Space In Between

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“You don’t have to solve your whole life overnight.  And you don’t have to feel ashamed for being where you are.  All you have to focus on is one small thing you can do today to get closer to where you want to be.  Slowly and lightly, one step at a time.  You can get there.”        Daniell Koepke, ‘DARING TO TAKE UP SPACE’

 

I was asked what advice I might offer someone feeling trapped and stuck in their circumstances.  I replied, “We are rarely as trapped and stuck as we perceive ourselves to be.  I think fear of the unknown keeps us in that trapped, stuck space however, we as humans are over comers and with some thought and planning we can spring the trap and un-stick ourselves.”  I thought a great deal about what the “unknown” is.  Can I shed even a little light on it?  I’ve forged the rapids of my own “unknown” and though it’s different for each of us, I do think a few things are similar.  It seems like we talk about the issues and events that lead us to the point of making a major decision and there’s the aftermath of that decision however no one talks about the space in between.  That space in time where we struggle.  Change is not always easy if ever at all, no matter how positive it is.  The space in between the decision being made and where we can see the path leading us off in the distance tends to drop down into a valley of growth first.  That place where we begin making adjustments and course corrections.  That place where we are uncomfortable and long for what we once knew.  What is in our past was familiar and familiar is comfortable.

I felt caged, boxed in.  It was as if I were bound, tied and gagged and I felt utterly hopeless.  I would try to resign myself to the fact that I had picked my poison and what I saw was what I was going to get …..   And yet, there was a still small voice that whispered into my heart, “Jess, there is so much more.”  I would counter with all the threats he’d made over the years.  As I paced my cage I would replay them over and over sure that what I risked losing was far greater than what I might gain.  The inner turmoil almost always reached a fever pitch that culminated in me dissolving into a puddle of tears, soaking the floor.  He had me exactly where he wanted me.  He even went so far as to say one night to a close friend, “What’s she going to do, divorce me?!?!”, laughing with utter disdain in his voice.  So to say that I get “it”, is an understatement.  What I would say now is, “You are never as trapped, stuck or bound as you feel you are.”  Small baby steps taken add up to massive change over time.  For me, it was finally allowing myself to entertain a conversation with that small still voice and beginning to ask questions like, “What do you mean there is so much more?  What does that look like?  What does that feel like?”  

I tend to be an all in kinda girl.  I don’t do much the perceived, easy way.  Lol!  I bolted out of my marriage quite literally, without any sort of a plan!  I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way.  Rather than taking one step at a time, preparing and planning, I hurled myself off the proverbial cliff hoping I might find a parachute along the way to strap on or at the least, a few outcroppings to slow my decent!  Looking back, I may have done things differently in how I prepared however I would still do it all over again!  In that space in between, where I am today and the day I threw myself over the edge of the cliff, I learned what I’m made of, what I’m capable of and I began to find myself.

In that space in between, down in the valley, we are tested and tried.  How faithful are we to the decision we made?  My ‘wasband’ worked double over time in his best effort to woo me back into his grip.  Everything that had ever worked for him in the past he was throwing out there hoping one of those things might take hold of me, might grip me like a grappling hook being cast and set.  The inner struggle began.  How easy it would have been to agree to return to all the false promises he was puking out.  I drove those around me, crazy with my indecision.  From the outside looking in, it blew their minds that I would even consider returning to such a vile relationship and yet for me, it was what I knew, it was familiar and comfortably uncomfortable.  I would remind myself why I plunged off the cliff in the first place, replay all his idle threats that had kept me trapped and feel back into the pain of my soul dying under his suffocating reign over me.  As I did, he would feel his grip slipping and the temper tantrum that ensued only fortified my decision.  I was changing the game and the fury that burned deep within him would erupt in terrifying explosions!

The baby steps in that valley are what carried me along further and further toward the light and out of the darkness.  With each step, each growing pain and each moment of conviction knowing I was doing what was right and true for my kids and I, I began to build momentum and I gained strength.  No one shared with me that the valley would feel dark and damp at times, that the walls would feel as if they were closing in.  No one told me that the growth I would experience would be painful.  And maybe that’s because for each of us, that space in between our big decision and the other side is different, unique to each individual.  What I learned was that I wasn’t as trapped as I once believed I was.

I encourage you to give yourself permission to peak out from behind the prison bars  that bind you.  Allow yourself to have a conversation with the part of you that is whispering, gently stating, “There is so much more for you.”  You are not as trapped, stuck or buried as you might think.  If it’s unhealthy, if it’s toxic, if it’s not working, pick up the bat, step up to the plate and start swinging.  My horses and I are here behind home plate ready to coach, encourage and support you through the space in between as you begin to find yourself too 😉  You can find us at: http://untetheredhearts.com/ , reach out, set up an exploratory call or session and experience what it feels like to move toward the light on the other end of the valley ❤

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”

Wings as Eagles

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To the man who attempted to break me,

I’ve written this letter in my head more times than I can count.  Here, 7 years later, I’m  in a place where I can write this from a more neutral space.  As I’ve researched your behaviors, your illness and character or rather lack thereof, I’ve come to a place of greater understanding.  As I watched t.v. last night I felt as though I was looking in a mirror reflecting my past back to me.  This beautiful young woman was being manipulated and puppeteer-ed by this young man who was so full of himself the others in the group were visibly annoyed and repulsed by him.  As he maneuvered his position in the group through her, I watched as he smugly sat in the corner taking everything in as it unfolded just as he’d orchestrated, through her.  She was completely naive to his scheming and I felt so very sad for her.  His talons already sunk deep into her soul and her way out will not be an easy one.

I am who I am due in part to the life I lived under your thumb.  So many of my reactions to situations now, are rooted in my dealings with you.  The post traumatic stress that sneaks up on me at times, the passive aggressiveness that I know is not me by nature, the lack of trust I have in people in general and the need to hold the world at arms length … that’s all you.  I was unable to hit the moving target of worthiness in your twisted mind and so the residual of that still plagues me at times.  There are parts of me that you scarred and disfigured that I may never be able to completely heal.  The lessons I’ve walked out of this with and the person I have become in spite of your attempt at breaking me …. priceless.

I’ve learned that abusers don’t abuse everyone they come into contact with and those that place any doubt regarding what I lived married to you based on their own experience of you was and is ignorant, irresponsible and cruel.  You were and are an abusive, ill individual.  You degraded and chastised me.  You screamed in my face, spitting all over me.  You humiliated me, blamed me and otherwise spoke ill of me … daily.  You lied to me, withheld finances, love, affection and threatened me all in concert to control me.  And I haven’t even begun to touch on the physical and sexual abuse you gleefully doled out.  You were and you are a perpetrator of domestic violence.

You went in for the kill during that hellish divorce.  Out for blood, my blood, you sorely underestimated me and the amount of fight I still had left in me!  Hell, I underestimated the amount of fight I had in me!  As you drug me through the mud, working double time to bury me financially and steal the kids out from under me, your true colors shone brightly through.  I’ve heard it said that you don’t truly know a person until you divorce them … I definitely had little idea of who the monster in you truly was.  The court room was center stage for you as you put on the performance of your life.  What you failed to realize was that you were exposing yourself and all your weaknesses.  Your hatred for me fueled my healing.

I am who I am, due in part to the life I lived shackled and chained by you.  I think I scared you … no, I take that back, I think I terrified you!  I was and am fiercely independent, strong, smart and something to behold, to treasure and I was and I am everything you could never dream of being.  That 17 year detour in my life strengthened those parts of me that you tried to steal, kill and destroy.  Though I was sure I would break at times, I merely bent in the force of the blast only to stand taller as the dust settled.  I found a grit and determination within myself that I didn’t know I had and it has rocketed me down the path that is my purpose.  Surviving you has perfectly and beautifully equipped me to encourage and support others as they traverse their own difficult and seemingly hellish, paths.

I am who I am, due in part to the fire you threw me into.  Meant to destroy me, leaving me in a mere pile of ashes, it in fact, refined me.  You see, I’ve spent a lot of time learning who I truly am, not through your skewed, clouded, venomous vision, rather through the clear lens of healing and growth.  I am a better horseman, wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend.  And I am one hell of a coach!  I am who I am, because I chose to grab hold of God’s hand as He reached down to pull me up out of the pit you were back filling, press into His grace, dig in with relentless resolve and find the me He’s been molding, shaping, and creating me to be.

You lose.  You lost before any of this went to hell when you tried to contain, control and cage the wild, free, independent spirit that is me.  And I assure you, you will continue to lose as you attempt to tame the beautiful wildness that is in those two beautiful young teens through the same chaotic, controlling, abusive tactics you used on me.  A loser is never a winner.  Losers may scheme, manipulate and force “winnings” however at the end of the day, they are still losers … you are and always will be, a loser.

The difference between you and me is as vast as the galaxies.  You see, I have chosen NOT to be the victim, I have chosen NOT to be a mere survivor, I have chosen to thrive and thrive I will!  While you wither and wrinkle like a wild flower in a vase of filthy water, I mount up with wings as eagles soaring along a new trajectory, my path, my purpose.

I’ll leave with you with this though I don’t know that you are capable of truly understanding what she writes:

MANIFESTO OF THE BRAVE AND BROKENHEARTED

“There is no greater threat to the critics

cynics and fear mongers,

Than those of us who are willing to fall

because we have learned how to rise.

 

With skinned knees and bruised hearts:

We choose owning our stories of struggle.

Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

 

When we deny our stories, they define us.

When we run from struggle, we are never free.

So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.

 

We will not be characters in our stories.

Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

 

We are the authors of our lives.

We write our own daring endings.

 

We craft love from heartbreak,

Compassion from shame,

Grace from disappointment,

Courage from failure.

 

Showing up is our power.

Story is our way home.  Truth is our song.

We are the brave and brokenhearted.

We are rising strong.”

Brene Brown

Signed,

Your Untethered Ex-Wife

“I AM POWERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BRILLIANT & BRAVE” ❤

 

The Magic of a Round Pen

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I could feel his anxiety rise as I blindsided him.  “I know you thought you were meeting us down here to help this morning however that’s not completely true.  What I would like to offer you is the opportunity to step into the round pen with this pretty little red headed fire breathing dragon to experience what the kids have been spending so much time learning.  You don’t have to like it and you don’t even have to like me when we’re done.  My hope is that what I can offer you is a new way of seeing things … a new way of moving through the world maybe.”  Over the course of my time at ‘The Ranches’, what I had observed was a very smart man, measured in his actions.  I knew that if he had an inkling of an idea of what I was about to propose, he would have spent a ton of time preparing for something that can only truly be experienced in the moment.

He stared me down, long and hard.  I was sure at this point he was feeling pretty ganged up on.  With a big sigh he said, “Well, okay, I guess.”  He stood up and slowly made his way over to the gate.  I walked alongside him.

“One more thing,” I said, half laughing, knowing this very well might tip him on over the edge, “Your subordinate is going to coach you.”  I nodded in the direction of the man who answers to him and whom I knew adored that pretty little red headed fire breathing dragon in the pen.  The look of disbelief brought a smile to my face, I had him exactly where I was pretty sure I needed him, rocked onto the back of his heels!

I sat back supporting both men as they began their session in the round pen, allowing one to coach the other.  I watched as both moved from fumbling and awkward to more confident and assured.  The beautiful, opinionated little mare stepped into her role showing up in an amazing and masterful way, honoring both men as they played with their new found roles, one coaching his boss on how to bring his energy up and then downshifting it back down only to bring it back up again, the other, learning to listen and take direction from someone with a lesser title.  As the men found greater clarity and purpose in their new roles, the mare honored their confidence and stronger leadership, matching their energy as she walked, trotted, walked again and then picked up a soft, relaxed trot.

As the piece of work in the pen continued I began to offer insights into what I was aware of.  This wasn’t so much about moving the mare’s feet and directing her around the pen.  It was more about gaining awareness around how we carry ourselves and how our energy effects others and learning that we can actually control all of those pieces.  I was graced with the pleasure of watching him begin to move into a more graceful dance with the mare as he became more and more conscious of the areas in his body where he was carrying tension, shaking them out and playing with how that changed the interaction with the mare.  As the areas of tension began to loosen, the mare rewarded him with more rhythm and relaxation in her gait and her own body, culminating in the mare walking alongside him at liberty, willingly following his lead without hesitation.  As he stood stroking the mare’s neck in the center of the round pen he smiled at me in utter disbelief.  I winked at him, “You’re welcome.”

As he led the mare out of the round pen his steps were lighter, his shoulders looser and his eyes brighter.  The mare had worked her magic and shown up in a big way for him.  My heart was full knowing that both men had gained insight that morning that they may not have ever realized without the support and effortless teaching of that fiery little red head 🙂  The kids began arriving, ready to step into the pen with their chosen equine partners and I whispered a prayer of gratitude thanking God for this opportunity to shift and influence the minds and hearts of those willing to work with me.

The horses, the kids, the grown-ups, each and every one of us has a back story.  We are the sum total of our experiences in life.  After years and years of working with the outlaw horses, the horses considered lost causes, I have learned a really important lesson …….. they are no different from you and me.  The feelings of rejection, not being worthy, good enough, of not measuring up, the feelings of being angry at the world, lost, unwanted, burdensome, the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, frustration and emptiness, of feeling used, abandoned, and shut down …..  we’re no different.  What I’ve had the honor and privilege of witnessing is the ability to heal our back story when offered the safe, sacred space of a round pen and a horse willing to coach.

My horses and I each have their own unique back story.  We are in a state of constant and never ending improvement, of growth and development and we are called to offer each and every person that crosses our path hungry for healing and wholeness, the opportunity to step into the round pen.  Is the round pen calling you?

Learn more about the horses and me at:  http://untetheredhearts.com/

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” ❤