The (Almost) Medicine Hat Horse

Medicine Hat Horse definition by EquiWorld: “Medicine Hat is the name applied to horses exhibiting a unique and rare pattern of color. Being mostly white in body, Medicine Hats have color on their ears and top of the head, which resembles a bonnet or hat. Often one or both eyes are partially or totally blue, especially when the area around the eye is un-pigmented.”

She was almost a Medicine Hat Horse, my Miley. Being all white in color with beautiful blue eyes, her only downfall was that she had a black forehead that only extended to her inner ears, not surrounding them, making her an “almost” Medicine Hat Horse.

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“The Medicine Hat horse is a special animal, supposed to have special powers, and is very rare. According to Native American culture, legend has it that the Medicine Hat Horse was considered to be supernatural protection against harm. They were considered so special that only tribal chiefs, medicine men and great warriors were only allowed to ride them.” – EquiWorld

Today was my last day with Miley. Over the weekend her sale contract was signed and she now belongs to a new family. Why did I sell my baby? Because I had to. Because I’ve decided (or been chosen to, as I believe) to dedicate my life to healing others and helping as many people as I can create happy, healthy lives.

With owning a small business came limited time to dedicate to my horse, as well as limited finances for such an expensive hobby. My time spent with her quickly dwindled down to one day/week, and my bank account was quickly telling me that owning a horse might not be in my best interest, especially with things like business growth, continued education, trading in my slowly expiring car, building a home, starting a family (in the years to come, don’t worry!), and other things that life brings, all being top of mind.

Miley was an experiment, to speak honestly. I wanted to test my determination and skill set so I bought her when she was just 6 months old. I had never worked with a baby before. Was it worth it? In the early days, oh hell no. (My coach Kaila Watters and I can luckily look back on that now and laugh.) But as time went on, I watched this stubborn, awkward filly grow into a dependable, sweetheart of a horse. That is an experiment/experience I will never regret.

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When I compare the legend of the Medicine Hat Horse to Miley, I believe in it’s magic. Miley was with me while I battled the corporate world and struggled to find my authenticity, through a hard-earned promotion where I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. She was there during my traumatic accident and waited for me to heal, and she was there during my leap of a lifetime when I bought the yoga studio and started this journey. She brought me courage, strength, determination, perseverance, love and happiness. She taught me patience, she taught me what it meant to not give up, and she taught me to not sweat the small stuff. I was never supposed to sell her. She was supposed to be my “forever” horse. But change is the only constant in this lifetime and nothing can last forever. I needed to allow this change to come if I am going to fulfill what I have set out to do.

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I honestly (and I’m not saying this lightly) believe that in order to continue to grow my mission I needed to pass my Miley on to someone else. Someone who deserved her and who needed her magic. A young girl is now Miley’s new owner and she says that “it was her destiny to own Miley.” I believe her. This young girl needs horses like many of us did/do and I believe the magic of the “almost” Medicine Hat Horse is going to help her too.

As I stroked her neck and laid my forehead against hers this morning, I said “you be good to her.” And she will, I believe it. The tears fill my eyes not because I’m sad, but because I’m happy. I’m happy that Miley gets to stay where she has always been, staying with her best friends, working with a trusted trainer/caregiver, and with a loving new family. And I’m happy because of what I anticipate the future will bring for us all.

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Miley is about to start a new journey and bring happiness and love to a deserving young girl, and I am going to dedicate this time and resources to continue to grow and fulfill my mission of helping others.

“Yeah, do you believe in magic?
Yeah, believe in the magic of a young girl’s soul
Believe in the magic of rock and roll
Believe in the magic that can set you free
Oh, talkin’ ’bout magic”

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The Long-Overdue Love Letter to My Body

Hello body, it’s your soul talking.

I know we haven’t always been on great terms, but please hear me out… I’m not going to beat around the bush: there have been days I didn’t like you very much.

At times, you have brought me pain, stress, discomfort, disease. And I let my frustration control me. I acted out. I was very harsh with you. I was raised better than that, and I apologize.

I regret a lot. I’m flawed, oh so very much. But I’m sorry and I love every part of you. I want to move forward, body. I am so grateful that you surround me. That you keep me safe and give me a place to call home while I’m on this earth.

I hope you’ll accept this love letter to you.

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To The Body I Love Dearly:

I woke today and thought, “I’m alive!!” I breathed deeply and let out a sigh. I know I’m here because of you and all you do.

There are so many parts of you I want to send my love to. Let’s start at the top.

To my hair:

We’ve been through a lot together. You’ve been long, short, and everything in between. Remember that time when I was a model in a hair show and you were turned into Mohawk? Remember how we “fixed” it by shaving it all off and dying it brown so you couldn’t see my pale scalp peeking through? Remember when we tried to dye it back to my natural blonde and my scalp had gotten burned and inflamed from the severe dye, and instead of honoring you as you were, I wore a wig? Thank you for always sticking it through. Thank you for growing back in your beautiful golden state, and giving me back my confidence. And most importantly, thank you for becoming thin and frail, and for falling out, while I was at my sickest. When you found the strength to let go and begin to leave my body, it became clear how sick I had become. Because of you I was able to start to turn off autopilot and take care of myself. Thank you.

To my eyes:

I often hear that I can’t hide anything because you always tell the truth. My fiancée loves you. Eyes, you’re so wide and curious, but I have been told multiple times that you appear sad because you take on the pain of the rest of the world. Big, blue eyes, with your long eyelashes, thank you for allowing me to see the beauty in life. Because of you I’m able to see into my own soul. Thank you for allowing sparkles to shine and tears to fall. Thank you for expressing my heart when words fail me.

To my mouth:

You give me the gift of kissing my fiancée, my loved ones. You give me the gift of communication with those around me. There have been times, many times, when I wish you hadn’t said what you said, but together, we’re learning. Thank you for your bright smile, for your loud disruptive laugh, and for the gift of the spoken word. You have opened yourself up to others to share how dark your days were becoming, with the hope that you are helping others by sharing your story. Thank you for the beauty of your expressions.

To my stomach: 

We’ve had some tough times. Remember when they diagnosed you with Helicobacter pyloriI always thought you didn’t work as if it was a choice, as though you were refusing to do your only job. I forgot you were struggling too. You probably felt accomplished when you digested something, and instead of being grateful for when you worked, I only focused on when you were in pain. You deserved better. Please forgive me for the years of distrust. For the lack of nourishment I failed to give you. From now on we’re a team. Always.

To my hips:

You’ve been through so much, friend. You’ve been broken and healed after being struck by a moving vehicle. You taught me that when I feel your pain, I can love you more, care for you better, and become one again. When you ache during cold, rainy weather, you remind me of all we’ve been overcome. When you stretch deep and open into yoga poses, you remind me of all that we’ve accomplished together. Thank you for reminding me to stand tall, to believe in myself, and to know my strength.

To my legs:

I used to despise you, and I’m sorry. I used to think you were too short, too big, and too pale. You’ve given me the gift of movement. You allowed me to ride horses, to walk, to run – and when the doctors and specialists told me that you won’t be the same again due to the accident; that I can’t run or jump or do high-impact movements anymore, I’m grateful that you can still do all that you can. You show the scars of what we’ve been through together. You shared the pain, and you’ve worked hard to continue to give me an amazing life. You’re so strong, you carry me gracefully through my yoga practice, and through my daily life. Thank you for your strength.

This could go on forever but frankly I just want to say, Body, you’re amazing. There has been many years that I’ve taken you for granted. Your flaws are your beauty because they have made you strong. You work so hard, you accept so much pain, you overcome challenges, and you never ever give up on me.

Thank you for always being there.

With all my love,

The soul that you house inside.

Uncovering Yourself through Yoga

Through yoga, little by little, you uncover yourself.

Yoga is a physical, emotional and spiritual practice; through the movements of my body, I connect to my soul. This is how I continuously discover and rediscover my true self, and leave fear, judgment and shame behind.

Before I started my yoga practice I was trapped in an anorexic, anxious and self-conscious state. I struggled in silence and denial, too ashamed to talk about what I was feeling, and too stubborn to admit my defeat. I pretended nothing was wrong with me, I pushed those close to me away, and I kept living my life in pain, hoping that one day I would simply stop suffering. That denial was hurting me most of all.

Completely disconnected from myself and my true feelings, I started to suffer depression, went deeper into my eating disorder, dealt with anxiety attacks, and always just wanted to be alone, thinking that I didn’t deserve to be happy. Once I discovered yoga, slowly it taught me that I would heal, I could cope with disease, and I can accept and love everything I am; imperfections and weaknesses, strengths and vulnerabilities.

Through devotion to the practice, all 8 Limbs, but especially asana, pranayama and dhyana (the physical postures, breath-work, and meditation), and learning to surrender to the present moment, I located the ability to forgive myself for my struggles, and allow others in.

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If you haven’t found your own version of the practice yet, I invite you to unroll a yoga mat and embrace any discomfort that comes while moving though the asanas (poses). Breathe into your limitations when you struggle; this will always help you to offer words of acceptance, surrender, and connection to yourself. Trust that this process will help you to focus and strengthen your mind, and help you to develop the skills to walk the path of healing from life’s ups and downs.

It is then that you can mold the familiar anxiety of your past suffering into the beautiful blessing of the future – of life. We might not know what’s coming next, but we can choose how to see what’s behind us. We might not be able to control what’s going on outside of us, but we can learn to control what’s going on inside of us.

Take every inhale and exhale in your yoga practice as a gift, as an opportunity to connect to your true self, to calm your mind and to let go of unnecessary holdings. Listen to what your physical body is trying to tell you – and instead of fighting against your emotions and limitations, surrender to them. Embrace your whole story, and live into your own healing. You, and those around you, need your vulnerability; that vulnerability is your greatest strength.

Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Share it with the world. Your authenticity is a form of service. Your medicine is needed.

Namaste,

Danielle

Full Moon in Pisces-Virgo – August 29th, 2015

Tonight, Saturday, August 29th 2015, will be the Full Moon in Pisces-Virgo. So what does this mean?

“This is a beautiful spiritual Full Moon that calls us to connect with the deepest part of our Soul and to remember that there’s more to life than meets the eye.” – Mystic Mamma (http://www.mysticmamma.com/)

Artwork by Mystic Mamma

Artwork by Mystic Mamma

The two dynamic forces at play during this full moon explore the relationship between our daily rituals, actions, and habits and our connection to the realm of spirit/soul. With the sun in Virgo, we are invited to take a good look at the way in which we spend our precious life-force energy. The sign of the Virgin represents a seasonal time of year where the crops are harvested and distributed with care for the coming winter ahead. As the original sign of the Priest/Priestess, Virgo is an invitation to connect in service in a hands-on and integral way, to “engage life directly in its aliveness.”

During this time, be aware when Virgo shows up as the voice of a harsh inner critic. This voice often doesn’t allow you to participate ‘imperfectly.’ But remember that we don’t need to know all, and we don’t need to strive for perfection. We don’t need to ‘master’ anything. We only need serve the best way we can. To stumble, and to fall. To learn and offer again.
Pisces may also cause you to seek escape of integral participation by daydreaming, watching too much TV, checking out in drugs or alcohol, and/or seeking comfort in number of other life numbing habits. Let Virgo pull you back to aliveness.

This full moon would be a perfect time to connect to your inner voice, the one that knows the ancient wisdom, through simple self-fulfilling activities, walks in nature, and a re-commitment to deep listening and right action. A compassionate heart and a bright full moon will light your way to the path of full participation. (Shakti Sunfire – http://www.therhythmway.com/)

So, ask yourself, how can you commit yourself to releasing activities, thoughts, etc. that are no longer serving you, and recommitting to a life dedicating to living to your fullest; basking in your true self?

Namaste beautiful humans ♥

Inner Guru

Many of us tend to look towards others for our light; our path; our answers. We look to others for love, for acceptance, for guidance. We become so focused and so trans-fixed on these “others” in our lives that we begin to lose sight of ourselves. Our own inner guru.

“We all must deal with our shadows the best we can. No one can conquer them for us.” — Anna Lee Huber

This weekend I attended both a Krishna Das concert, and a workshop (amazing, inspiring beautiful experience. Check KD out here if you’ve never heard of him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIogJ7itwMs). While at the workshop, there was the opportunity for a group Q&A. The microphone was passed around the room of about 100 people for anyone that had any questions they wanted to ask KD. I was expecting questions like “What brought you to chanting?” or “How has your life changed?” I was expecting the kind of questions that you would ask in order to hear about someone’s story; to listen to their own experiences. Instead, the microphone was passed to people looking for deep, personal answers. There were questions asked about feeling lost, feeling empty, feeling alone. Questions that asked him for his advice and his guidance. These were not the kind of questions KD was there to answer, but yet they were asked.

We often seek answers from outside sources, when in fact, deep inside, the answers lie within us. And only we are the ones who can unearth them. Krishna Das repeatedly brought his responses back to the person asking the question. He repeatedly reminded them that they will find their own answers if they allow themselves to stop and listen. To let go. To love every thing and every one, instead of focusing on that “one love” we all seek. To heal themselves before they begin focusing on healing others.

“As Author Jon Kabat-Zinn has said, ‘Whereever we go, there we are,’ and yet it is my experience that for many of us, after exposure to the practice of yoga there is simply, and at times astonishingly, a great deal more of us there. More consciousness, more energy, more awareness, more equanimity, more life in the body, more connection with the mysteries of the soul. And there is that wonderful, haunting voice of the true self that calls to us, that keeps us company as we stride deeper and deeper into the world, determined to save the only soul we really can save.” – Stephen Cope, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

Now, I am not saying that we should fore-go the help of others or not bother with seeking professional help when it’s needed. In fact, I used to speak with a therapist, and recently, I was within inches of going back. Sometimes we need that. I reminded myself that I’ve let my meditation practice slip. I’ve been “so darn busy” (that’s in quotations because, was I? Really?) that I hadn’t made it to my cushion lately.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy – then you should sit for an hour.” – Old Zen adage

I do my personal morning yoga practice each day without fail, but I had let meditating slip through my fingers. I have since brought in back into my day and I feel a hell of a lot better. I have been able to find those answers in which I was seeking, within me. I have been able to cultivate that happiness in which I was lacking, within me. I was able to bring forth those feelings of love, the ones that I was feeling unable to give to both myself and those around me, from within me. Will I struggle from time to time? Oh goodness yes. We all will. But it’s knowing that you once found it within you, and therefore will always find it within you, that will reassure you for when those shadows come forth.

“Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you will suffer.” – Eckhart Tolle

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When we come to a certain point in our lives where our needs, desires and our particular self at that time is no longer being met or received by others, we begin to feel as though things are wrong. We become disconnected from our ability to listen to ourselves. We feel as though we are not alright and things must be changed. We feel others will “fix” us. We focus our energy on “how we should be,” as a concept or an image, and from there, our entire lives become an attempt to undo this overwhelming and constant feeling of wrongness. This is when we begin to rely on others and our external environment for our self-satisfaction and guidance. When we begin to lose the sense of our true selves.

Please, seek the wisdom of therapists, psychics, sages, friends, family, whomever. But remember, at the end of it all, You and you alone are your only guru. You hold the answers. Allow yourself to listen within to find them.

“The practices of Yoga are organized around the belief that all human beings have the innate capacity and longing to mature to full aliveness, that all human beings are born with the seed of awake, conscious mind. Yogis believe that the inborn seed of consciousness will trouble us, will call to us, and, finally, will compel us on our own pilgrimage to awakening. When we finally commit to the quest for the true self, we will discover that we are not alone on our journey. One day, to our astonishment, we will find that the true self for which we are searching is also searching for us.” – Stephen Cope, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

I love you. ♥ Namaste.

In The End, We All Turn To Ashes.

I’ve made a lot of life decisions lately, and I’ve begun taking a lot of steps to manifest my dreams. I still have a long way to go, and a busy few months ahead of me, but I am so excited about my direction.

Yesterday I was speaking with someone very close to me and they said that they are frustrated with their current situation. They love their personal life and their hobbies, but they are feeling stuck and drained during their day job. They said they feel as though they’re being brought down day-to-day and that they need to make a change.

I whole-heartedly agree.

Your job is around 80% of your week… and your life. So wouldn’t you want to do something that lit you up? That made you feel happy, helpful, and alive?

Last week I joined a morning yoga class, and as we sat there basking in the sunshine pouring through the windows, the teacher talked about the history of the practice before we began. He spoke about the founders of this particular style of yoga practice and he said that some would wear a strip of ashes on their forehead every day. He explained that this signified the idea that, in the end, we all turn to ashes.

Think about that: In the end, we all turn to ashes.

So many people settle in their lives for what is easy, what is comfortable, and what is safe. So many people settle for living unhappy lives because it’s what is expected (we all seem to find hating our jobs and sharing our pain with the world amusing – because if we didn’t find it amusing, why would be continue to put ourselves through that?). So many people follow paths in life that aren’t theirs; it’s their family’s life, their spouse’s life, their perceived “right” life. They work tirelessly at jobs that they hate because it delivers materialistic items to their lives. But consider this: do we really need a fancy car, a bigger house, or a life of glitz and glamour if working to obtain these things is draining our souls?

I am so grateful for my accident, as odd as that may sound. It awakened me to the preciousness of life. It opened me up to the fact that life should not be a race, and neither should it be a meaningless trudge to our graves. Life should be about joy. It should be filled with meaningful work, connecting to our divine nature, feeding our souls, love, laughter, and bliss. Yes, there will be some testing or tiring times. There will be things or people that cross our paths that upset us. There will be times when you may not want to do something, but you must in order to move forward. There will be times when one may think “it was easier when I settled.”

But you mustn’t give up. Life is a journey; don’t let a few missteps or tests lead you astray. Think of them as just that: Tests. Learn and grow from them. I know I have.

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Embrace your life. Embrace who you are. Live with open eyes, open arms, and open minds.

And to the person I was speaking with yesterday: you’ll get there. We all will. You must believe in yourself and believe in your dreams. Manifest your desires. Just start. Begin anywhere. Live.

♥ Danielle Crowe

Everything Happens for a Reason

I have believed in the saying “everything happens for a reason” for a long time, and within these past few months I have also begun looking for the message or sign that I believe are hidden in daily occurrences (run-ins with others, things that happen, feelings, emotions, etc.).

I want to share what I mean with a recent example: Last Friday I was getting ready to go to work and it was snowing quite a bit, and when I got ready to leave the house my car was covered in snow. Normally, I get in and turn my wind-shield wipers on and either sit in the car until it’s defrosted (lazy, I know), or I get out and scrape my windows. On this particular morning I got in and the snow on my wind-shield was light enough that it brushed off quite easily with just my wipers. I remember sitting there thinking “I should wipe off the rest of my windows.” But this morning I didn’t. I remember making the conscious decision that it was fine – I had rolled my two front windows down and could see clearly from all angles. I backed up and I thought “I really should get out and make sure it’s all brushed off.” But I didn’t. I pulled out of my driveway and headed down the street.

Within seconds a cop passed and I watched him turn around and follow me. I knew I was about to be pulled over. Sure enough, I was.

The cop came to my window and I recognized him. I couldn’t place him, but I knew he looked familiar. He informed me that I didn’t do a good enough job of cleaning off my car and asked the usual question: “license and registration please.”

He then stopped and looked at me. He said “Are you the girl that was hit?” And it was then that I realized… he was the cop that was at the scene of my accident on the day I was hit.

He looked me in the eye and said “how would you feel if you hit someone because you didn’t take the time to clean your car off properly? You wouldn’t want them to experience what you went through, would you?”

I felt like I was punched in the throat. I lost my breath and I couldn’t stop the flow of tears from pouring out of my eyes. I got to work, closed my office door, sobbed big, hyper-ventilating tears and called my mother.

Looking back, I know there was a message in that. I remember consciously thinking that I should clean my car and consciously deciding not to. I believe the message was this:

I have been taking a lot of time for myself lately, and putting my intentions and dreams at the forefront (not that I’m sorry for that, because I’m not – 2015 will be my year to make big things happen), but while I’ve been on this path, I haven’t been as attentive to others as I should be.

When the officer said “You wouldn’t want them to experience what you went through, would you?” my answer was and will always be “absolutely not.” But although I may think it, have I been acting on it? No. If I had of been thinking about others instead of “I’m cold, I just want to get to work as fast as possible so I can go inside” then perhaps I would have cleaned my car off and avoided the entire situation.

The event made me remember that I am one tiny speck in this atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong – I am amazing, smart, strong and important… but so is everyone else.

That night my boyfriend and I made a delicious meal together; we drank wine, talked, danced and enjoyed one another’s company. We usually always have Friday night date nights, but lately, we’ve been busy… or we’ve been going out for supper, which is fine, but it takes the intimacy away. Then on Saturday morning I got out of bed at the sound of my unnecessary alarm to do yoga and start my day. Half-way through my breakfast I stopped, put it in the fridge and crawled back into bed. I know how important having a morning cuddle-session is to my boyfriend so was missing out on that for my own selfish needs worth it? No. We cuddled, ate our breakfast together and then I practiced my yoga a bit later in the morning while he watched the sports recaps. No unnecessary rushing, no busy thoughts, just love.

I can still accomplish the things I want to accomplish and still keep my goals in line, but I can do so while still keeping others – especially those important to me – in mind as well. As upsetting as Friday’s experience was for me, I am grateful for it.

I am grateful for the constant daily lessons, reminders and signs. They’re always there, you just have to open your mind and look deep inside for them.

Always be kind to others, as you never know what is going to happen next. Love conquers all.

Much love,

Danielle