I donâ€™t think it is that I need to get out of my own way.Â I just accept that I am not going to and work around myself; like a climbing vine creeping and curling ever upward no matter what is in its path.
Jen Verharen and I share the same green island in the Pacific Northwest.Â In fact, I make it a point to admire the house she grew up in each afternoon as I take my dog for a walk…it’s a quintessential island home, perched on a hillside with a long rolling lawn that slopes down toward the water, in a neighborhood full of horses.Â It’s easy to imagine that Jen’s easy confidence and love of nature was born and raised here.
You can sense in Jen a deep-rooted connection to living things.Â Perhaps it comes out of the relationships she nurtures with her horses (with whom she has made a career of dressage and, more recently, coaching).Â Or perhaps she’s clued in at a deeper level, willing to interpret wisdom from sources beyond the human realm.
Jen brings some unusual insight to this interview, something I haven’t talked about in this series.Â She notes that rather than getting out of her own way as she unfurls, she uses these same obstacles as growth opportunities.Â In her words,Â “It is the things in my way – those things I consciously and unconsciously put there – that create opportunity and possibility”.
This makes the unfurling process even more creative.Â She’s using the materials at hand to design and test new directions, new initiatives, new ideas.Â She turns over the boulders in her path to see what’s underneath that might be of use, and those that are too heavy to lift she simply climbs over and keeps on going.
This is the work of an island girl at home in the woods of her soul.
Enjoy Jen’s interview here, and check out her website to learn more about her work.
What’s unfurling in you right now?
Power.Â Integrity.Â Grace.
Who (or what) are your allies as you unfurl in this way?
Animals are my allies. Particularly horses, dogs and birds. As I become more and more open to what they have to share, rather than what I have to teach them, I find the lessons are abundant and so relevant:
Power is about relationship, not dominance; it is about the absence of fear, not the wielding of it. Power is the ability to act on impulses that come directly from the heart- the impulses that interest me the most are the ones that are generated from curiosity, spontaneous kindness and collaborative instincts.
Integrity is about being whole, complete and at peace with what is. I love to imagine resting in my life as a bird rests in her nest. I can, in those moments, stop striving, stop trying, and be without ego. I can be peace. What I do is in alignment with who I be. What a great feeling that is!
I love Wendell Berryâ€™s words- â€śI come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.â€ť This must be what birds know so well of grace that we, as humans, spend our lives trying to relearn.
These are the lessons of my unfurlingâ€¦ If I listen to the wild things around me, I am drawn ever closer to the people in my tribe.
How do you get out of your own way?
I donâ€™t.Â It is the things in my way- those things I consciously and unconsciously put there that create opportunity and possibility. For many years I felt â€śstuckâ€ť and unable to extricate myself from my profession. I felt limited by my circumstance, paralyzed by my own limiting beliefs and I had half a heart longing for â€śthe road not taken.â€ťÂ Now I know that those years were the fertile soil in which I needed to be in order to unfurl again and again and again.Â I donâ€™t think it is that I need to get out of my own way- just accept that I am not going to and work around myself; like a climbing vine creeping and curling ever upward no matter what is in itsâ€™ path.
What’s the soundtrack?
Several years ago, I went through a period when I was wallowing in the precious depths of burnout, fatigue, self-doubt and depression. The Weepies song, â€śNot Your Yearâ€ť was the soundtrack to my life thenâ€¦
Right now, I love almost any version of Jeff Buckleyâ€™s â€śHallelujahâ€ť.
Who are you becoming?
Mmmmâ€¦. The person I am becoming is more and more me and increasingly a person I am willing to shed. As ferns and flowers fade and wither once they have unfurled, I find I am more and more able, even eager, to relinquish who I am now in order to become new.
Jen Verharen is the creator and founder of Cadence Coaching, where she specializes in coaching entrepreneurs, athletes and equestrians.Â She has also teamed up with one of the top training and coaching organizations worldwide, People Biz Inc. This partnership gives equestrians access to top coaching and training programs that focus on unprecedented change, personal growth and measurable results.
Stirrup Your Life!
Others in the Unfurling Series
- Jamie Ridler
- Lindsey Mead
- Bridget Pilloud
- Tara Gentile
- Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades
- Amy Oscar
- Anna Guest-Jelley
- Molly Mahar
- Tanya Geisler
- Rachel Cole
- Amanda Farough
- Dyana Valentine
- Andrea Olson
- Julie Daley
- Ronna Detrick
- Jennifer Louden
- Kate Courageous
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