How to Embrace Uncertainty

Recently, my life has been in flux with lots of uncertainty.

I gave my 30 days notice at the ranch where I live and work and I don’t know where I’m moving yet. It’s the right decision, to move on. My intuition had been telling me to do it for months yet I was paralyzed in not knowing my next steps. Tired of feeling scared of the unknown and sick to my stomach by not acting on my intuition, I woke up on Friday, pushed past my fear, called the landlord, and spoke my truth.

The moment I hung up, a huge weight lifted…a clear sign that I’m moving in the right direction, although I don’t know where I’m moving.

Before I gave notice, the one requirement I gave myself was to secure a temporary place for me and my animals, which I did. It’s a last resort but gave me the cojones to give my notice and know that in the worst case scenario, Detail, Playboy, Namo, Charley and I wouldn’t end up homeless and barnless.

Once the temporary safety net was in place, I had nothing to lose, except the growing knot in my stomach.

Uncertainty stretches you Outside your Comfort Zone

I’m independent, stubborn, and proud aka I don’t like asking for help. However, being uncertain about where I’m ultimately going to live and work (and having a 30 day deadline), lit a fire under me. I’ve reached out to friends, family, and people in the horse community asking for suggestions of places to relocate. You never know who knows somebody who has a nice home for rent and a ranch with an indoor arena.

Instead of trying to figure this all out on my own (old habit), I’ve stretched outside my comfort zone and asked for what I want and need. As a result, people have been kind and helpful and have not looked down on me, as I feared they would if they found out that I don’t have my entire life figured out.

Here’s the secret…NONE OF US HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT. It feels vulnerable to ask for help and suggestions AND I’m realizing how many people are eager to help. By reaching out, I’ve gained great ideas and referrals, and most importantly, let other people in, especially when my life isn’t “perfect”.

It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. – Pema Chodron

Uncertainty makes you Re-evaluate your Life 

Uncertainty has been an opportunity to take stock of my life. It’s made me look around and re-evaluate the way I’ve been living. I’m proud of the business I’ve created and the impact Beyond the Arena has on helping others. In the midst of building a business, my living conditions have taken a back seat and I’ve been roughing it a bit the past 3 years. What once worked for me, no longer does, and I’m ready to evolve my standards from a shower stall, to a shower with a bathtub.

I went to my financial planner a few weeks ago and she looked me in the eye and said “You’ve paid your dues. You should have a dishwasher.” I laughed and agreed.

It’s time to upgrade my life and I’m looking for a place that has the amenities I desire…a washer/dryer, bathtub, dishwasher, and a strong WiFi connection. I don’t know how my desires will manifest but I’m certain about the living conditions I’ve outgrown, and what I’m not willing to settle for.

“Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty.” – John Huston Finley 

Uncertainty teaches you to Trust and Have Faith

To address uncertainty and boost my manifesting mojo, I went on a shopping trip to Micheals for a small keepsake box, posterboard, and a glue stick.

Taking Tosha Silver’s advice, author of Outrageous Openness, I’ve created a God Box to write my worries on strips of paper and then put them in the box. It’s a tangible tool to release my worries, get out of my own way, and allow the Universe to do her thing.

I’ve also created an updated vision board, and written myself a check for the amount of money I want to make in a year, taping it above my bed as a reminder.

Feeling uncertain has propelled me into taking action steps that deepen my faith in the Universe. I’m learning to trust that what the Universe has in store for me, may not be what my ego has in store for me…gulp…and that’s ok.

“When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” – Author unknown

Uncertainty is inevitable and we can fear it or embrace it. I’m looking outside right now and I’m uncertain when will the muddy road dry out? Where will I end up living long-term?  When will I meet my soulmate? When am I going to…? The list goes on and on.

I’m not certain of the answers but I am certain that by honoring my intuition, taking action, reaching out, and trusting the process…the path will be revealed, one step at a time.

Seeking horse ranch and beautiful home with clawfoot tub,

Devon

How to Meditate in 7 Simple Steps

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu

Horses live in the present moment. They aren’t worried about the fight they had with their spouse yesterday, or what the weather will be tomorrow. Because they live in the moment, their natural state is peace and serenity. Horses are great meditation teachers.

Science shows that meditation lowers stress, increases mental clarity, and improves sleep. My favorite benefit of meditation is it quiets the monkey chatter in our mind so we can listen to our intuition.

When we are NOT present, we miss out on the richness of life; the smell of our dog’s fur as we hug him, the way the sun feels on our skin, a smile from a loved one, the flavor of dark chocolate as we savor every bite.

By training our mind to live more in the present moment, we stop seeking peace and serenity, and realize it’s right here, right now. Below is a guide for getting started…

7 simple steps on how to meditate

1. Sit upright comfortably. If you’re like me and you try to meditate while lying down, you’ll fall asleep. Instead, sit in a comfortable chair with an upright back, get a meditation cushion, or fold a pillow and sit cross-legged on it, which will help support your back.

2. Breathe Deeply. Ah, the breath, the wonderful breath. It’s our ANCHOR to the present moment and a tool available at all times. Start by taking 10 deeps breaths and counting to 5 during each exhale and inhale. Allow your lungs to fill up as you inhale (it feels good to take a deep inhale) and then slowly exhale through your nose, allowing your shoulders to drop. Repeat.

3. Gently close your eyes. If you’re not doing so already, I suggest closing your eyes to help you focus. It’s easy to give our mind an excuse to wander when we are staring at our laundry that needs to be done.

4. Slowly scan your body, and notice any sensations. I love this step because it’s checking in with our body. How many times a day do we ask others, “How are you?” A lot. How many times a day do we ask our body, “How are you?” Hardly ever. It’s an opportunity to check in with your body which is an effective way to bring you into the present moment. Start by focusing on your feet and moving up to the top of your head. Notice if there is tension anywhere, and if there is, consciously send breath in the direction of that body part.

5. Be aware of any thoughts you are having. Do you ever get stuck in overthinking? Here’s a chance to notice your thoughts WITHOUT getting roped in by them. Imagine each thought is like a cloud in the sky and you’re the observer. Notice what thoughts are present, “I need to call my mom, I have to go to the grocery store”. Allow each thought to come up, and pass by, without any judgment or attachment.

6. When your mind wanders, focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, which it will, come home to your breath. Your breath is the the number one tool to help you stay grounded, connected, and focused in the moment. When you focus on your breathing, your heart rate slows down, your mind begins to quiet, and your body can relax.

7. Gently open your eyes when you are ready. I suggest practicing meditation for 5-10 minutes in the beginning. The best time of day to do it is in the morning, BEFORE having coffee, if you’re a caffine consumer. Connecting to your breath will set the tone for your day. It’s a positive and empowering tool to practice beyond the pillow, and throughout the day. Even if you don’t have an opportunity to close your eyes, you can practice conscious breathing during a meeting, in a traffic jam, or in a conversation.

For a printable checklist of How to Mediate,  CLICK HERE. You can post it in your bedroom, or by your desk as a reminder.

For guided meditations, check out HeadSpace which is an easy-to-use app that walks you through a series of 10 minute meditations. The guy who records it has an soothing accent too.

Happy meditating!

Inhale…1, 2, 3, 4, 5…Exhale…1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Devon

How to Declutter and Bring More Joy into your Life

You know what feels good? Decluttering.

Last night I cleared out 4 large drawers under my Ikea bed and here’s the result (Charley supervises while Namo sleeps peacefully in the background)…

In the pile are 46 items I’m giving away and that does NOT include the tattered clothes I’m throwing out. 46 items I haven’t used in months (and in some cases years) have been energetically and physically clogging up my personal space. Time to make some changes.

The book that taught me how to declutter is Marie Kondo’s international bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s genius and here’s why….

“A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.”

The whole point in decluttering, is to be happy.

She encourages us to “Imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t this the lifestyle you dreamed of?”

Yes, Marie, it is.

It’s simple and here’s her process…

1. Visual your ideal lifestyle and WHY you want to feel that way

I recently saw the movie Minimalism and it lit a fire under me to get rid of things I don’t need. My motto for 2017 is SIMPLICITY.

For me, simplicity equals less stress and more time to enjoy the things I want to be doing.

It drives me crazy not being able to find things because I have too much clutter to rummage through. It’s an unnecessary stress and costs me valuable time and energy searching for things.

What is your ideal lifestyle? Is it to live in a peaceful environment which allows space for your creativity? Is it to have an organized home so you can spend more time with your family? Decide why it’s important for you to declutter and it will give you the boost of energy to see it through.

2. Gather ALL your clothes.

First, gather all your clothing in the house and put in a pile on the floor. Make sure you have emptied every drawer and closet. Leave no dresser drawer unopened.

3. Pick up each item and ask “Does this Spark Joy?”

If it does, keep it. If it does not, dispose of it. Marie advises, “When you touch a piece of clothing, your body reacts.”

When I picked up each piece I noticed some clothes felt tattered and limp, long past their expiration date. I also had various jeans that didn’t fit yet my ego wanted to hang onto them in the hope that I’d squeeze into them again someday.

However, the feeling of “someday” does not bring me joy, so they got tossed into the donate pile.

By the time I had neatly folded and put away the items to keep, I peered at the pile and realized how much I’d been keeping that doesn’t bring me joy. I had been holding onto things of my past that don’t accurately reflect who I am today. Reality check.

Today I woke up feeling energetically lighter, more spacious, and grateful to be donating items to places that can use them. I’m on a roll and next is the kitchen…

What about you? Are you holding onto stuff that takes up space but doesn’t bring you joy? Have you experienced the elation that comes from decluttering?

I’d love to hear your experience, share in the comments below.

Giddy up, and tidy up,

Devon

It’s my birthday and here’s what I’m doing

Today is my 33rd birthday. I like the sound of “3-3″…I think those are lucky numbers so I’m going to go with it. One thing I want to do this year is to write more, and I’m beginning today. Kind of like making a commitment to go to the gym except I don’t need to go anywhere, I just need to sit with my laptop and click on the “add page” for a new blog post, instead of immediately checking emails or scrolling through Facebook (busted, I know…do you do it too?)

32 was a roller coaster year. I now know what it feels like to deeply love someone but not have that be enough to make a relationship work; to fall apart in front of friends and allow myself to be supported while I nurse my heartache; to uproot from where I live and work and be consumed by the fear of “what if I can’t make it” and “what if everything I’ve worked for fails”; and to take a leap and pitch my UNBRIDLED Retreat to a national magazine and invite their editor to attend and write about it.

It’s been a year, alright. The main takeaway I have from 32 is that change is scary but there are gifts in it.

time

What I know for sure is that you couldn’t pay me to go back to my 20’s. My 20’s were riddled with fear of not being perfect and putting an enormous amount of pressure on myself to look and act in a certain way.

My 30’s have been much better and although challenging at times, I feel more settled in my skin and better attuned to listen to myself and what my soul wants, as opposed to listening to who I “should” be.

My soul is telling me to write and share more, even when it’s not perfect (ahhh, the ol’ ego still rears its head at that.)

I like this quote from one of my favorite books, The Write to Write, by Julia Cameron, “Taking the time to write how we feel helps us to know how we feel.”

Today, I feel hopeful for the new year ahead and I’m glad I made the commitment to write as opposed to procrastinating and making excuses.

After posting this, I’m going to change out of my fuzzy robe and treat myself to a shopping trip at Murdochs’s to get Bogs winter boots (I refuse to go through another winter wearing crappy boots while feeding horses with freezing feet). Then I’m going on a horseback ride with a friend, having a massage at Massage Heights (I booked 90 minutes! #selfcare), come back feed and all the critters, and then meet a friend for dinner.

A good birthday in my book.

Thanks for reading and I will continue to write and share more with you this year. Basically, I want to connect more and this is how my intuition is guiding me to do it. So stay tuned, and I hope you have a great Friday.

Off to Murdoch’s where I’ll try and not get distracted by all the pretty, shiny, horse buckets.

Older, bud-weiser,

Devon

My three minute public speech in SILENCE

Imagine standing in front of a room of people for three minutes and saying absolutely nothing. Just standing there. Making eye contact. Breathing. Connecting. No words.

This is what I signed up to do, yes, paid for, in a class I attended called Soul Speaks.

Throughout the class, each person has three individual turns to stand up in front of the group and speak about any subject or, drum roll please…to be silent.

It is not about content, it is about connecting and letting the essence of who we are shine through and be seen, heard, and blessed. After each turn, we continue to stand in front of the room as group members call out “showers of appreciation” based on our essence and what they witness from being in our presence.

Then the facilitator quickly captures these “showers” as the class calls them out and she writes them down in a pretty notebook. “This is the truth of who you are” she says, when she hands the notebooks to us at the end of each class.

As our names are called in random order, we are encouraged not to prepare, and not to think about what we are going to say (or not say) before our turn. My ego does not like these directions of not preparing. It screams in my head, “Quick, come up with something brilliant, you have to be prepared, make them laugh, keep them interested …” That’s my typical mode of operation in front of a group. Do whatever it takes to keep them interested or they’ll get bored and I’ll feel rejected.

This is not about giving a brilliant speech or being an excellent speaker. It’s about authentic connection in front of a room of people. Talk about feeling vulnerable.

I’ve had the gift of authentic connection (non-verbal) with horses throughout most of my life. I’ve always felt more comfortable in my own skin with animals because they don’t judge and I don’t have to be anything other than myself to be accepted. I’ve got nothing to hide and even if I try to they can see past my bullsh&*.

You can’t hide anything from a horse.

On the other hand, it’s vulnerable connection with people that’s always scared the sh*& out of me. My ego flares up and says “what if you’re not good enough, funny enough, entertaining enough…” Over the years, I’ve become very good at breaking the ice, asking questions, keeping conversations rolling because then I don’t have to be fully seen. I can easily hide behind my words.

Being verbal protects me from being vulnerable.

Hence, I signed up for Soul Speaks. To confront my ego by deliberately standing in front of a group of people while keeping my mouth shut. As my business expands and I’m doing more speaking presentations, I find myself speaking quickly out of fear that my audience will get bored. Soul Speaks appealed to me because I was curious to hear what my soul (not my mouth) would say, given the chance to speak.

During my last class, I stood in front of the group for three minutes. I challenged myself not to speak. I made an experiment out of it, to see if I could do it. I made eye contact with each person in the rows of chairs in front of me. I felt the blood rush to my face and felt my heart beating fast. Yet I kept breathing and making eye contact. For once, I didn’t feel the desperate need to impress or entertain people so they wouldn’t get bored.

I stood there and that was enough.

I WAS ENOUGH.

That was my takeaway. I got to experience it firsthand and the audience clapped for me when my turn was over.

By breathing, I was at home in my body while I was making eye contact. It was exhilarating and validating.

Here are some of the showers of appreciation that people called out after my three minute turn. “Bursting, powerful, wise, captivating, soft and comforting.” This was the feedback I got while I stood in SILENCE in front of a group of people that barely know me. Sure enough, my soul does speak loud and clear.

I’m a firm believer now that our soul speak volumes, when we close our mouths and trust we are enough. Our essence and “soulfulness” is the truth of who we are; the scary part is letting it be seen and heard. But it’s a gift to ourselves and others when we allow our soul to speak.

Let your soul do the talking,

Devon

From handcuffs to horses…my people-pleasing journey

Chronic people-pleasing is a crime. It’s a crime against your soul, who you are, your unique gifts, purpose and message to share with the world.

By the time I was 21 years old, I was addicted to people-pleasing and external validation. I didn’t believe that I was good enough. Or smart enough. Or cool enough. Or attractive enough. Or lovable enough. So I manipulated my body, my behaviors and my personality so that I would be accepted, approved of and liked by everyone. I was always nice and said “yes” no matter what.

I did this at the cost of betraying my soul.

The people-pleasing road led to bulimia, blackout drunken nights, and self-loathing.

I was a shell of a person: I lost myself: in the midst of depression, I attempted to end my own life. I hit my rock bottom.

Friends and family were at a loss about how to help me, so my parents called the police.

I was handcuffed and escorted into a police car with neighbors gawking and tears in my parents’ eyes.

This was the wake-up call I needed to get real, start healing and take back my personal power, and quit committing crimes against myself.

From a hospital, to a psych ward, to a treatment center, to experiencing equine therapy and life coaching, my people-pleasing recovery journey went from handcuffs to healing through horses.

Horses ignored me during equine therapy if I attempted to try and be anything other than my authentic self. Horses only wanted to connect with me when I was being real, imperfections and all.

It was mind-opening and heart-opening.

Through working with horses and peeling back protective and inauthentic layers, I found the woman I was meant to be.

I began to accept, approve, like, and, yes, even love myself.

People-pleasing will cost you everything.

You are doing yourself and the world a disservice by saying “yes” to things when deep down your soul says “no.”

Especially as women, we need serious reframing around saying “no.”

Saying “no” to others doesn’t mean being a bitch, being selfish or being ungrateful.

It means we care about how we feel, and we value our precious time and energy.

It means we make choices based on what enhances our spirit versus what drains our spirit.

It means we proclaim that we can truly be there for others, only when we are there for ourselves first.

In a world of 7 billion people, not everyone is going to like you. Or accept you. Or approve of you. Or love you. And it’s okay.

In fact, it’s liberating to know and accept this because you will stop betraying your soul in an attempt to gain other’s fleeting acceptance and so-called stamp of approval.

Are you betraying yourself?

Awareness is key. Pay attention to the choices you make, and notice if they drain you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

If your choices drain you, it’s a red flag. If you are fueled by your choices, you are feeding your soul and curing the “disease to please.”

Practice saying “no” in the mirror. When you say “no” to someone, use K.I.S.S., aka Keep It Short and Simple.

You will want to kiss yourself when you act on this because it feels empowering!

People pleasing

When you start saying “yes” to your soul, you take back your personal power. This is a practice and you begin to build an emotional muscle over time.

It could mean saying “no” to others. It could mean speaking up even when your voice shakes. It could mean sharing an opinion that goes against what your family/friends/co-workers/spouse thinks.

By pleasing yourself first, you start living the life you are born to live. Only then can you be of the highest value and service to the world and those around you.

When you break free of the chains of always being nice and relying on external validation to feel worthy and good enough, you take the reins of your life. And there is nothing more likable, attractive, cool, and lovable than a woman who says “yes” to herself and “no” to what doesn’t resonate with her soul.

So don’t get handcuffed, get real.

Devon

P.S. If you want to learn how to say “YES” to yourself, join us at the UNBRIDLED Colorado Retreat on September 28th- October 1st, 2017.  Click here for more info. 

P.S. Share this post if you know someone who can benefit.

Is your relationship with your body based on CONTROL?

My relationships have changed drastically in the past ten years.

First, is my relationship with horses. Second, is my relationship with my body.

Both of these relationships are now based on a two-way street of communication, mutual respect, trust and compassion.

I grew up in the ego-dominated world of showing horses competitively where it was strictly a one-way street of communication. The horse had to do what I demanded in order to “look good” and receive external validation from the show judges so we could beat the competition.

Even though my body was in the saddle, I was mostly “riding and living in my head”. When my horse would act up, giving me feedback that he was confused or frightened, I would grit my teeth and do what I was taught, which was to tighten the reins and get my horse under control immediately.

As the rider, I was programmed to be in control at all times and to make my horse do what I wanted.

Funny thing is, this was the exact relationship I had with my body for many years. I controlled my body by “holding onto the reins” as tightly as I could. I accomplished this through extreme restriction and desperately trying to look perfect to receive the external validation that my ego craved.

Always in a matter of time, my body would revolt and act up out of hunger and exhausted, I’d “drop of the reins” momentarily. This allowed me to buck and kick and run wild, eating everything in sight. Then I would capture my body and beat it back into submission through purging and then depriving it of any basic needs or nourishment.

Whew, I think back on the amount of energy it took me to keep my horse AND my body under control and it was a constant struggle which turned me into a shell of a person.

Dev and Detail moment

Through my personal journey of healing from an eating disorder, I discovered the profound impact of listening to my body. This gift was uncovered in my treatment process, through partnering with horses in an experiential way, with no agenda.

By connecting with horses and with the help of a facilitator, I learned to ground myself, experience emotional clearing and healing and stay present which allowed me to tune into my body. This was not about horsemanship at all, but about listening…to what the horse was communicating and to what my body was communicating.

Today, I no longer “tighten the reins” when I get scared and desperate to control things. I tune into what my body is communicating to me through awareness and quieting my mind. Then I can decipher what it is I need in that moment; many times it has nothing to do with food!

Horses have taught me the profound impact of a two-way street in a relationship and this is the juncture in which healing occurs, in all of our relationships.

 

Peace,

Devon

How to overcome your resistance to getting started

I just did something I haven’t done in a long time.

I went for a run. Laced up my sneakers and bolted out the door before my familiar excuses could sneak up on me.

I took off down the dirt ranch road and hit the street pavement running.

It felt foreign and liberating to move my body in a range of motion that didn’t include swinging a pitchfork, lifting a hay bale or scrubbing out a water tank.

Especially to wear shorts and have my legs exposed to the light of day after constantly wearing jeans.

I didn’t make it too far before running out of breath and getting a side cramp. I slowed down and walked. Power walked. Swinging my arms to maintain momentum.

A half block later, Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” blasted in my headphones and brought me a second wind. (I love how certain songs will do that.)

The renewed running pace lasted a few blocks. Huffing and puffing with a beet red face, I slowed to a walk again. My original “go for a run” concept turned into a run/walk and every speed in between.

And that’s ok. It was a start.

It felt good to be breathing hard, sweating and moving my body in a new way.  I felt alive and finally over the mountain of resistance that tends to keep me from starting things.

Often, the hardest part is getting started. We often waste more time thinking about it than just doing it.

Our ego isn’t a fan of the messy, awkward, beginning stage therefore it keeps us from starting at all.

Start anyway.

You might be out of practice (and end up with a side cramp). So what. Give yourself some compassion (and an epson salt bath later, that’s my plan anyways).

The important part is to just start somewhere…you will feel better by beginning AND, side bonus, feel inspired to do other things. Like me, here, writing a new blog post which is also something I have put off starting until my run/walk happened. Funny how the positive domino effect spills over into other areas of our life.

Don’t wait until tomorrow (that’s what your ego wants). Today, start one thing that you have been resisting. You’ll feel better by starting it, guaranteed.

With sneakers still on and a beet red face,

Devon

From Self-Loathing to Self-Compassion…Top 5 Tips to Healing from the Past

Twelve years ago I was in Tucson, Arizona as a patient at a holistic eating disorder treatment center called Mirasol. I had hit rock bottom and was in the throes of self-loathing, addiction, and numbness. 

Recently I returned to Tucson, Arizona and it was for a different reason…to lead UNBRIDLED, a holistic healing retreat at White Stallion Ranch, not far from Mirasol.

It was a full circle experience. What made the Tucson trip even more symbolic was visiting Marla Kuhn of Blue Horse Medicine.

Marla was my equine therapist at Mirasol and she and her horse Jack, turned my world right side up when I experienced equine therapy for the first time. To read the full story, CLICK HERE.

Mirasol was the start of my healing journey which led me down the trail of where I am today.

I have learned a lot in the past twelve years and here are the top 5 lessons that changed my life…

1. The only way out is through.

Take it from a pro, I tried every escape and numbing technique in the book to avoid feeling pain, including moving across the world to New Zealand. Problem is, wherever we go, we take ourselves.

I stuffed down and purged away my feelings through food and did whatever I could to numb out my self-loathing. It wasn’t until I faced my inner demons head on in a safe, supportive and therapeutic environment, that I was able to release fears and tears that had been bottled up most of my life.

It’s not our pain that ultimately harms up, it’s suppressing it that does.

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” ~ Rumi

2. The most important journey of your lifetime, is the journey within.

Before Mirasol, I had never heard of self-discovery or emotional healing. At first, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Sharing feelings and talking about emotions seemed flaky and was what I perceived as “weak”, which I’d do ANYTHING to avoid.

It wasn’t until I experienced equine therapy, acupuncture, yoga, reiki, inner child work and family therapy, that I got it. Getting to know myself on a whole new level was life changing and it gave me insight to WHY I struggled with certain things. I developed self-compassion and my hard edges began to soften.

The better relationship you have with yourself, the better relationship you will have with others and the world around you.

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” ~ Alan Alda

3. Forgiveness is the name of the game

My bottled up emotions were closely tied to not being able to forgive myself and others for events of the past. It was a constant tug of war between blaming myself and other people.

Through the self-discovery process and practicing self-compassion, I was slowly able to ease up on the hold of resentment and regret. The more I practiced forgiveness and letting go, the more inner peace I felt.

When you can forgive yourself and others, you are free.

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” ~ Paul Boese

 4. You are not alone in your struggles

For years I felt desperately alone in my struggles. I thought something was wrong with me and I was convinced everyone else “had it together”.

It wasn’t until Mirasol, that I had ever sat in a group of women who openly shared their struggles. It was mind-blowing to witness such vulnerability and to realize that I was not alone. Through hearing other people’s stories and by speaking up in the group, my shame began to vaporize.

We are not alone in our struggle and it’s important to find non-judgmental environments where we feel safe to share ALL of who we are.

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” Brene Brown

5. Connect to something outside yourself which fuels you

My world was very small when it was only about me, myself and I. I felt little connection to the outside world when I was stuck in my head all day. When I began to connect to things that fueled my spirit, my soul came alive.

My connection touchstones are spirituality, nature, horses, and being of service. When I’m engaged with any of these things (or all together at once, my holy grail), I feel energized and connected to the world at large. For you, it could be family, sports, music, faith, volunteering, creativity or a combination of many things.

Connecting to something outside of yourself which fuels you, expands your world and gives you meaning and purpose.

“We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.” ~ Kristin Martz

So there it is…a girl who once hated herself and shunned her feelings is now a woman partnering with horses to lead others down the trail of self-discovery.

From the holistic treatment center to leading a holistic retreat, it has been a full circle experience. Twelve years ago I never would have imagined where I’d be today. And most importantly, who I’d become.

You can’t always see where the trail leads and that’s why it’s called a journey. A journey of discovering who you are and why you are here. 

No matter where you are, trust that it is for a reason. Our greatest gifts often come from our greatest struggles.

The horse-crazy, holistic healing cowgirl,

Devon

Want to instantly feel better? Try this…

GRATITUDE.

This morning I was tossing and turning and got up at 3:12am and could not go back to sleep. It was because of a couple of things.

I was focused on feeling alone and not having a special someone to share my life with (a “lack of” thought).

I also believe and have experienced that NOTHING we want ever manifests if we come at it from a “lack” mentality.

So I don’t like to dwell there too long.

I also had lots on my mind from our Women’s Connection Group last night at the ranch.

Mostly around gratitude. It was a hot topic in the group.

Before the sun rose over the ranch, I got out of bed and did something about it.

I went over and hugged my dog Namo, who was contently sleeping on his dog bed.

He extended a paw out at me and took a deep breath and promptly went back to doggie dreaming. He warmed my heart and made me smile.

Then I went outside to look at the stars. Nature always leaves me in awe and gets me out of my “lack” thoughts. Especially a starry night.

More so, I feel connected to something beyond myself and I experience GRATITUDE.

“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.” ~Neale Donald Walsch

When I focus on what I don’t have, I’m miserable. My energy plummets. My mood and thoughts can spiral down real fast if I allow it.

So I have to flip the switch. To gratitude. To what I DO have. To what’s right in front of me.

It raises my energy and mood instantly and put things into a new perspective.

The world looks a lot brighter through the lens of gratitude.

For me, gratitude saves the day, every time. I sometimes forget that I can always access it.

So I started to name things that always make me feel better.

I call them my “gratitude touchstones”.

Here are the two recent examples of my go-to gratitude touchstones:

This sweet face that I look over and see in his dog bed each morning aka Namo. My hearts bursts with gratitude for this dog and I squeeze him and tell him that every day.

gratitude 1

As it got a little lighter out, I snapped this pic. It’s the horses grazing in the crisp morning air, before the sun rises. Their peaceful presence touches the depths of my soul. #immensegratitude

horses yo

Animals and nature. Those are my two gratitude touchstones that never fail.

What helps you flip the switch to gratitude?

Is it a quote? Is it a picture of a calming image? Is it looking to the mountains? A piece of jewelry that holds meaning for you?

Or maybe it’s a literal “Gratitude” stone like the ones we had in the arena last night for our Women’s Connection Group. Stones are awesome because they carry lots of energy and you can keep them in your purse or pocket!

stones

I suggest making it something that you have easy access to. It might even be walking outside. Breathing in fresh air.

When I’m in nature or with animals (especially both at the same time), I surrender to gratitude and feel better instantly.

The “lack” feelings are ushered out and replaced with something much more powerful…GRATITUDE for what is, for what I do have.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what your gratitude touchstones are.

If you don’t have one yet, that’s cool too.

Just notice what ALWAYS makes you feel better on the inside. That’s a good place to start. Then you can name it and begin a daily practice of tuning into your gratitude touchstones more often. Whenever you need them.

Gratitude is where it’s at.

In gratitude, clearly:)… (I’m smiling as I type this because I love the way gratitude feels),

Devon