Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Voices in our heads?

Do you ever feel like one side of you is thinking or feeling one thing, while another side of you thinks or feels another? Sometimes making decisions becomes difficult because the voices feel like they are at war with one another? If so, you are not alone! Part of our normal developmental process as we grow up is to sort through which aspects of ourselves get us love, attention, and safety. Those aspects tend to have different voices that guide us through life.

That is some of what I learned in a Voice Dialogue for Coaches class with Jan Berg and BJ Levy of inviteCHANGE last week. I became interested in the technique during my coach training and I have been looking forward to adding it to my toolbox to support clients.

I have also enjoyed several sessions with Jan and BJ and find the work incredibly powerful for sorting through the voices in my head so that I can make decisions more clearly and quickly.

What struck me most in the training was the concept of helping clients build a Central Consciousness that becomes the orchestra conductor for the different aspects of ourselves. This enables us to utilize the wisdom of each piece without having them at war with one another so that we can be more effective while having peace in my head! Fantastic! I have already began incorporating the concepts in with my clients with wonderful success!

I am grateful for this wonderful work that empowers people from the inside - out! For more information, please read more, or feel free to contact me.

What are your voices saying?

Until next week, be well!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Which wolf are you feeding?

Last week I had the priveledge of attending a Power Chicks event to hear a dear friend and colleague, Beth Buelow, of Intentional Talk, speak about "What's Love Got to Do With It?".

In honor of my rule of threes (hear something once, let it pass; hear something twice, take note; hear something three times, take action) it felt important to pass along a teaching I heard from her for the third time.

I cannot tell where I heard it first - it seemed to jump out of my bones when I heard a similar version from a powerful healer and gifted teacher, Jeni Dahn. It is a story that has been passed to her many times. Beth sited her source as Harold Kushner’s ‘Living a Life That Matters’. While the stories vary slightly, the essence remains the same.

The lesson comes from a Native American elder who talked about having two wolves inside him at all times - one white and one black. One wolf was "good", and the other, "mean". He described the mean one as fighting the good one all the time. When asked which wolf wins, he reflected and then replied, "The one I feed the most."

That story speaks to me on so many levels, and is such a powerful illustration of the profound impact stories offer as learning, or "medicine".

As focused and clear as I feel in any moment, not far away are the voices of doubt, fear, and lack. It seems so simple - which one do I feed? Which plant in my garden gets the most energy from compost in the soil, the sun in the sky, and the rain in its' roots? That plant will grow faster, stronger, and bare more fruit.

And, I know my life to be a vivid reflection of the fact that what I feed with my attention, my energy, and my time grows stronger. What I love about his beautiful short story, is that is also underscores the fact that we are at full choice as to what we feed, therefore, what we recieve. It is a piece of our limitless co-creation with the creative forces around us.

It also struck me that this is another way to view the previous story of the client feeding her "wanting" by looking off to the horses who had chosen not to join us in the arena. In so doing, she was also choosing not to feed her peace by engaging with the horses already in the arena, laying down around her.

I offer to you, which wolf are you feeding? What voices are you spending time indulging? What are you focused on? And, how's it working? Are you getting what you want?

For this moment, I choose deep gratitude for vibrant health, loving support, and joyful collaboration.

To the Creator in each of you,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Delight in the small things!

Hello, friends!

Spring is truly springing here at the farm! With it comes the chaotic energy of creation as everything unfolds to expand into the next bigger version of themselves for the summer.

I wanted to share a quick story that touched me, in the hopes you may also find something for yourself.

My husband and I were driving down a busy, 5 lane road and talking about some heavy topic. We passed by an assisted living community and I thought, "Wow. I don't ever want to live in one of those."

And, then, on the corner of the busy road we traveled and a small, quiet side street, was an elderly man bent over - almost to the ground. He caught my attention because I assumed something must be "wrong"!

As we passed, I realized he was cradling a camera in his hands, and he was leaning over, focusing on a dandalion blossom that was growing up through the crack in the pavement. He was angling to get just the right perspective on this vibrantly gold flower. He seemed so happy - so intent on that moment of perfection.

A flower that countless others have passed by without a thought. Others, with intent to kill or harm.

And, this man, in the middle of this busy world, saw perfection in the simplest, most common of sights. Not only did he notice, he was cherishing the beauty - capturing it to hold onto, perhaps during a rainy day inside.

I asked myself, "Where am I missing the beauty and perfection?" Where am I not noticing, taking it for granted, or not cherishing what I am blessed to behold.

Until next time,
Be well

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Joy or struggle?

One of my favorite things about my work is how much of a gift my clients are in my life. Specifically, how much I learn about myself by witnessing them work through their questions and struggles. And, how inspiring I find their courage, tenacity, and authenticity.

I was again reminded today by a wonderful client, of how amazing my life is - should I choose to see it, acknowledge it, and accept it.

When she arrived, she was talking very quickly, as though she were trying to get everything in her head out - almost as if there would be peace if she could accomplish that. Her voice sounded tinny and hollow.

When I asked her what she wanted out of our time together today, she explained that she felt out of step. I was feeling my shoulders drift up towards my ears and my feet go numb. So, I offered a deep breath, moving our attention to our feet, grounding into the earth, feeling that connection. She sat back in the chair and I felt my shoulders relax. Her face softened, her eyes cleared, and when she spoke, her voice was resonate and full.

From that place of grounded connection, we walked out to the horses. There were three horses laying down in the arena and the others had chosen not to participate by moving to another area. When she walked through the gate and into the arena, she completed a circle with the three horses. The energy was remarkable and beautiful.

I asked how her body felt and she reported being completely relaxed - totally at peace in the present moment. Then I noticed that she kept turning away from that peaceful scene and looking to the other area to see if she could see the rest of the herd. She would start wondering where they were and why they weren't interested in her today. Her brow would furrow, and her voice would change.

Each time she would turn back to the three beautiful horses laying down, she would talk about the truth and power she finds in the present moment with a resonate, almost melodic tone. Then, she would turn her back again and strain to find the other horses, struggling to figure out where they were.

I pointed out what I was seeing and asked her if that is what she was experiencing. She confirmed it was. I then inquired as to whether she felt that was a pattern in her life. Her face dropped as she realized the choice she was making and the impact it has on her.

There are many layers here, as there always are with people as well as with horses. The piece that struck home for me was the choice to turn away from the groundedness and peace of the present moment for the drama of my stories. What is more appealing about the drama and struggle of my stories than the peace? What stops me from fully embracing the peace and choosing to be there?

What is true, is that each moment unfolds as it will. My choice is whether I will miss this one by worrying about the next one or the last one, or distracting myself with old stories that no longer serve me.

Watching someone else make the choice clarified it for me - in this moment, I choose the peace of this moment. I deserve the peace. I embrace it. I recieve it. I choose it. I release the need for the drama of the stories that hold me back. I can feel my shoulders relax, my face soften, and space open in my chest. Ahh.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

After Workshop Antics!

Our last workshop, in collaboration with Amorah Ross, was a remarkable experience. More to come on that in another post. What feels important here, is the shift in our relationship with the horses following the workshop.

Why a shift? The level of partnership they offered was unlike anything I have ever seen. It reminded me of the stories of the pod of orcas off the coast of Australia that would call for the human fishermen when the whales were coming through. They would then proceed to herd the whales into the cove where the fishermen could make the kill. The agreement between the two species was that the humans would always leave the whale overnight so that the orca could get the tongue - their favorite part. They would leave the rest for the humans. It was a remarkable example of inter-species communication, trust and collaboration. (until a new human took over the hunt and decided they would not leave the whale as agreed)

So, what does killing whales have to do with our workshop?! Great question. It doesn't.

However, inter-species collaboration is what we do! And, that is the part that was most amazing about this workshop. The expansion of our relationship has lasted beyond the workshop. Here is where it started:

In the daze of the following day, we let the horses into the middle pasture. It is one of their favorite places and had plenty of grass and wonderful napping spots. We walked them out (we don't use halters or lead ropes) and bid them a happy day. We then meandered back to the house for some breakfast and leisure. Sitting in the living room, I started hearing Rohan yelling (loud whinny). "Hm. That's strange. I'd better to see what's happening." Rohan was standing at the edge of the pasture, looking at the house, and yelling for me.

The first thing that came to mind, is there must be something wrong. So, I put on my shoes and went to investigate. As I approached the pasture, he then turned his entire body in the direction of the hose, turned his head to me, and then back to the hose.

"Ah, got it. Thanks!" I had left the hose on and the trough was overflowing!!

As always, once the message was delivered, he felt free to go back to calmly grazing with the herd as they slowly made their way over the hill into the morning sun.

Sierra did something similar the following day! My husband and I were in the pasture working when she came running from the back pasture, tail in the air, nostrils flared and screaming! She made her way into the side pasture where we were, and ran the length of it. Then, circled back and ran back to the back pasture, screaming the whole way! My husband and I looked at each other and asked, "Did Timmy fall into the well?!" We ran back to find that we had inadvertently left the far gate open, allowing Rohan and Grace to wander onto the other side of the fence. She ran away from the herd at the back of the land, all the way to the front of the 13 acres, to tell us that there was something wrong!

Thank you, to all of them, for their patience in our unfoldment! And, for their partnership.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What's in it for you?

One of our passions here at Redtail Farm is our connection to the natural world. We find deep peace in the rhythms, sacredness in the wisdom, and certainty of our interdependence on every other piece of the eco-system.

Over the last 3 weeks, some interesting events have come to pass. Laying in bed last night, and then again this morning, I felt compelled to send some thoughts into cyberspace.

The first event was a cougar down in Yelm attaching horses. There were 2 different attacks, 2 different farms, 2 different horses. Horses tend to represent discovering freedom, travel, and new beginnings. The first attempt, the cat tried for the haunches. The second, for the neck. Both times, the horses got away. This is very strange behavior for a cat who seems to be practicing strategies. I have not heard of any more attacks since.

Last week, residents in a downtown Seattle neighborhood started reporting cougar sights near Discovery Park. That is a first... what the heck would draw a cougar into downtown Seattle? We know our city is beautiful, but wouldn't have expected a cougar to think so!

Yesterday, after treeing the cat with dogs and shooting him with a tranquilizer dart, they released him into the Cascade Foothills - a much more suitable location for such a magnificent soul. He was a 2 1/2 year male, 140 pounds, in his prime. The Wildlife agents that had the chance to see him in the tree, in all his glory, before he was drugged, were clearly moved by his majesty.

The next story on the news was the fact that a driver outside of Marymoor Park, near downtown Redmond, struck and killed another adult male cougar. Same question - what the heck is a cougar doing in downtown Redmond?

I have a general rule of thumb for life to help keep me balanced and curious: if I see something once, it is interesting. If I see something twice, I make note of it. If I see something three times, I take action. In this case, action for me meant connecting with Mother Nature, and with the cats in particular. My question, "What's up and what do you need us to know?" Afterwards, I took a visit to my Ted Andrew's Animal Speak book (always by my chair!)

As Ted puts it, "If cougar has shown up in your life, it is time to learn about power. Test your own. Most young cougars learn how to use their power through trial and error. It strengthens them and hones their skills. When cougar shows up as totem, much of the trial has been worked through. Now it is time to assert."

"People may not like your asserting. They may try and keep you in the category they have always kept you. You can choose to remain so, or you can stretch your muscles and show your capabilities."...

"The deer is the cougar's favorite prey. One of the qualities embodied by the deer is gentleness."... "remember that power can be asserted with gently." ...

"The cougar teaches decisiveness in the use of personal power."... "The cougar can teach you how to bring out your power and fill your heart with it in a manner that will enable you to take charge of your life."

Cougar seems to be inviting those of us who will listen, to to ask where does our power want to be asserted, with gentleness and conviction?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Horses Cry?

In all of the years I have spent with horses, and all of the conversations I have had with people about the undeniable fact that they are sentient beings with thoughts and feelings, I was stunned...

I was spending time with a very dear client and the herd and we were talking about companionship and loneliness. As things began to shift and the client really settled into her body, I noticed one of the horses walking very purposefully towards her from across the pasture. I backed away, understanding that there was a gift to be exchanged between the two of them. The horse walked directly to her, stopping a short distance away, cocking her head in a very strange sideways orientation next to the woman's left arm - close to her shoulder. I asked what the woman was noticing. After several long pauses, she shared that she wasn't sure. I could sense a heaviness and resistance. As I drew my attention back to the greater space, I turned to the horse and the larger environment to feel into what other information wanted to come forward.

I was stunned to see clear tears falling from the horses eye. Three, four, five, six... tears. There was no goop in her eye, and this was not discharge. These were clear, cathartic, beautiful tears of recognition. I stood there, unable to speak. I can't tell how much time passed until I shared with the client that I was noticing the tears from the horse and wondered what was significant about her left shoulder/arm. She welled up and and said that it wasn't her arm, it was her breast - she had had a mastectomy.

As she connected with that pain, the horse put her head down and licked and chewed. As I looked up at the rest of the herd, they had all paired up in a semi-circle and had turned in to face us. They were holding space for these two beings to come together in recognition and acknowledgement of pain, and create release.

As always, once the message is delivered, the horse disengaged and went back to her place in the herd. The client and I stood in silence, sharing the amazing power that exists beyond our verbal limitations.

So, yes, horses do cry. What does that mean about the rest of the animal nations?