“Write a Bio”, she (my webmaster) says…. “Can you do it?”,
I plead… I hate writing about myself..
“No, they need to hear your heart”, she says…..sigh.
How do I distill 60 years into something you might find useful and might want to read….
Here it is.
I’ve always been a seeker. Life hands us all a level of chaos that we need to sort through… like checking the trash for a precious piece of jewelry you lost and discovering that the trash bag is filled with diamonds and gems of all sorts that you didn’t see at first blush. Some were obvious, and some, once dusted off and polished up, became treasures beyond belief. My life has been, and continues to be, RICH and FULL.
Suffice it to say that I have had my tailor-made package of life challenges: family alcoholism, “me, too” stuff, infertility, divorce, fostering many children, single parenthood, and adoption, to list a few. My package is mine, but I’ll bet we could find lots of common ground. I don’t speak of the challenges to illicit a personal pity party, but just to let you know that, if I haven’t personally lived it, I have probably parented a child/teen who has…Adversity finds us all.
My bio, I hope, is more about what I have done with those experiences and created from them. I have a life full of precious gems. I have learned compassion, empathy, forgiveness, and above all, HOPE! Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, my intent is that I can walk beside my fellow man who may be suffering and co-create a sacred space where healing and transformation are nurtured.
Because I have seen my share of dysfunction, I have always sought to discover the why.
If I can see the “why” of my, or others’, behaviour, I could create space for forgiveness and facilitate a future with more purposeful choice and self control.
As a young married adult in Toronto, my explorations led me down personal development paths of NLP (neurolinguistic programming), complete with a Fire Walk (yes, barefoot over 12 feet of red-hot coals; this experience informed the rest of my life!). I studies the Silva Mind Control Method, became a Certified Fitness Instructor, in the Jane Fonda aerobics craze (yes, I wore all THAT) teaching 15-20 classes per week, and was involved in vocal performance.
During my 10 years in Toronto I had the blessing of continuing my passion for choral music, singing with The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Symphony for seven years. I was also blessed to be able to sing for some recording projects. Being on the sound track of Schindler’s List, was a highlight!
In my marriage, infertility issues led to adoption exploration and then 4 surprise pregnancies and a subsequent son and daughter, 8 years apart. We began fostering so that I could stay home and raise our children. Although we fostered all ages, we seemed to host mostly teen girls. Raising at risk teens in Toronto is an education in itself. I found it very satisfying to help families find new, happier ways of being together, if possible. Where that wasn’t possible, at least the children in our care got a view of what family life could be like, and what respectful parenting felt like.
My fostering career is what really fuelled my insatiable desire to understand the development of human personality and subsequent behaviour choices. I was dealing with SO many people who were in such incredible pain and disfunction,
and I needed to understand how to break those chains in my own life, and support others to be chain breakers in their own family systems.
The Voice Dialogue Process, of which I became a facilitator, really resonated with me, and helped me step into a space of Observer of behaviour, rather than a Judge of behaviour. When we are observing, we are also emotionally agile. When
we are judging, ourselves or each other, we get stuck in rigidity, where growth cannot occur. Observation and Awareness lead to so much more possibility for Forgiveness, of self and others. And LOVE: always LOVE!
I returned west in 1997, after my marriage ended. The seeker in me really needed answers to the “why” of its demise, and I turned to marathon and ultra marathon running, a form of moving meditation. I needed to show myself that I could stick with, and finish, hard things. The 100 MILE Lost Soul Ultra, (very aptly named when you are running overnight, alone and in the dark) was a pivotal accomplishment for me, and that process has informed the evolution of Heart’s Haven Ranch.
After 5 years as a single parent, I remarried. Fostering remained a constant. My biological daughter was a horse lover, and we started taking riding lessons together at Eagle Feather Riding in Calgary. We also took the children who were in foster care with us to ride as well. What wonderful lay therapists horses are! have so many stories! The horse experience at EFR led me to Linda Kohanov’s work in Equine Facilitated Learning and I graduated as an Instructor in the Eponaquest Method in 2016.
Intrigued by the way horses seemed to facilitate emotional progress in at-risk youth, I went on to become an Equestrian Canada Riding Instructor, a CanTRA Therapeutic Riding Intermediate Instructor, and also a Level 2 Centered Riding Instructor. I also hold Chris Irwin’s Bronze Level in both ridden and ground work.
As I worked with riders with varying levels of functioning, from normal (whatever that means) to non-verbal with major developmental delays, I was always looking for ways to deepen my understanding and skills to facilitate human potential and appropriate emotional function. I have taken a multitude of online courses and a trainer I was following, Jane Savoie, introduced me to EFT: Emotional Freedom Techniques. After using EFT in a very rudimentary way with a rider who had some deep-seated fears after a tough riding mishap, with truly miraculous results, I was hooked on EFT! I am now a Certified Level 2 Practitioner.
I’ve really been coaching and leading all my life. I love to see AHA moments of the soul…
The term Emotional Freedom says it all---don’t we all want to be truly free to choose how to be fully in control of our thoughts, feelings and actions, and how to quickly return to balance when life knocks us about?.
It’s about the Heart and Love, and the real Freedom to fully use our hearts to LOVE.
LOVE, fully applied, is the most powerful force in the Universe.