Tag Archives: gratitude

Eyes Up, Shoulders Back

“You must not fail to explore anything that interests you. Any skill you want to master should be learned. Any subject that arouses curiousity should be examined. Every insecurity should be overcome. Every question should be answered. If you do not do this, then you cannot freely experience life. Every one of your uncertainties will be an obstacle.. Initially it will seem as if there is no connection between your time meditating and the outer things in your life. After all, the masters themselves constantly stress the difference between the spiritual and the social. But eventually, you will reach a point where the quiescence of contemplation and the active ness of living are integrated..” — The Daily Tao, “Integration”

I’ve circled around to some old insecurities lately.

Since I wrote last so much as happened, and yet I feel like it’s all circled back to where it started a few months ago, a few years ago.

If you look closely you can notice themes in your life. They all revolve around similar bread crumb trails- which lead back to insecurities, questions, uncertainties we had at one point. You continue being faced with the same problem, question or archetype- even after you thought you’ve clarified it ten times over.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately meditating on how much a small business, or any business at its roots, depends on the development of it’s proprietor. As my ventures grow and opportunities come and are unpacked- I routinely have to go within and unpack different layers of myself, and experiences that I once thought had nothing to do with running a business.

It’s true, though. You listen to the successes of the day and they all say the same things. Once, not that long ago, they were living off ramen, broke, unsure of where to turn, with nothing but raw passion and a vision for some form of creation. Usually with the greater good in mind, and nothing else to back them up, they went for it. Lack of money be damned. Money flows where intention goes, similar to energy goes where intention flows- or whatever. Money is energy and energy follows thoughts. Along the way they were forced to work on themselves, face doubts and crippling fear, build authenticity, and as their business grew so did they as individuals. The collective effort of experiencing life and developing a vision formed mad success in wherever they chose to have success.

You hear a lot of the opposite too, sure. Those who gave into the doubt, got sucked into profit over passion and lost their way, etc.. those who return to something more stable, safer- and pay for their security with regret, sickness, chronic stress or mild resentment ongoing.

I was smacked in the face with some of my own insecurities recently. I spent weeks debating the decision to send out a status asking about availability of horses for part board. WEEKS. My hesitation came from the fact that every single year around this time of year I feel the need to be riding again. The last couple years I’ve pursued that feeling lightly and found those in need of someone to spend extra time on their horses. It lasts a few months and then I get distracted with the rest of my life and feign phrases like “it’s just not a priority right now” and move on.

I finally just made myself put the post up, and within an hour had at least ten offers from fellow riders offering connections with horses or horses close to them for part board. The difference this time is that I chose a route that required commitment in the form of money and time with coaches. I know this works for me as its exactly the same thing I did a year ago when I hired a personal trainer for myself. I also know what a game changer last years self enforced commitment has turned out to be.

I rode for the first time on Saturday and I am still depressingly sore in places any rider who has taken time off knows. Muscles groups that seem to come alive only in the saddle were re-engaged and.. yes, I am horrifically out of shape compared to where I used to be. A strong foundation exists, currently covered in a few years of silt.

You know what came up during my brief trial ride this weekend? The same damn things that have come up over and over again in the last few months as a manager and business owner/entrepreneur. Fear. Anger at the fear. Loneliness.

The same things I left the sport with a few years back. Fear of falling. More than that. Fear of letting go. I was asked if I wanted to pop over a couple jumps on this horse, who in all honesty was already the most advanced and well-trained/anatomically gifted horse I’d ridden to date (and who frankly was already babysitting my rusty ass)- the first voice in my head was “don’t do that, you’re not ready.. you haven’t jumped in years and what if you mess up and get hurt”. That voice was immediately followed by a sickening frustration, and then shortly after followed by a second long panic attack- THEN finally resulted in resolve. A voice calmly stating “If you don’t jump over that tiny ass jump today, you’ll never commit to this long term.”. So I rode over a few jumps, until I literally couldn’t control the muscles in my legs anymore, and jelly-fished myself off the horse afterwards feeling like I’d just made it to Base Camp again.

There’s never going to be an end to the mountains in your life. The discomfort. The emotions. The insecurities. The horse. The jump. The fear of the first fence. There’s always going to be an equivalent. The panic arising when things aren’t what they appear or don’t progress how you predict. The exhaustion and the solitude. The fear that doesn’t go away after the first fence- the fear that just gets stifled eventually by resolve.

I realized in that second that my goals, especially in the equestrian parts of my business, but also in all my other ventures, were riding (pun not intended)- to a certain extent- on this moment. Just as they were riding on my completion of the trek to Base Camp. There’s nobody holding me accountable, but my choices around how to confront (or how to avoid) the insecurities within myself do unequivocally impact where I go next. When I really sit with myself and ask if there is a right or wrong direction to go, I know the answer is simultaneously that there isn’t a right or wrong direction, but there is always a direction that feels true.

I rebranded/launched the equestrian specific portion of my business this winter as RideWell Performance, and I set lofty goals for RideWell/myself. Which I know I’ll accomplish.  Integrative Movement is growing and opportunities continue to find me. They find me because I am open for them. What I’ve realized in the last year is that not all opportunities are as shiny and necessary as they initially seem. Where last year was a year of saying yes to everything, this year’s theme has become negotiating, sitting, waiting, and examining all sides. This is most definitely why I am so tired mentally, emotionally, and spiritually lately.

From where I sit today, and in the last few months.. I am exhausted.

I’m exhausted in new ways- ways that are similar to how I often felt in University. New experiences, shifts in relationships, people coming and going from my life- people taking on new roles in my life, people taking up mental energy even when they don’t physically hold presence anymore- ghosts that reside in my head and still offer valuable advice and words of affirmation (Read: I’m losing it but in a good way, it’s fine). None of it is ever negative, and everything continues to align just as it needs to for whatever comes next. My faith and resolve has never been stronger, and I’m.. exhausted, often lonely, yet always grateful.

I know that many people, especially those working hard to be true to what they know inside themselves, feel these things. If someone like me who has been blessed enough to have more support, opportunity, and resources then many could even imagine can feel lost, exhausted, beaten down, lonely- alongside the inspiration, resolve, and gratitude- then I know without a doubt others are experiencing the same thing in all different walks of life. And so it seems pithy to remark on how exhausted I am while sitting in the apartment I can afford, eating the meals I have the resources to create, sore from being lucky enough to ride a large expensive animal for recreation, mulling over parts of the businesses I brought to life… but I am remarking on it because I know I need to read, hear and see other’s stories- and wish more people would openly speak of this part of figuring it all out and pushing for more.

It’s human, and it’s universal- with varying contexts.

As usual I’ve rambled onwards over the thousand word mark- but I think what I am trying to get across is that through all the exhaustion I am tied even more signifcantly to the (often blind) faith that pulls me onwards. What other choice is there? Once you follow your heart, mind, soul towards a vision that clarifies why you’re really here (even if you haven’t reached the clarity part)- there isn’t another choice but carrying on. Life just keeps coming at you anyway. Wherever at in your experience, keep experiencing it (note the change in this blog’s domain name ;)).

I’ve seen enough proof in the power of having faith in one’s own power, vision, and path (or direct faith in the Universe, or God, etc etc). You’re where you are for a reason. The fears and insecurities that keep popping up for you are valid in their own way, and they have something for you to reflect on every time they do come up. Give them a voice, recognize them, but don’t surrender all your power to them. Let them help you realize your own power in new ways.

That turned cheesier then I wanted to.. but here’s to getting back on the literal horse again!

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Season of love

Okay, so here is my obligatory holiday season post- expect another one around New Years.

I’ve been meaning to do a post on my experiences with family and friends over this past year- because it’s probably the main reason I’ve made it through the year without completely losing it, and there really isn’t a better time than Christmas time. As long as I can remember Christmas has been about spending time with family and friends- making house calls, dropping off baking, sharing one another’s company, etc etc. It’s time spent with the people who surround you during every aspect of your life- in a variety of ways. The past year or so for me has really opened my eyes to how the idea of family travels past the blood relations, without borders, and can get you through some pretty rough times.

This is the season to really look around you and appreciate what you are blessed with. Some people only have a few to call family, others have many. I’m blessed with quite a few, near and far, who I call family and who have shown me great kindness and love. Finding people in life that accept you for you and support you in wherever your life takes you is irreplaceable. The love I felt, right away, from relatives who only first met me when picking me up from an airport and taking me in for a short time was amazing. Or sat with me in the hospital when I was 10,000 miles away from home. I know my family in Canada was very grateful for all that too. I can never thank all those in NZ who did that for me, and hope that one day I can return the favour. I was lucky enough to spend my first Christmas away from home (and without snow) with NZ family who took me in as one of their own with no hesitation. Because of all those in that hemisphere who showed my love and kindness throughout my stay them, I saw a side of the country that I might not have experienced if I had done the typical travellers thing, or heaven forbid, stayed at my first job there. And during some of my darkest times there (believe me, there was those too), I had amazing support from close friends and family back in Canada. I found strength through those people, when I couldn’t find it in myself. For me, that’s what family is about.

Everyone interprets the meaning of family differently, I think. Traditionally it’s defined as a household with a mother, father, and children and then extended relatives. But for me, it encompasses the traditional aspect, of course, but also those people who have been by my side through different experiences and periods in my life. Friends. Being the busy person that I am, I meet people in many different places. There’s friends that have stuck with me since high school, relationships developed and tested through time spent in sport, training, work, travel, and now University. My mom has always told me that often you are closest to a person at a certain time in life because that’s when you need them, and vice versa. That relationship doesn’t always stay as close as time passes- but during that chapter of your life, it was important and is something to be respected. Time spent apart, and distance travelled can sometimes change a friendship- but a true friend is always a friend. Throughout this year I’ve been surrounded by a variety of people. Some of which I am quite glad I’ll never have to interact with again. But many who I hope are a part of my life for years to come, because they have brought out strength in me I didn’t know I had and reminded me that even when things get bad, they don’t stay bad forever. The stress in my life is truly only manageable because of the great people I have surrounding me. And I really do have some amazing friends and family in my life.

I am so happy to have people in my life that are there for the ups and downs, and am equally happy that I can be there for them through their goods and bads.  To surround yourself with people who keep you striving towards your personal goals is so important. I do not believe true success (however you define that) is ever possible without a base of people supporting you through the trials of pursuing dreams. Life throughs some wicked tests, and even if you’re someone who studies better alone, the idea of having others to compare, contrast, discuss, or even just get distracted with is what makes those tests doable. Sorry for the school analogy. I’m currently in study withdrawal.

All this being said, I hope that everyone out there is blessed with people in their life who bring them you on the bad days, celebrate with you on the great days, and make every day in between worth living. Having each other is the greatest gift of all- and I hope this is something all of you are grateful for this holiday season.

 

 

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