Shamanic Coaching

Have you ever gone around the world with your ideas, chasing after inspiration, only to come full circle back to where you started, realizing that you were meant to be just where you were, with only slight modification?

In my case, I thought I was leaving my old self as a coach behind to head down a new path as a shamanic practitioner. I wasn’t exactly sure how that would look, but forged ahead with enthusiasm, building a new website, marketing in different ways, and gradually building a local clientele. And then I started getting calls from clients looking for a shaman who is also a coach. Funny how the universe works.

I started to see that my healing sessions with clients took on another dimension when I weaved coaching techniques together with shamanic healing principles. While my clients had been seeing improvement with shamanic healing, now that I fully embrace the blending of my experience, my clients are having profound experiences of transformation and healing, often in one visit.

Thought to be the oldest spiritual practice in human history, shamanism is now making its way into corporations, organizations, and even Wall Street — yes, there is a broker who has studied shamanism and now works with other brokers to bring energy consciousness to the bastions of capitalism. To watch a video about Larry Ford, the Wall Street Shaman, click here.

Larry Ford, Wall Street Shaman

Why is this ancient practice making a resurgence in our culture? A basic premise of Shamanism is that everything is a dream, co-created by each individual with the assistance of spirit guides and allies. These spirits can take many forms — angels, ascended masters, our ancestors, great teachers, animals, the elements, etc. A shaman has learned how to access these benevolent and compassionate spirits to restore the balance that has been lost in people and on earth.

Shamanism is all about intention, vibrant creation, and manifestation — whether it’s prosperity, your business, relationships, or your lifestyle, what do you want to create in your life, and how do you change your thoughts and vibrational energy to make that happen? My intention is that what you find in my newsletter, on my website, and in the information I share through my radio show and learning programs will help you navigate our 21st century world with ease, especially during this time of global spiritual awakening.

Core shamanic principles have been used by thousands of people for thousands of years in every culture. Whether it’s Celtic, Egyptian, or Native American, shamanism has helped people throughout the ages change their dream, and from there change their reality.

Are you ready to ignite your imagination and change your reality using the ancient wisdom of shamanism? I invite you to download my free ebook Purpose & Passion by registering at my website, www.theshamanicpath.com, then explore the site to find out more about energy consciousness and how it can benefit your life. Get ready to transform!

Steve Jobs’ Influence

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important…

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.

There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

For those who know me, I am a techno-geek and a Macintosh evangelist. Back in the mid-90s, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, and the first colored iMacs hit the market, I was the General Manager for an Apple Retail Store. So yesterday’s news that Jobs had died, really hit me. He was a creative genius that will be remembered in the way Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell are for their achievements. The world has lost a great visionary.

“There is no reason not to follow your heart” is a reminder to us all that when you live life with passion and purpose, great things will manifest. I have had several significant set backs in life, a couple in the last few months, and have been battling with all those external things he talks about. When I saw this quote today, it lifted my spirits in a way nothing has for a long time. Thank you Steve Jobs. You are still influencing, even in your death.

In Native American culture, there is a belief that when one shares all that one has, in order that the People might thrive, honor and abundance is brought to the giver. Jobs brought this to his work, his ideas, and his customers. His life is a great model of this principle. He will be missed.

Here is the commencement address at Stanford University in which he spoke the quote above. It’s 15 minutes, and well worth the time spent viewing it.

Heading West – Kind of…

Horse as Teacher Book 1

Before leaving on my road trip, my colleague and partner in the Horse as Teacher book series, Kathy Pike, had asked if I would stand in for her shamanic teacher in her workshop in June in Carbondale, Colorado. I had agreed, thinking it would be on my way back home. However, when I found out my brother and his band, Snydley Whiplash, were having a 25th anniversary reunion for the 4th of July, I wanted to be there for the performance. I also wanted to go back to Arkansas to meet with more of the women and see if the land was truly drawing me to be there.

In the end, I decided to make a dash to Colorado without stopping along the way for sightseeing. After teaching at the workshop, I would see where the road led me. At that point, I would either go back to South Dakota or head west from there.

Kathy’s workshop was the 3rd of 4 held over a year’s time for her apprenticeship program, teaching students to become Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching practitioners and facilitators. This week-long session was focused on the internal work the participants needed to do to become a practitioner. Kathy has a shamanic colleague who had been there the first two sessions, but couldn’t teach in this one.

I arrived the two days before the start to help Kathy prepare. We went to pick up her assistant Reggie from the airport the night I arrived. Reggie is a therapist who decided to follow her path of working with horses and after living 60+ years in New York, moved to Texas just before meeting Kathy and starting to work as her assistant. Holding space for all of the horses, participants, and other people involved is a big effort. We were also all three staying in Kathy’s small casita, so being able to work well together was critical. The three of us had a great time, balancing each other throughout the week.

Coaching With Horses Workshop Ranch

The next morning we drove the 30 miles to the ranch where the workshop was being held. The drive out was spectacular, taking us into a long, gradually narrowing valley, the road winding along a tree-lined river. The pastures were filled with horses as we weaved our way to the far end of the valley. The ranch sat below a beautiful view of a show-capped mountain, the water flowing past dandelion-filled pastures, the horses grazing contentedly in the bright sun. This was a little piece of heaven.

The first three days of the week would be an experiential workshop. In that portion, there would be one person who was not part of the year-long program. The rest would finish the week, but Blaine was only there for the first session. Kathy had explained on the way that he was the husband of a woman who would be taking the program the next year, and he was there to experience some of what Tracy would explore. She had also explained that he was a minister and wasn’t sure how the Shamanic piece of the workshop would be for him.

That question was answered immediately when we met. It was an instant, deep connection. As we walked to the stand of trees by the small waterfall from the pond to the creek that I had chosen for our teaching, he started peppering me with questions. Blaine is a handsome, curious man with a deep strength and gentleness that is perfectly suited for the work he does. I definitely felt that we had had many conversations in many lifetimes.

Setting of Shamanic Teaching

The other participants were also very curious and connected to the shamanic teachings I shared with them. I taught them to journey to find their power animals and a spirit guide for the work they would be doing during the next few days. Then they journeyed to those spirits to find out what they needed to change or remove from their path in order to move forward. I also explained the medicine wheel, making sacred space, and creating rituals and daily practices, no matter how that looks for each person. There seemed to be a number of breakthroughs in the teaching session, and much more as the week progressed.

The next day, I took the other half of the group to the teaching space. Again, there were profound learnings that they shared with me. The setting, the subject, and the participants, as well as the facilitators made the week a very powerful grounding experience. But most of all were the horses. They are most amazing beings.

As events unfolded after returning to South Dakota, I began to see what had compelled me to go home. It didn’t take long.

My brother Tony and his wife Sandi and their children, Danielle, Kelsey, and Andrew, had moved from the farmhouse where I had grown up into my parent’s house in town a few months earlier. I had originally planned to stay at the farm, since I would have my own space and time to roam and reminisce. However, no matter how much you want to go back to what you have known, it’s never the same. The moment I walked in the house, I knew it wasn’t going to be what I had envisioned.

Instead, Tony set up his fifth-wheel trailer in front of the house in town and I had my own space to set up my office and be close but not in their way. Then the winter storms that had followed me across country came. For a couple of weeks it alternated between threats of snow and rain. Mind you, this was in May! South Dakota had been drenched all spring, and it continued. I came to find out that was true across all of the western states when I finally turned my car west toward home. However, that was a ways down the road, literally and figuratively.

My niece Kelsey was graduating from high school so I jumped in to help prepare for the celebration and events involved in that rite of passage. I also caught up with work, editing several projects. The days were full.

Then one day as I was working, my brother knocked on the door and asked if I wanted to talk with his banker. Kevin was there for his annual visit with Tony about the farm loans from his bank. Apparently, the bankers there go to the farmer. As it happens, Kevin was also my family business’s banker and Tony thought it would be good for me to meet him in person.

As we talked, Tony said that he had talked with Kevin about the possibility of selling the family land. This was huge news, as Tony farmed the land, and by being willing to sell it, he was in effect saying he was ready to walk away from the only thing he had ever done.

Kevin suggested that now was the best time in terms of land values. The recession hadn’t affected the prices of farm land and they were at their highest. He said that the market was still going up, but that he wasn’t sure how long that would last. There was also the consideration that capital gains taxes would be going up considerably at the end of the year.

After Kevin left, I talked with Tony and we decided to bring it to the family call we held every other week. When my siblings heard about our conversation, it was decided that since I was already there, the others would travel home for Memorial Day weekend and we would have our annual retreat to decide if we would actually sell the land and how that would look if we did. Because of the sensitive nature, we were not to tell anyone what our purpose was. Fortunately, we have had annual meetings before, so our many cousins and relatives weren’t curious.

Not only could I not write about this part of my trip due to the confidentiality, my energy was suddenly focused on the emotional impact on my family of selling the family land. I knew then why I was meant to be there. My days were filled with phone calls between siblings and visits to the county courthouse to get information. What I realized was just how much I didn’t know about the land I had grown up on. A whole new world was revealed. And because Tony and I had always been close, I was able to spend quality time with him talking about the decision and how that would impact him.

During this time, I realized how much my shamanic work and my coaching really helped see perspectives that did not come easily to everyone. We are very fortunate. My siblings all get along very well. We communicate well and each of us brings our individual talents to the family business.

Of my seven siblings, several were ready to sell, but two were not. While Tony was no longer eager to farm, he still wanted to find a way to maintain some land for his horses. Carol also wanted to build a hunting lodge, but didn’t have the money reserves to purchase any of the land on her own. After many phone calls, I suggested that she and Tony buy back some of the land after we had sold the rest. We were almost certain that one or more of our cousins would be highly interested in purchasing the land. I was sure that they would agree to that type of swap.

Once that question was answered, the rest of the pieces started to fall into place. When we met at the retreat, we wrote down our intentions and our objectives for the weekend. In the end, all of them were met with love, joy, and excitement. We decided to sell the land. We called our cousin Max and asked him if he was interested. He was. He made a generous offer and we accepted. We are now in the midst of finalizing the deal. Max offered some of the land to his brothers and another cousin, and by the end of the year, it will have transferred hands to them.

Because money is energy, and this opened up a new flow of that energy to everyone, several of us experienced a release of things that have been blocked for years. Houses sold, jobs changed for the better, and for me, suddenly I had more work than I could keep up with. I’ve experienced how not having money can affect your life. The irony is that even though the deal isn’t complete, the energy has shifted. This was a huge realization for me and has affected me in a multitude of ways. Although I didn’t have money in the bank, I FELT prosperous. It was coming from within and the law of attraction shifted into high gear.

Falling In Love With the Land

After Kelsey’s graduation and before Memorial Day, I squeezed in a trip to Arkansas to visit my good friend Timido. She had been trying for years to get me to come and visit her. In college, I had sold books door-to-door in Memphis, Tennessee and had spent quite a bit of that time in eastern Arkansas. I could remember no reason for me to be excited about visiting the state again.

However, I had never been to the northwestern part of the state, Fayetteville to be specific. What a surprise!

Thirty years ago, a friend of Timido’s had purchased 300 acres on the side of a mountain in the Ozarks. She had created a women’s community, putting the land in a trust. Timido was a member of the community, and envisioned her friends from the NW would join her someday. I was one of many targets.

I was smitten with the land. It is enchanting, peaceful, and beautiful. I awoke every morning and hiked for miles, exploring the rough roads and trails. I am one of those fortunate people who aren’t affected by bugs, and so despite walking in lush meadows and through forests, the chiggers and ticks stayed away. I was the envy of the other women.

As I prepared to leave to go back to Omaha on my way to South Dakota, I felt a deep longing to stay there in the beauty of the land. It was the first time I had felt that way about a place other than the NW in a very long time. Timido suggested that I consider becoming a member of the landholder’s group. She had arranged for me to meet as many women on the land as possible, but because several were gone, I would have to return if I were going to apply. One of the requirements of becoming a member is to have approval from all of the other members. I told her I would think about it.

On one of my many hikes around the land, I had seen an old shack sitting on a ledge above the road. Exploring what was left of the buildings, I looked out from the rickety deck. The trees had grown up in front of where I stood, but I could see that it was a stunning view. Rolling mountains, a beautiful valley below, and just beyond the road, I saw one of the ponds that had been built on the land. I felt at home and at peace.

On my drive back to Omaha, that piece of land kept calling me. I was so entranced, that I missed my exit and two hours later discovered I had been driving east, not north! That had never happened to me before on my many miles of driving. At first I was very mad at myself. It was already a ten hour drive, and I had just added four hours to it! However, something shifted in me that day. My spirit guides calmed me down, showing me the beauty of what was around me that I wouldn’t have seen if I had not gone the wrong way. They showed me that it was all in my perspective. I could be mad or I could enjoy what I was experiencing. Either way, I was already there and couldn’t change the circumstances. It was my choice to let the lower frequency energy overtake my joy. Or to be in a space of gratitude and self-forgiveness.

I looked around me as I drove through SW Missouri. There were rolling hills, with layers of green, under a beautiful sky with puffy clouds. It was really just about the most idyllic drive I had been on the entire trip. I was taking the back roads, so there was very little traffic. It was extraordinary.

I settled in to drive back to my road when my shamanic mentor, Jan Engels-Smith, called me to ask about some work she needed help with. I have never heard her be frustrated, but, as she said, she was having a hard time being in her joy at that moment. I chuckled, because I had just been in that same space only moments before. I told her what I had just done, and by the time we hung up, we were both laughing. One of Jan’s favorite sayings was “Choose joy in adversity.” Sometimes you just have to be reminded of what you already know.

By the time I reached Nebraska, I had a complete vision of what my house would look like on the land in Arkansas, where each room would be, and even what pictures would adorn the walls. For the next several weeks, I would fall asleep to the image and wake to the dream. I had never experienced anything like it. It felt like I had fallen in love.

I began to look at the possibility of returning to Arkansas to meet all of the women and really decide if that was where I was meant to be. Much of it would depend on how the Memorial Day Weekend shaped up, and if I was still going to be teaching a workshop in Colorado in June.

Further Tales of My Travels…

It’s been awhile since I made a blog post. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say. In fact, this quest became much more than I had ever imagined it would be, an odyssey that took me 13 weeks, 13,400 miles, and through 13 national parks and monuments. Somewhere along the way, as I traveled roads new and familiar, I realized it was a retrospective look at what has shaped me, and at the same time, gave me new perspectives on how to transform and move forward.

So I will go back and reconstruct some of the amazing moments, life-changing experiences, and incredible insights I was so fortunate to have.

When last I posted, I was on my way to visit family. I’ll breeze through some of this, so as not to bore you. However, there are a few things that I’ll share here because they were either shamanic in nature, or have an impact on stories I will share later.

Having had the challenges I had on the first part of my journey, with sickness, finances, and juggling work with travel, I was relieved to arrive at my eldest sister Linda’s in Omaha, Nebraska.

When I was 11, Linda came home from a summer selling books door-to-door after her freshman year in college. She handed me a tape series by Zig Ziglar, called See You At the Top. It was my introduction to personal development information, and I was hooked.

Linda, who became highly successful in sales and recruiting and is now a professional speaker and trainer, has influenced me in so many ways, I’ve lost track. Not only did she introduce me to the world of self-help, she steered me to coaching and to the idea of creating collaborative books by coaches. She has been much more than a sister to me; she’s a mentor, a colleague, and a confidante.

Linda and Reece

I stayed with Linda, her husband Jerry, and son Reece for four days before I moved on to visit Carol, my youngest sister, who lives in Sioux City, Iowa with her husband Brad, and sons Liam and Aiden. Within minutes after walking in the door, Carol looked at me and said, “You look like you need to have a massage. Let me treat you to one.” (I think she had noticed that I couldn’t even stand up straight.) Within minutes, we had an appointment for the next day.

The next morning, as I was preparing to leave for that appointment, Carol’s good friend and next-door neighbor Shelley popped in. She and her husband Brian had finished building their house in the fall, and in February they had awakened to a fire that completely destroyed the interior of the house. Luckily, no one was hurt, but they had to move out for 4 months while the house was rebuilt.

Shelley didn’t know I was in town, so was surprised to see me. We talked for a bit, then I said I had to leave for my massage with Kathy Awtry. She said that she was also seeing Kathy that day, just after me! The universe works in mysterious ways, as you will see.

During my session with Kathy, we talked about my study of shamanism and the healing and energy work I do in depossession and soul retrievals. She was fascinated and full of questions.

A couple of hours after my massage, Shelley called me and had barely said hello when she asked me what I do. After I clarified that she was asking about my shamanic work, she said that after she had explained to Kathy what was going on for her, Kathy had suggested Shelley call me to have me do some work on her and her house.

Apparently, she and Brian, as well as their children, had been seeing a spirit in their house prior to the fire, specifically a woman. Neither had ever had experience with spirits, but they felt strongly that she was somehow involved with the fire. They had also been experiencing behaviors that weren’t typical in their relationship, with lots of anger and frustration, before the fire, as well as after.

Having never had any experience clearing energy for houses or land, I wasn’t sure what I would do. I decided I would approach it the same way I would a person: call in the spirits, do a drumming extraction while journeying, and let the spirits guide me in what to do next.

What an amazing experience! I immediately saw the woman in my mind. She was afraid, but not of me or Brian and Shelley. She was, in fact, trying to help them. It was her abusive husband’s spirit that she was protecting them from. His spirit was also there, elusive, lurking, trying to avoid me and what I was doing. The woman explained that he had not only abused her, but had ended up killing her, dumping her body in the nearby lake, and no one had ever discovered or said anything about her disappearance.

She went on to explain that he was an evil man who had caused a lot of people harm. They had lived on the property, and the image I was shown was of a run-down trailer in a very destitute trailer park on the land Shelley and Brian and Carol and Brad had built their houses on.

The woman had been trying to warn Shelley and Brian that her husband’s spirit was trying to do them harm, that he was the cause of the change in behavior, and that they needed to protect themselves from him. It was not her, but his energy that had started the fire.

After I finished drumming and worked with my spirit helpers to pass their souls to the light, I shared with Shelley what the spirits had shown me. She was flabbergasted. She confirmed everything that I had relayed to her. Brian had grown up in a nearby town, and had told her that there had been a trailer park, that it was a very poor area of town not that many years before, and that there were several not-so-nice men who had lived in the area.

I suggested to her that we do a depossession for her and Brian as well. We did one for her that night, although Brian was out of town.

The next day, Shelley said that the energy in the house was completely different. She hadn’t even wanted to go into the house, but after the work I did, was now completely free of that feeling. When Brian came home a few days later, he confirmed the same for him.

I let them know that when I passed through again on my way to Arkansas, I would give Brian a session, too. They were both relieved to know the cause of their misfortune, and were eager to know more about shamanism and energy work.

The next day, I headed to my hometown, Howard, South Dakota.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Silly me. I forgot to upload my video of the last National Park I visited before heading to South Dakota. One of my favorites :-) .

Enjoy!

Arriving in Denver was the demarcation point between Phase 1 of my scenic tour through the National Parks and my gentle glide into my home state of South Dakota and visiting relatives along my path to get there. I feel like I am going through a sort of retrospective, not surprising as my 50th birthday is on the horizon.

Seeing my niece Christina is always great. She is beautiful, inside and out. This was the first time meeting her fiancé, Justin, and I truly enjoyed our conversations and time together.

Justin had to work the next day, and Christina had class in the morning, so instead of going to Rocky Mountain National Park, Christina and decided to go see Body Worlds & The Story of the Heart at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and then go see Hubble at the IMAX theatre in the same building.

Body Worlds & The Story of the Heart had come to Portland, but for some reason, it didn’t appeal to me to see real human bodies that had been stripped literally to the veins and tendons. But a few months ago a friend had mentioned that she had really been amazed with the exhibition. Christina had heard that as well. So we went.

What an amazing creation our body is! Especially the heart, from which everything else expands. If it is true that we create in our imaginations what happens in our experience, then we are amazing creators of an intricate spiritual machine. If that is the case, just think of all that we can create with even more limitless thinking. Seeing each organ, each capillary, the systems that carry us, that move us, that inspire us. It was truly a fascinating exhibit that made me realize how precious and amazing life is.

And to think that the human body is only one of millions of species of beings operating from a heart, with systems that function in perfect unity. That doesn’t include the oceans of water, the clouds in the sky, and the earth that holds it all in its loving embrace. We have really dreamed ourselves a grand place to be, and an amazing way to be in it.

After leaving Body Worlds, we made our way to the IMAX theatre to view Hubble. Astronauts filmed the movie while they made the final attempt to fix the problems with the Hubble telescope so that scientists could continue to view the far edges of the universe, those other worlds that sometimes seem beyond our imagination, but are brought into our view through an incredible combination of knowledge and technology.

We had moved from the inner exploration of the body to the outer exploration of the universe. The parallels are astounding.

As humans, we are made up of billions of cells that create systems that propel us, support us, keep us alive, forever expanding and changing until the end, when we return to the source of light, an infinite nothingness from which we are created anew. The universe is made up of billions of stars, heavenly bodies that form systems, swirling and morphing, changing and expanding until the end, when the universe collapses into the void of darkness, an infinite nothingness from which it will ultimately be born again.

There are no coincidences in this universe. Everything has a reason, a purpose. We are all stars, made of stars, in a universe of stars.

It was a fascinating experience, and a wonderful stay with Christina and Justin. Next up? Omaha and my sister Linda. I may not blog as frequently for the next month or so. I have some projects to catch up on, and I won’t bore you with my visits with relatives unless I have some aha moments to share. See you soon!

Monday, I was able to get in touch with PayPal and they credited my account while they investigate the charges. Lisa hired me for editing work and paid a retainer, so I visited the Dove Creek bank on my way out of town. As always, things seem to work out, even when we can’t imagine that it will.

No matter what happens in life, there is good in everything if we are just willing to look for it. If I hadn’t had financial trouble with PayPal, I wouldn’t have mentioned anything to Lisa, and I wouldn’t have had the learning I received and the breakthroughs I made. It’s all in how I accept what is happening. When the moment presents less than joy, I ask myself, “How can I expand in positive ways from what just happened? When I do that, when I really look at things from a 360-degree view, the perspective gives new insight and direction and joy returns so much more quickly.

This trip has been an enormous help in teaching me to be in the moment. On a road trip, there are so many possible choices. It’s like the picture in M.A.S.H. where there are road signs with mileages pointing in every direction. Go here. Go there. What to choose? The unknown can be scary, or extremely exhilarating – or both.

There have been so many instances where, really, there is nothing I can do but to breathe, wait a few moments, and allow the next moment to see where I will move next. As I stay in that place of acceptance of what is, I feel myself following my inner knowing with more ease and joy.

I have always operated better on the edge. I understand now that the edge is the moment. Taking a leap of faith is balancing where you are at that edge of acceptance with forward movement into the unknown, trusting that the bridge will come to meet me. I don’t have to worry about finding or building it, or try to control how it is accomplished. The support is there; I just need to create the image of it in my mind and it will be there when I need it.

I left Vista Caballo and traveled north through a beautiful series of canyons and mesas, paralleling the Delores River for a long distance, climbing steadily to Grand Junction. Picking up the Interstate, I headed east toward Denver to visit my niece Christina and her fiancé, Justin for two days.

At Vista Caballo, I finally had a chance to catch up with myself, both physically and emotionally. When I made the final inspection of the Raven Lodge prior to leaving Oregon, as I locked the door for the last time, I looked at the beautiful space that I was fortunate to have lived in, saddened that I had to leave. It was then that my spirit guide whispered in my ear, “If you think this is beautiful, wait until you see what’s coming!”

From that moment until I reached Colorado, I had almost no thought or emotion about having to leave the Lodge. When I realized that fact at Lisa’s ranch, at first I thought that I must be in denial; how could I not have grief? Then, I thought that maybe that had all settled in my body instead and that was why I had gotten sick. But truthfully, neither seemed true for me.

What I began to understand was that I feel a deep trust that everything is happening for a very specific reason. My soul is directing this journey – both my life and this road trip. My spirits are supporting me. This trip has been an opportunity to revisit my path and based on that view, start to look to a new direction. Once I had a chance to catch up and breathe, I could see much more clearly that everything along the road has been a reminder of what I love – and what I’m capable of.

What I hadn’t been able to do because of either weather or being sick was to hike. Lisa’s conversation with me the previous day had spurred my thoughts and hiking is how I work through things. Lisa and Jess encouraged me to explore their land, explaining where the boundaries were, so off I went. Their property rises from their buildings up to a small rise where there is a 360 degree view with three separate mountain ranges: the Ute Mountain range to the southeast; the Abajo range to the west; and the La Sal Mountains to the northwest.

Abajo Mountain Range

Abajo Mountain Range

La Sal Mountain Range

La Sal Mountain Range

Ute Mountain Range

Ute Mountain Range

I followed the dirt road to the top where Jess is building the third cabin. I stopped at the few ancient piñon pine trees along the way. There are very few trees on the mesa; mostly there is sagebrush and red dirt, great land for range riding. I sat for a few minutes in the space they have created under the trees, but the cold wind was blowing directly at me. I didn’t want to cause a relapse of a cold, so decided to keep moving.

When I reached the cabin I saw why they chose the location. The cabin’s back deck faces the Ute Mountain range, while its front window takes in the La Sals. From the loft you can see the Abajo range. Knowing Jess’s building skills, when this cabin is finished, it will be cozy and beautiful.

After leaving the cabin, I walked for a distance east until I came to a fence line. The spring snow melt had caused their seasonal creek to overflow and I could hear the rush of the water below. I followed the fence line to a corner intersection of three fences and crossed over the east/west line to continue. I was reminded of when I helped my dad build fences on the farm in South Dakota, the corner junctions being critical to the sturdiness of all the lines that emanate from that point. Each fence line disappeared into the distance. Although their end point was unknown to me, I knew that each had a specific and meaningful intention, much like my soul’s journey.

I found a place to cross without having to climb over the barbed wire, and within a few feet I looked down to see Lisa and Jess’s dog chewing on something and realized it was the horns of a very large animal. At first I thought it was an elk, but on closer inspection, it was a deer. I’m not a hunter, so don’t know how many points the rack was, but it was intact and whole, including the skull. In fact, the entire skeleton was there. I had hoped to find a full rack for years, so I hoisted it onto my back, the skull resting on my shoulders and the rack encompassing my head.

Full Deer Rack

Deer Rack and Skull

I picked up the sound of the rushing water again and began to follow it back to the ranch. As I came over the rise, I saw the sun begin to set on the Abajo range, in colors of purple, orange, and pink, a beautiful backdrop to the ranch buildings. It was in that moment that I had a huge insight.

Vista Caballo Sunset

Vista Caballo Sunset

That morning, Lisa had come to me and said she had a realization after our conversation about prosperity. I had shared with her my belief that prosperity is a measurement; abundance is a mindset. I feel truly abundant in my life, despite not always being financially prosperous. My ego wants to focus on the prosperity, my soul on the abundance. There is a huge misconception that in order to be spiritual, you must be without prosperity. I don’t believe that. However, it is necessary to have balance between the two.

When she first saw me that day, she said she had been reminded of the image of a Buddhist monk, who carries with them the robes they are wearing and a bowl, trusting that everything will be provided for them; and it always is. She suggested that perhaps that was my way to be in this life. To have an abundant mindset is to trust.

We also talked about what I was doing with my genius, that part of me that is there to fulfill my purpose in life. While my original reason for doing a road trip seemed to be for the experience, I was finding out that it is much more. It has been a chance for new perspectives on life, to experience joy in adversity, to reflect back and see where I have been in order to look forward to what is to come.

Lisa had also asked me at one point what was keeping me from having everything in life that I wanted, since I had so much talent and ability. Why wasn’t I going for it?

In my aha moment, I realized that I have been afraid to put everything on the line because the last time I did that for the restaurant, it had been a financial failure, although in so many other ways it was the most amazing experience for me, my employees, and my customers.

I hadn’t jumped off the edge again because I feared that it would be the same financial outcome. I’ve been overwhelmed with the idea of having to gather my energy and resources, just to have it fail.

It occurred to me, whether I did or did not pursue my next inspiration, I was creating the same result – financial struggle. Staying safe hadn’t produced any better results than trying something new and different. If that were the case, why wasn’t I taking the next leap of faith? Wouldn’t it be better for me to jump and see where I landed, than to play it safe, since the outcome of the latter hadn’t been any better than the former?

Excited about what I had just realized, I quickened my pace to return to the cabin and write down my thoughts.

As I approached the barn, it occurred to me that there would be no way to put the deer rack into my car. It was huge and unwieldy. I decided to let Jess and Lisa determine its final resting spot. Short of putting it on the hood of my car, it just wouldn’t travel very well in my packed car.

I realized then that the rack of horns was a metaphor for my life. I’d been looking for this thing for a long time, and when I finally found it, I had too much other stuff keeping me from having it. I’ve been seeking inspiration, and instead of making it happen, I have allowed other stuff to keep me from living it. There was that theme again: I must die to the old way of thinking in order to bring in what truly fills me. It is time to start living big.