Contributed by: Tanya Friend
Breathing. It is an essential part to living. In fact, breath gives us life. But so often it is something that can be taken for granted. This is part of my story and how setting an intention to breathe has changed my approach to life.
I am a granddaughter, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a girlfriend, a therapist, a teacher, a mentor, a leader, and an entrepreneur.
I am also a woman who has had her share of loss, disappointments, failures, stresses, and challenges. During the last 10 years, my life has gone through several transitions. I have had to harness my strength and my will to survive more than I ever thought possible. These occurrences sparked my journey towards mindfulness and taught me that sometimes the best thing to do is stop and remember to breathe.
This is one piece of that story…
3 years ago as I painfully found myself at the beginning of my second divorce I was faced with a decision that could quite possibly be the best or the worst I had ever made. My ex-husband and I had adopted two horses a year prior to this separation. I was given a week’s notice to decide if I was willing to bring the horses to live with me or if I was willing to let them go.
Now let me take you back to my childhood. I was the quintessential little girl who always dreamed of having horses; the only one in my family with any interest in these magical beasts. I was blessed to take a few riding lessons in middle school and college but other than that my experience as a horse owner was minimal at best. Here I was in my 30s starting life all over again for the second time; losing a husband, a home, and a step son that I cherished. I couldn’t bring myself to lose this dream as well. So I hired someone to make the 6 hour round trip to bring these wild and beautiful creatures home. I was scared, excited, anxious, sad, and clueless but I knew one thing….I needed them as much as they needed me.
As I did my best to hide my tears and my fears loading them into this stranger’s trailer I could see the fear in their eyes as well. Luckily I was following the driver in my own truck because I cried. And I mean one of those ugly cries that you only do when you are alone in your room with your face buried in your pillow, all the way home. This man must have been an angel. He met me for the first time the day we made the drive. There was no hiding the fact that I was in over my head. Here I was 5’2, 90lbs, fear stricken loading up two 1200lb animals that were very nearly wild. He didn’t judge me, warn me, or tell me I was crazy. Half way through the trip he called me and said “Don’t worry kiddo, everything will be ok.” (Cue ugly crying again). I had to believe with all I had left that he was right.
So I put my boots on and faced my fears. I was given the advice that I needed to separate them in order to reduce their separation anxiety. Duke, my good ol’ boy handled this fairly well. Cleo, (think Scarlett from Gone with the Wind) hated this change and in turn hated me. “Hell hath no fury like that of a marescorned”. She literally pinned her ears and charged me every time I tried to enter her pin. It was absolutely terrifying. After a brief moment of feeling completely sorry for myself and wanting to give up, the stubborn and competitive side of me would not allow her to win. So I stepped into her pin closed my eyes and forced myself to breathe. We came nose to nose, both of our nostrils flaring. I stood up to her. And that was half of the battle. From that moment on I became very aware of my breath. Breathing helped me calm myself during that moment and has since helped me in every step of learning with and creating a bond with Duke and Cleo. In the end we rescued each other.
Living life with intention and being mindful of these intentions has opened up my world to things I never imagined to be possible. It can do the same for you.
My name is Tanya Friend. To give myself a title or short description is not an easy task. On paper I am a speech and language pathologist and owner of a private speech clinic named Chatterbox Speech Therapy in Albuquerque, NM. In spirit, I am a caregiver, a healer, a teacher, a student, a yogi, and storyteller. I have dreams and aspirations to make the world a better place by living a life of gratitude, giving and by inspiring those around me.
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