A Reminder

horse-1550514-1278x1126Today I visited a beautiful horse. I was early and his people were late. He was such an old soul. I took the liberty of taking off his horse rugs and graciously placed my hands upon his back. He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes. I stroked him ever so gently, and purposefully ran my hands all over his tired ageing body and he relished every moment. The connection was truly amazing and cannot be described with words, it had no words, it was an immense feeling at a soul level.

He told me he was a School Master and every day he gave lessons to children, some times two or three in a day, sometimes less, sometimes more. He also told me that not one person gave him the time, the time to just sit and be with him, to truly be with him, to stroke him, to show him he mattered and to connect with him at a deep level.

People came, people went. They saddled him up, they rode him, they unsaddled him, his rugs were put on, and he was put back in his yard, sometimes with a feed, sometimes not. Sometimes with fresh sweet water, but most of the time the staleness of three day old water was sour to his lips.

He wanted not to be taken for granted, he gave his best everyday and he just wanted somebody to sit awhile and ask nothing of him. I sat awhile and I asked nothing of him, I stroked his hair and gave him my undivided attention. I gave him his sweet tasting water and our souls were forever linked within that moment.

Thank you beautiful boy for reminding me to be present, to open my heart fully and to give to you unconditionally.

From Sacred Whispers 2013

Give back to the old (and new) Masters with healing touch!  Take our one of our Healing in the Field workshops to learn how.  Volunteer your new skills at a local rescue center or equine-facilitated therapy center.  Thank your horse for all that they do for you. Blessings from the Vibrancy Project.

Vibrant Aging – 5 Myths that Matter

Vibrant Aging Myth #5: If I believe it to be true, it must be.

I believe that this myth can have the biggest impact on aging vibrantly.  When we believe something is true for us, the brain and body work hard to make it so.  Depending on the belief, this can have a positive or negative impact on our health.  An award winning essay  by Penny Sarcheton on the nocebo effect (the opposite of the beneficial placebo effect) highlights the link between a negative mental state and physical suffering. A 2012 Dutch study showed that negative suggestion can induce symptoms of illness.

Consider what this nocebo effect can mean to someone who lost both parents and a sibling to liver disease.  Or the woman whose recent DNA test showed a marker for BRCA2 mutation, indicating an increased risk for ovarian cancer.  Or the person who diligently reads about the potential side effects of their new medication.  Or the person whose doctor suggests being prepared for disability by age 50 (that would be me).  Be careful what you believe because you can make it true even when it isn’t.

So what if, instead, we believed positive things about our health and life?  A 2010 study by the Journal of Psychosomatic Research concluded that illness beliefs before cardiac surgery predict disability, quality of life, and depression 3 months later.   In a 2011 University of Illinois study, a review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects has found “clear and compelling evidence” that — all else being equal — happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers.

What do you believe about your health and  your ability to age vibrantly?  What do you believe is and isn’t possible for you?  How do these beliefs impact your actions, your health, your future?  If a belief isn’t serving you well, how can you test it, change it, make it work for you in your quest for vibrant aging?


For the ultimate myth busting experience, join us for an equine-facilitated coaching session.  Let a new truth take root!


Vibrant Aging – 5 Myths that Matter

Vibrant Aging Myth #4: it’s all downhill from here.

As we get older, many of us perceive that life on the other side of whatever milestone birthday is staring us in the face will be less satisfying than the life we have now.  Fortunately research show that this is not the case.  I love the point made in the Carstensen’s study on aging and happiness, “Most of the grumpy old men out there are grumpy young men who grew old.”

Minolta DSCOver the 5 years of the study, the older subjects reported having fewer negative emotions and more positive ones compared with their younger days. “As people age, they’re more emotionally balanced and better able to solve highly emotional problems,” said Carstensen, a psychology professor and director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. “We may be seeing a larger group of people who can get along with a greater number of people. They care more and are more compassionate about problems, and that may lead to a more stable world.”  Levels of life satisfaction typically bottom out when people are in their 40s, then begin to increase as they age through their 60s. The pattern has become known as the happiness U-curve.

By the time we are in our 70’s, we have a lifetime of learning about what is and isn’t important.  We have come to terms with our successes and failures. We know to leave the rat race to the rats, and we have learned to enjoy the simple and small things that harried younger folks don’t even notice.  All this sounds like something to look forward to, still being one of the rats!

So the best is yet to come.  Unless, of course, you are one of the grumpy ones.

Vibrant Aging – 5 Myths that Matter

Vibrant Aging Myth #3: doctor knows best.

I don’t remember much of the first few years of the new century.  I must have functioned pretty well and managed to get my new marriage and coaching practice off the ground, but those were fuzzy days.  Decades of back issues and a dozen failed medical approaches had me experiencing life through the filter of pain medications that would bring a horse to its knees.  It’s amazing what the human body can learn to tolerate.  Those were not vibrant days.

After getting hopelessly lost in the food court of the mall after one particularly interesting new addition to the pain arsenal (a sad, but funny, story that deserves it’s own blog), I began to realize that my life – or at least my brain – might be forfeit if I continued to blindly follow doctor’s orders.  This started my long journey towards vibrant aging, taking control and responsibility for my health.

I am certainly not advocating that we dump the medical profession.  I love the medical team that I’ve surrounded  myself with and they serve a vital function in my life.  The big shift has been in moving into ownership of creating health, rather than abdicating treatment of symptoms.

The National Cancer Institute defines Western Medicine as “A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.”  To their credit, they are trained to focus on symptoms and to use medical interventions to manage or remove the symptoms.  Although the movement is slowly shifting to recognize the doctor’s role in maintaining health, the system is still focused on treating symptoms.

So the best advocate of your health is YOU!  Where do you abdicate your health?  Where do you blindly follow without understanding?  Where do you accept what is, without exploring what might be?  How do you invest in treatment but not in prevention?  Where do you need to take ownership of the only body you have?

My spine is still curved, rotated and degenerated but pain is a rare and fleeting thing.  By focusing on health and finding my own path (and a medical team that supports  me on it), I can vibrantly experience life every day and never again get lost in the food court!  Join  me on the path to vibrant aging…what’s your first step?

Learn more about taking control of your health in our Vibrant Aging workshops!

Vibrant Aging – 5 Myths that Matter

Vibrant Aging Myth #2: rest is best as we get older.

I love a good nap. That break in the middle of the day where I can sneak away and catch some Zzzzs in the nest.  A snooze for energy, right?  And what about recharging after a busy day with a few hours in front of the TV.  The back’s a little cranky so let’s lie down a bit.  Had knee surgery last year?  Better prop that baby so it won’t act up again.

Unfortunately these feel-good strategies feed into a cycle of physical deceleration, whereby doing less we feel like doing less and end up able to do less.  As we age, muscle loss (known as sarcopenia) accelerates, leading to fatigue, weakness and loss of energy. So instead of doing less exercise as we get older, we actually need to do more!  We’ve all seen those athletic septuagenarians who swim the English Channel and finish the Boston Marathon.  They aren’t really that different from the rest of us, they just don’t nap much.

The secret to exploding this myth for yourself is to just MOVE.  You don’t need to take up racquetball or lace up running shoes.  Find the movement that works for you, then gently, persistently and consistently push your movement envelope just a little each day.  Learn to embrace discomfort while avoiding pain.

Don’t accept that getting older is a free pass to lying around.  The myth of “rest is best” is more likely the ticket to a nice nursing home.  Let’s keep moving so they have to catch us first!

Vibrant Aging – 5 Myths that Matter

Vibrant Aging Myth #1: the great brain drain is just part of getting older.

I think my brain is around here somewhere but I’m not sure where I left it.  Maybe it is with my car keys or my reading glasses.  No, I found my glasses on my head; one of six pairs I own because I can never remember where I left them.  Names exited the neo cortex years ago and words escape sentences, only to be recaptured when their usefulness is, well, no longer useful.

Sound familiar?  It will if you tune in to conversations the next table over as diners commiserate and compete with their best memory loss saga.  We are so used to hearing these stories and adding our own that we have come to believe that losing our brain cells is as inevitable as losing the lottery.  Beliefs create our reality so let’s bust this myth and believe something better!

A lot of research has been done in the past decade to determine why some people remain sharp past the century mark and others lose a few more marbles with each passing year.  A little bit of research on the research turned up what the folks have in common (besides avoiding falling on their head earlier in life):

  • Take care of your health
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink alcohol moderately, if at all
  • Get active and stay active
  • Sleep 7-8 hours each night
  • Learn new things
  • Connect with your family, friends, and communities

Wow!  The same things that help us live vibrantly at any age also keep our brains vibrant as well.  Vibrant beings literally keep their wits about them as they age.  Do you see anything on this list that you can’t control if you set your mind to it (while you have it left)?  So bust this myth and believe in your brain’s ability to reinvent itself with each passing year.

Check out this great resource on brain health and create some new vibrations up there!

Stay tuned for Vibrant Aging Myth #2!

Rediscovering What’s Important

I realized today that sometime in the past couple of weeks, my enthusiasm for life had gone on a hike without me.  It crept up on me, this sensation that life is hard and I have to work hard at it.  I’ve missed out on the beautiful mornings of a Texas Fall because there was too much to do.  No time for yoga, dining on the move, sleep as an afterthought.  Then my body jumped into the driver’s seat.  “Hey you, with the endless to-do list!  Let’s show you what it feels like on this side of the table.  How about a little back pain from all those hours at your desk?  Maybe a bit of insomnia so you can worry at night as well as all day?  And perhaps you’ve forgotten ow much we rally don’t appreciate carbs in here so we’ll remind you.”  Roger that…time for a reboot.

Our vibrant self can get lost in the midst of the avalanche of daily tasks, weekly shoulds and endless emails. Too often we ignore the important messages from within and set the seed for illness and dis-ease. We take on one more thing and one more thing until we are running on empty and don’t even recognize it anymore. The abnormal becomes the normal. The myth of having it all and getting it all done starts to masquerade as reality. We know it isn’t working, we know something needs to change but we buy into the second myth that it has to be this way.

The Vibrancy Challenge

Ask yourself these powerful questions and rediscover what is important in your life:

  • What important physical messages am I ignoring?
  • Where do I need to make more authentic choices for myself?
  • What do I need to say ‘no’ to in order to say ‘yes’ to what is important?
  • Where am I giving away control over my choices?
  • What is one thing I can do today to ensure a vibrant tomorrow?

Rediscover what is important for you on a Journey Ride!

Journey into a new future with an equine coach!
Create a deeper connection with yourself and new awareness of your possibilities.

Master Coach, Teresa Pool, and her equine partner, Lucy, will guide you in dissolving barriers, creating positive change in your life, and stepping into who you were meant to be.
No horse experience necessary

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