Wednesday, 21 March 2012

no h-word? no promises.

Wow, what an interesting perusal when I thumb through the archives of this blog.

I began writing here, more from a professional perspective, with my background as a psychotherapist fueling more motivational and less personal blog posts. As my book progressed, I took a fork in the road and blogged more from an author's perspective. Then, with our move to New Zealand, I couldn't/can't help focusing on all the exciting (self) discoveries. But what can't be ignored is how heavily I've focused on my relationship with my straight off the track, harness racing Standardbred: my RockStar.

Thank you for your patience. Blogging our time together served its purpose of documenting the journey so I would have something to refer back to if I ran into problems training him. For the most part, I think we are safely bonded and growing together. Now, with the impending purchase of a miniature horse to be a paddock mate for Rocky at our new home (where we will be at the end of April), I could go even more h-word crazy in this blog, but I will try to restrain myself somewhat. I can make no promises. I decided a while back that this is my one and only blog and it will change flavors depending on what is going on my life.

The content of this blog only goes skin deep.While a few of my American friends "complain" about how perfect my New Zealand life looks I need to make the point: shit happens. I just don't blog about my deep, dark, personal shit. It wouldn't make me happy; a fairly simple concept, aye?

So until next time . . . But I'll leave you with a photo of our soaking wet future paddock mate for Rocky, yet to be named.  He's five months old, just weaned and comes to just above my knees.  His owner thinks he will peak at about 31 inches. I love that he looks like my first love/horse, Misty.

Ringo.  Five months old.  Just weaned. First day of handling, harness, lead rope, leading.  He was amazing.
(added March 22, 2012)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The word of the day: Trust

Recently there is a recurring theme in my life: "trust."

The word "trust" ties in to many other issues- honesty, loyalty, respect, love and for me, inner peace.

Having been brought up in a emotionally tumultuous environment, at a very young age I made a vow to myself that when I could make my own choices, I would choose peace.

Of course, I haven't always had or made that choice. Our children aren't always the bearers of "Om." Past relationships sometimes proved rocky, but the resilience I learned as a child frequently put me in the role of mediator, peacekeeper, until, in a few cases, the relationships had to go- it was either me or them. And I owed it to myself and my family to stop being the relationship worker bee and intermediary.

Here I am in New Zealand. I feel the undeniable bond with my soul connections in the states and it as if we are telepathically connected; escpecially my 89 year old mother and me, who always "knows" when I am going to call. These relationships are cemented in honesty and trust.

Major life changes highlight who and what you can trust in your life. But the most important lesson has been trusting myself. Not being in the middle of people's stuff, literally, has given me room to be driven by my own growth and motivations, and at this age and with a health issue that is very stress-sensitive, that has been an important paradigm shift.

My relationship with my fresh off the track, green, Standardbred has been so important to me because we are both on a journey of growth together. And trust is at the core of that journey.

Yesterday on our ride it was once again evident that he had been traumatized with the racetrack experience. As we passed a home building site with a blaring radio and construction, he froze. His body was trembling. Shaking, actually, from head to toe. I quickly realized how much the radio would have sounded like the announcer at the racetracks. He would quickly swirl around and erratically and emotionally, try to escape.

Instead of thwacking Rocky and trying to overpower him we took our time. I asked the house to please turn off the radio. One of the workers eventually came out to the road to show Rocky it was okay. After twenty minutes, and the same amount of near dismounts, RockStar was finally able to relax enough to pass. With that he learned, once again, that I was not going to lead him into danger.

Imagine if I would have been angry and kicking him and hitting him to get him to go, to teach him a lesson? To try to provoke instantaneous change? It would have taken our relationship back to square one. Many riders are driven from that place, of having to show the horse who's boss and using aggression to do so. As with human relationships, sometimes you have to stop forcing it to be a certain way. Give people a chance to find their own path. Sometimes you have to pull back and wait. Or let go. And trust your decision if that decision is coming from a place of inner peace.

There is a fine line between letting yourself be emotionally trampled, weathering rough storms with others, and working harder than others do in relationships. For me, when that line blurs, it is my cue to pull back and work on the only thing I can truly have any "control" over: myself.

And I'll continue my very concrete learning experience with my RockStar and be ever guided to show him that he can trust me. That I am coming from a place of peace. That I only want positive growth for him. That I am his leader he can trust to keep him safe and in turn he will learn to consistently keep me or any other benevolent rider safe.


There are myriad ways to explore the word "trust" and today this was mine.

Monday, 12 March 2012

the month in brief review


Time flies.

Want to make time fly even more? Be in a play that rehearses for eight weeks and then has a run of eleven shows over three weeks. Four more to go starting Wednesday. The end is near. (throw house-hunting in there and it is a recipe for your time evaporating)

Being in Death and Taxe$ has been a blast and I feel fortunate to have been chosen. It has been so nice to meet and act with some wonderful, wonderful folks. I've also found it an interesting experiment to act after a ten year hiatus following my brief resume of a handful of plays. 

I wouldn't change a thing, but I'm not going to be jumping to be in another play. All other interests have had to go to the wayside. I'm grateful I had a smallish part. The other actors have very challenging roles and are on stage most of the time.  They have done brilliant with it!

Here are some of my fabulous and wacky fellow actors:

Speaking of not having enough time in the day leads to my frequent topic . . . RockStar! Horses and having and interacting with horses in the way they need is extremely time intensive. I understand why folks with multi-obligations feel like they never have time for their horse. I'm looking forward to getting back into full-time horse work. If a move goes through as we are planning, I will likely have another Standardbred of one of Stephen's coworkers who has had very little time under the saddle. She has asked if I would work with her horse and that sounds like a good option for a paddock mate and an extra horse. We'll see.

On another note, Rocky and I had our first (Parelli) Natural Horsemanship lesson with certified trainer, Jane Cook. She travels from Auckland periodically and has a waiting list of folks to give lessons to and hopes to turn this into a full time gig. It was worth the wait. I think she was as impressed with Rocky as I am and our work had paid off; she advanced us to Level 2 (rather than starting us on Level 1) based on our work we had done from our research. I think she thought we were a good team. I would highly recommend Jane. You can reach her here: 021 2574704 ; 09 236 4326  or email at

Jane going over the lesson with Rocky.
We've experienced some awesome Northland art of late.

The sculpture symposium was astounding to watch over a period of ten days as sculptures came to fruition and we won the bid on our (and many others') favorite in the auction:
ours- the light doesn't do it justice

another work during the 10 day process

As well as being in a play, we saw an amazing performance, The Quarry, by the very talented older teen group of local actors. It was a multidimensional, multi sensorial, creative sensation that had been workshopped under the leadership of Laurel Devenie. I'm looking forward to following her work. I'm thrilled that at least one of our children gets to grow up from a sprout in this creative zone. Here's a shot from the show after the walk through intro had completed and the "staged" show began:
Have I mentioned how much we enjoy being in a land of seasonal fruit and vegetables????  This is my latest crack:  white fleshed peaches.  They are sweet as sugar and a feast for the senses; even more so knowing they will soon be gone.
my current addiction
Have I told you how much I love the Koru and have always been drawn to the spiral, which had attributed to my Celtic heritage?Here are some amazing photos of the real thing I took- a sprouting fern frond:
The Koru
The excellent realtor that has been helping us- Jude Copland (you need HER if you are looking for a house in the Northland) has repeatedly said, everything will just line up and be effortless when you find the right house. This is what I saw in many varieties around the house we put a bid on today:  
                                                     Koru at THE house

my logo- I had been using before we moved to NZ &
I knew the significance of the Koru in NZ
Recently my friend and Adventure Mom, Dawn Picken, came to visit with her pahtna, Pete, and her children Fiona and Finley. After being widowed, Dawn has been on a two year round the world adventure and after falling in love here she HAS to go back to the states this week. For how long? When will she come back?  Will she come back? How will this affect the children? What will happen to this love? Fortunately for those wondering, Dawn is very forthcoming on her blog. You can follow her adventure HERE.  Selfishly, we hope she comes back to NZ soon.
Fiona kneads, Pete watches

Seaside playground- Atticus, Fiona, Finley
Atticus and I will be heading stateside for much of April.We are looking forward to seeing the family and especially squeezing my 89 year old mommy!!!  She rocks!!

Please forgive me, for I know I have typo'd.  YAWN . . .