Powerful

“You don’t even know how powerful you are yet”

A friend told me that, earlier this year.

They were right.

This whole year I’ve been in a power struggle with my own being.

I started the year on the fumes of a year full of a “let go” theme. I rolled into the New Year set on shedding and grooming my self care. And in that new routine practice I found a voice that had been waiting.. waiting for a chance to speak.

That voice came out with friends, in self talk, with clients, in my business, and in networking.

It scared me. Often.

Then I noticed.. it only was scary when I tried to hold it in, or didn’t trust it.

The more I got comfortable with speaking the truth pouring out from within- the less terrifying it became. As I learned how to express tact with honesty I saw how my words created power for others.. empowered their own inner dialogue to shift.

In that process I began sensing efficacy in that inner fire. The inner power.

I realized that for so long I associated power with ego, and ego was something I’d worked so hard on releasing attachements to.

But.. are power and ego the same thing?

Not essentially, no.

“You haven’t realized how powerful you are”.. no.. I haven’t. But- I’m learning to experience power and not judge it for inspiring ego. Ego comes with being human- but observing it as part of our being enables it to let go of it’s hold on us.

So I continued to let go, to allow a flow to occur. Things, people, places- they come, they go, they call, they don’t call. It all ebbs and flows.

The pace of our lives sometimes carries us and sometimes we have to exercise control to gain perspective.

Where I sit now I sit in extreme accord with the voice that resides within and the fire that creates action. However I also am at peace with sometimes sitting and letting that voice mature.

My recent trip to Spain was the first travel experience where I honestly didn’t feel the need to reflect, examine, or exercise personal growth tactics.

I just was.

I came home with ideas and thoughts and progressions that I”ve been able to enact with new energy and a stronger voice then before.

I’ve had meetings and experiences since that have caused me to question everything about my experience so far, and how I want to use that experience to create new endeavours and what my purpose is.

I’ve seen love change forms in my life only to strengthen in it’s diversity. Expectations shift from set in stone to malleable elements serving equally those involved. Realities shift from what and who we are taught to be to understanding who we truly are, deep down, and exploring the purpose we all arrive with. Allowing that purpose to take on varying forms.

My life as it stands is wonderful and I look on it every day with newfound gratitude. For the opportunities and the power that resides within me- to give back, to create change, to build the reality I want to exist within.

True unhappiness or unsettledness stems in ignorance of self, distrust in the inner voice.

We learn to listen to that voice through experiencing the smallest moments life brings to us. A client planking for the first time in their two year history with you- and rocking it. A group fitness class that shows enthusiasm for the changes they are ready to make. Listening to an inspiring person in your life speak and feeling blessed to have them in your life. Seeing a friend break through their own internal struggles and let light into their being again.

All these small things are why we are here, and they are only found once we let go enough to let them shine through.

 

(Thank you to Jenaya Larisse Photography for the wonderful portrait ūüíĖ)  

The moments in between

A week ago I turned 22. Another year older, another year wiser.. that’s how it goes, right?

If I had to take one thing from the past year to represent who I’m becoming, it couldn’t be one accomplishment or experience. It would have to be the moments in between.¬†One of the things I’ve come to realise in the past while is how true happiness isn’t in big achievements or stand out moments we all look forward to. Happiness is a culmination of thousands of moments that we don’t even note half the time. To add to that, you can’t rely on joy to occur where you think it should. It sneaks up on you in ways you least expect it to. Impossible to trace, and sometimes disguised as something else.

Amongst the ups and downs of this year, I’ve faced fears, been thrown (sometimes literally) into things I never saw coming, experienced emotions I’ve never been privy to, accomplished more then I would’ve ever thought I could, made decisions I never thought I could, and evolved into the next version of myself.

More then ever I’ve seen the effectiveness of trusting that everything will work out as it should, and things happen for usually a specific reason. Every negative comes with a positive if you’re staying true to you, and sometimes you have to adjust your expectations to allow the right thing to happen.

With all those moments in between, I’ve been led to some stand out experiences. Through a series of unfortunate events I was led to a variety of first hand learning experiences¬†towards my profession, as well as being introduced to a person who has more then changed my world. I’ve noticed a gradual shift in my self-confidence and leadership abilities, which helped me in taken on new challenges with school, internships, and setting new goals for the next stage of my life. While I still function as an introverted personality, I’ve learned how to use that to my advantage and continue to step out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. I know my own limits can step back and breathe before I burn out from pushing those limits. I learned that sometimes staying involved in something when it’s becoming more stressful then enjoyable, just because you’re afraid of losing the passion for that thing all together can only lead to more frustration and pain..¬†compassion for yourself and the ability to give yourself a deserved break should never be neglected. Life gives you lemonade if you stop sucking on the lemons.

I’ve reached a new understanding of myself, and feel more then ready to begin a new age. I was blessed to bring in 22 surrounded by loved ones.. lets see what this year brings!

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The Student Games

A thought popped into my head today while I was trying to decide between the $1.89/lb apples that I wanted, and the $.99/lb ones on sale that looked half as good (I picked the cheap, bruised ones), and again when I was watering down my cranberry juice (that I got on sale)) as to make it last longer, ¬†that students lead quite interesting lives. ¬†And as my roommate just pointed out, in between mouthfuls of carrot, that her supper is just that. A carrot. “With dirt on it”.

“University doesn’t test your knowledge and the amount you have learned, it tests your stamina, study skills and sanity. What will you give up to keep up?”

That quote makes it sound like we live in the Hunger Games trilogy.

It’s not all that bad. Usually. Most of the time.. Actually, we do tend to be hungry a lot… But it definitely is an acquired lifestyle, between study sessions turned into tv show marathons, screaming “I don’t waaaaannnt to studddddyyyy”, flash cards, notes, bus passes, cramming information into your head (even if you don’t understand any of it), debating which subject needs your attention most based on the due date and complexity of the assignment, writing blog posts, yelling at printers, and Facebook.

“I’m going to get a cupcake, and then I’m going to study….. I’m probably not going to study…. yes I am…maybe…” – Christine

Every year we enter into our respective schools, quickly spend all our funds on books, of which 50% of which are actually used in classwatch our care for personal appearance dissapate, wish we were at Hogwarts, procrastinate, somehow get through midterm season- relax, panic, write finals and finish final projects, anxiously await marks, and repeat.¬†Public naps happen often. There are rooms at our school where every person inside them is napping. It’s like that scene from Inception where all you can hear are people sleep breathing.

I’ve had friends who aren’t in school ask me what movie I want to go see, and I’ll have absolutely no idea what is playing, or what has played for the past few months. The outside world doesn’t exist to a University student, especially from 2nd year onwards, and for those having more then 4 classes. We get our news from Facebook, our ideas from Pinterest, and as a result lose a lot of sleep on news and ideas.¬†

Grocery shopping is put off too long, at the same time as cleaning the fridge is put off. I think there is still left overs in our fridge from the first week of school- which I am now afraid to touch. There a numerous empty granola bar boxes in the cupboard, which I still reach into every morning hoping that there is one in there. We learned quickly that IF we buy fresh vegetables, putting them in the crisper drawer is NOT the best idea. Because they get forgotten about. Then, 4 weeks later, we are left with a very unspeakable things that are not crisp, or fresh. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, sometimes that is what you’re diet turns into. Let’s face it. Meat is expensive, not always on sale, and time consuming to cook. Sidekicks are a fancy meal, because they are the closet thing to a complete meal you’ll be eating all week. Whenever I do find myself relaxing into thinking I have free time, it is quickly overcome by a fear that I’ve forgotten something. In lieu of having a can opener, I’ve been know to try desperately to open a can of soup with a screw driver (it doesn’t work, by the way). I’ve also been known to bribe myself through papers by making the deal of one paragraph, 5 minutes of nap time. Sometimes that same bribe gets me through 3 hr lectures. Listen for 5 minutes, sleep for 5.

If you want me to go somewhere, mention free food, and I’ll fit it into my schedule.

We live in a world where skipping class is reasonable for two reasons- being extremely sleep deprived, or staying home to do homework for said class. No matter how excited you get over a great midterm mark, beware, because the higher the class average, the harder the final will be. Do not try and communicate with a student who is pre, mid, or post- midterm or any other exam. Never underestimate our ability to write a 15 page research paper the night before it’s due, and still somehow get a decent mark. It IS possible.

I’ve found that school and travelling (my kind of travelling anyway) have a lot in common. The views are certainly less spectacular, depending on how you define spectacular, but there is a the similar money and food scarceness, and a equal amount of dirty laundry.

I start somewhere around the 3rd phase..

However, there is not as much panic, while travelling, as there is as a student when you forget your pencil case at home and you have 3 lectures and a lab to get through on no writing utensils, protractors, calculators, or rulers. There is, though, a great deal of wondering what you’re doing, where you’re going, and various other universal questions, in both areas of life.

I can go from feeling like I’ll never be out of school, ever ever ever, to holy sh** I’m already half done a degree in 2 seconds flat. Same amount of time about that it takes me to open and close the fridge in the morning and see that I have no juice to water down, therefore I’m stuck with just tap water.

As students we learn what each prof wants to see from us, and how to adapt to their varying personalities. Know which classes to come wide awake for, and well rested, and which ones are okay to maybe nod off for a few minutes in the middle (they do exist). Mix those two up though, and you won’t know what hit you come exam time. Some like to fool you into thinking they teach an easy class, and then test you on everything they said, posted, and thought.

**Holds up text book full of post it book marks* “Look at it, isn’t it pretty?? It’s like a rainbow”

“Christine, study.”

Somehow, no matter how hard we will ourselves, we cannot help procrastination. Sometimes we procrastinate in ways that indirectly could possible sort of maybe relate to our studies. Grey’s Anatomy episodes taught me some stuff about Anatomy.. It has anatomy in the title anyway. And I’ve also convinced myself that gym time is equal to study time. But by some miracle, we make it through. We don’t melt into the puddle we would rather be come exam time, usually, anyway, and our brains sometimes help us out with exams, but even when they leave us as blank as the answer sheet- we come up with something and live to write another paper. Then, by who knows what cause, we come back for another semester. The will to make something of our lives is greater then the will of Facebook. In the long run. Procrastination does eventually lead to getting things done. In the most stressful way possible, but they do get finished. Being a student would be just too easy otherwise. And, those hard earned marks wouldn’t feel as good if we did the work and had no stress going along with it.¬†Right now I’m wondering how I managed to write 1300 words this quickly, when it takes me a week to do the same for something much more important.

 

It’s an vicious cycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Flash In Time

I’ve always held the belief that we learn from every experience. From every person we meet; coaches, friends, family, teachers, to every sight we see; a busy cross walk, a sunrise, rush hour. Sometimes it takes some tough love from the universe for things to sink in. Sometimes it takes years to find what we didn’t know we needed.

For athletes, there is always one coach they will say taught them the most- or a fellow teammate or opponent.  Something that stuck with them- good or bad, bad or worse- the experience leaves a mark that becomes a part of who we are. For equestrian athletes, there is lessons learnt from each horse we ride- and always the few extra special ones that stick with us.

I’ve personally had many different coaches, teachers, horses, and experiences-good and bad- that have left their mark on me. I can’t honestly say one has shown me more than another, or that one holds more value, because that would be going against what I stated earlier. But certainly there are more experiences that come to mind at different points in life.

The phrase “tough love” definitely comes to mind when I think of many experiences I had with one of my most memorable equine teachers, Flash. I can’t count the amount of tears this horse made me cry. She was frustrating, and heart breakingly stubborn, all while being talented, beautiful, and full of heart. From day one she made it clear that if things were going to go well, it was because she decided they would. She was a complete jigsaw, until you figured her out- cracked her hard exterior- and knew how to read her. If you were patient, she’d give you clues. Weeks of frustration, and then she’d give you an inch. Any of you who have rode or worked with a “chestnut mare”, you’ll know exactly the feeling I’m trying to get across. She taught me how to be a better loser, and as a result a better winner. She showed me that things are probably not always going to work out exactly to plan, and that that’s okay, because sometimes what you really need is a step in another direction anyway. She taught me how to laugh at myself; horses keep you humble- afterall. She gave me a determination that has gotten me through things that could have easily brought me down. It wasn’t always a case of getting off in a better mood with her, but, I always ended up with a different perspective. Because of her I ended up on the path that brought me my current mount, Willard, who has turned out to be a wonderful partnership as well. And the right one for where I’m at.

With the year I’ve had, it would be easy to look back on the years Flash and I were abusing trail class patterns and say that was nothing compared to this. But it’s really just a statement of how much I’ve grown from those experiences, and been able to handle the new ones. There were competitions with her where she would have me in tears from the halter classes until the last class of the day. And yet we kept going into the ring, both stubborn enough to keep pushing each other, and at the end of the day our bond was even stronger then before.

It was through her that I proved to myself that even when things don’t work out, even when nothing goes right- pushing through that brings you strength to deal with anything. Through this horse I began using the phrase “If I can do this, I can do anything” when things got rough, as they have and as they will. Nothing easy is worth having. Sometimes the best memories are made during the toughest times. It does nothing to compare yourself to others, because even the best have bad days. Be humble, be determined, and open your heart to everything you can. Everybody, everything, everyday has something to teach you.

RIP Flash, and thanks for all the tough love you gave me.

The Gift

It’s next to impossible to predict where you’re going to end up, or how happy you’re going to be, or what you need when- until you know. We go so long not appreciating what we have, only to look back and realize what we missed. Sometimes I think that happens for a reason; how else would we be able to learn from experience? There was so many times in NZ that I couldn’t get myself out of what was definitely the darkest place I’ve ever been. But upon drawing from past experience and lessons learnt I didn’t give into that, and low and behold I learned too much to list and was able to turn some brutal times into experience that will help me the rest of my life. It’s taken me awhile to be grateful for all the crap I had to handle over there- and believe me I still have moments where I struggle to see the good in some things. But it’s getting easier to appreciate ‘the gift’ all that bad brought me. Insert typical “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” quote.

I’ve been thinking about NZ a lot lately. To be honest I never really stop thinking about it. Thinking about all the good, and the.. challenging things I experienced in those 6 months away. Thinking about all that’s changed and how I’ve grown. Thinking about what I miss and what I don’t. I remember often being frustrated while I was over there because I couldn’t make progress towards goals that had to do with school, or sport and being anxious to get home for that reason; so I could get back into school and into training. What I didn’t realize then was that I was taking steps towards those goals, just in a different way. During my time there I came to the realization that I wanted to change career paths. Who knows if I would have come to that conclusion as quickly if I’d been here in school. More then that, being away taught me how much I really want to reach those goals. I came home more driven and focused then I’ve ever been in my life. And in order to keep the schedule I do, that is what I needed. There is no way I could have a life like I do right now and not be determined or focused. As it is I could do with a little more focus sometimes.

When I was flying over BC in March, looking at the snow covered mountains, I had to work hard to fight back tears. Mostly tears of excitement over being home after what seemed like a long, hard 6 months. I was ready to be back in the comfort of home. But, as anybody who travels will tell you, its hard to come home after being away for so long. Especially after growing so much as a person. ¬†It took about a week of me being home for me to feel a little lost somewhere that is the most familiar to me. But- at the same time- I came back with a different perspective. I came back ready to chase my dreams harder then I ever have before. I don’t get shaken by much anymore because more then once I’ve experienced how far you can fall and then all at once find a way to get back up. I started to realize what my priorities are, and that I can’t wait for people to make decisions about my life- because it’s just that, my life. I know I made the right decision to come home when I did. I love school, and that my horse is going as well as he is so far this season. Neither of those would have been possible without that extra 3 months in the home country. Part of what is sometimes disorientating about being home, still, is trying to fit in as the person I became in the place of the person I left as. If that makes sense. As much as I adore everything about living at home- small town life isn’t quite jamming with where I’m at right now. There really isn’t a better way to describe it.

I think the past few posts have been about my amazing horse. The fact that he has been going so well this year is also partially thanks to all those things I picked up in NZ. The confidence I feel between us lately is spectacular, and I can thank every horse, trainer, and owner that I worked with/under overseas. Riding different horses is such a good way to develop confidence and skills in the saddle. Doing that under the scrutiny of other trainers and in a high stress situation really doesn’t hurt either (well, after the fact anyway). My riding is more instinctual now. It takes less time for me to process decisions. Where I used to hesitate, I now act. All of this is effecting my horse in the most positive way possible. Because horses are such responsive creatures, every ounce of confidence I feel- he picks up too. One of the reasons riders are some of the most focused people I know- without that, there is no partnership, and with no team- you have no success. And as any rider will tell you, what you feel when all there is between you and your horse is pure trust and you feel like you can do anything- is by far the best feeling out there. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to achieve that in almost every ride this season so far.¬†

Our first show will most definitely be Summer Smiles in June at BHP. I’m more then excited, and really hoping all he’s been doing at home is going to come through at the show- otherwise I’ll look like a dick saying all these wonderful things about him haha. To makes things a little more stressful, because that’s what I excel at apparently, my final exams fall approximately 2 days after that show- which means on top of showing I’ll have to be studying in every single spare second I have. As far as the midterm, I’m not going to complain about my mark. It definitely could have been higher- but it also could have been much worse. It’s good enough to keep my average at a place I’m happy with. It’s at the right level to kick my ass in gear to push a little harder next time- which is good. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.