In April of 2017 I was in Costa Rica attending a Horse and Soul Retreat at Leaves and Lizard’s Eponicity retreat center. This truly was a life changing experience for me and working with the horses allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of myself. I was able to see and to let go of old beliefs that had been holding me back. The one week workshop was so impactful that it empowered me to move forward in a whole new direction. I came home fired up to begin the next chapter of my life working and building my new animal communication business. I had lots of ideas for my new business, my website, social media, etc. I was so looking forward to finally be doing what I had wanted to do for a very long time. So what happened next? Absolutely nothing! When I returned home from Costa Rica my personal life started to spin out of my control. All of my attention was spent on my family and my existing business. I tried to carve out time for myself by hiring more help and planning (and planning, and planning) but honestly nothing I did changed my situation at all. I felt completely stuck. My schedule was no longer my own, most the things I had to accomplish each day were not mine either. I asked myself over and over again how the heck did I get here? By the time the fall came I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I spent my days taking care of everyone around me and I was struggling with anxiety. I generally handle anxiety by trying to outrun it, focusing on other things but this time that did not work. This time I had to stop and acknowledge what was happening and just be still…to feel everything I had tried so hard not to feel. I was miserable when I sat with it but after a short time I was surprised to recognize that what I was really feeling was fury and not anxiety. I’m talking really, really, FURIOUS about being put in a position that essentially took away my ability to live my life the way I wanted. That was a big turning point for me because I went from feeling victimized to feeling like I had my power back. It shifted everything for me! I then had to admit to myself that nobody had taken away my choices to live my life the way I wanted, I had actually done that myself. I gave it away because I wasn’t able to stand up for myself and say NO. I was caught up in trying to be a nice person and not holding other people accountable for their actions because I thought I was doing the right thing for them. It was a painful lesson to learn that the right thing in any situation is to make sure to take care of yourself too. Once I realized my own part in how everything turned out I was in a different frame of mind. I started to make decisions thinking about what was in both my highest good and the highest good of everyone involved. I found it easier to set stronger boundaries in both my home and business life. I was able to say out loud what worked and did not work for me. You’re probably not surprised to learn that once I stood up for myself everything shifted to a much more positive place for not just me but everyone else too. My Animal Communication practice really opened up it has been a joy doing so many readings for such wonderful clients. Although this last year has been incredibly tough I am certain I would not be feeling as strong, confident and so very excited for the future if I had not had the experiences of the last 12 months. I just returned from another Horse and Soul retreat and I am more than ready to face any challenges that come my way. What a difference a year makes!