For this weeks blog post, I decided to break temporarily from my usual GotW, (it will return next week, I promise) and instead make a personal one. It has been quite a long while since I have done so, and definitely feel that the timing is right for this week. February has always been a hard month for me in general. I am challenging myself today - more so than usual, as today I am struggling to put any words down. With all new goals we set ourselves, there will always be challenging days. As writing never comes easily to me I should expect days like these :) I have to remind myself that my commitment to write this blog was actually a commitment to myself. A reminder to myself that life happens every single day, and that each new day there will be new challenges, victories, choices and new opportunities to learn and grow.
Tomorrow will be the six year anniversary of Geordon's sudden passing. Six years since everything changed... Although so much has changed since then, we are all doing great. My grandson turns two this May, my son is getting closer to finishing his apprenticeship and I have officially opened my FEEL practice. Our family remains small but strong, and we grow in abundance and gratitude daily for the blessings that still remain. February 11th has been a tough date for me the last 5 years. However, I now feel like I have come full circle. Six years ago, when Geordon died, I had just started working for Community Living South Muskoka. That was a long term goal that I had worked towards and finally achieved for myself. When Geordon died, I stopped working for a time and that also meant leaving the CLSM job behind. Tomorrow, six years later, I am returning to CLSM but in a completely new capacity. This time I come visiting with goats! To be able to offer this service, in this way brings such joy to everyone involved. So how did this all happen? That's an interesting story and journey that I think I am finally able to start talking about.
Two years ago I started the Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL) Certification program from Horse Spirit Connections in Tottenham, ON. In the understatement of the century I will say it was the best decision I ever made for myself to enroll in that program. It was at the very least life altering for me personally. What it will be in the end still remains to be seen as I am still studying this path. Since graduating from the FEEL training, I have also completed the Advanced FEEL Training and am waiting to take the next level that is still being written. In the meantime, I have enrolled and begun studying the Wisdom Circles of Horse Medicine Lodge to gain better understanding of the Shamanic components to the FEEL Approach. The most beautiful thing about this entire process, in my opinion, is that while studying and learning skills to enhance the ways I can help others, I have inadvertently learned to love and help myself. That might sound strange to some. The reality was though that before I started the FEEL program I didn't love myself. Before then I actually didn't even have a concept of what self love was. It was during my first week away studying the FEEL program that I had a profound encounter with a horse name Juliette on Day 1 of my training. During an activity where we are challenged to connect our hearts energy to that of the horses heart energy (called a Heart Connection), Juliette looked me dead in the eye and spoke right through to my heart. She wanted to know why I didn't love myself. What? Excuse me? I didn't love myself? She was right though. Yes, I am talking about having a conversation with a horse. Yes, I know how it sounds. No, it was not imagined. The FEEL Approach teaches us how to connect with all beings, human or animal, from a heart centered approach. From this connected space with another being, incredible communication can and does happen. Juliette was 100% right. It took me a long time to be willing to admit it or even examine if the possibility was true, but this beautiful old mare was right - I didn't love myself. Juliette also did something else for me that day. She showed me how my life would look and feel if I chose to love myself instead by sharing a vision with me. Can you imagine? What a gift she gave me that day! I am almost two years into the process of learning to love myself and although I have not yet achieved the vision she showed me, I know the progress I have made. The FEEL program is amazing and is set up in 3 parts. First we are the client, experiencing all of the exercises first hand. Then we learn the science behind it, and participate in a practicum, and finally we learned how to facilitate the activities for others.
What started out as a learning journey has turned into a major spiritual awakening for me. I have participated in dozens of sweat lodge ceremonies as well as taken part in many other guided journeys and healings along the way, including a very profound Table Top Healing I experienced by a horse during my Advanced FEEL Training. That experience helped me to deal with a great deal of what was referred to as "ancestral pain" - that is something that has existed for multiple generations that is negative and not serving the individuals involved. I won't get into the details on this post, but WOW, what an experience! I came out of that exercise a new person, as with each and every sweat I take part in. Transformations are possible, if we only take the time to put in the required work. Find what works for you and do it! I think that is a responsibility we all have to ourselves. Love ourselves enough. Enough to do the work. Enough to make the necessary changes. Enough to ensure that we achieve happiness in our lives. Love ourselves enough!! One of my personal goals for 2020 was to love the S**t out of myself each and every single day. I am doing this by ensuring I take the time for all of my personal care every day, getting enough sleep, making time for yoga daily, etc What I have noticed already is that the more I pay attention to myself, the more productive I become in my own life! I feel better and I look better! Each day begins easier and my depressive symptoms seem less frequent. As each day is a new step, I feel stronger and more empowered all the time. I can now look at my accomplishments in life and see them as that - something I have accomplished! A long time ago I set out on a mission to one day own and run a Therapeutic Animal Farm. I wanted to create a place where people could come and connect with animals and not feel judged or shamed for the connections they felt. As animals have always been my personal healers, I knew there were others out there like me that not only needed that animal connection, but actually felt lessened when it wasn't available. Sky River Meadows has become the realization of those dreams of mine.
Now that we are officially open for business, I have the fun task of dreaming up new programs and activities to keep our guests and animals entertained. We have begun implementing a brand new program we now offer in the winter months we are calling "Goats on the Go". We are now visiting homes, schools, retirement homes, offices, and anywhere else that may need some goat cheer!