As a child, I quickly learned that many things could be repurposed. Hand-me-downs were a favourite and it felt like Christmas when it was time to trade clothes amongst cousins and I won't lie, I still like a re-gifted piece of clothing.
And as a farm girl, you would be amazed what can be done with baler twine and duct tape if you are in a pinch. This upbringing has brought about the entrepreneurial spirit that drives my business today supporting a resourceful and resilient attitude.
Recently, I was blessed to be a participant in the #FrontPorchProject and these beautiful photos were taken by Karen Casey of Casey & Co Photography Studio (and yes, we practiced safe social distancing). In fact, we were probably 30 feet from each other.
At Soul on Fire Coaching and Wellness Center, we have lots of space to roam so isolation feels like freedom from the busyness of life and a time for reflection and in my case at this very moment, a time for learning. We have trails in the woods to walk and listen to the birds, the dogs are free to roam and play with each other, and our cattle, horses and dogs provide cuddles and nuzzles to provide support through an extraordinary time in our lives and in history.
I hope all of you are staying well and listening to the advice of our countries' leaders so we can beat this. I do believe that life as we have known it will not be the same. Are there parts of your life that you were happy to let go during this time? Are there new ways of being that your are starting to appreciate?
These are uncertain times. So many have been impacted and more than ever we are needing to trust in our resilience to overcome this obstacle and rise again.
I am feeling that uncertainty as well considering Soul on Fire was already in a state of transition and it was moving forward in such a positive direction only to come to a sliding stop (for the time being). I find my strength in the midst of chaos so Soul on Fire is taking the time to learn and build programs for the day we can connect again in person.
In the meantime, I am still here virtually. If you need a life coach to support you through this time, I am here. My expertise is "transition" with extensive experience in career transitioning from my Human Resource career as a Corporate Recruiter and Employee Advisor. For some of you, this may be a time to start in a new direction. I can help with that.
I will be here when you are ready to help brush up your resume and cover letter, prepare for interviews, and support your job search.
If finances are a concern, customized payment plans can be arranged so it works and you feel supported financially.
Stay safe and well!
This blog is not an easy one to write.
It has been a difficult week for Soul on Fire, the herd and my family. We had to say good-bye to one of our herd members. Chuckie was only two.
Needless to say, I have been reflecting on my life purpose, the future of Soul on Fire, horse ownership, relationships and the list goes on. Mortality seems to do that where we question our own role. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life. We are given one life and it is up to us to live it with purpose and meaning (with a soul on fire).
Chuckie was born here and I remember the days leading up to his birth with so much anticipation and excitement and a wee bit of anxiety hoping all would go well. The mare was overdue so it was time. The previous foal was stillborn so needless to say, there was concern.
He was born without a hitch but for the first time, the mare was not accepting the foal like she should. She was so engorged with milk that she was hurting so she needed to be milked out to provide relief and let the foal have some of the colostrum from the bottle. It took all day to get the foal to latch on and for mama to accept the baby but alas, we had success.
That was only the first hurdle. The baby was born with what is called "knock-kneed" (see picture below) with one leg worse than the other.
With several vet consultations, we developed a plan to support this baby so it had a fighting chance by implementing a daily routine with leg wraps. This baby had lots of will to live and some fight in him so the weeks and months ahead were interesting in trying to keep him still while we wrapped his legs. Needless to say, I learned to wrap quickly while my daughters or husband held him. It was a family affair. His legs grew stronger and straighter.
His quality of life was good here and the intent was to make him a pasture mate and provide support to clients of Soul on Fire. He had some quirky ways that made you smile even when he was being annoying. Even on his last day here, I felt his nose on my butt knowing he was about to reach for the tab on my coveralls. He was always so playful.
Unfortunately his playfulness was his demise when he slipped while acting foolish and fractured his leg. I couldn't see him suffer and prognosis was not good so on Monday, January 27th, Chuckie was laid to rest.
Chuckie was a fighter. He embraced life fully in spite of his flaws because he didn't see them as flaws.
With so many challenges regarding horses and my heart so filled with grief, this made me question the "Coaching from the Barn" philosophy and horse ownership until a client reached out when she sensed something was wrong based on a cryptic Facebook post I shared and this is what she had to say to me.
"Maybe this isn't a sign for you to change course, it's simply a test of your faith in yourself.
I know what a huge difference you made in my life, at a critical time. I certainly would not be where I am without you and your herd. I may not even be alive if you hadn't been there.
What you do is important so please don't give up on your end goal."
These words have been pivotal for me. I was feeling defeated!
And then the coach who I studied my Equine Assisted Facilitation reached out with the words of "contrast brings clarity".
With this support network, I can see clearly today (even through the tears). It means some difficult decisions and discussions will follow and boundaries will be established and offerings with the horses will continue. And if I could bubble wrap the horses, I would.
One of my mares felt my grief that awful day and nestled her head into my chest. My sorrow was shared with her. This was her brother.
For all of you animal lovers out there, this is the worse part of ownership but I will always do what is right to ensure there is no pain or suffering. Dear Chuckie, I know your spirit will live on with Tater's and each time I think of you, I will remember you grabbing my hat, my coveralls or my hair, and I will smile.
Thank you for being such an important part of our lives. RIP dear man.
Recently, I have seen this quote posted across several social media forums "If you don't pick a day to relax, your body will pick it for you". Sometimes we choose the pause and sometimes the pause chooses us.
Interesting enough, I sat down to write this blog some time ago with the very best of intentions and it just seemed appropriate to put some "to do's" on hold to enjoy time with family over the holiday season. This was a case where I chose to "practice the pause" and chose to write this blog after some rest and play.
Over the the last 18 months, there has been more than one occasion where the pause has chosen me. The first being when I had two stents placed in one of my heart arteries with a 90 percent blockage in May 2018 and the second, when I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in September 2019 with a pancreas that wasn't functioning so well causing unexplained weight loss and reduced vision to the point I was not able to read ordinary labels or work at my computer without increasing the font or wearing reading glasses. Both of these scenarios were pretty scary and life changing at the same time. It was a clear demonstration of how quickly our life can change without warning.
Intuitively, I knew something was not right in both cases but chose to ignore the signs my body was telling me. I didn't want to know. I was afraid. So my body decided it needed to shout!! Looking back, I am happy this new awakening occurred and that I have the opportunity to course correct. I reduced my working hours to spend quality time with my daughters, helping my husband on the farm, and doing simple life pleasures that I didn't think were possible or that I was capable of doing.
This course correct and "pause" allowed me to see what is possible and to set priorities where I feel I can have a positive impact in my life, my family, my community, and my business. I have known all along that I wanted to create a wellness center to help people get connected and/or re-connected to themselves and to demonstrate the importance of the pause. The pause may seem counterproductive to some but it is really about perspective, isn't it?
When we are knee deep in the trenches, what is our perspective? Sometimes we are so close to the situation, we cannot see clearly nor can we see how we can choose a different path. However, when we get to hover overhead and look down from a higher altitude, we can see the trenches and all the beautiful surrounding landscape. That is what coaching can do for clients as well.
In the months ahead, Soul on Fire will be expanding its operations and offerings as an Equine Guided Wellness Center - a holistic wellness approach that will encompass mind, body and spirit. Without the integration of all three, we leave ourselves at risk of being off-balance so the offerings will be based on this holistic approach and belief.
Currently, Soul on Fire offers professional Life and Leadership Coaching with or without the presence of horses, Foot Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, and nature walks to disconnect from life's hurdles and fully support self-connection. In the months ahead, programs will be offered in collaboration with other professionals in the areas of mental health, nature guided tours and equine assisted learning.
In fact, Creative Nature and Health Coaching and Soul on Fire will be collaborating on March 28th just outside of Moncton, NB to provide a mindful tour of connection to self through the energetic nature of horses and the great outdoors. Heather (Creative Nature) will be offering a powerful nature-based experience through forest bathing and meditation and Angela (Soul on Fire) will be introducing you to her herd of horses through a "Meet the Herd" reflection and intention setting exercise followed by a camp fire in the woods.
What if you had a "pause" button that you practiced more often where you could course correct and respond to "warning" signs with greater agility? Come visit Soul on Fire's Equine Guided Wellness Center to focus on you, your pause and your connection.
I have since learned that if I do not practice the pause, I may not be here to share this blog. That is a very bright luminous awakening.
This topic has presented itself on more than one occasion last week so I have been reflecting on human behaviour. I have a tendency to want to know the “why” of everything so my overanalytical mind has been at play.
What has ever happened to honesty particularly when it comes to providing feedback? What stops you from being completely honest with someone?
I get it. We are Canadians and we are nice, eh? We don’t like to ruffle feathers or hurt feelings.
Honesty is not about hurting feelings but sometimes this can be the result.
Last week I sat in front of a manager and provided some honest, constructive feedback in a non-threatening and non-judgmental manner. The intention was to help this manager become a better leader. His behaviour was negatively impacting the work environment and after receiving several complaints, this information needed to be relayed to the manager.
So what happened next? The manager was angry. Angry at me for relaying this message but was the anger really directed at me personally? No, absolutely not. However, if I did not have the ability to separate myself from the situation, I would have taken this as a personal attack.
People say they want honesty but do they? We skirt around issues all the time to “save face” and then when we are honest, our egos get in the way. We don’t know how to handle it. We get defensive rather than see it as an opportunity to improve.
Too many times I have sat across from managers who have an expectation for their employees that is not being met but yet cannot provide honest and constructive feedback to the employee. The manager fails to articulate the expectation and then is annoyed when the employee continues this behaviour pattern.
What is the definition of doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results? I know it drives me insane to watch it so why do we operate that way?
Hard conversations can be challenging. No doubt but what if that feedback changed that person forever? For the better! What if that feedback developed this employee so much, their performance went from average to stellar?
What if that one piece of advice had a lasting impact? What if the person did not know they were doing something wrong?
Sometimes I am brutally honest but this is not done out of evil but for the greater good. I am always reaching for the stars to make the world a bit brighter and sometimes we need to shine a light on what is not working in order to foster all that is good. That takes a bit of courage, tenacity, boldness and sometimes, a bit of risk taking.
Every morning I go to the barn to feed the horses and cows. Every morning, I shovel some manure to make sure the animals stay clean, dry and comfortable.
Isn’t it about time we speak our truth from our authenticity? Don't others deserve to hear it so they can realize their full potential?
My authenticity comes from coaching from the barn! Want to know more? Horses are my partners and they want to meet the "real" you. You don't need to hold anything back. I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to start your journey.
At the heart of connection… Do you ever wonder where connection begins and ends? What does connection mean to you?
Do you instantly build connection or are you someone where you need a seed planted and over time it germinates into a beautiful relationship?
What supports those you are in connection with? Common interests, values such as trust, honesty and integrity, family, hobbies?
For me, connection starts in the purest form of authenticity. I immediately get a spidey sense when people are not being truly authentic and I can feel a guard go up questioning a person’s intention or mandate. Inherently, I believe everyone has good qualities that could be hidden or need to be uncovered but lack of authenticity is a trigger for me. Maybe I think too much but I always question “why”.
With my horses and dogs, I never question that authenticity and it makes me appreciate them so much more. They hold me accountable to be honest with myself. They expect and push me to show up just as I am and face whatever emotion head on. The bonus is they don’t care if my hair is messy, or that I have holes in my pants, or that I don’t have a name brand whatever. The love is unconditional and I have the pleasure of reciprocating this unconditional love. This translates over to my human connections. Who am I to judge?
When my dog greets me with a wagging tail or I hear a whinny from one of my horses as I enter the barn, a smile is instantly planted on my face.
Animals don’t lie. They are always teaching us to go inward to explore and expand our awareness.
It is the awareness of connection that is so key in this relationship – connection of self and connection with them.
In a world of social media and technology, we think we are more connected, but are we? Or are we more disconnected than ever? On Social Media, you only see what the author wants you to see which could be the absolute perfect life. But is that what is really taking place all the time? Is that life really that perfect? I would beg to differ.
My life is not perfect so if you check my social media, you will see common themes – my children, my dogs, my horses and some other random stuff I decide to post. You will often see posts of how proud I am of all of them but is it always perfect? Trust me, my children inform me when its not.
So how do you know if you are connected with self? What supports you in that connection?
This is the premise of my coaching practice particularly with the horses. They don’t lie and are great supporters of bringing forward some of those hidden demons and I support you to face them head on. When those demons get out of the way, we can face the world in our true authenticity.
Let me help you and contact with me at Soul on Fire Professional and Personal Coaching. How about we get started today? Why put it off until tomorrow? (BTW, they say tomorrow never comes).
If you were to rate your organization on respect in the workplace, where would you excel and where are there gaps? Do you have a set of organizational values that have been communicated and are living and breathing within your workplace? Or are there values that are printed on a piece of paper or the company intranet but employees are not aware and they are not adhered to?
How about policies? Do you have established policies where everyone is treated fairly and equitably according to these standardized policies?
Managers, would you know what to do if an employee communicated to you that he/she is being harassed? Do you understand what harassment means and what falls within this definition? Do you have a protocol to follow for a harassment investigation? Are you aware that you could be held personally liable if this allegation is not taken seriously and you fail to follow through? And your organization could be held liable too?
Employees, are you aware of your rights when it comes to workplace respect, harassment, bullying? Do you know that gossiping falls under the umbrella of harassment?
If you are saying "no" to any of the questions mentioned above, perhaps it is time to introduce in-house training for both employees and managers?
Just click on the "contact me" button and we can set this up at a time that is convenient for your organization and Soul on Fire can help you implement the policies that will support this training. Isn't it time to safeguard your company from any potential litigation. I am here to help.
Life has a way of throwing curve balls at us and the best laid plans need to be reevaluated (I refer to those as Plan B, C and D). Those plans are often meant to keep us safe but what if we trusted in the process? Perhaps there is a bigger plan for us that we don't know about yet? So my question is, how do we limit ourselves?
Renovations on a house is a prime example where you start out with a plan but unforeseen challenges come up throughout the project that can provide additional financial burden or it can be an opportunity to do it differently. Sometimes you need to consider what part of the plan can continue and what needs to be abandoned altogether. TV shows like “Love it or List It” demonstrate this concept very well and the client doesn’t always like to change the vision they initially had.
Coaching has many similarities. When I first started working with a coach, I was derailed on a number of occasions as I started to “shift” and transform my thinking and my behaviours. There was a negative inner voice attempting to “saboteur” all the hard work I had been doing and keep me just the way I was versus what I could be. Thankfully, my foundation had a coach supporting my growth which allowed me to discover something beautiful – untapped potential. A part of me I didn’t know existed or I had covered up for years choosing to "play small" and keep my light dimmed so I wouldn't shine too bright. From time to time, I feel myself "playing small" in spite of the fact I have a "big vision" and one that would serve the community on a higher level - one that would set many souls on fire. A vision that creates connection to self and others.
What stops me? Fear, negative self-talk, scarcity or feelings of not being enough. Are they real fears or perceived fears?
For me, this was similar to “excavation” – removing rubble to build a solid foundation. Coaching has allowed me to excavate the best part of me and I am committed to continue this excavation process even though it can be really hard work (and scary at times) as we move outside of our comfort zone.
For this reason, I have become a coach to help others “excavate” and find their best selves. Forget the plan! Support the house and rebuild the foundation to a new and improved version.
With that being said, what area of your life would you like to excavate? Perhaps you are in a state of transition. Soul on Fire provides programs to support your transition in a positive and gentle way.
What is holding you back? Let's get started today!
This picture is a great example of giving up power. This dog would quickly take power if permitted and in this case, she completely surprised me by jumping up during a photo shoot and grabbing my hand. She doesn't normally do this and she took advantage of the situation - similar to when I am on the phone. How do animals know when you can't react or respond or know that you will choose to not respond? Intuition??
My family has quickly reminded me that I am doing the same thing with our new pup. Not setting clear, consistent boundaries and being firm. I have a vision of what I want within this relationship but I am not asserting leadership and she takes advantage of the situation. Imagine, I am the only one in the family she herds and quickly takes me by the boot to guide me along. In the case of the dog above, she barks at me when she wants her way.
Today, a light bulb was brightly lit as I reflected on these scenarios. Where else in my life do I need to clarify and establish clear boundaries? Where am I giving up power to please others? Where do I need to take the reins and course correct?
Anyone else out there feeling this way? Are you a "people-pleaser" and do not want to rock the boat or forget that it is you that is the captain of your own ship? To refrain from using your voice when the lines are being crossed? Does this help you or hurt you?
How many times do you need this reminder because this is a pattern behaviour that shows up time and time again? You are given life lessons to learn and how often do you turn a blind eye?
Isn't it time to take control, paint the vision, and steer straight ahead to achieve your dreams and live your passion and expand on your leadership?
As a leadership and life coach, I see this often. Given that a sense of belonging is one of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and one of our human basic needs, we want to please others and this often means "avoid conflict". However, avoiding conflict often perpetuates and damages key relationships making it difficult to "trust".
Are you seeing the trend? Giving up power, avoiding tough conversations, breaking trust.
How can one lead from this place? Isn't it time to reclaim and commit to your power?
The name of my company is "Soul on Fire" so I ask that you commit to reclaiming your power wherever it is needed in your life and live with a "Soul on Fire".
I am taking on new clients over the summer months so feel free to reach out for coaching. I know summer is busy so coaching can be done by phone or in person within 30 minute increments or customized for in person sessions - 1 hour, 2 hours, 1/2 day or full day, individuals or teams (with or without horses as my co-facilitators). Remember this is your ship to sail.
I am an experienced business woman, a certified leadership and life coach (Co-Active Coach Training Institute recognized by the International Coaching Federation), an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources, a horse owner for 25+ years and have studied Equine Assisted/Facilitated programs such as the Horse Medicine Leadership Academy, Natural Lifemanship and EAGALA.