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