Life Lessons Learned in Costa Rica-From our Horses and the Eponicity Program

When we arrived in Costa Rica,  we had no idea we were spending the week with creatures that are truly intuitive beings.  Intuition is a sixth sense and horses definitely possess this gift.  As animals of prey in nature, horses must know the intentions of those around them.  Have you ever wondered why zebras can drink from the same reservoir as lions only a few feet away and not display any fear? It is because they intuitively know the intentions of the lions at that time.  Rather than analyze the situation like humans do, the zebras actually feel through intuition. Such is the case with horses.

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Intuition is like a radio station that is consistently transmitting messages but we only hear them when we tune in. Failure to hear the messages is due solely to our inability to quiet our minds and listen.  Society has taught us to not listen to our intuition. We have become an imbalanced left brain culture.

Horses are sensitive to people’s energy and body language. They can pick up subtle signs that we as humans are not as in tune with. They sense incongruity in how a person is presenting themselves and the type of energy they give off. Horses are non-judgmental beings that can’t lie– giving honest feedback and encouraging us to be authentic at all times. They are great lie-detectors and will call you out if you are wearing any masks or hide behind your ego. You can’t fool a horse.

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Perfect Example:  When I first met my horse, Cosmo, I was smiling and trying to act confident, yet inside I was afraid and felt extremely intimidated by him. I also was feeling sorry for him and felt like I had to be his nurturer and care taker.  Cosmo in turn, would not even make eye contact with me.  In fact, he turned around, gave me the cold shoulder and basically put his ass in my face.  Debbie told me immediately that he can sense my outward body language is not aligned with my inner feelings and energy.  So I let go of the mask and  became completely authentic and grounded.  Cosmo then turned his head towards mine, looked me straight in the eyes and started breathing his breath so close to me, I was inhaling his exhales.  It was a defining moment in my life and profoundly changed something within. And so the lessons began.

 

What we learned in Costa Rica:

  1. Detach From Fear and Your Past

We each have a story that we have formed about every event, situation and experience in our lives. Most of our stories are based on our beliefs and our level of consciousness at that time. Often times we over-identify with our stories, allow them to define and control us. But as we cling to our stories, we hinder ourselves from finding and living our truth. We often suffer when our stories are not aligned with the greater good.  Detachment from old stories and false beliefs about life, ourselves and others, is vital for growth and personal transformation. We must learn that by changing our stories, we free ourselves and change our lives. With mindfulness and present moment awareness, we gain a new perspective. We realize that we have a choice in every single moment to write a new story- -a story of hope and new beginnings.

 

2. Suffering is a Necessary Part of Growth

Understanding that pain and suffering serve our spiritual growth may be a challenging concept to grasp for most of us, especially in those moments when we are in the midst of experiencing turmoil. Many of us unconsciously suppress and escape pain, both physically and emotionally. But unexpressed pain can cause more suffering if we are not aware of it. When the energy of pain is not released, emotional blockages are formed and we become trapped.   Just as physical pain tells us something is going on in our bodies that needs our attention, emotional pain tells us we need to go within ourselves and pay attention to our intuition. We have the choice to let pain and suffering debilitate us or we can choose to see it as a catalyst to delve deeper into ourselves and our beliefs. Often pain and suffering lead to the bigger questions about life, existence, and most importantly our purpose. With awareness, we realize that pain is opportunity to challenge the way we look at life. Pain is a messenger.  Pay close attention to it in order for the lessons hidden deep within yourself.

 

3. Our Intentions Create Our Realities

We each create our reality with our intentions, both consciously and unconsciously. These intentions include our thoughts, ideas and actions. With each intention we plant a seed within the field of our consciousness. The effects of our intentions determine the experiences of our lives. Once we understand the power of our intentions, we begin to choose thoughts that are more loving, supporting and harmonious; and thus we experience more peace, freedom and joy. Intention is energy and manifests itself through our consciousness; therefore we must be clear about our intentions in order to manifest what we desire in our hearts. Intentions give us purpose and direction in life and we learn to become masters of our own fate rather than victims.

Through the Eponicity Equine Program at Leaves and Lizards Resort, we learned to quiet our minds and listen to the lessons waiting for us. Thank  you Cosmo, Beauty, Espartaco and of course, Debbie and Steve.  You have changed our lives forever. Can’t wait to see you all again this spring!

You’ve Changed

“You’ve changed and it seems like I don’t even know who you are anymore.”

This phrase is stated as an insult intended to discourage growth.

In the past few years, I have become a completely different person.  Like a butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis or perhaps an old skin has shed  (kind of like a basilisk trapped in a chamber beneath a school).

Holding onto elements of your identity that no longer serve you can be daunting when you were once defined by them.  Be here’s the key: you are allowed to change.  You are allowed to question.  You are allowed to struggle–because if you are struggling, you’re growing.  What is happening TO you is happening FOR you. Let the transformation naturally occur.  Let it make stronger, braver, kinder, lighter. Completely open your heart and mind and trust the process.

There will always be those negative forces that fear your change and growth. It terrifies them because they are stagnate.

Here’s some sound advice for dealing with Negative Forces during your transformation: (and I’m personally trying to take the advice each and everyday)

*Whenever the negative chaos starts, smile and remain silent. Remain completely detached and don’t get involved. Leave the room if you can. Negative people are simply seeking to get a reaction from you. They feed on this. Don’t let them catch you in their web of negativity because as soon as you do, that’s when they start draining your energy.  Their goal is to weaken you so you have to be strong and not give in to them.

*Observe the event like an outsider–ass if you’re watching a movie.  Say to yourself, “What a shame this character is so unhappy.”  Realize their unhappiness is their choice and has nothing to do with you. We all have free will to choose happiness. This isn’t always an easy thing to do but definitely a powerful technique. This works really well with family  who you don’t really have a choice as to whether they’re in your life or not.
*While there negativity is spewing envision a bright white light surrounding you.  Their negativity can’t touch you because you now have a force field protecting you.  It’s incredible how amazing this technique works.  There negativity unfortunately is sent out into the universe, but it will not be absorbed by you. Try to counter it by thinking of positive thoughts and love for that person, despite their toxic energy.
*I’ve come to realize that the “universe” uses negative people as the way to get me to move on whenever I’m getting comfortable in a situation that isn’t challenging me anymore.  Use their negativity to propel changes within yourself. If they are putting you down, use the opportunity to affirm your self-worth. If they are judgmental, use that as a sign from the universe to be grateful for your own open mindedness. Think of their negativity are a springboard for your own journey.

 
Negative people want one thing: to get a reaction out of you and the only way they can is if they know how to hit your buttons.  They will do anything to make you as unhappy as they are.  So, if there’s one particular person who drains your positive energy, ask yourself why you are allowing this? Sometimes, you can learn a lot about yourself by analyzing what feelings it stirs within you. Once you are cognizant of this, you’ll find that that person no longer has any power over you.

And finally, do not try to fix them. They do not want to be fixed.  Leave that up to Karma.

Spring Cleaning–Finding Your Inner Peace

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to clear out and clean up their physical and energetic environment. Right now, spring energy is upon us and we can open up the windows and doors and breath the fragrant scents of new growth.

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When Menopause and Puberty Book The Same Flight

Once upon a time, there was a calm and patient mommy who traveled the world with her sweet-natured, soft-spoken little darling. Side by side they sat and smiled dreamily, gazing out of the 747’s picturesque window, at the wondrous world below.

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Suddenly, the flight became turbulent!  Temper tantrums, tears and cursing matches flooded the aisles. Innocent passengers trapped… victim to the barrage of bitching and bickering.

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Our Life Changing Visit to Ochos Rios Primary School in Jamaica

Last summer my friend, Gabi, told me about an amazing charity called Pack for A Purpose.  (If you’ve followed previous posts you’ve read all about this incredible organization. If not, click the link to read all about it!)  I loved the idea of taking action to positively impact the lives of students globally, so beginning a book drive was the perfect idea.  I would have never imagined in a million years that we’d collect 7,000 books and that I’d have the opportunity to actually visit the recipients of our donations. This past week has changed my life forever. It is so true that when you give, you receive even more in return.

On A Mission To Spread Happiness

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Mother-Daughter Milwaukee Weekend

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!  (Millennials, ask your parents.) I showed Brooke an episode of Laverne and Shirley before we headed out on our mother-daughter Milwaukee weekend.  And yes, I made her reenact the opening right out on the street in public.  Considering I was taking her to a Miranda Sings concert, it was more than a fair exchange.

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Milwaukee is such an easy weekend getaway from our Chicago suburb of Naperville…just under a two hour drive.  Packing for a weekend is so simple: one wheelie suitcase (of course from Baggallini) with two outfits for each of us, bathing suits for the pool and spa, pjs, and loads of textbooks so Brooke could get her homework done in between  the concert and sightseeing–let’s not discuss whether that happened or not.

Brooke’s backpack was filled to the brim with makeup for the Miranda Sings concert at the Riverside Theatre. I’ve never seen more red lipstick in my life!  I had no expectation for the concert and it was actually so funny. Colleen Ballinger is super talented, although not appropriate for children under 15 in my opinion.

 

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A lot of prep for a 60 minute concert!

 

Where we stayed:  

If you visit Milwaukee, I can’t imagine you’d want to stay anywhere other than The Pfister Hotel.  If you don’t know it’s history, it’s fascinating.

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Known as  the “Jewel of Milwaukee,” the first thing you’ll be swept away by is the ornate Romanesque Revival architecture. Built in 1893, it truly felt like we time traveled.  The opulence of staircases, chandeliers, muraled ceilings and marble accents will make you instantly feel like royalty. The Pfister Hotel has the largest collection of Victorian art in America.  The pool, spa, suites and lounge areas all get 5/5 ratings in our book. The only disappointment was the restaurant, Mason Street Grill.  It was honestly the worst Halibut I’ve ever had and Brooke’s flatbread pizza had the soggiest crust.  We were greatly disappointed but the beauty of the hotel and the city definitely made up for it.

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What we did for two days in Milwaukee:

Knowing basically nothing about Milwaukee, we were excited to explore the city.Here’s what we learned just by meeting people, asking questions and a bit of research:

Milwaukee is a German settlement and the influential Captain Fredrick Pabst’s name is everywhere. He was a German-American brewer who purchased the Pabst Theatre in 1890. Milwaukee is divided by the Milwaukee River. The east sits along the Milwaukee Bay which spills into Lake Michigan.  The buildings here are full of character.  City Hall could probably be mistaken for Big Ben and the Federal Building looks like a European castle.  The west side of Milwaukee seems more suburban and is home to Marquette University–now on Brooke’s college radar. Along the lake is the Museum of Art.  It looks like a ship or perhaps a whale.  Either way, it’s a work of art in itself!

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Although we were surprised not to find any breweries, there’s definitely not a lack of churches in Milwaukee.  There almost seems to be a church on every block and the architecture is magnificent.  Again…European teleportation.

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Overall, we’ve decided that we’d “walk” all over Milkwaukee anytime!  What an architecture gem!

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Have you ever visited Milwaukee?  We will definitely return…maybe for a college visit!

 

 

Fifteen Reasons Winter Doesn’t Suck

Unlike my mom who views winter as the season of sadness and hybernation, I view it as a glorious time of year.  Yes, the nights are loooooooong, the days are short, and it can be painfully  freezing, but in my opinion these fifteen reasons to love winter far outweigh any negatives:

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