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THE PRACTICE OF

BE-ING

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Welcome to my blog!

 

This blog is a collection of my thoughts and observations. For more information about my practice, click HERE.

By Susan Crimmins, Sep 5 2015 05:33PM


Gracie Liu | The Practice of BE-ING
Gracie Liu | The Practice of BE-ING

My recent journey to Montana reminds me that we often have to be mindful of what we ask for, as the universe hears and responds in ways we cannot imagine! My summer days had become filled with more questions than answers, and I found myself swirling in mental energies that thwarted my intuition from flowing. In celebrating a landmark birthday, I was contemplating doing something that allowed me to play at “my edge.” I had been seeking to connect with nature more and to better access my internal wisdom, so a retreat in the Montana wilderness found me, which promised to be filled with both inner and outer exploration amongst a group of like-minded women. When I said “yes!” I had no real grasp of how this would stretch me, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.


Heading off for a week into the wild sounded adventurous, bold, and exciting. It turned out to be all of these, and it also offered a healthy dose of humility, surrender and surprise as well. It started out with some technical snafus in our living situation, which required flexibility from all participants and I recall thinking, okay, here comes the theme of the week already identified. Interspersed amidst Jungian dream work, came several trail rides with a herd of horses that, upon first blush, appeared to be more wild than tame to this novice cowgirl. I was anxious.


Gracie Liu snacking | The Practice of BE-ING
Gracie Liu snacking | The Practice of BE-ING

Each of us shared our experience with riding, as the lead wrangler/herd manager, a cowboy named Jake, matched us up with a horse that would suit our skill level and demeanor. When Gracie, a beautiful paint, was paired with me, I saw the question mark on Jake’s face, as to whether this was the “right” match for me. I shrugged my shoulders, deferring to his wisdom and so it followed that Gracie and I set off to bond outside of the corral. Let’s just say, her beauty was striking! I had always had a “thing” for paints, and yet, reluctance bubbled up inside me—a mare. Hmm. My preference and experience involved mostly interactions with geldings. Mares can have a reputation, deserved or not, for being more deliberate in their decisions and so, I asked Gracie if she would be gentle and go easy with me. I told her I was nervous and that riding was my edge. I needed her to keep me safe. Her response, which seemed very direct and unaffected, was “trust me.” Okay, understood, or so I thought.



We then headed down to the round pen to saddle up and to go through a sequence of communicating via the reins. The moment I mounted her I could feel Gracie shift. There was no mistaking it. She was in charge. As I was directed to circle in the round pen, Jake informed me that Gracie is one of the lead mares, and she does not care for round pens, nor for the other two mares, who also were circling in the pen. Great. I stopped breathing. This only served to add to her pinned ears and herding, as she got ready to nip and clear anyone and anything that came in her path. Oh no, I thought, what happened to our agreement from our conversation on the ground? Jake assured me she was a great trail horse, and to just keep breathing until I feel more comfortable. Wait, how many days do we have?! He laughed. I did not.



Jake & Sundance | The Practice of BE-ING
Jake & Sundance | The Practice of BE-ING

As any horse aficionado knows, breath is the key language when communicating between human and horse. I soon learned that my regulated exhales were allowing Gracie to be more even in her strides and I learned to maneuver her in all directions when we got too close to the other mares. I praised her every time she cooperated with my lead. Again, she seemed to be unmoved by any thing that came out of my mouth. She was far more attuned to my body than my words.


Out on the trail, Gracie was the first horse behind Jake’s horse, Sundance. Our first ride involved many hills and I was still getting my horse legs and learning balance in all of the various climbs and descents, as I simultaneously kept reminding myself to breathe. No doubt Gracie knew her stuff, knew her trails, and knew her herd. When another mare, Coco, got too close from the rear, Gracie would pin her ears and turn to snap—a good reminder for me to be aware and to allow my horse to be her true self, while learning to be flexible in my decisions of how to accommodate both of us. I exhaled deeply when I dismounted. Made it! Whew!



Out on the trail | The Practice of BE-ING
Out on the trail | The Practice of BE-ING

The second ride was much easier, as I felt that Gracie and I had established a sense of basic trust and we were far more attuned to each other’s gifts and personalities. The terrain was more even and it was a sunset ride. I became more focused on the beauty surrounding us and was able to relax into trusting my girl with a deep sense of gratitude.



Montana | The Practice of BE-ING
Montana | The Practice of BE-ING

In addition, the suggestion of horse as mirror came up as a reflective exercise for the humans to consider over the days we were riding. Gee, what did Gracie and I have in common? Was I outwardly unemotional? Did I convey a sense of leadership and dominance to others? Was I matter of fact in my communication? Did I expect others to automatically trust me when we entered into relationship? With horse as mirror, did I trust myself? Too many questions for me to ponder, and little time to do so before the long ride. At the end of the second ride, I felt more confident for the upcoming “big “ride that was scheduled for the following day. All of us knew that this was the longest ride on the trail that brought both much beauty and much trepidation. Still anxious, I felt more trusting of Gracie, now that we had completed two rides together. Little did I know what was ahead of us.



Gracie Liu as mirror | The Practice of BE-ING
Gracie Liu as mirror | The Practice of BE-ING

On the morning of the big day, we saddled up as we prepared for extra hydration needs and encountering of the elements. Remembering all the lessons learned with Gracie already: awareness of self, other and environs; attunement and communication; and steady breathing, yes, I am ready to take this next step with my horse. Jake was now shoring up the ride and a different wrangler was leading us. Gracie did not seem to respect the horse in front of us. Oh dear, another relationship and more change to navigate. The ride out beyond the familiar terrain began with a steep decline and when coming to the bottom of the hill, there was a creek we had to cross. My heart began to pound. How deep is this creek? Does my horse know what to do? For the first time in our days together, Gracie stumbled right before the creek. We both came down hard and I realized that I had to re-focus on breathing easy and checked in with her to see if she was okay. She moved through the first creek crossing without further incident, but my trust had faltered a bit in her misstep. I was scared yet, I could hear Jake’s voice in my head, “whenever you’re scared, trust your horse.” This was the first of five creek crossings on the way out and each one triggered a sense of halt in my body that must have registered as an ice block with Gracie, yet she kept on moving. I was so terribly glad when we reached our destination at lunchtime—half way there and now only the journey home! I can do this!! Of course, I still had not learned that in the wilderness, anything can happen, and that just because I thought I knew the path, this did not guarantee that I knew what we would encounter on the path. Now, isn’t that a clear metaphor for life?


After a hearty lunch and time in solitude, we re-mounted to begin the long journey back. I definitely felt more connected and in sync with Gracie, and even began to relax—taking in the beauty of eagles in flight and an occasional deer romping alongside the trail. We were riding along for almost an hour when we turned a bend, and encountered at least 30 cattle, Black Angus, directly in front of us, blocking our trail. My breath came to a halt. Oh no, will they move? They began to moo loudly and I saw the mama cows beginning to step out in front of their babies. My immediate thought, this can’t be good. In a flash, I saw cattle running up on both sides of the trail to come up front to protect their own. Now there were at least 40 cattle just several feet in front of us and we were surrounded, as they blocked the trail and the gate that we needed to pass through. It looked like a stand off. Our wrangler just kept going and the sounds from the cattle were so loud that later we learned Jake had been shouting from the back for us to stop.




In less than half a second, my lead mare, Gracie pinned her ears, bared her teeth, and took off to charge the cattle! The movement was so sudden that my brain could not process what was occurring until we already were in motion. Instinctively, I pulled on the reins sharply and yelled amidst the commotion, “bad idea, Gracie, no girl, whoa!” and the next thing I saw was Jake on Sundance by my side, telling me to breathe as he, Sundance and his yellow lab, Trigger, cleared the cattle out from our path. We held eye contact for what seemed like forever. I trusted Jake. My heart was pounding; we still had to move through the gate and keep our herd going until all of us were safely through to the other side. Once past the chaos and challenge, there was no time to feel or to think anything—we still had another hour on the ride and more creek crossings to maneuver before we reached “home.”




It was then that my heart opened 100% to my horse and I re-named her Gracie Liu in honor of the character from the film, Miss Congeniality—an FBI agent who appears hard core and all about the job, yet, has a heart of gold that closed down due to too many disappointments and mis-attunements in life. My horse had listened to me and I had heard her as well. No doubt that this was MY horse, and if this horse was a mirror, than this was somehow a reflection of me, too. Not only did I now trust Gracie Liu, but also I realized that I now trusted myself to live from intuition and heart instead of whatever my thoughts said to me. Inside of me, I always knew what to do and how to be in any situation because my instincts were solid, and when they faltered, intuition and guides would present as back-up. Message received, lesson learned. This was a lot to integrate, but if I could take the time to digest this fully, then I knew freedom would be mine. Freedom from fear of riding and freedom to choose from a spacious place of knowing that I had challenged my fear by trusting the universe, my horse and most of all, myself. In addition, the bonus of this adventure revealed some illuminating steps in the healing process: Awareness, Attunement, Chaos (the Challenge and resultant Message), Integration and Freedom. Thanks Gracie Liu for a lesson beyond my wildest dreams!



Trigger | The Practice of BE-ING
Trigger | The Practice of BE-ING









By Susan Crimmins, Jul 20 2015 11:40PM

Leave Room For Miracles - Photo courtesy of Diana Haskell
Leave Room For Miracles - Photo courtesy of Diana Haskell

In 2013 I was diagnosed with having an autoimmune disorder. This was really surprising and upsetting news, to say the least. While I always knew that my family genetics were less than robust, I went along, like most people, living day to day and hoping that I would not be touched by the challenges of my lineage. As with any autoimmune disorder, stress can exacerbate it and of course, good nutrition, regular exercise and overall quality of life can mediate it. So, I left my doctor’s office with an intention of moving more into alignment with “who I really am,” and realizing that I had to leave some unhealthy ways of living behind me. I then embraced this diagnosis as just another chapter in my healing journey, knowing that more lessons would be revealed along the way.


By 2014, my “condition” had progressed as indicated by blood work and I began to become symptomatic. Nothing major, mostly fatigue and some weight gain. Since I am an integrative healer, one who is interested in combining the best of both allopathic and alternative medicines, I began to investigate possibilities of whether this condition was something that could be reversed or healed via less conventional methods. Western medicine already had determined that the likelihood of healing this was zilch—no such thing. “Once you have it, you always have it, “ as stated by a medical specialist. I then consulted with my integrative physician, who shared his experience that fully reversing this particular disorder was less than a 20% chance at the cost of a $10,000 protocol that was complicated and unforgiving in its rigor. It looked like the process of healing via this particular method was going to stress me more than support me. I began to wonder what was the message in having all these roadblocks showing up. I concluded that I just needed to keep researching other possibilities.


In January 2015, I reached a fork in the road. Increasingly debilitating symptoms began to interfere with my daily routine. I had little energy anymore, and could function less and less without taking a nap each day. More blood work revealed a worsening of the disorder, and now going on medication seemed like the best way to manage these symptoms in a way that would allow me to live with more energy. I yielded to this solution, although I felt defeated. I was interested in a cure, not a treatment of symptoms. So I took the prescription, filled it and brought my longing into meditation.


Although I meditated twice daily, nothing came—at least, nothing that I could decipher as a possible way to heal. Discouraged, I went about doing “my part” with nutrition and increasing my exercise regimen, so at least I could experience a sense of agency. It was definitely a time whereby my trusting the universe was put to the test, and I found myself renewing my prayer and meditation practice as well.


Then at the end of March I attended an advanced equine workshop where the theme was to develop one’s intuition and to facilitate communication with ancestors—both horse and human. While I thought I was ready for anything when it comes to horses, what happened on that third day with a most remarkable horse was nothing short of a miracle. Each day of the workshop, a horse selected a human and for three days in a row, the same horse, Indigo Moon, selected me. A bit unusual since other participants were rocking along with varied, talented horses. Still, Indigo Moon, aka Indie, is one of my best teachers, so I trusted that he had a reason for his selection.


In the round pen sessions during the workshop, the focus was supposed to be an honoring of the horse’s needs, not the human’s. Indie had a different idea. During all three days, the focus was on me, no matter how hard I tried to ascertain what he might need or want. I was getting frustrated. Finally, the human facilitator suggested that some horses just like to teach, and so, this IS what HE wants. Perhaps I can just follow his lead with regard to what I need to learn, and see what happens next?


So on the third day, when Indie was scheduled for HIS healing with HIS chiropractor, our facilitator suggested that I bring Indie over to her to see if she had any wisdom to share about my very strong bond with him during this workshop. While escorting Indie over, he was clearly animated and kept looking at me while I told him that I was excited to meet his healer and to get a better sense of what characterized our deep connection from her perspective.


Upon meeting his doctor, she immediately heard from Indie that he wanted ME to have a healing from her and only then would he have his healing. When she said this out loud, I got chills, looked at Indie, who was nodding his head up and down and could barely keep still! Indie looked me straight in the eyes, and I heard “Please?” I consented, not knowing what was in store, as I was not understanding how a chiropractic treatment would benefit me?


I stood for the healing, with Indie “in my pocket.” It is worth mentioning here that Indie is NOT a horse who is a fan of much physical contact, yet his breath was on mine as he hovered over my right shoulder—watching and waiting for the doc to begin the healing. Turns out that the healing was shamanic in form, that is, it was based upon natural elements of intuitive knowing where time has no meaning. With hands on my chest and solar plexus, the human healer picked up that I had an autoimmune disorder, which I had brought in with me from another lifetime. “Did I wish for this to be gone?” Before I could answer, Indie began vigorously nodding his head up and down and we had to settle him a bit and thank him for his input before I was able to say “YES!” With verbalization that made no sense to me, I could feel the healing energy coming into my body and started to feel lightheaded as Indie steadied me with his body leaning against mine.


I recall few details from that moment forward, but I know that I could sense that something was, indeed, different. I felt lighter, more buoyant, and less dense in my physical body. I could feel something indescribable leaving me. I had tears—of joy mostly, and some nagging thoughts about whether this was going to work? How is this possible? And tons of other errant chatter that the mind will engage in while the body, heart, and soul are healing. One look in Indie’s eyes, quieted my mind, and I laughed while I recognized that this is what he was trying to teach me. Trust my soul. Trust my intuition. Trust the inherent goodness in the universe. Trust the ancestors. Trust my prayers. Trust that ANYTHING can be healed when the conditions and timing are right. And most certainly, trust my relationship with Indie, my guide. After the healing was complete, it also was clear that my soul contract with Indie was complete as well. I had allowed him to teach me what needed to be taught, and I received what he so clearly knew would help me move forward with life. I thanked my hero with a huge hug and a humbled heart.

I rested for days afterward while I experienced dreams I could not recall, and when I returned home, people were noticing how my energy was calmer. I was more in my heart, more in my body and more people were drawn to me. My business began to blossom, and I began to engage in more activities that brought me joy, while stepping away from those that brought me tension. However, was I healed medically? Would this healing translate into results that Western medicine could measure? I wondered.


Subsequently, results from more blood drawn in May 2015 revealed that I do NOT have an autoimmune disorder. The new specialist said I never had one, so I had to return to him in June with the three independent POSITIVE blood result readings compiled between 2013 and 2014, which revealed that I DID have an autoimmune disorder. To be clear, it is a simple dichotomous reading of yes or no, not a continuous measure. One test he ruled out as unreliable. Okay, now we are down to two positive, independent results, which in science is hard to rule as two false positives—highly improbable. When I told him about my shamanic healing with Indie and the chiropractor, his comment was “That is not within my paradigm of expertise.” Okay, I can respect that doc, then HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN the reversal in blood results? He simply said, “I can’t,” to which I replied, “well, I always like to leave room for miracles.”

By Susan Crimmins, Jun 13 2015 05:30PM


My old friend, Grief, has come to visit again. We first met when I was 10 years old, as Grief boldly arrived unannounced and uninvited. Ever since then I have had a hard time with this drop in visitor. Not one to be deterred, Grief showed up again four years later in a similar fashion and stayed way too long!

Whenever Grief arrived, life, as I knew it, would change forever. I could not understand how to rid myself of this unwelcomed houseguest, so I first tried to hide and then to pretend that Grief was not there. Needless to say, these approaches did not work, and, instead, only extended an invitation for Grief to stay indefinitely.


I remember clearly in 1999, that my relationship with Grief took a turn for the better. After another intrusive arrival, I just began to sit with Grief when I realized that Love had invited it. Whenever I loved, which I did deeply, Grief, would arrive when I perceived a loss. I say perceived, because I have come to understand that the only thing ever lost is form, not Essence. That which has come to be known as death in many cultures, is only a dropping of dense form, so that Essence can be freed to move at warp speed in multiple dimensions. Contact with the one whom I perceived that I lost, is not only possible, but also greatly welcomed! Only form changes, never Essence or Love.



So, hello again Grief. This time I will make some tea while we visit again. You are merely the greatly misunderstood shadow side of Love in this human form, and as long as my heart is able to Love, I imagine we will continue to hang out together at times. Now I can be grateful that we are friends, because your presence is a measure of how deeply I love...blessed be.


My Old Friend, Grief
My Old Friend, Grief
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