Category Archives: Life Experiences

We Are All In This Together – Right? Right!

We’re In This Together

This has been a rallying cry for me since we stepped into Shelter-In-Place here in Montana and agreed to support the flattening of the curve. 

During this time period, though distant, I have felt close with various parts of the country, geographically scattered members of my family, friends and community as well as other countries around the globe facing this Pandemic.

At times it has been scary and for sure filled with uncertainty and questions.  It seems like each step of the journey has introduced new information, new elements that have tossed me into a cycle of change and transition.

However, the rallying cry, ‘we are in this together’ – kept me aligned strong and committed.

Now there is a new crack that has challenged my belief about being in this together.

Re-opening has started. 

This process of re-opening seems incredibly chaotic and disjointed.  I don’t see or feel the we are all in this together anymore!

Each state has is doing it’s own thing and there seems to be all sorts expert opinions that offer very differing perspectives on what is best or safest.

I believe here the biggest driver may economics and I get that this is a very serious concern.  Our economy is based on businesses small and large operating. People being able to spend and sell. 

There are also some mentions of why this may even be a healthy choice – though much like alternative medicine when it comes to health issues – these ideas are not the standard nor considered evidence-based.

The problem – we don’t have a great deal of evidence around a Pandemic and may be not enough data collected to know this virus.

So it’s all a bit of guess work.

Blown Away: AKA My oh Sh%T Moment!

Seriously this so reminds me of the day I discovered the treatment for my cancer wasn’t working. My doctor and medical team, informed me they didn’t have other options. I probably had 3 to 6 months to live. 

I was blown AWAY.  I was certain that as experts and leaders they were going to get me through this health crisis. In that moment, I got that was not the case. I discovered that really my medical team at that point was in it with me if I understood and traveled the road where I believed I was most certainly dying.

Oddly I as I moved out beyond the medical model I discovered many other ‘experts’ with differing strategies to offer me.  Some of which were possibly going to prolong my current life expectations. 

This is when the conflict really surfaced! 

These experts were not very friendly and did not agree. I did not experience being in this together! The next few years of my journey around my health were riddled with uncertainty and conflict. 

I did call my various ‘experts’, my team.  However, I would not say we were cohesive. I discovered some of these experts were very helpful in encouraging me to pull the diverse expertise and wisdom into my decision-making.  These ‘experts’ also provided me a language and a way to tap into my own resources and make simple decisions out of complex data and differing perspectives that supported me day-to-day in living my full life – not just a cancer storyline.

I am very grateful for those people.

I am so grateful that I rode the wave of conflict and uncertainty. That I stayed curious and as a result I think creative.

Back To Today

I am looking back now, thinking this is again a time to rally around diverse perspectives, conflict and find ways to make simple decisions that support my life, my family, my business and my community moving forward.

A want the rally cry to be we are in this together – however, I can only find that ground when I am willing to embrace the conflict.  Not make those different wrong but try to find the threads that can weave the fabric together.

I do believe it is possible.  I have seen, felt and lived through this type of crisis.  I want to be a lighthouse that shines a beacon for that possibility.  I am here and I am still with you – even if our navigational feedback is presenting a different path. Even in the uncharted and and potentially dangerous terrain each person, business, state and country is taking, I do still believe we are in this together!

When My Mind Is Fear-Filling Me

Last year I committed to kicking off a new program: When The Body Fails: Rebuilding Trust In Your Body. This was designed for women who have or have had cancer.

The program started as a weekend event. But we were in the middle of our book launch and timing wasn’t right for putting the right level of energy into marketing a new program.

Sounds reasonable to postpone – right?

Of course there is some truth to this explanation. However, I still haven’t moved this program forward. I took the advise of one of my mentors in the Equus world and decided to not go so big but just start locally and with more one on one coaching with women dealing with cancer.

Yes, I have done little bits in moving things forward. However, I am still stalling to do the workshop.

Why?

Okay so this program is so much like my book – Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep.   You probably don’t even know about this book. It’s been in files and folders on my computer for years. It’s been shared with friends, possible editors and in short pieces online. However, the moment it gets any further out into the world. I stall and the book goes background. Fear stops me in my tracks – it’s my story. It’s my life through cancer through rebuilding and reclaiming myself – body, mind and spirit. I think I am afraid of the story still even though it’s been lived. Yet in that fear I hold it tight.

The good news is that even though the book still lies under the surface, I have written many blog post, shared my story and even published two other books that are heavily influenced by the backstory.

When Your Body Fails You, Rebuilding Trust is like the book. Why?

Because I am fearful.

I could go on and on about why I am fearful.

However, that sure seems like a self-indulgent story fuddling process.

I do want to kick off this workshop so here I go! It’s now one day and it is a start!

I am going to put a link to the flyer here – I know many of my readers are not local – but I would still love to hear from you too.

Plus if you are interested – well I still plan to do a weekend version and will add opportunities to weave in the healing influence of horses. So stay tuned!

May be some day – Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep will be the book that comes along with registrations.

What’s your fear holding you back from doing? What steps can you take to move ahead? I’d love to hear from you.

Check out When The Body Fails Here

Learning From Wild Mustangs

Going to the Wild Mustangs

I am heading off to work with the Mustangs. I find myself excited and curious.
The stories I have heard from earlier classes create some uncertainty. Yet as I reflect on my intention I find I settle.

I am NOT heading into this to tame a mustang.
I am NOT seeking to become a horse whisperer.

I AM seeking to discover how I can settle inside myself.
Let go of my attachment to outcomes without letting go of imagining and dreaming.

I am far less concerned about taming a wild mustang,
Than discovering how to quiet my mind.

I imagine I will judge myself.
I imagine I will frighten myself.
I imagine I will challenge myself.

I want to discover how to read the cues and signals
Without getting loud.
I want to connect without reservations,
Knowing my safety comes from within,
Knowing I can listen and hear the music.
I can step back and observe.
I can be held.

Yes, these are some of my desires.
I want to connect,
But more so invite.
I want to feel the vibration,
Mine and that of others.

I want to learn lessons from the masters.

Returning from Learning from the Wild Mustangs

So I wrote the intentions above on my way to the workshop. Now coming home I look back and smile. I have a felt sense of having reached for and lived my intentions fully!

I was willing to step into vulnerability and notice when a wave of reaction or separation rose to the surface. I didn’t flinch or run, but dropped in and felt. I worked to share, as best I could, through the awkwardness of my words, my message.

I noticed the moments when that message was received or responded too with something different in return. I didn’t lose myself in the feedback. I listened. I received. I remained sane and open to what did fit and what didn’t.

This lesson came through so clearly from Petey, the most wild one. He was the mustang that presented with what seemed to be deeply held patterns of fear and uncertainty. He was the one that presented with the greatest resistance to touch or connection. He’d nip or bite at his dearest companion, the one who knew him best, Max. He’d tuck down and move rapidly to avoid our hands. When touched he’d come out bucking and kicking. Yet with a break and time to release the fear and anxiety, he’d turn and follow Max back in for more.

Finally, he discovered the comfort of touch and relaxed. Until the next morning and the waves of his uncertainty came again. Only this time not quite as strongly or for as long.

In so many ways his willingness and curiosity was inspiring. I found myself more willing to trust and open. Knowing that there was nothing to be fixed or that I had to do right but that I could keep working at my pace. Some would not understand why some lessons didn’t stick – but some would and more importantly I would, showing compassion and kindness for myself, staying vulnerable.

Petey taught me to be okay in just showing up. Far from perfect. Not right. Real.

Max, on the other hand, was one of those beings who stepped into the moment and with each new door opening, stepped in. I imagine he will find his person and forever home first. That relationship is likely to come more rapidly and easily. Yet, his journey was not less filled with trauma. He simply let go with more grace and ease.

I have often longed to be like Max. Yet I found my mirror in Petey. Trust still does not come easy. However, trust does come. I believe Petey will also find a home, though it is not a given. That is part of the work, getting these wild mustangs to a place where they can find a home and continue this work of building relationships. This does require someone who is able to keep the training going. I hope it will someone with the heart and patience of trainers like Koelle and Kasia. I do believe he will be okay. He has a willingness to show up and someone will see that potential even through the waves of resistance, fear and uncertainty.

One night, I had a dream I was riding Petey. The dream was so vivd and real. I could feel the quiver, the power and the wild heart and spirit. I also felt my own heart beating in return.

We all have our journey. Some are more turbulent than others. My greater goal is to live with an open-heart – that may indeed be a cracked open heart – I’ll take the scars and I’ll relish when the light shines through. Just like Petey.

Sharing My Whirlwind Relational Journey!

I so want to get in some writing!  There is much processing, shifting and integrating through my being!  Life has been a bit of a whirl wind!

Living Alive Phase

Selfie with Carole from the Phase!

Last Friday around this time Carole Ames and I were having lunch, laughing and unwinding from our Living Alive Phase 1 experience.  The month is always a very special and transformational journey for me.  This past month was no exception.  Having said that, each is unique and offers me many different lessons.

This month I was amazed at the younger people in the circle.  I found myself reminded of my first Phase when I was in my early twenties, trying to find a reason and way to stay alive and on the planet!  The stories of these folks was different but underneath the differences there sure were threads of the same desire to connect, to find purpose and somehow know that in those dark and painful places there’s a way through.

It was inspiring to be a part of the range of ages, careers and life experiences!  So much richness and depth.

Yes, the 26 days is intense and this year due to some additional meetings I only had one day off.  So when I was heading home, I was aware of my fatigue.  But hey, I wasn’t about to let that stop me from jumping in to celebrate my Mom’s 90th birthday.

Mom’s Big 90 Celebration

Mom Waving to the crowd at Blake Island after a Happy Birthday sing-along!

Fortunately I was not the composer or coordinator of all the activities!  That was my sister, Penny and her family.  They were awesome.  Plus, Melissa, my other sister, and her husband Monte, made the Friday evening I missed quite the party at the Northgate Plaza!  I just got the joy of being on the cruise to Blake Island and having some great moments with family.

I know without The Haven and the many lessons I have learned about relating, loving and finding a way to hold multiple storylines, I would never have been there celebrating with my Mom.  I am very grateful!

Speaker Session

Coming home hasn’t really offered much time to unwind.  CrisMarie and I have been wanting step more fully into speaking and had been introduced to an amazing woman, Renee Rogen, who is a speaker and now focuses on mentoring others in the business of speaking.  Renee arrived for a two day intense strategy session just after I got back to Whitefish!

I was very grateful she came to our town and our home.  I also was humbled by all there is to know and learn about speaking!  The two days were great for us.  I believe we have a path and a clear way to engage and make more of our speaking going forward.  I am looking forward to that AND was also grateful that though Renee did encourage to get started, she also suggested not to try to do everything at once!

Taking The Next Speaker Step

Of course, a great opportunity presented itself less than 24 hours after Renee left for me to step up on the stage here in Whitefish as part of a local event S{peck}: The Business of Mountain Living  (this goes to the FB Live feed) I had agreed to be a speaker before I left for Phase and this was going to be one of the few times I was speaking alone.  CrisMarie was already booked for a NYC trip so I thought I’d give it a go.

I had done a little prep with the leadership team while at Haven.  However, I decided to be a bit more personal and vulnerable from the stage after our two day session with Renee.  I was nervous but I am super glad I did it!!!!

My topic:  Business is Personal: The Challenges of Living and Working Well Together in a Mountain Community.  I think I was really speaking to the challenges of living and working well together in any community.

In our world today there is so much suffering, disengagement and apathy from what I believe is compartmentalization and fear of fully bringing all of me to everything I do.  We are so busy trying to do it right, be good, stay positive or create some type of work/life balance – that we don’t show up.  We manage. We let our stories control us. Instead of checking things out and sitting down next to someone who’s different or challenging, we don’t!  We believe our stories.  We miss the chance to share ourselves and to relate!  That’s deadly.

I learned that long ago when I was in my twenties.  The Haven taught me a way to do things differently!  I have been walking that path ever since – not perfectly and not without some additional scars, heartbreaks and the odd two-by-four to get me back to the basics – breath, be real, risk being messy and stay curious about those around me!

So I was happy that last night  I decided to share a few moments from archives.

In so many ways, I believed I had the circle Phase folks with me, my family and my friends.  It was special.

Find Your Mojo in Montana – Up Next!

SkyDancer and Promise Saying Hello!

I have this crazy idea now that I will have a few days of rest and recovery – but really I imagine life is going to keep going at a rapid relational pace!  Find Your Mojo in Montana is kicking off next Thursday and I am getting excited and reconnected with Bobbi and the horses!

Life is good!

Hearing The Music With The Horses

When I was young I was a lot like our puppy, ZuZu, full of life, vibrating, sprinting towards friends, and jumping or bowing to invite play.  As I watch ZuZu interact with Rosie and they wrestle each other on the floor, I can feel my heart swell, and I touch a memory of that time in my life.

Sometimes I want to go back there.  I want to be that innocent, playful, and alive.  Sometimes I do touch that vibration, and I experience joy.

Just the other day I had one of those moments with a horse, Luke, a mustang at Stillwater Ranch.  Bobbi, my horse whisper partner in our Find Your Mojo in Montana workshop, was giving me a spring refresher riding lesson.

Though I have found my mojo and ease with creating relationships with the horses on the ground, I am still new to riding.  Plus, I had taken most of the winter off to play on the mountain skiing.

This day everything with the horses felt a touch awkward.  However, instead of being rattled by my nerves and fears, I took a breath, acknowledged my anxiousness and bowed to my four-legged friends.  They gathered around and pushed at me a bit, reminding I needed to be grounded in me, not focused on them.

That’s really all they wanted – me to show up.

I did.

I moved through the pasture greeting each of my friends.

I felt calmer and ready to make my way to Luke, to see if he wanted to ride.

Setting up to ride was the next huddle. I struggled because I didn’t remember all the steps to getting the soft saddle on and the side-pull harness set up right. In all worries about getting the buckles, straps, and blanket just right, I was totally disconnected from myself and Luke, and he let me know it.

Luke bobbed his big head and was mouthing at me.  Finally, I got the message, took a breath, and slowed down.

Once up on Luke, I struggled to find my balance.  I started to get overly focused on the techniques I had learned, trying to assume a certain command in my role as leader.  But Luke wasn’t interested.  For a while it seemed more of a power struggle than a dance.

I had to catch myself and remind myself what I love about working with horses.

 I may want to have a great relationship with them, but first I must get into a great relationship with me!

I’ve had to accept that I’m not naturally smooth and graceful.  No. I am a bit rougher on the edges. More made up of lines, scars, and rust – than silk, sweet, and smooth.

But I haven’t always been willing to accept my lines, scars, and rust.  I wanted to look good.

So yes, I started out innocent, and somewhere along the way I made a decision to protect that child by creating barriers, walls, and defenses.  My armor saved me from feeling pain, loss, and giving up entirely.

What I recognize now is I’ve became a bit over identified with the armor, and lost my connection to my little girl inside, Susie (as I was called through my earliest years).

I have done lots of work to breakdown those barriers between me and the world around me. What’s left are those lines, scars and rust.

When I accept myself – including lines, scars and rust – something special happens.  Maybe it’s cracks that let the light and music back in.  When I’m with the horses the music comes.

So, once I finally relaxed and settled into riding and dancing with Luke…

once I stopped trying to prove anything and just be me…

I heard my music playing and suddenly Luke’s joined in.

It was a magical moment.

This was the first time I’d heard the music while riding.

Yes, I regularly hear the music of the horses when I coach in the round pen or walk into the pasture with them. It’s what I love about working with the horses.

They call, and all they’re asking is for me to show up – not perfect, not powerful – just present!

What a lovely song.

Until we meet again,

Susan

P.S. Why not join us for Find Your Mojo in Montana  and see if you can hear the music of the horses?

Cell-shifting, Energetic Learning – Now That’s Mojo!

For holiday gifts I put together a 2018 Mojo Moments Calendar, filled with photos from the magical Mojo Moments of 2017.  My heart felt warm, remembering the many amazing times with friends, clients, colleagues, new faces and the horses.

So much learning and growing!  What most people don’t realize is this type of learning isn’t cognitive or intellectual, it’s energetic, body-based and cell-shifting. It can take your mind days, weeks, or even months to catch up. 

Just before the holidays Andrew, my first Mojo Intensive client, returned with friends for his third Mojo Intensive.  It was a remarkable couple of days for me.

I love all the shifts and changes I have noticed in Andrew.  I’ve known Andrew a long time and what I have witnessed during his mojo journey has been deep and sustaining.  He reports similar shifts though he can’t figure what it is he’s doing differently.

He shared how he has seen me grow, develop and shift over our journey.  I, too, can struggle to explain what it is I am doing differently!

That’s why I thought I’d write about our journey together.  Because as I mentioned I have noticed deep and sustainable changes in Andrew.  I imagine he is also a mirror for me!  

My mind doesn’t seem to have a cognitive or intellectual explanation for what seems like a deep, cellular shift that has been taking place as I have developed my Equus Coaching practice.

That shift isn’t just showing up with the horses.  Just as I have noticed Andrew as different, people have given me the same feedback. Apparently,  I am more open, lighter, easier to connect to and with.  That feedback is coming when no horses are present!

However, I do believe the horses and my Mojo moments have played a big part in the shift!

Mojo Intensives were the initial offering I put out into the world when I got my Equus Coaching certification.  Andrew was the first to sign up!  I loved creating that initial Mojo Experience.  I loved wrapping the time with the horses with coaching and other integrative types of experiences – like massage, tarot cards and simply walking and enjoying Whitefish, MT.

However, I think the moment that stood out to me at that first intensive was when Andrew spoke of connecting to his body when he touched his heart.  I, from the edge of the arena could feel the shift.  That shift stuck.

That moment made me  want more Mojo Intensives or Mojo Moments!!

In 2017, my offerings expanded!  We launched Find Your Mojo in Montana and ran the weekend program two different times.  Each rich with learning, connection and transformation. 

I believe for all involved and certainly for me!  I loved how my relationship with Bobbi grew and how CrisMarie, Bobbi, and I really started to weave our different styles of wisdom into the program!  I also loved that Becky joined us as our photographer and though she was taking pictures she also was so willing to open, learn and grow with us!

This past year we also had corporate leadership team members come down and spend a few days working on their team dynamics with us and the horses.  It was powerful to witness leaders discovering more about themselves while developing stronger relationships.  It was great to hear about, later back at the job site, how powerful and applicable the Equus coaching had been!

I also discovered ways for simply getting more people out to Stillwater HorseWhisper Ranch. We started a Saturday morning, Come Play With The Horses, which ran a number of times.  Each with new people joining and discovering what all this Mojo and Equus talk is about.

I think I am still working on my message.  Much like Andrew when he shares that he knows there’s a shift and yet he struggles to name what he’s doing differently.  I still haven’t quite found the right words to help people get that this Equus/Mojo work isn’t about horses. 

It’s about discovering yourself through developing a relationship with the horses that offers clarity, congruence and mirroring. 

I think of this as an energetic learning.  It’s not cognitive or intellectual, it’s body-based, heart felt and cell-shifting. 

There aren’t many words exchanged, at least not between you and the horses.  Yet, there is an amazing amount of communication and energy being transmitted. 

Sometimes it takes days, weeks and even months before your mind picks up the insights that your body discovered through your various engagements with the horses.

I imagine that is why both Andrew and I may not be able to share with ease what’s different. 

But I know my heart is more open, and I am more able to breathe and listen through my entire cellular system.

Not to mention I laugh and feel joy way more often – even in these wild and crazy times!

I highly recommend spending some time with horses. Heck, even better, come to Montana and spend a few days with us!!!  Our next Find Your Mojo in Montana happens in May.

Want something just for you?  Reach out and I’ll be happy to design a Mojo Intensive customized for you!!

Never Let The Truth Get In The Way of A Good Story

Growing up, we always had a saying in our house: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”  Now for most of my life, I simply believed that was a way that truth could be covered up and whatever evil was beneath the surface could be denied or kept unknown by a charismatic storyteller.

I admit to fury about this saying!

There were times in my life when I did seek to say what was going on and usually my version of the story was met with comments about my over- active imagination.  That was the good version.  The worse was when my anger after sharing a story was interpreted as ‘too much’ and I was given some type of medication to calm me down.

Maybe I did start to believe a good story was better than the truth – or at least created less pain and misunderstanding.

These days the saying is generally a good bridge in our family gatherings.  However, the new status has come after many years of working to try to understand each other’s vastly different versions of reality about the past.  The saying is no longer meant to shut anyone down. I do think it might be a signal to say we may be stepping into tricky territory and give each other a head’s up.

Our differences have never been reconciled.  But, now that we are adults and have been able to find ways to each feel heard and seen for whatever reality we were living growing up, we can have a relationship. 

I really appreciate that about my family.  We live the agree to disagree about some things and find ways to appreciate and value other aspects of who we each are now.

That may just be because of the saying – Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. 

Only these days I prefer to retranslate.  I think the saying would be best expressed as;  Never let a truth get in the way of deeply listening to someone’s else’s story”

That really is the lesson.

Too often, our individual ‘truths’ are so fixed that we don’t really listen to a different truth.  Especially when that other storyline may make us look poorly, guilty, cruel or unkind.

However, I firmly believe that most of the time people really don’t need to be told their version of reality is ‘the truth’.  Instead, they are looking for someone to deeply listens and step into their reality, consider what that might be like and acknowledges their feelings. When this occurs healing happens.  Over and over, I see people get unstuck from their old stories and look at the choices they made and move forward in these scenarios.

Truth is I’ve seen people get their stories validated – by courtrooms and judges – only to see that person continue to struggle with the old story.  Unable to reframe, rewrite or redefine the outcome.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying some actions don’t warrant judgement. But I am saying that alone isn’t going to be what supports the ‘victim’ in moving forward.

What will? – never letting a or one truth get in the way of deeply listening to another person’s story!

Truth is relative.  Yes, we need to find our truth – but I just don’t think we need to let that get in the way of listening to someone else’s.

We can disagree.  We can not like it.  We may even decide that because of that person’s story we aren’t interested in a deeper relationship.

But I don’t think finding the one truth will work.

Listening and considering – that is a powerful path for contact and possibility and influence.

These days with all the stories coming out about men’s abuse of power and sexual harassment of women, I think we’d be better served if we did not get caught up in focusing on what did or did not happen.  Frankly I think the people speaking up need to be heard.

Our job is to listen. What is the impact of these stories? 

I am speaking to the men out there getting accused. Listen! Consider! Respond! From a place of understanding someone else‘s truth, instead of right versus wrong. Listen to the impact, the pain, the experience and a perspective other than your own. Don’t just deny or apologize and move on. Be influenced now.

I think that is how something different can happen.

When we simply go to right or wrong, the feeling and the impact can so easily get lost.  Listening and considering the impact of our actions, words or deeds on another – even if that wasn’t our intent or perceived outcome.  That is what will help heal and bridge our differences.

I know it did in my family and I have witnessed it over and over in couples, on teams and in families.  I think it can happen out in the world as well.

Now that is my truth – and I won’t let it get in the way of hearing your truth (story).

Just Breathe!

Recently I attended the Breathe weekend up at The Haven.

The program was perfectly timed to fit between meetings and the start of a Come Alive.  What better way to get prepared for leading a program than breathing!

I knew I would enjoy the weekend.  I love the wisdom of Linda Nicholls and though we get to spend time together in meetings – we rarely are together in programs.

The weekend more than met my expectations.  Thus the reason I am now writing about the program.

Breathing is so simple.  It’s free.  It’s healing.  Yet, when I ask people how often they take the time to consciously breathe deeply – the answer is usually – rarely or not at all.

Some share that they meditate or do some sort of mindfulness practice – but that isn’t quite the same in my view.  Sure it is something and valuable.  But does not always involve breathing deeply.

I know how valuable breathing deeply can be and though I would say I am a pretty committed to some type of regular practice – I often miss a day or more – when life gets busy.  I will often put my exercise routine before just breathing.  (Again exercise and consciously breathing are not the same!!!)

Why?

Though I say I want to be alive – aliveness is not always comfortable! often I consciously or unconsciously opt for comfort, control and certainty – over aliveness and uncertainty!

To drop my jaw and breathe deeply and fully (for those unfamiliar with Haven breathing – I mean taking a full deep breathe through an open mouth).  This does open me up for feeling more.  There is no guarantee  that means feeling good, happy or satisfied.  Often these days if can mean feeling my fear, my sorrow, my rage or my pain.

Sometimes I am not so willing.

There were many nuggets of wisdom offered during the weekend program.  Linda does have a way of integrating science, poetry and experiences that allow for the mind, the body and the breathe to mix and play well together!

Myself, I loved the breathing.  Being re-introduced to a variety of ways to deepen my own practice and having lots of time – I believe three blocks of 45 to 55 minutes of just breathing.

Breathing deeply demands a conscious choice – my will and my willingness to loosen my control and be vulnerable.

Pills and other measures are often more predictable in terms of eliminating symptoms or easing suffering.

However, aliveness isn’t really predictable.

I am not saying give up on prescriptions, exercise, meditating or whatever it is you or I do to find some comfort and ease in this human experience – I am though encouraging you to consider spending a little more time and attention on just breathing!

It’s free.  Drop that jaw and take a deep full breathe. (Highly recommend doing this more than just once!)

I came away with the intention to take twenty minutes each day and just breathe.  I am enjoying the practice!  Life is richer and more vibrant as a result!

 

Things Are A Little Bit Crazy

Just a couple weeks ago,  I woke to a haze of smoke that blanketed my town of Whitefish.  For weeks we have been hearing about fires – to the south of us – to the north of us.  Yes, we have had days of smokey skies and very poor air quality. Then, suddenly everything started moving closer.  Parts of Glacier National Park and Lake MacDonald Lodge were be evacuated! That’s close!

Next our little town and Flathead Valley faced a school closure due to the threat of an attack on people’s children.  Apparently due to a cyberattack of some sort that resulted and parents and children getting very graphic and threatening messages.  After three days of school closures, games and events being canceled there still isn’t certainty as to where the threat was coming from.

This is just what has been happening in Whitefish – I haven’t even mentioned reading the national news headlines!

Damn – I say – this is crazy!!  Floods, hurricanes – fires and mother earth’s fury – plus crazy stuff like cyberattacks, white supremest and a President who regularly sends out insane tweets, talks smack and threats at the UN, really?!

What is happening?  Chaos and what can seem like a definite message to stop, pause and ….. wait for it…

PLAY!

Yes, I bet you didn’t think that was coming.

But really – I wonder if a little more play, joy and pleasure wouldn’t be the best remedy for us all.

I get it.  Life as we know it is spooking us!

We could wrestle with the reality or not – of climate change.  We could fight about healthcare, building walls or disarming North Korea.  But really wrestling with any one of these big issues s with the intent to determine right and wrong – seems like it just ain’t working.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe in climate change.  I think we owe Mother Earth a major shift in our attitude and actions, but I’m not into proving that point.  I will recycle.  Ride my bike when I can. I participate and vote for measures that support recycling, science and alternative energy!

I also don’t intend to stop speaking up when I think someone is being a bully – making statements that seem cruel, mean or frankly racist, sexist or just ignorant!  But I am not interested in fighting about it.

Instead, I think our best path is to play.

Over and over in nature, there are signs that when under attack – especially a vicious attack – the best answer is to engage in play.

Stuart Brown did a Ted Talk on this very message.  One piece was a video clip of a hungry polar bear coming for lunch where there were sled dog huskies chained up.  Those huskies knew they were going to be the polar bear’s lunch, but what happened instead was amazing. One female husky did a classic play bow and the polar bear’s whole being shifted.  Instead of a meal the two had a play date!  Now the polar bear makes an annual trip to play with the pups!

I know, when you are feeling under attack or you are facing threat and fear – the last thing that comes naturally is to rollover and play.

But maybe we need to get back in touch with our joy, our innocence and remember play can be just as important and life changing as any work, spiritual seeking or political activism.

What can you do to add a little play and joy to your day?  How can you invite and encourage others to join in!

Don’t leave you work behind just add more play into your day and notice the results.  Let me know how it goes!

P.S. Need some help playing, give me a call. I’m happy to help.

 

 

 

Finding My Joy Through Horse Play!

Horses really are a joy to work with and amazing teachers!

I know I say that a lot.  I also share stories, pictures and videos of the fun we are having here in Montana with the horses.

However, I am not sure I have done the best job sharing with you just why I think this work is so rich, valuable and worthy of your time, money and energy.

There are lots of ways you can learn, grow and transform.

I, myself have tried many paths:

  • Create an crisis and have to change – be it health, money or relationship related.
  • Decide to get a honest 360 round of feedback (or have to get one) – from working colleagues, friends and family
  • Attend a personal or professional training programs like those offered at The Haven – Living Alive Phase, Come Alive, Couples Alive or a program like Passionate Ease.  (just to name a few favorites of all time) 

Of these paths I have taken, all bought about significant, deep, valuable transformational growth in my life.  Some of them I have done or would do over and over again.  Other paths (like the crisis route), I’d prefer to say one and done. (Although I think I have done that 4 or more times – at least). 

Even the ones I do over – like Couples Alive, Come Alive  or Passionate Ease – are in some ways a conscious effort and some hard work on my part to stay and and really show up.  I don’t regret the effort or the work and the reward is worth it – but it’s hard!

Here’s the thing for me about a workshop or an intensive experience around horses – it’s not hard!

Even when I was terrified of being around them – which was the case when I started in my training.  I definitely drop my armor faster, open my heart and feel joy more than pain in every experience I have.  Even when the lessons were HARD ones.

So what have been some of the lessons I have learned or witnessed others learning from the horses:

  • Boundaries and boundarying – how important it is to be able to show up and be clear in self-defining.  Dealing with push back and staying in.  (Of course a 1500 pound horse is great in teaching that! )
  • What it means to be embodied and not just a walking, talking head.  Yes – there lots of programs about embodiment – but horses live it every moment and they love to provide you feedback when you are thinking too much!!!  ( a little nudge or they simply aren’t inclined to play!) 
  • The joy that can come from another living, breathing being holding a space for you – wanting you to be present and being okay with whatever you show up with as long as you are congruent!
  • The importance of play and sometimes just moving, dancing and finding your jig. (May be I should have said this one first!)

These are just some of the lessons I see that are a regular part of Equus coaching sessions.

All this feedback and interaction occurs and it’s offered in an amazingly warm and nonjudgmental way.

Horses are not story makers.  They come into the moment with each session waiting to see who and what shows up and working to create a relationship that ensures they stay safe and have some fun.

Horses enjoy the sessions and like moving and participating.  Some maybe more so than others and when that isn’t their thing they are usually quite clear in letting you know.

I know I will keep going to programs like Passionate Ease and Haven’s offerings – indeed I’ll enjoy my time in the circle and connecting people.

However, I do want to spend more time with the horses.  I encourage you to try it as well.

Besides discovering the joy in playing with the horses, if you come to Montana you will get an amazing experience – beautiful place, great people and CrisMarie and I bring all the other aspects of what we’ve learned to help you get the most of your lessons from the horses.

Intrigued?

Curious?

Want to experience more joy in your own transformational journey!

Come play with the horses!

Are you local? – Well join us for one of our Come PLay With The Horses Events – here’s the latest link – Come Play With The Horses August 12