I am at that place in life – and Lord knows I’ve been here before – where I’m looking back on all the decisions I made that led me to this place. And I am asking myself: did I just make all that shit up??
I said YES to five horses when I didn’t have land, and it was really, really hard… but everything worked out. And I could see the benefits of persevering and of saying Yes to my intuition, or divine guidance.
And then 3 years later, I said YES again to six more horses, with no change in my environment or circumstances. And I trusted that by saying yes, the universe would step up and provide what was needed to make this work. And to make it okay. But it has not been OK. It has been a financial disaster. And a tremendous amount of suffering, both emotionally and physically.
Was it all a mistake? Or is it simply a learning and growth opportunity… one that I don’t understand, because I have not come to the end of it yet? Or have I completely deluded myself; assigning symbols where there actually were none, inventing signs where there were mere coincidences, assigning spiritual meaning to random events?
And so here I am: agitated, questioning, reassessing, doubting, confused, resentful, and kind of angry.
Of course I realize that peace and contentment are an inside job. But that goes both ways. It not only makes you responsible, but it can also make stupid, ridiculous, unsustainable living practices feel okay! Because if your peace and contentment do not come from your environment, then you can live ANY way and be peaceful and content, and just focus on the positive.
That doesn’t make it optimal. That doesn’t make it beneficial or even a good idea for the long-term. Have I used Faith and Trust to trick myself into continually focusing on the positive… whilst the overall situation is actually a net negative?
Has the Trickster had her way with me? Am I on the receiving end of the gifts of Coyote (the ultimate trickster)? Lord knows there’s enough of them on this land. I even like them – a lot.
A few days after my precious lads get on the trailer for the 700 mile journey up to Kesia’s farm, I find myself standing in the big barn with Kaliah’s head almost in my chest. Tears are streaming down my face as I ask her, “Why are you still here?? Why did my heart get on that trailer and not you and the babies, or Makah and Cobra? YOU are the one who created all this. If I had just taken you and Xadaa, I would be OK. I would not be having to send my precious ones away because I can no longer afford all of you. But you insisted I take all 5! Was this just a bid to take care of your herd? Did you just trick me into saving all of you with no regard for what that would mean for me?”
She stood still, yet wholly present, and her voice floated to me, “I can’t answer you because you don’t trust me; you won’t allow me to connect with you.”
“That’s right!” I exclaimed, “Because I’m done with trusting you – I don’t even know who/what you are! Trusting you and all this ‘guidance’ has brought me nothing but grief and struggle. Maybe you are simply a trickster, out for your own gain and using me for your own purposes!”
And what is the Medicine of the Trickster?
My deck of medicine cards says that coyote is the trickster that forces you to come face-to-face with yourself, over and over again. He is a mirror; everywhere you look, there you are – in all your ridiculousness, your saboteurs, your self-imposed limitations.
Kesia tells me that in many traditions the Trickster is the Creator or an aspect of the creator. Sometimes the trickster is responsible, through his tricks, and sometimes by accident, for things like bringing light to a dark world. She says, “The medicine/gift of Trickster for me is… creative energy, seeing from new perspectives, and finding yourself in a reality you couldn’t have predicted or chosen.”
I wake up restless in the middle of the night and the thought comes to me: what if this is not about horses, or the herd? What if this is about the universe/my higher self creating a situation that purposely pushes me outside of all my comfort zones? What if the point of all of this is to force me to get bigger? Perhaps there are things coming, or things that I desire, that require a skill set far beyond my current state of being?
In that case, the point has not been for the universe or anyone else to make it easier. If resources, or land, or funding had arrived to make this manageable, then I would not have been pushed over the edge of the cliff… free falling into a new iteration of myself. The more functional we are, the harder it is for Life to put us in this space. Some of us need to be tricked into chaos, because we have a wide skill set and knowledge base that would otherwise prevent that from happening.
It occurs to me to wonder why my husband Ian did not run the numbers on this equine acquisition when I first suggested it. He handles the money/accounting for both our businesses. He says, “I told you it was a bad idea, it was too many horses, and we couldn’t afford it.” Yes, but he never actually ran the numbers and revealed in black and white what a financial disaster this would be. And I didn’t run them, because I knew if I did, that I would not continue down this road! And something was driving me, with all the signs and symbols of the universe, to walk down this road. And so I chose to simply trust. To trust that “god will provide.”
Keep in mind, that I have started and run four successful, profitable businesses thus far in my life, and I have never run the numbers on any of them! Each time, I purposely avoided running the numbers – which would have revealed that I couldn’t possibly afford to cash flow any of those businesses. And I/we always made it work somehow. In the past, Ian and I funded our latest business, Imix Nutrition, by selling our home and moving every 6-12 months and plowing the house profit into the company. We funded all our manufacturing runs on credit cards, until the business was successful enough for the bank to extend us a line of credit. So we are both fluent with risk, and trusting the universe, and doing whatever it takes to make things work. BUT. Those are all businesses, designed to (at some point) generate money. Not a herd of 11 horses on leased land, in the most difficult, labor-intensive climate, eating hay that costs three times more than anywhere else in Canada.
To be honest, I thought the horses would be an energetic network that would support our businesses to generate the money required to pay for them, without overly depleting us. But that did not happen.
Perhaps this herd really is, as Güliz has often called them, ‘the People’s princess’ And they are meant to be supported by a larger network of people, not just myself. A number of times over the last, almost 2 years, I considered asking for donations. But it never felt right. I understand money as a form of energy, and it felt very much like this herd’s energy was tied to our own ecosystem – our family and our companies. It wasn’t until I was forced to send some of the herd to Kesia’s farm, that it felt OK to ask for financial help. The response has been slow but steady and each donation is received with such gratitude, along with the comments from donors about how the horses have impacted them, or helped them.
So perhaps the work of throwing me into chaos and forcing me to get bigger has been completed. And now this next stage is about collaboration – something else I know I need to get bigger and better at.
Or am I just back to inventing scenarios to justify lunacy? Perhaps all of this has been one massive detour; one that has held me back from growing my companies to the point where I can actually purchase the land I need and support the herd without stress. Here’s a mind-jarring reality: Ian and I added up the amount I have spent on horses over the last 5 years and it equals the down-payment on a piece of land (within 5 hours drive of my house).
I wasn’t ready to part with them and only see them every few weeks.
I wouldn’t have been able to generate the powerful, beautiful videos enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people.
My eldest son wouldn’t be working at the barn and using that grounding/connection to underpin his success.
Güliz and I wouldn’t have created so much mind/body healing content.
I wouldn’t have been forced to GET BIGGER.
In discussing this with Kesia, she sent me this writing she had jotted in her notes:
“I was a giant, towering over the town of Smithers. I’ve been this big before and I have been terrified. What if I’m the only one who is this big? What if nobody could ever hold me? When I met Timothy he held me and I realized that I could never be too big to hold. Now as I grow I let myself unfold without constraint, telescoping up above the town and popping out above the clouds. I can crouch down and run my hands over the tops of the trees on the mountains, like mossy rocks. Beneath me, the tiny people in their tiny town busy themselves like ants. In my hand is one of these tiny people, and her protestations seem cute, foreign, something I can comprehend but not actually understand word for word. I can respect all these beings without interacting with them very thoroughly. They go about their business and I go about mine, which for the moment is just enjoying this view, enjoying the air. Getting bigger feels impossible; it feels terrifying. If we get that big, do we have to always be that big? What if nothing fits anymore? What if we grow too big for everything in our lives? But once big, it doesn’t matter anymore. Once big, your concerns when you were little are no longer your concerns. They can’t be; they don’t fit anymore.”
If I have to put a label to this whole get bigger concept, I think the closest I can come is to call it: Holistic mind/body/spirit integrated leadership.
Holistic mind/body/spirit integrated leadership takes into account the well-being of every member of the group, herd, organization, or family. The holistic leader is not interested in asserting their dominance over others, or of being the boss. Rather, this leader has gained fluency in holding their own space, and managing their own power in healthy ways. So they are then able to hold this container of safety, this space of possibility, for others to likewise step into their grounded power and deeper wisdom.
So it is very much a collaborative process, but one which is not possible without the holistic leader being able to truly hold and ground that safe container for expression and transformation. It is having the strength and personal power to be able to hold the space of abundant possibility. To extend an invitation for shift – where the other person can transform in healthy ways they never thought possible, because you are doing much of the energetic work for them; simply by BEing in your expanded state. And the reason you hold this space and you do this work is because your deepest desire is to see other people rise and come forth into the brilliance of their own wholeness.
The holistic leader understands that the way to a healthy planet, a healthy culture, a healthy group, relies on everyone making this shift in consciousness and being able to integrate mind/body/spirit into a congruent whole.
Ideally, every mother and father could hold this safe container for the development of their children’s consciousness and integration. But of course, we cannot control other people, we can only control ourselves.
I remember a time when I experienced a big shift with my husband Ian, because I was willing to ground myself strongly and hold my own wisdom, and also hold the offer for him to expand into his wisdom. I managed to communicate the concept to him that it seems he is always looking for life to be easy and joyful. And when it is, that signals to him that life is as it should be and everything is good.
And I invited him to consider the perspective that I am not here for joy and love alone. If that’s what I wanted, I would not have incarnated. I would just have stayed in Oneness where it’s already perfect. I invited him to consider the aspect that I incarnated to learn and grow and evolve – and so I view these continual growth opportunities from the horses as a net positive. NOT as a negative, or a signal that I’ve lost my guidance.
I told him to think about wilderness adventures, boot camps, animal assisted therapy etc. and that people pay thousands of dollars to immerse themselves in these incredibly challenging experiences where they must learn to dance between the intuitive and the physical and remain vertical and grounded throughout. But I am surrounded by these opportunities and challenges from the herd – and that they BENEFIT me so much.
He heard me, it all went in. And he said, “Well I guess that’s why I married you. Because I need that perspective and you bring it to me and our family.”
I’m reminded that the power of holistic leadership/wholeness does not just exist for Out There – for in the world, or business, or organizations. But it is intensely valuable and necessary even within our most intimate relationships.
And so even though I’ve had to send a chunk of my heart hundreds of miles away, because it appears that I failed, or the universe didn’t rise to my aid, or I misinterpreted things… I choose to hold all these elements of challenge, leadership, trust, and getting bigger in one hand. And in the other hand I look at what I can learn from this… which is part of getting bigger.
After waking in the night with the realization of, wait a minute, what if this is not about horses? I fell back to sleep and had a dream. In my dream I was greatly troubled and didn’t know what to do. So I hiked through snowy lands and found this reclusive, esteemed guru/shaman man and asked him for guidance. He was a huge, bearded man and he beckoned me to follow him through the forest to a motel room. We both got into the bed and I waited for him to tell me what to do. But then I felt the energy shift and become threatening. As his hand stretched towards me, I dropped my foot onto the floor, feeling around for my boot. I began talking to distract him and then brought up the energy Montaro showed me how to use, to block his intended assault before it could escalate into physical reality. I got up and left the room. Then I woke up.
The dream felt like a replica of the way I had given my power away to Kaliah – and the universe working through Kaliah. But what about me?! Am I not an equally discerning, connected, magnificent being? Why am I looking to others to guide me and then getting tangled up in their needs, motivations, shortcomings and dysfunctions? Why should a shaman or a horse be more connected to Oneness or wisdom, than me? The dream illustrated that it was dangerous for me to give my power away. It’s dangerous to assume that someone else has a stronger, or clearer connection to Source, than I do.
And so I am learning to step up from Follower/Disciple status to Co-Creator status. I am getting bigger. The divine no longer gets to tell me what to do and I blindly follow. I have learned to consider this carnate world that I live in – where I am physically bound by time and space. And to push back on the universe where/if needed. Which doesn’t mean I won’t take risks, or do ‘crazy’ things – but I will do them from an empowered state and in full awareness that I get to choose.
And so I come full circle back to faith and trust – in Source and in myself. And the intentionality of co-creating my reality. Because at the end of the day, I get to choose. I get to choose the story I tell myself. I get to choose the reality I create, and the one I live in. And there is no ‘right’ or ‘truth’. There is simply perspective. And the power of interpretation. And learning lessons, getting bigger, more expansive, and moving on. And I get to choose.
I am bruised, battered, weary.
But I still show up.
I am fragile, sensitive, a little bit destitute. But I show up.
My dreams are coming true, but it’s not quite what I planned.
This life, this game, can be so wearying. Did we know it was going to be this difficult when we planned our descent? Did we have any idea of the power of human emotions, hormones, illusions?
We came in the full faith and glory of our state of oneness, our state of infinite possibility in the great I AM.
And now here we are, small, reduced, struggling, overwhelmed.
The only choice left is whether we show up, or not.
And some days the answer is “not”.
Some days I huddle inside the covers. If I’m lucky I am enrobed in a cozy fog of fever which rocks me gently while it removes me from any pain of consciousness.
And yet I know in my deepest self, in my truest self, that this too is part of the circle.
That I will come through and around and out again into the brilliance of my magnificence.
And that is why I am here. That is why I stay in the game. And I keep showing up, day after draining day. Because at some point I will rise. I will go down. And I will rise again.
I lean in. I breathe into my back. I breathe into my belly.
And I lean in. And I show up.
And I know that some day I will rise again.