Heart Dancing with a Horse


View More: http://haleykrusephotography.pass.us/lyncarpenterLyn Carpenter has an unusual profession – she is a certified life coach, but she uses horses to guide and heal her clients. It’s hard to believe, but when you hear her describe the incidents where the horses knew exactly what to do, your doubts will disappear.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Lyn and learn more about her passion for this work. I was impressed with her fierce desire to support women in mid-life.

Lyn is certified in the Equine Gestalt Method and firmly believes that horses heal and clean energetic blockages. She describes the process as “the horses take the pain and shame, and they don’t hold on to it. Instead, they drop it in the dirt.”

Lyn and her horses have helped women overcome trauma, abuse and even anxiety. Because of this work, unfinished business from the past was released so they can now live in the present moment.

After listening to this episode of Heart Dancing Radio, please visit Lyn’s website at  BlissfulHeartCoaching.com. Read the testimonials of women who have worked with her to grasp fully the depth of healing that has occurred. As one woman said, “Lyn helped me stand tall again.”

After learning about Lyn’s work, I was hit by a sudden realization.

Working with Lyn Carpenter is like Heart Dancing with a horse!

How to Step Out of Your Lizard Brain


There is so much pain being expressed in the world. All of the angry words, shouting and demonstrating against something or someone seems to have reached a crescendo.

What is going on? Why have we lost our minds and fallen into terrorist behavior that threatens, bullies and confronts? Look behind any of the #movements and you will discover strong emotions fueling the rocket of change.

A valid question to ask : is the rocket going anywhere? Or is it just an explosion in the cultural mindset that connects people with the same strong emotions?

It feels as if we are more separated, alone in our silos of conviction that we are right and everyone else is wrong.

The logical conclusion to this approach is continued divisiveness, separation and “otherness.” Everyone is a victim of something…and nothing is accomplished. Any changes only come after much angst and energy has been spent, creating a victory but extending the war against “the others.”

There is another way.

The Mindfulness Secret

When you feel yourself being triggered by something you read or heard, take a moment to check into your body. Notice if you are experiencing any of these physical reactions:

  • elevated heartbeat;
  • short, faster breaths; or
  • heat spreading through your body;

Your body is communicating to you that it senses a threat. It could be mental or emotional, but your body has gone into the flight or fight response. Adrenaline is pouring through your veins, making you feel powerful and indestructible.

There is another effect of this survival reaction. Your ability to access the logical and reasoned part of your brain is momentarily disconnected. The oldest part of your brain takes over, the “lizard” brain. Choices made from the lizard brain do not create loving actions or acceptance of others. Instead, the only choices are to fight or flee.

Lizard BrainIn today’s world, the anger, chaos and destruction of meaningful conversations are fueled by the lizard brain.

Mindfulness enters the scene when you recognize that your flight or fight response has been triggered. Instead of giving your lizard brain the controls to the rocket, take a moment to understand what your body is telling you.

How? Step away from the trigger.

If you read something online that made your blood boil, look away and breathe deeply. If it is a person who caused your angst, pretend you just received a text message, look at your phone, and breathe deeply. The point is to momentarily distract yourself to allow time and space for your body’s response to recede.

The second step is to allow these emotions and your physical reaction to lessen BEFORE you share your thoughts, comments or reaction. Sharing words and actions from the lizard brain only adds fuel to the fire.

The third step is to notice the difference it makes when you chose a mindful response. Instead of confrontation, did you see the issue from a new perspective? How did you feel after you hit send? Better or worse?

After being mindful for a few times, notice the consequences to other people. Did your choice to respond and not react impact them? Is there a softening in your relationships that allows for more acceptance of a different viewpoint or opinion? Were you able to find common ground that you could both agree to?

Conclusion

The end result of reaction (from the lizard brain) versus response (from your logical, reasoned mind) are predictable.

  • Lizard Reaction:       You are stupid and wrong if you don’t agree with me.
    • Result:                 Separation, unbending conviction, and damaged relationships
  • Mindful Response:   I see your point and I agree with parts of it.
    • Result:                 Connection, creative solutions, peaceful conversations

The question to ask yourself is this:

“Do I want to be right or at peace?”

Living from your lizard brain is exhausting, debilitating and frustrating. It doesn’t build anyone up – instead, it tears down anyone who disagrees with you. Your lizard brain only wants to be right, and it will go to extremes to prove its rightness. 

The cost is your sense of peace, your security in the world and your well-being.

Cultivate your mindful response muscle and you will be more thoughtful in your interactions. Open minded discussions can be shared, and you will learn something from the other person’s point of view.

Mindful Response

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

 

 

 

 

What Can a Grasshopper Teach You About Life?


Moving through a milestone birthday sparks introspection, analysis and hopefully, forgiveness of yourself and others. The stories you created about past events and the people involved shaped your idea of self. These are the stories through which you filter reality.

When you step back and look at these shaping stories from a different perspective, you suddenly realize that they are no longer true. You have grown past the limiting stories from your childhood or young adulthood, and you didn’t even realize it!

That is the wonder of a milestone birthday. You assess the past to curate the present to create a different future.

What About the Grasshopper?

tobias-knauer-739430-unsplashYou may be wondering when I am going to explain the title of this article. Stay with me and it will become crystal clear.

One way I continue to experience the growth of my self is to read inspirational stories, books or poems in the morning. A poem by Mary Oliver that landed in my inbox this morning is what prompted me to write this post:Grasshopper

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

What a great question to ask at any age, but especially when moving through a milestone birthday!  My answer: to stay awake and aware of the wonder and majesty of everything around me, to allow God’s love to flow through me into the world, and to grab hold of inspired action and see where it takes me.

What’s your answer to that question??? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance.

Time Travel


Time has always fascinated me. Although time seems to be real and can be measured, why do we experience it differently?

Imagine sitting in a dark movie theater watching a movie. You are totally immersed in the drama playing on the big screen. You are entranced, oblivious to anything that is going on around you.

When your friend nudges you to let you know that she is going to the bathroom, it takes you a minute to connect with what she is saying. You don’t even notice when she returns!

Afterward, you can’t stop talking about the movie. The action, the tension, the action. Your friend can’t believe that you loved it that much. She was totally bored, tired of the noise and couldn’t wait to leave.

You each experienced the same event in completely different ways. And those differences affected how time felt as you moved through your experience.

For you,  time was suspended because you experienced the movie as if you were part of it. For your friend, time was a snail, slowing dragging its way across hot concrete, leaving a slimy trail of inevitability.

You Can Control Time

Time begins and ends with you. As your thoughts and moods shift and change, time is stretched or shortened to match your internal state. It’s almost as if time is Saran Wrap, encasing you as you move through the moments of your life.

Try this experiment. Before you leave for your next appointment, errand or delivery, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply. As you feel your body calm, tell yourself that “I have all the time in the world.” Repeat this phrase several times and then go on about your day. When you feel anxious about not having enough time, use the phrase while taking deep breaths. Then notice if your experience of time changes.

Time is Your Friend or Your Enemy

As you begin to see that it is your decision about how you are going to experience time that molds it, you can get more creative. Deciding that time is your friend and it supports you will produce a much different experience than deciding that time is your enemy and is out to destroy you.

It always come back to you. And your choice.

old people and love

Experiment with these concepts and become an observer of your experiences. When you begin to see this process, you can change those steps that no longer support you.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Mindful Focus – For Students in School and Students of Life


Mindful FocusMeditation

It’s the time of year when the specter of final exams is close enough to create a cloud of visceral fear that trails behind students. Test anxiety can grip the most dedicated scholar and ruin the end result of their month-long efforts.

When I was studying for the bar exam, I hit a wall of fear. I graduated from law school with respectable grades, had a great job at the firm I wanted and was ready to start my career. I had climbed the mountain and was ready to begin my next adventure.

But one thing stood in my way.

The Bar Exam. Just typing those words still causes my heart to race a tiny bit. It is a cruel joke on aspiring lawyers. Endure 3 years of law school, and you’re still not done. Graduate and receive your J.D. degree.

And you’re still not a lawyer.

The Bar Exam is the final hurdle. The last summit to conquer before you can practice law. You have a bit over two months to study (at least in my state), and you don’t know if you passed until four months later. You have already started your legal career, and your future career depends on passing. The first time.

To say that law graduates studying for the bar are under a bit of pressure is such an understatement I won’t even try to come up with an appropriate analogy.

Taking exams and staying calm under stress is an art and a science. When I was studying for the bar exam, I didn’t know how to stay centered, mindful and focused. I somehow managed to pass (Thank God).

I wish I knew then what I know now.

How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Help You Focus

According to Jon Kabat-Zin, generally considered to be the “father” of mindfulness in the West,

Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a specific way, that is, in the present moment, and as nonreactively, as non-judgmentally and open heartedly as possible.

When you practice being in the moment, then the next, and the next, your experience of the moment is at its peak. The past no longer exists, and the future has not yet arrived. All that is important is the here and now, which you experience without judgment.

Doesn’t that sound like a great way to live? Research studies have proven the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of mindfulness. Peace, calm, and compassion as just a few of the many ways that practicing mindfulness can change your life.

As a student, being mindful while you study can help you understand and remember the information. Setting the intention of focus, awareness, and memory before you study is the key. And the best way to do that is to listen to a guided meditation.

Meditation is one way to achieve mindfulness. By slowing down and watching your breath, you focus your attention on what is happening at this moment. Stress and anxiety cannot exist in this space. Your mind is clear, and when the meditation is over, that clarity will help you focus on the information you are learning.

It’s using your mind to improve your mind.

The Mindful Focus Meditation

Find a comfortable place to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap. Your back should be straight but loose. This meditation is less than 25 minutes, so give yourself about 30 minutes for the entire process. No interruptions (cell phones on mute, computer on mute) and no distractions.

Listen to this meditation in the morning as soon as you wake up. It will help you stay focused in class or when you are studying. If you listen again during the day or at night, it will ease anxiety and increase confidence in your ability to understand, remember and retain the information.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Fake News


Dear Fake Forgiveness Human:

Fake news has become quite the topic of conversation. It has entered the conversation and tends to stir up strong and passionate feelings.

Did you know that there is also “fake forgiveness”? It’s been around a lot longer than fake news and is just as destructive.

Fake forgiveness is all about you – it circles back on itself. It never releases the hurt or upset; it only ties it up with a big bow so you can pull it out and show your friends.

Real forgiveness is also about you, but it springs from a yearning to learn from the experience, grow and expand into something bigger. It comes from a heartfelt desire to heal as quickly as possible.

Take a moment and look at this chart that shows the differences between fake forgiveness and real forgiveness.

33-Fake vs Real Forgiveness

Consider the times in your life where you thought you forgave the other person, but the hurt and resentment were still there. Can you see now that you were not really forgiving? Tomorrow I will share the secrets that dogs learn at the foot of their mothers.

Tail wagging furiously,

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P.S. Why not check out my book, Drop the Leash: Let Go of the Past and Love in the Present? It makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for the dog lovers in your life.

Call Me Forgiveness


Dear Has-To-Be-Right Human:

Have you ever thought about the cost you incur when you insist that your position or story is the right one, without any regard to the pain it may cause someone else?

No, I didn’t think so. Otherwise, why would you insist that you are right, even when it’s hurting the other person?

Because you have made being right more important than seeing with love.

The need to be right is what prevents you from forgiving in the moment. Dogs do this instinctively; humans…not so much.

Over my many lifetimes, I have collected a list of questions that will help you make a different choice. When you are in an argument or situation, and you know that you are pushing the “have-to-be-right” envelope, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I feeling right now? It is love or fear?
  • If I am feeling fear (or any of its cousins, anger, sarcasm, arrogance, etc.), why am I afraid?
  • What if I chose to love in this situation instead?

Your natural state is love. You knew this as a baby. Babies don’t hold grudges or fail to fall back in love once their immediate needs are met. Babies don’t have a need to be right (dogs don’t either). Then why do most adult humans forget how to fall back in love?

Because of their need to be right. It’s ego-based and separates you from everyone. Think about it – then use the questions to drop back in love.

Your dog can show you how.

In these days leading up to your big Heart day, I asked some friends of mine to help me remind you that you came from love, you are love, and you are seen.

Call me_Forgiveness._

You can be the person your dog thinks you are.

Hang in there,

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P.S. Why not check out my book, Drop the Leash: Let Go of the Past and Love in the Present? It makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for the dog lovers in your life.