I live on an 80 acre horse ranch in rural Nevada.
I live with about 30 horses, a dog and two cats of my own, plus three or four barn cats, and currently a couple of owls. People come and go during the day: horse trainers and riders, more horses, lots of dogs. There is a lot of fun activity here: learning and living full on active lifestyles. These folks don’t talk much about dieting, or needing to exercise more. They don’t seem to have many health problems. They don’t go to church, but I’ve introduced many of them to the joys of meditation.
Some of my friends think I’m crazy. Well, they thought that before, but now they know for sure. Some of my friends are worried about me, living out here in the middle of nowhere.
I’m in heaven. I get to ride every day. I know the names of every horse here, and I know which ones like to be petted on their forehead and which ones like their shoulder scratched. I know which ones like hugging, and which ones don’t. Yesterday I went on a trail ride on one horse, then came back and saddled up another and jumped….four times. The other day I learned to drive a tractor.
I still go to work in my photography studio 20 miles away in Lake Tahoe, and I still see my coaching clients at both the Lake Tahoe Center and the Carson City Center, and I still teach at both Centers. But in between times I’m at the ranch, studying and riding.
So how did I get here? Better yet, how can you live in your version of heaven, whatever that may be?
1. Don’t judge the circumstances of your life. This ancient Buddhist concept has helped me more times than I can count. If I judge something as bad, I’ve just made myself a victim. If I judge something as good, I’m attached to it and attachment creates its own set of problems. I admit it, I was judging the circumstances that led me here. I had some grief work to do, and I had to remind myself of my faith and my truth. Such work, by the way, is best done with support, and I have a lot of support. That’s what coaches and mentors are for. If you don’t have support, get some. The cost is priceless.
2. Be aware of your values. Is it more important for you to live the American Dream, with a house and a white picket fence? Or is something else more important? Explore, go within, and figure out what your values are. Then live from those values. I once thought it was important to live the American Dream. I actually had a house with a white picket fence. That fence was one of the reasons I bought the house! The symbolism was not lost on me, a street urchin who never had any stability in her life. That white picket fence helped me to stabilize my own life, until my values changed and I realized I needed the white picket fence no more.
3. Do not shame yourself. Do not, under any circumstances, should on yourself. You are not a bad or worthless person, you are not less than, and you deserve all the good that life has to offer. This has been a long journey for me and I still sometimes descend into that shaming, less than place once in a while. The other day my trainer told me, “you are a better rider than you think you are, just remember what an awesome rider you are and you’ll be fine.” This from a 22 year old! How come I didn’t know that when I was 22?!?!? Wisdom comes from a lot of avenues for me. Again, this is what mentors and coaches are for, and yes, horse trainers too.
4. Remember the Law of Attraction. This is the foundation of what New Thought is all about. What you think manifests in your life. One of the trainers said to me the other day, “don’t think like that. If you think like that it will happen.” I asked her if she had been reading my stuff, she said no, it was just common sense. Surprisingly, it isn’t common sense to a lot of folks, but it is a law, and what you think does manifest. This is the beauty of New Thought, and also the major thing which keeps people away from us: they don’t want to be told they are the creators of their lives. I can remember the first time I internalized this concept. All of a sudden I knew at a gut level that I had power, that I created what was going on in my life (which wasn’t very pretty), and I had responsibility. But with that responsibility came an awesome feeling of empowerment that has never gone away. It’s the empowerment I like. The other piece of this law is that there are tools you can use to retrain your thinking, and this is what we teach at Centers for Spiritual Living around the world.
5. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t think you have to have a day job that you hate just to pay the bills. I saw a video this morning narrated by Alan Watts, a great Buddhist teacher. It was an incredible teaching about doing what you love for a living. This is one of those things I’ve always known somehow. People used to tell me, when I was growing up, that I couldn’t make any money doing the things I was considering. And my response was, so? Here’s another law: do what you love, the money will follow. It’s been proven to me over and over. In fact, I have designed and now teach a workshop called “Do What you Love for a Living.’
6. Last but not least: get spiritual. I don’t care how you do it. I don’t care whether you meditate, or journal, or ride horses, or count your chakras and color them in, or rest your beliefs on quantum physics and philosophy, but do it. For it is the spiritual piece that will support all of the rest of it. It’s not about believing in God necessarily, it’s about believing in yourself as a manifestation of Spirit, and knowing your truth and your power. It’s about allowing your light to shine full and bright, no matter what! That is spirituality and if you have spirituality in your life you can’t go wrong.
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