To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
Hello Herd Members:
It’s been seven months since I wrote you from my Spring retreat and much has happened in my life, as well as yours, I suspect. There certainly is a lot happening on our planet.
I am feeling gratitude during this autumn harvest season, in particular for the lovely equestrian students and coaching/counseling clients that grace my personal and professional life. The most wonderful horses help with sessions of all kinds and a friend welcomed a new daughter on the Autumn Equinox.
Life and Death, Hope and Tragedy, continue to dance hand in hand.
This newsletter contains a recap of summer highlights, a special announcement and a personal note.
Summer Highlights & Upcoming Event—Evening Meditation with the Herd
In May, Beth Bryce’s Daring Circle women came for a second annual custom equine coaching retreat (photo left). What incredible women, and Beth is a gift to this planet as a human being and a rockin’ career coach!
In July, I hosted Senior Level Centered Riding Clinician Lucile Bump for a wonderful two-day clinic and a day of private lessons at the beautiful Nizhoni Ranch & Stables. These quiet foundational principles improved everyone’s riding significantly.
Also in July, colleague Alice Griffin and I held an Open House Into to the Healing Power of Horses, and then co-facilitated Self Care for the Soul Mini-Retreat with Horses in August.
We’ll be offering an Evening Meditation with the Herd for four weeks at Arrowhead Ranch in Santa Fe starting this month. Click here for more information.
In September, colleague Mary Ann Menetry and I hosted Larry Green from North Carolina for a Kinesiology for Horses workshop where we learned about muscle testing and various healing modalities to help our beloved horses (photo left).
A Special Announcement
Although I was a licensed therapist in the state of North Carolina and have always maintained a passion for personal growth, I choose to focus my professional path on teaching equestrians and offering life coaching. Eventually, I let this license lapse.
Several soul searching years later, I decided to renew this direction here in New Mexico. I recently obtained my license as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and am now accepting counseling clients as well as continuing to offer life coaching. Sessions are available by phone, Skype/Facetime, in person—with or without horse.
What’s the difference between Life Coaching and Counseling? Loosely, Coaching is about discovering, while Counseling is about uncovering and recovering. As you can imagine, there is a time and a place for each of these things and I relish offering such comprehensive personal growth services through the following programs—
Your Authentic Life Counseling & Coaching
Horses Healing Being Equine Guided Counseling & Coaching
The Ride of Your Life:
The Inner Equestrian Counseling & Coaching for Riders
Interested in finding out more, for individual, couples or groups?
A Personal Note
Honestly, my heart hurts during these recent times. What has been happening around the globe and in neighboring towns is heartbreaking.
I’ve been seeking meaning amidst the chaos and destruction and offer the following practices in the event that they might serve you as well.
I’ve been reaching out. Connect with others: we are not alone. You might reach out to friends, join a like minded group and/or seek a mentor, coach or counselor.
Take action or inaction as you need. Be at choice where you can. I’m choosing to be courageous and gentle in my one on one interactions with people, including the check out clerk, the bank teller, a passerby, with my lover and friends.
Look in each others eyes. Be kind. And patient. Drive the speed limit. Leave space between you and the car in front of you. Pull over if someone is crowding you. Let someone go in front of you in line.
We’re nearly all suffering from loneliness, fear, overwhelm and isolation.
Remember there’s a larger conversation to be had here. This is about the details, but this is also about what is at the root of our greatest pain and suffering. What do we need personally and globally to heal at the core and the foundation?
Explore your discomfort and be willing to befriend it. The greatest love, connection and healing happens with those that are willing to be uncomfortable. My friend that recently had a baby went through 40 hours of labor. The result was a miracle.
Be in your body and release energy through riding, walking, a 15-minute chair massage (or longer!), yoga, your favorite forms of exercise or other means. I love unstructured dance and cooking. These things help us avoid accident and injury caused by disassociation and trauma reflexes that don’t serve us in the here and now.
Treasure the tiny things—your horse’s warm velvet nose, the color of an autumn leaf, the taste of your first sip of fresh brewed coffee, the weight of child or pet in your arms, soft sheets. What went well in the last hour of your life? It’s a practice in Presence when so much is going on “out there” in the world.
Boundaries also serve us by knowing when we’ve had enough. Limiting social media and news inputs to help our nervous systems reset, but also having boundaries around traumatizing conversations when you are not prepared or willing helps us regain a sense of equilibrium.
Turn it over. There’s a larger choreography that we are NOT in charge of…at all. One of the ways I connect with this is to go into silence in nature where I have a sense of being “right sized” in the larger landscape of elements. Some may pray, or find solace in other spiritual pursuits.
A deep and humble bow of gratitude to be alive. Right. Now.
If you would like support, please contact me to connect and find out what might be possible in our work together.
Love to each of you,
Life does not accommodate you; it shatters you.
Every seed destroys its container,
or else there would be no fruition.
I’m taking a solo retreat on beautiful land north of Santa Fe and contemplating what nourishes me over this Spring Equinox—a time of balanced day and night, inner and outer. The crystal clear, spring fed streams that lace through this land have me musing about what most deeply supports the taproot of our Being.
Like a seed that must crack open in order to sprout, the journey of opening isn’t always easy. But there is definitely a need to quench the deep thirst that change or growth requires, like the spring is fed from deep underground.
It was an hour into my drive here before I exhaled audibly. And it was nearly 24 hours later before the tears came, lying spread eagle—finally surrendering both mind and body—on the soft, dry riverbed at the base of a magnificent box canyon.
It’s been such a full year, and this peace offering of a retreat was the opportunity to acknowledge many passages, but also to shift from the habituated day to day patterns into something deeper inside of myself—a re-membering what has fed me in the past, as well as what feeds me now.
I’ve been sleeping 10—11 hours a night, wearing my softest super-hero socks, and remembering my poetry, my photography, my creativity, and my Wild Self.
Ring the bell that still can ring.
Forget the perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
Just like a seed or a butterfly that knows on an inexplicable cellular level that there is a greater calling to its existence, we humans may feel something similar in our bones—a call to re-member ourselves.
So, this Spring, as the daylight hours lengthen, I offer the following questions—
• How can you reclaim yourself in this busy time?
• What can you foster in your life right now that nourishes you?
• What is one thing you can release right now that does not nourish you deeply?
For me, it’s time away in Nature, even if for an hour walk, or taking a bolder step like this retreat of five days.
It’s being alone with my horse without an agenda.
It’s stepping out of routine on occasion.
It’s trusting something larger than myself and my tiny mind and finding ways to actively practice letting go.
It’s regularly reviewing when, where, how and with whom I expend energy and being selective about that.
This will be a year of very special, distilled offerings, designed to help support your journeys—and your horse’s if you have one. I am reinstating my counseling license, this time in New Mexico, so I may practice as a therapist as well as a life coach/mentor. And I will continue teaching Holistic Horsemanship and Classical Dressage, of course, because I can’t imagine my life with out it. ?
If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about Life Healing or Equestrian Arts sessions for individuals or groups, please contact me for more information. We can meet live in Santa Fe, or virtually by phone or Skype. I can also meet you or your group at your location by arrangement.
It was during my morning meditating that I started to feel overwhelmed. I had spiraled into the depths of examining a certain issue with such scrutiny that I’d lost sight of the larger picture. I got up, expanded my view in every sense, and the energy shifted for the better. This incident began my musing… Continue reading Expand Your View, Expand Your Experience
A great silent space holds all of nature in its embrace.
It also holds you.
May the beauty and stillness of the Natural World touch your heart as you allow yourself to receive the gifts that are always available to you and yours.
Solstice, on Wednesday, December 21st, is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. In my last mailing, where I was referencing Half Halts & The Holidays, I made an ironic typo—I wrote Halt Halt instead of Half Halt. And then I realized how perfect that “mistake” was, as sometimes a partial pause is simply not enough. We need to stop all of the way; a full halt.
Sometimes, when a horse is galloping, we need that One Rein Stop—a severe turn-about intervention utilized when a horse is bolting out of control of the rider. My “one rein stop” this week has been about sitting my fanny down in front of my mediation area. Then the rest follows. Continue reading Winter Solstice (and a telling typo!)
It’s snowing here in Santa Fe as I write this—heavy, wet flakes accumulating on the ground and in the majestic pine tree that lives outside my front door. What a beautiful morning! I’m contemplating the holidays and how much I needed this unscheduled day of rest to catch up with myself.
There is something called a “half halt” in the horse world, where the rider asks the horse to recycle their energy—typically from the forehand—and activate the hindquarters for more thrust, power, engagement. I also affectionately use the term re-balance when teaching or training.
We use this re-balancing tool when the horse is going faster than desired, is balanced more on their forehand instead of their center of power, to prepare them for a change of gait, i.e. transition, or change of some sort, or to simply help get their attention. And how does this translate to riders, and even non-riders, during the holidays? Continue reading Half Halts & The Holidays
Looking for that perfect gift? Give the gift that doesn’t require dusting—an experience that lasts—for those local to Santa Fe or considering visiting the Land of Enchantment, and there are even options for those who live elsewhere.
And if purchased by January 3, 2017, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to an incredible cause, such as The Horse Shelter, Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary, The Espanola Animal Shelter, or A Network for Grateful Living. The gift certificate is good for one year from date of issue, so may be used during any season in 2017.
If you are in the giving mood this season, consider gifting yourself and/or another any amount from $20 up towards any service, including— Continue reading Looking for that perfect gift? Give an Experience that Lasts.
This holiday week, I find myself simultaneously looking forward to a potluck meal with dear friends, yet also annoyed about this particular American tradition. The following posts from two of my favorite sources address my sentiments so eloquently, that I wanted to share them with you:
My business mentor, Mark Silver, of Heart of Business, states “This is the week of U.S. Thanksgiving, which is a highly controversial holiday in my book. On one hand, there’s family tradition, delicious food, and a real calling to gratitude. On the other hand, there is a dark and bloody history of colonization and genocide of the original peoples on what is now called the North American continent.
Continue reading Reconsidering Gratitude
Wu Wei is the Taoist practice of conscious non-action or non-doing, similar to how the planets revolve effortlessly around the sun without control or force. In the words of Derek Lin, “Wu Wei does not mean passivity, apathy or indifference…but is about acting without attachment so one can focus on the action itself without expectation of particular results.”
What a practice! It’s been several seasons since I last wrote, and many things have transpired since the last post My Horse is Good at Nothing—Dandi is the ultimate Wu Wei master. I’ll share a few highlights from the journey, filled with the aforementioned aspects of letting go of attachment, control and force: Continue reading Something from Nothing
This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.
Wow, what a start to the new year. I have been focusing on moving my father, Cort, here to Santa Fe from the eastern shore of Maryland. It is a labor of love, involving many logistics as well as the tending to my own heart and soul’s needs. Continue reading My horse is good at nothing.