When I was young — middle school I think, I fell off a horse and got the wind knocked out of me. I *think* subconsciously that was the day I decided that I “disliked animals.” (My poor ego was crushed! 🥴)
I can’t think of any other logical moment I would ever decide such a thing… and it’s so funny to me imagining how many dogs I refused to pet for so many years on the premise that “I’m not an animal person.” I didn't grow up with pets, other than a cat, who died when I was 5. So, I guess I just never thought life needed to be any different.
When I met Sean when I was 23, I’d lived some 10+ years believing this about myself. Then when I met his two sweet dogs back then, Foxy and Daisy you might be able to guess how it went...
My belief about myself shattered in an instant.
That’s the cool thing about beliefs. They can change. In an instant.
It didn’t take long for me to recognize the love Sean shared with these two furry gals… and how I wanted to feel love like that, too. I allowed myself to open my heart to the animal kingdom, change my belief about myself, and the rest is history.
(Me, pictured below with Tussock, left, and Darla)
Today, we have eight dogs (yes, 8!), plus four who've crossed over the rainbow bridge... and I've never regretted any decision to welcome another to our family. Despite 10 years living with the thought: Animals aren't my thing, I let it go — and it's been over 12 years of owning the fact that I'm a proud dog mom.
If only we could all let go of long-standing beliefs about ourselves so easily...
... or can we?
(Me, pictured below with Powder)
Meditation and yoga have been a game changer in molding my mind into something I control — rather than thoughts that control ME.
My practice hasn't necessarily made my mind "quiet." In fact, most days, my mind is anything but quiet!
Meditation has helped me notice those quiet, longstanding beliefs running on autopilot in my head that I'd had about myself. They were so softly running in my subconscious, I didn't even realize they were there!
Through consistent practice and a willingness to unearth a few surprises, I've been able to reduce my stress, anxiety, and I've changed the way I show up in the world and the beliefs I have about myself, completely... in ways that go far beyond my relationship to animals.
As a yoga and meditation teacher, people ask me a lot: Does your husband do yoga, too? Or: Does your husband meditate? And one of the coolest realizations Sean and I have had together is that not everyone meditates the same way!
One day, Sean returned from a long mush with the dogs, and told me, "Hey. So, I *think* I just meditated."
I chuckled, and asked him why he thought that. Sean described the peace and quiet he finds at the helm of the sled — like his mind is still churning, but all the thoughts fade to the background as he dives into the zen zone of dog mushing. Just him, the snow, and the quiet pitter patter of dog paws running along the snow.
I smiled. Sounds like meditation to me!
Techniques like meditation and yoga come to us at exactly the right moment, and no one's practice does (or needs!) to look the same as another's.
Mine happens on a cushion with my eyes closed. Sean's happens on the dogsled with eyes wide open. Both are valid. Both yield similar results. And we are forever changed and happier because of it!
(Sean pictured below with Darla, me pictured below with Powder)
If you're interested in practicing a little yoga + breathwork with me, I've included a recording of a Full Moon class I taught Monday night below. Enjoy!
Speaking of yoga... we've been hard at work planning on our calendar for the rest of the year. We still have few spots open for SheWild Winter Session coming up in March/April, and we JUST released dates for our Fall Session in August/September. Details can be found here.
In the coming week or so, we're hoping to drop dates for our Fall 2022 Yoga + Adventure retreats, and Winter's Womb Winter Solstice retreat in December... so stay tuned!