Optimism Redefined

January 14, 2015 at 1:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I have been enjoying a renewed sense of self the past couple of years. This year I experienced loss in a beautiful way. This has allowed me to reflect on the nature of love and loss and impermanence. I now know that love never leaves. True love does indeed last forever whether or not you are in the physical reality of each other.

Spending time alone with my horse has brought me to a new place of appreciating alone time and the optimism which comes from self reflection. I had the opportunity to reconnect with someone I used to hold dear to my heart. We spent a couple of weeks getting to know each other again and he was ready to move forward. I realized I was ready to move on. I still love him and always wish him well but our journey together is complete…at least for now. I have learned from another never to say never.

I have found surprising joy in my choice to let this relationship go. I find joy in the everyday company of myself as I plan my journey forward and my move back to France and eventually Portugal. I wake up each day excited about getting my business in order and ready to create new art in a new country. I no longer require another person to tell me how beautiful or special I am. I know deep in my heart I am unique and special in my own way and when I am ready to share me again I will remember that fact. ❤

I look forward to a healthy love with someone as independent as I am and one who understands we cannot change others to fit our mold. I surprise myself at how often I say no when I could easily say yes. My path is my own for now.

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Life Lessons from the Pony Farm

March 23, 2014 at 8:39 pm (Freedom, Health, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Polo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sometimes it is important to question your own motives. I ride horses because of a life long love of horses and I find it to be the greatest exercise which never feels like punishment.

I’ve had fitness trainers with great results but I always felt like the gym was filled with chemical cleaners, sweat and an air conditioning system which should be cleaned a bit more often. Not a natural way to fitness. So last year after a tete a tete with the black dog of the death world I was determined to find a more natural way to stay fit. I use fit loosely to mean healthy and able to do all I want to do and avoid illness, not enter a fitness challenge.

I literally fell into playing polo and from day one was deep sweating the kind of cellular detox neither hiking mountains nor running is capable of providing. I know I used to do both regularly. I still hike for communal reasons but gave up running because frankly it is not healthy over time. O I can see the outrage in the runner’s eyes as they read this but ask any old runner how their knees and hips are.

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Yeah yeah I hear you all thinking how can a sport that has a very real danger of being thrown off, clocked by a ball or mallet be safer? It is because you train to minimize those risks and accept that full throttle living involves calculated risk. Now let me assure you I am no fan of coming off a horse for any reason so I work out on my horse as well as take lessons from not one but two highly respected trainers here in my neck of the woods. When I ride my own horse often it is for only a half hour bareback trotting with a harness only. No bridle no stirrups. This forces me to work the proper muscles and sit in my seat in a way which maintains balance and builds muscle memory. Riding my horse is much more fun than any gym. Period. Fresh air, sunshine, the sounds of birds in my ears and communicating with my horse for maximal performance. A horse is not a machine. It is a living breathing thinking , spiritual being. If it does not like you or your energy you are going nowhere you want and may find yourself on the ground after flying across  a bridle path.

I know why I play polo and ride horses. because I love it. I’m not out to prove anything to anyone least of all you. I want to find peace in my day and if you are a horse person you know they often have the answer to your worldly problems. Listen and they will give you the secrets of the ages. Ignore them and you are just another person who is afraid of or dislikes horses. They don’t bullshit you like your human friends who want to make you feel good about yourself. They whisper it like it is. Period. They don’t know how to do otherwise.

Recently in one of my equitation classes there was a woman who wanted to ride a horse who is a bit above her experience level. This is a champion horse who requires an experienced rider. I do not feel qualified to ride this handsome gelding but this woman had something to prove …to someone. So this lesson was all about trotting out of stirrups, standing while trotting and controlled tight circles while doing all of the above. I was on a normally sweet mare who was a little crazy as she was in heat. I’m okay with a little crazy as a hopped up horse can teach you all kinds of lessons in keeping quiet hands, and remaining calm while they buck and just calming them without reacting. We were not cantering or galloping today.

While our trainer was working with me on standing and neck reining, the other woman decided to take her horse for a canter around the arena as we had on another day. She went faster and faster until we heard the distinctive thud of someone hitting the ground. She had not payed attention to her diagonal and when her smarter than her horse wanted to correct his stride he threw his head up to get room for his front legs to make a flying change. She mistook his action and began pulling on him  with her hands and arms flailing instead of keeping them quiet. Result she lost her already precarious balance and went flying.  Luckily she did not hit the metal rails. She has a black and blue behind and hopefully a new respect for her equine friend. Was I surprised? Not really. She had ignored the basics and wanted to prove something resulting in her own pain.

I don’t want to be that gal so I tend to err on the side of being conservative. I underestimate my ability and constantly work on being better than the day before. Not better than you or someone else, just better than I was before. It is the only measure which matters. I have my own personal goals for my horsemanship and they don’t even involve competitions although if that is your measure of how much better you have become in your passion rock on!

I wrote this for me but if you have enjoyed any part that is a bonus for us both. Go out and be your best and don’t worry about telling the world they will figure it out in time if you keep on in your dogged pursuit of being your best you. Some of the most incredibly talented people I know you may never have heard of because rather than talking about themselves or their skills they are busy honing them. Sure the American way would tell them to brand themselves and tell the word to make a million, but there is something very appealing about folks who are doing amazing things in their own lives out of the limelight. Anthony Robbins teaches the skills of life mastery because we have forgotten in our culture. He isn’t a guru or a life coach in his approach but rather someone who is here to give you permission to live your greatest life. Time to work on something bigger than a million$ bucks.

Find a passion that isn’t about making money and watch what happens to your financial life. There is an inverse relationship to doggedly pursuing a career and pursuing the quality life you imagine riches will provide. Pursue your best you and …let me know what happens. When the light bulb goes on you won’t be able to turn it off.

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Life Lessons From the Polo Field. Polo is Played for a Short Season and Therefore Every Match is Precious.

October 2, 2013 at 4:01 am (Freedom, Health, Letting go, LoVe, Polo, Relationships) (, , , , , , )

When I went on the San Diego Polo club website back in March to check on opening day I saw something I had never noticed before…Polo School.  Immediately my blood started rushing through my veins, my heart beat faster and I could hear the hooves pounding the grass beneath the ponies. What was this sensation I felt? I called and reached no one so I drove by the clubhouse one day and inquired as to when the school opened. I was told by a very nice lady that it would be soon and to call the number on the card she gave me for updates. I did check back…weekly.

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Finally opening day for Polo school. and I was out of town! I came the second week ready to play (well sort of ready anyhow). I played foot and ball and took my first lesson and it was love at first chukker. I had a great first game and signed up for more lessons that same day happily tossing my American Express card to Gillian the school goddess and coordinator.

Week two and I realized already this game was changing me at a very basic level. I was whistling during the week, happily getting my dailies accomplished and thankful I had the opportunity each week to be an athlete while riding a four legged athlete.

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Many of the people I learned to play polo with dropped out at some point and new people came to see what polo was all about. Schedules and other factors constantly changed the teams and opponents from class to class.
photo (16)Sami shown here was an early horse I rode after Chester and, often as not Sox (of unscheduled dismount during the Red Baron bash fame) and so I got a little better each week as the summer warmed up and the weeks passed. I also took riding lessons during the week near my home to strengthen my muscles and balance my seat.

There is something about understanding that this life is seasonal and the players and ponies change in time that reminds me that this is the same in my life. I must be fully present in the match in front of me. It will never be repeated. This is the game, the only one that exists in space and time…the one I am in right now on the horse I am on and with these players. Even the dirt in the arena changes as hooves stomp it down and divot holes as well as marks from hitting the ball or the dirt as happens also changes the earth upon which we ride.

The thing about polo is everybody wins. Just showing up and playing is winning. We only lose when we fail to show up and keep learning and playing and more importantly learning from our mistakes. Polo is a complex game with a zillion rules and possibilities since it is a high action contact sport. It has been referred to as “a bone crushing sport” . When we are playing even at a trot we feel the wind in our hair and picture ourselves galloping across the grass at top speed making the goal all while looking perfectly coiffed in the saddle. The more reality based version would involve massive amounts of sweat coming from deep within our cells pouring down our backs and fronts as well as near misses and unscheduled dismounts (read thumping the ground).

When I am not playing and sweating and loving every minute there is the beautiful thing called a pro match held on Sundays at clubs around the world in various seasons. Ours ended on Sunday but we went out with a bang! Eight chukkers sudden death with a tied match 11-11. The crowd was on the edge of their seats for every minute of this match as it was played full throttle as it was for the USPA Spreckles Cup. It ended as it started full energy and everything that makes polo the great and enduring sport it is.

Charity stomps the divots

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More Life Lessons from the Polo Field

June 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm (Freedom, Letting go, organized simplicity, Polo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

When life puts the ball in your path, you have to swing for it (providing it is your ball) and if you miss keep riding, keep riding coach Kimo chants as we invariably get clumped up when someone stops their horse or turns in front of the horses. The first thing we hominids do is try to hang around staring at our missed opportunity or mistake. You don’t have that luxury in life or polo.

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Keep riding just keep riding. As long as the horses are moving the ball is live and the game is on. When we stop and stare we lose focus and so do those around us. We clump up things looking at the past instead of fully being in the moment and keep on riding. When we keep riding we can see over our shoulder our team mates’ positions as well as my opponents. I can then decide my next best move as the game goes on and the ball is in another’s hands. Horses sense hesitation and they will further punish you for your hesitancy in the game. They stay stopped and don’t want to run only to be suddenly stopped by amateur players (my apologies Sox).

Incidentally I knew I was having a good day when the coach did not shout my name even once! New players often make rookie mistakes of trying to get to the ball at any cost and foul their way across the field until the horses are a jumble and the ball is underfoot instead of shooting across the field toward a goal. A ball in motion is always ultimately headed for a goal even as it gets shot back and forth much like our daily lives. To onlookers it may appear very random with hard to grasp rules but again the players know exactly what is going on and are totally unaware of the revelers sipping champagne and eating picnic lunches and drinking lemonade while posing for paparazzi in hats and Bermuda shorts.

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Divide your day into chukkers (well or at least time chunks). Time chunks help life move along at a pace without overwhelming horse or rider. Fatigue is not any better in polo than in life. You need to be rested and ready to succeed and that means optimal food and lots of water and minerals. Seven minute chukkers separated by four minute breaks to change ponies is how time is divided in polo. Six chukkers is a game. Not a lengthy sport but an intense, exciting one which challenges horse and rider to do their best every chukker. There is a competitive camaraderie not often seen in many sports. Every day playing polo is a great day regardless of the final score. I’m always thankful I get to play another day.

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How Playing Polo has Forever Altered How I Conduct Business and Life.

May 25, 2013 at 9:36 pm (Excellence in Business, Health, Polo, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

It all started innocent enough a sincere desire to learn a new skill or sport each and every year and become competent in said new discovery.

One year it was learning to speak French well enough that French people could understand me even in the Camargue.

Another year or three it was learning to cab and freeform gemstones and rocks for use in jewelry.

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This year was going to be flying…somewhere along the road to flight school I was waylayed while looking up the opening day for Polo season. There it was a notice for polo school. I have always loved watching polo as it is about a skilled rider and horse team as well as being a team sport which is fast paced, challenges your personal best and involves picnics and fashion! This had me written all over it. It was love at first glance.

I have western style cowboy boots…made in Texas of course and stretchy blue jeans but no helmet, mallet or breeches. They provided the helmet, mallet, and polo pony as well as a highly skilled pro coach. All I needed was bravery and a signed waiver releasing my life and cause of death and I was good to go. Life is a fatal sport, that I accept and embrace whole heartedly. I have faced death a few times in my life on short notice and it allows you the freedom to fully live knowing that this moment is all we have. It truly is not just what your yoga teacher told you. My most recent brush with death was in January outside my gym…not a pretty way to go after a great workout.

I prefer green sports which have little or no carbon footprint as earth ethics are forefront in my business and life. Sailing is my other passion. I like speed, skill and luck in my sports. Excitement and adrenaline pave the way to my deeper relaxation and it is a bonding experience with your teammates including the four legged ones. It is a game of polite aggression.  Winning is always important but scoring goals and not committing fouls is as important. One skill is called “riding off” which is where you come in and match your opponent’s speed and bring the angle in to meet and push them off the ball. Done properly it is very effective and a skill all its own.

20130525_111013Last week I played against a young woman who was a level two player but having been off a season was playing with us so the coach could place her for the summer. She was a great hooker and by that I don’t mean what your naughty little mind is thinking! It is a technique to keep your opponent from hitting the ball. She stopped my ball more than once so I continued to watch her and this week got in quite a bit of hooking on my own and once used it to capture the ball and play back my direction! Whoo hoo!

Today we had an old grass player with us who hadn’t played for six seasons and again was playing with us for placement. He taught me a lot about riding off and hooking too. It makes the game more competitive having some variation in skill level on the teams and you quickly know who is your one, two or three player. I tend to play second or third and enjoy defense as well as offence. Which is how I play in real life too.

We are always learning from our competitors and our colleagues and in business you can let your ego get in the way of that lesson…or at least I know I can. In polo you don’t have the luxury of a bruised ego as the game is too fast paced not to learn, incorporate the lesson and keep riding toward your next goal. Business is the same and remember there is always another match to play if you didn’t win this one. I scored one goal and my team lost this week but I am always a winner having played and learning to change my weaknesses into strengths.

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What if Failure Was Not an Option?

January 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, LoVe, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

So I ask myself the other day as I registered my daughter for a four day life coaching event what would I like to do if I knew failure was not an option? What if I knew with absolute certainty that I would succeed?

1) I would love with all my heart and soul.

2) I would create what is in my heart without concerns of marketability.

3) I would travel to far away places and learn the language and carry only a backpack and not worry about the cost.

4) I would invest in companies I believe in regardless of what the financial experts say.

5) I would apply for graduate school in a foreign country.

6) I would learn to fly an airplane.

7) I would make a beautiful collection of jewels from my amazing local tourmaline collection for their pyroelectric and piezoelectric health qualities.

8) I would speak my mind.

9) I would paint everyday without thought to whether or not anyone else is interested in my art.

10) I would teach the poor and disenfranchised that they have the power to change their circumstances starting with their own limiting beliefs.

…and so it seems failure is not an option and so it is time to continue the journey. Life is a gift, give thanks daily.

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Why Would Anyone Read What I Write?

January 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm (Eating Nature, Freedom, Health, Letting go) (, , , , , , , )

Seriously, I ask myself as I write my life stories of this and that why would anyone take Ten minutes to read my drivel?

So I thought about it and here is what I came up with?  My story might help someone else figure out a solution to a problem by reading how ridiculously I handled mine. Inspire you to dig deeper for a cure not symptom control. So here it is…

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Let us begin…

Last year I gained an unseemly amount of weight for no reason other than I felt hungry all the time and craved baguettes and butter and chocolate ice cream, and cheese in all forms…now before you think the obvious that yes, eating all that would make me gain weight, keep in mind I was going to the gym and trying to be aware of all my food choices as well as portion control. It just didn’t matter I was packing on pounds faster than a fat man at the county fair!  Then another oddity occurred. I was now suffering frequent asthma attacks.  In the photo last spring I was at my tubbiest and wondering why I was so lethargic each morning even though I was active. I am sailing a catamaran in the photo. Instead of Popeye I was feeling like Wimpy his chubby sidekick.

Then I had an attack while at the gym. I was on the stair master and went into anaphylaxis! I was breaking out into hives all over my face was swelling and my breathing became labored. I made my way back to my locker and thought to myself “hell no I’m not going to drop dead at the gym”! I chewed up several Benedryl and used my inhaler more times than recommended no doubt and began to feel better. I began to meditate and put a cold cloth on my face. Once well enough to go home I did. This happened again two weeks later and by now I was carrying a bottle of Benedryl on me as I had hives in the past and knew it was an emergency backup. This time my entire body broke out and my eyes were swelling…again I took the Benedryl and used my inhaler and was able to return home. My physician refilled my inhaler and prescribed an Epi-pen. I wasn’t sure how much better having the pen made me feel especially after emptying my wallet to pay for it! My doctor has been my doctor off and on since I was twelve and is familiar with my years of asthma alternating years of exceptional health.

I started researching causes for anaphylaxis and cures and why was my body treating my fitness as a threat? I have had allergies off and on most of my life with breaks from symptoms lasting a decade or longer. Except for the inhaler I had no prescriptions and I don’t believe in aspirin or other painkillers. I don’t take over the counter meds of any kind with Benedryl being the exception. Maybe it was food? Should I spend thousands of dollars on tests or should I break down my food habits one by one and find the culprit myself? I decided I would be the investigator…it took time and paying a lot of attention to what I stuffed in my pie hole!

I began detoxing through far infrared sauna, ionic foot bath and chanal 2 treatments as well as aloe vera juice shots and had immediate relief from ongoing symptoms as I changed my diet and streamlined my food choices to mostly living and organic. No processed food, no sugars (I use a light amount of honey or blue agave in my tea) and no coffee. I miss none of it. The dairy removal along with the wheat has caused the most dramatic shift for me in feeling my strength return. I ate some delicious brie recently and woke up a little wheezy…Not worth it to me. Once you have had your life flash before you, not once but twice the choice becomes obvious. I choose abundant health.

Fast forward through months of eating some things and not eating others and moving toward a 80%vegan diet and 20% paleo which is non gluten and no wheat or grains except Quinoa and I am symptom free. I still eat some wild fish and organic meats without having a reaction. I started back at the gym just over a week ago and I have discovered my strength is returning very quickly. I will soon be at the fitness level I was at 5 years ago. I wake up refreshed and ready to greet the day’s challenges. I once again look forward to the gym and the strength and toning it rewards me with. I am still heavier than my ideal weight but I am sure than within a short time I will happily embrace an even healthier balanced body weight.  548705_568211259871294_1058977763_n (2)

I changed my diet and saved my life…

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51 Things I have learned in Life

April 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

51 Things I have learned in Life

  1. A smile goes a long way.
  2. Don’t poop your pants after your 2nd year it cuts down on quality sandbox time with others.
  3. Eat your veggies so you’ll grow up strong and healthy.
  4. Make friends easily you will need some.
  5. Question authority when it seems unreasonable…you know you have to pee now even if it is five minutes after recess.
  6. Respect the lesson. Listen and incorporate the information.
  7. Art teaches you how to understand many other things.
  8. Sharing resources is just plain a good idea.
  9. Don’t be afraid to be the new kid. Be yourself.
  10. Boys will like you, yeah some will be icky but appreciate them for their good taste.
  11. No you may not grow up to be a mathematician but you will use math daily, so make it your friend.
  12. External ugly is temporary, internal ugly is forever.
  13. Learn a foreign language or two even if you suck at it in the beginning.
  14. Wear clothes which reflect your personality not someone in a magazines.
  15. Befriend nerds for they shall inherit the world of cyberspace and beyond.
  16. Be nice to the hot guy because he may also be very sweet.
  17. Take responsibility for your actions and your life.
  18. Get a job you love to go to and teaches you something.
  19. Don’t be afraid to get a different job which teaches you something else and pays more even if you have to work harder.
  20. Live at the beach even for one season in your life.
  21. Go to community college if you aren’t sure what you really want to do with your life.
  22. Start a business doing something you are better at than your acquaintances.
  23. Learn to grow food.Image
  24. Learn to cook from scratch if you love Chinese food take a class.
  25. Don’t take no for an answer when yes is what you want.
  26. Continue to learn in your chosen profession.
  27. Grow a tree from seed of your favorite fruit.
  28. Find meaning in the universe that makes you a better person.Image
  29. Shop at thrift stores for clothes that look good on you and have them altered to really fit you. This small matter will make you look at though you are wearing the clothes not the other way around.
  30. Volunteer to help in your community and on projects to help others, even at work.
  31. Forgive others and most importantly yourself.
  32. Be a tourist in your own county and picnic often.
  33. Visit the elderly. Take flowers in jars from your garden to the local low income nursing or pensioners home.
  34. Take in a stray.
  35. Write hand written thank you notes.
  36. Walk your local parks and enjoy the scenery.Image
  37. Have a hobby working with your hands, it frees your mind.Image
  38. Talk to strangers when waiting in lines.
  39. Compliment people freely.
  40. Pay cash, trade or barter whenever possible.
  41. Save up and take a trip.
  42. Move to a foreign country even for a few months. It changes everything.
  43. Go back to school and learn something you always wanted to learn.
  44. Improve your outlook and commit to happiness.
  45. Appreciate all you have already.
  46. Show your love.
  47. Get to know your representatives and express your concerns.
  48. Declutter your life. Live in the present not with boxes of memories.
  49. Have a purpose.
  50. Set goals. Small ones and big ones on a timeline.
  51. Read.

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