If We Could Talk Like the Animals…JUST IMAGINE IT!

Fifth Chakra – for workbook


Each chakra can be studied explored and experienced using a variety of techniques. Here at WillowCreek we use conceptual awareness combined with the presence and energy of horses to bring the awareness of these issues surrounding each chakra to you.

The Vishuddha – or throat chakra – is the area of the body we focus on when we are becoming aware of how we express ourselves, how we communicate our needs, our creativity and our personal boundaries.  For most people, the challenges of each chakra as they ascend the body become increasingly complex.  The horses will become more and more of a useful tool in identifying the issues you have surrounding this area as we go up in the chakras.

Communicating to a horse is a very specific thing. Being able to take this understanding out into your human relationships is the benefit working with conscious contact and engaged communication methods.

Horses, amongst themselves, have a constant an ancient exchange of language and expression that we are only partly aware of.  Each movement of a horse’s body is reactive, instinctive and meant to communicate a larger message to the herd it lives within. A horse is a prey animal, therefore can only survive if the herd is strong and communicating well together. There is strength in numbers and each horse has a role, assigned by the herd which benefits the protection and health of the group as a whole. Like a family.  Learning how to exist in groups and express our needs is an important lesson shown to us by the horse and emphasized by a focus on the throat chakra.

Miguel Ruiz in the Four Agreements says we should be “impeccable” with our words.  This doesn’t only mean not lying, it means being honest, which is an entirely different thing.  Being honest means that you are first aware of your own motivations in a communication.  Honest in this case is a harder proposal because we are rarely engaged enough with ourselves to know our own mind when we are reacting or making choices in our human relationships.

awareness, conscious interchange and emotional recognition…

Body Communication:

When you enter into an interchange at whatever level with a horse, you are compelled to be first aware of what you are intending to communicate.  What do you want form the horse? What is your intention?  What are you looking to experience?   Maybe you are going to brush the horse, and so when entering the horse’s space, you are first conscious of being respectful of its hind legs and its enormous size vis-a-vis the position of its body. You are aware of the horse’s ears and what they are telling you about her state of mind. We are forced into awareness with horses because of their daunting size and mysterious communication.  Often in a communication with a human, we tend to be less aware and less present of where the other person is at before we enter into an exchange – less mindful of the individual.  Observation of body language in horses, even just time spent sitting on a chair, observing behaviour of the herd in the paddock, can significantly increase your sensitivity to the body
communication of humans. Horses and humans communicate with their bodies mostly unintentionally and unconsciously. Horses are governed by the innate need to survive.


lily and jo in arena

With horses, we have a responsibility to be clear and present with our communications.  Sometimes, before people really understand the horse-human relationship, they may take a horse’s aloof or flight reaction personally.  If you make a demand on a horse, and the horse’s reaction is “negative”, then you must find another way to communicate the need to the horse. This is clear and uncomplicated.

But, with a human, if you are setting a boundary or asking something in a communication and not getting what you want maybe you walk away?  Maybe you place the responsibility for properly understanding the communication on the listener and not the communicator?

When I am teaching a student and they tell me that “my horse isn’t listening to me”, I always repeat the adage that was always told me to…

It’s never the horse – it’s always the rider.

I compel the student to reassess HOW they are asking their horse for whatever action they require.  I assure you, a horse will give you what you want, if it is reasonable and you are asking properly.

This is mostly true for the people in our lives.

There are three things we and horses communicate every day:

1-     Needs

2-     Boundaries

3-     Emotions

Sometimes we have difficult conversations with our humans and with our horses. Human find this more difficult than horses do. Horses have the conversation, settle the difference, and it is over.  Humans drag things out into the future, and resentments and anger occurs and it can go on and on, mostly because we aren’t expressing what we need without guilt or reservation, or maybe we are stuffing an emotion and letting it “come out sideways” later, marring our ability to communicate with awareness.

Horses live in the present moment. Maybe you need to ask something of your horse that he does not enjoy, and you know he doesn’t enjoy it but it has to be done, like hosing a sore leg in the case of a horse that is hose shy.  If something is good for someone, we are not so much concerned with the negative reaction as we are with their care and health.

In the case of communication with humans, we often concern ourselves with the thing that is most out of our control  – their reaction.

You are not in charge of another person’s reaction to what you say.

However, you are in control of the meaning and intention and motivation behind what you say through a diligent attention paid to awareness and being honest inside yourself about why you say and do what you do.  This means be aware of how you use your words and the effect they have on the world around you. Understand the need you have for boundaries and respect. Even horses and dogs function in this simple paradigm.

The issue of communication and boundaries is a life long process.  I bet everyone can find some place in their lives where communication could be more healthy.  Horses are an excellent teacher for engaged communication and an impeccable exchange.


About Drunks in Bars…

bridge starsWas it a CRAZY moon this weekend? I know the full moon has an effect on folks, although science says that’s not true one day we will find out that once again, “science” was wrong.   This weekend was definite proof of insanity caused by the moon.

As a singer, I see lots of different kinds of people. When I go to work, I usually meet drunk people, sober people – and mostly all very kind people.  Then again – I rarely work in the big city.

Friday night I had a big gig with myt friend Bill at a restaurant/bar/microbrewery where it seems that everyone was under 20.

The people were almost as beautiful as their cars. Everything was shiny and smelled like an onslight of perfume too expensive for a 20 year old.   Full moon or friday night can be blamed maybe for the level of drunkeness in the place.  It seems it is popular there to have your birthday and then drink to the point of vomiting. Sounds like fun?

Friday was bad. First I was accosted by a drunken teenage girl, who was apparently celebrating her birthday but a the rate that she was drinking would probably not see a ton more.  After slinking around the stage a few times looking for attention, she launched herself unceremoniously onto the stage and began talking in the musician’s faces. I had to make it clear to her that her night would go very badly if she didn’t get off my stage and stop bothering everyone.  It made me angry and annoyed. I stepped forward towards her, she continued arguing. She looked younger than my kids, so I bent down and got “motherly” with her.  I suggested that she stop behaving like a moron and  walk away. I think she saw I was serious.

She slurred

“I work here”…

I said ,

“Not for long”…

What amazed me was that my reaction to conflict was very different than it had ever been in the past. In fact, I noticed that my heart rate didn’t even increase. Honestly, despite my “night job”, I’m not used to violence or anger like that. Where I live we play music because it makes us happy, and generally people come to the music because they want to feel good. I dontthink this crowd was the same. I felt like I was on a movie set it was all so unreal.  Then, when I returned to the same place the next night for a second show, I was optimistic that such a disasterous evening could not repeat itself. I was right. It could however –  get wor

Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting? But…I’m a Hippie!!

Arriving early, everyone was at the stage setting up and the musicians greeting each other. We all hadn’t played together in many years, so it was a little like a reunion.  I noticed behind me a long table full of rowdy men. The place was packed, and these guys were dominating the energy.  A stag party, I quickly ascertained.

Soon after our arrival one of the members of this group came to us pretty drunk, asking if he could play a song for his friend who was getting married. I told him straight out that if he was too drunk, he couldn’t come up, but if he could behave and prove he wouldn’t destroy our instruments or puke on stage, he could.  I told him that I would decide when the song would happen and that he could go back to his friends, I would call him up.  He didn’t seem to like that I was taking control of the band…which is my job.  He walked towards me like a young horse with no discipline or boundaries.

“So,  you the big boss or something?” he said to me, taking a step forward into my space agressive and impolite.

“I sure am”, I said looking at him squarely in the eye and not giving an inch.

Then he made a terrible choice.

He took a quick step to be beside me, and then before I could say or do anything, he launched his arm around my shoulder pulling my face to him and crushed his lips on my cheek in an angry way. I had never been kissed angrily before. It was a violent uncomfortable feeling.  I was immediately repulsed.

My hand fleew up and pushed on his chest and without really touching him much, felt all my anger and shock pour out to him and he stepped back.

“You’d better go now or this will go bad for you”.  He gave me a victorious smirk like he had gotten somethign I didnt want to give him and now I couldnt take it back.  I was angry and confused.

I got on stage and started the first set quietly.  It is a restaurant so we generally begin quietly so that people eating aren’t unable to speak over their meals.

We began with Ain’t No Sunshine, a song I enjoy playing acoustic on.  Within seconds the drunk man was back at the stage demanding to come on. I could feel the band behind me getting irritated. I told him no and to move back.  I repeated that when I wsa ready I would call him.

When he continued to persist I leaned over and said past the sound:

“You’re too drunk to be on my stage”. I said firmly and finally. Then stood up and continued to play the song.

“YOUR stage?…bitch.”…he said.  I have met men like this, who don’t like women with any sense of personl power.  They are few and happily far between, but I could smell this one like a dog in the bushes.

The next thing that happened reminds me of a good volleyball strategy, where players set up in a strategic triangle and the ball is handled three times before being enthusiatically spiked to a victorious finale.

At first, he stood in front of me and tried to get on stage and I pushed him off and he stumbled to John my husband playing rhythm who in a quick move he pushed him  harder to the leftwhere he stumbled incomprehendgly landing him in front of my bass player who took one defintive step forward and uncermoniously launched the guy three tables away. It was over.

The song stopped and the bass player gave the guy brief but insistent instructions as to what he could do with his own personal anatomy.

What a night.

I spent all day yesterday recouping my energy from all of these events.  I felt like I was sucked dry.

The irony is that i am supposed to be working on fifth chakra “setting boundaries an dexpressing needs” this month, and it seems like the Universe is making it evidently possible for me to practice the elements of this chakra in everything I do.  Big challenges all over the place.

The difference between being in a spiritually focused place and not, is that I see these situations as opportunities to pratice what I am learning. I certainly don’t see them as coincidences – that’s for sure.  But the willingness to see an opportunity for spiritual understanding does not supercede the fact that I was completely freaked by this.  The differnece is I was interested in WHY i was freaked out.  What was the thought behind the emotion? I was angry.  In fact I think I was angry on behalf of women EVERYWHERE who can’t go into a bar or social situaiotn without being on guarD.

Someone actually said to me (jokingly) that night it all happened because I was dressed “too damned hot”. Really?

Here’s what i think.

Women should be able to go anywhere, anytime wearing anything, kooking as hot as they possibly can – without feeling like they are being preyed upon by some moronic jackass who obviously has some lacking moral fiber. Some filament of goodness that God just hasn’t installed yet. Maybe he needs an update?

Dear Men,

Here’s the deal.

Then we all go to these places and we play – we assume roles and we have fun with them.

That’s the good part. But then you have a terrible habit of screwing it up. This comes from an unfortunate feeling of entitlement our culture has taught you. When you begin to think you have some kind of right to us because we are dressed up – like we did it for you personally and not for ourselves (which is your first mistake) then we have a problem. A big one.

Even though I work in bars, I rarely (never) get treated like a piece of meat – which is exactly how it felt. You would think it is more common, but not really. I thought I was pretty good at setting my boundaries. Plus we play often in the country, and it seems there is an entirely different mentality when it comes to going out on a saturday night.  Less craziness from people who are connected to the land. City people are wacko. Im sorry…but it’s true.

Even so, I have become pretty mellow – or so I tbought. I was surprised at the strength of my reaction to this.  I live today in an environment where I am surrounded by friends and family and even strangers who are gentle and kind and loving.  This exposure to what someone referred to as “the real world” shook me.  What is it I have been missing, because those kids were a mess.  I thought the world had come further I think and so standing there feeling like I was in the middle of a bad Mad Max remake, was unsettling to say the least.

After the guy “kissed” me, I felt the impression of his face on my face for hours.  It was like I couldn’t wash him off me.  I tried to identify what it was that had left me with an impression. Was I taking this personally?

Sort of. I took it personally on behalf of women everywhere.

What is it that makes someone think they have some entitlement to you?

I become resentful, maybe I am emerging as an old feminist, but being in a bar, and even when I am on stage and men look at me as though they want to eat me for lunch.  Phewf.

I see again how my horses are instrumental in their teachings.  I was able to handle this situation calm and with no amount of feeling it personally. I felt it as “energy” and not “an event”.

I love when life throws me little satires that help me see where I am along my path.

I wrote three songs after all of this.  This is a big deal – I havent been able to get a song out of me in 6 months.

For all of you ladies out there – here are the lyrics for the blues standard I wrote inspired by this fine gentleman…

🙂 enjoy!

(Blues standard in E)



You saw me come in the front door

ANd I saw it in your eyes

It wouldn’t be very long

Before you’d try to waste my time

Did you think your smelly drunken drawl

had some kind of appeal

I think that it might be time,

for you to get real.


Get your hands off of me

Who the hell do you think you are?

Get your hands off of me

Didnt your mama raise you right?

Get your hands off of me

You ain’t gettin lucky in this bar

Get your hands off of me

Unless you’re looking for a fight

Ref: you’d better take a quick step back

or I’m gonna give you a heart attack

Maybe your mama rejected you

when you were just a child

Or daddy spanked you once to hard

and then you just turned wild

I ain’t got nothin

I want to say to you

You’re not worth a minute

But if you keep talkin in my face

You’ve put your two feet in it.


I’m not gonna waste my time

on your narrow little mind

So turn around and walk away

Maybe –  you’ll be just fine


Take a some time

and take a breath

and  go out for a walk

and if you can find your brain

then maybe we can talk


Get your hands off of me

I don’t know who you think you are

get your hands off of me

You’re not getting lucky in this bar

Get your hands off of me

I got no time for wastin’

Get your hands off of me

Or it’s my boot that you’ll be tastin.

Have a great day! 🙂

My Soul’s Portraits

Just a quick follow up. Here is what i came up with following the directions from my previous entry on How to Create your Soul’s Portrait using some very ancient directions.

jo mandala 1jo mandala 2

here they are…the first two. I will keep working this and try and lose my “preconceptions” of the shapes. I find I am working in few circles…too many angles. Not sure..

really enjoying it though!


peace and thanks for joining me on this journey!



My Potty Mouth

The next topic we will be looking at in the upcoming retreat at our farm is the fifth chakra – the throat or Vishuddha.  As usual, whenever we are coming up to a topic, issues in my life abound which keep this area active and challenging!  The throat chakra is all about personal expression. How you set your boundaries and limitations and how you express your needs and desires and how well you represent yourself in your words. Miguel Ruiz in the 4 agreements indicates that “being impeccable with your word” is paramount to balanced happy living.  Violent awords or the use of words which are there only to provide impression an dshock, like swearing, is not a healthy thing for this chakra. Miguel was right. when I swear allot in a day, my energy is lower, I feel more negative. I am discovering how important the words I use about myself and life in general are.

About the chakra:

The Vishuddha is associated with higher discrimination, with creativity and self-expression. When Vishuddha is closed, we undergo decay and death – resentment, anger etc…. When it is open, negative experiences are transformed into wisdom and learning. The success and failure in one’s life depends upon the state of this chakra (polluted/clean). Guilty feeling is the most prominent reason for this chakra to block the Kundalini Energy moving upwards. It is associated with the element Akasha, or Æther, and the sense of hearing, as well as the action of speaking.

This trip is not so easy!

This is one of those cases where I read something, and it makes perfect sense in my head…but my activities and behaviours don’t exactly represent what my head is thinking.  I swear like a trucker, and if you make me angry, I lash out like a serpent.  I re-act rather than act consciously. Focusing and simply being aware of this behavior has made me want to change things up and do better!

Every day I am faced with the challenge of my potty-mouth.  I even shock myself – now that I am paying attention.

Did you know that the F word is so flexible that it can be used probably more than any other word in the English language!

  • F*** can be used as a verb both transitive (he f***’d her) and    intransitive (she was f***’d by him).
  • a active verb (who really gives a f***?),
  • a passive verb (I really don’t give a f***),
  • an adverb (He is f***ing amazing with horses) and
  • a noun (dumb f***).
  • an adjective (this is f***ing beautiful).


If there is a way to swear I have found it.  But, it no longer represents me! It dumbs me down.  I use it mostly for shock value…but maybe my need for shock is gone?  It probably left around the same time as my desire for drama.

This chakra is very interesting to me.

My livelihood is earned as a singer.  There are some that would say I talk allot. 🙂 It is apparent that this chakra is of predominant interest for me. When the chakra is blocked, that means, when there are thoughts and issues that prevent us from expressing ourselves honestly (which his th ecase for most people), the energy becomes halted in this space. We can experience throat issues – even cancers if the energy stays there stale and detrimental for too long. Awasreness is the key to freeing bound energy.

Even if you don’t understand chakras, or don’t even believe they exist, there can be nothing but positive that comes from a desire to be aware of how we use our words and express our needs.

In younger developmental years, I was not exactly the most diplomatic of people.  it was part of my “self image” that I have many opinions and I made SURE everyone know what those opinions were.  But, as I mature and become more and more aware of everything around me. I find my opinions dropping to the wayside like unnecessary baggage.  I don’t need to be right anymore

Then there is the case of an underused throat chakra. For many years I didn’t sing. This caused great illness inside of me.  I think that once you disciover your creative talent (everyone has one…yes even you!) and you choose not to use it for whatever reason, the area of your body which houses the energy for that talent become blocked and illness results.

For many people, one of the main reasons this area of the body becomes blocked is because we don’t know how to express what we need when we need it. We allow things to build up until BLAM it all comes out sidesways in a liturgy of unhappiness.  Ruiz says we like to “share our poison” with others. When we have sadness or confusion or frustration, we explode outwards and try to dump all that thorat poison onto the nearest victim, usually our closest friends and family.

Many of us also weren’t exactly given the greatest role models for expression of self.  Then again, you can’t teach what you don’t know. My parents came from a time when women contained their needs and were in a  state of self sacrifice for their families – the definition of a “good mother”.  I would have loved my first mother to still be alive and see this new understanding that we are adopting that if we don’t have our own selves filled and taken care ofm, we certainly can’t take proper care of our families.  The old “fill your own cup” first – take the oxygen masks for yourself before putting it on your child. Yes…this is the right idea.

When I started to “Self center” myself, my family did not react very well.  It ws difficult for them to adapt to someone who was always leeching energy from them, to someone who was trying to find it within themselves.  Over time, we have communicated better and they have gained an understanding and appreciation for the work it takes to “be ok with yourself”.  I am a better example – especially for my girls today, who it seems have not in any way apopted this “subservient” silent women’s role that has plagued our cultures.  No, they have no problem expressing themselves at all…ever. 🙂

Guilt is a plaguing force. It is the most useless of all emotions. The most counterproductive.  It contains only false thoughts about you and about the world you live in.  It tells you are not enough. Makes you relive and relive the past – which by the way, can’t be changed.  Accepting the past, taking responsibility for your actions today and now, and making amends where you need to are the actions that heal guilt. In order to achieve this, you have to get very honest with yourself – and concurrently loose all judgment of you and your past actions.  All actions in the past are meant to bring you to where you are today.  Stand still – look at where you are. Whatever it is in the past that plagues you – was meant to help you become YOU! Guilt makes you look back over your should and get a sore neck…ways looking backwards, never forwards.

After my first marriage fell apart, mostly because of me, it took me years and years to understand this truly in my heart. It’s a tough thing to overcome!  But if you do – you will find yourself at a new level and potential for happiness.  Focusing on the throat and expressing what you need with conscious intention, is the healer.

If the devil had a voice, and if I believed in the devil, I would say it would sound like guilt.

So…f*** guilt.

And have a great day.




3-lotus-mandala2How to create your own Soul’s Mandala:

Different spiritual traditions through the ages have developed a variety of ways of describing the soul and its physical characteristics. Hindu tradition portrays the physical body as being governed by a series of seven rotating energetic centers called chakras which means “wheel” in Sanskrit.  Each chakra has an attributed colour, the wavelength of which is said to match the energetic wavelength of the body’s center. The chakras are said to be the connection between the ethereal and the physical realms of existence.

Other traditions such as those related to Buddhism, portray the soul as a Lotus flower.  In certain Buddhist and Tibetan traditions, spiritual followers create visual interpretations of this philosophy through the use of Mandalas.  A Mandala is a series of concentric circles or circular like shapes which portray the soul of the creator. Circles have been a source of power throughout history.  A circle drawn upon the ground in certain magical rituals serves as a protection against undesirable forces that are being invoked.  North American Indians speak of life as a circle flowing from one into another.

The act of creating a Mandala is a type of meditation in and of itself.  Visually focusing your mind can help to quiet the runaway train of thoughts that may be running on unconsciously.  Mandalas can help awaken your sense of personal consciousness.

This project is one I developed to create certain skills in the willing participant. That of following direction and intuition concurrently is the most important. The following directions for the creation of your own soul’s Mandala are loose and sometimes purposefully unspecific.  They are based on the description of the soul as described by Alice Bailey’s mentor and channeled teacher Djwal Khul.

Prep: Get yourself a pencil, colours if you have them, a comfortable spot.  Choose the colours you feel drawn to for each step of the creation.  Make tea. There are no rules.

1-      You will begin by creating a nine petalled lotus as the center of your soul. Use any colour(s) you want. You may find that the colours you choose tell you some things about how you portray and view yourself – so try not to follow any “chakra colour” rules.

2-      At the central point, create an electrical fire which emanates outwards into a further three petals which encompass and protect the 9 petalled lotus.  Each of the three outer petals encompasses three of the inner lotus.

  1. The three outer petals extend outwards to the sphere of your life’s influence.
  2. Represent this in any way you want.  You can consider the use of collage and magazine clippings if you want to represent your “sphere of influence” to yourself.
  3. In other words, what does your life touch?

3-      The three petals encircling the lotus into groups of three pets each are named Knowledge, Love and Will. As you go through life, the sets of three of these are activated depending on your life path and place in your learning.

4-      As your incarnations in lives progress, the colours of your soul deepen and become more vibrant. The vibrancy arises from the root of all. Depict this concept in your Mandala. Where are you activated?

5-      As you evolve towards consciousness  of self – the three outer petals of each center are energized:

  1. The three petals of Knowledge are activated, organized and vitalized first: This occurs in the “Hall of Ignorance” (Outer Court)– the phase of life where everything is experienced on the physical level.
  2. The three petals of Love are activated in the “Hall of Learning” (Inner Court) – you seek to spiritualize your learning consciously.
  3. Lastly – activation of the petals of Will (also called sacrifice) in the “Hall of Wisdom” – also called the Holy of Holies.

6-      These three things do not happen separately – but concurrently. In and out, over time. The completion of each is marked by one of three initiations in the three courts of the Temple.

7-      The fundamental colour of the petals is orange with iridescent green, violet blue, rose yellow and indigo.



I will publish my own interpretation of this after a few days, and will encourage you to do the same – share your soul with us!