On Connection

It’s been six weeks of ground work only (with the exception of 3 low pressure rides in the last couple weeks) for Odys and I. 

It has been a fascinating unwinding for him. To see him begin to open up his movement and body, build significant connection to his hind end and as a result of those things begin to find a new level of relaxation. He’s gone from a bit *extra* in the tack stall to happy to relax into patience. His presence has somehow gotten bigger, as has his expression.

For me it has been a mix of inspiring, reassuring and at times disconcerting throughout this ongoing process. Inspiring and reassuring because there has been frequent moments of really feeling a positive connection and relationship building moments. Moments where he looks to me for guidance and also guides me towards what he needs in terms of support.

Disconcerting, because at times true connection can feel heavy, angry, conflicting and scary.

Spending time with him last night was one of those more disconcerting moments. To an outside eye this may not align with the image. On the ground he was his new usual relaxed, willing self. I had intended a short ride if there seemed to be acceptance from him and once I got on I was astounded at the different horse I was on top of. 

I’m used to this horse shifting about every six weeks. Over the past year of working with him that’s been the general norm. This was one of those times. Perhaps the first time I’ve had full contact with the new strength and physical connection beginning to arrive in his body. 

It can be unsettling in a way to get on a horse you work so closely with and have to completely reassess your part in a partnership physically and otherwise, so frequently.

Throughout our ride yesterday I routinely felt like emotions were high for Odys. This was one of the things that led us to a dedicated period on groundwork and unlayer work. Nevertheless he stayed in contact with me, even if the vibes he was throwing were at times quite intense.

I felt quite conflicted during and after our ride. On one hand it felt as though I was perhaps pushing him farther than he was wanting/ready to go, even if objectively my ask was quite low. I felt disconnected and even at fault for his emotions (this perhaps foreshadows my own emotional history). 

On another hand it could be philosophized that the things I was feeling coming from Odys were proof that our connection is becoming stronger. There’s a safety in him showing me his inner world in a way that didn’t exist before. Before things would be fine until they weren’t, and I was blindsided by a tantrum from him. Now I can get a sense of his feelings, and even though they aren’t always pleasant they are at least being communicated in a way I can tap into consistently.

Relationships have a way of testing that understanding of connection. Truly being connected doesn’t mean sunshine and butterflies, all the time. It actually means holding space for the conflicts, “negative” emotions and turmoil that inevitably exists in all of us and within a relationship.

Perhaps my sense of being an instigator was wrongly placed where a sense of ally-ship should have been.  In stepping away from strict agendas and expectations I find sometimes when I do set intentions or hope for outcomes I now sometimes feel guilty for expecting anything other than what was. Chalking that up to adjustment pains for now.

In many ways I think it’s safe to say that my ego around riding, specifically riding Odys, is having to re-identify itself. I can get on other horses and feel confident and settled into “who I know myself to be” in the saddle. Odys shakes all that up. It’s confidence shaking and likely a definite sign of growth that will lead us somewhere at some point. Honestly, lately, it feels like early stage dating where theres a constant, low grade anxiety around “do they like me, do they not?”. I did venture into this with the intention of building a rock solid relationship with this horse.. I suppose I’m getting what I wished for (while simultaneously bringing out both of our traumas to heal in the process.).

As with many past experiences I am choosing to move forwards with faith, even when I experience doubt or anxiety. As I always tell my clients “if things are changing, we’re on a path forwards”. Relationship building also means practicing vulnerability, which isn’t always comfortable to either party at first. I think this is the stage we are working with currently.

Non-linear Progress

Just like entrepreneurship, adulthood, injury rehab, art or gardening.. riding and horse-personship is an excellent, humbling journey in non-linear progression.

Re-reading my last post and reflecting on the past few months I can feel old, linear ways of thinking creeping in. Something in recent weeks I have been reminded is a fast way to feel stuck.

If only it were as simple as setting the goal of stepping back into the riding world and achieving all my crazy horse girl dreams!

Working with a horse like Odys is a stark example of steps forwards, pause, perceive things backsliding, then realizing it’s all moving you onwards just in more of a roller coaster style instead of a level, groomed hill.

I left my last post off with the ambition of heading off property for our first time for a jump school. This went as predicted. Low-key, high headed chaos, some trailering dramas, my first fall in about 8 years, Odys reminding me he is a young horse more than once. Amidst all that we managed some really nice rounds around the jump course and all in all survived. Falling off for the first time in a long time (and surviving) was actually a relief. An experience that tends to get built up into intrusive, catastrophic thoughts when left untouched for too long.

In a year now of knowing and partnering with Odys, there are definite trends of fast progress followed by growth spurts and necessary time off or low pressure periods. We will have a major breakthrough, a series of phenomenal rides and be super connected.. and then seemingly out of nowhere a “young horse” thing comes screaming out of the blue, or his body changes and we need to back track a little bit to regroup. None of this has surprised me, however in an industry and society full of linear progression points- sometimes it is easy to get carried away on the thought train of “what am I missing?”.

Odys is also not just any six year old, adolescent phase equine. His earlier years were likely rife with high pressure, no wiggle room expectations. He was bred by an Amish group to become a cart horse. The patterns he’s shown to me would align with old fashioned “breaking” methods that by today’s modern standards to most would classify as abusive. On top of this, he is not a personality that would willingly if ever fit that mold to begin with.

Over the past year I feel that I’ve managed quite successfully to rebuilt his physical body and movement to one of function and confidence. Over that year there were periods where it was clear there was more emotional and energetic “things” to work through too, and as it so often does with human rehab, now that the physical is transformed the door is opening for those more abstract and non-tangible things to emerge for processing.

I’ve become increasingly aware of this. More than once in the past couple months we are hitting emotional territory. Blocking points where the general vibe seems to be dissociative tantrums, feet stomping included, and the assumption that there is no conversation to be had about it.

For those of you reading this thinking “wHaT iS sHe TaLkInG AbOuT? Horses and eMoTiOnS? UnReSoLvEd tRaUmA?!”. I am going there. I was never not a believer that horse’s have, mirror, hold, and repress emotions, experiences and trauma, but this horse specifically has installed that belief firmly in my knowing.

These moments of tantrums I’ve found in our work together the past few months wreak of old beliefs and behaviours. From my experience “things” like this tend to emerge only when one is safe and ready to process them, and objectively speaking I have built a horse physically capable of this new level of release and confidence building.

Lately we are taking a step back to re-integrate both our bodies. For him that means lots of conscious ground work and lunge work. For me that’s stepping back into my own conscious movement and getting more connected to a cross training program. Movement feels GOOD again, and motivating, after a few years of on and off energy issues and imbalances.

I am aware of a tendency of mine to easily slide into burnout patterns, linear only thinking is one of my warning signs. How lucky am I to have a horse so obviously working with some of the same awarenesses, and much more in tune at times than I can be.

Last night I chose to simply spend some time in Odys’s paddock with him. It started with going to give him an apple and ended an hour and him guiding my hands through a few massage points he needed released. I’m not sure if I’ve felt that connected to him in the past, and perhaps that was one of the most true moments of tossing my agenda I’ve permitted in a while. Connection, I’m sensing, happens less on an agenda and more just in the moment.

The curious thing about riding, especially if you view working with horses as a part of it, as a sport and hobby is that it consistently and pointedly ignores the agenda and linear process we all so desperately cling to at times. I’d much rather learn to listen and deepen my own awareness than have the need fore more blatant cues (like injury, illness and burn out) force me to step back.

Stepping back into the tack

A year ago I was cautiously walking the line of making riding a more consistent part of my life. A couple years prior to this I had begun taking lessons again with the use of a school master and a great coach. While this was a very positive experience, once a week lessons were an allowance to dilly dally in casualty. I think beneficial for that point in my life, but I consistently was aware of a determined lack of commitment under the surface.

To be frank: I wasn’t even sure if I wanted or could commit to the world again. The simple act of taking lessons again often felt too much, and there were many lessons cancelled simply because I couldn’t be motivated to get there. I was burnt out in many other areas of my life, and there were still shadows of burn out present left over from my earlier riding years.

Last winter I began hacking horses for a client and friend of mine that owns a large sales and training barn. It was a low pressure addition to the weekly lessons at the other barn and a chance to reconnect with the training side of my riding skillset. Shortly after taking this on I left for our New Zealand holiday, and returned to a totally different world. The lessons faded away with Covid chaos, but I remember vividly seeing my client/friend posting about a up and coming sales prospect she’d had around her crew for a few years already coming back into work.

Benjamin had popped up and caught my eye previously, but this time seeing him made me want to know more. Because I already had the opportunity to be riding some of the horses at the facility I asked for him to be one I worked with, if it was suitable. In May of 2020 I was introduced formally to a 18hh+, scruffy, suspicious, and gangly young Benjamin and quickly found him to be a motivator to get out to the barn more.

From spring through summer I was able to work with Benjamin a few times a week, beginning to see leaps and bounds in him every time I went out. It became very hard to think about someone else purchasing him, as he was actively for sale at the time, both because he is not the most orthodox horse around and because I couldn’t imagine someone else matching with them. Even still, I was holding back. I had the sense that this was the match for me, but I wasn’t looking for a match at the time (consciously, anyway). Logic kept me from leaping at the chance to commit fully, and I transitioned slowly into part boarding Benjamin more formally (even though everyone at the barn already considered him to be “my” horse).

By late fall that attitude began to change and by Christmas I gifted myself arranging a purchase agreement for the now handsome and demanding turning six year old. Seeing this horse over the course of a year begin to truly step into his power and personality has been a ride I did not expect to be on and one that I could relive again and again, and continue to every time I work with him! Before the end of last year we had changed his name from Benjamin to Odysseus (Odys for short) to help clarify his true nature and blossom from his roots as an Amish cart horse.

In the process of witnessing Odys’s glowing up and stepping into his power I also began to sit with the things that I really wanted moving forwards. At first I began feeling like riding was a home base for me again. A place where I not only had to listen to my inner voice, but could. With Odys’s feedback I began to hear it more clearly, too. I set a goal in January to be jumping around small courses by May, and I am happy to report that we have checked that box with relative confidence. Including heading off site (our first time together venturing out!) to another barn to jump. Even a few months ago this would have caused rampant anxiety, however I am feeling eerily calm and collected knowing that it’s simply a training experience to be had.

There were areas in my life through last year and into the current year where I wasn’t really sure what the next step was. If you had asked last year me if I planned to compete again, I didn’t have a clear answer. Now it’s becoming obvious that this horse wants to carry me back into that world: however very differently than the decade ago memories I have of me in that world. Perhaps it’s the maturity of being out of it for that decade, too.

I have fallen hard, and willingly, back into an adult amateur equestrian (saddle pad addiction and general aesthetic included) lifestyle and while my original plans were to return to the sport as a well off retirement age rider on a nice, babysitting hunter horse have been dashed by a tall, dark and handsome mythical creature that is in every sense of the word a young horse and a show jumping horse. Those intentions of a nice and easy far down the road mosey into riding are now channelling all their bravery into teaching and riding a horse that is frankly has more ability and potential than any horse I’ve ridden previously.

My caution since has begun shifting into a “well, why not” chasing of previously long closeted horse girl dreams. I seem to have stumbled into the perfect opportunity to forge my own path, which in turn has dissolved the blocks and barriers I was feeling around the “what’s next” thought processes.

The inner world conversations happening now seem to revolve around me stepping into my own power and personality in a new way, just as last year was spent helping Odys do as such. The conversation now is becoming about my adult amateur rider bucket list (Florida 2022?!) and less about “this isn’t logical!”. Logic has no room where Odysseus is concerned. We now operate in terms of bravery conditioning, creativity, wild dreams, and authentic versions of self on any given day. Stay tuned for our next check in!

If you’d like to follow our journey more in the moment, follow my instagram (katmah1).

A Unforgettable Year: 2020

As I sift through the endless stream of “good riddance 2020” posts on social media, I can’t help but pause and feel grateful for this so called cursed year.

A year ago on this date I likely couldn’t have predicted how far I would have come in a year. Do I say this every year? Probably.

One year ago I knew that I was about to embark on a dream vacation with my guy, my mom and step-dad to New Zealand. A dream return trip to the dreamiest country both myself and my mom have history with. What none of us predicted was that on returning home from that adventure we would be quarantining and facing a total shift in reality for the remainder of the year.

Another thing I didn’t predict happening throughout this year was how all the perceivable negatives would help me to thrive. As an individual, as a partner, and as a professional.

One year ago I was living with my boyfriend in a apartment with character (not to be read as character apartment, yes there is a difference), tonight I am writing sitting by the woodstove in our first home.

One year ago I was a little bit burdened by left over debt from more educational years (formal or otherwise), looking forwards to our holiday but also a little anxious about a month away from my income sources).. tonight I am reflecting on how quickly a year has shifted my material reality.

One year ago I was quite content to watch and guide other riders in bettering their relationship with their horses, beginning to dabble here and there with hacking out other’s horses when the opportunity came around. Now I have committed to one horse and am being challenged in building a relationship again with my own riding and partnership.

One year, a dream vacation, financial makeover, a new home, a new four legged partner.

Reading back on previous yearly reflection posts- every year has come with it’s own transformations and enlightenments but somehow 2020 has been the year that kept on moving and shaking.

I recognize that I, we (my close connections) have been significantly privileged in a year where many have struggled in more ways than one. For me personally I have not had many reasons at all to hold a grudge at 2020, though certainly there were times and moments throughout the year where the usual course of action only made things worse. 2020 was a year that defined pivot for me. On the whole the year made me grateful for all the times in my life where I’ve had to adapt and survive, no matter what. It was for those tougher years that I was able to discover what thriving means to me in present day.

There’s been more than one moment this year where I’ve sat down and realized that I am living the life I dreamed of a few years ago. One of relative freedom, of joy and of fulfillment.

To me this year was a year that asked questions, and not in a direct way.

2020 was so clear it was blunt in that the “normal” for us collectively had reached a breaking point, and things had to change one way or another. 2020 has tested our faith- not only in leadership but also in the bigger picture, in our connections and in ourselves. Some are likely leaving the year with only doubt remaining, while others have found new avenues and awarenesses to move them forwards.

Regardless where on the faith-doubt spectrum we lie, time marches on.

Heading into the new year a few key themes for me stand out.

I would like to explore vulnerability, which so far is being drawn out the more and more I work with my new horse.

I would like to continue my journey into spirituality.

I would like to continue setting the foundation I’ve begun with “thriving” in mind (vs the old model of surviving”).

What is moving you into the new year? What lessons are you leaving 2020 with?

Weekly Reflections: Sept 7-13

Hello!

I’m not entirely sure what to write about this week. The week itself was full of “regular” busy-ness between work and organizing myself for the course I have been teaching over the past few days.

In all honesty I was so mentally focused on the two big things up coming (house possession and course) I regularly forgot about my birthday (which is today) as well.

It seems apt to mark a new year of being in this world alongside all the transitions I am stepping into.

Teaching this “educator” course for The RideWell Method has been a wonderful realization that I am ready to step into offerings like that. Working with clients but also teaching others how I work with clients. It was a strange exercise to put my “method” into a textbook and teach from that perspective (and clearly based on my use of quotations around method I still have minor symptoms of impostor syndrome!). As usual, I went into this teaching weekend with a very loose plan of how I expected it to go. From a self-observance point of view, I’ve been learning a lot about how I teach and impart experience and enjoying some positive feedback from my participants.

Tomorrow we open the doors to our new house (and first house)! This possession date feels like it’s been a long time coming. This week I took my big, decorative mirror off the wall it’s been on in my apartment’s dining room off the wall and packed it. That seemed like a low key ceremony in unmaking this apartment mine. It’s been just under four years that I’ve been in this little building on Ferndale and I will be leaving it with many clear memories of my first adult home that really felt like home. It most definitely has it’s quirks.. living on the middle floor with a heavy footed and vocally charged toddler above, and a toddler aspiring to death metal vocals below may be some.

Somehow with everything in prep this week I’ve been able to sneak some rides in. Wednesday it was clear that Benjamin was physically feeling not quite himself. Whether it was some left over body soreness from some jump work we had done the past weekend, his last foot trim not being the most biomechanically efficient or perhaps a growth spurt of some sort. He was avoidant to his left shoulder and very muscularly tense in that area. So we did plenty of mobility work on the ground, in saddle and then some off horse massage work to cap off. By Friday he was beginning to feel more like himself so I repeated the work from Wednesday and. Yesterday perhaps was the highlight of my riding week. Brit and I took to the trails (something I’ve been hinting at all week lol) on her property and we factored in all things that make for a good trail ride: new paths, a gallop through the trails, some spooks and snorts at birds flying out of the tall grass, and a sunset.

Funnily enough- astrology tells me that the moon is in my fourth house, today. The fourth house is all about home and family. What a wonderful way to begin my next year here- capping off my time in one home to begin building the next, accompanied by my partner (who is currently making me his favourite breakfast treat.. toaster strudels and coffee.. but don’t be alarmed: we bought cream of wheat this week as we both started craving it like the elders we are becoming) and surrounded by many others in my life.

I think that’s all I have for this morning. I’ve been more inclined to post more regularly on my personal instagram as a mini blog recently too (@katmah1). I’m grateful that I woke up this morning and the first thing I wanted to do was write here. The routine has been set in place!

Next week I’m sure I’ll have some moving adventures to share, as that will largely be what my week is encompassed by!

My intentions for the week:

Cultivate presence amongst the chaos.

Embody openness to new ideas and ways of being.

My intentions for my 28th year:

Align with myself, my intuition and trust who I am becoming.

Move forwards with bravery and presence.

Talk to you next week!

Weekly Reflections: Aug 31-Sept 6 2020

As I sit down to write this morning with my lovingly prepared coffee I’m surrounded by packing chaos and the soothing sound of the fall breeze outside my window (alongside the usual traffic and city noises outside our apartment).

Since we purchased a home outside the city limits it seems like we notice more and more all the reasons we are ready to no longer be in the city. The noise, the hustle, the density of people. Possession day is now just a week away.

It also seems to me that this whole year has been about wrapping up the ends of one stage of my life, while preparing to step into the next. The early hustle of my career has settled into a comfortable routine and in that routine giving rise to new themes and projects to further my ability and reach. My approach to practice has become more intuitive to how I see the world, not just what the world has told me. I’ve circled back on things that I left behind in order to “succeed” over the past five years. There’s an anticipation for what’s next as I truly don’t know what to expect. The old “five year” plan I wrote has been checked off and I haven’t quite written the next plan yet. Perhaps I’m a bit more comfortable in flowing vs planning, now.

I began this week craving a healer. My body was disconnected and my mind was scattered. On short notice I was able to drop into Pocca Pocca here in Winnipeg and get a massage and spend some time on the hot stone beds. This was a good solution to reconnect to myself at the beginning of a busy week. The theme of wanting to be healed, though, continued through my week. Perhaps it was the full moon that created tensions for many in my circles. I wanted someone like me to work on me or with me. Isn’t that a paradox? I am the healer I need and crave (but who wants to solely heal themselves?!). I also craved connection with likeminded souls, and I found myself reaching out to close friends (who all seem to live so far away) to commiserate on what the full moon was shining light on.

The shifts continued. I began working out of the first new space of the fall in River Heights. This is my first time truly working out of a time shared treatment space, so my ego has needed some time to adjust. I found myself re-formatting the space numerous times over the week in order to make it more functional (hopefully for everyone using it) and soothe my inner control freak. All that being said, it’s a lovely space and everyone who visited it this week seemed to enjoy it. As an aside to this space – I was invited to check out a second room in contrast to the original one I had agreed to rent at the St Norbert Arts Centre. Where I had had some minor internal anxiety over renting a second space this fall, viewing this alternative room at SNAC seemed to soothe those. In comparison the original room was quite lovely- though north facing into the trees. This alternate room is south facing looking over trees and river, and freshly painted. Where the first room was going to take a little sweat equity from me to make it the space I desired, the Universe stepped in to provide me with much of that work done in this alternate room. For that I was very grateful to the administrator at SNAC for calling me in when she heard it was becoming available.

My week largely passed in a blur. With back to back bookings on my in clinic days that made time fly, and returning to some regular riding clients- it was a productive week on the client front. Today’s project to complete the week work wise is to finish the text book for next weekends course.

Personally throughout the week I was working through phases of learning how to ground myself. I’ve been strongly called to more meditative practice, back into a regular movement practice (that is my own, and not in coordination with teaching or training others simultaneously!), and space to enjoy my time at the barn riding.

Speaking of riding, I’ve had phenomenal rides this week. A bit less in frequency then my inner Virgo tells me is “right”, but as I learn to let go of that internal schedule (as a condition of success) I am finding that I am settling into new teachings from my body in my position and tuning into Benjamin’s movement more and more. As a result I’m also feeling new engagement patterns. An issue I’ve been working through is some tendonitis/pain in my knees. Though this doesn’t bother me while riding, it seems to be connected to the addition to more riding. The logical cause for this irritation is an overuse of my quadriceps and an underuse of my hamstrings, causing an imbalance or tug o war situation.

It has been slowly improving with the addition of targeted movements to help balance everything out, and really sinking into my own awareness while riding of how I’m using front vs back musculature. I’m blessed to have such body awareness, however such awareness does often come with more sensation!

I’ve been meditating a lot on transitions lately. It seems as though so many of us have been thrust into a period of steep transition and much of the world’s response to that has been to resist. The revolution we are all living through is much less one of conspiracy plots, in my opinion, and perhaps one more of our own awakenings. Awakenings to how the way life was structured no longer works. I’ve been thinking lots on the stereotypes and themes behind each generation. My generation (the millennials) got caught in societal norms and conditions that we were told were the best way, but turned out to not quite work in today’s world. The next generation after us began truly resisting those ideals and now pushing for the revolution at hand.

The main takeaway? There’s no right or wrong way to live, and the only ones controlling us are who we allow to control us. Everything in the world and in society has a purpose and place, though sometimes the timing gets drawn out or outlived. Our resistance to change is often a direct correlation to our perceived security and safety. Survival is conditional, and many of us have connected comfort to survival and comfort being translatable to familiar. The way things have always been. To me, what this time has spelled out is quite similar to the local work I do with clients routinely. Change is uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it’s a threat to our survival.

Highlights to this week: discovering a new personal care routine at Pocca Pocca, discovering new layers in my riding, and welcoming new space and the autumn routine back into my life.

Intentions for next week:

I will stay grounded and present for the transitions at hand.

I am ready to speak my truths.

It is safe for me to find ways to enjoy my time.

Now I’m off to hopefully FiNaLlY finish the text book I’m writing for next weekend’s “The RideWell Method, Level 1” course! Wish me all the focus!

Talk to you soon.

Weekly RoundUp: Aug 24-20 2020

Writing and expressing creatively has been a big intention for me this year. Starting now I am setting the intention to do weekly blog updates. When I started this blog almost a decade ago it was exactly that. A weekly excursion into my weekly reflections. I’m not sure when or why I was drawn away from those regular posts, but over the years my posts became more and more philosophical and sporadic. Until now where I find it hard to sit down and write (here) unless I feel some purpose behind it.

Along with all of that gradual change of course was the introduction of more “immediate” short format social media’s like instagram and facebook- where of course I still do regular posts. Through many of those years I was also managing multiple businesses and projects, which made my capacity for creative outlet personally quite limited.

I find myself now in the midst of a personal refocus that has been evolving over the past couple years. It’s not that my life has gained interesting factors, its simply that I am now able to be much more present to enjoy each interesting moment.

The concept of giving myself space and time has been a theme of many of the sporadic posts I’ve written over the past years, so any regular followers will probably have sensed that theme. With these weekly posts I hope to also share the seemingly minute moments that happen through a week that culminate in the larger evolutions. As I’ve slowed the pace of my life down to feel and experience all that, I now have the presence to begin writing to those details once again.

This past week was full of the usual busyness yet held a theme of preparation. September will be a fast forward month full of transition. Transitions I feel I’ve been preparing for for probably longer than I was aware. Coming up first is another professional transition out of my downtown space and into first a small, shared space clinic in the River Heights area of the city. So today’s project remains to be moving out of my downtown space completely and figuring out where to store the furnishings I am keeping from there in our currently apartment interim to my next professional move mid month into a second, unfurnished exclusive space at the historic St Norbert Arts Centre. Amongst these professional transitions, my parter and I take possession of our first home mid month. Meaning we are slowly unlayering our life in the apartment and putting it into boxes for that move.

As I began packing parts of our home space at the beginning of this week- I realized the ritual that comes with packing. Never before in my 5+ moves as an adult have I experienced this level of foreignness preparing for a physical move. Perhaps it’s the idea that we are moving into a space with the intention of settling there longer term, relative to the casuality of apartment lifestyle. Or perhaps it’s because I am leaving the first apartment that has truly felt like my home. Uprooting young roots to transplant them in new soil.

The whole theme of the past few months for me has been recognizing safety in stability. This season of pandemic lifestyle has forced a quite welcome shift towards being home. Normally the summer’s especially find me blowing on the wind (which is usually westward) for work and exploration. This seasons began with heavy travel restrictions and precautions that shone light on the decompression needed for my mind and body, only to be found this time in staying put. Now I’m feeling a resistance to the idea of out of province travel. A feeling I’m sure will pass when the time is right, yet still foreign for me in many ways.

Alongside the preparing for physical transitions that was begun this week, I also continued my preparations for a professional foray into the realm of course teaching. Through my RideWell business I am running my inaugural “RideWell Method” certification, conveniently the weekend prior to our possession date on the new house. This is my first real attempt at teaching my internal thought process to others- and while I’m excited, perhaps the word “trepidatious” is more appropriate.

Mid-week I had a great riding lesson on project horse (and my personal love affair) Benjamin. Not only has the months of work I’ve been putting into him really starting to shine through, he’s turning into the horse we all knew he could be one day. Physically he’s eye-grabbing, now not simply because of his height but also because of his condition, and his movement capacity and mental capacity is filling out just as quickly.

By the end of the week I was ready for a couple days off. I still have to remind myself that days off are just as valuable as endless work. Friday eve and Saturday were spent simply being, binge watching The Walking Dead and playing Settlers of Catan online with my partner. While parts of my brain still trend towards the survivalistic mentality of those fighting to live in TWD, I’m welcoming the steady reassurance of other voices in my mind reminding me that in order to do the work, I have to permit space to rest and leave space for the magic to happen.

Leaving conscious space has been where I’ve found my creativity. Something I’ve been working to pass onto many clients lately as well. The concept of not being able to “force” change, creativity, release or flow. The very nature of those things cannot come with force. Force implies tension or active effort. Sometimes the things we want or need the most only become possible when we allow them to be. The hustle is effective when you’re on a certain wavelength and want to maintain, but outside of that – hustling forwards unconsciously only rushes us past moments of magic.

Things I’m grateful for reflecting on this past week: the clients that have supported my businesses for the long run (whether in recurring bookings or referrals), landlords that are tenant minded, the crispness returning to the late summer air and cool evenings.

What I’ve been reading this week:

Plains of Passage, Jane Auel

Centered Riding, Sally Swift

My intentions for the upcoming week:

I will be present for the good in the new.

I am dedicated to preparing with focus and presence.

I am ready and open for what this next phase in life holds.

My card pull this week included the daughter of swords, eight of cups and eight of pentacles. My take on these cards pulled together was one of opportunity and many moons of preparation coming together. It’s hard not to feel the sense of anticipation in the world right now. Change is coming, and in many ways has arrived. For some this is triggering, but the beauty always lies within the wound. The jewel within the lotus (as the Tibetan script tattoo I got almost four years ago to the date suggests). Collectively and individually, we are stepping into a new season. How are you feeling?

I’ve just been handed my morning coffee by G, so I suppose now is a good time to log off and enjoy the morning. What are you grateful for this past week? What are you most looking forwards to in the coming week? What intentions do you have as you step into the new week, and new season?

Fast Forward

It seems almost too serendipitous that ten years almost to the date of the formal graduation and marked transition out of high school I found myself back at a wedding celebration in my home town community.

Combine that with the ever present pop up memories on social media from the decade ago period of life that seems like an entirely different lifetime at this point. How wonderful of social media’s ability to constantly remind us of where we’ve come from, our joys and our traumas, to reflect on at an almost uncomfortably consistent basis.

To have these memories: high school grad, summer celebrations, snapshots of adolescence and innocence as well as relatively recent snapshots of vacations, journeys and competitions arising as in real time I am ever present in current steps in transformation. Between house shopping with my partner, witnessing the bloom of my professional practice, and living through history on a global perspective.. the memories of the past seem both superficially distant as well as irreplaceably potent.

I live a life now that I’m not sure the younger version of myself would quite foresee- yet, I am so much of what she would have craved.

I’ve come to know a deeply settled and consistent part of myself that is healing younger versions of me.

This old part of my soul, of my generational knowing, has the ability to nurture the wild, lost and rebellious parts of my younger timeline. The roots that were always there have been fortified by presence. There is a rhythm to this stillness within me; far from lifeless, rather like a still pool of water teaming with life and purpose under the surface.

It speaks to trust, this rhythm. With gratitude- I have been able to acknowledge the orderly chaos with which life unfolds. Mindfully, in reflection, every moment makes perfect sense. I would not understand this stillness and this consistency now as nurturing unless I had followed my heart through chaos.

Looking forward as I did a decade ago towards what was coming next- I only knew the vaguest details. Everything went to plan, it just wasn’t exactly the expected route. Leaving adolescence I knew I wanted to retain aspects of who I was: a learner, a sharer, a teacher, a catalyst. The path I was taken on opened my eyes to healing- my own and others- and a few blind corners later I have exactly what I didn’t know I wanted. Fast forward to now- another decade past and another entrance to a path opening in front of me.

I know better now than to expect.

Something about spending time in a hometown, with hometown people, under the wide open sky surrounded by cultivated growth bolsters the idea that our paths unwind and pull us forwards- regardless of our expectations or willingness- only to become obvious and clear in meaning later on.

What is coming next? I have the vaguest ideas. Some are hopes and wishes, some are inquiries. There is no certainty, but in that lack there is consistency. We can only walk the path as it unfolds.

Things I do know in this moment. My body and I are in a much more conscious relationship with each other. Likewise with food, with daily practices, with substances, with commitments. I know now in a new way that am worthy of experiencing presence within conflict, and it is safe to be in conflict. Consistent love, to the same end, is also safe. Roots don’t tie me down, and simplicity doesn’t make me less worthy of connection. Abundance in life is matched with creativity – and both are divinely mine to experience. Old grief is welcomed and it is through feeling that expression becomes free and creativity is granted power.

The past few months, though globally we have been slowed down and asked to examine ourselves, our histories, and our normals- to me it seems as though someone has pressed fast forward and pause all at once.

I feel ever present to the flow of old things being drawn to the surface for exploration and release, and with that the new awareness of whats possible. It’s not what I expected, but it is what I needed and within each lesson even if born from pain there is joy for that simple fact. I am receiving what I need. As I allow the space to experience- the path continues to unfold itself.

I look forward on a path I cannot clearly see (labyrinth?), knowing that trusting that in this next phase of the journey I will experience new revelations around self, community, home and love.

The Debts I Owe Myself

For about six weeks now we’ve been home, safe, in our cozy apartment- much to the resident cats delights (we think, anyway).
Having a well timed month long holiday in New Zealand with my boyfriend, mom and set dad to “ease” ourselves home and into pandemic mode. Our travels were really not effected and our transit home was moments before major restrictions and stressors hit air transit.
New Zealand, by the way, was absolutely great. We did everything. From private dinner cruises in the Bay of Islands complete with jumping off the boat and swimming in the ocean, riding up a mountain with my mom and cousin at sunset, and down by moonlight, checking in on seals, visiting old friends, hiking forests, coasts, and taking in all the sights, smells, foods, and local beverages we could find. It was a holiday, it was a reunion. I can’t say I feel done with those islands quite yet.
I’ve been lucky in the sense that while I did suffer from a bout of economic uncertainty, it’s evolved into more opportunity. Working in allied health where in person sessions became unadvisable. As we arrived home I faced the daunting tasks of cancelling with uncertainty of when rescheduling would happen about 3weeks of fully booked work. I face the reality of my income dropping to about 10% of its regular pace.
Even amidst this initial uncertainty- I felt an inner sense of calm- which at first was a bit unsettling. For one, I had just returned from a extended trip to places that almost a decade ago forced major growth. Between jet lag and that feeling of needing a vacation from your vacation- I felt settled into knowing I had a few more weeks to reorientate. And yet on the other time there was the pressure to react to a growing global pandemic that was sure to effect my immediate materialistic survival and business structure.
I knew I could move at least some work online, and remained optimistic that federal funding would come through to help support basic living and business expenses during the national emergency.
As I shook off jet lag and reorientation to the new “normal” I eased myself into online teaching and upping my virtual therapist game.
The weeks that followed that initiation into this new world have brought many interesting evolutions- both personally and professionally.
The strangest, to my logical ego brain, was how my body has changed and released. Between body composition shifting, many imbalances begin to show signs of resolution, and just simply feeling more like me again.. I noticed this first throughout our holiday and immediately in the weeks that followed being “stuck” at home. In reality- I felt FREE.
After the initial superficial stresses I had regarding my work life changing, I quickly sunk into a sensation of freedom and relief. The pressure of “regular” life had been taken off.
Over the past eight or so weeks I’ve had away from the previous normal I’ve had a chance to catch my breath and begin paying off debts I owed myself. Judgement free hours/days of no agenda. I don’t even think I’ve opened my literal master agenda since we arrived home from NZ. While I have been working it’s been at under 20% of my usual and even that feels like enough. Being confined to our apartment with our two cats, working from my living room floor and teaching/seeing clients through my computer screen (via our albeit sketchy internet connection) has never felt so right.
The energy behind this pandemic, to me, in my relatively privileged situation is as a collective pause. The pressurized perception I subconsciously seem to exist in, the social anxiety I didn’t realize I had until I contrasted it with my reality being condensed to staying home and the occasional walk around the neighborhood.. all paused. Lifted. Released.
In fact, the first time I’ve felt like I’ve stopped breathing and experiencing the moment in the past number of weeks has been today, when the province released guidelines giving businesses like me permission to begin reopening to in person clients. My body froze, resisted, and panicked.
“I’m not ready” it said. “You still owe me”.
While some might be extremely set off by that type of visceral response related to their professional reengagement.. I am choosing to acknowledge that I do indeed have the opportunity to continue honoring what my body and soul need while professionally existing.
The jolt of having to snap back into “normal” is an illusion created by the part of me that has been steered by social pressures and conditioned expectations for too long. While I’ve always been drawn to designing my own normal and life, this is the first time I’ve been doing so without the subconscious guide of social conditions or expectations… and turns out I really like the results of that.
Not only were both my businesses flourishing in new ways, I was. Does this mean aspects of how I operated before professional won’t still exist or return? No. But I think it means that they will exist with more truth to myself, and less obligation to what I once believed was “necessary” and “normal”.
I’ve been settling into the realization that I have enough, and I am enough. Many layers of I knew consciously before- but am now leaning into deeper realizations of. As a woman I am settling into moments of honoring what conditions my ancestors, the generations before me, abided by to simply survive and cope with their worlds- and what privileges I have to shake free of those conditions in my world. Simple things like freedom in movement, freedoms in my body, my sexuality, and my expression in the world. It’s hard to settle into these freedoms when up keeping the day to day workings of a modern young professional- and yet here has come daily opportunities to still thrive in material income and career while also having the energetic time to sink into myself and be well.
It’s always been easy for me to identify myself through my work and offerings to others. Taking that back and learning myself outside of my outwards professional life has been a process over the last years, and the opportunities in social distancing have only furthered that storyline.
In looking at the reflective side of times in history like this, where so many of us have had to press pause on “normal” and some even taking the chance to evaluate what their “normal” is- which parts they like, which parts they don’t.. Who are we to rush so eagerly back to “normal”? Potential illness risks aside, political agendas aside.. how much is there to still unravel in the moments we’ve been granted here. As individuals and as a collective.
Life will carry on, one way or another, I for one am diving deep into that evaluation of what stays and what goes. What serves and what does not. For myself, for my future selves, for what I offer in the world.
Wherever you are on your journey and in this moment, I hope you are finding moments of inner truth and contentment too.
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The Curator

I dreamt last night of standing in a large meadow facing a familiar mountain. Sparrows darted in and out of the tall grass, keeping wild boars at bay.

Sparrows, in dreams, can symbolize innocence, restlessness, and freedom. They can also be related to family life. Wild Boars, can symbolize courage, assertiveness, and confrontation. A suggestion that one is learning to face their fears.

After a recent meditation I felt called to make a note to myself to “not edit my thoughts” and to “stop curating my experience”. In a moment of observing my normal operating I saw how endless editing was scripting the experience I thought was appropriate. Key term here, “thought”..

How can we think our existence or experience? Is it not simply something that is felt?

Where does this internal curator come from? I’ve been getting to know her over the past little while, as I’ve been becoming aware of personal tendancies towards body anxiety and even dysmorphia at times, disordered eating habits, and both a victim of and an observer of the endless stream of health and wellness “advice” on our screens and in our society.

I often wonder if before we all had “experts” at the tip of our fingers we were actually better off? I don’t necessarily mean those in immediate need of care, experiencing chronic life threatening diseases, or those benefitting from medical care. I think more of the vast majority of us that get lost in the array of fads, research, and chatter that tells us what our bad habits are, why we have them and how to break them.

This is me speaking as a professional in that exact industry.

My practice has changed dramatically in the last few years, and I’ve only been in practice for half a decade. When I look back at what I took right out of university and how each year brought the next best thing into my practice, usually for a short time before it became part of a larger melting pot of tools to use with various clients, I am not that surprised that when it comes to my personal wellness there is this curator that sits and edits what an experience should be compared to what it actually is.

I’ve struggled the last year, going through an evolution and what I’ve labelled metamorphosis, in many ways. My perspective on health has changed. My awareness of what should and shouldn’t be simple has changed. I FEEL now how interconnected all our systems are as humans, yet will still catch myself getting frustrated that my body doesn’t respond to what my mind logics.

I do my best to interact with myself as I would a client. With compassion, empathy and above all else patience. Healing, evolution, being human is a cyclical experience. The metaphor of a path or journey no longer quite fits, either. After all, none of us actually know where we are actually moving towards anyway. The pathway metaphor also implies a linear movement pattern, and the human experience is anything but that.

I see clients cycle through a curated experience frequently as well. In fact, it’s how I catch it in myself. They will come in and relay their experience to me using phrases like “I know I shouldn’t think this but..”, “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be”, “I don’t think I should feel this way”, “I know this isn’t right but”.. and the like.

Where is the guideline that says something should be exactly how it is in any moment?

We are taught that pain, discomfort, anything above a certain weight, our true feelings, our judgement, our tiredness, our desires, our addictions, our coping mechanisms, our anger/sadness/grief/envy, our timelines are incorrect. All these things don’t meet a standard that groupthink has set somewhere along the lines, and because of that they’ve been deemed something we must edit and curate.

Our thoughts have lost their permission to be free. Our conscious need to maintain our place in society keeps our subconscious unconscious.

Much of my own healing and awareness has been developed via years of meditation and recent breathwork. Instead of experiencing, I’ve found myself busy trying to curate the experience. Great healing has taken place too. That’s the thing, though. Awareness and healing takes place not always by consciously trying to process or experience. Instead a surrender, gracefully or not, into the ebb and flow is the more potent experience.

Many people I meet resist raw experience because they fear a loss of control, and that if they begin feeling the “bad” they will never feel the “good” again. They resign to a “comfortable” neutral, gray zone out of a resistance to a wave like experience. Emotions at some point weren’t safe. I’ve noticed this within myself. Approaching family gatherings I tend to go numb, recluse, and now in awareness sit in an uncomfortable place of wanting to interact more but being somewhat stuck behind layers of old armor.

It’s a strange place to be. Aware, and in my own process with it- but also working with awareness not to edit or make my experience something that creates comfort for others while sacrificing my own process in return. While I, and we all, work to develop a better relationship with our internal editors (because there is such a thing!) it can create friction in familiar relationships. Any form of personal growth can be repulsive to those closest to us. It threatens their perception of us, of the normal- and that is perceived as unsafe by our unconscious operating systems.

That is one of the top reasons and barriers for those beginning a journey towards lifestyle change. Not only was I taught this in my Applied Health degree program, I have seen this at work with clients and with myself. It’s rarely intentioned this way, but like crabs- humans can be limited by the networks they live within.

I write this not to place blame on the groups we all abide within, nor on ourselves for the curator within. I write to absolve myself and anyone else who needs to read it of the guilt that can come with process. The shame we place on ourselves in moments of frustration, impatience and metamorphosis.

Exactly how things are is how they should be. Precisely what you feel is appropriate. It doesn’t have to make sense, and you don’t have to understand it.