This post is a very open look at my life. I think transparency like this may help others. I hope so! A snapshot of my normal life - I am an academic library director and associate professor at Clarkson University. Additionally, I am a business owner of Natural Horse Lover Farm, LLC. I am a long time Parelli Savvy Club Gold member (and was part of the Savvy Club from the beginning) and am taking Linda Parelli's Pegasus Personal Growth Program for both professional development as well as personal development. I have Rick, my husband of 28 years, 2 dogs (Morgan the Great Dane and Annie (aka Fannie) the Min Pin), our house cat Madeline, 7 farm cats (who just showed up 2 weeks ago), three horses (Fosse & Whiskey, Arabians and Lola our Quarter Horse) and about 40 chickens.
For those of you who don't know, things on the farm have been very stressful for many months. My husband's father died and we allowed his mom to build a house on our property so that he could care for her as she cannot live by herself (but cannot live in our house). The Universe has been really testing us. Now, please keep in mind, I have been pretty quiet because I have been feeling super low. This is not the usual optimistic, happy Michelle. I have had feelings this week like my soul is slowing dying and that my happy life is dissolving. I know, my woes seem pretty serious (or maybe stupid to some) but, they resonate with my week. Yes, the MIL and the consequences of her being here is really taking a toll. I rarely smile anymore. I can’t.
I realized that when I am beyond my coping capability, I disconnect, I stop taking my vitamins, I stop thinking about WW and all related tasks, I don't enjoy my horses or take the time to do so, I don't workout, I fall apart but in a quiet, crawl in a hole and die kind of way so as to not interfere with the world. I stop smiling which for me is a natural facial expression. This is not my normal self but lately, it is. I feel lost. I just have extreme feelings of sadness and loss, like I am grieving. Grieving my happy life while knowing we did the right thing and trying to live a happy life during this storm is hard. I know there must be a lesson in this but damn, the Universe is brutal!
This morning, for the first time is so long I cannot remember, I woke up early (no alarm) and headed to the barn for a morning workout. I have a beautiful finished lounge/classroom/library/zen space to enjoy - the ultimate woman cave! Before working on myself, I took time to clean and reset stalls, love on the horses, and feed them. I fed our new farm kitties and chickens too. The dogs were back at the house sleeping with my husband. It felt so nice to be in the barn, alone, everyone else asleep and not bothering me. Afterwards, I headed to the lounge for a workout. In the past, I would have done a 30-60 minute cardio workout with weights ending the session. For the longest time, I felt like if I didn't do this recipe, I was a failure. The cardio component would be something like using the incline trainer, Zumba, or Leslie Sansone videos and the like. I used to also walk or run with the dogs. Today, I finally opened my Body Groove DVDs (a cardio workout set), something I bought a few months ago. I looked through the descriptions and picked a dance workout. I started it and after about 1 minute I realized, this was not what my mind and body needed. My mind has been so stressed out and the joy of dancing was not something I was ready for. However, on the DVD, there was also a self care segment. I decided to check it out.
Self care is not something I am good at. I am great at coaching others to do self care. I am good at caring for others whether it be the family, animals or clients. I give awesome Reiki and holistic healing sessions to everyone else! This morning, I pulled out my yoga mat, blankets, and bolsters. I did the self care segment of the video which prompted me to finish with a self Reiki session and quiet meditation. I have not taken time to do this in such a long time. I finally felt good, at ease, not stressed, not worried, not sad. I felt whole. I felt like me, if only for that moment. Taking the time to listen to my mind and body was so important today. I believe this will have long lasting implications. I believe this realization may be what saves me.
Later this evening, I am going to take more time for self care. This time, I plan to do a mediation session with the horses. That is an amazing experience that I miss very much. I also think that yoga, Reiki, and meditaiton will be my morning goal for awhile.
Take the time it takes to do self care - you are worthy and worth it! If you need help figuring this out, please let me know.
As many of you know, I am a long time Parelli Savvy Club Gold Member (and was part of the Savvy Club from the beginning). I am also an academic library director and associate professor at Clarkson University - have been in the field of librarianship for over 18 years. Additionally, I am a business owner of Natural Horse Lover Farm, LLC. I have a lot of things going on in my life and my personal and professional life intermingle and feed one another.
Having started my new position and current farm about a decade ago (I cannot believe it has been that long), my career has flourished. I am holding high level elected positions, participating in all kind of teams and boards, really making a name for myself and the University. It is awesome - but I know there must be more. I don't mean to infer that I plan to go elsewhere, but that there must be more I can do as a professional. I plan to retire here. I have an amazing staff, lots of great things are going on at the University - and I am part of it - my work matters to them and they to me.
The farm I have been building with my husband is amazing, state of the art in some respects, and definitely different for our region. I don't have local Parelli people here to connect with - I have tried time and time again. I have made a few horse friends though, and they are great, we just don't speak the same language or can study together.
With the time commitment to work, my horse time has seriously dimished, I have stopped blogging on a regular basis like I used to (my old blog space is http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com/). My goal is to blog here and with regularity again. http://www.naturalhorseloverfarm.com/blog
I won't get into the crazy, really hard personal stuff going on at the moment but suffice it to say caring for family is not easy. In fact, it is really hard and a game changer.
One other personal note, I am working on getting back in shape and living healthy again. For those who know me, that means I rejoined Weight Watchers - because it works for me. (I have a page for that if you want to join as well - you can get a free month, why not?!) Anyhow, more on this in future posts.
With all of it, despite my many amazing successes, I have been feeling stuck, sad, bored, and worried. Therefore, I decided the next step in my life was to take action - and now - it was super important to not wait and get started.
I just started Linda Parelli's Pegasus Personal Growth Program, taking it for both professional development as well as personal development. I wanted to take it for a few years and recently, realized that it could help me in my professional life as well as personal life - then wondered why I waited so long! Although geared towards horse lovers, it is really a plan for everyone and for me, I was able to make the connection to how it would help me in my professional world while being accessible and connected to my interests. If it is not fun and interesting I check out. As I say at most of my professional presentations, I always work horses into everything I do! (This usually gets a nod and hearty laugh - they know me.) Once I had to explain the amount of materials we removed from our shelves (due to the procurement of e-access items) and said it was longer than the Kentucky Derby. People could relate and my message was heard - and thus, again, horses and my librarianship connected!
In the program, I am working on the following: Goals (understanding them, prioritizing, creating, and following through), Attitude, Confidence, Motivation, Taking Action, Problem Solving, Time Management, Creating Good Habits, Being Persistent, and so much more!
Despite just starting and having taken what seems to be hundreds of professional development courses, this one is hitting home. Linda is getting to me (in a good way - and she always has been able to reach me somehow). I already see ways to incorporate these strategies at work for sure but also at home too. It is a good fit - Mission Accomplished.
If any of you are doing the same, let's connect. If you are local - let's get together!
Michelle Young is a horse lover, animal advocate, Reiki Master Teacher, holistic healer, Parelli Savvy Club Gold Member and Level 3 Student, academic library director, professor, and more. Contact Michelle.
This blog was created to share my life-long journey with horses and holistic health. I write about horsemanship, healthy, holistic living, and just about anything else that passes through my mind. Enjoy!
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