Expanding Gratitude

Written by BB Harding, one of the Women Moving It Forward

Shortly before Thanksgiving, I woke up one morning and had the thought “How would my life be different if I focused on wanting what I have rather than having what I want?”  Ok, my first thought was well, that doesn’t make sense.  What does a person use to “incentivize” themselves if they don’t have something that they want?  How does one better themselves if they are willing to stick with what they have?  What about those who really have a lousy life – how do they put that thought to work for themselves?

Every cloud has a silver lining.  How many times have you heard that?

I easily came to realize that “wanting what you have” is akin to “being grateful for what you have.”  It has been said that gratitude is one of the greatest things that you can have.  How many famous people have you heard talk about the power of gratitude?  How many have linked happiness to gratitude; success to gratitude; health to gratitude?  How many trainers and spiritual teachers espouse journaling each night before going to bed on 3-5 things for which you are grateful that day?

I took this thought with me throughout the days that followed.  I spent time reflecting on things in my life (what I have) and looking at the level of want for those things.  Since it was already there, it wasn’t something that I spent time wanting, in fact I gave very little thought about having it.  It just was.  And, it wasn’t anything where I was particularly appreciative for the fact that I did have it.  Again, it just was.

Another aspect was if I did have gratitude/appreciation how deep and wide was that feeling?  Here is what I mean by that.  One thing I totally love is a hot shower.  I nearly always thank the warm water as it courses over me for how good it feels; how nurtured I feel as it does so.  How much gratitude have I ever given to the infrastructure and people who have made running hot water in my home possible?  Going that one step further begins to expand the gratitude that I experience.

It can then become easy to slip into thinking about the breadth and depth in other areas.  How about food – am I grateful to the fruits, vegetables, meats, grains that end up on my plate?  How about the farmers/growers, transportation, markets, banks, appliances that have all played a hand in having food show up on my table for consumption?

I come to realize just how unconscious I have become to the things that have shown up in my life and how they got there.  All with very little appreciation for the “effort” that it took to get there.  At a higher level, very little appreciation for how I am able to energetically organize my world so that they are consistently there.  How often does a person honor themselves as a powerful being?  I know I seldom do.

My reflections on “having what I wanted” took me down the road of enquiring “who is it that wants” and “why is it that it is wanted?”  What need is wanting to be fulfilled?  Why is that need there?  An example might be “I want a cookie.”  The “why” I want a cookie might include things like I’m bored, I want a distraction; I want something sweet in my life; I feel like something is missing and want to fill it; I’m feeling frightened, and as a kid, having a cookie was a sign that “all was well.”  Another want might be a new flashy car.  The “why” might be because I want to feel the sense of freedom that comes from having the wind in my hair; I want to be the envy of all of my friends; I have something to prove; I am trying to create a sense of value in my peer group; I want to make an impression on people when they see me in my new car; I want to exude success, especially when underneath I’m not certain about whom I am.  I begin to determine that wanting things that I don’t have is more wrapped up around “lack consciousness” than “abundance consciousness” – I lack something – rather than I am filled with joy at having something.

In my Human Design studies, Karen (Curry Parker) has shared that part of the manifestation process is to be signaling the universe that “this feels good, more please.”  This then allows the magnetic monopole to attract those types of experiences to me.  If I don’t like what is going on, then I can “tweak the request.”

I am seeing more and more, that to appreciate what I have, to expand my level of gratitude can be a life altering event not only for me, as an individual, it can set a new frequency for the community and planet.  Being fully engaged with what is present.  Bringing all that is present into harmony.

I went searching for a few quotes and here are three I want to share.  Each has an aspect of my own conclusions for “wanting what I have rather than focusing on having what I want.”

Oprah Winfrey:  Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Robert Holden:  The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.

Kristin ArmstrongWhen we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.

In this season, I invite you to find the things in your life that you are grateful for, and then be grateful for all that has been organized in the universe to bring it to you.



The Little Pony With the Messy Mane



Once upon a time, there was a pony named Emma. She was a Fell Pony, and as such, not tiny. When she was full grown, she would be big enough for a light adult to ride her.

Emma was only two, which means she was full of herself, and had opinions about everything. One day, her opinion, which said “I go through this door FIRST”, and the opinion of another, larger horse, collided. They both had the same opinion about who was going to go through the door first. Unfortunately, they both didn’t fit, and Emma lost that discussion. She also cracked her elbow and her scapula on the door jamb, and things were bleak for a while.

She couldn’t put any weight on her leg. She hobbled around like a tripod, and looked miserable. The vet came out and took x-rays. Uh oh. Stall time for Emma, and maybe, just maybe, she’d get well enough to be a beautiful pasture ornament for the rest of her life.

Fortunately for us all, Emma was wise beyond her years and took very good care of that leg. In only a few days, with the help of some horsey pain killers, she was starting to put weight back on it. She stayed quiet in her stall, ate hay, and chewed on wood. Her good friend Declan, another large pony-sized equine, stayed in the barn with her and kept her company. Emma was very grateful to Declan for making that sacrifice.

Emma’s mom thought it would be nice to braid Emma’s very substantial mane into braids, because it was quite warm in the barn and it would help keep Emma cool. So she did. Emma was not impressed, especially with her forelock braid.

“Why do I have to have my forelock braided,” she fretted, and rubbed her head against the side of the stall. It’s itchy. It goes sideways. It’s got YELLOW TWINE in it, for crying out loud. I look like a hussy instead of a cute pony.”

Emma rubbed and rubbed. The braid became more and more messy. At last, success! Her forelock was once again free!


Emma on the left, Declan on the right, freed at last from the barn.

After braiding it three times and having it rubbed out, Emma’s mom gave up. If Emma wanted her forelock loose that badly, so be it.

Emma worked on the rest of the braids. It gave her something to do while she was confined to the stall. Got them all out, too.

She continued to heal. After 8 long weeks, she and Declan got to go back outside. Now she’s once again free, eating green grass, and running. Braid free.


Giving Common Thanks


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Written by Carroll a member of Women Move it Forward Blog

I do my best to feel gratitude at all times. Thanksgiving is special here because it focuses on the feel of gratitude. This year we had a great feast and company on Thanksgiving. And we focused on how wonderful the food tasted; how easy it was to cook, and all the great friendships we have including the spirits in the Tribe of Tribes on the property.

In the middle of Black Friday night I experienced a whole new level of giving thanks. How many things are taken for granted day-to-day, moment-to-moment? The things that make our life quality. Around 10:30 at night a loud beep woke my husband and I. It was the carbon monoxide detector come on and off a couple of times. The electricity to the entire house flickered and then went off leaving us in complete darkness.

We did the usual things – check to see if the neighbor’s lights were off (indicating it was a widespread outage not just something at our house), get a flashlight, and go to set up the generator.

OUCH, we realized that our generator was out in the barn. When I looked outside it was a white-out blizzard. And I admit my emotions dipped. The thought of bundling up for 15-degree weather, going outside, getting in the car, driving to the barn, opening gates which are probably frozen from ice, lifting the generator into the car, bringing it back and setting it up on the porch with all the snow and wind just did not sound like a good time.

And then my husband said “Let’s wait and see if they get it back on” and I agreed to wait for an hour. My 94-year-old grandmother lives with us and would not fare well if the house became cold. So we waited, half hour later the electricity flashed on for second and then went off again.

At that point I really focused on giving thanks for the person who was troubleshooting this issue where ever they maybe. And I started focusing on finding the benefit of this event! I truly enjoyed the darkness, and the lack of any kind of radio waves from all the devices which are “necessary” nowadays. I enjoyed being cozy under a big blanket. I gave thanks for the person who was in the process of returning electricity to us.

That electricity supplies not only our heat and our light but also our water from the well. All the things taken for granted just in the course of the day.

At 55 minutes after the electricity went out, it came back on. Gratitude for listening to my husband! The relief and gratitude of not having to go to the barn was immense. The gratitude for those people working at the electric power plant or on the line was very deeply heartfelt. And as we started the pellet stove, gratitude for heat, light and comfort was almost overwhelming.

How often do you give gratitude for electricity, water and sewer?

I am reminded of the saying “big things are made out of lots of little things…” I invite you look around you every day with gratitude for the little things like a functioning outlet or faucet…

Giving Thanks

It’s the American holiday Thanksgiving this week, and I can’t let it pass by without giving it its due.

Thanksgiving is, after all, my favorite holiday. Growing up in Massachusetts, the end of November brings chilly fall weather and the sense that winter is coming soon. The leaves have long since fallen to the ground and the naked tree branches are a stark reminder of the coming winter. The days are getting shorter and the sun starts to descend behind the trees by 3 o’clock.

It’s a time for fires in the fireplace, hot apple cider and snuggling under quilts. When I was a kid, Thanksgiving Day was a day for my whole family to gather ‘round our dining room table to share food and stories. I never liked turkey much, but enjoyed everyone else’s eagerness for it and the ceremony of my father carving it up, fulfilling special requests from my Grandma for dark meat and for large helpings from my brothers. I gobbled up all the sides, enjoying the wide variety of flavors and colors in large dishes crowding each other for space on the expansive table. I delighted in the orange of the sweet potatoes, the crunch of green beans, the tang and tartness of cranberries and the warming spices throughout. As we passed plates and ate, the hum of conversation was punctuated by the clang of utensils and the ring of laughter.

I loved the time with my grandparents. I loved having them all gathered round the same table, laughing, squabbling, teasing and reminiscing. When everyone was over-full and second and third helpings had been doled out, consumed (with partial success), or refused, everyone scrambled to clear dishes from the table, put away leftovers and wash dishes. When it comes to cleaning up, helpfulness is a competitive sport in my family. Not so much with meal prep, but that’s okay because my mother enjoys a quiet kitchen.

My grandparents have all passed on now, but Thanksgiving is still a time for me to remember them, and be with them in spirit. I treasure the memories of them on these holidays. How I loved to comb my Pop’s hair and make him tea with lemon after dinner. We had those little lemon juice containers that looked exactly like a lemon. I would hold it over his tea cup and count the drops to his specifications–not that he was very specific (I believe his directive was 10-15 drops) but that I adored being able to serve him in this way.

My Grammie would sit in one of our rocking chairs and rock and smile as she talked with my Mom about her latest needlework project. The cats would wind their way around our legs as we settled into our seats, soon finding their own places to curl up—a willing lap or an ottoman would do.

Most of all it’s the nourishment of food and warmth and familial love that I treasure. Since I’ve moved across the country and my brothers have both married, we aren’t always able to gather all together on Thanksgiving Day. But we do find times to all be together at least once a year, and often as many as two or three times. Every time we’re together we find this spirit of togetherness that sustains us.

Wherever I am on Thanksgiving Day the smells and flavors of the season bring those same feelings. I’m grateful for all of it; the memories, the blessings of a loving family, warmth, comfort, and nourishment.

Acceptance, Hope and Balance

We are nearing the end of 2018. Astrologist Roy Neal pointed out that since August it has been a time of transition, healing and empowerment. It has shown up in powerful ways, individually and globally. Transition is a term used in giving birth. It can be a painful time. Most women forget the pain of birthing once a new life is brought forth.

My astrological chart clearly showed that this time for me was a transition of life or death. And so it was. By surviving surgical complications I escaped physical death or permanent disability. I did not know this was in my chart until I met with Mr. Neal for a reading and he pointed it out to me. My chart also shows that I “make it” into next year. Many things of the past did die with me as I lay recovering in a stroke rehabilitation hospital learning how to negotiate my new life of differing limitations. Since a blood clot damaged my spinal cord after a cervical fusion my unconscious perception of time and space and where my body is doesn’t function well. Fatigue makes it worse. Keeping balance not only in my body but my life is of utmost importance. Things that used to matter, no longer do. New lessons of rebirth are taking place.

Here are just a few new life lessons I learned about balance:

Self care is as important as caring for others. Each person is responsible for their own healing path. I used to hold healing for others. I carried it for them. I still can share what healing I have experienced, but ultimately each one has their own personal responsibility to heal. Healing can take a moment or a lifetime. I personally am grateful to have this opportunity to eventually leave this planet with the same spiritual wholeness I came in with. Putting my own healing first might set a good model for someone else to do the same. My nursing staff sent a thank you card saying I was pleasant and motivated. Yep- sure was! They even took me outdoors to the healing garden for my physical therapy, as I insisted nature was healing.

Holding space for healing has changed to creating space for healing. By releasing what does not resonate with me, and setting a clear boundary, it creates a space. What I have experienced and share may not resonate with someone else, and may even seem the polar opposite. I can let go now and wish them the best on the journey.

Coach Martha Keul once shared a coaching technique with me called “unpacking your backpack.” All of us carry with us on our back a sack of rocks. They could be limiting beliefs, obligations, mind sets, responsibilities, unfinished business, dependencies etc. It is a good idea to dump out that backpack and do an inventory from time to time. Decide if you really want to name and keep that rock or rid yourself of it. Lighten your load when you can. Laying in a hospital and relearning something you never had to think about before like walking or getting to the bathroom can really change whats in your backpack!

Forgiveness means more than letting go. It is actually giving something back that does not belong to you. If you are damaged because someone did something awful to you, why help them continue to damage you? Give it back! It is not yours, it doesn’t belong to you.

Balance is about self worth.  Relationships were always more important to me than money or material belongings. Having too much money or too little money is out of balance. People can also sacrifice themselves to hang onto a relationship and they become victims and martyrs. Balance is not self less or selfish. It is just self- who you uniquely are without all the over lays.  Having more material things that can be replaced may be easier than the pain of a failed relationship. Not having healthy relationships and suffering poverty is dismal.  It is also relative to each individuals circumstances. How I perceive things and my reality often differs from the next person. Hospital bills without insurance are monumental. It might mean life or death to someone. I firmly believe and practice alternative healthcare. Surgical intervention became a necessity. I have had to stand in my truth as to what my reality actually is.

As I continue healing I understand why my polarized shadow side is there. I can offer that same acceptance of others shadow side without judgment. I can’t obliterate things I don’t like or agree with. But I have a new found peace and I can choose what works for me and what doesn’t. I can agree to disagree and not take things too personal. I am not being personally rejected. I learned in a political discussion recently that even the darkest of times can become a catalyst to cure apathy and complacency and drive people to the light! History has shown that certain aspects are not good for the whole and eventually fail repeatedly. Some people in certain countries have spent their entire lives in dictatorships, not necessarily by choice. If I hang on to what does not belong to me I am my own dictator. I cause myself suffering when I could try something different. How can I relate in order to create health and well being in decision making, relationships and situations?

Letting go and releasing may not always be a process. Saying I am DONE, truly meaning it and not taking it back puts a quick end to internal debates. I often agonize over decisions, when a clear choice really lightens the load. I say YES now to ease and flow and what brings inner peace.

I was counseled by humble Mr. Roy to quit attaching guilt to my boundary setting. So now I am like the America’s Got Talent Show. “It’s a NO for me!” It might be someones cup of tea, but I don’t care for Chai! No guilt attached and it is not personal. What not might be for me- might be an opportunity for someone else to excel. Variety is the spice (Chai Tea) of life.

I have researched a concept referred to as Karmic Balancing. To simplify it, the night I was born the sign of Cancer was in transit and in opposition to who I truly am as a freedom loving Sagittarius. I left my childhood believing family, work and responsibility was the way I earn acceptance and self worth. There is no joy in that equation. I could not play, unless all my work and responsibilities were done. They were never done. I tried to fill in the space left by damaged parenting. Likely what my Mother called rebelliousness was just me trying to break the reins of restraint. I am often referred to as crazy. I am neither rebellious or crazy, my joy is the freedom to be me. Hence my love for horses and healing through coaching. What was acceptable to others was like cancer to the authentic me. I have hid my spirituality, love for freedom and my true belief system for most of my life. I thought I was protecting myself and others that I loved. When I am backed into a corner the freedom loving horse spirit fights or flees. No wonder I have such a deep connection with wild horses who are deemed worthless and of no value. Please don’t fence my spirit in. Roy Neal said that I should be a spiritual warrior for myself. I have decided to embrace my crazy!

As a child I learned that I was not worthy of material or financial support. My biological father abandoned me and never paid any child support. Never offered any support in any manner. My step-father was not my biological father and I was told repeatedly that he was not responsible for me. My Mother worked outside of the home to financially support two children. Work made her feel better about herself. Relationships failed her. Food was plentiful, but not material things. I over ate to relieve emotional pain. Relationships became very important to me. Money and things were for necessities and making ends meet. Relationships were so important that being extremely service minded was a result. I gladly gave away freely my education and life experience if it would help someone else to heal. Even if it cost me dearly. The person/relationship was more important than money or financial value. Relationship was priceless and of value. I only appear stoic on the outside.

Mr. Neal reminded me firmly that from now on I am to be treated fairly and with equity. This does not necessarily equate to financial gain, but that energetically I am worthy of a fair and equitable exchange for what I invest in others. Respect, appreciation etc. I was often left feeling like a failure when my love, compassion and life long learning experiences were outright rejected, ignored or not responded to. I always encourage independence in clients but I expect them to show up and participate fully.

Acceptance this year has to do with believing that things were not as traumatic as they seemed. What could have happened with a cervical fusion and complications was a very dark place. Hope is about how to get through this transition. Hope is about an eventual positive outcome and working towards it. Balance is about being determined that I will prevail in my new outcome or rebirth. It is time for my soul to break forth from the inside outward. Mr. Roy Neal even gave me a new definition for joy. I have been working for years on replacing grief in my heart with joy. Please note the term “working.” Who “works” on being joyful? Joy is a state of “Being.” My joy is simply the freedom to be me, embrace myself in my authenticity. I only need to lay down an energetic path of lightness for others to follow. I have been given a late in life opportunity to become more balanced. I can hardly wait to meet the new empowered me in 2019. I am sure that I will be recognizable as I will retain many of my positive attributes. Practicing love and compassion for self and others is balanced by discernment and clarity. Practicing balance is life sustaining, even as my body ages.

I will also begin offering New Reality coaching as part of my repertoire. This coaching is for those who have an inkling that something is shifting and want to explore and create a new reality. We will explore together all kinds of meta physical inspiration and take journeys into new dimensions.

As Disney character Buzz Lightyear says: “to infinity and beyond!”

Roy Neal is a professional astrologer with a private practice. Contact Roy at 720-962-4633.

What in the World…..?


, , , , , ,

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

There has been a lot of unhappy things in the news lately, it seems. Our country is becoming Fascist; innocent people are being murdered for no reason other than someone doesn’t like their religious beliefs, or the color of their skin, or one of a hundred other “reasons”; animals are being thrown out of the windows of cars, or left to die on a road, or in a backyard.

All my life I’ve loved animals. I’ve always felt that people, for the most part, can take care of themselves, and if they can’t, they should be cared for. There are millions of caring, loving people out there who do their best for the humans who cannot help themselves. But the animals have no voice that most are willing to listen to – because if they did, they would be humbled. The animals don’t have much in the way of rights, either, but that’s another blog.

Let’s talk about hearing those animal voices, and how thoughtless some humans are to those species who can’t say out loud, “No matter what, I love you.”

I saw a post on Facebook the other day about a kitten who was thrown out of the window of a car. This happened in the county and state in which I live, and I have never been so saddened by an event. Tossed away like a piece of garbage. Discarded.


TorbiAloysiusSmallWhat must those people think of themselves? How fearful they must be that they are so without value that it’s okay to devalue another life, and as a result feel better about themselves. I can tell myself that all day, and I mostly have compassion for those people who would throw a kitten, a living being, away like a piece of trash. Compassion is winning out over other, baser instincts – the part of me that wants to rip them to shreds, to toss them out a window and see how they feel. But what good would that do? It only serves to escalate the anger, the fear, the discombobulation we are all feeling during this time of great transition. Staying centered and trusting the Universe is paramount.

So I meditate. I pray. I let go of the anger, and I send those people, and all humans for that matter, Love and Light and the hope that some day they may listen to those small voices, who love us so much that they allow themselves to be tossed out of a car window to get our attention. Those small voices, those lives, and the lives of all the humans sacrificed, saying “Wake up! Wake up! Do you really want to go down this path again? Love one another. See yourself in me, a small furred creature, or a human with another color face. We are all the same. We are all part of God. Wake up!”

p.s. The kitten, for those who are wondering, was rescued, doctored, and has found a loving home.

p.p.s Happy birthday today to my mom, who would be 93 if she were still on the planet. She loved all animals, too, especially dogs and cats.


Ashara Morris is an Animal Communicator and Certified Equine Gestalt Coach who loves all things furred, feathered, scaled, or whatever. She is President and CEO of Harmony’s Heart, LLC, home of Harmony’s Heart Coaching, Harmony’s Heart Animals, and The WindRider Project. Find out more about her and the work being done at Harmony’s Heart at www.harmonysheartanimals.com, www.harmonysheartcoaching.com, or www.thewindriderproject.com.

I’ve got to…

How many times do you say, “I’ve got to do this…”?

How does it make you feel? Obligated? Forced? Maybe sometimes even resentful?

What if you changed the language to, “I get to do this…”?

Very different feel, right?

There are so few things that we “have to” do, and so many that we choose to do, perhaps not recognizing that we had a choice.

We can choose to cook dinner, pick something up or go out. We don’t “have to” cook. Perhaps we weigh the options and decide that we’d like to cook dinner for reasons of economy or health. Perhaps we decide to pick up fast food for reasons of convenience. Or we go out for dinner for companionship. Do you really “have to” cook?

Spending time with your friends and family is something I hope you “get to” do, rather than “have to” do. If you feel you “have to” spend time with them, I suspect your relationship needs some work so that you can create a space where you enjoy their company. Perhaps your personal boundaries aren’t being appropriately drawn or defended. There is possibly a personal development lesson in this relationship of obligation that could help you with other relationships.

I “have to” feed my animals on a regular schedule. However, if I can recognize that I “get to” spend quality time with them each day, caring for them and enjoying their company, it feels so much better.

“I’ve got to” or “I get to”. The choice is yours.


We are 22 days into October and I have drawn 22 days in a row!! Why?  Inktober, that’s why! What is Inktober? Well, Inktober was created by Jake Parker in 2009 to improve his own inking skills.  It has since become a worldwide occurrence to celebrate ink and thousands of artists participate each year. Basically,  it’s 31 days, 31 drawings.  Each day has a word assigned to it and the words are rather random.


Day 5: Chicken

Our local Chamber of Commerce tweaked the rules a bit to include pencil drawings, thank goodness!  They also added a prize!  Participants who post their drawings to Facebook all 31 days with the hash tags #Inktober and #InktoberCarbonCounty will be entered into a drawing.

When I saw the post in late September, I thought, “cool, that’ll be fun.” It’s been so much more than that!


Day 17: Swollen

You see, I’m an artist, have been all my life.  However, that piece of me was buried for many years.  My mother-in-law did not like my art and to avoid the constant judging, dirty looks and rude remarks when she entered my home, I took most of my art off my walls and stored it in the basement.  I didn’t paint and rarely even drew for the 10 years I lived next door to her.  Since moving to Wyoming in 2009, I’ve been rediscovering that piece of me, uncovering it layer by layer.

What began as a simple, fun exercise has reawakened a part of me in ways I never imagined.  I spend 10 – 40 minutes on each drawing.  Some words have been easy, others have been difficult.  I don’t “love” every drawing and I’m OK with that.  That, too, was growth as I used to expect every drawing to be perfect or I’d tear it up! Whether it’s good or bad,  I’m putting it out there for the world to see!  This simple exercise has also gotten me through some very stressful days. I’ve been able to take the word for the day and create a drawling that represents where I’m at in that moment. For instance, on day 7 the word  was “exhausted “.  By then I was several days into making my daughter’s wedding dress with a deadline of the 10th! Exhausted was an understatement! 20181007_1929511This was the drawing I created to reflect that.  I was able to smile and let go of the exhaustion in a way that allowed me to continue. The dress turned out beautiful and was a perfect fit.

As October comes to a close, I may have to find a way to continue this on my own.  I may not do it every day but I definitely want to continue to feed this part of me!

Loving Inktober!


Day 6: Drooling

How You Do Anything…

Posted by BB Harding, member Women Move It Forward blog

For years, I have heard the adage “How you do anything is how you do everything.”  Usually, it went in one ear, registered momentarily, dropped into nah, and went on out the other ear.

Throughout the last couple of months, I have been in situations where that very phrase popped up more than once.  I have a rule of thumb, that if I hear something three times (or more), there is a possible message in there for me to look at.

For the past two weeks, I started paying closer attention to see if there was any veracity for me in that statement.  It was easy for me to literally say, I don’t do everything the same way, so what do they mean?  One of the “messages” was in the context of “tell me how you eat dinner, and I will tell you how you do anything.”  Another context “how you do your homework is how you do everything.”  And yet another was literally about doing tasks – “how you do a task is how you do your life.”

Ok this was food for fodder, so I decided to take a look at this.  Obviously, it wasn’t a literal statement, yet maybe there were some common threads.

At the time of the “eat dinner message” I can say that my normal mode was to go grab something, slap it together, and then eat on the run, or while I was doing something else (aka, multi-tasking).  I frequently ate directly from the pan and seldom used “real” dishes (why waste the time and have to cleanup after?)  And I seldom took the time to make something hot (too much trouble).  It was easy to have a few take aways on this one.  I am too busy to take proper care of myself; I look for what is easy to do; I don’t take the time to press the pause button and do something else; too focused on getting things done (or not); that there were things that just weren’t that important to me; I had various notions about keeping productive and efficiency.  One of the other contributors to not sitting down to eat was the fact that I really didn’t have any place to do that.  I could have made a spot on the desktop by pushing my computer out of the way, and I did do that a handful of times.  One of my efforts since I moved to my new place has been to take the time to put food on a plate and sit at the table to eat. Sometimes I do nothing else, and much of the time, I am having some Netflix on in the background.  It is still hard to do absolutely nothing other than eat.

Last week, I was cleaning the front windows on the house.  I was removing the screens, washing down the windows, vacuuming out the dirt in the sills (I wanted to be able to see the view, afterall).  I became aware that I was really taking my time in doing the task.  Not rushing, doing a “good” job; being present to the task.  I started reflecting on this. What is it that has me doing some things more thoroughly than other things?  What causes me to deep dive or skim the surface?  Some say I am meticulous to a fault; I often feel like I am not deep enough.  Some thoughts began to emerge.  If I REALLY like something, I will immerse myself in the topic to find out more.  If I’m ho-hum about it, I will stay on the surface.  What if I have to get something done and I don’t like it?  I work on it, am frequently diverted, and it often gets done at the last possible moment.  What if I have to get something done, and I don’t know how to do it? I struggle with it.  I will research the topic –“what does it mean?”  “What have others done?”  “What can I learn from this?” I’ll fuss with it; I’ll seek answers from others and typically will be dissatisfied with their answers. Other times I will be blown away with a response that makes it all obvious.  Overall, I’ll attempt to apply various learnings and theories that I have come up with to see if I can arrive at a solution.  I know when I am struggling (like what to write for a blog), I wonder how good is “good enough?”  or “when enough is enough?”  Then there is the part under this that says “what if my best is not good enough?” What then?”

I throw out the question about what is my conditioning around this?  A couple of things come roaring to the surface – “Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.”  “Do a good job.” “If you are going to do it, do it right.” “You need to put in 100% (or more) to get the job done.”  “You should be able to figure this out on your own.” “There are times you have to do things you don’t want to do because it is for the greater good.”  “Don’t be sloppy about how you do things.”  “People will judge you on the way you do things.”  “Just get it done…because I said so!”  “Quit whining and get it done.” “A child could figure this out.”   OK, enough.

So, where am I with this experiment?  In the midst for sure.  I have learned a few things

  • It appears that I generally lack a sense of mindfulness in the things that I do.  Many things are done in multi-tasking mode; lack of full attention to the activity that I am doing.
  • How I approach doing something is contingent upon what s happening within me.
  • I have made inroads on caring for self, and yet there is much more to do.  Allowing myself breaks; doing things only for me (e.g. a meal); slowing down and being more present.  Allowing time and space into my life.
  • If I really like something, or really want to know – I will immerse myself, maybe even “work hard” to find out more.  It would be appropriate to note that “work hard,” in this case, doesn’t feel like “working” hard.
  • Conversely, if I don’t like something, don’t want to do something I will allow my energy / mind to wander; allow interruptions; fail to focus; struggle with getting the task done.
  • At times, I have no real commitment to doing something; this would fall more appropriately into the category of “I want to” be more committed in that area.
  • I find myself curious about a couple of things – would I be willing to commit to doing something for a period of time?  Something I like as well as something I don’t like?  Taking on a mindful, self-honoring approach.  Another inquiry:  would I be willing to only do things that I really liked or genuinely wanted to know something about?  This would require jumping past doing things because “I have to do them,” “I should or ought to be doing them.“

Going forward with this experiment, I am focusing on inducing more mindfulness into the way that I do things, and see where that will take me.  This feels as if it could be something that I share about again in the future.

How do you do anything?


“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left”.

Summer has come to end. The heat and rain of 2018 will be long remembered, but most memorable will be my 2680 mile road trip. As I mentioned in my previous blog I did not go to any exotic location. My trip was charted by destiny. It started with me placing pins on a map of where old friends, horses I knew and relatives still lived throughout the eastern US. It also included seeing old homes, special roads or views that I loved.  I learned that my bones take a bit longer to straighten out after being in a car for any length of time, but my eyes were just as bright exploring new roads and re-experiencing old trails.

The last part of my trip took me to SW Pennsylvania. The scenery; hills of green, winding rivers and forest so lush and thick they were intoxicating, brought me back home.   I visited my old work place and got caught up with my co-harts.  I rode horses down familiar trails and even went to visit my old homestead(s). It was nostalgic and a bit sad, but clearly evident to me that the home and land was no longer part of whom I was.

But one thing, above all stood out to me on this trip. One evening my girlfriend got all the other ladies together that I knew.  When I lived there I was part of a monthly “horsey girl night out” where we shared stories about our horses, training we learned about or brought a video or two to discuss. I loved this group of women but really didn’t imagine I’d be able to see so many of them during my stay. When I walked in, I briefly looked around and took note of their changes and then there I was. Again, smack in the middle of stories, laughter, crying and hugs. I had to pinch myself to remind myself that I was no longer a regular part of this group.

What made this group just like going home to family? I quickly realized that it was not necessarily the monthly get togethers that bonded us, but really quite more.  We all had been there for each other through snow storms, loss of electricity, helped each other with sick or injured horses, rode the hills together, vacationed with our horses together, lifted each one up when a job was lost, a child became sick or a family memeber died.  We loved each other just as much for our faults and as our virtues. We had seen the worse of each other, the quirky sides and even the best from time to time. Is this what binds a family, a group, a village or nation I mused about during those 2 1/2 weeks on the road?

For me, growing up in a military family and moving often, I used to believe that the wonderful places I experienced overshadowed the many, many friendships I made. I was wrong. Here was a group of strong, independent women that became my family for only 12 years and yet when we met again after 5 years, we were as connected as ever! Most other people, I suspect know and understand the value of friendship and may not even questioned or think much about it. But for me the profound ability to reconnect and not be the one looking from the outside in (as was my regular pattern) was amazing and something I will cherish always.

To friendship and the journey!

Barbara is the owner and president of Wayfinding with Horses, Inc.  She is 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.