animal guides

Allow Nature to Seep Deep into Your Bones and Fill You with Peace

Allow Nature to Seep Deep into Your Bones and Fill You with Peace
The peaceful pond at LaValley Nature & Equine Sanctuary

Living in Wisconsin where winters can be sooooo long, I come alive in a new way once warmer weather is here. And I do my best to soak in as much as a I can while it lasts.

And why I’m looking forward to facilitating a workshop in nature with my friend and co-facilitator, Rachel Nick next week Saturday. I’m especially excited about this one as it will be happening at the wonderful non-profit Rachel is founder of, LaValley Nature and Equine Sanctuary.

I really appreciate the sanctuary’s mission: to preserve land for plant, wildlife, equine and permaculture use while inspiring others to do the same. We offer a permanent, safe and natural environment for aged horses to retire and live out the rest of their days peacefully.

In May after doing a private yoga session with Rachel at her sanctuary (yes, she also teaches Yoga!) she invited me to walk the 20 plus acres of her property. Rachel and her partner, Jeremy keep paths mowed along the property which take you to a quaint pond, past many beautiful trees, butterflies, birds and whatever else nature just may surprise you with as you walk the peaceful and serene land. Eventually you wind around the fences with the perfect view of the horses that eventually wind back to the front of the picturesque sanctuary.

During this relaxing workshop, you will be invited to play with creativity and make your own unique walking stick with sticks chosen especially for you from Rachel’s property. We will then take you on a guided visualization to begin the process of connecting you with your heart and then gently guide you into your walking meditation in nature.  Our intention is to help you connect heart-to-hand-to walking stick, to mindfully placing your feet upon the earth and connecting with all of natures healing energies to renew your spirit.

Your guides:  Barbara & Rachel with Dancer and Hank in the background

In our world that has us believing that rushing and getting ahead is what matters, Rachel and I are passionate about helping you to slow down, open to the beauty around you and really see and feel the exquisite influence of nature, allowing it to seep deep into your bones, and fill you with a peace that will have your spirit rejoicing.

We hope you can join us!  Click here for more details and to register today. We look forward to seeing you!

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In Disguise

In Disguise

Mr. Squirrel has been quite the entertainment for me this morning from the view out my writing cottage window. 

I first observed him slinking up the deck railing, almost appearing flat. At first I thought something was wrong with him and became concerned. But it could have to do with it being so windy out. I’m not sure.

But then when I opened the door to my cottage he took off running to the tree…and there he froze…blending right into the bark of the tree…well, sort of. Trying to be in disguise, but that wind swirled his tail around giving him away.

I had to chuckle quietly to myself while he stayed in that position for what seemed the longest time.

I know many think squirrels are a nuisance, but I really enjoy watching them.

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A Deep Stirring of the Heart

A Deep Stirring of the Heart
Just days before Frankie moved on…

I was deeply moved by a post  on author Jon Katz’ blog this morning. So much so, I’m still having tearful moments as I write this.

They aren’t tears of sadness, though some bittersweet. But tears of recognition – of understanding – of having been in this space – and have come away from it profoundly changed.

Jon’s border collie, Red, who so many have come to love, is dealing with an unknown illness right now. A therapy dog who has touched so many lives he is also the spirit dog here at this time marking a passage in Jon’s life.

Having talked with a healer and animal communicator this morning, Jon wrote this:

Kimberly was direct, she told me that my challenge now was to recognize Red’s exhaustion and discomfort, and to give  him the time he needs to rest and to heal.

There was a time in my life when I would not have been able to hear this, I was too broken myself,  but I know Kimberly and trust her, and she simply went to the heart of it with me and with Red.

This stirred my heart with much emotion remembering my work with my paralyzed dachshund, Frankie, who was in a wheelchair, and touched so many lives herself. And without a doubt in every fiber of my being, she came here to help me heal – though I didn’t recognize it at first – and that gift would continue to unfold as we had a shared purpose and mission.

The recognition in realizing I was sensing she was slowing down in 2011 – she was ready to retire. Her time was coming to an end and my life, and our life as I’d come to love it, was about to change. And I didn’t know how I’d go on without her.

But in those last six months, and for months afterwards, the whisper in my heart that didn’t want to surface or admit to was that I too, was ready to slow down and move on. And it was also in learning to let go of what was, and to accept that Frankie wouldn’t live forever, and that I’d be okay.

It opened my heart to understanding more than before that with the gut-wrenching pain of loss, finding our way back to gratefulness of what was, was the whole point of our journey. How blessed I was to have had the opportunities I did with her.

How blessed I was to have this spirit dog, who forever changed my life for the better. It was imperative that I recognize and honor her wish to now retire and live out her days next to my side as I wrote the memoir of our journey.

This too, an enriching gift, of days with her all to myself. To give thanks for all the compassion she not only showed me, but others.

And getting to this place of not wallowing in her passing, but in the bliss that she brought to my life, that her gift lives on… and her spirit fills me each and every time I think of her.

And I’m grateful when my heart gets stirred from a post like Jon’s – a reminder of a time that was excruciatingly difficult, but with time I can now look back and my heart smiles with such joy from the love of Frankie.

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