Managing the Transistion: from Survival Mode to Thriving

Managing the Transistion: from Survival Mode to Thriving

I don't know anyone (at all!) that has never experienced survival mode. I'm sure you know it. 

Something traumatic happens. Your life is shattered into pieces of what it was or what you expected it to be and now your entire life is different. 

Life is hard.

Getting out of bed is hard. 

Even the most basic self care is HARD.

Even the smallest interruptions will make you feel like you're going to explode or push you to the point of crying in public- like full on bawling your eyes out. 

You feel like a crazy person because your emotions are all over the place, but you also don't really feel like sharing with everybody around what's going on. Maybe you don't even feel like a crazy person because your emotions are on LOCK DOWN- no one even knows that you are struggling. 

Either way, it's hard to go to work. It's hard to maintain the home. It's hard to keep your kids on a regular schedule, and make sure that all of their needs are met that their schoolwork is done, that they're able to play with other kids and be social. 

When we finally get to the point where we can start to relax a little bit because surviving gets easier, (eventually it does- things change, opportunities open up life gets easier, and we're able to relax a little bit more) the habit of being stressed out, of being in survival mode, of being on edge- that habit isn't easily broken. 

So, how do we move from survival mode to a place of loving our life again?


First of all, everybody's situation is different and it always takes time to get to the point where you realize that you don't need to be in survival mode anymore. When you have reached the point that you know that you're not in survival mode, or that you no longer have to be but you find yourself still visiting survival mode for no apparent reason- we use those moments of awareness to make a change.

When you become aware that you are feeling stressed out, or reacting to your life the way that you have for months, weeks, years however long you have been living in survival mode- that's when you just need to take a step back and acknowledge that what you're feeling doesn't match what you're experiencing. Acknowledge that your fear that you used to live in daily, is no longer warranted. 

Now, having this thought isn't going to magically just make everything hunky dory. However, it is going to grow on you over time. Remember I called it a habit, a habit of stress, a habit of survival mode. It is a habit that you need to reframe and retrain. And we do that through the awareness that it doesn't serve us anymore. And once we become aware that no longer serves us we can make a game plan for how we want to see a change, or where we want to see a change or what that change looks like. 


For example, I moved out of my mother’s house at 18 and I lived in poverty (as kids desperate for freedom often do). There were days that I wasn’t sure were my meals would come from and paying rent on time (or at all) felt like the biggest luxury. It was rare that I would have any money beyond my bills… and it was pretty amazing to actually be able to pay those bills. That went on for at least 6 years! Then our situation changed. We had more than enough to pay our bills and go to get the groceries.

Then, one day I realized, “Oh my gosh, I'm freaking out over money right now. And I don't need to.” It became a habit. 

When I realized that I was living that cycle still, even though I was pulling up to the grocery store in a completely different place in my life, one where my family can afford our bills, our food, and we are thriving-  I decided that that was not something I would do anymore. And that didn't mean it stopped just because I decided- because it was a habit. It just happened. It was something that I would do, every time I needed to go grocery shopping and how I got past that was starting with the awareness that, “yeah, this isn't legit anymore. This isn't my situation.”  


Creating space between my current situation, and the feeling I'm experiencing (because that feeling is relative to my previous situation)- that space that I created, which is just an awareness, just not holding on so tightly to those feelings and realizing that they were from the past. That made a huge difference. 

All of this probably sounds a little bit ambiguous. If you need more guidance and information on this process, then I highly recommend you jump on over to my Facebook group (Heart-Centered & Intentional Horsewomen) where I go in depth into this process with the Adventure from Outbursts to Peace in 90 days.

Another thing that I highly recommend, if you have a block in your life or something that just keeps coming up. (For example, me feeling stressed about money.) If you have something like that, I highly recommend an Emotion Code session. I would love to chat with you as to whether that's something that suits you or not, you can grab a free 15 minute consultation here

Anxiety in Horses

As we have started to become more aware of mental health in humans, it seems like we have also started to start talking more about anxiety in horses. Is it a real thing? Abso-freaking-lutely.

There is no question that anxiety is real. It doesn't matter whether we are talking humans, horses, or dogs- anxiety is REAL and we can do something about it.

There are several options to help your horse through anxiety.

The question I see the most in relation to this is, "What supplement should I give my anxious horse?"

Let me be very clear- there is a time and a place for supplements and medications- one of those times and places is when a horse is dangerous for their caregivers, themselves, or their barn-mates.  

So, what can we do for our anxious horses? The first, simplest answer is to slow down. You maybe thinking- duh! But I know from experience that slowing down isn't always easy since we have plans and goals. Sometimes we slow down a little, but we also need to step back from training- either with way more fun activities for your horse and less work or by backing up a couple steps in the training process to something that your horse is 100% confident.

The other thing that I have found very effective is the use of essential oils. Oils work especially well when anxiety is triggered by them memory of a bad experience because of the way smells affect the brain. The super cool thing about working with essential oils is that they allow you to work on the bond you have with your horse at the same time as the other issue you are trying to address.

This brings me to arguably the most important thing we need to do when working with a horse with anxiety or anxious tendencies: put yourself in their shoes. You need to understand where they have been to know where they are going. If it isn't possible to know their whole past (which is rare) then you just have to do your best to understand what your horse is FEELING- besides anxious... that's a given and its deeper than that.

I hope this helps a little, but I know it can sound ambiguous to some extent. If you can feel the truth in my words, but need more guidance, grab a FREE 15 minute consult with me Here.

RAGE: My Journey to Peace and Control

RAGE: My Journey to Peace and Control
Rage isn't something that is often talked about. The first time that I mentioned Rage on my Facebook, I received quite a few shocked responses. The thing is, I know that rage is more common than anyone is willing to admit. I have seen plenty of people totally lose their sh*t. But no one talks about it outside of the occasional "anger management" comment... and honestly, that doesn't even come up often.

I remember the first time I experienced rage with my horse. it was one of the first times I truly experienced rage- I was about 15. I don't remember what it was that triggered this particular bout of rage, but I can tell you that whatever the trigger was, it wasn't responsible for the entirety of the emotion. Even while in the midst of my rage, I could sense that there were underlying emotions contributing to how I was feeling. That was the first time I had an outburst that scared my horse. That was the first time I had completely and utterly failed him as a leader.

Our horses (and dogs!) look to us for leadership. Being a leader to our animals is not about being in charge and making the decisions because you are the owner. Instinctually, our horses for stability, wisdom, and calm from their leaders- and those qualities are how leaders are chosen! Are there occasionally fights for dominance? Sure, but only if there is more than one potential leader that is stable, calm, and wise.

The minute we lose our cool in front of our animals, that is the moment they know we are not quality leader material. And each time we experience rage, we start to lose that sense of underlying causes. We get so wrapped up and consumed with the rage that we often forget about other things or just translate other emotions into rage.

I have walked this path for over 15 years and now that I have figured out how to truly control my rage, I have seen how dramatically different life can be on the other side.

I know that 1) I am not the only one that has dealt with rage and 2) I am also not the only one that feels the shame around rage. So, since I know I am not alone, we are going to talk through this. Starting on February 1, 2021. I will be starting the Outbursts to Peace Challenge in my group Heart-Centered & Intentional Horsewomen. I really hope to see you there.

Colic: Signs and What to do

Colic: Signs and What to do
Colic: Signs and Actions
As the weather shifts here in Michigan, the number of colic cases is on the rise. The cold weather usually causes horses to drink less water, which can lead to more cases of compaction (a cause of colic). It is super important to do everything possible to encourage our horses to drink. Beyond electrolytes and heated water, we feed alfalfa hay cubes, bran, electrolytes, and other supplements soaked in hot water. 

So, besides prevention, what can be done for colic?

First and foremost, if you see your horse displaying signs and symptoms of colic, call your vet. Colic cases can become more severe in the blink of an eye and crucial decisions with the help of your veterinarian will be invaluable in that situation.

Colic symptoms include: 
  • persistent rolling
  • kicking/ biting at the stomach
  • insistent pawing
  • stretching
  • heavy breathing
  • sweating
The next thing that is recommended when colic is suspected is to keep the horse walking.

Colic is a disruption in the digestive system. Horses cannot burp or vomit so if there is something upsetting the stomach, the only thing the horse's body can do is to push it through the rest of the digestive system. In addition, the horse's digestive tract is about 100 feet long. Colic can be the result of compaction or blockage within the tract.  The horse is built so that the movement of their legs and supporting body structures, in turn, move the digestive system as well. 

One of the oldest methods to assist the horse's digestive system through a bout of colic is not as well known today. Peppermint is an herb that has long been know for its ability to settle the digestive system. Getting ahorse to eat while in the throughs of colic is very unlikely and not suggested (water should always be available). Luckily, we now have access to pure, high purity, essential oils that can be applied and aid the horse, even in the throughs of colic.

It is important to have a good understanding of how to use essential oils safely with horses and to be absolutely sure you have pure, undiluted oils before applying them to your horse. I only use and recommend Young Living essential oils because of their Seed to Seal promise (learn more at seedtoseal.com). It is common for grocery store oils and other bulk brands to be diluted with toxic chemicals that can do more harm than good when applied to the horse.

If your horse is colicing and you have called the vet and taken your horse's vitals, apply either Peppermint or Digize essential oil to your horse's stomach (near where the umbilical cord would have been). I would recommend putting a few drops of the oil of your choice into the palm of your hand along with some coconut, almond, or olive oil to avoid any skin irritation for your horse. You could also apply a couple drops to your fingertip and then rub that on your horse's gums.

Now, while you are waiting for your vet to arrive, your horse has the support it's body needs to heal and rectify the situation. Is this a cure-all for colic? Absolutely not. However, it offers added support to the horse that is much needed in the desperate situation that colic causes a horse.


Need more information about safely using essential oils with horses? 
If you liked what you read here, I would love for you to join us in the Happy Horse, Happy Life Facebook Group!




What Supplements to Feed

What Supplements to Feed

This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked. 


For years, it was such a tricky answer- I mean, it totally depends on your horse and why you think your horse even needs supplements.


Not every horse needs supplements- that is potentially good news for your wallet, right?!


The best possible situation is that your horse can get everything they need nutritionally from their food… but how do you know if the food you are feeding is the best option for your horse?


It is important to realize that horse supplements (just like human supplements) are often not bioavailable for the horse's body to absorb and use easily like the same nutrients that are absorbed through foods.


Knowing what supplements to feed is still tricky and very individualized. I honestly think that this is one of the most complex topics in the horse world, but it is just a part of the puzzle.


Nutrition affects more than just body weight and coat shine. It affects behavior, pain levels, the horse's ability to heal, and even how horses interact with each other.


So... HOW THE HECK DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO FEED YOUR HORSE?


First, get as much knowledge as you can whenever you have the opportunity.

Second, Muscle Test.


This is the explanation I received in an email from Discover Healing:

Muscle testing is a noninvasive tool that can help us identify imbalances in the body. The science behind it is similar to a lie detector test or a polygraph. In a polygraph, a person is hooked up to sensitive electrodes and asked specific questions. The person's answers generate a certain electrical response in the body, which is read and graphed by the machine to show whether the answers are true or false. This is done on a very delicate, minute scale. The muscles of the body are also affected by this electrical state. Muscle testing is designed to use those effects to show this same kind of response, just on a larger and more pronounced scale. The principle is that any muscle becomes weakened in a state of incongruence or falsehood (like a lie on a lie detector test) making resistance difficult. Conversely, muscles remain strong and able to resist when in a state of congruence or truth. What's nice is that muscle testing allows us to access important information about health. We just have to know what questions to ask, apply the resistance to a muscle, and then gauge the response to get our answers!"


I use muscle testing constantly in my daily life to determine my needs, my family's needs, and my dog's needs. I also use muscle testing as an emotion code practitioner and an equine massage therapist to determine what may be most helpful to my clients.


If you are ready to learn to use muscle testing to get your horse the supplements they need, I encourage you to join us in the Happy Horse, Happy Life Facebook group where we are doing a mini-course on using muscle testing to assess your horse's feed plan. 

Also, grab my Free Guide to Muscle Testing for Supplementation: https://margaretparsons.com/landing/supplementation 

 
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