help their own horse. It’s about the principles and practical applications of DIY saddle fit. And it’s about so much more … about learning the language of the horse, about understanding their reactions, about providing them with a feeling of safety.

What people learn from me won’t replace saddle fitters, there will always be a need for additional help for particular horses and certain saddles, but it will empower horse owners to recognize and correct simple saddle fit issues AND most importantly, I aim to help thousands of horses to have a happier more comfortable life!

As my long journey healing from chronic pain now ends, another new and exciting journey begins. I won’t be blogging in Desert Well anymore, I’ve made it through the dry spell. It’s time to move on to lush pastures, I invite you to follow me at my new blog https://saddlefitsimplified.wordpress.com.

And Thank YOU!

Coping

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Coping. There’s a lot wrapped up in that one word.

  • Crying
  • Sleeping
  • Wine
  • Vodka
  • Avoiding
  • Procrastinating
  • Holding a Scream In
  • Writing
  • Punching a Pillow
  • Counting to Five
  • Breathing
  • Massage
  • Tapping
  • Talking to a Friend
  • Venting on Social Media
  • Shopping
  • Eating
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Crafting
  • Roaring Your Frustration in an Empty Room (or in a pillow, or with your face in the water)
  • Biking
  • Soaking in Nature
  • Hanging out with Your Horse
  • Petting Your Dog
  • Using Essential Oils
  • Researching
  • Reading
  • Drinking Tea
  • Learning Assertiveness
  • Learning Decision Making
  • Learning about Your Personality Type
  • Praying
  • Fighting
  • Video Games

And there’s just so much more that we can use for coping. Some would judge many of those coping mechanisms as bad. But I would suggest they are incident specific.

If kids are fighting and mom has a glass of wine to help her stay calm so she can redirect the behavior instead of screaming at the kids, would you judge her for that?

If someone lost their beloved pet and is crying in public, would you judge them for that?

When someone is coping that means there is something to cope with … some type of stress. And the best way to deal with stress is compassion.

Compassion with yourself and compassion with others.

If that mom is drinking a bottle of wine each day and that’s been going on for months, it’s time to find a way to decrease the stress so the coping doesn’t become harmful.

If that person who lost their pet is crying in public three years later, it’s time to gently encourage them to explore why loss is so triggering so they can build emotional resilience.

Whether coping is good or bad is situational, it all depends on intensity, duration, and frequency of the coping behavior in context with the intensity, duration, and frequency of the stressor(s).

If you have a way of coping that is creating or will be creating harm whether physical, financial, or relational … then consider whether you can exchange that way of coping for another way.

If you’re shopping to escape stress and your bank account is suffering, can you explore a free online game instead? Or can you take an assertiveness class and practice saying ‘no’ to stress thus decreasing the need engage in coping and helping to eliminate the desire to cope by shopping?

If you want to add some positive skills to your coping toolbox, in August I’ll be teaching a free coping class on Decision Making, and I invite you to join in by clicking HERE!

Truth

I’ve been wondering about what to write this week. Something inspiring? Something informative? Something motivating? Something interesting?

I generally get an intuitive hit and the words just flow. And yes, then I do have to go back to add and rewrite areas as updated inspirations follow later in the day.

I allow that to be ok now. In the past I was mired in perfectionism and doing it right the first time. The “one and done” attitude created angst for me as evidenced by that stuck feeling, a shutting down of my intuition and lots of procrastination.

Back to writing … relax … allow the intuition to bubble up … ok … I’m getting a hit … truth … this week is going to be something about truth … take a deep breath … let go … trust the blanks will fill in … just relax … allow the thoughts to flow …

Pilot to Jesus (Jn 18:38) “What is truth?”

Jesus at Last Supper (Jn 14:6) “I am the truth”

Truth is divine. Truth is alive. Truth is not just “what” but also “who.”

I seem to have a nose for the truth. I can feel it inside my bones. But I’ve considered truth to be the opposite of deceit. Either it’s a lie or it’s the truth. And that, I realize as I’m writing this, is more like Pilot’s perspective of “what” is truth. And it’s likely I’m judging truth based on my personal paradigm.

Even scientific truths change over time as more is uncovered and more is understood. For example, right now we have a mandatory face mask executive order in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Surgeons wear masks so they must prevent the spread of infections, correct?

Interestingly there isn’t currently research that supports that view. Check out PubMed and/or the Cochrane Report.

If the current scientific evidence is that masks don’t prevent the spread of infection, why make them mandatory? Why fine people for not wearing them? Why put people who have been raped with a hand over their mouth and who go into a PTSD reaction with a mask into further trauma? Why get judgmental of someone who has taken their mask off because of an unseen asthma attack?

Because the truth is the government told us to do our part and wear masks. Because the truth is people feel more in control and safer when they follow the rules. And the truth is although science doesn’t support mask wearing to prevent passing along infections now, future research may support the practice.

If truth and deceit are opposites, it could be argued that it’s deceitful to be told that masks prevent the spread of Covid-19, because the truth is there is no evidence for that premise. And if that was deceitful, then it would be unjust to persecute or prosecute people who did not wear masks.

And that’s how it goes when we stay within the realm of Pilot. It’s no wonder he asked “What is truth” because it seems so changing and arbitrary and in the hands of the powerful … when paradigms change everything can be redefined and what is seen as truth changes, when sciences advances our understanding of truth changes.

BUT … when I stop looking at truth as a “what” and start looking at truth as a “who” everything shifts. What would Jesus do? Jesus cares for each of us as an individual. He created the laws of science and all that science studies. And He knows we are limited in what we know and are learning as we go. He’s gentle with us.

If I keep Jesus in mind, I’m not so self-righteous as to refuse to wear a mask even though I’ve read the research that it’s probably not going to help.

  • If my wearing a mask helps others feel safer and more comfortable, then that’s a good thing and I’ll wear a mask for that reason.
  • Since I know people can struggle with masks and many people have hidden disabilities (I’m one of them due to my sensory issues), I will refrain from judging someone who isn’t wearing a mask.
  • As I value accuracy, I’ll share the research I’ve found on masks with those who might not be aware of it.

When I think of truth as a “who,” rather than as the black and white “what,” all my actions change. It stops being about deceit or honesty and starts being about a higher good. I can know the current science on masks not preventing the spread of infection and still wear a mask. I can know the current law requiring masks and still refrain from the desire to turn in those who aren’t wearing a mask.

I can do all of those and not feel like a hypocrite. Why? Because they are all based in love, they are all based in what is right and good for people. They are all based in truth, the higher truth.

Thank you God for setting us free from Pilot’s dilemma, from a black and white earthly and limited understanding of truth. And thank you God for giving us a living example of truth in Jesus.

Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

I really did start this post without a fixed idea on what to write. The word “truth” came to mind and then everything began to flow, the words began to form, and perhaps it did end up being inspiring, informative, motivating, or interesting? I hope it was for you! I initially thought truth was about accuracy and honesty, and it is, but it’s also more than that, truth is not just the black and white facts, it’s overarchingly about love and that discovery unfolded as a delightful surprise for me.

Decisions Decisions

Should I dress up for this event or dress casual?

Pizza for dinner or can I muster up the energy to cook a healthy meal?

Do I get the brand name toilet paper or the store brand?

Some decisions aren’t that stressful. The greater the long-term effects of the decision, the more it needs to be thought out.

Should I marry this person?

Do I buy a SUV or a smaller energy efficient car?

Should I invest in the stock market right now or hold off?

These are bigger decisions that may require some soul searching and information gathering.

If you’re like me, you can use some decision-making tools to help you make those big and small decisions easier! I’d like to invite you to join me for THURSDAYS @ THREE WITH BECKY for free Stress-Success topics held via Zoom bi-monthly.

The next Stress-Success topic is “No-fail Decision Making” … in under 30 minutes you’ll get three useful ready-to-use decision-making tips and techniques! Hint: I teach both mind and body tips so you can tune into your own intuition AND use rational problem solving.

It’s free to join in! I hope I can convince you to invest 30 minutes in learning Stress-Success topics for yourself (and that you can share with your clients or your kids). I guarantee you’ll find it worth your time!

It’s easy to sign up for the August 27, 2020 meeting using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAuf-GqqD8vH9TSAXTYylOoO7wjAEcz3d1r

Sign up today and put a note on your calendar because I’m going to be so excited to see you there!

Marginalized

woman embracing gently gray horse on beach

Photo by ArtHouse Studio on Pexels.com

The online dictionary defines marginalized as a person, group, or concept treated as insignificant or peripheral.

I have often felt like an outcast or a misfit in the world due to my weight at different times, my hidden sensory sensitivities, the way I think, my interests in natural holistic healing, my curiosity about the applications of science in energy work, and even exploring animal communication.

Interestingly, I’ve felt marginalized from many in the horse world but not by the horses themselves. For some reason horses trust me. Maybe it’s because I tend to be slower and more deliberate when I move. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived with chronic pain and I work hard to make life comfortable and pain free. Maybe it’s because I experience life with heightened sensitivity and so do they … they can sense a kindred spirit.

So why would I feel marginalized?

  • I trained my hippotherapy horses using natural methods and trail rides and hill work instead of using the industry standard of dressage like everyone else.
  • I saw a need for the everyday horse owner to learn about saddle fit so they could learn to evaluate their own saddle when the industry standard is to hire a saddle fitter for a one-time job or to rely on a saddle seller.
  • I don’t fit the “mold” for a horse professional. I feel judged and have even judged myself because I’m not “tall and thin,” and because I don’t want to have to put hours and hours into training a horse (I want it to be easy and fun and relaxing).
  • I don’t look elegant like others when riding a horse, riding does not come natural for me and I’ve had to work very hard to build balance in the saddle. But lifting weights, exercising and riding with physical strength doesn’t work for me like it does for others … I’ve worked on balance from a mind-body level using energetic exercises to get success.

And I thought about it and there are probably other people who have felt like I do, marginalized and feeling like they don’t fit in … whether it be for their weight, or for feeling afraid, or their choice of horse or equipment, or that they need to go slower and feel judged to hurry up, or maybe they are like me and don’t make a lot of progress in lessons and feel challenged with balance on the horse.

Feeling marginalized is stressful, there’s a need for connection and fitting in, nobody wants to feel excluded or like they don’t belong. What if being different was the normal way to be, your normal way to be? What if you embraced your differences, worked on the things that are bugging you about yourself in a supportive environment, and worked through the wisdom to know what is in your power to change and what areas you’d apply self-acceptance?

How different would that feel? If you’re a horse woman who’s felt marginalized by others because your body doesn’t always do what you want, you have secret fears, or you just don’t have the experience others have … I offer a compassionate, sensible and respectful learning path that will help you confidently find joy around horses (and other horse people), in a way your horse really notices and responds to with more connection without having to resort to methods of force or intimidation.

I want to start a group where we can all connect … should it be on MeWe or Facebook or another site? And what are some of your ideas for a name for our group? Please leave your comment below!

Goodbye My Friend

 

Sweet Nicci, we’ve been partners for the past 18 wonderful years and you’ve been my steady rock. We had so many adventures together trail riding, fox hunting, hippotherapy, and therapeutic riding.

Kids and adults alike loved you. You were steady and methodical and such a solid horse. You weren’t the typical mare. You weren’t herd bound. You loved people over the other horses. Your face was so expressive when you were being brushed in your favorite areas.

You loved neck rubs and being scratched on your chest. You yawned and closed your eyes with pleasure when you got your horsey massages. I always wanted you to know love and peace and comfort.

You were 29 this year and age was catching up, you were losing weight in spite of senior feed and dental work. You were standing away from the other horses. You weren’t sick and you weren’t lame but you weren’t you anymore either.

We’ve always “talked” to each other and I asked you if it was time, if you were ready to go? And you answered “yes.” How hard that answer was to receive. It’s easy to make the decision when a horse is painfully lame, has a broken leg, or has a fatal colic.

I remembered my promise to you, that you would know peace and love and comfort your whole life with me, and I made the difficult decision to give you that gift, the gift of letting go.

You are buried under the old oak tree with your friends that went before you, I visit you daily. I’ve had tears, I miss your beautiful physical presence, but I can sense your amazing spirit and that gives me peace.

I have made mistakes in my past with horses that I’ve learned not to repeat. I sold an older horse as a child’s horse only to find out later I had been mislead and the horse went to an auction. I gave away an older horse to a friend who kept it for a year and then gave it away to someone else, who gave it away to someone else and I felt helpless and betrayed. I tried everything under the sun to heal the Cushing’s related founder in another older horse inadvertently prolonging his pain for months before making the inevitable decision.

So I accept the responsibility I have to my horses; I consciously aim to give you the most comfortable and best life possible, and when it comes time, the best ending to life. You are my partners and friends and I want you to experience the calm and familiarity of home and to be surrounded with love when you take your last breath.

I will not shirk my duty to you, try to prolong your life because I can’t say goodbye, or pass you on to another person because I don’t want to deal with it. It still isn’t easy, it never will be. I miss you. I love you. You were one of the great ones. There is another horse angel in heaven now and her name is Nicci. Goodbye My Friend. Until we meet again.

Masks

woman holding face mask

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

I haven’t ventured out much since the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown. But after a month, groceries were needed so I made out a list that would fill our cupboards for another month.

Shopping for a months worth of groceries requires a large cart. I went to Sam’s Club and filled the cart to the brim. I wore a mask while shopping and the heavier that cart got, the more faint I felt. My reading glasses steamed up as well. I started to get a sense of claustrophobia and panic was threatening to take over.

There are many types of fear:

  • Fear from a past event or PTSD fear
  • Fear over an anticipated future event or anxious fear
  • Existential fears like the fear of death, fear of success, fear of being good enough
  • Irrational obsessive fears that once served an evolutionary purpose but are now getting in the way of regular life, also known as phobias (heights, spiders, contamination)
  • Fear of being rejected by your “tribe” whether that be with family, work, friends, or relationships in general
  • Survival fear where you jump out of the way of an oncoming car
  • And there’s the innate fear your body experiences when something is wrong with it, i.e. when the pH changes, with blood pressure, with hormones, and especially when the body feels oxygen deprived

I couldn’t catch my breath and if I didn’t get out of that store soon, I didn’t know what would happen. I paid for my stuff, got outside, took off my mask and started to feel immediate relief. Later I learned that masks can cause oxygen deprivation and I had just experienced the signs of it. No more long grocery trips walking endless aisles pushing a heavy cart shopping for a months worth of supplies. I decided ‘then and there’ I’d just have to go shopping more often with quick short runs.

Today I went for one of those quick short runs. And again I wore a mask and again I started to get a queasy uneasy feeling. I felt my balance was off when I was walking and I couldn’t see my feet. The mask prevented me from looking down. I didn’t like that.

I always look down using my peripheral vision to see where my feet are at, I have to, I don’t have the normal sense of position in space (proprioceptive and vestibular integration) that other people have due to my sensory processing problems. I compensate for that by visually keeping track of my feet when I walk.

This is stressing me out, I’m feeling nervous I’ll step into something or lose my balance and embarrass myself. And when people are under stress, the abilities they have begin to  decompensate. When life is good, I can almost be normal and only glance down occasionally to assess where my body is at. But when I’m under stress, all my sensory problems are exaggerated.

With the mask on I can’t see my feet unless I tilt my head way down, my balance feels off, I’m getting nervous, my breathing speeds up, I’m not getting enough oxygen through the mask, I’m using self-talk to calm the intensifying stress response … having a hidden disability sucks. Trying to look calm and cool, following the rules and maintaining socially appropriate behavior, but it’s taking all I’ve got and draining my reserves. I get home and crash, taking a two hour nap to recover from a 15-minute shopping trip.

Who would ever think of the struggles some people experience having to wear a mask. But not wearing a mask in the current environment is paramount to being reckless, irresponsible, uncaring, unconscionable. It can lead to fines, judging looks from others, and even being denied access to the grocery store.

I don’t want to be an outcast. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to draw attention to myself. I just want to get my groceries. So I wear a mask and I silently suffer, no one will know because I’m good at keeping my problems hidden. I will adjust my life to do what I can, just like anyone else with a disability does every day of their life, even those of us with the hidden disabilities.

WHERE is your anxiety?

surprised woman looking at camera in studio

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I was talking to a friend yesterday and somehow the topic of anxiety came up. She had the symptoms of coronavirus for several weeks and had all the worry about her health.

She’s fine now but she did feel anxious about her breathing during those weeks and that led to a vicious cycle of even more constricted breathing. (Which was due to the vagus nerve stress response connections to the lungs, muscles, and diaphragm.)

There are different kinds of anxiety. There is anxiety from the mind about future health. There is anxiety about existential things like dying. There is anxiety from the body produced by the very real decrease in oxygen.

And we talked about all of those differences. Then I asked her where she felt her anxiety and “how do you know you are anxious?”

My friend answered that she has racing thoughts that keep spinning in her head and that’s how she knows she’s anxious.

“That’s interesting,” I said, “because I know I’m anxious when my diaphragm constricts and makes my breathing shallow and when my neck and throat area gets tight … that’s my cue to look more closely at what’s going on.”

And I thought of other people in my life and I see some are like my friend who can identify anxiety from her racing mind and some are like me who can identify anxiety from body tension.

Neither is right or wrong, we all are unique in our mind-body connections. What about you? Where do you “sense” something is wrong? Are you more of a mind person or a body person?

I don’t need help.

greyscale photography of woman wearing long sleeved top

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

I had a great childhood. I did good in school. I was accepted by my peers. I had friends. I enjoyed family vacations.

So what that I feel down sometimes.

So what that I procrastinate.

So what that I avoid.

So what I’m comfortable with invisibility.

So what that I sometimes sabotage myself.

I don’t need help for that.

I have my work and I’m good at it. The books I wrote are successful. I have a great marriage. I’m comfortable at home. I love living in the country. I have a dream life.

So what that I have a chronic pain diagnosis.

So what I sometimes can’t sleep.

So what I have sensory issues.

So what I panic in crowds.

So what my body feels like I’m living in a straight jacket.

So what I have a hard time showing my emotions.

Yes, I may judge myself but I don’t need help for that.

I can do it myself. On my own. I am smart. I am capable. I am good at figuring things out and seeing patterns. So why are some things still so hard? Why am I resentful at times? Why am I anxious at times?

Perhaps a little help might not hurt. Maybe I can’t do it all by myself. Maybe just some ideas on marketing my business and working through some of the causes of my resistance and pain.

I do want success. And I do want independence, freedom, and doing it my way. Perhaps a little coaching can give me a nudge to leave no stone unturned and to help uncover some of my blind spots.

Wow. I had no idea how much little “insignificant” past events were holding such an emotional charge and were unconsciously leading my behaviors. Eye opening. Life changing!

Sleeping better.

Feeling comfortable in my body.

New awareness of avoidance patterns so I now choose how to act.

Having compassion for myself.

Feeling time expand and being in the flow of life.

Dancing inside with little celebrations of my awesomeness.

Motivated to clear out clutter and clean closets.

Expressing loving assertiveness.

Not holding back in communicating honestly and yet, being compassionate too.

Feeling more connected and more grounded and yet lighter and more joyful too.

No regrets. I’m glad I leaned in and invested in myself. I discounted my pains and simply lived with them. I never felt like I was a candidate for therapy but I was open to coaching.  I’m getting older and there’s only so much time to “course correct.” Being mobile and independent and having freedom as I age is a high value, as is contributing to others through what my business offers.

I’m so ready to step out onto the world stage with confidence and energy. I’m not afraid to delve into the hidden parts of myself, although honestly, sometimes I still feel a resistant side of me pop up. I keep at it though, I’m curious, intrigued, and most of all, I desire change. Not a change in residence or work or relationships … I want a change in me, in my reactions, in my happiness. I want more joy and less anxious tension. I want more flow and less pushing through life. I want to give more of me and feel less resentment and protectiveness around my time.

And that’s what Transformational Coaching offered me. If you want a taste of what transformational coaching can offer you, I invite you to join me Thursday June 25, 2020 for a little talk where I’ll cover one thing we all have in common – we’ll explore what happens when we’ve experienced something not working out with goals we’ve set for ourselves – a topic called Goal Trauma and we’ll look at why this is draining your energy and keeping you from more easily achieving your goals. The class is open to the first 20 people who sign up. Most of my work focuses on horse women in their 50’s and 60’s, if that’s you, I’d really love to meet you in this class.  CLICK HERE to claim your spot!

 

 

 

 

DIY Essential Oils

shallow focus of gray and green insect

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Are you making DIY essential oil recipes this summer? Maybe a natural non-toxic fly spray? Here’s a reminder to use safe storage containers!

  1. Remember that oil and water do not mix so you have to shake the container well before spraying if you use a water base in your recipe.
  2. Other things to consider – water based recipes should be used up within 2 to 3 weeks from when they are made.
  3. All essential oil blends should be stored in a cool dark place to prevent oxidation and break down of the essential oil!
  4. And dilute your essential oils … if you are using a blend regularly, use a 1-2% dilution (6 to 12 drops of essential oils per ounce of carrier), if you have an acute injury you can use a higher dilution of 5% or more.
  5. Do not use your blends on children unless you are sure the dilution is low and the essential oils are child-friendly – it’s probably best to find pre-made blends that are safe for use with children.
  6. Even though there are a few things to consider when using essential oils safely, they are much safer and more supportive of your overall health than the synthetic fragrances and harsh chemicals found in many store-bought products.
Back to that DIY fly spray … procure a 16-ounce spray bottle that’s safe for essential oils and buy a 15ml bottle of a fly repellent pure essential oil blend like doTerra’s TerraShield. I like to use a mixture of 5 ounces white vinegar, 5 ounces distilled water, and 5 ounces Everclear Alcohol and then I add the entire 15ml bottle of essential oils. Shake well and you have a homemade fly spray that you can spray over yourself … and because it’s essential oils mixed into a water-based product and not made with typical carrier oils, I spray it over my clothing without fear of oil stains!