As the year draws to a close, my schedule slows down and I complete all the tasks left undone during the busy teaching season with more time at home, I like to take a few moments to reflect on the events of the last 12 months and to think about what I would like to see accomplished in the next year.
2009 has been tumultuous, to say the least, I would even say that it felt like a non-stop tropical storm. Filled with large scale travels, not all of them uneventful, like my extremely demanding trip to Florida in January, and my trek across Canada this summer, the year was definitely marked by travel. I made some wonderful discoveries and met some great people along the way, and I was helped and supported not only by my loved ones, but by complete strangers. I am always astounded by the generosity of the human kind, which of course is immediately balanced by our ability to be totally self-serving and sometimes unspeakable cruel. I experienced some great moments, like the day when Pat Parelli invited me to his barn to play with his horses, and the invitation to be part of the Mastery Program, my lesson with Linda, the opportunity to work on a beautiful ranch across the country under endless sunny skies; and very difficult moments - the loss of my beautiful Jolie in April, health issues that continue to slow down my progress with Easter, Menina's injuries, projects that failed, the lack of interest for Parelli clinics in Quebec and financial troubles too numerous to describe.
When I left my cushy well paid job with complete benefits in 2001 to follow my dream, it was a big jump into the unknown. I said Adios to the safety of the bi-weekly pay cheque that comes in no matter what, the complete insurance package that refunds you when you are too ill to work, vacations, retirement fund, the safety net. I chose freedom - the freedom to live and act by my own principles, the freedom to row my own boat while making all the mistakes that are bound to me made when you are learning to sail, the freedom to be myself and to be able to make a difference in others lives in a tangible and immediate manner, the freedom to breathe and move at my speed, the freedom to live passionately. Freedom is rarely easy and not always rosy, but as the people who know me well can attest, I have never been happier and I've been thriving since I left the comfort of the big ship to row against the current in my dinky little boat!
2009 is ending, and all its events are now behind me, and I am looking ahead. I intend to make 2010 extraordinary! I have the feeling I am about to explode, and to reap the fruits of all these years of hard labor, of dedication and perseverance and of sacrifice. Parelli is changing and morphing really fast, thanks to new strategies focussed on networking technologies, and since I must go with the flow, I am now present on Facebook and Twitter, in addition to this blog. I have discovered a great new way to keep in touch not only with Parelli, but with my colleagues, friends and students. I invite you all to join me on these new media.
I will soon be back on the road going to the ranch in Florida to train and to develop as a horsewoman and teacher. I vividly dream of getting my next star and Level 4, but I now know that the goal is not as important as the journey I am taking to get there. It's not mine to decide - I can dream about it, act accordingly, prepare, use the power of focus, but in the end, the horse and life will decide if I am worthy of such honors, or if there is yet something I missed and must attempt to learn, and it may have nothing to do with my horsemanship!
I am also hoping to find ways to allow many more horse lovers to walk on the path and make progress, to learn and to make a difference for their horses and the people around them. We need more clinics in more areas, we need to be able to touch alot more people, to be everywhere at once to help you in your journey. I am counting once again on new technologies to help me reach more people, but what makes the greatest difference are people - people who commit, support, help each other and work as at team. Anyone of us can make a difference in our own neighborhood, but if we join forces, we could much more and multiply the impact of Parelli in Quebec. I have behind me a strong and dynamic team - the Parelli team and the instructors who chose to be part of it. I invite you to participate in our efforts and to get out of your comfort zone to help us make this a better world for horses and people who love them. Love, language and leadership in equal doses!
I wish everyone very Happy Holidays with your loved ones, surrounded by joy. Don't forget your equine partners, then need you just as much during the vacation days. May 2010 bring you the best that life has to offer - health, happiness, love, fun and laughter, and new life lessons that will help you grow.
Pont-Rouge (warming up to above -20C...)