Mr. Vin and the Killer Horse: The Most Important Lesson I Ever Learned from a Horse.

“He’s an aggressive horse”, she said, “He attacked someone and ran them out of the round pen”.   This was my introduction to the horse that I was going to work with for a week.  

As the other half of Reach Out to Horses, I’ve had the fortune of participating in almost all of our events over the years.  Last year I was able to spend the week in one of my favorite courses, Reach Out to the Untouched Horse. In this wild horse experience, folks get to spend the week, one-on-one with a wild mustang, gentling him without ropes, chains, chutes, or any other tools of dominance.  The tools are only communication, compassion and a methodology that Anna has perfected over many years and thousands of horses.  With Anna’s master teaching and coaching I was given seven days to help a mustang learn a new world, and hopefully show him that humans had a positive role to play in his life.
My mustang, though, didn’t come untouched, straight from the BLM holding pens, as most of the horses in the event.  He was previously adopted by a well-meaning couple, hoping to give him a second chance at life.  So many people see the suffering these horses endure when they are traumatically rounded up from their homes, ripped from their family, and forced into holding pens.  My horse was one of those, now over 50,000 horses, waiting for the “powers that be” to determine their fate. So this couple decided to rescue him, train him and give him a new home and a new life.
They did what so many well-intentioned, but misinformed people do with a mustang.  They treated Mustangs like a horse.  Big mistake.  One of the most common misconceptions is that a horse is a horse is a horse, and that mustangs are simply domestic horses in the wild.  They are not.  Mustangs are, in an equine way, what wolves are to dogs.  They are wild animals, they are smart and they have an independent nature that can make them difficult, and downright dangerous, to train if you don’t know what you are doing.  Train a mustang like a domestic horse and you never know what you are going to get other than, most likely, injured at some point.
They began my mustang’s training, as many horses do, in the round pen.  But when they attempted to get him to move he attacked them.  He charged his handler and ran him out of the pen.  Already branded with a bad reputation as a mustang, that was all they needed to see.  Clearly this horse was dangerous and aggressive.  The decision was made that he would be left alone in a pasture until they could find help.
Turns out, this course and I were that help.  My job… turn this guy around. Change his mind.  Gentle an aggressive horse.
I joined him in our 24’ by 12’ run and he quickly moved as far away from me as he could, placing his head in the corner so I would not be able to approach him without entering his kick zone.  If he didn’t interact with me, perhaps I would leave him alone.  When I presented him with food, he was bold enough to eat, even with me right next to him.  But touch, connection, was out of the question. Initially he didn’t seem particularly aggressive.  We wanted to see if his reputation was accurate, Anna assessed him and looked for his triggers. She found them and in response he double barreled towards her.
That was all we needed to see to know that this guy was for real!  He made it perfectly clear.  “Mess with me, and there are consequences.” 
I decided that, of all the training I could do, the best thing I could teach him, if anything, was that humans weren’t all bad. I thought if I could convince him that I had value, that I could be trusted, perhaps he would be open to listening.  That became my goal.  
I worked slowly, giving him space, asking him to try a little bit at a time, consistently pushing the boundaries but never demanding more than I felt he could give.  Days passed and I began to doubt if he would ever come around.  I wanted to push him, to “just get the job done” and get him gentled.  But I knew that, not only was that dangerous, it wouldn’t work.  And that voice in my head that wanted to “fix” this horse was nothing but pride.  That voice wanted to look good, accomplish something no one else could, WIN!  That voice had my ego’s best interest in mind, but certainly not the horse’s.  
I wondered how many horses, over eons of time, had to suffer at the hands of men and women with these exact same thoughts.  I wondered how much abuse animals (and humans) had to endure due to ignorance, arrogance and pride.  That thought kept me focused on my goal; value and trust.
Finally, after 4 days, we touched for the first time.  It was an exhilarating and emotional moment I’ll never forget.  For the first time, he was willing to see me, to give me a chance.  I continued to work with him, slowly, showing him that his willingness to connect wasn’t a mistake.  He relaxed more and more with each day, and over the course of the next three days I had him haltered and leading.  The final day of leading was magical.  He wasn’t spooky, he didn’t try to get away, or pull against the rope.  He walked with me; a true partner.   
I only wished that I had another week with him, or even that I could take him home.  I knew with more time, he would have come around.  But I was happy with what we had accomplished, with what he had accomplished.  He had come so far in a very short period of time.
I finished the week with a great feeling of personal satisfaction.  After all, my goal was to show him I had value and to gain his trust, and I had done that.  But as I reflected on my time with him, I realized that I had learned so much more than a powerful horsemanship methodology.  In fact my most important lesson had nothing to do with horsemanship.  I realized, in that moment, that he wasn’t an aggressive horse at all.  
Horses are thrown into the “aggressive” label any time they lash out, attack, or injure someone, especially if it appears to be for “no reason”.  Although the reason may not be apparent to the human, it is perfectly clear to the horse.
My horse wasn’t aggressive, he was defensive.  In his mind, he was put in a confined space by a human and chased, or even attacked by a human!  He wasn’t trying to kill anyone.  He was defending himself.  After all, if he was truly aggressive, then he would have attacked me at some point.  But he didn’t.  Why?  Because I gave him no reason to attack. I pushed him, I asked him, I moved him out of his comfort zone.  But he tried.  He tried hard.  He didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he would defend himself if needed.
Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying all aggressive horses are secretly sweet little foals yearning to be understood.  Sometimes that aggressive title fits.  But if we callously label all trouble horses as aggressive, we not only give them a label that follows them for life, but we never give that horse the opportunity to be understood and possibly even find their way to a partnership with humans.
It wasn’t an aggressive horse, but a lack of communication that was the real problem.  I knew, in that moment, this dangerous horse gave me a gift I will always cherish.  I taught him that I had value, that he could trust me.  He taught me that every being has a reason to do what they do and simply categorizing any one, or any thing, as aggressive or dangerous tells more about me and my ignorance than it does about the being I am labeling.  I taught him to be comfortable around humans, he taught me to truly see each individual for who they are, and not what I think they are.  Finally, I taught him to accept the halter and to be led by the gentle and kind hand of a human.  He taught me to keep my heart open and overcome prejudice, allowing me to help a troubled soul.
Who really taught who?  Thank you my friend.
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Move From Fear Towards LOve, with Anna and Melisa Pearce

Join Anna & Melisa Pearce for a Life-Changing Event!

ONLY 2 SPOTS LEFT! 

Moving From Fear to Love

Date: October 19th – 21st, 2012

Location: Lil Bit North Ranch, Longmont, CO

A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE,  INTIMATE AND ALL HANDS ON WITH  YOUR HORSE or OURS. . . you will be in the arena working all day!

This is your chance to be a part of a magical workshop where Anna and Melisa will show you just what a genuine, trust-based partnership looks like, while you explore not only how to communicate with horses but what horses have to teach you about moving away from fear and towards love.

Melisa and Anna met through their participation as contributing authors in the book Horse as Teacher, a Path to Authenticity. Discovering the commonality in their interpretation of horses and humans they have begun to work more closely together and today collaborate on several projects.

During this workshop, Anna and Melisa will teach you how horses interpret our fear, their natural response and how they lead humans away from it when understood.

Melisa will share her experiences with horses claire-sentient abilities that she sees everyday as she partners with horses who emotionally heal humans through her Equine Gestalt(TM) process.

Anna will share her insights as a natural horsewoman who has traveled the world working with and studying equine behavior. She will show how they are effected in ways you may not even be aware of when you are working with them and what you can watch for with your horse.

This is a hands-on experiential workshop, combing the natural training techniques of Anna’s and Melisa’s Equine Gestalt Coaching Method ®.

Through training methods and animal communication you will explore your connection to these powerful animals and deepen your connection to yourself.

Bring your own horse to Lil Bit North Ranch. . . in colorful Longmont, CO

This is your last chance to work with them in 2012.  Bring your own horse. . . (space is limited) OR work with Melisa’s amazing healing team of horses. Whether you are professional trainer OR if you are a lover of horses but have never been around them. . . this weekend can be for you.Cost for boarding: $25.00 per night for indoor box stall with bedding. . .

If you do not own a horse, are an equine novice Or cannot haul your horse to the event. . . you will be working with Melisa’s beautiful healing team.

ONLY 10 PARTICIPANTS ACCEPTED!

Itinerary:
October 19th – 2:00pm – 5:00 pm MDT
Private Interviews with Melisa & Anna
October 19th – 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm MDT
Exposition Demo night in the Arena – open to guests
October 20th & 21st – 9:30 am to 5:00 pm MDT (Private group)

You will also receive a Whispers from the Horses Heart Inspirational Card Deck.

Registration: $1,197.00

To register, call Melisa’s office at: 303-440-7120 or

email: melisa@touchedbyahorse.com

or visit: http://www.touchedbyahorse.com
Don’t miss this knowledge building, transformational & inspirational weekend!

SPACE IS LIMITED!!!!
Only 10 participants will be accepted so call and register NOW!

Reach Out To Wisdom, Cody, WY 2012

Anna Twinney and Vin Mancarella with students and fellow teachers, Bob and Barney

These past 3 days have passed very quickly with all that filled the days. The work & exercises were well planned to build on what went before. Work w/ horses was never predictable – the horses suited their behaviors & teaching to the lesson, to the person or team of people. & the question posed. Their messages/answers were indispensable, clear & concise. And if the student’s wanted to evade,there was Anna & Vin to interpret & reiterate the teaching.The horses continue to amaze in their ability to understand & communicate.

-Christine

I was very impressed with Vin & Anna’s Reach Out To Wisdom. I leave with a vision for my future that has been lacking for so very long. I have clarity of how I get in my own way & simply more hope.

-Grace Gabrielle

Not a horse person. . .Came w/ a friend, and now I owe him a Big Thank You!  Insights. . .understanding. . .real answers. . .And a Big Thank You to Anna & Vin.

-Bill Simmons

Dear Vin & Anna,

I am grateful for a wonderful three days. This will and has changed my life. Thank you for your perfect interpretation of the horses and me.

All the best,

-Beth Bates Chaffie

Not really knowing what to expect in the course I just knew I needed to be here. I’m so thankful that I came. Anna & Vin make a great team. I am leaving this course with the tools to finally take responsibility for my life and knowing that I can. The course really was enlightening, surprising & funny – Vin kept us laughing on this otherwise serious & sometimes painful journey.  Thank you Vin & Anna for always making me feel safe while revealing my true self!

-Dora

The “Reach Out to Wisdom” course converges insights from Vin and Anna with the lessons taught by horses to deliver an exceptionally profound learning experience.  The unique design of the course allowed me as a student the opportunity to explore more deeply the questions of authenticity, integrity and how to live the life I want to live.  Vin led the class through exercises that helped us attune ourselves the the important questions we each needed to ask, and Anna flawlessly assigned us each the horse that would best help us find the answers to our questions. Anna and Vin did a phenomenal job in interpreting the lessons that the horses were delivering.

 Having participated in many self-development seminars in my thirty year career, I can unequivocally state that this is one of the best and most insightful I have ever had the pleasure to attend.  I would wholeheartedly suggest that if you have the courage to ‘go deep’ in your personal development, sign up for the next class of “Reach Out to Wisdom!”

-Chris Dimock

Happy New Year…Again: Fixing the Broken Resolution

Happy New Year…Again: Fixing the Broken Resolution
by Vincent Mancarella

I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone write a New Year resolutions article in March? Good question. Well, the reason is, very simply, because now is the perfect time to review the changes you attempted to make those many months ago. By now you have had plenty of time to create your resolutions, implement them… and break them.

Broken resolutions are as cliché as the excuses we use to justify why we broke them. It seems that no matter how hard we try, not even our best intentions, or the volumes of self-help information on the market, can get us off that hamster wheel of change. Well run no more. Here are five overlooked, unknown and often misunderstood tips to help you set your goals, stay focused and finally succeed at making any change you desire.
So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want
Who knew such sage advice could come from the Spice Girls? But they speak the truth. The very first order of business is to ask yourself one very simple question, “Do I really want to make this change? Is this goal or desire coming from me or some outside influence?” (Yes, I realize, that was two questions).

We are under so much pressure to want certain things or to be certain ways from so many different sources that we can easily lose ourselves in the chase, forgetting why we started in the first place. So before setting any plans and buying all the “consumer goods of change” ask yourself, “Would this change really make my life better and is it really worth all the effort?” If, after all this inquiry and soul searching, you still want to go through with it, then go for it! Your chances of success are far greater if your heart is in it and your head clearly understands what you want and why you want it.


Feelings, Nothing more than Feelings

Continuing our theme of ancient wisdom from cheesy pop songs, we come to what is often the sole reason for failure; emotions. Some would say that inventions like the car seat warmer and microwavable Pop Tarts prove that humans are the most intelligent creatures on the planet. This may or may not be the case, but what is true is that, despite our best efforts and denials, we are not led by our intelligence. It is our emotions (you know, those little voices and impulses you keep repressing) that usually rule the day. Knowing this one simple fact can greatly assist in the success of your goals.

As creatures of habit, change doesn’t often feel very nice. In fact, it can be so uncomfortable that many people give up at the first taste of discomfort. So how do you make it through the tough times? When you are at a low point, ready to cave in, remember, just because it feels bad doesn’t mean it is.

Now if you have your hand in an open flame perhaps this isn’t the advice to follow. But barring any physical harm it is worth a try. For example, the first few days or even weeks of giving up smoking, caffeine or sugar can definitely feel uncomfortable to say the least. But who would argue with the positive benefits of reducing or eliminating these addictive substances?

Anticipating the initial discomfort, rather than resorting back to old habits to feel better, you can try something new. Let that feeling remind you of the importance of the change you are making. Let that feeling lead you to do something constructive for your goals. Maybe even try just doing nothing. Sit down and take some nice, deep breaths. Take a little time to sit with the feeling and see what it is about. See what’s underneath that feeling, what’s really driving it. See what else comes to your mind. You’d be surprised what you can learn through discomfort when you’re not too busy running to the nearest distraction to mask it.

Help! I Need Somebody.
A classic song and classic advice: You hear all the time these days about the importance of support in one’s life. Enough can not be said about the need for support when making changes or setting goals. Its importance can never be overemphasized. Just as important is making sure you get the right type of support with which you work best. The right support alone can mean the difference between success and failure.

It is not uncommon for the people around you to resist the changes you wish to make in your life, especially the big ones. Those around you know you as a certain person in a certain way. They don’t necessarily want you to change. Your exciting change may mean they won’t have a partner to hang out with anymore. Or worse, through your endeavors, you may be forcing them to examine something in their life that they are not ready to face. That’s OK for them. It’s not your job to change anyone else’s life. However, we have enough problems with the sabotaging voices in our own heads, the last thing we need is to give those voices assistants on the outside world.

Many times the people around us don’t necessarily mean to get in our way and they don’t realize the damage they do. Even a small seemingly, harmless sarcastic remark can send you into a spiral of destruction. So it’s important to tell those around you what you are doing and how they can help you. If they are not interested in helping you or if they are not comfortable with the change you are making then it’s time to find others who are interested and willing to help.

Find those people who are going through the same experience or have already made the change, and talk to them. Hire a coach or a counselor or even a therapist if that’s what it takes to get you the support you need. Also consider the type of support that will best serve you. Do you need the type of encouragement that Grandma would give? Or perhaps you require a drill sergeant; whatever works for you is the right answer, regardless of what others may try to convince you to do.
Lean On Me
Another classic hit with priceless advice: In addition to the people you need to support you, it is equally as important to help yourself in the process as much as possible.

Once you stop the voices on the outside it’s time to deal with the voices on the inside. Be careful what you say to yourself and what beliefs you stuff into your head. How successful do you think you’ll be if you keep thinking, “I’m never going to do this,” Or “I can’t do that,” or even the little, “I don’t like this?”

So when you notice a negative thought that will not help you, simply say, “Thank you for your opinion, now please sit down.” Then turn that thought around to the positive and repeat it to yourself over and over and over again. “I am going to do this. I can do it. I like what this change will bring.” After a while you may be surprised to find that the negative voices are getting quieter as you are getting more successful.

Next surround yourself with anything you can that will help you. One great tool we have for change is our sight. What we see we bring into our reality – we accept into our lives. So instead of bombarding yourself with death and destruction or media candy, bring some real positive light into your life.

Surround yourself with visual reminders of the change you seek. Display anything you can that will remind you that this is what you want and that you will be successful. Watch your favorite movie or read your favorite inspirational book. Fill your vision with positive supportive images. These visual aids will also help you in those moments of weakness or forgetfulness. It’s very hard to forget what you are striving to achieve when you are surrounded by reminders.

Also take some time every day, in the morning or at night before bed to see yourself successful. Really live the success in your imagination. Fill it with as much detail as you can and play that scene over and over again in your mind. As the saying goes, “If you can see it, you can be it.”

Another great tool is the plan. Having a plan can be essential to creating successful change and can be just as important in helping you get back on track. So if you should happen to take a few of those “unexpected days off” you can just look at the plan and get right back to it. Give yourself all the help you can. The more assistance you can give yourself , the easier will be your road to change.
The Eye of the Tiger
A final anthem of inspiration for the final and possibly most important tip of all. Once you’ve assessed the situation, prepared yourself for the possible discomfort to come, and surrounded yourself with as much support as you can, it is time to take the biggest step of all. Decide! Decide that no matter what, you will succeed. Decide that resilience will be your middle name and perseverance will be your last. If you start to slip or cheat, refocus and get back to it. Decide, no matter how long it takes, no matter the obstacles, no matter the discomfort, you will succeed. You may have to adapt your strategies. It may not happen as you originally foresaw. But somehow you will see it through to the end. You will finish what you started.

And in the moments of weakness don’t be hard on yourself. Do not beat yourself up for failing. Don’t dwell on it. Simply chalk it up to experience. Learn what you can from the temporary failure, dust yourself off and reaffirm your desires and your goals. Decide that the game is not over until you say so.

Also consider that resilience doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to “tough it out”, “suck it up” or any other euphemism for taking the hardest road possible. Perhaps your version of perseverance is making slow and steady steps toward change. The easiest changes to make are the ones that are barely felt. So if you know you don’t do well with making big changes in short periods of time then don’t! Instead make the commitment to making smaller, easier changes over a longer period until you achieve your goal.

So there you have it, the wisdom of the ages as spoken through the songs that will last through the ages (or at least till you delete them from your I-Pod). Change can be difficult but very satisfying. It can radically improve your life and set you on the path to a destiny you never even dreamed possible. Always remember that the potential to be what you wish is already inside you. All you have to do is let it out and create it in your life. Instead of thinking you are making yourself better, think of it as letting out that incredible person who is just waiting to be set free. So shoot for the stars, support yourself through the process and come next New Year you won’t have to worry about anymore silly resolutions because positive change will be part of your life not a New Year annoyance.
Vincent Mancarella – has studied and worked in the fields of manifestation, health, energy, movement, voice and bodywork for over a decade. He is a certified Holistic Health Counselor, Energy Healer and Transformational Momentum Coach educated in both Eastern and Western healing modalities. In addition to his studies of manifestation, energy and healing he also holds a 3rd degree black belt in the Japanese art of Ninpo Tijutsu.

Unplugging – It’s not just for your TV

Unplugging – It’s not just for your TV.
by Vincent Mancarella

Imagine that a friend told you she was having trouble losing weight and she didn’t know why. You ask her what she had been eating and she tells you that she hadn’t really paid much attention to that, but, now that you mention it, she’d been eating lots of cookies, ice cream, potato chips and candy. What would you tell her? Seems rather obvious doesn’t it?

Well, what if that same friend told you that she was unhappy in her life, constantly filled with frustration and depression. When you asked her what her typical day was like, she said she spent the day at a job she didn’t like very much, then, she came home, had dinner alone, watched her favorite reality TV show, finished the day watching the news (which she found disturbing) and went to bed. What would you tell her then?

As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” But that doesn’t apply only to food. We are also made up of what we ingest with our other senses. Many people are very aware, if not downright obsessive, about what they eat, especially if they are on a diet of some kind. However, those same people aren’t always so diligent about what goes into their minds on a daily basis. Yet they have no idea why they are filled with a constant feeling of dissatisfaction, frustration, unease or even fear.

Does that sound familiar? We often spend time and energy on situations or people that really don’t have the right to sap that much from us. Have you ever spoken, for example, to someone who would exhaust you time and time again with mere conversation? Have you ever put a whole lot of effort towards something that you knew wouldn’t give you the satisfaction you were looking for, but you kept putting your energy towards it anyway? Well it is time to take charge of your life and do a little unplugging! It is time to take your energy and your focus away – unplug – from those things that drain you, and plug into those things that energize or excite you.

Before we discuss how to unplug and just what unplugging is, it’s important to mention what unplugging isn’t. Unplugging does not mean not caring about the people and events around you. It does not mean being “alright” with everything that people do. And it doesn’t mean being apathetic and giving up your hopes and dreams. On the contrary, unplugging really is an opportunity to stop leaking your energy to those things you don’t like and don’t serve you in your life, and applying the energy to those things that do serve. Unplugging is designed to enhance and rejuvenate your life, and one of the great benefits of unplugging, as you’ll see, is it can be used on many different levels for many different situations.

Unplugging from your past
One area that constantly drains us of our energy and passion is one that no longer exists. And yet, like a great movie, we play it over and over again. It is our past and all the mistakes that go along with it. Regret is an unfortunate but normal human thought. Who among us hasn’t made a mistake or two (or a hundred) that they wouldn’t love to rectify? What we don’t realize though is that every moment we spend replaying our past is another moment lost to create the future. Even worse it is another moment lost to being present to what we have in this very moment, the only moment that truly matters. Another example is the old relationship we would have liked to change. It could be a long term relationship with an ex that didn’t work out, or just a small argument with a stranger that we relive because we just realized what we should have said to him. Either way, the same rules apply. You are not going to be able to change it, so let it go and move on.

One argument I hear a lot is that people don’t want to unplug from the anger or hatred towards another person because that means they would be letting that person get away with hurting them. It is just too painful to forgive them. Never forgive, never forget. Unfortunately though, what many don’t realize is that, by maintaining their anger, they aren’t hurting the other person, they are only hurting themselves. Most likely that person is getting on with his life and may not even be bothered about your feelings, or even remember you at all, for that matter. But you, on the other hand, are expending energy you could be using to make a better life for yourself now! Just remember, you don’t have to agree with what they did, you don’t have to like it, but at some point, you do have to let go of the pain.
Unplugging from Outside Influences
This is probably the easiest and most straight forward way to unplug. We are regularly bombarded by all sorts of different sources of influence. From the 24 hour news, to advertising and marketing, to our friends and family, we are constantly being told to think this, buy these, and do that by people and companies that have very specific agendas. Unfortunately, those agendas don’t often have our best interests in mind. So take some time to think about what outside influences you are constantly under and ask yourself, “Do I really like the effect this is having on my life?” Begin to fill your mind and time with positive influences. Replace the unhelpful influences with helpful ones.

Unplugging from Internal Influences
Have you ever gone on a diet, cold turkey, and promised, from that moment forward, you were never going to eat, say, another piece of pizza ever again? What was the very next thought? My guess was it was probably something like, “Boy would I love a piece of pizza!” When making changes in our lives, it is often the self-sabotaging mind-chatter that is the hardest obstacle to overcome.

This is where unplugging can be very effective. You see, what many people do in this situation is tell themselves that they can’t have what they want, and they try to convince themselves that this is a good thing. Sticking with the pizza example, people will often fight that urge for pizza all the way to the moment they eat an entire pie. Then they will feel bad because they cracked. They failed. But tomorrow they are definitely going to start the new “no pizza” diet.

Well instead of fighting a battle you rarely win, try unplugging from the battle altogether. When you hear that mind-chatter simply stop. Stop focusing on what you want and start focusing on what you really want. Unplug from the desire to have the pizza and plug into how good you are going to look and feel when you don’t eat the pizza. Plug into as much of the positive benefits of not eating the pizza and less of the reasons you shouldn’t eat the pizza. In short, unplug from the negative reinforcement and plug into the positive.

The Art of the Unplug
A great technique to help with the unplugging process is to visualize the unplug. Visualizations are very useful because they help your mind clearly understand what you want, and they often work on a subconscious level so you can get down into the root of the problem. You can use this exercise as often as you’d like, for as long or as short a time period as you’d like, on as many energy drains as you would like to remove.

Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Then imagine the person, place or thing is in front of you. A plug is in your solar plexus (right below your rib cage and above your stomach) connecting you to the object. It is getting stronger and stronger as it drains your energy from you. Really take the time to experience the energy draining object or person. What does it look like, feel like, smell like. Feel how much energy is being sucked out of your body. Notice how energized the object is getting, using your life force.

Now, pull that plug out of your body and as you do the cord snaps back to the energy sucker. Watch as this thing that was once feeding off of you slowly disappears, until it is completely gone. Next, take a moment to feel how powerful you are getting now that you are no longer being drained of your energy. Feel yourself getting stronger and stronger.

If, at this time, you have something to which you’d like to apply that energy, simply see that object or person in front of you. Then imagine you have a plug coming from your solar plexus. You plug into this new object and the connection between the two of you actually feeds you both energy. Take a moment to experience how good it feels to be connected to something that feeds you energy.

Remember the more real the exercise is for your mind, the more effective it will be. So really go for it. Make the visualization vibrant and colorful, filled with as much detail as you can muster. Create the scene in your mind and trust that once you have unplugged, the energy leech is gone for good.

Then when you’ve finished the visualization begin to bring that separation into your life. Start taking actions in your real life that will help you with the unplugging. Again, you can do this as much as you’d like. Start off small, if need be, and then use it on anything and everything that you consider to be a negative influence. In just a short time, you will notice a considerable difference in not only your energy but your whole life. Happy Unplugging.

Obstacles to Your Success – Riding Difficulty All the Way to Your Success

Obstacles to Your Success
by Vincent Mancarella

So what do you know about obstacles? I want you to take a moment and really solidify in your mind all that you know about them. What do they mean to you? How do you handle them? Are you an “Oh, forget about it, it’s too hard,” kind of person? Or perhaps you are a “Keep your eye on the prize,” sort of go-getter. Well, no matter how obstacles effect or don’t effect your life, you are about to have all your preconceived notions blown out of the water. Now that you have the idea, clearly in your mind, of what an obstacle is, you can throw it out with all the rest of the disempowering garbage you have up there in that brain of yours.

I promise you that after you read this you will never look at an obstacle the same way again. And I’m not talking about changing problems to “synergistic challenges” either. This isn’t another Corporate-ese word play to make yourself feel better or to put a positive spin on those things that are getting in your way. This is about discovering what “obstacles” really are and how they not only can be used to create success but how they are an absolute necessity in developing lasting success in whatever you are trying to accomplish.

Let’s get right to it, shall we? First, what is an obstacle? Well, by definition an obstacle is simply something (or someone) that gets in your way when trying to get something. But is that really what an “obstacle” is in our lives? Could it be that what we call obstacles are actually guides, signposts the universe provides for us to show us the way to success?

You see, if you pay close attention (and sometimes not so close attention) Life will teach you everything you need to know. For example, you can read books about the dangers of fire, you can ask people what their experience of it was and you can even attend Fire University where the Dean of Students, Smokey the Bear, will teach you every single factoid about fire that exists. Or you can put your hand in an open flame and learn everything you need to know about what fire is capable of doing in about 5 seconds.

This is called Experiential Learning. It may be less effective in Theoretical Mathematics but even children learn this way and the tuition is much cheaper. Most importantly though is that nothing is more effective. We hope we can learn from the success and failure of others and we hope that our children won’t have to go through some of the hardships and heartbreak that we had to endure. And, in fact, there may be quicker, safer ways of learning, but nothing is as effective as Life.

Another benefit of experiential learning is that the universe has an infinite amount of patience and will teach you the same lesson, over and over again, tirelessly, until you finally get it. It really doesn’t mind at all. So, if you should forget what fire does, all you have to do is put your hand back in that flame and Viola! It will all come rushing back to you, this time in probably less than 5 seconds.

So what does all this have to do with obstacles? Well… everything. Obstacles aren’t actually obstacles at all. They are not things that get in your way. They are simply experiential learning. They are signposts the universe is giving you to not only help you succeed but to ensure your permanent success, should you choose to listen.

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice that says not to focus on your obstacles. If you do you’ll forget about the goal you set out to achieve and suddenly the obstacle will become the new goal. You’ll get stuck in your tracks. There is much truth in this, but as with everything in the “bottom line” mentality of America this is often misconstrued to mean that we should just plow through the obstacles. Put your head down and do whatever it takes to get to that goal. However, without learning the lesson the obstacle is there to teach you, you will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. And it’s very likely that you won’t succeed, or if you do, it won’t be lasting. Therefore, it is important to take a look at the obstacles that come up, no matter how big or small. See the wisdom they have to teach you, and then move on.

Another brilliant aspect of Life’s lesson plan is that, often, the lessons you need to learn to succeed in one area of your life are usually the lessons you need to be successful in other areas. As they say, how you do anything in life is how you do everything. And if you simply follow the curriculum Life has created for you, if you follow the obstacle ‘signposts’, one at a time, it is only a matter of time until you have the success you desire.

Take weight loss, for example, a pretty common goal for many of us. Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds but don’t have the slightest idea of how to begin. Well, I’d say your first obstacle is a definite lack of knowledge. This is where we lose most of you. You say to yourself, “I don’t know and I don’t want to seem stupid, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut… except to eat of course.” But for many of you, you overcome that first hurtle without even thinking of it as an obstacle. You go to a gym, you buy yourself a book or sign up with a weight loss program. You educate yourself on how to lose the weight. Congratulations, you easily hopped over obstacle #1 and learned that you needed more education. Or very simply, life said, “Hey, if you want to lose weight you’re going to have to get educated first.” And you listened!

So you get excited for the first week, determined to lose that weight. But then, disaster strikes. The next week comes and you get busy, too busy to workout, too busy to prepare the right foods to eat. Well, welcome to obstacle #2. This one is a little tougher to overcome. But it is an essential piece of the puzzle. You see, Life, through Experiential Learning, is telling you that your habits and ways of living do not support your weight loss goal. And they definitely won’t give you any kind of lasting success.

You are not a victim of “not enough time.” You are a victim of your own time prioritizing and life has come to give you the message. If you are serious about losing weight then, not only are you going to have to exercise and eat better for a while, but you are going to have to change the very way you live your life. You are going to have to create the time to exercise. You are going to have to make the effort to eat differently. The difficulty you feel is the discomfort of changing those habits. You can change slowly or all at once, which ever one works for you, but if you don’t change, you can bet that you will be back to where you started in a very short period of time. So in effect, this “lack of time” is not an obstacle. This moment of discomfort, of apparent failure, is not getting in your way, it is actually showing you the road to success.

Let’s say another obstacle you come across in your quest for the perfect body is a lack of discipline. “It’s just too haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard.” Well, once again, life is teaching you, that if you want permanent weight loss, you will have to learn some discipline. If you don’t learn to create some discipline in your life, then you might succeed initially but you probably won’t sustain the success. And, as we said before, how you do one thing is how you do everything. So take a look at the rest of your life. Where is your lack of discipline getting in the way of achieving happiness in other areas? It’s like following the Yellow Brick Road to Oz.

Applying this view to another common goal of the average American we can see that it works just as well. Everybody wants to be rich. I’m not talking comfortable here; I’m talking Rich Dad, Donald Trump wealthy. But don’t you think if your habits were the same as Bill Gates you would already be a billionaire philanthropist too? We’ve all heard the story of the person who wins the lottery or inherits a large fortune only to be broke within a year. Why is that story so common? Why do so many people seem to piddle away their jackpots? It’s because their habits and ways of living don’t support having all that money. They don’t know what to do with it except to do what they did with the rest of their money. Spend it!

So along the way, they would have come across several obstacles, several moments that the universe said, “Hey, you might want to take a look at this if you want to keep that money.” But they didn’t, and so… they didn’t. Maybe you never won a jackpot or inherited a small fortune, but how many times have you looked back on your life and thought, “If only I had known then, what I know now…” Take another look back and see where Life was trying to show you that, trying to teach you through the signposts of your obstacles.

Another obstacle we commonly run into is what I like to call the “head in the brick wall” message. We’ve all been there. You know the one I mean. It’s where you keep trying to do something and no matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to get it done. It’s as if the entire universe is conspiring against you.

I remember, once, I was trying to wade through a mountain of technical manuals I “had to” read for a job I was doing. I didn’t like it at all, I didn’t want to do it and it seemed that every time I sat down to read them something would come up so I was forced to put the books down and attend to the immediate problem. When I told a friend of mine the difficulty I was having he said, “Yeah, I don’t know why you would be having so much trouble reading the books when you don’t want to learn the information, you don’t like the subject matter and you don’t particularly like the job you are doing!”

I thought about it for a bit and realized he was right. So I decided not to read the manuals and, you know what, not only did I feel liberated but as it turned out I didn’t really have to read the manuals to accomplish the job anyway. I had gotten so fixated on the manuals as the only way to go that I hadn’t stopped to look at other options.

That’s why it’s called the “head in the brick wall” obstacle. If you are trying to knock down a brick wall by hitting it with your head, you are only going to give yourself a headache. And the more stubborn you are or determined to take that wall with your noggin’ the worse the pain will be and you still won’t be any closer to your goal. Those headaches are Life’s way of saying, “You might want to consider another way or maybe even bag the whole idea because it’s not really going to get you to your goal anyway.” This is intelligent experiential learning because, by stepping back and gaining some perspective you get to see the futility of your actions and change them to better serve your success – a perspective gotten, not through intellectual analysis but simply by observing the obstacles that came up.

So as you can see, you can literally follow the path of your obstacles all the way to your eventual success. By examining the lessons Life has come to teach you, you will be learning all you need to know to succeed at your endeavor. Remember, the universe is always routing for your success and is constantly trying to help you along the way. Life’s help may not always feel very comfortable in the moment but neither does reading a sign for your exit off the highway after you missed the ramp! You can get mad and throw things, feel sorry for yourself and do whatever else you want, but if you don’t heed the sign and adjust your course accordingly, you will never get to where you were going. Think of obstacles as nagging co-pilots who are telling you, “You missed that exit.” It may be annoying to hear, but they are only trying to help.

The Garden of Life – Tending to Your True Desires

The Garden of Life
by Vincent Mancarella

When I originally came up with the idea for this article my first thought was, “This would be a great subject to write about. It’s interesting, informative, and even a little poetic.” My second thought was, “This is a dumb idea for an article. Everyone already knows this information and it is just a big cliché.” My third thought was, “I need to take a nap,” but that probably doesn’t interest you so I’ll just stick to my thoughts about the article.

After a little rest, I decided that this was indeed a topic worth writing about. Yes, there might be some cliché in it and it might be just a bit corny (no pun intended) but clichés often come, ultimately from sound advice. Many times it is advice that everyone already knows, no one wants to be reminded of but kick themselves later for not following. And despite the complexities of our lives these days it is the simple advice, the simple changes that usually have the most impact. This information might just change your life.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “garden”? Do you think of flowers in a park? How about vegetables in your backyard? Maybe you see a farm, complete with chickens and cows. Does the idea of a garden bring to life romantic thoughts of growing your own organic food or flowers to decorate your home or are you like a friend of mine who once said, “I got enough problems, I don’t need to dig up my back yard and create more.”

Let me ask you another question. When you hear the word “garden” do you ever think about, your job or your relationships, a project or a life long ambition? Would you ever consider your life to be one giant garden? What is a garden? Well, in the most general sense of the word, a garden can be anything that you intentionally create with the assistance from the universe around you. And it can be a fantastic metaphor for creating virtually anything you want in your life. By simply following the steps of creating a garden you can plant and water your way to anything you desire. So grab your shovel, your gloves and your gardening hat and let’s do a little work in the garden of life.

Prepare the Garden
Imagine you decide to grow some vegetables in your backyard. You walk out the door, seeds in hand. You find a nice spot, perfect for the vegetables you’d like to grow. You stand in the middle of your newly designated garden area. You rip open the packets of seeds and throw them everywhere – tomato seeds mixing with corn, cucumber seeds thrown in with squash. Then you go inside, sit by the window and watch your garden grow.

Sounds ridiculous I know but what is more ridiculous is that, despite the fact we know the success rate of this strategy is virtually 0%, this is what we do so many times in our lives. We throw our dreams and desires around the land hoping that they might come true, hoping that someone else, the universe or even God will give us what we desire.
But as the saying goes, “God helps he who helps himself.” So give yourself a hand instead of shooting yourself in the foot.

If you want to create something in your life, don’t just want it and hope it randomly comes your way. Take as much as you can of the “chance” out of the equation and fill it with preparation. Get the gardening tools, till the soil, add the fertilizer. Create the best garden you possibly can so you have the best possibility for success. And most importantly plant those seeds with intention. Don’t just throw them around. Be as specific as you can. Plant the tomato seeds where you want tomatoes, plant the lettuce where you want the lettuce and plant them in places where you think they would grow. Where in your life are you planting seeds in the shade when you know that plant needs a lot of sunlight?

Tend the Garden
Gardens need a whole lot of tending. There’s just no way around it. It takes constant care and attention, adjusting and evaluating to grow those vegetables successfully. Gardening isn’t rocket science. Even people who have never even watered a lawn could figure that out, but in our Garden of Life, we often forget this rule. We go from one extreme to the other, planting the garden then neglecting the garden. Then we get frustrated that our garden died so we rip it up and start over only to neglect it once again until finally we get so angry we stop gardening altogether.

And what is ironic is that the tending that is needed is usually not very much work at any one time. We just need to do a little bit here or a little bit there to keep the garden growing. Consistency is key. You’d be surprised at just how far you can travel with small consistent steps and just how easy those steps can feel.

When tending the garden, it’s also important to take the appropriate actions. Tomato plants need some form of support as they grow, lettuce does not. So why would you put stakes in the ground next to the growing head of lettuce. We do this to ourselves all the time. Instead of being creative or observant we often apply the same tactics to different situations in our lives and wonder why they didn’t work.

There are no absolutes in gardening and there are no absolutes in life. You must do what is right for that plant at that moment – anything else is just not helpful. You can not force the lettuce to crawl up that stake and you can not force your life to fit into the small box of what you think is best. So instead of trying to force the proverbial square peg in the round hole, step back see what actions would best help your garden grow and then do that.

Protect the garden
Again this is a bit of a no-brainer but we often forget this very important rule. With all the hard work we put into our garden we want to make sure that it is safe from the elements that might destroy it. We do everything we can to secure our gardens. We cover the plants in a frost, we use pesticides and fences to keep out the critters. We even build whole buildings made of glass so those tender little seedlings have a place to grow before they go out into the big bad world of nature. Meanwhile we are incredibly neglectful of our own lives and dreams.

How many times have you come up with a great idea or a desire to achieve something amazing only to lose heart when someone tells you why you can’t do it or that it is a waste of time. Don’t let the frost of somebody else’s negativity kill your tomatoes. Cover them! Do whatever you have to do to make sure the vulnerable little seedlings of your dreams and desires are safe in that greenhouse. Do whatever you can to stop the little bugs of nay saying from destroying your crop.

And God said, “Let there be Kumquats!”
Ok, listen up. Here’s the deal. You get this concept and you will be unstoppable in your life. If you really understand this idea and live it, there is nothing that can stand in your way. In fact, you could argue that this is the most important part of the gardening process. And I’m sorry to disappoint you but it really has nothing to do with kumquats – at least not specifically.

When you plant tomatoes, for example, and you tend that garden with all the love and expertise you can muster are you shocked and amazed that a few weeks later, tomatoes start growing out of the ground? Do you say, “That’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen! I planted tomato seeds and tomatoes grew right out of the ground”? I’m guessing you don’t. I’m guessing the miracle that is “plants growing from a tiny seed” doesn’t really faze you anymore. That’s just how it works, right?

So then why, when we put out certain desires or intentions, both positive and negative, intentional and accidental are we shocked and amazed that they came true? That’s just how it works! When you plant an intention or a desire into fertile soil, don’t hope it sprouts; know it is going to sprout! Know without a shadow of a doubt that your desire will be fulfilled. Expect it. And at the same time take the time to appreciate that that in itself is a miracle. The fact that a small seed can create a giant plant is a miracle. It doesn’t matter how common it may seem to us, it is a miracle. Period.

And the best way you can respect and appreciate the miracle is by actually letting it happen. I could be wrong but I don’t think nature needs your micro-management to make sure the seed forms the plant. Nature can do that all by itself. In our extremely ego-centric and results oriented society we often try to intervene to make things better, when we only make them worse. And we usually just stress ourselves out in the process. You’ve done your part, now let the universe do its part. Don’t worry, it won’t let you down. It heard you loud and clear. And when the time is right, it will be done. The universe is just slightly older than your brain so let it do what it will do. You just get out of the way. You can’t force the tomatoes to grow. So you might as well just sit back and enjoy the miracle.

Harvest
This is a pretty obvious step. When the fruit is ripe, pick it and eat it. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. After all, that was the whole point of planting the garden in the first place. And once you’ve gathered the harvest, enjoy it. Enjoy every last morsel of it. And you will find added enjoyment the more you are able to share that harvest with as many people as you can. Spread the wealth. Let everyone eat from the garden you created.

There it is, the Garden of Life. The great thing about using the garden as a metaphor is that the garden doesn’t only represent the way of the natural world, it is the natural world. This is how it all works. Despite our attempts at overcoming nature and separating ourselves from it, we need it to survive. We are part if it. We are more than that, we are it! So instead of fighting the natural way of the universe, use it to your benefit. Why go to all the trouble to invent a tomato when you can enjoy the delicious one’s provided by the Gardener of all gardeners. Bon Appetit.

Vincent Mancarella has studied and worked in the field of health, energy, movement, voice and bodywork for over a decade. He is a certified Holistic Health Counselor, Reiki Master and Intuitive Healer educated in both Eastern and Western modalities He also holds a 2nd degree black belt in the Japanese art of Ninpo Tijutsu. He has had the fortune of working with many amazing healers and teachers. Recently Vincent finished an Intuitive Healing Mentorship program under holistic healer and spiritual teacher Joseph Aldo. He currently lives in New York City but practices and teaches in both New York and California. For further info e-mail him at vin@mancarella.com