Over 20 years ago, I had an idea. It manifested over time and due to changing occurrences (none now I believe were random) and a deep yearning to connect and communicate with other sentient beings, especially horses at a very fundamental level, it came forth. The choice(s) I consciously made to step onto this path were very different from previous life decisions. Choices such as becoming a professional engineer, getting married, becoming a mother and raising children stemmed from a deep-seated awareness of what I must do and become. Yet because those choices were approved, even somewhat expected by society, I now realize I had a sort of built in support system, of which my new idea or vision had little support or understanding.
As you read this, you may be thinking to live my heart’s mission at the age of 44, I abandoned everything and every one, moved off to a new continent and backpacked across inhospitable territories. This is a tried and true recipe for most great novels where one “finds themselves”. I did none of this. Finding myself, living and breathing my dream, indeed had many shaking their heads. I was not following the normal pattern of what to do at the beginning of mid life. When my vision was born, just as my children, it was helpless, squirmy and full of potential. It came from a spot deep in my soul and a yearning to understand and be part of the “bigger picture”. Just like children and my career, I could only direct, not dictate the vision, for soon I discovered it had a mind (or should I say spirit) of it’s own.
My dream seemed simple. Since I had been with horses for most of my life, I wished to learn to know them at a deeper level and share my insight with others, hopefully enriching their lives as well. I wanted to not only understand the horse’s herd dynamics but their hierarchy, traits, language and ability to cope under stress. To become one with them and be accepted as part of the herd. I hoped to share their knowledge on getting along, adapting, being strong, loving and having a big enough heart to forgive over and over again. At the time, I knew little of others that were perusing similar ventures with horses and other animals except maybe Jane Goodall and Ray Hunt, where I had discovered his book “True Unity”.
As the years passed, I lived my dream. It morphed and blossomed. I became more educated, feeling and aware of the universe’s connection to all living beings. The mares and foals that were born at my place gave me great insight into their world, often sharing their secrets and fears with me. They grew strong, confident and knew humans were there for them and not to be dreaded. I shared their confidences with others. They helped people deepen connections and find their own path in return. They went to homes with those that planned to keep them forever, create deep and lasting partnerships and changed lives for the better. My vision was wonderful a journey.
Now though, I am choosing to embark on another leg of my journey and one that shakes the basic structure of my vision. The “intact” herd that has become my lifeline must change and I know the strong emotional ties and connections will be altered forever. Months earlier I had a accident and broke 4 ribs, one all the way through, then my husband had a call from his doctor and his health was in peril again. It was difficult and stressful to care for everything and to maintain the status quo. I knew in the back recesses of my mind, I had to simplify and make changes. The basic impetus was that I believed that either I make changes now and adapt or spirit would do it for me, and that would not be as pleasant. In the past spirit or the energy that pushes me forward along my path has had to get pretty “pissey” before I could see it clear enough to respond. So by making a decision I am now in the throws of my vision feeling like it has gone off course even though I am the one that made the proactive decision to do just that.
This should be easy, right, because it is my choice to change. But in reality I feel like I’ve been thrown off course in mid-stream and tossed overboard. I’m floundering, even though I made the choice that is best for all. I have made the decision to par down, loosen the connection with “my” horses (the phrase my horses has always bothered me, like love they are not owned ) and continuity and change direction. My decision to no longer live my vision in the way “I envisioned” has taken me down a deep, dark hole full of anger, angst and lost hope.
Maybe I have become lost, stuck in the moment or forgot that “visions or dreams” must change over time to stay vibrant. Vision such as life does not necessarily follow a planned or prepared direction. Could it be that the vision I am so grateful to nurture and grow, must move on and sprout it’s own wings. Maybe that is why I am now asked to make hard choices, so I too can continue to grow. Wow, letting go to become something else is not easy. Especially when I cannot sense what I am moving towards.
I now think of others out there who have surely felt the same. Those that feel lost and without a compass once they have consciously made the decision to change direction along their life path. Many have given up their homes to “downsize” or move in with their children because they cannot fully care for themselves. Others have courageously placed loved ones’ into someone else’s care because they can no longer care for them themselves or retired from a job because they no longer are able to keep up with changing technology or have health concerns. All decisions were consciously made and consequently shake up and change the status quo. Tough to do? Yes. Commendable? Definitely. It takes courage, spirit and conviction to forage on, walk out and take a new path, especially during the remaining part’s of one’s life. Surely, this part of living is not for the weak at heart.
For me, the rabbit hole of darkness has been hard to crawl out of and I’m not fully there. But one of the many things the horses have taught me is that life goes on and we must make the very best of every day. This is not me “pulling myself up by my bootstraps” but me finding gratitude for the incredible learning, love and joy I have experienced and shared. My experiences are not gone; they live and breathe in me, they are who I am.
My vision or mission has changed. The void that has been created due to the change is now there. Once I’m ready to choose to let go and let life and love refill it, it will provide me with another engaging, meaningful path to follow. The vision or dream that is now in development will not be the one I lived in the past. For sure, it will be different. I know by being open to possibilities and appreciative for all the gifts I have been given, I will continue to thrive, give to others and soon be part of a vision with a different view.
Barbara is a certified EGCMR life and wellness coach. She, along with her husband, dogs, cats, horses and cows, live at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida. For more information about EGCM coaching and re-connecting with your inner compass, harmonizing with your heart, mind, body and spirit and choosing to follow your own to create wellness and balance, go to her website Wayfindingwithhorses.com (WWH.biz) or call her at 304-282-0353.