Stepping into Brilliance

Have you ever seen successful people become targets for others that seem to look to “take them down a notch”? Have you ever found yourself participating in finding fault with successful people? It sometimes seems that our culture delights in creating idols, then tearing them down.

I have certainly participated in this practice. I recently watched a Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking and commented that I felt it was much more a performance than a speech rather than celebrating the brilliance of the presentation.

If we step into our brilliance, we may become a target for others who don’t celebrate their own brilliance. Are you ever afraid that if you let your light shine, others will attack you?

I recently watched someone I admire greatly “take it on the chin” in a rather public evaluation. The format of the event did not allow for a rebuttal, and I watched my friend hold his head high and stand in dignity. I was inspired by his grace in this situation, and aspire to be like him.

When you are the one in the spotlight, do you invite feedback? Can you find a place where you can be objective about what is shared? Sometimes I’ve found the comments that stung the most when delivered were those that I had the most to learn from once I could get through the emotional upheaval and see it from the other side.

Even when the comments seem hyper-critical, we now have the gift of another person’s perspective, even if we do not agree with their conclusions. I think of the little birds out in the pastures who pick through the horse poop to find the bits of undigested grain. If we can find the grain within what appears to be poop, we will remain on the path to continuous improvement and lifelong learning.

Having the gift of another’s opinion can help pave the pathway to success. The secret is in knowing ourselves well enough to take what fits, and discard what doesn’t. We mustn’t place more value on others’ opinions of us than we do on our opinions of ourselves. Then we can stand in our own glory and be grateful for the contributions of those who have offered guidance along the way.

I wish you guidance and glory.

  • Jocelyn Hastie

Coming soon…

I recently entered into a coaching circle with my fellow Touched by a Horse grads. As a result, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into my business and it’s many faces. I’ve been revisiting my values and making sure they are reflected in my website. I’ve finally named my place here in Wyoming. After much though, the land and I agreed on Stonegait Manor. I’ve committed to taking my Paso Fino stallion, Viajero, to the Wyoming Equine Extravaganza where I’ll be able to market my business. Gulp, that’s a big one for an introvert gal like me! And finally, I’ve been working on and planning for a womens group. This has been especially hard for me because honestly, I don’t like being around most women. And yet, here I am part of a blog consisting of all women bloggers, posting to a site entitled Women Move it Forward, a graduate from a program that is made up of mostly women! OK, Universe, message received loud and clear!

Let me go back to my statement that I don’t like being around most women. It’s true. It’s authentic . “Most” women are not authentic. They are selfish, conceited, self serving, competitive, gossipy, back stabbing, moody, judgemental and untrustworthy. Society is partially to blame for this. I believe that as women entered the professional workforce and began competing against men for jobs they stopped embracing the uniqueness that made them women. Being emotional was a weakness – You’re being hormonal. Being vulnerable was a weakness – You’ll become a target. Being nurturing was a weakness – You aren’t strong enough.

Get the point? I’m sure there are a number of other reasons why this shift has happened. The overall result is a shift away from everything that women are authentically. We are suffering. Society is suffering.

Women’s circles and gatherings are an ancient tradition. There are many places in the world that this still happens. Those cultures and tribes are stronger because of them. As I continue to tap into my own past and ancestory, I am drawn to that ancient feminine wisdom. It guides me. It drives me to seek out other like-minded women. It demands that I take on the leader role, like the alpha mare, and create that space where none exists. A safe space to embrace our “weaknesses” and be emotional ,vulnerable, and nurturing. A space where women share stories, to listen and to be heard. A space where women tap into sacred feminine wisdom and remember where they came from. A space to share laughter and tears without judgement. Together we are stronger and we will heal the broken bonds.

Cooking soon at Stonegait Manor, brought to you by Through the Horse…


Contributed by BB Harding

I’ve been taking a class on writing.  The intention of the class is to support people in writing in their authentic voice.  My intention was to find my consistent voice, and allow it to open up for me.

In one of the first exercises I wrote the following:

  • When I am around someone who thinks they know it all, I tend to not speak.
  • When I am around someone who is loud, boisterous, passionate.  I tend not to speak
  • When I am around someone who is always talking, I tend not to speak
  • In the last couple of years, I have tended to sit back and not speak
  • I need a question to get me started, and then I need patience from the other person to allow me to feel my way into things.
  • Unless I know a topic really well, I will not speak.  I might not even question if I don’t find that the other person has the space for me to ask.
  • I appear to have a preference for hiding.  Shying away from making my potential inaccurate observations known.

I was, of course, surprised by what I wrote, and at the same time, it gave me words around the things that I did know about myself.  I have struggled mightily to put my thoughts into words that others might be able to relate to.  There are times that I think and feel much differently than how others feel, and in the midst of their passion, I am paralyzed to speak.  I am acutely aware that I can have a limited perspective on many things – I don’t see or know the whole picture.  For me, it can be especially tricky when I can see “both sides of the story,” and I don’t feel strongly one way or the other.  It is also difficult to verbally navigate when something “just doesn’t feel right” to me, and no real data to back me up one way or the other.  I have learned to keep my “potentially controversial” thoughts to myself.  I have had both admiration and fear for my friends that are strong activists, who have very strong opinions about what is wrong in the world.  Admiration because I can see and feel their passion that has ignited into a firing inferno, and fear because the inferno is overwhelming and I don’t have something like that that I feel about, and more than likely, I don’t see things the same way that they do.  (And strongly imagine that they won’t see my point of view either.)

There are days where something will “hit” me and then I will spend some time thinking about it.  I let things sit until they either make some sense to me, or they leave.  This is typical done in the quiet recesses of my mind and are seldom shared. Today, I want to do something different.  To take a chance.

I have long held the vision that as a global citizen there would come a day when I would be able to travel from country to country without the need of a passport.  Much like I do here in the states.  As an auto driver, I go from one to the other, and do not require special documentation.  There are times that I do have to go through a checkpoint, especially in states that border Canada or Mexico.

I have been taken aback by the controversy over the “border wall.”  I can remember the first time I heard about it, I wondered why would we want to move toward isolationism when the emphasis is on globalization?  I now wonder how did it come to pass that we fear for our safety so much that we want to build a wall between us and our neighbors to the south?  What are the things that would need to be taken into account so that we could truly solve the problem?  And is a wall the answer, or dialog, collaboration, out of the box thinking?

In the last year, I was made aware that in order for a change agent to be effective, they had to be able to hold the energy of both polarities and be inclusive.  Inclusive of the positions of both sides so that the view of the problem could rise and be seen at a higher level. The maxims that you must ask the right question to gain the insight, and you can’t solve a problem with the same thinking/energy that created it came flooding in.  What would need to be taken into account in order to get to that higher level of seeing?  I imagined that things like “what are the things that cause/entice our southern neighbors to come into the US?”  “Is there substance to the fears that those in the US have towards our southern neighbors?”  “Do these fears apply just to them, or to all who are different from ourselves?”  “How can the differences be bridged?”  “What change in perspective needs to take place in order to create safety and harmony?” “How can we rise beyond the fear and lack to know that all is well?”

Over the years, through the many catastrophes, I have watched as people have come from all parts of the world to assist and support other parts of the world.  How many have supported earthquakes in Japan, Iran, Haiti, Mexico, China?  How about the tsunami in Thailand?  Illnesses, water quality, food shortages in Africa?  Outreaches that even though they are not classified as such, carry the energy of being a citizen of the world and caring for each other?  Even here in the states, how many people have come to the aide of those whose lives have been turned upside down by the hurricanes, fires and floods?  It hurts to see such vitriol thrown around, distrust escalated to the point of exclusion and the need for walling oneself off, being lulled into a false sense of security.  I am reminded of a friend of mine who delivers speeches.  He had one speech that talked about how the solution to problem A became problem B.  We create a wall thinking that we are solving problems related to illegal immigration, drugs and crime, and then what problem does the wall create?

There are times where it feels frustrating.  I don’t have the answers, and I don’t yet even have the question that would provide the greatest breakthrough when answered.   I hold that somehow, we will be able to come together for the benefit of raising the consciousness of the collective, and with that intent, the answers come forward.

I ask myself, how can I change my perspective so that I can embrace new possibilities rather than push against something that seems off?  I know that I can be in charge of how I proceed and hold that others too will do the same.


Unstructured Play

“They’re goats! I’m telling you they’re goats!”

I laughed to myself as the boy’s voice rang out from somewhere behind me, the whir of his bike wheels letting me know he was heading down the street in my direction. I couldn’t see much of the street, crouched down as I was, but I had a feeling he was talking about my Lilly, who is most definitely not a goat.

molly and lilly

Lilly was stoutly standing watch over me as I cleaned out the hooves of her companion, Molly. Molly is an elderly mule, a red roan with the most beautiful long, auburn ears. She has old lady joints and prefers to have her feet tended to while she is lying down; I comply, hence, the current crouching which has me shielded from the view of the boy who is certain he has spotted some goats.

I stand up and see two boys circling their bikes back and forth in the dirt road just across my fence line, the one boy still going on about the goats he sees.

“Actually, she’s a miniature donkey!” I holler over to him, waving.

He repeats it to his friend, delighted. I wonder whether it occurs to him that his friend was equally able to hear me. Probably not. His enthusiasm simply boils over, can’t be contained.

Wanting to add to their fun a bit, I call out again, “Across the street, there’s a bison!”

“Whoa, really?  Hey guess what, there’s a bison over there! Do you see it? I SEE IT! I SEE IT, IT’S LYING DOWN!”

They chatter as they continue up the street, the two boys on their bikes, and now, I see, a young girl following them on her scooter, looking a bit reluctant, as if she’s all too aware that she’s the odd one out.

Then the boy who strikes me as their leader, sees my horse Sky.  “Whoa, look at that horse.  He’s a BEAUT!”  My heart does a little flip of pride as the troupe heads off into the distance.

I turn my attention back to Molly, delighted by my encounter.  I’m struck by the boy’s complete surrender to the joy of his experience.  His carefree ways feel like a most-welcome intrusion into the seriousness of my adult life, like an unexpected reminder of my prayers for more fun, more abandoning myself to joy and more unstructured play.

When I was a kid, I spent hours in the woods behind my house, building teepees, running around pretending to be a horse, or walking to a friend’s house. When the swamp froze over, my brother and his friends played hockey on the thin ice, occasionally breaking through to find that the cold water was only ankle deep.  Play was hours and hours of doing and creating for no reason other than because it was fun.

Now, my idea of play is to see if a 28-year-old mule will allow me to trim her hooves while she’s lying down.  She does.  She even allows me to prop her legs up with blankets and yoga blocks so I can get a better perspective.  It’s pretty awesome.  Or should I say…OMG, MOLLY LET ME PROP UP HER FEET WITH YOGA BLOCKS WHILE I TRIMMED HER HOOVES, OMG IT WAS SO COOL, SHE EVEN STRETCHED HER LEGS OUT AND LAID FLAT OUT LIKE SHE WAS GETTING A PEDICURE IN A SPA!!!!!!!  I FELT LIKE SUCH A BADASS!!!


You can have anything you want, you just have to know how to want…

photo of maneki neko figurine

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

Written by Carroll a member of Women Move it Forward Blog.

I have lead a blessed life!

Every-thing I have truly wanted, I have received.

I told my son his entire life “you can have anything you want, you just need to know how to want.” I tried to explain the how, but that was very difficult. It was such a deep part of me I could not see what all I was doing or being.

There was one area I could not get what I wanted – my attitude about myself. I had no idea how to find my value without achievement or how to keep a healthy weight. I could lose weight if I had a goal. I always seamed to create a protective layer around me.

I have come across Dr Joe Dispenza.

Game Changer!!!!

He gives the how. He uses science to explain what the body is doing. He said our bodies are our subconscious minds. He has data to show people healing everything from stage 4 cancer, Parkinson’s, MS, spinal trauma, and so many other things.


Meditation and breath.

I have been working on me. I have been doing the meditations for almost a month. For 40 years I have had hay fever and sometimes even after taking allergy medications, my throat would close almost all the way and I would have to lie down gasping for air. Now I can go feed hay without medication and I only sneeze a few times. During one mediation my knee felt like it grew twice the size even though it looked the same. Right after the meditation it went back to normal feeling and a childhood injury was healed. No more over extending when I walk.

I listened to testimonials and people talked about healing, abundance of wealth, and divine experiences coming to them. Can you imagine the amount of energy a 1000 people can create in a room in a week? I will be one of them as soon as the Universe organizes it. They are my tribe.

Are you searching for something? I recommend looking into his books, meditations, interviews. and testimonials… they can change your life!

Here is a link to Dr Joe Dispenza and his message in an interview on Impact Theory.

Testimonial from Lorna she had a minor stroke and lost 25% of her vision in one eye. she could not drive or work. She speaks of her healing.

This is a short view of his December 2018 week long advanced retreat.

This is his webpage.

Mind over matter!

To Wonder or Wander

The word Wonder choose me at my annual 2018 Winter Solstice party.  As we all gathered in the darkness we let go of past hurts, judgements, expectations, fears and disappointments. img_8482Then I selected a candle, lit it and read the phrase underneath. “This winter Solstice let your Wonder expand with the lengthening of light.” Funny I thought, how can I  wonder this coming year with all that it promised. I was afraid of 2019 and what it might bring.  How can ‘wonder”, a simple word that evokes lightness, breathlessness, amazement and even joy be my word for 2019?  Was mother time a practical joker? Could Spirit, I wonder be a trickster?

I looked at the word “wonder” and thought maybe it meant wander. That would be more appropriate.  I did not want 2019 to start. Somehow I wished it would just forget to arrive. I knew 2019 was to be a year of long lost looks, treasured smiles that may not come again and watching my love change. Normally I am a very upbeat, positive and joyous individual and wonder of the world around me was normal. But not at this moment in my life. I could easily wander but surely not experience wonder. How could one little “o”  be substituted with an “a” and change everything?

You see during the last quarter of 2018 my husband was diagnosed with liver cancer.  With his diagnosis the road or journey I was on took a swift detour. As I started grasping the meaning of his diagnosis I felt like I was wandering in a dense forest with no clear path in sight.  We were told his condition was not good, and he would be given palliative care than a treatment for a cure. Our world quickly narrowed, blinders installed and our life centered around countless doctor appointments, specialist meetings, insurance approvals, reviewing different treatment options, waiting for treatment approval and then treatment. At times I felt like I had gone right over a guard rail and then was so very slowly falling off a cliff as time started going backwards.

I do wonder how one, out of many doctor appointments could change everything.  In a split moment, a micro dot of time, all did not appear as it seems.  My world, our world became not sure, not predictable and to be honest quite upside down. A place to wander about in, yes, but to wonder at, no I don’t think so.

How am I to be in Wonder through this time that is propelling me towards a complete unchartered course?  We both have become a statistic (does that sound crass). I have become a caretaker, nurse, possibility creator director, administrator and manager. He has been given the role of patient (funny word when you think of it, waiting and waiting for what?).  The last 4 months we have been spent hours in drab doctor offices, consultations, waiting rooms, procedures, long night web and media searches. We have cried, embraced and held hands through the long dark night. We have become the center of something I can’t define or defend. I am wandering for sure.

I know I am going through the stages of grief. Grief for the life we knew and had together. I am ashamed to say that at the doctors office, I was actually relieved to finally understand what was wrong. For so long he had not been doing well. Later I panicked and became determined to find out everything I could do to save him. Then I became  angry/bewildered stage (although that won’t last I’m sure). But now more often than not, I feel ashamed and selfish, after all this is his illness and this time is not about me.

Now as the days and months pass I feel a sort of peace settling around us. Is that wrong? I’m beginning to understand that whatever happens really is to be.  I can’t change the ending only the present. For me love now has a new special “present sweetness”. I cherish the smallest of moments. I feel the cocoon of time wrapping us up together . No that’s not quite true, I feel the cocoon of time wrapping me up so I can experience the sweet moment of a look or laugh. In my dreams and the whee morning I feel the spirts slip surround us. They pull silken strings in all colors around our home and heart, creating a type of nest where we can rest and be safe. Then as the business of daylight arrives, I experience sadness, anger, loneliness, isolation, fear, grief, openness and frustration.  And the worst part is that I really don’t know what he is feeling.  He is a silent, gentle, private man and one of few words.

So to go from wandering and just floating in the abyss to “Wondering”  will take me time. Gosh even Jesus wandered in the desert until clarity, peace and vision came upon him, so I guess I’m in good company. For me, I ask for unlimited gentleness, strength, focus and energy because to curl up in a blanket and pretend the world goes away would be easier. I have been wandering for too long in fear.

To wonder will require me to pause and take in the scent of each moment. I notice the daylight is lengthening. I have been told by spirit to increase my Wonder of life, love and joy. I must change my A’s to more O’s and allow the wonder of the day into my heart and mind. If grief overcomes me again (as I know it will), I hope to not shrink from it but wonder at the wonder and depth of my emotions. Wonder will bring light not only to me but to those I care most about. Isn’t that a wonder.

Barbara is the owner and president of Wayfinding with Horses, Inc.  She is a  certified practitioner of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method, a retired Professional Engineer and Qi Gong Instructor. As a coach she supports her client’s inner compass and she is a woman passionate about horses and their wellbeing. Clients often report a heightened sense of awareness of their surroundings, others experience a deeper, more profound understanding of their relationships, connection and personal journey.  Barbara lives at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida.



It is a New Year. A time of new beginnings. Perhaps it is not about goal setting and resolutions. Perhaps it is about moving Be-yond…

For the first time in six years I do not have a vision for 2019. My written visions were what I wished to manifest in the upcoming year. The only piece I have at this moment is that I will receive immense support and comfort by being with others. True friendship, true two sided relationships (giving and receiving) and mutuality sounds wonderful.

I am grateful BE-YOND measure for all the support I received from old and new friends and family as I healed. I did not know how to be on the receiving end. It felt awkward at times. I soon learned to embrace all that came our way. What was needed just showed up.  A weeks worth of home cooked meals, visits at the Rehab hospital, calls, emails and texts.  Support galore. It gave me wonderful things to focus on as I struggled to regain independence. I will never forget the pyramid encased in a beautiful healing crystal placed next to my bed from a friend in New Mexico or the pup playing in the yard brought to visit from a friend in Missouri. Many new friends have come into my life too that supported my spiritual Being.

After writing my last blog, I found out that I had turned myself inside out over this lifetime offering support to so many others. Support and Care Giving. I thought it was healing for them and for me. I now find it was being driven from a deep childhood wound- lack of financial, physical, emotional and Spiritual support. I freely gave out what I did not receive. What one values the most in life is also where one was the most deeply wounded.

Relationships are multidimensional. Someone else can’t give you what they do not have within themselves already. Look inside yourself- what you think is lacking or hidden or bull dozed over may be inside you. It is called higher consciousness. I have looked for support in all the wrong places. And it left me depleted. I gave and gave support- hoping that it would eventually make a difference and show the other people, clients, pets, horses and myself that we are of infinite value. Not in a material sense, but in the larger wholeness. Many have responded in positive ways. I do believe in paying it forward. If something I do touches you- then pay it forward. I believe Spirit takes care of me. Now that I am aware of this- I am willing to receive support in whatever way it manifests.

Relying on Spirit and less on myself was a strong lesson in 2018. That was not part of any written vision! Balance in everything was also a huge lesson. No where did I ask to manifest balance in 2018. Those are also good places to start in 2019.

I volunteered for so much in the past. I took on so many things. Because relationships were of value. Recently a friend pointed out that my authentic self waits for the invitation. Once aware of that, I started noticing invitations based on my authentic self. When invitations didn’t come- I often felt rejected in the past. How I negotiated life was somewhat out of balance.

I responded to two invitations in December. One was to an ugly sweater party. I wore a sweater with a stuffed unicorn attached to it, surrounded by sparkling garland. Below that was the word “Believe” in sequins. On Dec. 12th I attended a “Fairy Walk” ceremony in a beautiful sanctuary setting. I was awakened to a land of make believe and imagination, far removed from my usual seriousness. Magic did indeed show up that day! I provided edible Fairy Dust and tinkling bells to place on trees. We made an offering of chocolate to the Fairy realm. Just at sunset, as the magic portal shifted we were blessed with a spectacular display of nature. I could hear the delightful giggling of the Fairies! Why that sounds crazy, right? I am embracing my crazy and having fun! When was the last time you invited your inner child out to play? Business as usual gets boring!

Now I imagine what it is like to balance on the ever shifting spine of a dragon in flight. Is that a physical possibility? No. not really. It is however an imaginative or intuitive experience. It is a New Reality way of negotiating life. I recently met (through a meditative experience held in a Tee Pee) a very tall crystalline Being whose name was like a musical note. He was a member of the Tribe of Tribes. I felt like I had known him for a very long time- not in my physical form. I was joyous and climbed right up. He held me in long arms so that I could place my hands on his facial features. It was a joyous experience to merge with the heart and soul of this loving Being. These out of the “human form reality” experiences are priceless and healing. Vision, intuition and seeing through the eyes of Spirit with clarity and discernment coupled with high heart compassion and love is so much more expansive than the material world we live in. It is the bridge to higher consciousness and expansive dimensions! It is sensing the Beyond!

I could continue trudging through the sludge of limiting human form. I could continue living in my past reality of limitations. Or I can just let go with great relief.

If something does not resonate (match your vibrational energetic frequency) within you, then it likely doesn’t belong to you. Seek high frequency resonance and allow what does not resonate to fall away or dissolve. Focus your attention elsewhere.

So much unraveled in 2018. I am not interested in trying to knit it back together. Even more will dissolve or fall away. I release with gratitude. I have a new foundation. I am standing in a doorway with open arms ready to embrace opportunities and possibilities in 2019. I am creating space around decisions that have not been made yet. I want to embrace a new paradigm and create a shift… Living BE-YOND; freely, with enthusiasm, excitement, joy, fun, higher consciousness, inner peace and living with my soul shining outward from within.

Peeling the Onion

Posted by Ashara Morris, one of the Women Moving it Forward.


This was written in mid-November, but it has relevance as we move into the new Year.

This has been a tough month, November. Lots of lessons to be learned about who I am and why I do what I do, and how fragile I feel when it comes to “making a living”.

I’m discovering that I am hard on myself. I’ve always thought I was  pretty tough – I could handle most things, bad news, changes, I was able to roll with any punches directed my way. But I’m finding that as I open my heart further and further, I’m becoming more vulnerable, and all of my long-ignored “stuff” is making itself known. This is a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel like it.

It’s a painful process, as anyone who has ever received any coaching or therapy can attest, to lay yourself open to yourself. Because you have to look at the shadow as well as the sun. And those shadow things, those Gremlins floating around in our heads, are in everyone. No one is immune, least of all a coach. It’s good to recognize them, love them, and let them be, but it sure isn’t fun while it’s happening.

Lately a lot of my Gremlins have been about money. One of the things I remember hearing when I was young was about how I was just like my aunt who always had money problems – I couldn’t hold on to my money, I wasn’t sensible about money, I was less than worthless when it came to money – all my interpretations of what I heard and saw. I honestly don’t know how bad my aunt was with money – all I know is that I was compared to her, and the people who meant something to me, whose approval I was seeking, compared me to her.  Brrrrr.

There’s lots of stuff going on in this scenario – seeking approval of others; money issues; responsibility issues; worthiness issues. I’ve dealt with all of them over the years, and many layers have been peeled away. AND as I tell my clients, once you peel that layer away, there’s another one right behind it. Sometimes they show up fast, other times you get a bit of breather and THEN it hits you. Lucky ol’ me, seems like several of those onions have piled up at once.

WilmaMe2009It’s a pain that I know is serving me. As I deal with my own Gremlins, I heal parts of myself that will help me better navigate the parts of me that are just trying to keep me safe, but are no longer serving me. I don’t have all the answers, but I am listening to what I have to tell myself, and maybe those revelations will assist me in assisting others. Not by giving advice, but by understanding.

I know this trench I’m in right now will eventually fill with water (from tears?), or slope upwards, and I’ll be able to climb out. I’ll be dirty, exhausted, and changed for the better. It’s worth it, to be in the dirt. It doesn’t feel good when it’s happening, but the rainbow at the other end is totally worth the journey, because every soul on this planet deserves that rainbow, including me, and including you.

So if you’re going through a rough patch right now, hang in. Ask for help (I did). Be honest with yourself. Feel the pain. Meditate, reflect, spend time in nature. Go to the horses (or the cat, or the gerbil), and a coach; they will listen without judgement and help you find an answer. We’re all in this together, so let’s help one another.



Ashara Morris is a certified Equine Gestalt Coach and animal communicator. When she’s not peeling away her own onions, she helps women navigate through the pain and confusion of questionable relationships, find the power in their own center and assists them on the path of their purposeful life.

Find out more at


Do You Belong?

Do you belong? Do you help others feel that they belong? What does that mean to you?

Last fall, I heard Dr. Erik Carter speak at events in High River and Calgary. His words were powerful, and his position is that there are ten dimensions to belonging. A pronouncement that “Everyone is welcome” is not enough. True inclusiveness and belonging requires much more.

Dr. Carter challenges us to ask the following questions about people with disabilities and their families. I think the concepts can be extended to anyone. Here are the ten increasing dimensions of belonging he puts forth. Are individuals:

  1. Present
  2. Invited – personally, not a global invitation
  3. Welcomed
  4. Known – as individuals
  5. Accepted – beyond tolerated
  6. Supported
  7. Cared for
  8. Befriended
  9. Needed – we miss you when you’re not here
  10. Loved

I invite you to consider the people in your life that seemed quite different from you when you first encountered them. I suspect that the more you got to know them, the further along this spectrum you progressed – and the more similarities you saw and the less the differences mattered.

When have you felt that you belonged? Where on this spectrum did you feel you sat? When have you invited others into your world? How far into your world? Where on this spectrum did that relationship sit?

I challenge you to think about this concept as the holiday season winds down.

Dr. Carter is Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt, and his website can be found at

It can be all about Me

I bet that sounds a little selfish and self-absorbed right before Christmas, right? Maybe, and it’s OK if it’s done in a healthy way. I actually just celebrated my 49th birthday yesterday so a day all about me goes without saying. Another celebration is just a few days away. Winter solstice! Often referred to as Yule, this year it will fall on December 21st at 3:23 p.m. MST. Yule is a celebration of the longest night and the rebirth of the sun. Many ancient religions and civilizations celebrated the winter solstice. Many of those beliefs and traditions have been adopted into today’s religions and celebrations. At this time of year I am counting down the days to winter solstice! I despise the long nights and look forward to longer days and more sunshine!

As I looked at my messages and emails for today, there was a consistent theme… Me! One message read, “you are a successful high achiever” – well, duh! LOL My youngest daughter actually called me an over achiever on Saturday! Another message read, “trust yourself, prepare for a personal breakthrough. Make a commitment to your well-being”.

Well Universe – Message heard loud and clear!!

There are many ways I can apply this message and they are all worthy. I find myself leaning towards a tool I learned to use in the EGCM program called a coaching wheel. If that peaks your interest, give me a call and we can chat, wink wink!

The coaching wheel will be a useful tool to measure and focus the “me” message to the different aspects in my life and business. Like the sun that will be reborn at winter solstice and gain power each day, I, too, will rise again. No sense waiting for January 1st, I’m starting now!!

My aspects will be business, home, physical well-being/weight loss, relationships, ranch, calendar, horses, and art. Over the next few days I’ll rank where I am currently and decide how I want to tackle each piece of the pie and move towards that perfect “10”! On Yule, I’ll set some intentions around each and burn a Yule log to welcome home the sun and the new vibrant ME!

Merry Yule everyone!

~ Michelle

Through the Horse