The Value of being tested

Resting is a part of learning


The power of pause is an important aspect of practicing the eagala model. Pausing allows for reflection letting the client drive the session in the direction they are willing to go to develop personal awareness. This is true for facilitators as well. We benefit from pausing to see patterns, themes gaining perspective on the big picture.

The 16th annual eagala conference is March 30-April 1, 2016 and Blue Moon Mending is hosting a lounge space again. The Blue Moon Mending Lounge offers a quiet place to reflect on the learning offered by the conference sessions, massages offered by local masseuses and morning stretching lead by a an advanced certified equiliates instructor. Why go through the trouble of creating this opportunity for the conference attendees? The Power of Pause is a powerful thing appreciated only when experienced.

When in doubt…

FullSizeRender-9 I have decided to give up doubt. I’m no longer going to allow doubt to infiltrate myself like a drip of water wearing down a stone. This goes past a New Years resolution and into a life mission. I intended to write this post last weekend but got distracted by life. Then I began to reconsider if I should write it at all. I waited.

My distration came in the form of my beautiful horse Obi, pictured above. Obi was introduced  into my life two years ago but became a part of my life in October 2014. He is a kind soul, a hard worker and a blast to ride when he is feeling well.

Obi has not been feeling well most of the time I have owed him. My first thought was this horses’ head hurts. I had his teeth check and cared for, he received several chiropractic adjustments and things improved but not dramatically.

After about six months, I was introduced to a vet from a local university and vet school. She was trained to look past the typical diagnosis and treat the bigger picture. She used ultrasound to discover cervical and lumbar changes which were treated over the course of the next six months and he dramatically improved.

Then he was sore in a different way and somehow I felt it wasn’t different just the same issue manifesting in a different way but I had doubts.

Today we met the vet who will change Obi’s life. She is nationally and internationally recognized for treating horses with these kind of issues. She identified Obi as an unusual case because he wants to work, wants to be happy but struggles with chronic pain. An ongoing headache likely caused by scar tissue in his neck. Injuries that likely occurred long ago and were never properly treated or diagnosed.

We have a plan to confirm diagnosis and a likely treatment plan in place and after all was said and done. She looked me in the eye and said he will get better.

My doubts about having this horse in my life have been squashed. He came to me through a series of unique events. Then I met not one but two vet who specialize in treating his unique set of issues. Obi is where he is supposed to be and he will get better of this I have no doubt.

On the bigger scale of life, how amazing is this situation and all because I did not give into doubt.

How has doubt sabotage your life ambitions?

Holidays can be a painful time

snow lanterns

Grief is a funny thing.

It can come at you like a rogue wave or walk with you day by day.

Once you get through the initial stages of grief, experience all the anniversaries and find your basic daily life balance you are left with a grief that is causal in nature and forever changes your orientation in life.

Grief is compounding in nature like a concussion.

The initial impact is only the beginning and the daily toll is something each person experiences uniquely. The pharmaceutical companies have become fond of anthropomorphizing the ailments they are treating these days. Turn on the TV and you are likely to see a woman walking down the street with her bladder, a man fighting his mucus and a child working with his distractions. Depression is always pictured as a dark cloud. Grief is never discussed and when it is acknowledged it is quickly swept under the rug or offered a distraction. In the everyday world of treatment, it is acknowledged but not embraced.

Grief is a part of life. We grieve what we wanted in life and didn’t get. We grieve the disappointments in friends and family. We grieve our disappointments in who we are and what we thought we would become. We grieve the ones we lost either through illness, accident or intention. Grief is a daily occurrence and therefore a part of the holiday experience.

Recently, grief hit me like a rogue wave. I brought home a noble tree for Christmas. A tradition my father and I had since I was a child. We would select the tree, cut it down, bring it home and clean it. Set it up in the house, get it straight and stable (a feat in and of itself) then decorate. It was a half day production but one that we enjoyed together.

My parents passed away four and a half years ago and I miss them. The memories and experiences wash over me every time and I enjoy them even if I do feel sad. I am glad to remember both the good and the bad.

When I brought in the tree this year I was rushed. I didn’t have the time I wanted to set up the tree and it sat crookedly in the corner while I went about others things that needed to happen first. It didn’t sit well with me that the tree was not set up, I felt distracted and overwhelmed but at the time I didn’t know why. Once I was able to be at home and unwind the grief hit. I was flatten by it, unable to move or think just paralyzed by the pain and loss of my parents, specifically my father as I entered another Christmas season without him.

I eventually rallied, finished the tree and went to sleep with the peace of awareness and sadness of the loss that would not change.

Grief is a funny thing, a painful thing but a necessary thing.

Embrace your grief and you can make it a manageable part of your life.

A part of the holidays and year end review saying goodbye to the past and being open to future possibilities.


Have something to share? Please leave a comment.

Excerpt from my book

Owning a carved elephant tusk doesn’t make me an elephant killer.

I love elephants. Not just because baby elephants are one of the cutest baby animals ever. No, No this is not debatable. I love elephants because they have an incredible sense of family. They do everything together and yet are un-plagued by enmeshment or internal squabbles we humans suffer from in our own families. Elephants play, care for each other, protect their young and weak, work together to forage food, birth their young together and mourn their dead. There is an incredible story about a herd of elephants that made a two day journey to visit the home of a man who had spent 20 years studying their behavior. When he passed away they came to pay their respects (Elephant Story reference).

My paternal grandfather was a medical missionary in central Africa. He lived and worked with the villagers of Sanga to create buildings that would later serve as their hospital and meeting halls. He spent 26 years of his life with those villagers and in time he received many gifts of thanks for his help. Several of these gifts were made of ivory. Africans have long respected the power and love that elephants embody. To give a gift of ivory is to recognize that spirit in another. I would love to tell you the ivory was only taken from old elephants who passed away from natural causes but I don’t know the truth. What I do know is the hand carved ivory was given out of love and respect and it is with love and respect I keep it.

I inherited the ivory from my father. Who died much too young from cancer and maybe a broken heart. My father grew up in Sanga and had many fond memories of working with the villagers, helping his father in the hospital and playing with his siblings out in the bush. I grew up watching 8 mm films and slides of villagers coming to visit my grandfather. They traveled for days and weeks away while holding themselves up in precarious positions as they carried awkward goiters the size of basketballs on their necks and shoulders. Goiters of this type are commonly caused by a lack of iodine in your diet. They came from far and wide because they heard that Bwana Munanga, lord husband, would be able to heal them.

In truth, my grandfather was a great problem solver and loved the challenge these goiters presented to him. So many post thanksgiving and Christmas dinners my cousins and I would sit in front of the projector as we watched villagers with gigantic goiters and big smiling faces go into to the hospital for surgery. A week later they came back for their post op holding the goiter with an even bigger smile on their face and boosting of their new pink scar. Their whole demeanor changed. Grandpa would also perform other medical procedures fixing, broken bones, treating illnesses, anything from basic care to intense surgery. He was the only western medical practitioner in the area.

With a name like lord husband and a history of being a miraculous healer my grandfather never stood a chance of having a normal ego. He was, in fact, the most important man in the area and everyone knew it.

My father was the middle child of five. The middle child is the hidden child. Often quiet and revered they watch others to determine the best course of action and are used to being over looked. My father was named after the famous explorer Stanley Livingston. He too was a quite observer but his love for adventure helped push him to become a renowned explorer. Like Livingston, my father loved the outdoors and wildlife. He earned his African name (Kitadi Kantanda, the governor of the country) while hunting a twenty foot python, the skin was his reward. I now own the skin. It’s rolled up next to the tusk.

These names given to the men of my family by local villagers, speaks to the presence they had, an air about them. For my grandfather it was arrogance, for my father it was quiet observation-the ultimate middle child-ness. But there is something to be said for living in the middle of central Africa in the 1940’s and 50’s. These were not easy times. Many things they had to learn to do without and many things they did not miss. My grandmother missed her friends. Although she helped her husband out in the hospital as a nurse and cared for the family, it was a lonely life. My father had siblings to play with and had it easier than most. But they too would recognize what they were missing when they returned to the United States to take a break or get new commissions to be able to return to the mission. They all made sacrifices for the good of others. Those sacrifices formed who each of them were as people and as a family.

At the same time, a world away, my mother was raised in Sweden as a pastor’s kid. She, the eldest of two, spent her childhood first in Stockholm, then a smaller town in the western part of Sweden and then in the country… living the idyllic life of a Swedish girl. Being the eldest, she was the champion of the family the first to strike out and seek adventure. She was a rebel dying her hair at a young age, entering local theater productions and adjusting her ensembles to reflect current fashion. She drew attention to herself and this was not what the pastor’s daughter was supposed to do. She got into trouble with her parents… a lot.

My parents met in England, at a small private college. My father went there because his uncle was the dean and he was expected to be near family. My mother went there because it was the furthest she could go to school while working on her english. Their college years have some fun stories I will tell later but for now I will say it was love at first sight. They were together for fifty years through all life’s challenges.

It is their story that inspired me to write this book. But I realized their story is not really mine to tell. So I will tell my story because by telling it I have learned a lot about myself and my parents. The stories I have gathered over the years are inspired by the amazing people in my life. Both my parents left lasting impressions on nearly everyone they met.

As their only child,  I am left with their legacies. My mother, the troublemaker, and my father, the quiet observer. However, I discovered in the telling of their stories that my father could also be a trouble maker and my mother a quiet observer.

So perhaps my legacy will be how I survived them and what I learned along the way.