The Gift

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I have been taught that dreams are our subconscious’ way of sharing messages with us in our conscious state.  Dreams are gifts from the subconscious.  I had a recurring nightmare that would wake me up every few months for a few years and then it was a few times a month and then a few times a week!  I didn’t share it with anyone!  I never dreamt much and the dream I was having was about as dark as I thought one could be.  I would startle awake moaning and crying, my heart racing, feelings of utter horror coursing through my body.  The fear I felt upon waking was almost paralyzing.  I would get out of bed and rush to the kid’s bedrooms to check on them making sure all was well and that it truly was only a dream.  I’d try not to fall back to sleep, dreading the dream that put such horrific images in my head.  I just couldn’t quite understand why I was having this recurring nightmare from hell!  I didn’t realize then, my subconscious was trying to save me.

We stood in the doorway to my son’s bedroom.  He was asleep in his bed.  My ‘wasband’ had his left hand on the back of my neck as he forced me through the doorway into my son’s bedroom.  He had a gun in the other hand.  As he forced me to my son’s bedside I was filled with terror as he seethed through his teeth, cursing me and angrily muttering words I couldn’t understand.  Then he raised the gun, pointing it at my son.  My cries for help and for him to stop the madness woke my precious boy.  As his sweet, sleep filled eyes began to take in the scene before him, I watched as they shifted from sleepy to frightened.  He began to plead for his life asking why his dad was doing this and as he kept yelling, “Mom!  Mom make him stop!”, I squeezed my eyes shut, the muzzle of the gun pressed into my temple.  My ‘wasband’ yelled at me to open my eyes.  He demanded that I watch what he was about to do.  He demanded that I lay witness to my son’s murder and with that he shot my son in cold blood.  I would fall to my knees, sobs emanating from deep within, reaching for my son’s lifeless body only to have my ‘wasband’ jerk me to my feet with a fist full of my auburn hair.  

He would then force me down the hallway to my baby girl’s room as I yelled in horror knowing full well she was next.  And as he forced me to her bedside while I pleaded for her life, I could hear the fear in her cries as she screamed trying to get out from under her covers so that she could run.  The barrel of the gun pressed against my head once more as I squeezed my eyes closed, praying to awaken from this hellish nightmare.  Opening my eyes as he demanded, my baby girl crying out, “Mama, NO!  Tell him to stop! MAMA!!!” and all at one he pulled the trigger silencing her cries.  Hitting my knees once more reaching for her, watching the blood leave her body I screamed the most primal of screams.  

In my nightmare there were two endings and I never knew which I would experience…

As I sobbed on my knees, feeling utterly hopeless knowing both kids were dead and help couldn’t save them no matter how fast it arrived, I mustered the strength to turn and stare into my ‘wasband’s’ eyes.  As I did, he pulled the trigger and shot me.  As I felt the life leave my body I can remember feeling at peace and grateful that I didn’t have to live without my kids.  The last thing I heard was one final shot as the coward that had murdered the three of us took the chicken shit way out and turned the gun on himself.  

More times than not, my nightmare ended with my ‘wasband’ turning the gun on himself leaving me to suffer through the loss of my children the rest of my days.

To this day, I could go into great detail about my surroundings in the midst of the nightmare though I will spare you the gore.  It was so, so real to me.  I could feel the coolness of the air in the house.  I could tell you which lights were on and which were not.  I could describe to you the sound of the percussion of the gun being fired and how it caused my ears to ring.  I could describe to you the position each kid was laying in and where the blood stained the floor and bedding.  I could tell you where the brain matter was along the walls, door and ceiling after my ‘wasband’ cheated pain and punishment.  I could describe the sound of my kid’s cries and the sound of silence as death filled the house.

The last time I had that dream was shortly before final orders.  It was as if my subconscious wanted to make doubly sure I didn’t forget who my enemy was and the dark forces I was battling against in an effort to save my kids and myself.  I remember the dream vividly though I no longer wake in a cold sweat in the middle of the night terrified it’s more than a dream.

I was hesitant to write about my nightmare … or maybe it’s that I was hesitant to put such awfulness onto paper for all to read (there’s plenty of awfulness in the world these days, I really don’t need to contribute!).  Either way, I decided it’s my duty to share.  Someone may be reading this who’s having their own recurring, nightmarish dream that wakes them in a cold, terrified sweat and as they work to slow their breathing and get a grip, they may be muttering to themselves, “He’s right, you are crazy!  This is nonsense!”  I am here to tell you that you aren’t crazy and isn’t nonsense.  It’s something to take a more in-depth look at.  You’re dream may not be warning you of danger ….. then again…..

Living with and ultimately leaving a covert narcissist is a journey through hell that’s difficult for people to comprehend.  They’ve never dealt with the stealthily conniving, manipulative practices the narcissist utilizes to emotionally decimate their prey.  They intimidate and abuse financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and engage in all out psychological warfare!

To learn more about what my horses and I do go to my website at: http://untetheredhearts.com/

We exist to offer broken, bruised and battered souls the support, love and encouragement that they may not have anywhere else in this world.  When navigating the hellish path of divorce and the painful process of healing the open, oozing wounds left in the wake of a relationship with a narcissistic partner, people need someone with experience, grit, strength, a deep well of knowledge and a hell of a lot of heart to guide them toward the light at the end of their tunnel ❤  I’m that person.

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”    

 

 

 

Endings Leading to Beginnings

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I picked up Highway 60 outside of Socorro, New Mexico and as I headed west the beauty around me took my breath away.  The two lane highway danced and curved ahead of me as far as my eye could see, through the valley upwards toward the beautiful snow capped peaks in the distance.  I had traded the hustle and congestion of interstate travel for the solitude and beauty of this two lane highway.  As I rolled on toward my destination in Cave Creek, Arizona, I found my thoughts drifting back to a time when I wanted to embark on the journey I was now concluding, the timing off and the support non-existent.  At the time, I struggled to understand why it was that the man who offered a lot of lip service, claiming to love me, wouldn’t support me in an endeavor I wanted to explore.

Over twelve years ago as the horse-human healing movement began to gain momentum and greater exposure, I became intrigued.  I had no support whatsoever from my ‘wasband’ and he was sure to roadblock any and every effort I made to investigate and explore some of the programs that were developing.  It was frustrating to say the least.  I knew I was being called to be more however without the support and means to investigate this new paradigm, what could I do?  I was a married, single mother of two toddlers, with no financial means.  I did what so many do with a dream that seems impossible, I tucked it away in my heart.  At that time in my life, I never would have considered that I would be sitting here, preparing to graduate from one of the most intensive, thorough, in-depth, horse-human healing programs out there.

That first night in Cave Creek, as I pulled out my notebook, pen poised, ready to take notes, I felt like a racehorse in the starting gate.  All the other horses were loaded and the chaos and flurry of activity settled into a hushed, anticipatory silence.  Every muscle poised, sounds falling away as I waited for the bell to ring and the gate to fly open!  It was an intensive four days overflowing with coaching opportunities, learning and great depth of understanding.  And in a blink of an eye it was over!

We sat in our closing circle sharing what the week had meant to us and any aha’s from the the training.  I struggled to find words to express my gratitude for all that I’ve experienced over the past two years.  I started this program a wreck.  On the outside I was keeping it together however I knew on the inside there were pieces of me that needed healing, pieces that I couldn’t heal on my own.  I sat there and thought about how early in the program, as we sat in my first closing circle, my mentor picked up a heart shaped pebble and said, “I think this is meant for you,” as she placed it in my hand she looked deep into my eyes and tenderly said, “Your eyes are filled with great sadness, Jess.  Recognize it for what it is and all you’ve gone through.”  Her words stung.  I didn’t want sad eyes damn it!  Now, two years later, one of my clients from the weekend shared with the group that when she looked into the depth and clarity of my eyes during our coaching session she felt as though I was reaching into the back of her soul … her words brought tears to my eyes.  I came into the program with my guns blazing, terrified to allow anyone near me, full of fear, wild eyed and ready to pull the trigger.  Now here I sat in that circle, two years later, with my guns holstered, calm inside.

My mentor had promised me that my inner lake would be clear again.  In the program and through the work we would do together, the silt in my lake would get stirred up, mucking up the water on the surface and boy did it ever!  It was part of the process.  As I soldiered on, facing my fears, experientialy working through some of my past traumas, the sadness began to lift.  It wasn’t overnight, however it lifted just the same.  I replayed in my mind some of the work I had done personally and thought about those who I’d been humbled and honored to coach through work of their own.  I considered the friendships I’d made along the way and began to form the words to close out my week.

Our eyes met and I began to share, “My husband no longer has to bear hug me when he wakes me up from a deep slumber.  You see, used to be, when he’d need to wake me, he would bear hug me tight so that I couldn’t take a swing at him.  I’d punched him a hand full of times in the past as I startled out of my sleep and he quickly learned that if he didn’t want to lose his front teeth his best bet was to have a good hold of me before waking me.  Even the kids had been well trained to grab my big toe or say my name from afar if for any reason they needed to wake me.  I lived with the angst that I might flatten one of them when they came into my room in the middle of the night sick.  I don’t startle awake like that anymore.”  Tears began to well up in my eyes.  “I know I wasn’t easy.  The defenses, my brain’s strategy to keep the pain at bay and the fear I lived behind were difficult to get through and I know it.  And I know that I have more work that I cannot do right now since I am still dealing with him on a regular basis.  In the five or so sessions we worked together I know I frustrated you however, you stuck by me and continued to work with me.  I was sure that you groaned when you saw my name on the training roster knowing my particular work would leave you or one of the student coaches sweating.  Thank you for not quitting me!  I have a fire in my belly for this work.  I cannot wait for the starting gate to fly open.  My children are better for this, my husband is better for this, my horses are better for this ….. all because you mentored me, loved me and believed in me.  Thank you … I’ve got this!”

After packing up the rest of my stuff and saying my goodbyes to the friends I’ve grown to love and adore, I crawled into my pick up, exhausted and reflective.  I eased on out of the driveway pulling out onto the road that would lead me through Cave Creek, Carefree and Scottsdale to the beautiful two lane highway.  As I began to turn loose of the horses under the hood of my dually pick up, picking up speed, climbing up out of Payson toward rim country, I heard the bell ring, “AND THEIR OFF!!!”  The gate has flown back and I’ve sprung from the stall, the track ahead of me.  I can feel the traction of all I’ve learned beneath my feet.  I can hear my heart as it beats for the clients I serve.  And unlike any race I’ve ever run before, this one I’ve already won ❤

This work is unlike any you have ever read about, witnessed or experienced.  I too had worked with several counselors and therapists as I searched for answers and healing.  Intellectualizing through talk therapy is one very small piece to the puzzle and the hurt, the trauma, the unfinished business remains ever present.  Through the experiential nature of this work, that pain, trauma, unfinished business we all carry through our lives, is left in the arena dirt, once and for always!  You don’t have to revisit it or talk about it again because it’s healed and complete.

I encourage you to go to my website, http://untetheredhearts.com/, and explore all that my horses and I have to offer you.  Though my niche is in divorce, specializing in healing the wounds inflicted by a narcissist, I am trained to work with all types of trauma, pain, loss and the regular old bumps, bruises and scars everyday life leaves us 😉

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” 

Visigoth

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“I’m really, really, really sorry …” I said almost begging for forgiveness, my husband on the other end of the line, “I couldn’t leave him there.  He needs a lot of groceries but I think he’ll work out for me.  His feet are a mess but I can get them into shape.  He’s got a lot of try in him.  His coat is pretty rough.  Better nutrition should take care of that.  It’ll be okay …”  I could hear my husband smile as he said, “It’s okay babe.  I trust you.”  I had twelve hours worth of windshield time to come to terms with my decision.

The kids and I had traveled to Texas to pick up a mangy, giraffe looking Thoroughbred who needed manners, minerals and a lot of groceries!  His feet needed trimmed, his coat was rough, full of guard hairs that he’d never shed and I could see each and every rib, vertebrae along his spine and the points of his shoulders!  As we barreled up the highway with him in the trailer, I questioned my intuition and my sanity.  What was I thinking!?!

Most every horse I’ve welcomed into my life has been sight unseen.  Liam was no different.  Horses can be so different with each person and in different environments, I’m not usually one to waste much time asking a lot of questions outside of their history.  Liam was trained for the race track though he was never entered.  That could mean a lot of things however, one look at his stringy body told me that he didn’t have much gas pedal and was probably slow out of the gate.  The lack of nutrition would account for his lack of speed and as tall as he was, it was probably a feat in and of itself for him to get his long, spindly legs coordinated enough to move in one direction when the gate flew open!

I put a blanket on him before I unloaded him off my trailer.  I didn’t need my husband seeing his “condition” right away!  Lol!  And, compared to Texas where he was sweating standing in the round pen mid-April, Colorado was cold!  Aside from a little ground work, Liam was allowed to be a horse.  That first year he was out on pasture with my other horses and the cows learning what it means to be a horse again.  When everyone else might be getting fed 3 cups of grain, Liam was getting 8 cups of grain and an added fat supplement!  He grew … a lot and put on good healthy weight 🙂  His coat began to shine and his eyes filled with curiosity and happiness.  We spent time learning each other and he became more and more comfortable and secure with me.

This past spring we started our ground work with more purpose.  I finally climbed up on him and as I settled into my saddle I giggled to myself!  He’s the tallest horse in my pasture now!  And ….. he’s still growing!!!  We spent this past summer hauling just about everywhere I could take an extra horse.  He’s been ponied on many trail rides and stands tied to the trailer learning patience as I ride another.  I am so excited for what 2019 will bring us.

Liam is the teddy bear in my herd.  He loves when I throw my arms around his neck and hug him as tight as I can!  He’s always got his lips on something!  It’s rare to find the tank heater still in the tank when I go out to feed!  He loves pony tails, hoods on hoodies and anything that may be hanging out of your pockets!  I share with people that it’s hard to be grouchy or have a bad day when I’m around Liam.  He’s brought even more playfulness to my herd than we already had.  The three geldings can be seen on any given day rearing and jumping about with each other as they play the game, “Thou who moves their feet first, loses!”  I’ve spent so many years around horses that had been banged up in life.  Horses that have required a very slow hand, an ocean’s worth of grace and patience and great depth of understanding.  Liam is a pretty clean slate in contrast!  He’s in my life to teach me to have fun again, to enjoy myself and to be a little less serious about things!

It will be a while before I feel comfortable putting Liam in the pen with a client.  Not because he’s naughty but because his antics may frighten a person who’s never been around horses.  He’s still got some growing up and maturing to do and that’s okay with me.  He’s with me for life.  We’ve got nothing but time ❤

I encourage you to check out my website, http://untetheredhearts.com/ to learn more about what Liam and the rest of my herd are offering.