Re-Assurance

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I have relied heavily on signs for as long as I can remember.  I use them for enjoyment, validation, information, to guide me, to reassure me.  With out signs as guide posts I don’t know where I would be today.

One of my most significant experiences with “signs” came after I euthanized one of my horses for a quality of life issue.  Prior to that event all other euthanasia’s in my history were due to failing health, catastrophic injury, basically they were all euthanasia’s that were obviously needed.  Because of this so much of the pressure of the decision, was in a sense taken out of my hands.  Of course there was pain and grief after the euthanasia’s but there wasn’t significant guilt on my part as I felt I had no other choice in the matter.

This story began eleven years ago when I adopted my first off track thoroughbred.  His name was Assurance.  He was a stunningly beautiful boy, Steel grey, nothing but muscle and an attitude to match his huge presence.  He came to me injured.  A cracked Seasmoid bone, low level laminitis and hind gut ulcer issues.  I was informed of his ill state before he got onto the transport to come to my ranch.  I was giving the opportunity to turn him away but something deep inside said “take him”.   So I did and I have never regretted that decision.  It was a challenge & a journey that I was interested in participating in.  I learned more from Assurance during his life and after his passing than I’ve learned from 1000’s of other experiences.  Of course on the outset of our journey together I had assumed our story would be of his miraculous healing and wonderful secondary career at a dressage horse or trail horse extraordinaire but that was not to be.  Our journey together taught me about life, death, healing, perseverance, intuitive communication, the afterlife, the list is longer than I feel I can put in to words.

Assurance was with me from 2005 to 2008.  In the last months of 2008 his bad days so far out numbered his good days that the decision to set him free from his daily life of pain was made.  His passing was incredibly difficult for me.  I was tortured by guilt, fear and regret that I had done the wrong thing.  That I had given up to quickly.

To help me deal with Assurance’s passing I asked him for signs that he was ok and that I had done what was best for him.  I let him know or maybe he already knew, that I needed allot of reassurance that he was ok now that he was out of his body.  All of the signs I specifically asked for had to do with birds.   For some reason it seems very easy for both humans and animals to communicate from the afterlife via birds.  One of the very specific things I requested was that a hummingbird come up to me in my back yard and hover right in front of my face for a long period of time – this was the sign I felt I needed to see to be sure he was ok and that he forgave me.  I also asked for allot of random bird sightings and to see a turkey on our property.  In all the years we have lived here, we have never had any turkeys living on our property or even visiting. I love the wild turkeys and so wished that some of them would adopt our property as their sanctuary.

The day after Assurance left his body, the first turkey arrived.  One of my friends, who knew of my wish, named the newly arrived turkey, Assurance.  I was in awe that the sign came so quickly and it was of such a special nature.

Almost daily after his passing, something odd and out of the ordinary would occur with a bird.  They would fly right in front of my car, so close to my windshield that it would scare me.  They would land in the middle of the road in front of me and just sit there and stare at me as I slowed the car to a stop.  One day I was in the passenger seat of my car and a duck fly beside my window for a few hundred feet, we just looked at each other as we moved together at about the same speed.  I was visiting a client’s horse on their property when we both heard an odd bird noise.  I looked up in the Oak tree next to us to see what can only be described as a tropical bird, beautiful, multicolored and huge.  No doubt escaped from someone’s home or maybe just on a fly about around the neighborhood, none the less, I had never ever seen a tropical bird perched in an oak tree before.

Over and Over Assurance showed me he was ok via the bird signs.  I was feeling better each day but a bit confused as to why he would show me all of these birds but not the one very specific sign I had asked to see regarding the hummingbird.  I found it a little odd but I figured I would understand the reason for the delay soon enough.

Assurance had been gone several weeks when I awoke one morning finally starting to feel a little better and owning that maybe it was the right thing to do and maybe he really was ok.  I asked him if I could have one more sign, one more little miracle to help me be certain and to put my guilt to rest.  I asked him to surprise me with something I wouldn’t expect and couldn’t conceive of on my own. A couple of days later, I received the bill from my vet.  It was a busy month here at the ranch so I knew that there would be 3 horses listed on the bill.  The vet itemized each procedure under each horse’s name.

The first horse listed was Dreamer, my old horse.  He had a stroke 2 days after Assurance’s passing.  Dreamer survived his stroke and had a pretty profound recovery.  The next horse belonged to one of my boarders, just routine stuff.  The third horse should have been Assurance but that was not the name listed.

I immediately assumed they had added a horse that did not belong to me, it happens once in a while.  So I looked at the itemization for the unknown horse and it detailed euthanasia.  So I looked back at the name of this foreign horse and his name was Spirit, he was detailed as a grey, nine year old, TB gelding.  I burst into tears, tears of joy, tears of sadness and tears of knowing that this was very much the communication that I had asked for from Assurance.  He had given me another sign, one more miracle that was clear and undeniable.  My vet knew Assurance very well.  He would never have mistakenly called Assurance “Spirit”.  There was so other force at work that helped to send me this sign in this way. It helped me feel like I could finally let go of my guilt and regret.

A few days later, I was out in the back yard watering my plants, when I noticed for about the 100th time  the chair that on the day Assurance passed, I had placed Assurances halter, lead rope, name plate and lock of his tail hair.  I had not been able to touch those things since the day he left. It was as though if I put those things away he would be gone forever.  But today felt different.  With all of Assurances help from the other side I had let go of much of my guilt and was now pretty certain that Assurance was ok – Pain free and happily in Spirit.  I felt I could now pick up his things and finally put them away.  As I stood there watering my plants and thinking about this, a hummingbird flew up to my face and hovered maybe 5 inches away from my nose.  The bird was bright red and flying so close to me that I could feel the wind generated by its tiny wing span.  This was Assurances final sign.  It was his final good bye, his Re-Assurance that he was well and happily in “Spirit” now.  The instant it occurred I realized why he had waited to show me this specific sign for this was the first day since his passing that I had forgiven myself for what I had done.  I had let go of much of the guilt and pain associated with his euthanasia.  Had he shown me this specific sign early on it would not have had the same meaning that it had on this day.  I will be forever grateful to the big grey horse that taught as much in life as he did in death.  His gifts of Re assurance will never be forgotten.

To read more about Assurances time with me –  http://www.harvestmoonranch.net/assurance.html

 

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A Simple Truth

 

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I was out feeding the horses a few mornings ago when I allowed my mind to wander from what I was doing to thoughts of issues that were stressssssing me out and causing me allot of internal conflict.  Before I knew it I was literally having a fight with myself inside myself.

Gratefully it didn’t last too long because two beautiful hummingbirds were drawn to me.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you want to look at it, they were drawn to the energy of my inner conflict.  They were busy having their own conflict.  The hummingbirds were zipping around my body at an incredibly high rate of speed and using me as a tool while they postured & fought.  I have never seen hummingbirds do this. They seemed to be in a highly confrontational state.

These little birds moved so quickly that it was mostly just a blurr of brilliant red with a hint of green and grey.  My eyes could not even come close to keeping up with them.  I would just get a split second view before they were behind me and then right back in front of me and then above me.  It was absolutely fascinating and delightful. It brought me straight back to the present moment and out of my state of conflict.  I loved it!!

I wish they could have stayed longer.  When they flew off into the trees I stood there feeling very aware of why they had visited me.

Physically they brought me back to the present moment.  Symbolically they reminded me of who I am and how I truly feel.  Most importantly they reminded me of the effects of the energy that I put out into the world via my thoughts.  The little birds that were in conflict were comfortably drawn to me as I was also in conflict – we all vibrated on a similar level of conflict.

My thoughts and the energy created by my thoughts are my gift or my weapon – the choice is always mine. The little birds reminded me of this simple truth.

The spiritual & symbolic meaning of Hummingbird:         It is the only creature that can stop dead while traveling at full speed. It searches for the sweetness in life. Its long tongue lets it bypass the often tough and bitter outer layer to find the hidden treasures underneath.  Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can and its presence brings joy to the observer.  If you have Hummingbird medicine, you adapt easily to whatever situation you may find yourself in and make the most of your new circumstances.  You don’t waste time looking back and wishing for “what was” for you are concerned with making the most of “what is”.  To restrict that wonderful, free, loving energy is to suffer great depressions and feelings of uselessness.

 

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.