In 2006, I gave birth to a beautiful girl. I knew before she was even conceived that she was going to join our family and be unique. My deceased Italian Nonno had visited in me in a dream, and told me I was going to have a “special ” girl. I could tell by his tone and bittersweet smile that it would be a mixed blessing. Upon waking up from this dream, I was left with a feeling that this was pre-destined. My soul purpose was directly tied-in with the arrival of this baby.
On March 28th, 2006, my daughter with special needs came into this world with the greatest peace I have ever witnessed. Her arrival was written in the stars, and now the time had come for my soul to take on a new purpose for this lifetime. I felt gratitude about having a degree in Occupational Therapy, as I felt confident in knowing how to address my daughter’s needs. There were no coincidences! I found strength in my strong spiritual beliefs.
I would be lying through my teeth if I were to say that I did not experience bouts of extreme sorrow. At various stages of my daughter’s development, I felt overwhelmed by the huge sense of life long responsibility for this precious being.
I also felt a terrifying lack of control to assure her with a positive outcome. Loneliness soon crept-in despite being surrounded by people, as I often felt alone in what I was living. I quickly came to realize that my happiness could not be directly dependent on how well my daughter was doing in her development. I needed to look outside of myself for help in how to cope with a situation I could not change. Her issues were for life.
Throughout the years, we spent all of our time, energy, and resources helping our daughter develop, by putting her in every possible therapy or treatment that could potentially help her progress. After 10 years of living like this, I could tell that my inner strength reserves were depleted.
As our daughter started finding her place in the world, and things became more stable, the time came for me to address my own needs. I also wanted desperately to create a balanced lifestyle for my family. I wanted a life filled with lots of joyful moments guided by our deepest passions so we could get through the tough times. Since rough patches are a guarantee for special needs families, this was a protective strategy I felt absolutely necessary. The first thing I realized was that I needed to shake the numbness I felt from being on autopilot, and bring myself back into the flow of life. And so I went out in the woods to get lost but found my soul!
Turning to nature was not a conscious decision, but the wellness effects were powerful and transformative. My main medicine was being in the presence of horses, which I got into by chance (although I believe that everything happens for a reason). Being a therapist myself, it is not always easy for me to find resources that are effective. I require a less traditional and more soulful approach to get my juices flowing. That is how I find motivation to fully engage in my own wellness process. Equine interventions became so effective for me that I became a certified practitioner in Equinisity, adopted 4 horses of my own, and moved my family onto a beautiful acreage outside the city, in the cutest Hacienda-style house you have ever seen! I never do anything half-way obviously…
The positive domino effect of living with intention escalated in so many areas of my life, that I began to want to help others! It started with supporting other moms of children with special needs, and has now evolved into the creation of my own brand of equine-assisted support©. I can honestly say that I am living my dharma!
My husband, who was reluctant at first, was quick to pick-up on all the benefits of our new lifestyle. There seemed to be a quickening occurring in our lives, leading us to embody our true values. Together we decided to strengthen our family by embracing a more natural and peaceful way of living. It now feels like magic is present in every aspect of our lives, and I make a point of incorporating it in my work with all my clients!
The difference in my life now is NOT that I don’t feel sadness or stress. It is that I now have personal resources that can help me cope during difficult times. I have structured my life in such a way that allows me to live according to my highest values, by incorporating things which provide me with such joy on a soulful level, that I can better weather the storms that roll into my life. And trust me, there will always be storms by the very nature of my child’s disability.
Will I ever get depressed in the future? Chances are I will. But just maybe, I will get through it with greater ease, and find my way back more efficiently.
Do I like my life now? No, I love it because I got my horsePOWER back!