How I overcame my inner critic this morning

I just busted myself in a familiar pattern – avoiding my creative impulse.

I got up early, couldn’t go back to sleep, and “Charley,” my cat, was walking all over me – a sign from the Universe to wake up and write.

I walked downstairs, fed Charley, started typing on my laptop.

Ten minutes in, I felt frustrated, aka my inner critic had shown up.

Hence, I stopped typing my thoughts and started searching other people’s quotes online (a distraction tactic). It’s much easier to read other people’s creative musings then come up with my own, and face my inner critic head on.

I quickly got lost in the rabbit hole of one website leading to another. Then, the thought popped into my head to check my bank account. Well shit, I better get my statement to my accountant this instant. (Another tactic to avoid writing.) My accountant obviously needs my bank statement at 5:47am in the morning.

Truth is, it’s easier to send a straightforward email with numbers than it is to trust my creativity, dig deep, and stay in the unknown. It’s easier to pop back up to the surface of “necessary tasks”, than to drop down deep into my body. My inner critic doesn’t like to go deep. It doesn’t like the well of feelings that lives there, the messiness, the unknown of what could spring up when that pool of emotions is hit.

Better to stay safe, above the surface, and email my accountant.

But that’s not what my creative impulse woke me up at 3:54am to do.

So here I am, 2 hours later. Laptop still in my lap, and I’ve circled back. Circled back to myself. Writing from the heart is like shooting from the hip. I don’t know where it’s taking me and or what’s going to fly out. I face huge resistance to stay here, and frankly, it’s easier to stick to the safe stuff like sending emails. But staying safe keeps me stagnant and prevents me from expressing who I am.

Do you ever do that? Feel inspired to do something and then, once you begin, you think you “should” be doing laundry, taking care of others, returning emails…ANYTHING ELSE but face the resistance that springs up when you start to do something good for your soul, your creativity, your inner life?

You’re not alone.

Instead of searching other people’s quotes, I’ll share a quote I just made up, “Instead of choosing the tried and true, pick YOU.” Hmmm, my quote game is NOT strong this morning and that’s ok, I attempted, and most importantly, stopped searching other people’s quotes.

This is progress because my fingers are still moving across the page outrunning my inner critic! Can’t catch me now, critic.

I’m over the resistance hump and it’s because I recognized my inner critic (AWARENESS), didn’t beat myself up (SELF-COMPASSION), and I circled back, keep going, and didn’t give up (PERSISTENCE). 

Thank you for reading and for listening. This is more of a running ramble than a polished post and it’s what I needed to get out, get down, and flow through my fingers this morning. My creativity impulse is now running free, and my inner critic is eating dust.

I feel lighter, content, and a bit jovial as a result of expressing myself.

Devon

Female in a pink shirt sitting by the pond

How to Be Kind to Yourself

Recently I’ve been reading my old journals. The #1 difference I notice between my past and present is the way I talk to myself. Self-talk.

Old journals have scribbled, “Why do you keep doing this?” to current journals reading, “You’ve got this, Dev.”

My relationship with myself has changed drastically over the years and I continue to work on it.

Instead of berating myself for making mistakes, I’m MUCH more self-compassionate and forgiving.

I tear up reading how I used to treat and talk to myself. No wonder I was depressed. I was mean to myself and walked on eggshells based on other people’s opinions and judgments of me – and the worst critic was in my own head.

I tried to be perfect to “gain approval” and then one slip, and bam…I’d scold myself and tell myself things horrible things.

I’m not perfect now, nor do I strive to be. I make mistakes but I don’t rake myself over the coals like I used to. I still get upset with myself but now I tell myself, “THAT was not good,” instead of “YOU are not good.”

Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Treat yourself like you would a great friend. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship there is. Nourish it every day – self-kindness has a huge impact on your mental health and has a positive ripple effect on everyone around you.

“Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.” – Jane Austen

Devon Combs doing some self talk by the pond

How to talk to yourself? Do you have self-compassion, or does your inner critic run the show?

I’d love to hear from you….leave a comment below.

Kindness goes a long way, especially when it’s directed at yourself.

Love,
Devon 

Letting Go of What Was, and Accepting What Is

This picture of Detail and I was taken 3 years ago. I keep posting it to remember the good old days before lameness took over.


Detail’s been off for over a year now. We’ve tried changing vets, changing farriers, ultrasounds, Platelet Rich Plasma injections, arthritis medications, corrective shoeing, chiropractic adjustments, Reiki, the list goes on…

Last night I went out to the pasture and scratched Detail in her favorite spots. She stood there and rocked back and forth encouraging me to scratch different places. I wept and told her I’m sorry. Sorry she’s hurting. Sorry I can’t fix it. And that I’m 100% committed to doing whatever it takes to help her feel better. I sat down on the ground and she walked up to me and put her heart to my head as she always does. That hasn’t changed.

Maybe my relationship with Detail is supposed to be more literally grounded at this point. Less flying across the fields; more easy walks on the trail. I know there’s truth to that, but it hurts like hell to think of letting go of our gallops through the pastures. Detail loved to run, and feeling her unbridled power was my definition of freedom.

At 35, I’m figuring out what freedom means now. Who am I, if I’m not the wild, free-spirited woman galloping bareback in a dress with my four-legged best friend? My ego loves attaching my identity to that visual image.

I’m learning freedom means letting go of my ego’s attachment to what was, surrendering to what is, and making space for what will be. 

I will do everything in my power to help Detail get better and then it’s up to God. That’s when the tears come because I can’t control the outcome.

When I stop fighting and resisting the way things are, I feel calmer. My tears have been released, and I surrender. In the surrender, there’s acceptance. Accepting that it’s a new chapter for us.

Detail is continuing to teach me to become unbridled, to let go, to stop trying to control what’s out of my control. My new definition of freedom isn’t galloping bareback, but letting go what was, accepting what is, and making space for what will be.

By accepting, I feel free,

Devon

Have you ever struggled to accept a “new norm” with a beloved friend? I’d love to hear from you, please share in the comments below.

How Horses Validate our Feelings

This is Lobo, a ranch horse, who was at liberty (loose) in a large riding arena at the Unbridled Retreat.

He walked right over to a woman in our group who was sharing her pain of being in an abusive marriage. Lobo promptly nudged his way to her heart and acknowledged, honored, and validated how she was feeling.

Horses are drawn to our truth and authentic emotions. As prey animals, they sense your energy from a mile away and give instant feedback, as Lobo is here.

You never forget being seen, heard, and acknowledged by a 1,200 pound horse. It’s the ultimate validation.

We are often taught if we share our pain and struggles, we will be perceived as weak, out of control, and not having our life together.

Horses teach us the opposite is true.

 It’s only when we allow ourselves to FEEL, can we HEAL, and MOVE FORWARD in our lives.

That’s why I created the Unbridled Retreat – a safe, supportive environment to be seen, heard, and acknowledged by nature’s healers….horses. Their honest feedback helps you reclaim your authentic self, and change the way you see yourself forever. 



Have you ever experienced feedback from a horse? 

I’d love to hear from you, share in the comments below.

In awe of horses,



Devon

To find out about the Colorado Unbridled Retreat on August 25 – 28, 2019, CLICK HERE. 

Increase Your Self-Confidence with Avocado Toast

Recently, a friend mentioned she eats avocado toast for breakfast. I was intrigued for a number of reasons…

1. It sounded healthy and delicious.
2. I’m tired of Kashi cereal and almond milk every morning.
3. My theme word for 2019 is E X P A N S I O N and my focus is on changing my limiting beliefs, including: I don’t cook, I can’t cook, I suck at cooking.

“You begin to fly when you let go of self-liming beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.” – Brian Tracy 

My whole life, I’ve held onto the limiting belief that I don’t cook, backed by my well-rehearsed line, “It’s just not my thing.” (Family, friends, and ex-boyfriends will verify.)

However, since moving into my own home, I’ve been nesting and (surprising to me) that includes the kitchen.

To enhance my budding relationship with the kitchen, I purchased new MATCHING plates and bowls, to replace the hodgepodge of uninspiring dishware I’d inherited from former roommates over the years.

Feeling Pioneer Woman-esque with my pretty new green plates, I was eager to try my hand at a meal that required more than pouring milk into a bowl, or pushing “start” on a microwave.

In prep for my avocado toast experiment, I got all the ingredients together and tuned on the oven broiler for the first time ever. (No toaster present.)

After Googling where a broiler is located in an oven (by the top or bottom rack?), I put the bread in, and began cracking eggs. With Sara Evan’s “Born to Fly” blasting through the Sonos speakers, I had a cooking rhythm going and realized this was kind of fun!

Singing along to the lyrics, I mashed the avocado in a bowl, and forgot about the bread.

I frantically opened the oven door to the smell of burning toast….sh&*! A valuable lesson learned — the broiler heats up FAST, holy cow.

Next step, I went to flip the eggs. Diligently following the recipe’s instructions, “Flip eggs, trying not to crack the yolk…”, I picked up the pan, carefully flicked my wrist, and the yolks cracked wide open when they landed.

Oh well, another cooking technique to practice: the pan flip. Noted.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” – Julia Childs 

With the avocado mashed, I spread it on the quasi burnt toast, and placed the cooked cracked egg yolks on top. It wasn’t perfect but it was done. The meal looked edible, especially on my beautiful new plate.

“Done is better than perfect.” – Anonymous 

All in all, I did it. I felt proud of myself for doing something new, experimenting, failing forward (burnt the toast, cracked the yoke) and I had prevailed by not giving up.

Most importantly, I changed my belief from “I can’t cook” to “I’m learning to cook, getting better, and having way more fun than my inner critic ever let on about making food.”

If you’ve bought into a belief that you’re not good at something, challenge that limiting belief by doing the opposite of what it tells you. A belief is just a thought you keep thinking, and we have the ability to change our beliefs by changing our thoughts. To change your thoughts, do something new!

“If you hear voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh 

Start in small ways: try a new recipe, take a horseback riding lesson, write a blog post, email someone you look up to, go on a power walk, dance in your living room to shamanic drumming music, or _______ (fill in the blank).

By trying news things, you change your belief, and by changing your belief, you change your perception of yourself, and by changing your perception of yourself, you increase your self-confidence and BELIEF IN YOURSELF. That’s what it’s all about.

It can start with avocado toast.

Microwavable meals begone,

Devon