This is Me

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I just watched a video that took my breath away.

A little background: Along with my husband, I have a small business, Harmony’s Heart LLC. For me, that business is all about talking with people’s animals and helping them navigate things like “When is it time to put my elder cat down?” or “My dog is so nervous – I wish he’d calm down.” These conversations often take on the aspect of coaching, as over time I’ve found that our animal friends are more interested in helping us be better humans than whether or not they have the best kibble.

For years, I worked in Information Technology in large corporations. This is not even close to what I do now. It was technical. It was serious. It was “important”. It was also borrrrrr-ing.  For me, one of the best parts of the job was interpreting what was going on with a machine and putting it into words that the uneducated or technology-challenged user could understand, so they’d get along better with that application or printer.

Hmm, when I look at it that way, maybe it was a bit like what I do these days. I was an interpreter, and I still am. It’s just that now, I’m assisting a living, breathing entity (or what once was living and breathing, since I also connect with animals who have passed) be understood, much like I assisted people in understanding that printer, or that application.

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Where I’m going with this is the thought that what I do can be construed as “strange.” “Weird”. Definitely a long way from what most of the U.S. considers “normal.” On my darker days, I feel like an outcast, as though my passion for the animals, and what they have to say to us and want to help us with, is something that is useless. So I’ll become frozen, and not want to make phone calls, or put myself out there. Better to be safe in my little cocoon instead of the object of ridicule or hate.

When all of my fears and insecurities have taken their rightful place at the back of the bus, and my passion and purpose for this lifetime have taken over the driving, I know that’s hogwash. What I do is what I was meant to do. It’s taken me a long time to get to the party. Now that I’m here, though, this is my gift. Interpreter of animal wisdom. Teacher of those who want to open themselves to that gift themselves. Cheerleader for a better world, starting with our relationship with the animals and nature around us.

This is me.

Watch the video. Be inspired. Remember who YOU are. In your authentic self, you are making a difference, no matter how large, no matter how small. You matter.

Ashara Morris is the President and CEO of Harmony’s Heart LLC, where she assists animals and their people to have the best relationship ever. For more information, visit http://www.harmonysheartanimals.com, or contact Ashara by phone (720-737-0495) or email (ashara@harmonysheartcoaching.com).

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Knowing When It’s Time

 

About six weeks ago, one of my horses began to drop weight quickly. The vet and I both thought it was probably tooth related, but she found his teeth were in good shape.  With that ruled out, she told me that there was little or no  chance that anything else that would cause that kind of weight loss was treatable. “The drastic weight loss shown without any other overt clinical signs would be consistent with lymphoma or a systemic neoplastic process with internal involvement.”

She told me that he does not appear to be in pain. His eye is bright, and he has energy. He is still the boss of the herd. He picks at hay, but likes the grass and supplements I give him. Twice a day, he eagerly meets me at the gate to come out and have his supplements and graze on the lawn. Then he walks to the gate to let me know it’s time for him to rejoin his friends in the pasture.

I have decided to give him some time to enjoy the warm weather and spring grass unless he begins to show signs of pain or starts letting the others boss him around. My heart bleeds as I prepare for the almost certain outcome of releasing him from his pain when the time is right.

This morning, two SPCA officers arrived at my door to investigate a cruelty complaint against me because of the thin horse in my pasture. There are seven others in the same pasture in good weight. He asked what I had done for the horse, and he told me he had no concerns and would be closing the file.

I am left to process the emotions. I am so sad that my equine friend is preparing to leave this life. I am hurt that one of my neighbours believes I would deliberately let an animal suffer and saw fit to report me to the SPCA without contacting me. I am glad that they are keeping an eye out for those animals who may truly be in distress.

The most difficult decision we ever make when we become custodians of our animal friends is in knowing that we will probably outlive them and need to say goodbye. It is never an easy decision. In this case, it is made even more difficult as I deal with feeling that my neighbours are sitting in judgement of me. I hope that the report of the SPCA office will stop any gossip. I fear it won’t and I will have a reputation of not caring for my animals.

This particular situation triggers me as I, too, was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. The disease was nowhere near as painful and exhausting as the treatment. There were times throughout the process when death seemed an attractive option, but no one made the determination to end any chance of healing. I struggle with whether that experience makes me more or less equipped to make this decision for my equine friend. His condition is not deteriorating. He is alert and energetic – but painfully thin.

“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart’s intuition”. – Steve Jobs

My horse has not indicated to me the time is right, and I have given him permission to cross over if he is finished. I am at peace with waiting for his decision, and every day I grieve his imminent departure. I pray that I am open to the answers that arrive.

UPDATE: For the first time this morning (May 14, 2018), he was not interested in food. He has spoken, and the vet sees him at 1:00 this afternoon. Please think of him and help send his spirit to the place where there is no more disease.

Where the Wild Things Grow

It’s finally warming up here in Wyoming! The plants and trees are budding out and growing. We bought our property in July 2011 and there is constant work to beautify and upgrade.  It was a blank canvas without any landscaping when we bought it.  The previous owners’ idea of landscaping consisted of pouring gravel and rock to the edge of every building.  The first couple of years were spent picking up trash and debris and raking gravel away from the buildings.  I finally found bare ground!  FB_IMG_1525710371246Eventually, I bought a few plants to plant in front of the house.  That’s when I entered into a battle with Wyoming winters and 6800 feet elevation.

Thus far,  I’ve been fairly successful.  The Columbines, Yarrow, Sages, and Wild Rose have all flourished.  I even had a mystery plant show up last fall!  I’m fairly certain it’s Cinquefoil but I have no idea where it came from! Other plants, such as, the domesticated rose, lavendar, and rosemary have not survived.  Other plants have become tasty treats for the local antelope herd.  I’ve learned not to count things out too early as some plants are slower to emerge each year.

Last year I completed my spiral garden. That was a challenging project!  I’m overjoyed with the plants that have come back and am excited to watch them grow.  As my garden has grown more of Nature’s little creatures have come to visit.  As I look back at pictures tracking my progression, I am amazed.  That amazement and joy has transformed into a reflection of how my landscaping projects could mirror my business.FB_IMG_1525709424962

Melisa Pearce, founder and creator of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method and my mentor has often referred to her business as a crafting project.  I have tried to apply that thought process many times over but it just wasn’t a fit. However, if I equate it to my landscaping projects it is a perfect fit!

I began with nothing,  a blank canvas. Like my growing season, my coaching sessions with my horses is limited to about half the year.  Each year I groom the land,  preparing space to hold my sessions and events.  I plan workshops and events. Thus far, I’ve not found the right ones that flourish.  Some have perished like the domesticated rose.  Others are slow growing but keep coming back. I have several ideas in the works for this year and just like finding the right plants for this environment, I need to find the right “feel” or themes for Wyoming.  As I reflect on my garden and the plants that have flourished here an awareness that the “wild” ones have done better.  Maybe, I’ve been holding on too tight to creating that perfectly cultivated workshop and event?  Maybe I should let it be a little wild, thorny and free?

Maybe I need to come from a place of Where the Wild Things Grow and let the ideas flow.

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Michelle Sidun

 

When Roadrunner Comes Knocking

Posted by BB Harding.

One of my stated intentions is to allow the Universe to inform me.  That, I’m sure can mean many things, however, in my mind I want to open up to the messages, that I believe, the universe is constantly transmitting for me, and all of us.  It is simply a matter of allowing the messages to register in my consciousness and recognize the possibilities that are being offered to me.

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Image: (c) Lushpix http://www.fotosearch.com Stock Photography

A couple of weeks ago, I am on a conference call and I hear what amounts to a banging against my window.  It was a bright sunny day, the bats were back, and I thought to myself, ouch, a bird or a bat must have hit one of the windows.  I heard it a few more times during the call, and yet, I could see no source of the noise from where I was sitting.  After the call, I hear a persistent knock, knock, knock against the window.  I get up, stick my head around the corner to my bedroom window, and there is a roadrunner with a lizard in his mouth, tapping his beak against the window.  As soon as he saw me, he took off.

I went back to work, and a little while later I hear knock, knock, knock.  And once again, I go to the window and there is Mr. Roadrunner with a lizard in his beak tapping on the window.  He doesn’t immediately run off.  I tell him that he has done a great job catching a lizard and that it looks mighty fine.  He puts his eyeball to the window for a moment, and then takes off, going up to the higher level.  He pauses for a moment.  I’m thinking that perhaps he wants me to follow him; to see something.  I put on my slippers and go outside.  I see his crown popping above the grass and going towards the pasture.  I go up the stairs, and It appears that he is going slowly, as I get to the top of the stairs, he flies off.  I go down the field, and I am not able to see where he went to.  I wait a few moments and return to the house.

I am getting ready for another call, and yet again, knock, knock, knock on the window.  Once again, Mr. Roadrunner is at my window with a lizard in his mouth.  In between visits, I had put on my shoes and socks so that I would be more ready for him  should he reappear.  He once again goes up to the higher level, and this time waits by a shrub bush.  I come up the stairs, and again, he runs down the path, takes a leap and flies off.  I traverse down to the end by the fence, and I am unable to spot anything that resembles Mr. Roadrunner.  I tell him that the class that I am taking is about to start, and that should he come knocking again, I would not be able to respond.  I don’t hear anything else from Mr. Roadrunner.

The next day, as soon as I finish my first call I hear knock, knock, knock.  Again, Mr. Roadrunner and clearly, another lizard.  (yesterday, in my mind, it was a toss up about whether it was the same lizard or different ones since they looked the same, and were in relatively the same positioin.).  This time, I walk to the window and place my finger against it, and he places his beak against the window.  We stand like that for a moment or two, and then he takes off.

A little while later, once again, tap, tap, tap.  Not surprisingly, tis Mr. Roadrunner and yet another lizard.  He waits a moment, I go outside, up the stairs, and he runs off in the opposite direction than he has been doing.  I go down that path, and once again, not able to see where he has taken a run to.

Later that day, once again he appears, and when I go outside, he again goes down the same path that he had used several times before.   I didn’t tell him that I would be doing another call in an hour or so, and there are several more taps on the window, however, I am not able to go check them out. 

On the next day, I am puppy sitting, and suddenly, at a different window, this one closer to the door, there is once again, the familiar tap, tap, tap.  And clearly, another lizard in his mouth.  I go to the window, and once again place my finger to the window.  He again places his beak against the window.  I tell the dog not to chase the roadrunner, open the door, and she dashes out, not after the roadrunner, however, it is enough to scare the roadrunner off.  I have not seen Mr. Roadrunner since then.  I have seen a multitude of lizards since then though.

After the third siting of the roadrunner on the first day, I did a search on the spiritual meeting of roadrunner and the first website that came up (quornesha.com) had a lengthy interpretation.  I quickly skimmed it and took away a few key points.  It is a sign of ending delays; things will move forward in my life; a sign of speediness and doing things in an efficient manner; I’m on the right path; something in my life has been healed; keep moving forward; learn all I can about who I am and why I am here.  There are others, however, these are the ones that stood out.

I quickly looked up lizard on the same site, and the key takeaway there was that I will make mistakes, and it is normal.

If you have been following me on this blog, you know that I have been looking for a new place to live.  (Yes, I’m still looking!).  There was a house that I saw on one of the real estate sites, and it looked great in the pictures.  I spoke to my realtor about making an offer on the place contingent upon my actually seeing it.  As a courtesy, he drove out, did some videos.  He noted that it was easy to get to; that it was clean; and could be readily moved into.  And yes, the bars on the windows had quick releases in the bedrooms.  When we reconnected later that day, taking the message of the roadrunner to heart, I said that I would like to go ahead and make an offer.  Turns out, we were too late to do that, someone else already had, and had a counter in the making.  Turns out when I actually saw it the following weekend, it was a good idea that I hadn’t actually done that.  One of my primary guiding principles is that the house must feel good to me on the inside and the outside.  It didn’t.

I also took the meaning of roadrunner as an affirmation that I am on the right path to learning all I can about who I am and why I am here.  I have been studying Human Design for the last several months, and just completed a course as a coach assistant doing voice dialogue, and was now a participant in a course to learn about my shadow.  All of these providing more tools and insights into who I am, and why am I here.

I have known for several months that I am the middle of a shift, so that too was an affirmation.

Although the message on the lizard was just a paragraph, it powerfully fit in to what I have been working with.  Paralysis that comes with not doing things for fear of making a mistake – especially a bad choice and then having to live with it.  Somehow or another, the lesson about you can always make another choice got buried deep within my psyche, covered up by aspect of making bad choices and then being a failure or incompetent.  Now, I have allowed myself a mantra – I am always at choice.

On the second day that Mr. Roadrunner showed up, I told my friend and she jokingly said – “he has the hots for you.”  I was curious about the feeding habits of roadrunners, and found out that among other things, they will share a lizard (or other insect or snake) between them while mating.  Ok, I didn’t imagine myself mating with a roadrunner and sharing a tasty lizard between us.  However, there were a couple of takeaways even from that.  First, there was a momentary indulgence of being so congruent and peaceful that I would be able to go outside and have the roadrunner come up to me “in person” so to speak.  Having that connection felt like the many pictures of St. Francis where the animals are gathered around and on him.  The second thing was to consider that the relationships that I most coveted at the moment were with myself and the connection to Source.  Again, an affirmation of what is transpiring in my life.

By day three, the thing that I became most aware of, was the sadness I felt that he didn’t come back again.  On the higher level, one could say, perhaps I had gotten the message and he no longer needed to come back.  And it turns out that another meaning for lizard is that willingness to surrender and let go of something that no longer serves you.  A strong reminder that there are many things in my life that can be released. 

When I did my own check-in with roadrunner, the message I heard was
that my life was going to be changing more quickly now that it was time.  The time that I have been waiting was fruitful and much needed.  I will be meeting new people and making new relationships – both in the type of relationship as well as just meeting new and different people.  Allow these people to nurture me not only through wisdom, also through fun and play.

As I will need to respond more quickly to some of the opportunities it will be important for me to release my perfectionistic tendencies and permit myself to make mistakes.  It is not the end of the world when I do, however, it might be beginnings of enlightenment.

I have many spiritual allies, learn to partner with them and allow my life to alter its course through their wisdom and teachings.  I am not alone, and most worthy of love and support.  Care for myself, as this will be even more important going forward.

I also had a momentary reflection on the fact that there were 7 times that I saw the roadrunner with a lizard in its mouth.  The number 7 represents a seeker of truth, and is always trying to understand the underlying and hidden truths.  I believe that affirms this entire blog.  😊

I would be remiss if I didn’t cop to the fact that one of the many thoughts about roadrunner was the fact that he was a staple of my childhood.  As a cartoon character, he was always besting Wile Coyote and as he raced down the road, he was accompanied with his voice of “meep meep.”  Brought a smile to my face.

What messengers have you allowed in your life today?

When I’m 64

Blog post contributed by Barbara B.

BeatlesI was listening to “The Beatles” on Alexa and had to stop to laugh out loud when I heard “When I’m  64”.  I remember that song so clearly and used to sing it very tongue-in-cheek.  I was 15 when the Sgt’s Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album came out. I was living in Honolulu, learning to play the guitar ( I wanted to be Joan Baez) and laughed at the thought I could ever be “that” old. I couldn’t imagine losing my long blond hair and certainly would never, ever be lonely enough to join a club.  We lived in an upstairs condo and I shared the turn table (stereo record player) that was in the living room with my two older sisters and mother.  I remember wanting to turn the sound up but was not allowed. I had to wait to visit my friend Leilani who had her own bedroom in the basement of her home.  We would blast the album to our heart’s content.  We’d read the words on the back of the cover and cried when “She’s leaving home” played. Later we’d silently whisper to each other how we hoped a “boy” would ask us out to tea, just like the Lovely Rita Meter Maid.

Back then, in 1967 my AM radio was my companion.  My older sisters were out of school and not around. We used slide rulers for complicated math equations. The Vietnam war was still in full swing and our TV was black and white with three channels. Man had orbited the earth but not yet landed on the moon. Sun burns were in and we lathered ourselves with baby oil to brown to perfection. Mini skirts were all the rage with fish net stockings. You had to pay for a long distance phone call, so they were rare.

I resonated with the “64” song because I knew at 15 what it meant to long for something not identifiable.  My sadness stemmed from missing my father who was off at war, longed for my friends (4 legged and others) that I left behind to relocate to paradise. The culture although beautiful, was foreign to me and the city buzzed all day and night. The stars were hard to see unless we went to the Pali, high on the windward cliff. I longed for the green hills of Maryland, snow, the whiff of a shaggy pony and even mud. I missed knowing what my life was suppose to be.  I believed at the time my feeling of wanting to be needed was only temporary and that being out of step with the other teens was due to my constant moves and relocations then feeling and being different.

Now I laugh with the lyrics and realize how much has changed but then how little has really changed. Love is still important. Longing is not obsolete. Promises are made and broken. So the following is my attempt to be funny and tongue-in-cheek at the young age of 66. See my comments italicized after the original song lyrics.

When  I get older losing my hair – who really cares unless it’s from cancer,

Will you still be sending me Valentines, birthday greetings, bottle of wine – Just the wine please.

If I’d been out till quarter to three, would you lock the door? – I don’t and have never locked the door, so what, and 3 in the afternoon is not that late.

Will you still need me, will you still feed me When I’m 64. – We share our meals  most of the time, and you can go ahead and eat if I don’t make it home in time. 

I could be handy mending a fuse, When your lights have gone. – Please do and while your at it grab the scented oil.

You can knit a sweater by the fireside and Sunday mornings go for a ride – I’ll make a lap wrap for the senior center and then take a long trail ride after you hitch up the trailer.

Send me a post card, drop me a line, Stating point of view. –Just please no political opinions

Indicate precisely what you mean to say, Yours sincerely wasting away – Please get to the point already, later we’ll  go to the river to kayak, then stop and eat a salad and later have a triple dip ice cream cone.

Give me an answer, fill in the form – get off of Facebook and talk to me!

Mine for evermore – yes, dear of course

Will you still need me – yes, Will you still feed me –Its your turn to cook,

When I’m 64 – 64’s not that old ask me at 90 🙂

Do you have a favorite song?  Take it down and dust it off. See how it resonates with your life now. Feel young again and be grateful for your time on earth.

Enough nostalgia, time for me to get going, feed the horses, mow the field and pick the green beans for dinner. Ta, ta for now.

Barbara is the president of Wayfinding with Horses, Inc. trained in the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method, a retired Professional Engineer and Qi Gong Instructor but mostly she is a woman passionate about horses, their wellbeing and their gift of being present. The horses help her clients to trust their true nature and lead from the heart.  Clients often report a heightened awareness of their surroundings and others while experiencing a deeper, more profound understanding of their relationships and connection to others.  Barbara lives at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida.

Universal Spring Cleaning

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Written by Carroll a member of Women Move it Forward

It is spring time and I find that I am antsy and fidgety.  Lately, I have noticed the energy in and around me is shaken up and all over the place.  I do not know why or when it started.  One morning it was just there.  Thinking on it, I gain the vision that it is time to do a spring cleaning.  Not only in my home, but also inside of me.  I feel that my spring cleaning needs to be very deliberate and purposeful.  Looking around, I notice there are rooms in my home that could use some attention.  But then I notice that there are places inside of me that could also use some attention.

When spring cleaning my home, I take everything from the shelves and remove items from the counter tops.  These items are carefully placed in another room.  Then I dust and clean each item and thoughtfully place it where it feels right or get rid of it if I do not need it anymore.  To complete the task, each room needs this careful going over or the entire house will be unsettled and the home is unsettled while I go through the process.

Just like a spring cleaning in my home, I also feel I am getting a spring cleaning of myself, like the universe has decided to spring clean my life.  Thoughts, ideas and feelings need to be evaluated and shifted until I have either kept or thrown them out.  There is a dance of keep it… toss it… keep it… toss it…  I feel positive and cleansed as I go through this routine.  As I think the mental process through, it occurs to me that the state of my home and my state of mind are more closely linked than I realized.  My mental state is obvious to my friends when they visit my home.  If my home is cluttered, I am cluttered.  If the house is organized, I am organized.  This insight seems very fitting.

I am not completely relaxed or grounded right now, but this process gives me a sense of purpose behind my energy and an channel for it.  Letting this energy buzz around me without an outlet will drive me crazy so I embrace it.  April is my spring cleaning month.  My mental cleaning and house cleaning will be hard and time consuming but it will also be very rewarding.  I look forward to the positive results.

Are there places in your life that could use a good spring cleaning?

Who do you want to become?

Contributed by Emily Glidden

In the personal growth community, we are consistently moving towards our goals with gusto. We create vision boards, go on visioning journeys, write visions of our ideal day, ideal client, ideal relationship…and so on. We do the inner work to identify our resistances and release them. We meditate, hire coaches, read books, confer with our friends, attend retreats, create ceremonies and share inspiring facebook memes. We work hard to be better, happier people who love generously and make a difference in the world.

And yet I’ve come to wonder about the quality of the focus of the visioning and goal-setting part of this work.

I believe the power of creating purposeful change begins with the questions we ask ourselves.

What do you want to have? This feels like the most common question we ask ourselves. What do you want to physically, materially possess or have access to? Is it more money, a new home, better health, a new relationship, a greater sense of purpose and meaning?

What do you want to do? This is where the rubber meets the road. Do you want to serve more people, exercise five times a week, increase your income, spend money more wisely, start a new hobby, develop a new skill, make new friends, eat less ice cream?

Who do you want to become? This is where the deepest truths emerge. Do you want to become an inspiring leader? A compassionate communicator? Consistently tapped into your inner wisdom? What virtues will you need to develop and strengthen to become the person you know you were meant to be?

Every time I ask myself the question of who I want to be, my answers to what I want to do and have shift and deepen. I want to be physically fit and exercise regularly because I want to feel energetic and strong. I want to be more influential in people’s lives and that means I need to: care for my mental, physical and spiritual well-being through daily meditation, working with my coach, eating quality foods, exercising consistently, and resting when I feel tired; develop new skills in my field for body work and somatic-based coaching; nurture my creativity through play, rest, and relaxation; and create programs for clients that align with my heart’s desire in service. I also want to become a more vocal and compassionate advocate for horses and people to enjoy relationships without the fear of physical or emotional trauma. To become the advocate I want to be, I need to improve my communication skills and that takes courage, kindness, insight, intuition, and self-compassion.

What I like about asking myself who I want to be is that it challenges me to get really clear about what matters most to me. It also puts the ball firmly in my court. I can’t control whether I earn more money this year than last, but I certainly can control whether or not I become a better communicator. The question of who I want to become also inspires me to listen to my better angels, to consider the virtues I want to possess and the impact I want to have on my friends, family, colleagues and clients.

What about you? Do you find the question of who you want to become helpful in creating focus and motivation for your personal growth? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the wise and beautiful Maya Angelou, “Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

To courage!

Emily

Seeking Peace with Horses

It was a warm, sunny, quiet and tranquil autumn afternoon in Colorado. The leaves of the scrub oaks were already brown, soon to be wind blown and piled among the trees. Above was the clear blue sky. I could hear the call of a red tailed hawk as she circled, soaring in the distance. I came to this hundred acre pasture seeking inner peace. I was reminded of so many times and places in the past where I had sought out the same sort of experience. There was very little green left amongst the dusty brown grasses. I crawled into a thicket of scrub oaks and sat cross legged on the ground.

As if in meditation I listened to my breath. I felt the coolness of the ground beneath me. Pine needles from surrounding trees poked at me. Breezes danced around my face. I listened deeply to the barely audible noises of the quiet around me. Nearby were nine horses, nibbling at grasses, watching me and making sounds of contentment. They were barely moving, but as they did they seemed to be a cohesive unit. Some lifted heads and acknowledged me with soft eyes in greeting. They treated me as if I was one of them, sensing that I had not come to impose anything upon them. I just wanted to be with them. Their sweet horse odors scented the air. Some might find the horsey smell somewhat offensive. I wanted to drink it in. I could smell the remnants of the grass that they were munching.

Horses grazing in a natural environment are content. They are aware and present, fully in each moment. Rarely do horses or humans in the world that we live in get the opportunity to experience, to be content, at peace for more than a few moments. I long to capture the essence of peace and contentment; carry it with me, reflecting on it. Mostly people try to master life, going from one task to another, and ask horses to do the same.

As the small herd begins to move past me, one horse nibbles, approaching closer in my direction, her eyes softly seeking me out. All of the horses recognize me as I am a daily visitor in their world. But this horse has begun to bond with me. We are creating a connection. We have something to share with one another. She has become my teacher and my confidant. I tell her secrets. She has never known kindness before. Her life was one of force. I call her Last Chance Candy, knowing that she was once on her way to be sold across the border as meat. At a young age she performed until crippling arthritis set in in all the delicate bones of her feet. Since she can no longer be ridden or shown, she is no longer of value. Except that I recognized her defensive, painful behavior. I can no longer ride horses as I am aging, riddled with injuries and arthritic deterioration. Candy has begun to trust me and look to me for guidance, security and safety. Her predicament expanded my consciousness. I view her as curiously as she views me. Deep down we are both seeking peace, wanting to make peace with our situations. We are creating something new together. We may not be able to work in the way we once did- but we are working together in a different way. We are purposeful and useful. We are unique. Most precious of all is that being-ness of togetherness and the peace it creates in the space we have been given. It is a gift.

The herd then progressed just over a hillside. I could see their tails swishing. Candy has chosen to be with me. She stays within just a few feet of me. I was reminded of a mother horse, waiting by the side of her foal as it sleeps.

My mind meanders back to other times, other places and seeking peace with the many horses that I have shared moments with. These spaces seemed sacred then. I wished that they had remained so. Peaceful pastures were replaced by urban development. Growing up in suburbia I had little chance to experience horses or pastoral settings. I read everything I could about horses, and watched TV shows about horses. I watched Westerns, not because I liked the Wild West, but I just wanted to see the horses. Years later I did learn the essentials regarding the usual things required by horse owners, general care, riding and training. I mastered many things and gained confidence. What I sought the most though however, was that peaceful contentment of just being with the horses, and observing the interactions of the herd in a pasture environment. It fascinated me. I communed with nature as they did. I sadly miss the large canopies, twisted branches and huge trunks of overhanging cottonwood trees. Horses often seek shelter beneath them, just as I did.

Due to old age or injury, I was present when some horses have crossed over to reap the ultimate peace in the realm of spirit. Time suspended itself in the morning hours with their passing. I sat with them and I touched them knowing that soon their physical body would be forever removed. Photos, memories and time fade and blur. Horses have so much to teach us, and remind us of sensing abilities that seem lost to us now.

I once wrote a poem asking that when I die to scatter my ashes where the wild horses run free:

There was a small band of horses,
about twenty or so,
They called forty acres of pasture their home.
They spent their days as horses do.
Grazing, socializing, swatting flies-
And trotting back and forth to the water hole
a time or two.

The mountains the perfect backdrop,
with hawks and eagles aloft.
Coyotes scratched out soft earth,
to make dens for pups.
Prairie dog and rabbit holes tripped the horses up.
Deer wandered through,
a time or two.

I sat upon old fallen cottonwood logs,
and watched the seasons change.
I felt one with the horses,
The grasses, the weeds and pasture blooms,
the sky above, the hum of insects and the flight of birds,
the fragrance of earth and manure beneath my boots.

The city took five acres along one side,
for Open Space, they said.
The new golf course bought the irrigation rights,
and built a dam.
That little bit of country at the edge of the city,
Is now a river of concrete.

What critters are left, vie for a hiding place.
Numerous little lives squashed out on the street.
Does anyone know of my silent grief?
The horses are gone,
Along with that once western tradition
of trail rides on horseback.
I’ve been a time or two.

The new shopping mall, erected a bronze statue
of a bucking bronc.
Perhaps in tribute to what has been lost.
I refuse to look at it. It brings tears to my eyes
and a lump of bile I can’t swallow to my throat.

And when I’m gone…
Scatter me where the wild horses run free.
So that I can Trail Ride through eternity.

At peace with wild horses in the Sand Wash Basin, Colorado

My husband took me on a trip to visit wild horses in the Sand Wash Basin of Colorado a few years ago. We camped out beneath the stars in a wild horse herd management area. For me it was one of those peak experiences one hears about. It had nothing to do with a fancy vacation. It was out in the open, raw, under masses of stars. I could hear the horses around us, not far at nighttime, but could not see them. We tracked the family bands, stallions, mares and offspring during the day. I wanted to know what they ate and where they found water, where they might find shelter. The wild horses are held by the Government on god-forsaken lands. I can’t fathom how they survive. We had several close encounters with the horses. They always stood just beyond reach. They were curious and not afraid. To me the wild horses are sentient beings, a symbol of freedom and family. They hold a sacred space on this earth, just as many other creatures do. These magnificent creatures are relegated to the harshest of environments. Cattle owners, wild life advocates and those wanting to harvest oil and minerals from the ground find the wild horses worthy of annihilation. A few of my best horse friends were removed from the wild at a young age to manage the population. They tell a story of displacement and mute acceptance to become either domesticated or destroyed. I have made peace and find contentment when creating a connection with the once wild ones. Seeking peace with them in their homelands is inspiring.

Recently peace has moved up on my list of what I value most in life. It has more to do with my own inner peace. I have been guided to seek the path that brings peace to my heart when making decisions. Asking my inner self which direction will create peace in my life is not as simple as it seems. Nor is it as difficult as I may perceive either. It certainly is a different way for me to evaluate decision making though. I am known to seek meaning in all things, and constantly ask why, why, why? Sometimes it involves not really wanting to repeat costly emotional experiences from my past. For me it has become something more. It has moved from why, to why not? I can torture myself about the why’s of a situation, or I can expand how I look at things and ask what the greater good was that came out of the difficult situation. Seeking the easier path is not always the most peaceful one.

When I can sit cross-legged on the ground and observe a horse approach me and choose to stay nearby me and she gazes at me from time to time with peace and contentment in her eyes I know I made a decision that eventually brought peace. Candy’s eyes were once filled with fear and pain. Not anymore. I know her life will be cut short one day, and that I will need to be the person to release her from debilitating pain. Until then we have each day together. There was a horse before Candy that taught me about this path. Her name was Firefly. It was painful for her and painful for me. The journey was beautiful in spite of that. It is going to that deep place inside of me to retrieve the inner peace of that journey that gave me the strength to try once more. Inner peace moved me from why, why, WHY to why not? Why would I adopt an un-rideable horse that would cost lots of money, time, energy and effort and emotional commitment and investment? Well, why not? To see her happy, content, coming when called and nickering and choosing to hang out and enjoying the life she has, well why not?

It was the path of peace for Candy and it led to the path of peace for me. I now get to join her in a beautiful hundred acre pasture where she found sanctuary and healing. This is a sacred place where I am also enjoying inner peace with horses. I have realized that in twenty-five years of experiencing horses, I have continued to seek out, find and inhale the peace of horses in a pastoral environment. The peace of these sacred beings nourishes me. This has likely been a contributing factor to the coaching/healing work that I do, partnering with horses through their experience to bring the horses’ sentient magic to humans.

The Necessity of Nature

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As I’m writing this, it is the first day of Spring. Here in Colorado, on our farm, there is snow on the ground, left over from a storm that quite literally blew through a couple of days ago. We need the moisture, so I’m grateful that it is slowly melting into the ground, inspiring the grass to peek out and providing a much needed drink for the pine and aspen trees around the grounds.

One of the most pleasant harbingers of Spring is the return of the Meadowlark. I love their song. I imagine they were a bit surprised to find their return also included a snow storm, but it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard Meadowlark song before and after a big snow.

Listen:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Meadowlark/sounds

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

Not everyone is as lucky as I, surrounded by open fields, grand vistas of the Rocky Mountains, and our many household pets. Back in the day, in what we might call a kinder, gentler time, access to nature, whether it was in a park or by taking a drive in “the country”, was much more common. There’s something about spending some time watching the ripples on a pond, or the breeze gently blowing the grass that soothes a human’s soul, and we re-establish the connection that we inherently know – that we are all one.

These days, most people live in cities. The cities may have parks, but they are not as safe as they used to be. Even in the smaller towns through the U.S., danger seems to show up. People are spending more time indoors, plugged into their computers, talking to one another through text instead of in person, and having nary a whiff of fresh air. Our disconnection with one another, and with nature, is taking its toll.

In order to survive as a species, we need to establish a bond with the planet that nurtures and protects us. If we don’t, if we pillage and use up all resources, if we ignore the pain in our hearts, we are going to find ourselves in, as they say, deep weeds. Except there won’t be any weeds.

Kid-on-farm-horse-562x374-562x374Our psyches need nature. Just watch inner city children introduced to farm animals. They can’t do it; they can’t maintain their protective shells around the gentle beings who only want to be petted and loved. They melt, and they find themselves. They may have to go back to their environment; they may have to put the mantle of protection back on – but they will not forget the look in the horse’s eyes that said “I acknowledge you for who you are; a fellow traveler on this planet like me. And I love and accept you for that.” (for more information about the impact of farms on inner-city children, check out these resources: http://environmentreport.org/?p=2814http://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/comptonposse/

What can you do today to touch nature?

 

Ashara Morris is the CEO of Harmony’s Heart LLC, of which Harmony’s Heart Animals is a part. Learn more about her and the way Harmony’s Heart is changing the world at http://www.harmonysheartanimals.com / http://www.harmonysheartcoaching.com / http://www.thewindriderproject.com

The Price of Independence

I grew up valuing independence. I cherished my ability to do things for myself. I would generally refuse offers of help. Somehow in my mind, I saw this independence as proof of my competence and value as a human being. I didn’t want to owe anyone for my success.

When someone would offer to help, I would often refuse. Sometimes I felt like the offer was an implicit judgement on my ability to produce results on my own, although it was really my own judgement of myself.  Sometimes I didn’t want to bother others by appearing to be weak and needy. My words, not theirs.

My independence did allow me to do some things that I may not have done if I needed to create harmony with a partner, but it also created some walls around me. Spirit has a way of offering us lessons that get a little bigger each time until we learn. For me, it took a sledgehammer. Weekly chemo and daily radiation therapy. For seven weeks.

Throughout and after treatment, I was unable to care for myself and my animals. I needed help. I was afraid that being so vulnerable would make people run, and they did – towards me. My friends and family lined up to drive me to treatment (2 hour drive, plus time at the hospital) and I never went to treatment alone. My dogs and horses were cared for.

I learned that when people offer to help, it doesn’t mean they feel I can’t do it myself, only that I don’t have to. They want to share time with me. When I offer to help, it is out of a desire to assist and yet I found it hard to accept that this is true of others.

Relationships cannot be a one way street. I am happy to contribute to community events in addition to helping my friends out with their tasks. Collaboration is much more rewarding than too much time spent alone.

There is satisfaction in having the competence to manage things on my own, but there is joy in sharing even the mundane tasks with family and friends. As we give, we shall receive. I am so grateful for the network of family and friends that allow me to celebrate my independence while contributing their support.