Horse Sense: Twenty Years Later, Tricia’s Gift To Me.

Tricia introduced me to the world of horses. When I say “world” I mean the amount of it that I would allow my hands to get involved in. She was my best friend in high school, and she both irritated and mesmerized me because she just floated in and out of the real world at will. On her terms. At just 17,  Tricia had already lived an extremely full life, and only now can I understand why she died so early, so suddenly. She established her legacy and had done the work she was supposed to here.

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She was bold, passionate, courageous, vivacious, and unconcerned with worldly things. As long as she could perform and be with animals as much as she wanted, Tricia was happy. By the age of 17 she was both training AND showing world class Arabian Horses in competitions all over the state—and she had no problems taking home awards or ribbons either. She trained beautiful white laborador puppies to be guide dogs for the sick and disabled. She prepared them for their testing and certification…..aaaaaaand if one or two didn’t pass, that was okay with her and her mother Joanne, because they’d keep the ones who flunked.

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My favorite part of going over to their house was being greeted by both their favorites., I can only remember the name of the big black one, Magic. But they loved me. And, I, adored those dogs to no end. One of the memories that always remains with me is watching both of her big dogs take turns diving into the pool during the summer time.

After persistent prodding,  Tricia eventually got me on the back of “Bud,” a stubborn old man of a horse. But once I climbed atop his strong back and felt his energy, it seemed to match mine. I felt like we were both this moody pair….and all of a sudden horses weren’t so scary. Basquadar on the other hand, well, he was a different story. HE KNEW he was an award winning ARABIAN, and he only had eyes for his trainer and master, Tricia. I only rode Bud a few times, back then animals weren’t such an integral part of my life as they are now and I wish I had participated more before Tricia died. Though she was my best friend, we were on different “planes.”

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There were things I couldn’t quite grasp about her, something deeper, something about her was older than me. And I could never quite get what it was. But, I was content just watching her do what she did with animals and what she did on stage. She was glitter when she performed. She sparkled. She was the same way with animals.  I never could quite understand why she never cared what people thought about her…..now, I get it…..

I look back and remember Tricia each time I pass this huge ranch property off of 59th avenue and Thunderbird Road. I think they board race horses there. Each time I pass the property I feel this “pull” toward those horses. So much so, I park across the street and cross the road just to sit and watch them. Ill sit there as the sun rises on the way home from a night at Fuego, watch them run free first thing in the morning….and I will do the same at sunset too. I watch them preen eachother, nip at eachother when they get annoyed, stand up on their hind legs when they get startled by something they don’t like, tend to their babies, and do all sorts of other things horses do. Snort, stomp the ground, eat grass for hours on end…….

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 When I get stressed out, my usual destination (aside from the gym) is to get to the place where the horses are, and the big lush green trees with lots of shade…and my favorite place to be with the horses from a distance.

The horses have gotten used to my presence now. So, this week being an exceptionally weird week, a week in which I had two very life altering things occur, I felt I wanted to get nearer to them. As I walked the few miles it took to get to the big ranch I stopped alongside the gate this time. Six of them were clustered together off in the distance but they immediately sensed me standing there with my fingers curled in the fencing, peering at them….wondering If just this once, theyd give me the chance I had been hoping for. To connect with just one. To pet just one.

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On this day it appeared I was in luck. All six slowly made their way toward me, but stopped suddenly, looking at a caramel colored horse for what appeared to be guidance. It was the caramel colored one who came alone to visit with me first. I held my breath, anxious with anticipation and raw with emotion…..what was this guy going to think of me? Would he hate me? Would he stomp around and snort and show dismay? Would he report back to the others that I was “bad people?” My energy wasn’t exactly the best after all……but I took off my sunglasses for good measure so he could see my eyes.

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I wasn’t prepared for how deeply he looked into me. It was as if this big beautiful animal knew everything about me already. He sniffed my head, then the hand I stretched out to him….Suddenly, without warning, he put his face next to mine and held it there for what seemed like at least ten minutes. He didn’t move….I didn’t move. We were both in one space, inside this one moment in time.

My hand rested on one side of his face as he held his position next to me. I felt his warm energy, his light, his calm, his peace. It was like feeling his vibrations seep into my own spirit. And the tears…they spilled instantly…. they were hot, and they came so fast, but they felt good. I felt a spiritual release. This “its going to be fine really” kind of vibe coming from him and it was one of the most memorable moments Ive ever had with an animal. He felt my spirit….and I felt his. We were strangers to eachother but to him I was no stranger. He just “knew.”

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With a sudden jump he turned and galloped back to the rest of his companions and they appeared to commiserate for a little bit, each one of them looking up at me..their heads together. My curiosity piqued, I stayed in my position so as not to startle them. After a moment or two, all six of them came sauntering over. Each one stood before me, so incredibly big and shiny in the sun, so magnificently sweet and honest. They all took a turn dipping their head next to my cheek and I caressed each one with my hand telling them “thank you” as they looked into my eyes. Three ran back to a patch of grass after coming to meet with me. Three remained. Each one taking turn after turn getting affection from me, until, the caramel colored one nipped at the other two, causing them to run away reluctantly.

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He bent his head down once more so I could reach him, and this time I put my arms around his neck and gave him a hug and told him thank you for giving me a chance……that I needed this so much. He looked up and put his forehead to mine for a moment and at that second it was as if there were no cars racing by the side of the road, in fact there was no city noise at all. It was just me and this horse and his spirit, both our heads touching eachother…..This horse that did more for me in just a small amount of time than he will ever know…

Or maybe… he did.

 

Nurses: We Can All Be Recordbreakers and Trailblazers…If We Wanted To.

 

A friend of mine, DJ Ruthless Ramsey, recently lost his mother.

When I first heard the news, I just started writing these words because they were inspired by the things he was recalling about his mom, but they also reflect the many lessons he has taught me from afar as I have walked my own road, trying to accomplish my own dreams, and getting over that fear of speaking out and just being who I am without worrying about “being liked or accepted.” Ramsey Higgins has, in effect, taught me to just look at the world with this big cheezy grin when the world says “you cant do this or that” —and doing it anyway– in order to carry out a purpose driven life.

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Commanding the room at Fuego Bar and Grill in Tolleson, Arizona. On this night, it was standing room only.

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You see, as in the nursing world, the music world has certain expectations of people. Artists are expected to conform and do things the way everyone else wants them to do it….their craft is often twisted and molded into something completely different than what the artist brought to the table to begin with. They are “told” what brings in the fans and profits and what doesn’t, and in order to be successful they are expected to comply and just do what everyone else is doing in order to keep their name out there and their music heard.

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Ruthless needn’t worry about making a name for himself or establishing “Trailblazer” status. Simply put, he commands a room, and there is no dance floor that dare not be filled to capacity in his presence.

Such is the case, more or less, with my friend Ruthless. Only—he has defied the odds in many ways. He has chosen to go down the road less traveled by other DJ’s. Moreover—he is doing what other DJ’s have never done before—he is heading up the FIRST EVER COLLEGE CURRICULUM focused on teaching the finer points of being a successful DJ professional to other music hopefuls and inspiring the newer generations of entertainers OUTSIDE of the clubs by breaking into the world of academia to do it. He is currently the “DOM” of ‘this arena’ at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Seeing Ruthless perform live is an experience not to be forgotten, to say the least.

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I publish this now in the hopes that he will see that the gifts his mother gave him he has–in turn–selflessly given so many others….I cant imagine his mother could be anymore proud to see that he has not just established his life legacy while still so young in age, but that it keeps getting bigger and bolder and more brilliant for all those who have yet to learn and be inspired by him, his voice, and his talents. No…..Ruthless…..it doesn’t bring back your mother….but judging from all I have seen you write about your mom…it seems to me that her gifts to you just keep living on.

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Ramsey Higgins in the house, teaching, at Scottsdale Community College

For the rest of us late bloomers: Whatever your legacy is to be as a result of your life’s journey the important thing to always remember is that there will be one. Honoring your authenticity and self truth are paramount in leaving a footprint on this earth, and an imprint in the hearts of those you touch while here in this place. Doing the work to accomplish this on a day by day basis, and sometimes a moment by moment basis is an uphill climb for many. I believe, it is the hardest thing we can do in this life.

This is a world that demands we be what is socially acceptable and desired by others in order to be successful and happy and prosperous. A world that scrupulously insists we place emphasis on materialistic things like money and popularity while trying to trick us into thinking that we cannot make a difference, or make any changes (big or small) that will have the potential to change the world in monumental ways so even more people benefit from them. Its a world that constantly takes pieces of us…..one tiny fragment at a time…. as well as our beliefs that we can be both different AND beautiful.

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The aforementioned “cheezy grin” that often overtakes Ruthless when he is performing.

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Society strips us of our voices everyday without many even realizing it. Soon it becomes easy to think that only a chosen few are “allowed” or “afforded” the opportunity to shine and to glow—forever. To have the “privilege” of making a mark in the world. I wish more people would see that this is anything but true….Accomplishing what you want to make peoples lives better in some way is so very easy for some people. Like DJ’s. There is an instant gratification when they see people pack the floor, happy, smiling, laughing and allowing themselves to soar out on a dance floor….In a single night a DJ can see how deeply he touches the lives of hundreds….and at so many levels.

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The dance floor during one of Ramsey’s performances at Fuego Bar and Grill

But for others, for the rest of us…. that moment of gratification takes years of trying and falling, and getting back up and getting in the ring again to give it another go. One mountain after another, one desert upon another, one ocean that leads into another that leads into another….with nothing but that inherent belief in one’s will, in miracles, in possibilities—in GOD— to keep them going forward despite setbacks or people that try to stand in the way of accomplishing a life purpose. That is the juncture at which so many people become lost, jaded, and discouraged and give up.

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Its my belief that during that single moment of “giving up,” one relinquishes who they are and their right by birth to do amazingly phenomenal things in this lifetime. Its a gut wrenching but very conscious choice. Its also a beautifully empowering one that requires living each breath with a sense of bravery and bold entitlement. It requires being “Ruthless.” Which choice it will be for each one of us depends on how well we know ourselves, our passions, our hearts, and our dreams. It depends on how closely we are in touch with our inner selves and what we are willing to do to never, ever, let that go…..

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Talent in Tees: DJ Antic and Dj Ruthless showin a little swag….

So, what I have learned these past four years is—–

“BE RUTHLESS”

SHOW THE WORLD WHO YOU ARE, SHARE YOUR GIFTS WITHOUT EXPECTATIONS OF A RETURN……TAKE CHANCES, LOVE HARD, LAUGH HARD, LAUGH OFTEN, AT STUPID THINGS. DANCE WITH RECKLESS ABANDON AND BE BOLD ENOUGH TO GET OUT ON A DANCE FLOOR *ALONE* AND *UNAFRAID* TO JUST BE PRESENT WITH YOUR SOUL AND THE MUSIC. NEVER HOLD BACK IN TELLING PEOPLE HOW YOU FEEL NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE…..WHETHER THEY ARE YOUR GREATEST ENEMY, OR GREATEST LOVE.

SPIN AROUND TO THE POINT OF DIZZINESS IN THE MIDDLE OF A MONSOON STORM, FEELING EACH DROP OF RAIN AS IT HITS YOU, AND BREATHE IN THE HEADY HOPEFUL AROMA OF A FRESH START. STAND IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ABANDONED ROAD AND WAIT FOR THE RAINBOW TO APPEAR AFTERWARD…..

LADIES—SPEAK UP. SPEAK OUT. WEAR THE BOLDEST HOT PINK OR CLASSIC RED LIPSTICK YOU CAN FIND AND ROCK THE HELL OUT OF IT—BECAUSE YOU CAN! FIND YOUR SWAGGER, HOLD ON TIGHT, AND NEVER *EVER* LET IT GO. FALL IN LOVE. KISS ALL THE RIGHT BOYS. KISS ALL THE WRONG ONES. BUT DO IT WITH EVERY DROP OF PASSION AND HEART.

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HAVE NO REGRETS! MAKE MISTAKES. MAKE THEM AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND WHEN YOURE READY—DONT MAKE THEM ANYMORE. TAKE THE RISK OF LIVING WITHIN EACH MOMENT 100% PRESENT AND WITH COMPLETE INTENTION…..and REVEL IN IT.

Each one of these things add up to what will someday be what the “living” will share with you when you go onward to the next place…..Me personally? Id like to kick back and see that I left behind a little color, a whole lot of light, mountains of hope, love, and inspiration for others to “do their thing” too…..making this world a better place while they are at it.

Without authenticity….without living our truths…without honoring our own individuality–we ultimately fail to change the world because we left behind our opportunity to do it, the chance we were gifted with the second we took our first breath of life….right up to the moment our heart beats for the last time.  Leaving this world as you found it, without realizing your own potential (or acting on it) to make it better than it was when you were here…..There could be no greater tragedy.

If musicians and DJ’s can do it….why can’t Nurses do it too? Instead of ticking off all the reasons why you “can’t,” perhaps its time to start creating ways you “can.”

It is, after all, YOUR legacy.

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