2016.... A year in review, and one of the hardest of my life.

2016….

Beautiful in its harshness, relentless in its heartbreak, and breathtakingly honest in her teachings.

There were days I didn’t think I would make it through this year…. Honestly.

And I wanted to write an honest and real reflection of the journey, because it’s truth and it is valuable.

There is a part of me that feels it is a miracle that I am here at the end of this year, relatively unscathed, stronger and more wise of course, even though there were many moments where I was about ready to pack it in.

I haven’t threatened my purpose or my clarity in years.

This year I did.

Multiple times…

I threatened to quit, I questioned my sanity, I doubted my capacity, I lost faith and belief in myself more so than any year to date and I found myself in tears many times over wondering what I had done to put myself here.

What did I do?

In 2015 I had an amazing year. It was magical, prosperous, deeply affirming, and I bought a ranch.

Not just any ranch…

The ranch of my dreams, where the very fear of manifesting and making it happen blew not just me away but many who watched me do it.

And then I moved to the ranch… and that’s when shit got real.

I knew it would, but off the high of the journey of manifestation and abundance, I was utterly confident with myself and what I wanted to pull off my first year here.

I didn’t anticipate the steep learning curve. It was deep and intense as I navigated my way through building another branch to my business, hiring staff, doubling my expenses, and having the weight and pressure of having a big mortgage and team of people that relied on my success.

I didn’t anticipate the emotional upheaval and torment that would come along with this learning curve, having to lead not just myself but others, in a deep way. And then, on top of it all, at the beginning of the journey to the ranch I lost one of my dearest equine companions when I was already feeling incredibly vulnerable.

I felt like I was punched in the heart. I was angry with the universe for putting me on this beautiful place and then left to figure it out all alone.

My boundaries were crossed. I had to learn again and again the lesson of importance in holding your truths, of not giving power away, and how critical it is for us to hold the sacred spaces around ourselves.

I also didn’t anticipate that this year would be the year my health and my body would say “enough”… “Enough!” to the stress. “Enough!” to holding so much on my shoulders. “Enough!” with my forging ahead with my responsibilities while sacrificing much of myself.

I was wrung out and left to bleed dry - or so it felt.

I spent many nights in panic where I thought to myself, “maybe I am not cut out for this,” “maybe I was delusional to think I could pull this off,” “maybe this is not meant for me.”

In short, it wasn’t all roses this year! Many times I had to fight tooth and nail to find and regain myself, my strength, my belief, and my purpose.

But, this year also delivered me to turning point…

Each day amidst the stress and turmoil and growth of this year I would walk my land and visit my horses - a solace and a connection I sought to hold myself together so I wouldn’t fall apart even more than it seemed I was.

There was a day I walked my land where I had an urge….

I was tired of giving up on myself. I was tired of questioning. I was tired of being tired. And, I was tired of having lost the fight for myself, my dreams, and everything I had built my entire life on.

So, I looked up to the sky and in my heart I said…

“I’m still here…”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m here…”

And I promised myself I wouldn’t threaten myself anymore - I wouldn’t threaten to quit, or give up, I wouldn’t give up on myself, my dreams and my purpose. And I was reminded of this:

We don’t get access to the paths we aren’t ready to walk. Sometimes it isn’t easy, but there it is unwinding before us, ultimately aiding our grown and guiding us ever forward.

I had forgotten that.

In the midst of feeling like a victim to my circumstances, of giving into despair and hopelessness - I had forgotten my own strength and my own truth.

I walked out of the field that day with a new conviction.

I like to talk to my guides, or what I call “my peeps” - the invisible friends or spiritual helpers - and they got an earful from me this year!

I remember them saying to me or hearing this whisper, “You are much more powerful than you realize. You are resourceful. You are capable. We don’t worry.”

Oh…

Learning curves, the unknown, stretching ourselves outside of what we are use to, expanding our lives, our businesses and ourselves - is not easy work.

And we forget when we are going through it the capacity we have to hold it.

I had to learn forgiveness and compassion on a deeper level this year… Because what was the hardest of all was how much I was beating myself up.

For failing, even though I had not even begun.

For disappointing others, even though everyone was saying how proud they were of me… (totally self-inflicted self-sabotage!)

For being human… (and I am still working on that one.)

And for not always knowing how to pull myself out of my own darkness… which is why we have mentors and mine was a godsend for me this year.

I had to forgive myself for not knowing, I had to have compassion for my learning curve and appreciation of what it was giving to me.

I had to hold space for myself as old lessons and wounds from deep within my past re-opened as I forged a new foundation for what is to come.

And I know deeply something was built on the growth and the harshness that plagued me this year.

And here is what else that happened this year…

My commitment to my purpose deepened. I was tested in this and came out with an even stronger devotion to my work, both in my coaching practice and with my horses.

I co-created a certification program with the horses - a bright spot on my year, filling our first program and entering into one of the most amazing partnerships I have been blessed to enter with my brilliant partner Christy as we both stood more powerfully in our call to lead with horses.

I was interviewed by CBC radio… (a little bit of a big deal and an acknowledgement to my work and to myself in the journey so far!)

I deepened the spaces with my clients, creating programs that felt more in tune with the depth I wish to hold for people.

I stayed…. And I stayed… I showed up for my tribe and for myself in ways that I didn’t know were possible while I navigated through the experience of this year.

I walked my talk… I practiced what I preached. I leaned into the messages and teachings I was given even when it was hard to do. This was a year that - more than ever - I had to really lean into what I preach about.  Where I sought out my higher self, where I listened and opened my eyes up to the learnings that were before me instead of refusing to acknowledge them.

I made money…. Another multiple 6 figure year… although transparently - it’s never all profit as I invested heavily in my business and move this year, but I ended the year with having 3 of the best months I have ever had.

I built community. I am grateful to witness and to stand in the warmth and generosity of my ranch, as beauty and like minded generous amazing people share this gift of a place with me, it has been another silver lining of this year.

I found a deeper solidarity within myself… I say all the time that contrast equals clarity, that when we are pushed into discomfort it is because we are needing to find our alignment again or are ready for something better and I feel the truth of that as I end this year.

And then I got trampled…. Which led to one of the greatest gifts of this year….

I received the gift of the awareness of self-care… saving myself from what I imagine would have become years of burn-out, washing my soul of old wounds and debts and defaults that were not supportive of where my purpose and calling are taking me.  I forgot I had this belief of being a work-horse, that I had to sacrifice myself, that I couldn’t afford to take care of myself.

I remember when I got run over by one of my horses thinking to myself, “God I am so lucky that wasn’t worse, that I am alive…” I walked away with a broken collarbone and something else:

A chance accident that forced me to be still, to listen even more deeply, and to let my body do it’s job to protect me from burnout, from self sacrifice, from dishonouring myself.

Because truly, I have no business teaching what I teach, holding space for what I do, when I don’t do that.

My new mantra from that is this…

I hold equal devotion to myself and my purpose…. One is not higher than the other and both are needed in order to continue to build and align myself to the legacy and impact I wish to have not just in the world but in my own life.

A large portion of this year felt like a shit show to be honest….

But at the end of it… I feel lighter, more balanced, wiser, in a greater integrity with myself and with the spaces I am called to hold through this purpose of mine.

I remember a conversation I had with my own coach and mentor a couple of months back, when I was still in a little bit of a pity party for myself… sharing to her how much I felt I lost confidence because of this year, how shaken I was in myself.

And I could hear and feel and see my peeps and spiritual helpers rolling their eyes at me with an image of me at the start of the race, “What do you have to feel a loss of confidence about? You have barely started the race yet!

How dramatic we can be at times… I laughed… My coach laughed and I realized how silly am I to let one year of my life that felt hard be the thing that strips my confidence that I had worked years to build.

And even more…

How dare I?  How dare we?

One year coming off of an amazing year… One year where I was thrown into expansion of my own choosing and I am already losing faith?

There is a card in the Way of the Horse deck by Linda Kohanov, that is called “Rasa Dance.” That card speaks of the ability to dance with all things in life equally, in joy, in frustration, in sadness and in ecstasy, and our ability to be agile and connected to each without attachment, without story.

What if….

What if we held all spaces of our journey as equal, if we didn’t label them good or bad, if we didn’t get all dramatic about what was happening on the surface, lightened up and remembered we have wisdom and deep and expansive consciousness that is always holding us.

What I am taking away from this year is a greater respect for myself and what I have chosen to step into in my life.

A more soulful and authentic relationship with my own spirit and strength of it.

A more seasoned and wise way of stepping into and holding leadership in my life.

A business that continues to flourish and be impacted as I am and how intricately and sacred that relationship is to me.

An understanding of the things that drive me, that hinder me, but also that create space for me to hold grander spaces of wisdom and intuition in my life.

A hardened foundation, that is solid and unyielding in its support of the greater expansion and success of my purpose, my life, my business and everything I tend to in my creations.

A softening, compassion and empathy for myself, and for others that are journeying the same as I am… This space of entrepreneurship of being in pursuit of our dreams is not an easy one and tests us deeply to our limits.

A faith and a knowing of myself in a more profound way, not something that has words but a doorway was opened, an initiation into a wiser more authentic and grounded version of myself that was only forged through the pressure and witnessing of this year.

And this…

I know that this year was trying for many people, I like to believe that there is a collective consciousness we are all connected to and that this year was a catalyst and a forger for many.

Which doesn’t make it easier to go through…

But there is this…

We have greater ability, capacity and worth than we think we do. We can navigate through any landscape we are given and we have the tools to overcome and rise above them with grace, with wisdom, most likely a little mess but also we can have grace in there.

Regardless of what we are navigating through in our life, messy, terrible, the worst - it never dims our inner light or takes away from the wisdom and depth of our being. It all exists together. One does not cancel out the next - remember that.

We have to remember that we are short sighted in how we see our lives, just because we can’t see around the bend doesn’t mean the journey ends there. We have stretches and miles to go, we can’t lose hope so easily because one stretch has some steep stairs we have to climb or we are faced with heat, or cold, or rocks that are the size of boulders in our path. Because on the other side of that may very well be our paradise, oasis and sanctuary that awaits us.

We don’t get what we can’t handle or what we didn’t ask for.

On the surface of this year I could have said, “I didn’t ask for this…”

Truth was, I did…

Perhaps not consciously or intentionally, but I did.

Because I sit here now at the end with something, an expansion, appreciating, acknowledgement, power, presence, and peace.  

Perhaps the path to get here didn’t look the way I would have wanted, but the outcome is still the same.

And even better than that…

It’s only the beginning…

A ritual I always do at the end of each year and I invite you to try if it calls to you to do the same:

Acknowledge the growth, the pain, the good and the bad.

I write it out, I journal I give witness to and then I sit at the ocean, or I burn the pages in fire and I let it go…

I cleanse myself of the year before and then I sit with what is waiting to be birthed in a now fertile ground.

New desires, new energies, new ways of beings, new beliefs, new goals, new intentions and I write those down and I create from a richer space, knowing the seeds I plant now will have something that can nurture them into life.

And I bless and send gratitude to the year before and I look ahead to the new year, and I honor myself, because it is important too, that I give thanks to the divine energies that guide me. I sit in nature, go out to the horses, ask for a message, and then I begin the dance all over again.

Remember you are at the beginning, you can always start again, more wise and with a greater strength than before.

And as I write these words, for perhaps the first time in my life I can feel the depth of truth in them.

See ya’ll in 2017! And here is to a graceful and blessed journey ahead.

P.S.

One of the spaces that was birthed from this year was a year long mastermind in the desire to unbridle more of what I call “medicine women” in their brilliance, purpose, and confidence in themselves, their dreams and their ability to hold their magic with clarity and conviction in their success of it in the world.  

If you resonate or feel called to have 2017 be the year you hold an unbridled essence of yourself, your magic and purpose in the world - I invite you to ask about this space and see if it resonates with the support you need to hold you there.

My desire is simple in this container, to deepen the wisdom of your own inner Sage, to launch yourself into the abundance of your calling, and to hold space as you find the confidence and container to soar in your calling in your impact, your creations, and in yourself.

To learn more or apply go here…. Space is limited and already filling fast!

http://www.hillaryschneider.com/sacred-mastermind

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