Hostess With The Mostess

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In today’s Note From The Herd I want to share a situation that happened A couple of years ago with this amazing horse, Cisco.

I was in the corral with the horses and I was having an awesome moment with Cicso. We were talking and I was petting him. There may have been nuzzling. After a few minutes of it, Lorraine, who was observing with the horses and Sherry that day, came out of the house and was entering the corral. I turned around and began to ask her if she needed help and then, when her interest in working with horses had begun.

She and I started chatting and the next thing I knew, Cicso had walked away, basically as far away from me as he could get and turned his rump toward me. Not good.

I knew in an instant what had happened. I knew that because I had gone from being in my body and super present, to completely in my head and playing “hostess” that I was out of integrity and therefore, the horse wanted nothing to do with me.

The horses are so awesome that way. Such great teachers that show us our glaring issues. Mine was that I felt like I had to be “on.” And I know this stems from growing up with a father who was a politician. I always had to smile and make people feel welcome, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do. It wasn’t authentic. Honestly, I didn’t know Lorraine, I was never going to be friends with Lorraine and there was no reason in that moment to be trying to make Lorraine feel comfortable. It wasn’t my job and more importantly IT WASN’T NECESSARY!  She was fine and did not need me ensuring her comfort.

Lessons for a Lifetime

More than anything, this is the point that I want to make about working with horses in this manner. That even these one-minute encounters shine a light, a very bright light, on who we are and the ways in which we might want to change how we move through the world. I don’t need to be the world’s hostess, nor do I want to be!!! And I am much more aware now of when I’m putting on my “political hostess” hat and taking off my Laurie hat. And the Laurie hat is the one I want tot be wearing. I want to be someone genuine and real. I want to extend a hand in help if you need it, but not because I think that is what will win me some imaginary contest that doesn’t even exist! I want to get to know people, but when the circumstances are appropriate for it. Not during my counseling session!

Last Couple of Weeks

This is the last post that I’m going to write about the horses. I have shared a lot of personal stories and enough I think to help elucidate the many and varied benefits of working with them.

I’m going to close registration for my next Everyday Grace Retreat on August 15. There is one spot left and if you feel it calling to you, I urge you to snap it up!  I can promise you this retreat and the workshop with the horses will absolutely change your life.

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Attitude of Gratitude

When I was a kid, we used to have Al-Anon meetings in our house every week for years. I would always be hidden away in my room, but you couldn’t help but hear all of the stories and the chanting of prayers and sayings that went on during these meetings. One of the sayings that I remember hearing is that you should have an Attitude of Gratitude. It always stuck with me. In addition to Sister Mary Brendan telling me that there is Grace in every situation, I spent most of my formative years looking for the Grace in my life and feeling grateful for what I had.

Today’s Share The Love Sunday comes from Goodlife ZEN and is about 8 Grateful Habits That Will Transform Your Life.  From Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen:

The part that is often missing or de-emphasized is the importance of developing a consistent gratitude habit.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude does take work, but it also works. The secret of those who’ve successfully used gratitude to transform their lives is their commitment to practicing gratitude on a daily basis – including those days when they don’t feel particularly grateful.

Here are the 8 things:

  1. Thank one person every day.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal (with a twist).
  3. Take deep breaths.
  4. Pay attention.
  5. Track your moments of spontaneous joy.
  6. Carry a symbol.
  7. Give thanks before each meal.
  8. Take a look in the mirror.

To read the full descriptions of the 8 items, you can read the full blog post on her site here.

One of my favorite spiritual practices is to be grateful for three things each morning. Just after I get out of bed, I go outside and raise my eyes to the sky, toward the sun, and name three things I’m thankful for. It’s a wonderful way to begin the day!!!

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Let It Begin With Me

I’m a prayer. And with all that is crazy in the world right now I know that the one little bit I can control is me. So I pray. I pray for peace within me. I pray that I have the strength to love my enemies, because man that’s really hard sometimes. To have compassion and love for people that are purposefully hurting other people is hard. And so I pray. Because I really want to keep peace and love in my heart always.

I love to do lovingkindness meditations. Have you heard of it? It’s a Buddhist meditation that calls for love close in, with yourself, and then as you go on it extends further and further out to the world. Here’s an abbreviated sample of what one would look like. I’ll put a resource at the end that will give you a broader view.

Maybe put on some relaxing music, get comfortable and take some time to breathe and do this meditation.

You begin with yourself and this mantra:

May I be safe from inner and outer harm. May I be happy and peaceful. May I be healthy and strong. May I take care of myself joyfully.

Then you think of someone who has been really good to you; a spiritual mentor or good friend.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

The next person you’re going to think of is a dearly beloved person, someone you feel very warmly toward.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Watch them in your mind’s eye and see them receiving your well-wishes. If strong emotions of love come up, take a moment and feel them.

The next person that we are going to extend our circle of lovingkindness to is a neutral person. This is someone that you neither particularly like or dislike. Someone like the your next door neighbor’s gardener or a waitress at your favorite eatery. Holding a picture of that person in your mind, we say:

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

See if you can picture that person receiving this lovingkindness from you.

We next choose to open our hearts and extend lovingkindness to the difficult person. It is suggested that you don’t pick THE most difficult person in your life or the person that has hurt you the most. For now, just choose someone that is difficult or annoying to you. This also isn’t condoning someone’s bad behavior – you’re not saying that what they’ve done to you is okay. What you are saying is that you are a human being with the same desires for safety and happiness as everyone else. That we are all connected and as such, you are worthy of love. If you find that you’re having negative feelings, push through them and continue your feelings of lovingkindness.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Next we send lovingkindness to all sentient beings everywhere without exception or exclusion. Maybe begin by thinking about people in places that you’ve traveled or places that you want to travel. People that you’ve heard about on the news, good and bad.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Now the meditation is finished. Try to keep the positive feelings of lovingkindness with you. If someone angers you during your day you can say, May I be happy and peaceful a few times and then extend that to the other person, may you be happy and peaceful.

If you’d like an extended, guided version of a lovingkindness meditation, I’m offering it right now  to people who sign up to my coaching email list. Click here to do that and after you’re signed up you’ll be taken to a page on my website to listen to the meditation – it’s got beautiful music and my voice! What could be better?

P.S. I love that I began this post with the sentence, “I am a prayer,” by which I meant pray-er, but I also believe that I’m a prayer. Love that.

I would really love to know how you felt after doing the meditation!

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