Horses have taught me some of my greatest lessons

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Dru & Jesse 1980 something

Hoses have always been my teachers and my barometer for how my life is going.  They help me see my path clearly esp. when my path is clouded.

This past year has been an intense period of change for me.  So many loses, so many changes, so many decisions about what I do or do not want in my life.  Its also been a period of intense internal examination.  Who am I anymore??  I asked myself this many times over the last year.  It seemed there was a part of me that wanted to shut down.  The part of me that wanted to shut down is my intuitive self.  It was almost as if the level of information and level of communication and feeling coming in were now causing me grief rather than joy.  Something was changing in me and not for the better.

Years ago, I began making a strong correlation between my horse’s health & behavior and what was going on in my own life. If all is well with me then all is well with my horses.  If all is not well with me then it is dramatically reflected and communicated by my horses.

About a month ago I was standing out in the paddock with 2 of my mares, Lotta and Shadow.  I was standing in between them.  I was rubbing their necks and thinking I can’t believe its been a week since I touched either of you.  A week earlier we had euthanized the third old horse on our ranch.  In the weeks prior to that I had euthanized two of our other older horses.  All of this on the heels of human loss, human illness, massive change, it was just a bit to much for me.  I was beginning to feel like I could barely cope or keep up.

As I stood in between Lotta and Shadow, I intuitively heard that standing there at that moment was not a good idea.  I felt almost angry to hear this information and made the choice to ignore it.  I rationalized and thought to myself, I have barely seen these girls in the last weeks; life has been hell, so I am going to stand here and rub on them.  As the thought was barely finishing my own head, Lotta swung around to bite Shadow as she does sometimes when Shadow is to near and not respecting her space but instead of biting Shadow, Lotta bit me.  She bit me hard right in the stomach.  I screamed and Lotta bolted a few feet away from me. She seemed just horrified.  She stood facing me with eyes blinking rapidly as to try and process what had just occurred.  Of course I burst into tears and thought to myself that I had just been warned not to stand there and I had just decided to ignore it.

I went in the house, took some arnica, got some ice and sat down to process the event.  I couldn’t believe what I had just created.  I had clearly heard not to stand there and I angrily chose to ignore it.  I was almost perplexed by my own behavior.  I am NOT someone who ignores their intuition.  To the contrary, I listen carefully and do my very best to understand the information and act on it.  Its given me an amazing life.  So why on this day would I ignore it???  I concluded that I was tired.  So tired from all the loss and the pain and feeling it all to such a degree that I almost felt like I was dying.  I had had many thoughts in the past year of shutting down all I had created and moving out to a cabin in the woods.  I wanted to run away.  I wanted to run away from me and from all I felt.

The event with my mare Lotta got me to thinking about when I was a young girl.   I was born very in touch with and aware of my intuition. From about age seven I understood that I knew things that sometimes upset other people.  I understood some things that not all adults did.  I felt everything from everyone around me.  I knew when someone was lying and secrets made me feel crazy!  As an adult I found these abilities to be a gift but as a child from a family in turmoil, I was often punished because of what I knew. What I knew often scared people and I didn’t understand that it was the intuitive information they were scared of.   I thought it was me that scared them and that I was bad.

When I was about 13 or 14 my family was going thru some very difficult times. The way I saw my family at that time was that they were in a silent uproar, I could feel it, see it, taste it, it was making me crazy.  There were smiles on their faces and pain behind those smiles.  Being a child I of course internalized all of this to be my fault.  I believed that because of how I was “wired” seeing, knowing, hearing and saying that I was causing my family to be miserable.

On one particularly difficult day, during that period of time, all those years ago, I was up at my barn doing Liberty work with my Arabian gelding Dru.   It wasn’t called Liberty work back then, but it’s what we call it now.  Back then I was just communicating and having fun with him.  As Dru & I danced around the pasture, my feelings began to shift; I began to think about the very painful upsetting situations at home and in my life.  I began thinking that if I was just different things would be better.  I thought if I just let go of what I know and how I am everyone would be happier.  As these thoughts were moving thru my mind, Dru grabbed me by the side of my neck with his teeth, picked me up, shook me and then dropped me to the ground.  I laid there starring up towards the sky feeling completely stunned, unable to understand what had just taken place.   He stood over me and we stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, but I’m sure it probably wasn’t any longer 30 seconds or so.  Dru then turned and walked back to the barn.  It was a life changing moment for me.  A gift given that at the time did not seem like any kind of gift at all.  I remember being very confused by how aggressive the event was, and how neutral Dru seemed after the fact. It was almost like he was stating something very simple, by that one aggressive action and the aftermath of complete calmness and neutrality.   I knew at the time, that this meant something very significant, but I had no idea what.

I ended up selling Dru about a year later; I just couldn’t get over what had occurred.  The event played out in my mind almost daily.  Trying to come up with reasons such a thing would happen and all of the reasons I came up with had to do with outside circumstances and other people.  At that time I didn’t have the knowledge that comes with years of experience or the tools to understand what had occurred and how it involved me beyond me being a victim of circumstance.

What I know now and did not know then, was the level of gift Dru had given me, what he did for me on that day, helped change the course of my life forever.

He helped to snap me out of the place I was going with in myself, where the true me, might have been lost.

The day it occurred I had been contemplating how negatively my intuitive abilities affected those around me and that maybe I was in fact, crazy and difficult and I should just conform to family and society rules. I was lonely and sad.  I thought if I stop being who I am then I will fit into my family and society better and I won’t be so alone.  I was so afraid of being alone.   As this thought and serious contemplation of dis owning a huge part of who I am, ran thru my brain, Dru grabbed me by the neck and shook me.  He snapped me out of that thought pattern.  From that day forward, anytime I even considered dis owning who I truly was for what ever reason, I was snapped out of it by the memory of my horse grabbing me.

So when I stood with my two mares, many years after the original event, feeling tired & broken and contemplating change that was more about running away from myself, my mare Lotta did exactly what Dru had done.  I was thinking about abandoning myself once again and she snapped me out of it.

Dru gave me an immeasurable gift as a teenager and Lotta gave me a great reminder as an adult.

The Oak Tree, the Fire and the Illusion of Control

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Control is a funny thing; from my perspective it’s a means to an end that never works out the way you want it too. Most people use control to try and avoid something they find painful or to avoid something that frightens them. There are times when we “feel” we are in control but the truth is that’s just an illusion. This isn’t news to me, but in recent years I have come to know control or rather the illusion of it at a deeper level of understanding for myself.

My true awakening about “control” or really my lack of control – began one morning in November of 2013, with the “felling” of our huge, several 1000 pound oak tree. The tree had been dead for many years. My husband and I and our arborist had talked many times about taking it down. But the conversation always came back to – it was too dangerous to mess with and the best plan of action was none.

Well at first this seemed ok but as the years progressed we became more and more uneasy with the idea that the best plan of action was none.

So when the arborist came out in the summer of 2013 to survey the trees I told him I wanted to take down the big dead Oak. I was prepared for his refusal and instead he said sure! He was all for it, not a moment of hesitation on his part. All the years prior he had always said it was too dangerous to take down. I was quietly amused at our obvious personal growth in the same area – letting go of some control and the courage to take action.

So the felling of the big dead Oak was scheduled. I alerted all the horse owners who board on our property of what would be occurring and when. I moved all of the horses out of harms way. We made sure we had help to rebuild any fences that got taken out as the tree came down. We took all of the precautions we possibly could to ensure a safe “felling”. It felt as though we were in “control” of the situation.

In the minutes leading up to the felling of the tree I became terrified – all rational thought went out the window and fear completely took over my being. The level of terror coursing thru my body was interesting esp. when I compared it to the level of control I had felt earlier in the process of preparing for the felling of the tree. What was about to happen could end anyway Mother Nature saw fit no matter how much we had planned or prepared in an effort to be in “control”. I was highly aware in my moment of terror of just how much of an illusion my feeling of control had been.

As the arborist got closer and closer to making the final cut, the huge tree started to shutter. First shuttering slowly and then more violently until we heard a definitive crack. With the loud crack the arborist stepped back and huge dead Oak tree came crashing to the ground. As I watched the rotted wood literally explode away from what was left of the tree trunk, I felt myself let go of a lifetime of fear that had manifested in “control”.

At the end of the day Ken and I talked allot about how we had each experienced the felling of the big dead Oak tree. The experience was so monumental for each of us in many different ways. It felt like we had reached the top of a mountain and from that mountain top it would be a little more down hill than up hill from now on. We felt that the good outcome was due in part to waiting until the time was right to take the tree down and in the planning and control of the situation. We weren’t completely wrong, at least about the timing, as for planning and control 😉 For a moment we both believed in the illusion that we had been somewhat in control.

We decided to end or day with dinner at home and a movie. Ken left to go to the video store to pick up a movie and I got dinner started. I changed into my comfy clothes for the evening and sat down at the computer for minute to check emails. With in a couple minutes of sitting down at my computer I heard the loudest scariest knocks on our glass door. The knocks were so loud and brutal that they sounded as if the glass might shatter at any moment.

I ran to the door, my heart was pounding out of my chest. I truly had no idea what I would see when I reached the glass door. There stood a woman, she appeared frantic, her lips were moving and I could hear voice but I couldn’t understand her words. I opened the door and she screamed Fire! Get your shoes on and get out.

I was totally stunned, I barely reacted, she screamed louder as if that might help me hear. I was so startled and confused that I wasn’t moving at all. She started grabbing at me and then she literally pulled me outside. At first I felt and saw nothing until I turned the direction she was pointing.

What I saw next was surreal. It was like something out of a movie. The field along the entire fence line of our ranch was on fire. It was 6 O’clock at night, during the winter, so it was already very dark outside. The glow of the fire illuminated everything.

The flames were tall, 20 feet in some places. I was still momentarily paralyzed. She grabbed me again and pulled me toward the first horse. I haltered him and took him to the barn. I knew I would need to move all the horses to the open space behind our property but there were over 20 to move and it had taken me 60 seconds – 1 minute to move 1 horse and to come back for the next. That meant at least another 19 minutes to move all the others.

As I am running back to get the second horse I realized that Ken had driven out of the property just 15 minutes earlier and with in that 15 minutes the entire length of the 4 acre field became engulfed in flames I knew there was not enough time to move all the horses by myself.

So I stopped took a breath and thought what was my fire plan? I had always had a plan; I just needed a second to remember it.

I had always intended to call all the horse owners in the event of a fire or disaster but realized in the moment that I had to pick and choose which owner to call given the short amount of time so I started calling the ones who lived closest and could get here fast.

The other part of my plan had always been to get the cats into their carriers and get them in the car. So that when the moment came that I have no choice but to leave the property the cats will be in the car and we will go.

My entire plan proved to be very interesting. As I am trying to call my husband and my boarders and any one who can help, I am realizing that my heat sensitive I phone is virtually worthless in a panicky emergency. Each call took several tries as I am running to get the cat carriers out of the garage. When I got to garage there were no carriers to be found, I remembered that I had given them to my daughter to use for a while.

I thought fine, I will just grab the cats out of the house and put them in the car. As I continued running and making calls my asthmatic lungs did their best to keep up. My asthma was in full roaring force just like the fire and it only complicated matters further.

When I made it into the house to grab the cats that’s when I remembered that I had no car to put them in. Ken had my car with him. His car was in Houston where he had been working that November.

With the realization that none of my emergency plan would work I walked outside toward the fire. I needed help, I could not move all the horses fast enough and I really didn’t know what to do with the one totally blind horse that lived here. And what about the chickens and the llamas and the out door cats. That’s when I began to fully comprehend that I was in control of Nothing!

In that moment of understanding my lack of control over this situation I realized all I do was surrender. I tried to have faith that help would come and I prayed for the courage to survive the aftermath, what ever that might be. As that level of surrender began to wash thru my body, my husband Ken came flying down the driveway. It was odd because I felt very little as I watched him approach. I really understood in that moment that it was an illusion that either of us could control this event or its outcome. Something bigger was at work here.

Ken and I exchanged a few words that I do not remember and then he took off. I saw Ken running around near the fence line for a moment and I then I saw him start the tractor. He drove the tractor toward the fire and disappeared out of my sight.

I walked into the arena and watched the eucalyptus trees began to go up in flames, my daughter called me back at that exact moment. She said she was on her way to the property with cat carriers and her fire fighter husband to help us. In that moment the help I realized I needed most was to not be alone as I watched the fire burn and threaten all I had come to love.

One of my greatest fears in life from as early as I can recall is the fear of losing it all. All you have worked for, all you have loved and maybe the ultimate loss of your own life. My own effort to control had always been about trying to keep my self safe from that fear of loosing it all.

As I stood in the arena praying crying feeling hoping and talking I knew that no matter how this turned out it was always the plan. I think this fire had been scheduled to occur since before my birth. As awful as it was it also felt in some strange way to be right – a terrifying healing of sorts.

As I spoke with my daughter the fire was beginning to die down, the fire fighters were getting it under control. I was still physically alone at that point standing in the middle of the arena. I started to feel some hope and got off the phone with my little girl. I took a couple real deep breaths and as I did that the fire right in front of my eyes exploded back to life.

The wind that night was warm & crazy and it totally reminded me of the wind during the Oakland Hills Fire years ago. As the wind whipped the fire in front of me into a frenzy, my feeling of hope left. My heart sank to a depth I had not known before. It felt for a moment that all hope was lost. I ran towards the fire, I could see the headlamps of the fireman between the flames.

That shitty little voice we all have inside our heads that speaks to us unkindly sometimes, started saying don’t bother the firemen, you are being dramatic and you are being needy. I found it interesting that even during such an intense, real and terrifying moment that I could still hear the shitty little voice. I noted that interesting fact in my mind and choose to ignore that voice and refocus on what was happening in front of me.

I didn’t understand why the firemen weren’t trying to put out the fire in the trees that had just started back up in earnest? I started calling to them thru the flames – is anyone there?? Can anyone hear me?? I called out louder and louder and then the tears of terror began to flow once again. One of the firemen finally answered me back. All he said was “yes we are here” but his words felt very wrong. Something was so wrong!

I called ken on his cell phone and he answered. I told him that the fire had seemed under control a moment ago but had just started burning again and was now climbing up the eucalyptus trees at the arena fence line. He calmly said that he knew this and that the fire trucks had run out of water and they left to get more. With that I hung up the phone and just cried. I thought we almost made it out of this ok and now no water.

I looked toward my garden hoses and headed that direction for a moment until I realized that the spray from my garden hose was no match for the flames.

As I stood there alone in the middle of the arena crying my daughter called and said she was almost to the property. I lost it. A lifetimes worth of emotions began to pour out of me, the feelings of sadness, fear, pain and helplessness. Something had taken over me and on this night I needed the help. I understood that there was nothing I could physically do to change or control what was happening.

I got off the phone and stood quietly for a moment and watched the bright orange flames crawl up the tree in front of me and that other little voice in me head, the kind one, my intuition – the one that points me in the right direction – said to me, turn around and look at the horses. I felt as though someone gently took me by the shoulders and helped me turn my frozen body around to look toward all of the horse paddocks. I heard that little voice ask me “what do you see?” What I saw explained allot to me about that night. The horses were all calm. Not one horse was running, moving or calling, they were all eating quietly, standing still and a few were watching me. I understood at that moment that they knew far more than I. Horses have always been my compass. They have always responded to the “truth” of a person or situation. So when they showed me that all is well despite my terror of the situation and my total lack of control over it – I listened. If there was something to panic about they would be panicking.

As I was standing in the arena watching the horses and understanding their message to me, the water truck arrived as did all of the people I had called. All at once I was not alone, the fire was not destroying our home, our ranch or the home of our neighbors, all at once it was going to be ok.

My day had begun with the illusion of control around the felling of the Oak Tree and my day had completed with the fire, the fire that wiped away any and all illusion that I had control of anything.

It was one of the most healing days I have lived thru yet.

Reflection

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My horses reflect everything about me. They reflect how “I” really feel inside. They reflect what I wish wasn’t true about myself. They reflect the state of my physical, emotional and mental health. They reflect my strengths as well as my weaknesses. To know my horses is to know me. They reflect everything about me, nothing is off limits. For years I have loved and lived by the statement that “I go out in the morning to check on my horse and see how I am doing”. This is true in every sense of the word for me.

But as with everything, over time, things shift and evolve. Up until just a few weeks ago, my horses reflected in a very predictable manner. For Example, when I was in a bad mood and not wanting to share that with the world, my horse would be snarky with the other horses. When I was full on submarining thoughts and feelings about something I need to deal with but really didn’t want too, my mare would break out in hives or have sore hooves. When I am feeling weak and owning it, not hiding it, just accepting that it’s the way I feel at the moment, my mare will walk around greeting the other horses with foal like behavior rather than a vigorous mare squeal. On the days I feel strong and own that feeling in my body, my old quarter horse mare will move her body with the grace of young warm blood, if only for a few strides. You could say that I look to her and the other horses in my herd to get clue as to what I need to work on, shift, say aloud etc. and then my horse reflects my shift by shifting her behavior or issue as well. My horses reflect my truth.

Most recently one of my horses, my favorite old mare, reflected my progress in an area where my health was being challenged. But it was a different reflection than all the times before as in I didn’t see it in her first but rather I felt it in myself first. For a while I had felt like something was “brewing” in my uterus. Of course, human nature immediately took me to a place of fear. I thought Omg it might be something awful! But when I took a step back from the fear and really looked at it and felt it. I realized it was more about my body as a female, damage I had suffered in the past, intimacy and the life I had been living the past few years.

In the last few years my husband and I had spent so much time working non stop and being in survival that instead of feeling like the married couple that we were we had become more like great business partners. Not that we weren’t both in agreement to that, we were. We were actually quite fine in our routine, but it wasn’t balanced, it wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t what either of us wanted for the long term. I knew that the feeling of something “brewing” inside of me was a warning and if ignored it would go a direction I absolutely didn’t want. Intuitively I knew what to do; I suggested to my husband that we go away for a little vacation. It was exactly what we needed, we symbolically hit the re set button. We spent the weekend talking for hours, discussing changes that needed to be made to our daily life going forward and remembering who we are as a happily married couple and not just who we are as great business partners.

When we came home from our trip on Saturday I felt rejuvenated and happy that life would be a little more well rounded for now. I really felt like what ever was “brewing” was gone or at least dormant for the time being. I looked forward to seeing all my ranch friends on the Sunday after we returned and looked forward to spending time with my horses.

When I went out to see my oldest mare that Sunday morning, it was clear she wasn’t right. She looked a little colicky. It was subtle so I decided to watch her for a little while. She confirmed that she was feeling unwell by doing a few downward dog stretches in an effort to relieve some discomfort she was feeling in her abdomen. I took her out of her paddock and checked her over. Her heart rate was slightly elevated and she looked like she was rather constipated.

My first thought was wow maybe I’m not feeling as good as I thought I was because this reflection isn’t matching how I felt upon arriving home after my time away with my husband. As I am thinking about this and watching her she stretches out to pee. What occurred next shocked that hell out of me. As she pee’d she also began to release puss. Tons of puss, it was awful.

I called the vet and arranged for an appointment that afternoon. For the rest of the day until the vet arrived I watched her release bucket load after bucket load of puss. Not to be gross, but it was that bad. I couldn’t believe my eyes. What kept ringing thru my consciousness was my reason for going away with my husband – which was that something had been brewing in my body. Was she now reflecting what I could not see – a problem, an infection?? Or was she reflecting in a very physical manner the energy that I had released over the past weekend? Or was she showing me something else??
As I waited for the vet and contemplated what was happening in front of me. I reminded myself to take a step back and let intuition tell me what this is and how it will go.

I got that my mare was reflecting, in a very physical way the energy that I had released or at least set into the motion of release over the weekend. Which was great but it didn’t change the physical reality that my poor old girl had something ugly happening.

The complication with knowing what I know always comes for me when I have to balance the physical world with the energetic world. Energetically she was reflecting something good – a release, physically she was letting go of something toxic. But did that mean when she was finished releasing it would be ok? Or was her ordeal just beginning? How far did this have to go for her, for her to be ok? What did this reflection mean for me and my own body? I had no idea at that moment, I was confused.

When the vet arrived she did all her normal checking and concluded that she must have some kind of uterine infection that appeared not to be systemic. She believed the infection to be completely contained with in the uterus as my old girl had no fever and no signs of infection beyond the releasing of puss. She took some blood and suggested that I bring my mare into the vet hospital the following day. By then they would have the blood work back and they could do an ultrasound to determine the extent of the problem and proceed from there.

It sounded fine to me and intuitively felt fine so I agreed. The following day we went in to the vet hospital. The vet said all of my mares blood work was perfect there was no sign of infection or any other issues. They did the ultrasound and saw that her uterus was filled with “something” They decided the best course of action was too clean out her uterus manually and pack it with anti biotics. The vet said she would need to stay at the hospital for several days so they could repeat the procedure several times. I was getting a little nervous because I’m not a very “western medicine” kind of girl but intuitively it still felt more right than wrong to proceed with the course of treatment the vet prescribed. With in minutes of the Vet beginning the procedure he stopped and looked at me. He said he had never felt anything like this before. He was not able to find her cervix. He said the scar tissue was so prolific and everything was so swollen that he couldn’t do anything. He was perplexed. He said there were literally no common landmarks to be felt inside her.

As he was talking to me I was remembering something my mare’s previous owner had told me. The past owner had said that my mare’s purpose was always to be a broodmare. They loved her family line, her personality, her athleticism and they wanted to pass those traits on to a foal. They had bred her repeatedly thru IVF for years and she had never produced a live foal. They bred her one last time to a living breathing stallion. The previous owner said that the breeding didn’t go well. They said she had been injured in the breeding process. I didn’t understand at the time the owner told me exactly to what extent my mare had been injured but given what the vet had just found, I had an idea.

As I am recounting the conversation with the previous owner in my head I am realizing how much my mare and I have in common. So many things I had never thought about before that day at the vet hospital. She had suffered a sexual trauma as I had I. She had gone thru early sterility as had I. Just more confirmation of the reflections between horse and owner.

When I stopped thinking and started listening again, the vet said he was not at all hopeful. He said with out getting into her uterus there wasn’t much that could be done. He said the only thing he could suggest was to give her IM antibiotics and said he was pretty certain that they would do nothing as her infection was not systemic but rather localized to her uterus. He said it was really my only option since getting into her uterus seemed quite hopeless. He was very concerned about the collateral damage that might occur if they continued to try and find a cervix. So I agreed to the anti biotics and took her home.

I was crushed at first because I was fully in the physicality of it all. I was being human and nothing else for a little while. I shut down all other senses to tolerate the time at the hospital and tolerate watching my mare’s pain as they tried to palpate what was so broken.

On the drive home from the vet hospital all I could do was think that this was the beginning of the end. It took me about 24 hours to snap out of if it and ask myself, my soul, my intuition what was really going on.

The message was abundantly clear very quickly. She was symbolically/physically reflecting the release of the same energy I released when we went away for our vacation.

I let go energetically before the damage in my body could begin and now she was letting go physically after the damage in her body had begun. The reflection was clear and I knew this truth would be reflected in her body and my own in the days and weeks to come.

I’m always working on opening my intuitive abilities further. It’s my life’s goal, my work, my pleasure, my happiness. Each time I arrive at a new layer of intuitive ability and understanding I am always amazed at the miracles that lead me there. I am always surprised at how the new layer works and looks. In this case, it had always been that I looked to my horses to give me a clue as to how I was doing. They helped me see myself so clearly and by their reflection I could take action on my end.

But this time I intuitively knew how I felt first, I knew what action needed to be taken and when I finished taking that action my mare reflected the progress and release of illness after the fact. Never before had it gone in that order, at least not that I had been aware of. What was still in question was how things would play out for my mare.

By my mares second day home from the vet hospital she actually seemed to feel kind of good which surprised me, esp since I had thought that this might be the beginning of the end. By the third day it was clear, she felt great. I had taken her out for a walk or really a run as that was what she was more interested in. When I returned from our walk/run on that third day, one of my boarders came to get me. She said that it appeared as though my mare had passed something in the round pen. I thought that made total sense given how great she seemed to feel on this day. I walked over to clean it up assuming it would be more puss but what I found was not that.

What I found was almost indescribable. It was this bizarre glop of something that looked like silly putty, with strands of red running thru it and something that looked like chunk charcoal on top of the glop. My first reaction was that she had released something that was left over from all those failed breeding attempts earlier in her life. I was totally grossed out but also in awe and completely relieved. I thought she let it go and now she’ll be ok. It seemed like a symbolic proof of healing.

As my boarder and I stood there talking about it and all that had gone on, my boarder said, well that glop could also be from one of these pine trees. I was so confused. I asked her why she thought that?? She said she didn’t know but it had just popped into her thoughts. I said no way, that can’t be from a pine tree! I was incredulous but as we stood there and I felt my way thru her statement, something told me to pick it up and check. So I grabbed a manure fork and lifted it. It acted like warm silly putty. It held together but was bendy. Then I heard that quiet little voice in my head tell me to smell it. I thought to myself absolutely not! Disgusting I can’t do that. But the voice in my head was persistent, so I did what the voice said, I smelled it and it was in fact from the pine tree. It was the craziest piece of pine tar I had ever seen in my life.

For a second I thought well what does that mean then?? If it’s not from my mare and is in fact from the pine tree, then maybe she’s not done releasing and healing. Maybe she won’t be ok and maybe I won’t be ok. As I am thinking this my boarder says to me, it must by symbolic. Her statement made me smile. My mare had so many lost foals. So much damage and so much sadness in the area of being unable to conceive. The recognition melted thru every piece of my being as I settled into the knowing that my boarder was absolutely correct.

My mare physically released the sick energy in her body via the infection and energetically released the years of sadness via the symbolism that the pine tar represented. At the same time my mare reflected my own release of sick energy. The timing of the whole experience for both of us was no co incidence.

It was clear that there would be no concrete proof this time around. The proof would be in the lack of illness to come for me and the healing to come for my mare. It was also time for me to own my faith and my knowing to a new degree, a new level and a new layer. I know that there will be those people who understand what I am talking about and those who do not. But for me I get it. I am grateful for my mares healing and my mare’s reflection of my healing in her body.

Acceptance and Healing

This past December 2013 I experienced a profound healing. For almost all of 2013 I had been struggling to breathe.  My inability to breathe well was impacting every part of my life.  I’d been diagnosed with asthma many years earlier.  The diagnosis didn’t concern me at all at the time I received it, I was certain I would find a way to deal with it and heal it.  Asthma was something that irritated me but it didn’t stop me from living my life. 

With each passing month during 2013 my breathing became worse. Nothing I did during that year truly worked.   I tried all my usual go to’s including homeopathy, herbs, steam rooms, massage, more meditation and escalated to all things allopathic such as steroids, inhalers and pretty much any remedy anyone suggested.   In the course of 12 months my life had been reduced to the bare minimum to get by.  My ability to function and take care of my ranch was becoming less and less possible and having any energy left over for fun stuff, like riding my horse, was simply gone.  In the last few months of 2013 I was becoming a little despondent about my situation. 

In December of that year my sister Kristen had invited me to her graduation from a program that meant allot to her. On the day of the graduation I felt awful, my breathing was at an all time low and my energy level matched that low but I was determined to go.  I arrived at the site of Kristen’s graduation and saw that the building was on a hill.  There were lots of stairs to go up to get into the building.  I was paralyzed with fear at first and thought there’s no way I can get to the top of those stairs with out passing out.  But I knew how important this graduation was for her and intuitively I knew it was as important for me, although at the time I didn’t fully understand why it was so important for me. 

I made my way up the stairs outside the building. I reached the landing, at the top of the stairs and I stood there struggling to breathe. I thought to myself, I did it, now I will just rest a while and then go in.  Sounded easy enough but when I entered the building and saw several more flights of stairs, I had to hold back the tears.  I wanted to turn around and leave but knew I could not do that.  I would be betraying my sister, my word and most importantly I would betray myself as I knew intuitively that I had do this.  I headed up the stairs, slowly.  Not that slow made any difference, I simply could not get enough air into my lungs.  When I reached the top of the staircase, I entered a narrow hallway with only two choices of direction.  One direction would take me toward a group of people waiting for the graduation to begin and the other direction would take me toward the restrooms.  There was a part of me that wanted to go toward that restroom and hide until I could breathe again, but to go the direction to get to the restrooms I would need to go up one more flight of stairs. 

Honestly if the direction of the restrooms did not have the hurdle of another flight of stairs I might have chosen to go hide until I could breathe again. I intuitively knew that the correct choice for me was to go toward the people and own the space and condition I was currently in.  I knew how I looked and I knew how I sounded and understood that the people would see me in a very vulnerable state and they did.  One woman immediately approached me and asked me if I was ok? I told her yes and no.  She asked me specifically what was wrong with me.  I told her, in between involuntary muscle induced gasps for air, that I had asthma and it was worse on this day than it had ever been in my life.  She was calm, not to alarmed and said her sister grew up with asthma and she knew how scary and miserable it could be.  She stood with me as I sucked on my inhaler and prayed for my lungs to open, for my muscles to relax and for me not to panic. 

When my breathing finally slowed to a dull roar I knew I would be ok. It was in that moment that I became highly aware of the people waiting in the hallway for the graduation to begin.  I noticed that some of the people couldn’t stop looking at me and some of the people went to great lengths to not look at me. It was such an interesting experience, in so many ways and despite the severity of it I knew it was an important experience that I was destined to have.   Although it would be a few more days until I fully understand why that experience was so important.  

At the beginning of the week following my sister’s graduation my breathing was still way out of control. None of my inhalers made any difference and I thought if this continues to escalate I am going to end up in the hospital.  During that week several of my ranch workers were unable to work so I filled in as I normally do.  But this time it was almost impossible to do the job.  Feeding the horses normally takes me an hour but with my breathing as it was it took me almost 3 hours.  And the aftermath of exhaustion was debilitating.  I also had to cancel my mediation appointments that week as I couldn’t breathe and talk at the same time.   I was unable to do my work.  Work I had done and loved for a huge part of my life.  I felt like my life as I knew it was coming to an end.  It scared me.

By the middle of that week I was beside myself with fear, with pain and with the uncertainty of what my future held. I was at a loss as to what to do next.

So I contacted my western med. doctor – again. I told her that my breathing was still awful and definitely not improving.  She prescribed yet another type of inhaler and suggested another visit to the pulmonologist.  I felt so defeated at that moment not by her answers but by my own body’s refusal to shift.  The following day I headed out to pick up the new inhaler and stop by the grocery store.  When I finished those errands and returned home, I got out of my car and stood next to the door for a minute to catch my breath.  As I was standing there my friend came walking by. She stopped and said hello to me.  I don’t remember exactly what I was trying to say to her but I do remember that I started crying the minute I opened my mouth to speak.  I told her of my weekend and my week and how I was feeling and that I was scared.  She listened with love and relayed her own feelings of frustration and pain over her life’s struggles. 

After our conversation I felt a little better, a little less alone. I headed toward the feed barn.  I didn’t have any more tears left by the time I arrived at the barn.  I saw my other friend, who also works at the ranch during the week; she was preparing the evening feeding for the horses.  We chatted for a few minutes and I told her about my sister’s graduation and my experience there.  Again the words that were said were a blur but the gist of our conversation was exposure of the state I was in, the limitations I was now facing and the acceptance of my new reality.  The reality of where my life going forward would be different now.  Not being able to breathe would change my future in a way I had not anticipated.

I realized as we spoke how badly my chest and rib cage hurt from the struggle to breathe. During the last few months this had become a norm, feeling so much physical pain from the struggle to breathe.  I asked her if she would mind putting some comfrey oil on my back.  I could not reach my back and I felt kind of desperate for relief.  The minute the words came out of my mouth asking my friend for help, I felt a tiny bit of embarrassment for needing help and feeling so vulnerable about asking for help.  I stopped that thought as quickly as I could.  I reminded myself that this is where I am at today; I need to ask for help and accept the help.  She was happy to do it, I pulled up the back of my shirt while standing outside in the barn and in that moment I simply didn’t care if anyone saw me.  I finally felt a sense of total acceptance for me and the state I was now living in. I was grateful for the help my friend was giving to me.   

I noticed as she applied the oil to my back that my pain began to subside and my breathing had become slightly better. The easing up of my breathing was so subtle that at first I barely noticed it.  I thanked her for the help and headed back toward the house to unpack the groceries.  As I walked past the horse paddocks, my mare Lotta whinnied at me.  It was the same whinny and same request Lotta had made of me many times in the last few months.  She was asking me to take her out of the paddock.  I had been so low on energy that she hadn’t been out more than a few times each week in the past months. 

I could not ignore her plea. I got her out and we headed to the arena where we stood next to each other for a while.  She didn’t walk off or ask to roll she just stood there with me.  I felt like it was her way of silently accepting me and reflecting my state of being back at me in that moment.  As we stood there together, I thought to myself I can breathe a little better right now so maybe we can try walking.  Together, side by side, we walked around the arena twice.  I was tired but not breathing super hard.  There was definite improvement in my breathing.  I was surprised. It was incredible!  Improvement after movement – not something I was used to feeling anymore.  I was overjoyed and extremely confused as to how I could suddenly breathe so much better.  We walked around the arena a bit more and then I decided I could breathe well enough that we left the arena and headed up the road.  As we finished our walk and headed back toward the ranch I found myself crying tears of relief and confusion.  In that moment my breathing was as close to normal as it had ever been.  In just one hour it seemed that everything had changed.

After putting Lotta back in her paddock, I headed toward my house. I understood that something incredible had just happened to me.  As I thought about this new ability to breathe, I got a little scared.  I thought how interesting, I was scared when I couldn’t breathe and now I am scared because I can breathe.  I emptied the grocery bags and saw the new brand of inhaler that the doctor had ordered for me.  Despite what had just happened outside with my dramatic increase in ability to breathe, I ripped open the box that held the new inhaler, took it out and took 2 big puffs.  In that moment my actions felt desperate fast and with no thought.  I used the inhaler everyday for the next few days.  During those days my actions were robotic in nature, no thought, just pick up inhaler, put in mouth, and breathe in. 

I realized by the end of the week that I was making quite the effort to not think about why I made the choice to grab that inhaler despite my breathing improving with out it. As I looked at my self and my motives honestly it all became clear.

I knew that the inhaler was a test. I also knew that after a big step forward the universe always provides a test. A test to see if you really have faith in yourself and what ever it was that you just learned from your experience.  I was afraid to loose what healing I had found earlier in that week and thought if I use the inhaler everyday this will ensure that I don’t go back to being unable to breathe.  My test was – Did I believe and have faith in the healing I had experienced or did I not?

It was almost as if the tease of breathing and then possibly loosing it again might send me over the cliff into the abyss. I knew this was a moment of choice. To have faith in what healing had occurred or to hang on to fear, the fear of going back to being unable to breathe.  I knew choosing fear was the wrong thing to do and it went against what I believe and what I try to practice on a daily basis.  So I took a deep breath and decided to stop using the inhaler.  There was no shift in breathing ability the next day or any day during the next week.  At the end of that week I moved the inhaler off the counter and put it away inside the cabinet.  .  

I have thought about those days & events in December for months now, wondering why the healing hadn’t occurred earlier in that year. What was the catalyst that had pushed everything into place on that one day in order for a healing to occur?? 

The missing piece of the puzzle fell into place for me during a conversation.   I was talking with a friend who is struggling with some challenges.  When I asked if she could accept herself and her situation so healing change could occur, she was very clear in her answer.  Her answer was no, she could not accept herself or her situation.  

It all clicked for me when I heard her answer. I realized in that moment of our conversation what had shifted for me in December and allowed my healing to proceed.  It was all about my acceptance of myself and my situation.

My acceptance began when I decided to walk toward the people at my to sisters graduation rather than go the other direction and hide. I felt no shame and invited everyone to see me for who I was and what I was struggling with.   The next level of my acceptance occurred a few days later as I stood in the barn with my friend.  I came to terms with the state of my being.  I quit fighting my body, resisting what was and I just accepted that this was my life now.  It was a peaceful moment when I accepted myself.  That’s when the healing manifested in a dramatically noticeable way.  It took about an hour for my breathing to be almost normal.   The final step of my healing came the day I put the inhaler away and chose faith over fear.

The combination of whole heartedly accepting where I was at and sharing it openly with those around me created the opening for the healing I had so desperately wanted. Choosing faith over fear seemed to cement the healing into place.

It’s April now and I have been able to breathe for months. I still have the occasional day where my body reacts to the elements and my breathing can be challenged but it’s nothing like I experienced during the year of 2013.  The year of not being able to breath is becoming a faint memory.

See him for who you are

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I was visiting with a friend the other day and we were discussing human nature and the irony of the way people see one and other.

It’s so clear to me that every situation and human we encounter is an opportunity to personally grow and get closer to our authentic selves or to grow further away from our authentic selves – the choice is ours.

In my describing to my friend my take on human nature I said – See him for who you are. – It struck her quite funny she laughed and said that’s just like the saying but opposite.  I didn’t understand what saying she was referring too so she reminded me that many a drama filled conversation between girlfriends over coffee at the local starbucks starts something like this – See him for who he is.

It’s so true; the “See him for who he is” statement is rarely a positive one, its generally about seeing the flaws of another and separating yourself from that person.  That person is judged for who he is.

If we could just turn that saying around to seeing him (or her) for who we are, the world would truly be a very different place.

My personal way of moving thru life is to look at those around me and be aware of how I feel about them or how I feel when I am with them.  The instant I feel judgment I know that I am seeing myself in them and I do not like what I see.

I recently had an opportunity to really use my belief to stretch myself and see another for who I am.

I work with sick horses and this means I also work with very stressed owners.  All the owners I come into contact with have some level of anxiety, either stemming from their past traumatic experiences or their fear of the future unknowns – and of course they real issue will their horse get better??

I expect this, it doesn’t bother me I am able to support, understand, listen and help in just about any way they need to help them feel more at ease.  The anxiety usually subsides relatively quickly and we move onto the active part of the healing process for the horse and the human.

So when I began working with this owner and she had allot of anxiety, it was no problem, it was almost expected,  I felt for her and did what I could to help her and her horse feel comfortable.

What came next did surprise me.   The height of her anxiety and the duration was not something I had seen before.  It appeared as though there was never a second with out anxiety for her.  It appeared as though having the anxiety had become as important a part of her life as breathing was to her body.

One day her anxiety was at melt down level, so I suggested we sit down in her horses paddock and observe how her horse was actually doing.  We watched her horse move about the paddock, from my perspective the horse was doing very well.  From her perspective the horse was dying.

I have talked many an owner thru traumatic transitions of all kinds, from shoe removal to letting them pass from this earth so in that way this situation was no different.  What was different was that each time she would have a ‘moment’ of relief from the anxiety, she would start to exhale, but before the exhalation could even be completed she would be gripped with terror.  She would suck in a quick breath with almost a level of violence toward her body and begin shallow short breathing that was hyperventilation worthy at times.    Her body would tighten, her posture would shorten and we would be right back at “the horse is dying”

This went on for hours that day.  At the end of the day I was aware that she didn’t feel any better or any different.  This level of anxiety went on for weeks with no shift.  The horse this entire period of time was doing ok.  Definitely not dying.

As the weeks progressed I started to feel some pretty uncomfortable feelings myself.  I started to have judgment about her level of anxiety and what that level of constant anxiety was doing to her body.  The instant I realized the judgment was there I knew that on some level I did in my own life, exactly what she was doing in hers.  But I could not see it clearly.  I kept telling myself, reminding myself to see her for who I am.  But the clarity wasn’t coming.

At one point I actually began to feel some anger with her while watching her hang on to this anxiety.   That s when I knew I must carry the same level of anxiety as her and in a really big way, so why could I not see it?  It was driving me crazy, I was meditating on it, talking to peers about how I felt, I was looking intently at myself and still no clear answers came.

One day I was feeling incredibly frustrated about the whole thing and said audibly to the universe please help me see where I am the same! And it hit me, like a ton of bricks; I fell back into my seat hard as the realization of where I do this in my own life flooded my body like a drug.  I was dizzy with clarity.

For the past 12 years  I have had cysts all over my body internally, they appeared after a radiation treatment I had to stop an over active thyroid.   When the cysts first appeared of course I thought cancer.  Because in my mind lumps = cancer.  All kinds of tests were performed and it was concluded that the cysts weren’t cancer they were just fatty cysts brought on by the radiation treatment.  The cysts were my body’s way of reacting too and dealing with the toxic substance that was now inside my body.  Knowing that they weren’t cancerous was good but the fact that the cysts existed with in my body was a struggle

My mind was so programmed to interpret a lump in the body as cancer that I would be on a daily basis reminded that cancer is a possibility.  With that said I didn’t feel constant or debilitating anxiety as I had been watching but I was on a daily basis triggered by these lumps in my body.

I would feel a lump then feel a moment of fear.  I would have to remind myself all of the time that I am healthy and to take a deep breath in and let the fear go.  It was truly no different than her being triggered by her horses healing process.

To look at our situations on the outside it would be easy to say we handle things differently and our responses are different.  But to look at the root of what drives us, there was no difference.  It was about fear of loss.  In her case a fear of losing her horse, her closest family member who she loved very much and in my case fear of losing my life, which I love very much.

Her expression of the fear was all on top for all the world to see and my expression of fear was deeply buried under my skin.  I didn’t express the fear externally as she had, but that didn’t stop me from being aware of it almost constantly which in and of itself is relentless and could even be classified as a form of violence against myself.

Once the realization that we were truly the same settled into my body a calmness also settled in.  I felt no more judgment just compassion – compassion for her and compassion for me.  I could finally see her for who I am.

Full Circle Moment

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I have come to love full circle moments. They are a cleaning up of sorts, a karmic completion an ending to a story. Full circle moments usually begin with a significant life experience and generally end with a quieter and almost mundane quality. Full circle moments tend to sneak up on me when I least expect them. I had a full circle moment the other day.

One of the newer horses at my ranch needed to be seen by her vet. So the owner made an appointment for the vet to come out. The owner could not be here for the appointment so I offered to stand in for her. The owner informed me of the time the vet would be here and then she mentioned the vet’s name.

I lost my breath for a moment when I heard clearly who it was that was coming here. I had met him some years ago during a very traumatic and tragic experience. I instantly understood that our coming together again on this day would be our opportunity to complete things: to come full circle.

That experience with him years ago left an indelible mark on my being and my soul. It was a turning point for me personally. It was a situation where intuitively I knew the outcome of the experience if a certain route was taken. For much of my life I had been somewhat uncomfortable sharing intuitive information with people. Sharing intuitive information would sometimes leave me feeling responsible if they didn’t go the route I had seen. Sometimes I would feel embarrassed about what I had just shared but most often I just felt like they thought I was crazy since the information came from intuition and not proof.

Several days prior to meeting the vet for the first time I shared the intuitive information I had with the owner about the horse’s condition and the safest route to be taken in dealing with it. The owner of the horse shared that information with the vet. The vet insisted that the route he believed to be correct was the route I had seen as deadly for the horse. The vet and owner decided to follow the route he prescribed. Sadly the outcome of the appointment on that day was as I had seen. The horse did not survive the appointment.

I felt so many emotions about what had occurred. To some degree I felt responsible because there was a small part of me that thought I should have just put my foot down and said I won’t allow that appointment to occur here at my ranch. I knew at the time that was the wrong thing to do so I didn’t do it and to this day I know in my heart it was the right choice. After the horses tragic end, I spent days, weeks and months processing what had happened. I came to the only conclusion there could be for me – that it had all worked out how it was supposed to for every being who participated in the experience. The horse, the owner, the vet and myself. There are no wrong turns or accidents in life, just choices of which path you will choose on any given day. All paths lead to the lessons that need to be learned.

On that tragic day I learned that I can not be responsible for other people’s paths and I can not hold myself responsible for anything more than sharing the information that is given to me. What the recipient of that information chooses to do with it is up to them. People learn in the way that works for them. Some need it to be a very physical experience with many outside forces coming in too influence the path and guide the learner to the lesson and others prefer to learn in a less physical manner by following the intuitive path requiring large amounts of faith and courage up front with few outside forces coming in to guide the path. That day was a grouping of both, intuitive learners and physical learners. To judge someone else’s learning process is pointless & damaging to all.

Fast forward to the present day. The vet arrived exactly on time to see my client’s horse. As I approached his truck he held out his hand and introduced himself. I smiled and said we’ve met before. He looked away from me and then said yes, we met on a very tragic day. I agreed with him, our eyes met for just a second and then headed off to the see the horse. As we passed by the barn, he looked toward it and said that’s the stall where it happened. I nodded in silent agreement.

As we continued our walk to the horse that was to be seen on this day, we crossed the ranches bridge in silence, which felt like quite a metaphor at the time – Crossing over to complete something. As he examined the horse I wondered to myself if we would talk about what happened here on that day so many years ago. As I watched him work and listened to him speak I realized that this was as far as it would go for he and I. While we as humans & souls are working on the same issues, the vet and I had clearly chosen to work on them via different paths.

My preferred path for learning is more intuitive than physical and his preferred path for learning is more physical than intuitive. Both viable path choices and both work in the end. As we completed our appointment with the horse I could feel that we had completed our involvement with one and other.

I saw him as a fellow human and soul just doing his best to do his work and learn his lessons. I walked away feeling nothing but compassion and completion.

Over the years I have thought of that day, the horse, the owner, the vet, and the people who tried to help. The loss and pain suffered on that tragic day have helped me and many other horses since. I am more able than ever to share what needs to be shared and then to stand back and not feel overly responsible or insecure with how the other players need to learn. I am truly grateful for the gifts of that experience and the opportunity to complete the circle.

Princess and the Path

princess and her paintingThis morning, as I sit in my mediation chair, my attention was drawn to my kitten, Princess. She was sitting in the middle of a clean pile of clothes on my bedroom floor, staring at me with her “love eyes”. As I sit and ground my body she comes over and sits beneath me, rubbing her head and chin along the small coffee table in front of my chair. As she rubs her head along the edge she moves my Tarot cards. I think, I should pull a card for the nature of my relationship with my Princess kitten. Of course the card I pull is the Chariot, which couldn’t be a more perfect fit in terms of its title, its meaning or its picture.

The title of the Chariot card is “Victory through Adversity”. Its keyword meanings are success; victory after hardship; Stamina and good health; perseverance to maintain focus; and inner strength to achieve the desired success. In the picture on the card, a prince stands between two sphinxes, one black and white, one white and black, representing the negative and positive energies in the world. (Princess is of course a black and white cat.) The chariot has no reins; the prince steers it with only his intuition, stamina and the focus on his goal at hand.

A part of me would describe periods of my life as victory through adversity but, at the same time, I am so grateful for the whole of my life that it seems almost a betrayal to describe it that way, since I wouldn’t change anything that has happened in my life. Looking at Princess this morning as I contemplate all of this, I realize just what a perfect example of that she is.

A few years ago Princes got sick. It was during one of the most financially trying times my husband and I have ever faced. During that period we were struggling to hang on to our ranch and the life we had created. In some of the darkest of moments I remember thinking and saying aloud too many that I would do anything to save our ranch. Understanding that the universal energy often takes these statements to heart, I would quickly qualify the statement with, “Well of course if a family member got sick or something of that importance happened, we would help them and let the house go.” So what happens? My Princess gets sick; very, very sick. I had very little money in the bank account but I knew I had to take her to the vet. The diagnosis was liver, pancreas and kidney failure, and an inflamed intestinal tract. The vet wanted to hospitalize her and put her on 24-hour IV fluids.

Immediately I knew I had to do what ever it took to help her. I would never euthanize her because of money. I realized that what I had been talking about for the past few weeks had just occurred. A family member had gotten sick. A leveling a reminder of what really matters in life – Not houses or stuff but beings, beings of all kinds. The fact that she was a cat drove home what matters. Had any of my human family members or human friends become sick it would have been a no-brainer to do all I possibly could to save them, including letting go of house and life we had created, if necessary. To do this for a cat, a pet, seemed crazy to some. To me it was the only choice – Do all I can to save the life the kitten who had meant so much to me.

At the time I had no idea just how big a lesson this would be. At the time I thought the only lesson I was dealing with was, what really matters in life?

Princess spent days at the hospital getting only incrementally better, being kept alive mostly on fluids and syringed liquid food. After about a week the vet announced that she was as good as she would get and I could take her home. I was thrilled but also kind of horrified because she was still quite unwell. Once home I monitored everything. I barely took an eye off of her to sleep. She required around-the-clock care. She slowly came out of her illness and began eating little bits of food and drinking water on her own. She was very thin but mostly content. As the weeks progressed she continued to get better. Our financial and home troubles continued but we were hanging in there by a thread.

About 2 months after the first episode of illness Princess had a second episode. This time I wasn’t really worried because I knew what was wrong and I knew what to do. I thought, I will just take her to the vet for subcutaneous fluids. Well, when we got there, the vet wanted to do an x-ray and blood work. The blood work came back better than when Princess was sick the first time but it was still a little off, which was somewhat expected as she was still recovering. What was not expected was that the x-ray showed a possible blockage in the intestinal tract. This was horrifying. The vet said Princess needed surgery and would have to go to the hospital immediately. The vet also said she had just lost a small dog to an intestinal blockage and she didn’t want that to ever happen again. The vets own pain and fear was palpable as she spoke. Her pain and fear was all that I needed to awaken my own pain and fear. What I knew to be true when I walked in the door was now thrown out the window. I was afraid and no longer thinking clearly.

I went to the hospital immediately and I met with the surgeon on duty that Saturday. He examined the x-ray and explained that she would need surgery, but it would have to wait until Monday morning, as the main surgeon was off and they felt her condition would be stable if she stayed at the hospital. The instant he said they wouldn’t be able to operate until Monday, I understood that this window of time meant something – It was an opportunity for a different outcome, an opportunity for a different path to be taken. I was still so caught up in pain and fear that I pushed it away.

The girls at the front desk told me that the cost of the surgery would be at least $5000 and possibly a bit more. I left her at the hospital, crying all the way home. I had just sold my horse trailer to make that month’s house payment. There was nothing left in savings and there was no other way to make the house payment except with that $5000. It was not lost on me that the surgery dollar amount and the amount I needed for the house payment were the same.

When I arrived home I found my husband out working on the tractor. I cried and told him what was going on and what the cost of surgery was. He said “You do whatever you need to do. I support whatever choice you make.” I cried harder. Of course there was no choice to make – I would never choose money over the possibility of life. I would use the mortgage payment money for Princess’ surgery.

I visited my kitten many times over the course of the weekend. She was so unhappy in the hospital, bordering on what I can only describe as being uphappy with me. I brought in a variety of baby food and wet cat food to encourage her to eat. She ate small amounts and I kept thinking, if she has a serious blockage why is she eating, drinking and pooping at all? Granted they were all small amounts but things were moving.

The more I thought about the energy of the illness and the more I looked at her, the more confused I got. With each visit I heard louder and louder, from that little neutral voice in my head, “You know what to do; you knew what to do the day you took her to the vet.” I had simply allowed the vets fears to infiltrate my own knowing. With each passing minute the urgency to do the right thing was becoming overwhelming, as was the awareness that I had allowed someone’s else’s pain and fear to override my own knowing.

There are always different paths presented to us to learn the lessons we are meant to learn. Either we learn the lessons through courage, putting the pain and fear at the fore front of the situation, or we choose perceived comfort by putting the pain & fear of the lesson at the end of the situation. The universal truth is that either way we learn our lessons, the only control we have in the situation is which path do we choose to go down.

There came a moment on Sunday night where I knew if I left Princess at the hospital to have surgery on Monday, the outcome would most likely be painful for some time to come. I would feel less pain up front by allowing other people to make the decisions but that comfort would come at a price and the price would be great – A long recovery from a surgery that wasn’t needed and potential long-term pain from scar tissue in her intestinal tract, which I knew was inflamed. And of course, we would probably lose the ranch we all loved. Even Princess loved living there.

If I took her out of the hospital I knew the lesson would be equally painful but in a different way – I would feel the pain and fear up front from going against medical advice. I would have to say aloud to the vets that I simply “knew” what was going on and knew what was best for her. I would also have to find the courage to potentially be wrong about all of this, which would mean Princess might die or need to go back to the vet in worse shape than when she left. What I had going for me was many years of living, and watching this lesson pattern, and knowing that my inner voice always steers me in the direction I need to go.

The truth was, I knew all along what to do but I was afraid. I knew that either route – going home with me now or staying and having surgery – would create what I needed to learn and each situation had an outcome tied to it. I was aware that the choice which caused me the most pain and fear up front was also the right choice. This whole situation was an opportunity to learn. I could either grab it in courage or run from it in fear.

I grabbed it in courage. When the nighttime attending vet arrived, I told him that I wanted to take Princess off the IV and take her home. I was canceling the surgery. I didn’t believe she had a blockage, I believed she was simply still suffering from the same illness as before and I believed her intestines were inflamed, making it look like there might be a blockage on the x-ray. I stated this was something I simply “knew”. It was clear that my absolute confidence and conviction shook the young attending vet, and I saw his own fear come up. Maybe his fear was about her dying or maybe he feared repercussions from his superiors, who knows?

He said that he strongly advised against me taking her but, if I insisted, he would unhook the IV and prepare the paperwork. I told him to please do that. Then I asked if there was anything he would recommend that I do when I got her home. I felt him really think about the question and he said, yes, I would get her some Pepcid and give her a quarter tablet twice a day; if it really is only inflammation, like you think it is, that will help.

Princess and I went home that night. Her relief to be home this time was obvious. She was content, purring and spent hours resting. Whenever I sat in my mediation chair, she sat right in the middle of my chest. She received constant hands-on healings. It seemed like there was a direct line from me to her for days.

About the third day home it was clear she was doing better but she was still somewhat dehydrated. I decided it was time for something different, something more in line with what I believe, so I contacted a local holistic veterinarian. I took Princess in for acupuncture and subcutaneous fluids. At the end of the appointment the vet said, if your cat gets a fever you need to take her to the hospital immediately. I thought, oh God, here we go again. I could just feel the next phase of the lesson beginning, the test to see if I really believed what I knew to be true and if I had the courage to follow that path.

Within several hours of leaving the vet’s office Princess’ fever had begun. This time I was scared but did not panic. I meditated and asked for insight and direction. What came up next was so simple. I heard that little voice say, “Fevers are the body’s way of healing an illness.”

Ok, the choice was now very clear: Listen to the verbal warning given by the vet – the authority – or listen to the little voice inside my head, the voice that I know well, the voice that has never steered me wrong. It’s not that the voice directs me toward painless experiences but it always directs me toward the path that I am meant to take in order to learn the lesson.

And so it began. In mid afternoon I laid down on the couch and my kitten laid down in the crook of my left side. We laid there for hours. I knew we would be there for the duration. Her little body was so hot. The vet’s words of caution kept coming into my awareness. Each time I heard them I would counter with what I knew to be true: Fevers are the body’s way of healing an illness. I had to remind myself over and over that bodies are not made wrong. Fevers are not bad but rather the body’s way of dealing with an invader. I had to check-in with my gut over and over to make sure we were still on the right path. It was an incredibly long afternoon and evening. I had to breathe through the panic that kept rising and find the courage to stay the course as I waited for Princess’ body to do its healing work.

At about 10 o’clock that night, I opened the window behind me and let some cool spring air flow in. I felt Princess’ body vibrating lightly. It wasn’t a shaking but really just a vibrating, a vibration I have felt in my own body on numerous occasions when big shifts were occurring in my life and in my body. Not long after I opened the window I felt the shift, a big one, a release, and with that Princess stood up and shook her body as if to rid herself of something stuck to her. She then hopped down off of me and headed to the kitchen for a snack. Her fever had broken and her appetite had returned. We had come through it. I understood my lesson well – I had ‘known” what to do all along.

Princess is my Chariot card. To this day Princess has remained very healthy.