Vulnerability and Fear in High Gear

This past week, I had several unusual situations that left me feeling very uneasy. They were not directly related to horses, but I felt vulnerable on that emotion’s high-octane side.

I did my best to practice the steps we take with our horses when they feel uneasy and insecure. It was an excellent reminder of ways to face fear because I was forced to do so.

That’s what this podcast is all about.

. .


My husband Tom and I have been staying at the Holiday Inn Express for almost three weeks because our home is being renovated after water damage.

The Holiday Inn was quite comfortable, but, of course, there’s no place like home. We’re back in our casa now but living in one bedroom.

Did I say that I love being cozy in one room? Ha!

The hotel adventure was our first dose of weirdness, being outside of our home.

The next was all the challenges of the undertaking itself, like insurance companies and work crews. Hurry-up-and-wait was the name of the game, accompanied by less than thorough communication by all involved – and sometimes, the interactions didn’t have the attribute of common courtesy, at least from my point of view.

Some other pretty major things rained down, too, this past week.

The bottom line is I spent the last five or six days feeling as vulnerable and unsteady as I’ve felt in a long time.

So, I did my best to apply what we do with a horse when they feel vulnerable. Stay with the feeling. Face the fear. Wait. Breathe. When ready, take the next step that’s under our control. When the fear comes back, rinse and repeat. Soon fear turns to curiosity (like with a horse) – or ease – or we find a great gift.

A big part of that sequence is taking time to be still. Becoming still is powerful because you connect with your heart and your spirit. You might discover ideas, solutions, and guidance for your next steps in that quiet place. But that takes patience, and I was surprised at my need to develop more discipline in that department!

When I did step back and calm myself, I regained a semblance of control because I was taking it one moment at a time.

But sometimes, I had to repeat the whole process immediately again. It was interesting watching myself get frustrated by that, too. I thought it would be a one-and-done undertaking for me! In retrospect, that’s funny!

The mindset that helped me a lot was that no matter what happened, Tom and I would be ok. I knew somehow there were gifts in every one of the different scenarios that all just happened to show up at once (with the house and other things), but I stayed with the vulnerability and kept repeating the process – and it worked.

So that was my week! Let me know what you think.

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7 Comments on Vulnerability and Fear in High Gear

  1. Roxanne on Sun, 19th Feb 2023 2:14 pm
  2. Spot on, barb. God has a way of grounding us, and putting us out in the world, and it makes you look for things you didn’t know you needed. I’m back checking out your program I opted for months ago, and then life got busy. So apparently I needed a timeout to read and because I got stem cell and prp, I made the time. Hope all goes smooth for you now

  3. Wendy Johnson on Sun, 19th Feb 2023 4:09 pm
  4. So important to work with whatever feeling arises. But also important to realize that sometimes the feelings are generated by our thoughts, e.g. catastrophizing, etc. Your post came at an opportune time. Thank you and hope you get back to “normal”.

  5. Maureen Donoghue on Mon, 20th Feb 2023 8:05 am
  6. Thank you for your authentic and transparent sharing. Anxiety is definitely a “friend” of mine. Karla Mclaren’s work on emotions has helped me to mine the intelligence that is in each one. The steps you are coaching to echo her sage counsel as well. Appreciate how you connect it to what is happening in your life in the moment.

  7. Star Roberts on Wed, 22nd Feb 2023 12:36 am
  8. I have empathy for you. We had a simular thing happen. Being in a motel, dealing with so many areas at once is overwhelming. I took one day at a time. An got thru. Now it’s weather. Can’t ride. No indoor arena. When I can it’s always like starting over. That’s me the never give up come back kid. Prayers you can catch your breath an see the light at the end of your adventure. Blessings

  9. Judy Becker on Wed, 22nd Feb 2023 6:14 am
  10. Your words pack a huge dose of gaining control over what seems to be uncontrollable. I’m having to search for a new boarding place for my mare – I’m new to Texas and have no connections from which to find help from anyone. I do believe it will be okay but walking through this by myself is difficult to say the least – I’m a senior gal and have to rely on my own judgment and gut feeling to ensure I find a good and safe place for both myself and my mare. I’m moving forward but it helps to know that it’s okay if I need to step back and calm myself and to know and believe the right place will come. Thanks, Barb – you’re “awesome”!!!

  11. Carol MacGregor on Wed, 22nd Feb 2023 2:59 pm
  12. Hi Barb, Thank you for sharing your deep feelings regarding your different and unusual living situation that was beyond your control. It’s so easy for us to think that everything is always smooth for you, even though you’ve never indicated that at all. I guess just getting to see you each week, mostly with Nic, makes it seem like “all is well” all of the time. But of course that is not true for any of us. I truly love your advice of taking it one step at a time, being still, and repeating that process. I’ve felt extremely uneasy this 2023 so far. Nothing “feels” normal. I’m just taking it one day at a time, looking forward to warmer weather (it may snow here lightly the next couple of days which is unusual–trying to figure out how to keep horses comfy) and circumstances getting back to “normal” which may or may not happen. But there is always benefit it continuing to go forward and learning the lessons of patience, a difficult characteristic to acquire. Thank you for your honesty and description of how you are handling your difficult situation. I would greatly miss my home and animals too if I had to be away from “living” with them for 3 weeks. Hope and pray your construction/remodel will be over very soon, and you will enjoy the newness and freshness of your home. 🙂

  13. Carla Whitney on Mon, 27th Feb 2023 7:05 am
  14. I loved the engraving idea. Great way to spend a rainy afternoon! Love your thoughts for the day posts. Look forward to them each day. Stay warm!

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