Archive for August, 2011

About an hour outside New York City, in the Hudson Highlands, you will find a community called Warwick. Like most of the communities in that part of New York State, the homes are sprawling century old properties which speak of old wealth. The surrounding area is hilly and pastoral. Horse ranches and mixed farming abounds.

A few minutes out of Warwick, you will find Amity Farm, a training facility for budding equestrians (www.amityequestrianenterprizes.com) . It is Amity Farm that attracted us to Warwick, specifically two young ladies, Corey and Christine, who own and operate the business.

Amity Farm is more than an equestrian business however. It is a place for self-discovery through our relationship with horses. Jim, myself and our artist colleague, Tracy, were invited to participate in a day long program facilitated by Corey and Christine which offered participants a unique opportunity to discover more about themselves through horse companions.

Although I am not an expert on horses, this is what I learned that day. Fundamentally horses are no-nonsense kinds of beings. In other words, they get you. They know if you are calm or frazzled, honest or deceitful, grounded or scattered and they respond to you accordingly. They connect with you from the inside out. They will not be bullied or pushed around by you. The only way to really communicate with them is to be truly centered and sure of yourself.

Throughout the day at Amity Farm, we experienced a number of activities with our horse companions which truly did hold up the mirror. Those of us who participated were forced to see ourselves with new eyes, to understand that true leadership comes from deep within and connecting with others rather than be forceful and pushy. We learned about personal boundaries and how easily we allow these to blur when they are challenged.

As for my personal experience, following the workshop I had my first lesson in horsemanship with Corey coaching me through mounting and riding a horse. For some of you that may not be significant but as this was a new experience for me I had some initial trepidation. ROM, the largest of all the horses we played with that day, was my mount – he was very patient with me. Once in the saddle (and this was the greatest challenge for me) Corey gently coached me to get centered, both with my breath and my posture.

Corey, who calls this program “Ride Your Life”, stresses the importance of sitting in your own power. You can only communicate fully with the horse when you know who you are and sit confidently in that place. This is personal power, the ability to see yourself through the eyes of truth, knowing your strengths, gifts and talents and acknowledging them with gratitude. Through their intuition, horses know this about you. I guess that’s what they mean by horse sense.

I share this experience with you, as I am learning that there are many ways in which to discover the truth of who we are and how we play in the world. It had never occurred to me that I could learn anything from a horse, but then, until recently, I did not hang out with horses. This may have to change.


Until Next Time…



Read Full Post »

I have been on vacation for exactly six days now, excluding weekends and the Civic holiday. I don’t count these as they are days I would normally gift to myself anyway. Vacation is an interesting time for me as I am sure it is for you. I keep telling myself that I can’t wait to put my feet up, get in some serious hammock time, bask in the sun (with lots of sunscreen) and read the latest New York Times best seller. And then the first day of vacation arrives, the hours span out in front of me. There is no schedule. There are no work projects to be completed. The ‘to do’ list is empty and I can breathe, finally!

That’s when the ‘tug of war’ begins. Suddenly the ‘to do’ list is resurrected, now filled with other items outside of the usual work ones. There are garden chores to be completed, the garage to be cleaned and perhaps the basement too, repairs on the deck, doors to be painted. Is this the ‘staycation’ I dreamed of. NO!

I need a Permission Slip, perhaps even a prescription from my doctor.
Something like: Two hours ‘being’ time t.i.d. (three times per day).
Best taken twice after meals with an ample amount of water and an occasional glass of wine.
Feet should be elevated and head well supported.
Accompanied by 15 minutes of meditation or daydreaming.
No self-critics allowed during this ‘being’ time.

I like that prescription – is it one you could follow? Or, like me, do you sometimes equate stopping, being quiet, settling in with a great novel to being lazy? It seems to me that when I was young I had no problem with this. As I have grown older I seem to have a greater sense of urgency about getting things done. Why is that? It is time to change gears.

One of the things I know for sure is that busyness precludes being quiet and that each of us, both you and I, need that down time. I call it opening space. This space is important because that is the time when we can actually receive, whether this means receiving from friends and family, or simply receiving from the ‘Universe”. If you have no time for reflection, you curtail your ability to learn, to think about your life, to ponder the important questions in your life, and to be open to new answers. I know this because when I choose to give myself the gift of time, not only do I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually better, I become more creative and attuned to what is next for me and our business.

It is interesting to notice that the word vacation is derived from vacate. Typically we vacate our premises or vacate our work. But perhaps we need also to vacate the usual routines of our life, the ‘to do’ lists, the family obligation and give ourselves the gift of time and space.

Here’s what’s up for all of us. Life, whether vacation or not, is filled with a number of ‘tug of wars’, our desires and wants versus the ‘shoulds’ often imposed on us. At every step we have choices to make. We get to choose what fills our days. We get to choose how we manage the space in our life.

If you are committed to your journey of self-discovery, I encourage you to become conscious and aware of the choices you make every day for you. It is time for space management – discerning what you give your energy to, how your daily doings feed your spirit and how much time you need specifically for you, that important downtime. Life is a journey, one that is meant to be lived fully and enjoyed.

I am headed for the hammock!

Until next time… Betty

Read Full Post »

I AM ON VACATION!  It’s true, even the author of the book ME FIRST – If I Should Wake Before I Die has trouble slowing down. It’s not that I lack being time every day as I have learned the importance of the 1% rule, dedicating at least 15 minutes to myself everyday. It’s just that when you own your own business and you love what you do, you sometimes forget to stop and breathe and take an actual day off.

I found myself lollygagging  in bed this morning. I had scheduled myself for a 7:30 a.m. walk, but when the alarm went off, I simply curled up with Tasha, one of the four felines in our home, and continued to doze. Oh that felt so good! I finally made my way to the front porch where I found the sun shining warmly, and after applying a liberal coat of sun screen (my derm. would shoot me if she found me in the sun naked!) I started reading a book I have been working on for a few weeks and which has triggered my impatience – what will happen?

The gardens are also calling to me – I like to putter around, weeding, digging, dead heading. The thing with gardens is that they change everyday and if you don’t take the time to appreciate them you will miss something. And isn’t that like life.

Jim and I have this daily mantra, roadSIGNS is open for business. We are attracting opportunities, potentialities and possibilities to expand our work in the world. New perfect clients are entering the doors of our business and we are showered with amazing abundance everyday. And yes, that mantra continues even during our ‘staycation’ as I have learned that part of attracting new business is creating space, emptiness. You can’t attract new possibilities and so on, if the space is too full. And so my work at this moment is to release all that no longer serves me in a very conscious way, the old ways of doing things and some of me being habits as well. That takes breath, reflection, relaxation, and simply stopping.

I hope you are taking some vacation time this summer as well and that you have the wisdom not to pack it full of activities for you, your husband and possibly your kids. There is nothing wrong with that, I simple want to suggest that you schedule ME FIRST time for yourself and create the space for your own spiritual expansion. You might be surprised at what comes in. I’ll keep you posted regarding my own discoveries.

Until next time…


Read Full Post »