How to go for your dreams

Two years ago I packed up my life (including Namo), left a six year real estate career, cashed my last commission check and moved from Denver to the Larkspur ranch.

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Well-intentioned friends, family and colleagues advised me to keep my real estate license “just in case” and “as a backup”.

But my intuition said something different. It told me to cut off the golden handcuffs and go for it. After three and a half years of working in real estate and building Beyond the Arena simultaneously, it was time to make the leap.

So I did. I was bound and determined to never have the phrases “Outstanding curb appeal” and “Light and bright kitchen” come out of my mouth again.

And I’m happy to report they have not. Not even “Brand new stamped concrete patio, perfect for entertaining.”

After years of trying to be who I thought I should be, I began living my life in alignment with who I really am…a woman who is much happier helping people find their personal worth vs. the worth of their home.

Being true to yourself is about going for what you want, not what you think you “should” want based on the expectations of your friends, your spouse, your kids, your relatives, or your colleagues.

Following your dreams requires risk, uncertainty and courage. It is the road less traveled, and if you’re reading this far I know you’ve got a calling…even if you’re not living it yet.

It may not happen overnight but it will happen over time if you never give up, believe in yourself, get support, take risks, find mentors, and give it everything you’ve got.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND TRUST YOUR INTUITION. It will guide you, one step (and leap), at a time.

How to get back in the saddle after falling hard…for a cowboy

I’m not usually one to fall when it comes to horses or men…it takes a lot to jolt me out of the saddle or jolt my romantic heart. However, I crossed trails with a cowboy and I was swept off my feet. I had an instant connection with this man, a soul connection.

He understood my passion for horses and my desire to make a difference in the world. He shared that same passion and our values were deeply aligned. Our conversations were effortless and there was a lot of head nodding in agreement and knowing smiles. We began seeing each other more and the sweet texts began. When country love songs on the radio played, he would text me the lyrics.

He brought me flowers and told me I deserved flowers every day.

I was smitten and felt like I had finally arrived at the gates of L-O-V-E.

He trailered his horse to the ranch and would go on long rides complete with a picnic packed in the saddle bags.

                                             Picnic

At the risk of sounding like a Harlequin Romance novel, we literally did ride off into the sunset together.

This man spoke to my soul.

I fell hard, and the rest of the world ceased to exist. I’d found what I’d been looking for. We became exclusive in short amount of time; felt like the natural thing to do.

I was living in a dream.

It’s rare that I open my heart to someone so quickly, become exclusive and trust where the trail takes me. But I did it and all the sudden the fun left and he pulled back like a horse tied too tightly.

The phone calls and sweet texts died off as did his soothing charms. I was crushed, anxious, confused and hurt.

He rode away and pulled the rug out from beneath me.

I fell again and this time it fu*&ing hurt.

Horses have taught me so much in my life. That being vulnerable and authentic are a gift. I’ve embraced that my softer side doesn’t equal weakness. Underneath my tough girl exterior I’m a romantic at heart.  With the cowboy, my walls were down and my heart was soft, tender and vulnerable. Maybe that was too much for him. But it was me being me. I spent too many years trying to mold myself into what I thought men wanted. No more of that.

Take me as I truly am or leave me. And he left me, ouch.

Being a lifelong horsewoman has also taught me this: When you fall down, you MUST get back in the saddle. Before the fear set in. The paralyzing fear of getting dumped and hurt again. So slowly, I climbed back up and dusted myself off.

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Here’s what helped:

Top 10 ways to get back in the saddle

1. Call my mom and cry.

2. Take long walks with my steadfast and loving male companion, Namo, my dog.

3. Avoid listening to country love songs, especially “Cowboys and Angels” by Dustin Lynch.

4. Kick up my heels and dance my a$% off with girlfriends.

5. Gallop like there’s no tomorrow (ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds are highly recommended).

6. Read Caroline Myss’s book Soul Contracts, relentlessly.

7. Cherish the friendships I have in my life.

8. Put self-care first and make journaling, healthy food and lavender Epsom salt baths a priority.

9. Put my heels down, keep my chin up and my heart open.

10. Trust the process of this wild ride called Life.

Can you relate? Have you ever fallen hard in a relationship that didn’t work out? What helped you “dust off” and get back up? I’d love to hear your experiences and comments below.

Back in the saddle and always learning,

Devon

In honor of Sadie and what our beloved animals teach us

I write this in honor of our beloved paint horse, friend and herd member, Sadie.

She was laid to rest in the green grass by her favorite west pasture, the one with the hill where she liked to stand and overlook the ranch.

sadie hill

My heart aches and the tears come in waves.

Sadie told us, in her own way, that her quality of life was no longer there. The longtime laminitis and arthritic medications and treatments were only helping so much…she was still in pain.

She could no longer walk or stand comfortably on four hooves, which is everything for a horse’s well-being.

Her human or “owner” as some would say, had to make the toughest decision there is when responsible for an older furry family member. The heartbreaking decision of when it’s time to cease their pain so they may be at peace.

Circled around Sadie, we shared our favorites memories and laughed and cried. I said my goodbye and the hardest part was looking into her eyes, stroking her mane and feeling her soft muzzle as she gently nibbled carrots out of my hand.

I had to look away as the vet compassionately went through the process.

After, I could tell she was at peace. The physical pain was gone. Her spirit had soared on. The other horses knew it too and so did the ranch dogs Namo and Layla, who sat quietly beside us.

Sadie had a huge heart and loved young people. She was very independent and taught people to do things their own way. To express themselves and not be afraid to stand out and be a “horse of a different color”, as she was. To always follow our heart and not the status quo.

She was a wonderful teacher, wise friend and beloved member of Beyond the Arena.

Through tears, I asked the vet “Why don’t we get more time with our animals? Why did nature set it up so animals live shorter lives than us?”

She looked at me with empathetic eyes and said “It’s because they teach us to live in the moment. To cherish everything we’ve got, right here, right now.”

She is right.

I don’t know where I’d be without animals in my life. Maybe you can relate.

Animals enrich our lives in so many ways. They effortlessly bring us joy and know when we are sad. No words are needed. They intuitively know. They sense our pain, our happiness and everything in between. They teach us about unconditional love, relationships, responsibility and play. They are our companions, friends and confidants.

I’m grateful for the sacred time I had with Sadie and to witness the difference she made in people’s lives. She especially loved teens and they loved her right back. Kindred spirits in every way. I weep when I think too much about the girls that I have yet to share this news with. She left hoofprints on many people’s hearts. She is and will forever be deeply missed.

In this moment, I’m overcome by how precious life truly is. That we’ve got to live and love as much as we can. To cherish those around us and let go of our petty worries and drama. Life is about being in the moment. Appreciating what we have here and now. That’s what Sadie taught me and was what she shared with every life she touched.

I feel raw, open, sad, loving. My heart goes out to everyone and everything. We are all connected; humans, animals, nature and beyond. We are not alone.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to a beloved animal? I don’t think there’s any way around the raw hurt of it. Only through it. Please share in the comments below if any of this resonates for you, it’d mean a lot to me to hear from you.

Devon

Chakras and Shotguns…a girl’s Montana memoir

Sometimes a girl needs a change of scenery.

As much as I love our Colorado ranch, I needed to go beyond the arena for a few days. On an adventure to Big Sky Country for a Wildheart Retreat.

I decided to drive there. My gut told me I needed a solo road trip.

I didn’t know what lay in store for me on the road ahead but I knew that Montana had some answers.

So I put an air mattress in the back of the Suburban and headed North…

There is a reason Montana is called Big Sky Country. The skies stretch as far as the eye can see and gives a whole new meaning to wide open spaces. I fell in love immediately.

The retreat was led by the dynamic trio of fellow coaches Wildheart Revolution leader Sally Hope, Business & Money coach Ellen Ercolini and Love & Relationship coach Natalie Vartanian.

The weekend was packed with activities like ATVing, skeet shooting, horseback riding, barrel racing and learning about falconry.  We also wrote out what we wanted to let go of in our lives and burned the lists in a fire.

I had reservations about skeet shooting because I’m not a hunter and I have mixed feelings about guns. But I was willing to try and we had an amazing female instructor who gave a great safety demonstration.

I surprised myself…I loved it. Turns out, I’m a straight shooter and won a mug for hitting the most clay disks in my group.

Later that night I chatted about chakras and energy work with some fellow Wildhearts.

Point is, pre-Wildheart retreat I would only be sharing about the chakra part with you. Not wanting to rock the boat out of fear that you won’t agree or like the shooting part. Truth is, you may not agree and that’s ok.

For a long time, I was trying to fit in to a specific way that I wanted people to see me. Telling myself “If you’re this________then you can’t be that_______. I mean, what will people think?!” 

Talk about feeling suffocated and confined of my own doing.

But you can’t stay small in Montana. It brought out all my different sides. Complete opposites. Dichotomies all playing together. It was awesome and FREEING.

I loved feeling like a badass, driving ATV’s splashing through mud while having crystals in my pocket.

Basking in both the solitude of driving thirty hours on a solo road trip and being in a group of twenty amazing Wildhearted women for three days.

Car camping under the stars and staying in a beautiful lodge with luxurious rustic amenities.

Barrel racing like a cowgirl and later that night crying on trail horse Dandy’s shoulder, while he gave me some impromptu equine therapy.

Listening to Dolly Parton, Norah Jones and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Drinking Coors Light one night and champagne the next.

Shooting shotguns and talking chakras.

Wearing a cowgirl hat and yoga pants.

Big Sky country taught me to expand and share more of myself with others. The feminine, vulnerable, rugged, tough, adventurous, sensitive sides. I’m all of it. Not one or the other. I gave myself permission to be all of it. To show up and fully be ME.

Montana is a great teacher. The landscape here is as diverse as the skies. Golden rays of morning light on the bald hilltops above the majestic rocky hills and wide open prairies. Montana puts it all out there, lucky for us!

Maybe you can relate? Do you hide or tone down sides of yourself so you don’t confuse people or rock the boat? Maybe you like opera and hip hop? Or you love riding motorcycles and sewing? Or you like to ride horses like the wind and experience their healing power in a therapeutic setting? Whatever it is, ROCK IT ALL.

The more you give yourself permission to show up as you really are, the more the right people and situations will find you.

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

What parts of yourself are you ready to share more of? You don’t just have to be one way. BE ALL OF YOU.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below….whinny at me!

The git r’ done metaphysical cowgirl,

Devon

How to not be so hard on yourself

look back

The last few days have been weird.

A flashback into my past.

I stayed at my parents house for a few nights taking care of their dogs, koi fish, bullfrog and a chinchilla (I clearly hail from a family of animal fanatics) while they are out of town.

It felt strange being in the childhood home I grew up in.

The energy of the house took me right back to my teenage years.

Sharp memories of sneaking out of the dog door, lurking in the kitchen and binging on all the sweets and carbs I could get my hands on, cutting off my long hair in the downstairs bathroom and trying to overdose on pills in my bedroom to end the self-hatred I had at the time.

I was a handful to say the least.

I’ve grown up and changed A LOT since then.

Yet an old part of me was still triggered being in that kitchen again. Alone. With every opportunity to binge my face off.

It has been years since I felt triggered like this.

And I still remember the exact pattern if I choose to “go there”.

I will feel a high, then relief, then numbness, then disgust, then shame, then panic and extreme anxiety which leads to more crazy and irrational behavior to get rid of what I just ate.

It’s a slippery slope indeed.

The good news is I have gained traction (aka self-awareness and self-esteem) in the past 10 years.

Through a sh*&-ton of therapy, life coaching and ongoing personal development work, I know my food and body triggers like the back of a Hersey’s wrapper.

For me personally, when I feel binge-y I know I need to channel that energy into something else asap.

So I got in the car and went to a nearby place that helps settles my frantic energy creeping up from the past.

A place that helps me chill, see the big picture of life and where I can lose myself for a bit in a healthy way.

The museum.

Yep, I took my triggered self to the Museum of Nature and Science and an IMAX movie that looked interesting. Then I mosied around the exhibits. Took myself on a field trip.

Afterward, I went to the grocery store and bought food that makes me feel good. That my body does well on.

Whew, I felt like myself again. My 30-year old self. Not my 20-year old self who rears her head once in a blue moon.

Ten years ago I didn’t have the life experience, body awareness or self-esteem to consciously decide and act upon choices that serve me vs. harm me in the long run.

Now I do. That is a big fu&*ing deal. Yet I forget how far I’ve come.

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” ~Unknown

It may not FEEL like you have come far but take a moment and reflect back on where you were 10 years ago.

I can guarantee that you are not the exact same person doing the exact same things.

If you were, you would not be drawn to this blog nor interested and immersed in your own self-discovery, spiritual awakening, healing process or whatever you want to call it.

BUT YOU ARE. And you’re here.

You might be beating yourself up for not being where you want to be.  Trust me, I get it.

My inner critic still hounds on me, not so much for body stuff, but for business stuff and not being where I “should be” financially, blah, blah, blah.

But I’ve come a long way baby. And I know you have too.

We don’t give ourselves enough credit.

No matter where you are today, you have overcome something. You have endured, survived and gotten through (I’m guessing MANY things) or you wouldn’t be here reading this.

Whether it was a turbulent childhood, an addiction, loss or traumatic event, YOU ARE HERE NOW. Still showing up for life.

That speaks volumes in my book and sends a big ol’ message to the universe.

“Your past does NOT equal your future.” ~Tony Robbins

Amen, Tony Robbins and this is SO true.

You have changed more than you realize and built internal muscles of perseverance.

Take a moment to reflect back on what you were doing 5 or 10 years ago?

What comes to mind that perhaps you haven’t thought about in awhile or really given yourself credit for?

I’d love to hear in the comments below what you have overcome or how you’ve changed since then.

You are an inspiration already. Know that.

Here’s to self-compassion, living AND learning,

Devon