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Blossoms and Bluebells

Summer self belief . . .

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Some little things make a big impact on your heart. . .

At last in the Meadow the buttercups are as tall as my welly boots. The grass is a luscious shade of green, white wings flutter around the cow parsley in front of my eyes, covering every bank of the Meadow with tiny petals of leafy cream. And the birdsong is a melody so crisp and pure it’s as if it touches your very soul. Late Spring Blossoms and early summer Bluebells have arrived at last in the Meadow. . . We’re in June.

I have never felt so glad to see this time of year. Winter was harsh. Cold, bitter and cutting but we sailed through it’s storm with determination for we knew on the otherside of it, was the most beautiful season of all. It awakens us all and brings us back to ourselves. When doubt has grown a little heavy. Low spirits a little intense upon our chests, and the rain seems to have found it’s way into our skin soaking our enthusiasm and gusto – we need our Spring to realign us again.

Words cannot describe perfectly enough how the birdsong sets you free from a moment of worry. Or how sitting on the ground surrounded by a sea of yellow flowers stirs a peace within you. Dandelions are wishes waiting to be blown into the air. The butterflies are welcome guests. A duck wanders past on his way to the river reminding you that nature has a pace of its very own.

The ponies pick green tufts and chew them carefully as they wander from fence edge to every corner of their paddock. They’ve missed the warm breeze. The floral scent in the air and the soaring swallows as much as we have.

To make this season sweeter I have my very own Blossom and Bluebell. Two pony names that couldn’t be more fitting if we tried. Sketched into the land like they are meant to be. And both so beautiful as the flowers and buds themselves.

Without my Meadow. The ponies. My meadow cat – who sits beside me in the grass as I put my thoughts down on paper – like the dearest companion anyone could dream of – without any of this, I’m not sure I would be as much of myself as I am with it.

When you struggle to believe the kind words people say about you, and standing alone makes you feel incredibly self conscious – knowing I have this cushion. This identity. This place that defines the country dweller I am, well, it’s a tremendous anchor. It grounds me. Encourages me. Supports me. My life. My new work. My teaching. My writing. My confidence. It’s a shelter. I’ve filled it with what I love most. My horses and animals. And from that I’ve made a place that has fixed me and allowed me to now try to fix others.

I’m forever thankful for my Bridie’s Meadow. And this time of year, amongst the Blossom and Bluebells in nature and of my own – I’m reminded just how blessed I am to call this place my home.

My next goal – as things grow, thrive and flourish – is to remember that it’s also okay to ask for help now and then. To keep everything beautiful – sometimes a helping hand is the kindest relief in the world.  .  .

Harmony of Horses Series – Starting out on your own

Unearthing your courage

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I used to think that work meant I had to be physically exhausted at the end of the day. I’d put my whole energy and mind set into getting everything done, and if I was completely washed out by the end of the day, I’d accomplished enough. It is rather sad to think like that, I’m sure you’d agree. However, I’ve since discovered amongst fellow people pleasers that I am not alone with this. The heartfelt truth is, behaving this way results only in one unhappy reality – we break. Sooner or later. We simply have to stop.

 ‘ Stop glorifying busy. Instead trust your own unique pace for life. When you believe in what you’re doing, the need for approval will disappear. You’ll know you’ve made it. You’re home.  ‘

Author unknown

In all honesty, I knew that my preferred way of doing things was ‘steady does it.’ Taking a moment to complete tasks rather than hurriedly bounce on to the next one, was much more me . . . I’d simply forgotten that my own way was just as good. Operate in a way your mind understands – instead of working against it . . . and you’ll soon discover freedom.

In stepping back off the hamster wheel and designing a life I love once more –  one that runs to my own time table and way of doings things – I’ve since unearthed a courage I didn’t realise was there.

A courage to trust creative ideas and bring them to life. A belief in connecting with like minded people even when it scared me. A trust that enjoying what I am doing at my own pace, is equally worthwhile and of value . . . and best of all, that a dream is worth chasing down.

We do not need to be slaves to the ‘normal’ way of living life. We have to support ourselves without question. But, when all is said and done, a heavy heart with regret and sadness at not giving ourselves a chance, will surely stay a while and remove the silver lining that keeps us ever hopeful.

Be busy doing what makes you light up. Be busy with tasks that empower, inspire and lift you. Be busy for you. Not to escape, pretend, hide or cover up true feelings – be busy designing the life you love. It’s not always the smoothest sea to sail, but the important part is, you’ll be sailing yourself, with no one telling you which direction you must aim for  . . . use what you have, enlist your strengths as supporters. . . Now try your first step and begin . . .

It’s amazing what comes from sitting on a fallen tree trunk and watching horses at peace, side by side. The reflections. The awareness and the realisations are beautifully endless. And they make you realise in the kindest way, that listening to your own song above all else, is the greatest calling to starting out on your own . . .

Horses solve a lot of our internal chatter questions, our worries and our doubts – and they do so by mirroring to us how to be. Most of all, how to listen to ourselves, as authentically as possible.  Stop the busy and begin the intentional. The courage you seek will reveal itself . . .

This is why I am creating my new Harmony of Horses Series. . .

Their wisdom is too profound not to share. More and more professionals are recognising this poignant connection between human and equine . . . particularly in Mental Health Sectors. There is an understanding like no other, that comes from being around horses. Maybe, because in a fast changing world, this beautiful creature has remained the same through the ages . . . Loyal. Stoic but best all of all, peaceful in a way we all strive to seek for ourselves.

They set me upon my path when I’d forgotten the way. They won’t forget you.

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Feeling the fear

Adventures are even for those who are afraid.

 

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Light is always above & always shines down
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Finding those that understand
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Little steps alongside fear

Adventure can be scary, can’t it?

One moment you’re buzzing with excitement and then, the buzzing transforms to butterflies . . . And suddenly anxiety takes the stage and the dimming embers of that buzz are replaced by doubt, fear and a questioning of ones self!

Adventure doesn’t feel quite so gripping in those moments!

But, when do we push through it? When do we say ‘I am scared but going forth anyway’ . . .

There are times when are playing safe is the bravest course of action. . . And there are times when we mustn’t be afraid to step off the shoreline and into greater depths.  .  . Even if we start at the shallow end.

A horses sensitivity is so beautifully intense, that they can hear our changing heart rhythm when fear grabs hold. They hear our butterflies fluttering. They aborb every nervous breath. They are so finely tuned to every living creation around them, that the slightst change, no matter how small, will instantly ignite their curiosity. They know when to go fourth and explore. They know when to stay back and wait a while. They know because they feel everything.

Just imagine if like them, we said out loud ‘ I am really so scared. But I’m giving this adventure before me a try anyway. Will you accompany me?’

What if, like them, we own our fear. Use it. Acknowledge it. Respect what it’s presence is for. . .what if we shared it more often? What if we trusted it? What if we were more honest about it?

And most importantly. . . What if, as horses do – united in their herd – we support each other when feeling it ourselves. Proclaiming how much our butterflies are fluttering just now. . . In the comfort that were not alone with our deepest anxieties.

When you find you can’t see through the tears of imploding doubt.     . . . The right help should gently scoop you up to feel safe once more. No matter how strong the wings of the butterflies are. That support will find a way.

The right friends always will too. . . And sometimes they come into your life when you least expect it . . .

As I’m learning and as I potter along in my adult years, a little honest vulnerability and feeling the fear – makes the adventure even sweeter, when you get there in your own good time.  There is never a rush when we’re afraid.

Trust that even if it shows on your face, feeling the fear is okay. The right souls understand.

Just like our horses do, your own true ‘intentional’ herd – friends will always surround you, warmly whispering –

‘ I’m scared too. So let’ do this together! ‘

Keep a look out for those that admire you, your adventures and your brave heart despite your whole mind and body feeling afraid.

Horses connect so deeply to each other when frightened. That is something we can all carry closely I feel. Because truthfully, it is something that entwines us all. Our place of common ground. Sometimes we all sinply, feel the fear.

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Comfort in closeness with our fears

There is strength in not always being okay . . . For there is discovery in ones courage.

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Dreaming big

Is it okay to let dreams keep growing . . .

It’s sad when as adults we reach a chapter in our lives when, suddenly, we so deeply fear we will never reach our dreams. The beautiful ideas we had for ourselves. The life we planned on carving out before us. All at once,  we wonder how we will ever get there.

Sometimes, we lose hope completely. Those dreams get placed inside a draw, and we lock it tight. The key often gets lost along the way too. Other times, we close the door, but keep it open just a little. A sparkling glimpse of hope stays present, for we may unearth them again someday. There are those who close and lock the door, but keep the key safe, just holding onto it is enough to know that it’s not yet the end.

I confess I am the girl who kept her dream drawer open. I couldn’t bring them out into the sunshine for many years, those quiet dreams of mine. They stayed glistening away. The key safely in my hand, never locking the door, never getting lost – just there.

In times of worry I clung to those dreams, determined I would never let them go. They may grow, change, transform – as we all do growing up – but somehow I would take them in whatever beautiful form they emerged and make them my reality.

Wonderfully – I now am.

It’s one of those achievements that doesn’t sound loudly and cause a great fanfare of celebration, but rather a soft heartfelt I made it,’ that whispers in the most unexpected of moments.

The trouble is, even dreams have their challenges. Keeping them afloat is never easy. Keeping your belief in them and most importantly faith in yourself is a niggling struggle, that I am learning needs self kindness in order to encourage it to go away. . . it seldom disappears but often simply dissolves into the distance for a while.

But what happens when you’re living you dream but it grows bigger .  .  . do you stay where you are because it’s all you ever hoped for, or do you let it build, evolve and become even more than you imagined. Is it okay to dream big?

When everyone else struggles to see what you see, do you close the draw again, or pull it open and let everything tumble out and fall into place . . .

As always, I took these life questions to my beautiful herd of meadow ponies. They listened as always. So intently. Affectionately. Their eyes hold a thousand answers. They know what I should do. . . . . .

Then in that quiet moment, as I took in the answered questions rising to my mind – a white feather landed beside us. A beautiful pure, soft white feather.

And you know what they say about white feathers?? . . . .

Gut feelings are guardian angels

Author Unknown

Now my answers feel ever clearer, with a little equine magic to help me on my way. There is a lot of sparkle in simplicity.  .  . there are a lot of answers from simply listening.

It’s just knowing what to look and listen for.

Hold your dream drawer in your arms, and see. . .

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Find magic in everyday
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Always look for a little light above
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Simple sparkles – natures wonder

 

 

‘ Keep hold of your key ‘

 

Shy and strong

Finding wonder in everyday . . .

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The trees are howling out in the meadow. The breeze is calling too. Yet, there is life stirring beneath the cold, brisk winter surrounding us. Life that is not bitter, fierce or icy to the skin. Life that is instead soft, shy, pretty, delicate and best of all, hopeful.

It might only be January, but already spring is doing it’s best to share it’s tiny budding jewels of green with the earth. The braches are no longer entirely bare. There are now little shoots and tightly knitted buds decorating the bark.

Most beautifully of all, the flower which has won the title of my favourite has appeared. The snowdrop.

How was it gone one moment and then there the next? Nature has it’s magic. Beneath the surface everything is beginning to stir from it’s slumber, and whilst it’s early attempts to rise, so easily go unnoticed by many of us at this wintry stage, it is indeed happening. We are slowly moving towards spring.

There will be rain to come. Frost dusted across the grass. More rain. And still those howling winds, but the shy snowdrop bows it’s gentle head despite this. She weathers the stormy winter mornings to bring us hope. To bring us a little smile. And to let us know, warmth, light and bright days are not that far away.

When the Meadow Ponies  children come to visit my Bridie’s Meadow for their country adventures and riding lessons, a special book sits on my desk awaiting eager eyes and hands to flick through it’s pages. When warming up with a chocolate biscuit in chilly fingers, we sit and scroll through the pages and are greeted by the wonderful sight of the Flower Fairies nestled within their own unique seasonal flower.

Sometimes we go fairy finding, and hope to catch sight of their beautiful wings and delicate smiles as we scan the pasture for signs of floral life. This kinship to the Earth and it’s gentle power of moving us through the year, is more beautifully noticed when you take a moment to see every little detail as it begins to flourish. Children innately spot this wonder in the world. I feel it is something we should hold on to as we grow up. We must try not to lose it if we can.

For in spotting the first snowy white petals of the snow drop, and in scanning the trees for signs of spring sprouting through, we can be reminded that, little by little, the Earth  holds us closely within it’s gentle grasp and carries us safely through the seasons of our lives as best it can . . .

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Nature therapy & Animal Assisted Therapy can help you look at the world with a wonder often forgotten in adulthood, but it’s so simple to rekindle it once more – I share a little of my studies with this just here . . .

Animal Therapy Sessions  &  A Life in nature

 

 

New Year Anxiety

It’s okay to feel the fear, find your stillness and place of retreat . . And just go with it

I don’ know about you, but I’m touched by a certain sense of melancholy and sadness followed with anxiety on the last night of the year . . . A little part of me has to catch my breath to manage how swiftly time moves us along, and there is that imploding feeling of should I be planning, celebrating, reflecting? . . . I’m just not sure where to place myself.

The first day arrives of our New Year.  We got here. Isn’t it so bright and hopeful with opportunity?! Yet I’m still met with my old friend, Anxiety.

It sits heavily upon my chest. . . It’s so heavy, I struggle to bear it. . . Everything in the air says ‘New’ doesn’t it? New me. New goals. New plans. New adventures. New. New. NEW.

But, in my heart I do not feel I want New. I would really like simply, right now. Now is good. Now is enough. Now gets us to the new, but oh so gently that we don’t even realise it’s happening.

‘Gently, gently, at one’s unique pace’, has always felt more ‘me’.

Stillness. Quiet. Gathering. Pottering. Everyday mindful moments. They matter just as much. Nothing need change or be new, when something so grounding is all ready securely in place.

As always without fail, a little time amongst nature in the meadow ,with my beautiful herd of ponies restores that sense of calm I was searching every part of my mind for, but could not find.

The above is sketched back into focus once more.

It’s all united so perfectly again, as if by the magic of the Hazel tree or the Robin family, even the soothing whiskers upon my hand from our meadow feline and the adoring gaze of equine eyes, as I stumble to them in the mud. It’s all made better and the puzzle is put back together again as if it never fell part. Old friend Anxiety retreats, because, Now is enough.

Nature is still. Beautifully restoring itself with a lot of wonder happening below the surface. Everything is turning gently, steadily, and at its own pace just as it should.

Maybe when you’re entwined with the Earth, the seasons, the land as I am, then maybe my mind and I just need to simply follow Nature’s way. Step out of the every day, and into the place where we fit and where the meadow always eases uncertainty.

To just be. Just breathe. Just cherish now and let everything else fall into place as it’s always done in years gone by.

Nature never lets you down if you follow her lead . . .

So, if you’re a little lost too with what’s expected of you this time of year, I’d say wholeheartedly trust your good, sound, natural instinets. Follow your heart, not anyone else’s . Trust in the slow, mindful restoration of nature, whispering into the dawn ‘Happy New Year’ . . .

 . . . For all we have is now. And Now is all we need. For this is after all, where anything new truly begins . . .

‘ One step at a time. Your heart is seldom wrong. Trust each beat. ‘

 

A Christmas journal of coping through the chaos . . .

Look a little closer . . .

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Christmas is a time for being grateful until your heart is full.

The littlest, sweetest acts of kindness can be spotted, admist the fraught hustle and bustle of the towns merry mayhem of shoppers.

But, look beyond the facade of cheer and you’ll see the niggles of stress, worry and panic take hold. It emerges strongly. It’s even felt in the air like a frost creeping in across the paddocks. But then, I urge you to try and step closer to those feelings that touch us all this season. . .Those fearful, exhausted wide eyed expressions. .  . What’s beyond them? Can you notice? Do you see it too? Look closely . . .

Can you see something a little more comforting on those tired faces as they hurry about their business.  .  . Do you recognise it in yourself? . . . It is indeed that need for love. . . present in us all.

Acceptance and feeling good enough shadows our festive smiles; that desperate desire to make others happy on the special day we build up to with excitement, magic and even sometimes a little overwhelment. Is it enough? Is what I’m giving/doing enough? Am I enough? The spiral begins and fuels us all.

Yet,

Country life slows down a little at Christmas. A come down from the fraught.

At least only for a day and then the rumble of tractors emerge once more, accompanied by the wailing hounds and hunt horn echoing across the valley on boxing day. Thankfully only a mok of the real thing in which the hounds and horses get a racing blast upon the hills, but everything else remains safely tucked away in their wilderness home.

From our meadow I hear it all; also safely tucked away in my own wilderness. No hustle and bustle of shoppers here. No full speed ahead country adventure. No. Just our meadow, watching the world go by this Christmas time. As it should be.

My meadow always encourages pause for thought. I’ve discovered that from a little place of peace wihin – you’ll find it so much calmer and kinder to notice the force driving us all this season. . .

Everyone’s simply doing the best they can with as much love as they have to give away – it’s for all those that make their world go around – and for all those with very full hearts indeed, just trying to make their thank you mean something so much more.

So, when you see that in others, and feel it in yourself, remember kindness above all . . .We’re connected more than ever this time of the year. Let’s support and move through the magic side by side. . . We may just find ourselves calmer and the season less chaotic that way.

Notice the little kindnesses in everyone. In yourself. In the mayhem. In every moment of Christmases beautiful, fleeting presence.

 

Happy Christmas with love!

 

 

 

 

A life touched by horses and a dream

Getting to where you want to be

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Magic is real at Fairytails

” When you’ve been around horses and ponies for many years, you become so deeply connected to the everyday routine that it truly does become part of you in a way no other passion does . . . “

. . .  A life that moves with the seasons, with a creature dependant on the earth, the land and the pasture for survival.

A flight animal that teaches us that sometimes, we don’t need to ask questions, we just need to move freely away from what no longer is right . . .

That is what I did.

This year has seen the creation of those dreams I put in a draw and never thought I’d bring out into the world for air . . . and though it was not easy to make a change and put myself ahead of what others wanted from me, I realised that you cannot make others happy, if inside you’re very unhappy yourself.

It takes a long time to truly accept and believe that. It causes a lot of inner turmoil as you battle with which way to turn . . . but it’s worth the muddle in the end when you finally commit to yourself in the way your body, heart and mind are asking you to.

Time is precious, oh so precious. If we spent too much of it on unhappy things, we forget what true happiness feels like. And then our sparkle dims . . . we lose the key to the draw.

So, as always, my horses have been the sounding board and anchor to where I’m supposed to be, and what I am supposed to be doing . . .  it turns out, you can still live to serve others and make them happy, but you can do it in a way that also makes you sooo very, very happy too . . .

Don’t forget about your dreams . . . they matter just as much as everyone elses, they just need you!

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Curing with kindness

Kindness and treating anxiety gently.

Sometimes anxiety feels like a big mountain you can’t possibly climb. Sometimes it’s a whisper in uncertain moments. Sometimes it’s a flutter of butterflies dancing away inside. Sometimes it’s a dark cloud restricting your chest and sense of stability. Sometimes, though, it’s just quietly in the back ground. . .and over riding it is a little more straight forward.

One thing that is the same however for all of us – Animals and humans a like – is kindness and compassion.

No problem is solved in frustration or anger. No comfort can be given when coming from a place of irritation. Kindness and unassuming compassion however, go a long way to solving life’s hurdles, mountains and struggles . . .

For our animal friends and for each other, even ourselves, kindness feels better inside and out. Why believe the unkind thoughts over the loving ones? What makes the unkind thoughts more worthy?? Nothing at all, other than fear and doubt. . .

Think kind. Be kind. And share kindness.  .  . Its a powerful thing and is contagious! We’re all deserving and thrive much better on that little word. Lets share more of it . . . To each other, and ourselves . . .

The paws on my lap think so too.

20171015_164247My religion is kindness . . .

Finding you ~

No one is you and that is your power . . .

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It was a cold autumnal Wednesday and the meadow was showing it’s transition to winter with gentle ease, as it does each year.

You will no longer find wildflowers, or sweet peas climbing to the stable roof, but you will find fresh mud, hoof prints and the robin family darting about across your pathway.

On this day, and after a dose of courage from toing and froing, I gathered head collars, slipped soft muzzles carefully into them, and marched briskly towards the meadow gate, with two ponies – my bays (they are both a beautiful ebony and chocolate tone now winter has encouraged fluffy coats ) lead ropes, hand in hand.

We walked together towards our faithful old railway line woodland – miles of pathway, enveloped by towering sycamores, field maples and evergreens. We splashed through muddy puddles, crunched in the gold of autumn beneath our hoof steps and welly stomps and together, my ponies at each side of me, we walked, talked and simply enjoyed each others company – just like that.

I may have looked a little funny – a small person with two fairly big ponies marching at my side in the woods. But, as my dear friends, family and pony life would welcomingly  say, ‘ Unique is good! Different is good. Do what’s right for you!’

We’re all on the same page after all in our love and affinity for horses – especially our own! We like to see them as ‘our people’ –  ‘ our kindred spirits’ –  ‘our friends’ . . . not just an animal. When you’re around animals most of the time, you do come to see the little light in their eyes which leads you to their personality.

So, as I walked with my equine friends beside me on that chilly, crisp autumnal Wednesday, I realised how my bravery was returning. How, more time must be made for the little things, because they lift worrisome spirits, and how thinking about your own box, not outside of it, not in anyone else’s, but in your own – will lead you to find the right people, and the right kindred spirits, and the right way for you . . .

And it’s okay if it is a little bit different than what everyone else does . . .

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Stay true to yourself and you’ll never go wrong . . .