I don’t remember having a specific “dream” growing up and there wasn’t any part me that felt particularly inclined towards following an “academic” path. Instead of sitting in a classroom, all I wanted to do was explore the great outdoors, activate my senses and spend time in nature. I always felt like a round peg in a square hole, and as a little hippy girl, growing up in a military family I didn’t fit into the roles and the expectations of that life.
My fondest memories, as my father’s daughter was camping and spending time outside with the dog. These are the times I felt most connected to a sense of purpose and belonging, I would struggle with that in my adult life, trying to put my love of nature into a career that supported me but finding myself side tracked in jobs I thought I should be doing in order to pay my bills.
After spending 18 years in Emergency Services communication, 911 calls & dispatching to Police Officers, being exposed to the traumas that come with that profession, I developed a sleep disorder and adrenal fatigue (21st century Stress Syndrome).
To survive, I started spending more time with my horse, not necessarily riding; there was something about just being with him and reconnecting with nature that settled something inside of me. I found peace and I found my center away from chaos. I rediscovered just how healing being in nature can be.
This reawakening lead me to get back into nature and into studying in the fields of Herbalism, Wild crafting and a certification in outdoor living skills. My dream of building a fulfilling career based on the power of nature emerged.
My dream started to take shape; a desire to create a space where people could come and remember how to breathe again, through retreats in the mountains, and being surrounded by nature.
My horse felt the need to expand on that dream; I just didn’t really know it, until! I was diagnosed with breast cancer; the emotional & spiritual healing I received from my horse just blew me away. I always knew I felt better when I was around him but in the space he created for me; it finally dawned on me just how powerful and healing it was being in his presence.
Shortly after my surgery and as I was entering into my recovery period, my father started to exhibit signs of Alzheimer and I designated myself as his caregiver. About 1 ½ years into that we reluctantly had to start making plans to put him in care, and just before he went into care, my oldest sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I became her caregiver for a time; they passed away within 3 months of each other.
As someone who has lived through and found myself on the other side of extreme emotional and physical turmoil, I understand the depth of what that does for us in our lives. Throughout my journey there were times where I just didn’t feel the outside world could offer the understanding and care to get me through the internal struggle I was experiencing in my life. This is why I am so passionate about this work.
Nature and the horses are what brought me back to myself, that gave me the support and the nurturing that I needed when I was having to care not only for myself through cancer, but hold others through their trauma and subsequent death. On the outside I looked like I was getting through it, but internally it was like a raging storm and I couldn’t find any peace within it.
I know how hard it is to pull yourself out of the storms and recover not just externally but internally.
As a cancer warrior and a caregiver junkie, if not for the horses in my life and a physical need to be in the mountains, I’m not sure how I would have moved past what I was going through.