Restoration Part 2: Half-way There

Restoration Part 2: Half-way There
I can't express the amount of gratitude that was felt throughout our family when we were all able to spend time together again.

From living on our own to years of living with family- it was not always easy. In fact, some days it was horrible and unbearable. Other days, I was able to remind myself that though I didn't choose to live this way, it was a BLESSING. Through all the time that we spent living in less than ideal situations, I will forever cherish the time that we spent with family members that opened their homes to us.

My youngest and I spent several months (maybe close to a year) living with my grandparents- that time I will never forget and I am so grateful that we had the opportunity. We have lived with my dad the longest- again, a blessing.
My dad has always worked a lot and as an adult, I was busy with my own life- we didn't see each other much. I am beyond grateful to have had some extra years with my dad. Bonus: my little sister moved in with dad too so we have had several years to grow together ❤

The last 4-5 years we have been super grateful to live together and being close to family. However, the roof over our head has left something to be desired. Dad and I found a great duplex about 7 years ago that boasted 3,000 square feet (1,500 main floor and 1,500 basement) just in the nick of time. It seemed great- a little outdated, but otherwise perfect location, great yard, and plenty of space. 

Over a few months, the basement (which I had claimed as my own) started to smell more mildewy- and then the basement flooded during the first snow melt since our move. That lead to closing off one of the basement rooms that never properly dried out. We constantly ran dehumidifiers and air purifiers to no avail. So, we have coped with it. And now, every rain we get a flood that starts in the bathroom and moves into the main living area. To say that the basement bathroom is in rough shape may be an understatement considering the number of times it has flooded.

Since that first flood, I have not had a proper bedroom (and rarely a dry bathroom). When I talk about how freaking excited I am for our new house, you can't truly understand my level of excitement without understanding that we (myself, my husband, and our youngest) basically have been living in a studio apartment that floods regularly with 4 dogs. It's been frustrating, embarrassing, disgusting, crazy, and somehow, still a blessing.

We have been able to prepare for our family's full restoration. We have saved some money, taken some trips, had great house parties to celebrate our girls and the people we love. Through it all, the struggles have been worth it. I never thought that was possible. And maybe that isn't 100% true- because none of us would choose to go through some of our tribulations again, but if it wasn't for the darkness, we wouldn't truly enjoy and be grateful for the light.

If  you want to know more about how I have been able to make it through all of the curve balls life has thrown at me, jump into my Facebook Group.

Restoration Part 1: Rock Bottom

Restoration Part 1: Rock Bottom
At this time, ten years ago, I was in the middle of the worst part of my life. Without going into detail of what actually happened, I want to share where I was mentally and emotionally.

Ten years ago I was feeling very alone. I was married, but my husband was living about eleven hours away and it wasn't a separation that either of us wanted or chose. I was heartbroken. I was left to raise our youngest (she was three), manage the household, go to work, and continue my degree program. It was exhausting and more painful than anything I had ever experienced. I didn't show up as the best mother, employee or student during that time, but I did the best I could with what I had- as everyone always does.

Needless to say, it didn't take long for my husband and I to realize that we had been taking each other for granted to some extent- because we were both miserable and struggling apart.

I was never one to express my emotions before we were separated so under all of the emotional pressure of being separated from my husband, on my own with our daughter, work, and school- I reached and exceeded my emotional capacity. 

Most people in my life wouldn't have even known how miserable I was or that I was battling rage regularly- the most frequent witness to my outbursts was my beautiful little girl. I wasn't proud of my actions and I knew that it wasn't right for me to act that way, but I honestly didn't know that I had another option. 

Within about four months we decided that the best thing we could do was to get rid of our home to take so many tasks off of my plate. That helped free up some time and money, but it didn't make me feel better.

There were days I struggled to get out of bed to be a functional human let alone a good mother, employee or student. I cried myself to sleep regularly, experienced nightmares, struggled with insomnia and often had breakdowns that I recognize now were panic attacks. This was pretty consistent for about three years.
I journaled, read scriptures, and prayed.
I still dealt with anger, rage, and outbursts. I also felt intense heartache. Honestly though, I didn't recognize all of the other emotions I was dealing with- I didn't know I needed to.

What I know now that every emotion that we experienced deserves to be acknowledged and accepted- that is the only way to move past the emotion and all of the horrible side effects that go along with it.

Ten years ago, my world crumbled. My family lost the material life that we built and even our time together for several years. Since then, we have dreamed of restoration. Restoration of our family all being under one roof. Restoration of our material things and more. While we all hated those years, and none of us would want to live through it again, we all learned that no matter how bad things get- restoration is possible.

If my struggle with anger, rage, and emotions in general resonates with you, I highly recommend you check out my Facebook group and Guide 1: The Adventure from Outbursts to Peace.

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.
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