Horse whispers: how I was healed from the past

Miracles Happen Every Day – series

by Lynn U. Stewart

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Memories have magic and sometimes messages. The lessons show up in the most creative ways.

When I was asked to join a Natural Leadership session with trainer Sandra Geisler, the owner of Lighthorse, I was amazed to hear myself say a spontaneous “yes”. It had been 12 years since I had been around horses. Many opportunities and invitations, but every time my answer had been “no!” so far.

It took an hour to get to Wijdenes, in the countryside of Holland. When I arrived at the property I felt the tears sting behind my eyes, my mouth dried, and the memoires surfacing like little earthquakes.

I think it’s the smell of horses and being in the country. I’m upset, a bit nervous and unsettled. It has been so long and it’s such a familiar scent. It reminds me of summer-fun, friends, childhood, my horse Southern Bell – happy memories, yet bittersweet.

Getting out of the car, I saw the coral. Eight horses standing there in all sizes, colors and shapes. Eating hay, playing, nuzzling, and being with each other, while still others were staring at me, as if wanting to make contact.

Sandra greeted me warmly, and invited me to sit at the rectangular kitchen table. Framed by a picture window looking out on the meadow, she let me know what to expect working with her horses.

“Lynn, do you have anything that you’d like to work on today?” she asked. “I would love to know what I need to let go of in order to be peaceful around horses, and to let go of the emotions.”

Sandra named all of her horses. When invited to choose one, I did. Her name was “Spirit”. Entering the paddock, the leader of the herd, Banderas, stood in my way. Being comfortable around horses, I pushed my way past him and started my search for Spirit. Magnetized by this brown mare with a white spot on her head, I found Spirit almost immediately. Our connection being made nose to nose, she quietly led me to the fence. Beyond the fence there was another chestnut gelding named Rivaldos. This horse nuzzled up to Spirit. As I watched the two horses connect over the railing, a conflict rose up: I felt ignored. An overwhelming sadness came over me. When I called to Sandra, she quietly asked, “What was it between the men and women in your family?”.

“I felt ignored, as they tried to solve their own problems and put all of the attention on each other. It was lonely”.

At that moment, Spirit walks away and joins some other horses at the trough. I stood there watching, feeling the emptiness and more sadness.

“What’s happening?” Sandra asked.

“I feel alone.” Watching Spirit, I felt moved to go to her for comfort, just as I had with Southern Bell, my own quarter horse, in sad times many decades ago.

“What else?” Sandra asked.

“Horses were my refuge, whenever my family would fight, I would leave the house, go to the paddock, and find my horse. I would find peace and solace with those big strong sweet beasts”.

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At that moment, I could see it all. Being small and scared and alone, the horses meant safety, protection, and the guardians of peace. The setting and tableau created by the horses had made a familiar scene, a return from childhood.

At that moment, another horse named Willow came over to me, and placed its head in my arms so I could stroke it’s cheek. Feeling the familiar and welcome weight of the horse’s head and the sweet scent of its breath, I was tossed back into a past moment.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. Banderas returned and, from behind, placed his head on my shoulder. Years ago I had to stop riding due to shoulder and knee injuries, and now Banderas started massaging and licking my injured shoulder. For the next 30 minutes, he continued licking my shoulder and the back of my neck. He dives down to my knee and licks the back of the left injured joint. I felt like a master healing was taking place from a caring steed, sent to me from some other place, allowing me to find a soothing safety.

Sandra shared the story of this healing horse. Banderas in the past was unable to be ridden. He could not bear any weight on his back. It was as if he had gone directly to the stress in my body to relieve my shoulder and knee from the burden of the family of origin.

I knew the answer to my question. The horses had provided a play. They acted out for me a story that needed to be re-told. That day I found peace. It opened another part to my story of healing through horses. This memorable day opened a chapter of revisiting the mythical world of Sandra’s horses and my memories.

In May 2014 I rode again for the first time in 15 years. It was an overwhelmingly inspired day.

Lynn U Stewart, Director of The MMS Worldwide Institute B.V.

From Aspen to Bangkok

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Sometimes endings are the beginnings. How did I get from Aspen to Bangkok?

The first Coach Training outside of California was to be in Colorado. I was chosen to be the resident leader. I knew that Colorado was snow and horse country. Horses had been a passion. Maybe, after ten years of deprivation, they might return.

The first Aspen Coach Training had 35 people… I established a coaching practice, built a community, commuted between Colorado, Wyoming and the East Coast, lead, coached, taught and trained. Mary, a friend/colleague and CT participant, invited me to ride with her. For the first time since Daddy sold our horses, ten years prior, horses were back. Filled with gratitude and re-discovered passion, my sports life was re-invented. I purchased a horse, a house, and a jeep.

Every morning I started my coach-sessions at 6:00 with both East & West Coast and by 14:00 I was ready for the high country. In the Fall the horses went to grassy fields and skiing took their place. Skiing, horses, teaching-training were my dream-life-design.

One day life changed. While on a business trip Sweetie, my horse, escaped and was killed instantly on a treacherous thoroughfare. I returned to find her gone. Also wells were dry, leach field backed up and a differed five year mortgage payment due – all at the same time. Sweetie Pie’s death was the beginning of the end of a five year dream turned nightmare.

The final straw was my jeep’s demise. Within four hours of departing Aspen, a blinding snowstorm capsized the jeep. Miraculously, driver-friend Marek survived without a scratch. The jeep plus contents demolished, all earthly possessions instantly disappeared from my life.

It was once again time to assess life and reflect: was I being punished for some unexplainable deed or was there something more? If life is a Game, The Ten rules for Being Human authored by my dear sister, partner Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott (and many dear friends) helped to unearth a powerful lesson. In days, everything seemed to dissolve. After the initial shock of letting go, I had a choice, I could look at this situation as a disaster or…. dig deeper and see this situation as life trying to get my attention. It took me three months to learn the lesson and start again.

Re-frame: The Aspen community launched my travels with MMS. My life was to be spent with a bigger community – the next destination – Marin County, The Bay Area, Silicon Valley. LA. Corporate clients in Southern California and then Amsterdam – all were nipping at the heels of MMS.

If I had not read the signs to leave Aspen, I would not have started my journey. My travels have taken me all over the US, Europe and this month to the first Coach Training in Bangkok Thailand. The messages work miraculously and following the bouncing ball to the next destination is my future.

Expectations can program disappointment. When I was willing to open up to new possibilities, beyond my vision and scope, the door to the entire world opened to me.

It is an honor and a pleasure to be in Bangkok for this first launch of the Asian Coach Training. Well done by the Bangkok team: Cherie and Michael, Som & Witawat.

Why Holland?

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

People always ask me, “Why Holland?”, “Why has MMS chosen Holland and how did you get here?” My answer is always the same… the weather. Well here is the real story, from my point of view.

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 MMS didn’t choose Holland
Holland chose MMS first and then
MMS chose Holland

In 1984 Cherie met Frits Philips Junior at a conference in Switzerland. They discovered that they had something in common: a love for people.

Frits was teaching people the Harvard Negotiation techniques and Cherie was teaching people how to tune in, love themselves and follow their inner messages. They found their work, at the very least, complimentary. After many years Frits and Cherie were exploring ways for them to work together. Cherie believed that Frits’ daughter Christine coming to the US, working with Lynn and Cherie at the MMS and taking the MMS programs was the best option. Christine participated in the Inner Negotiation workshop, the Coach Training and worked on the Employee Owned Change  program in three different organizations.

Convinced that there was nothing like this work in Holland, Christine told her father that the MMS was special and that “Holland needed this work!” Frits flew to the US to participate in the Inner Negotiation Workshop, to learn more about the work and to meet me. After a productive visit in the US and arriving back home in the Netherlands, Frits told his family about the two sisters in Los Angeles. As a result of that mutual experience he partnered with his daughter to bring the work to Holland.

In August of 1988 MMS and Frits Philips and Partners cooperated to bring the Inner Negotiation Workshop to the Netherlands. Thirty-three people gathered together to take the first program and the work was launched. Frits then chose to be the first MMS licensee in Holland. Over the next fifteen years, the work was passed from Frits to Vorst Impuls, to De Baak, to Life Design Consultancy. And all the while people would say MMS is a boutique operation and it needed to have it’s own “umbrella.”

Therefore in 2003 Cherie and I had a meeting. This was the moment for MMS to stand tall and take its place in the Dutch world as a BV supported by its gracious group of Ambassadors. I chose to be the director while Cherie chose her self appointed job as the Dutch Ambassador in America telling the world about the gracious hospitality and special qualities of Holland and the Dutch people.

But the question remains why would I leave Santa Barbara for Holland?

And the answer is… the Dutch people. I perceived a group of generous people who have hosted my/our visit and continue to open doors and make things happen for us and for others who value the freedom of the human spirit. The essence of the work is creativity, discovery, experiments, breakthroughs, risks and rewards and true bottom line, transformation.  Participants are able to review the present, discover and change past patterns and plan the future. Over the last twenty five years, the Dutch people have been able to see, experience, live and embrace the MMS way of life including unconditional support for the human condition, possibility thinking, breakthrough and the magnificence of the human spirit. The Dutch people get it, live it and pass it along. MMS is alive and well living in Holland.

So the truth is I have taken a wonderful side step into a 17th century outdoors museum called Amsterdam. It is my little odyssey/an adventure in living and I still love it here. It is a pleasure and an honor for me/us to be here.

Thank you Holland for your wonderful hospitality.

Lucky #7 Tram, Amsterdam

STOPlichtFrom: the Magical things happen every day Collection

I love my work: coaching, training, story telling and supporting people in having what they want.

I work whenever an opportunity presents itself. This is not new news but somehow, clients come my way and, this has been the case for thirty-five years. They find me. I am not usually looking for them, they just appear — everywhere. There have always been just enough never too much but just enough work/clients/ corporations to keep things interesting, challenging and exciting.

I was invited by my banker to a special event at the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, for an evening out. It was a professional business event for clients and at that event, I met a bright energetic woman Bregje. Blonde, perky and rather sparkling, she and I struck up a conversation. She had a delighted-with-life sparkle in her eyes that was compelling.
We sat together for the performance, had drinks like new friends afterwards, talked about the play and exchanged cards-information. We discovered our fields to be the same… human development. She is a workshop leader-presenter and I am a Master Coach – teacher, trainer and now my latest venturr, author.

We never made contact, life became to busy.

Three months later at another event, given by a friend, there she was again and we were this time, dinner partners. We connected again and renewed our promise to make contact.

We didn’t make contact. I saw her card, put it in a safe place but never called, too much gong on and no time.

Three weeks later, I had an appointment in Oosterpark area of town. Upon leaving, I stepped into the #7 Tram sat down, pulled out my I-Phone and retrieved my Emails. Absorbed with news and updates, I never noticed, the person who had seated herself next to me… When I heard my name, my concentration was broken, startled, I looked over and there was Bregje staring at me nose to nose, centimeters away.
“It’s you, wow what a coincidence,” she said
“Help me with your name,” I responded.
“Bregje, remember me?” she said with a twinkle.
“Never called, too busy eh?”
“no, sorry…me either!”
We visited for a fifteen minutes and we covered the mundane, tram travel, broken bicycles, not enough time, Amsetrdam without bikes, iPhones, computers creativity, work, schedules and life…we got off at the Leidseplein, exchanged cards again and promised to make contact.

We didn’t.

Two weeks later, the same appointment rescheduled form the former week at the OLVG Ziekenhuis, and again the #7 tram. I wondered if Bregje would be on the lucky 7 tram today? I pushed that thought away knowing how preposterous that was to even conjure and made my way into the accordion doors of the tram. I cautiously side-stepped though the half empty tram and took a single seat on the left and accessed my iPhone. When I heard my name this time, I was really startled. There she was across the aisle in a window-seat with an empty seat next to her. I slid across to the other side,
“Ok that’s it, now we really have to meet, this is the second time in a week that we have found each other on the now-named Lucky #7 tram in the same row. We really must meet to see what all of this means. We are clearly meant to do something together.”
“what could that be?” she asked.
“Not sure but let’s connect the dots and see what life has in store for us…this must be really big… a burning bush, a sign, a message that we are to do who knows what?”

Before we left the tram on the Leidseplein stop, we made a coffee date for the following Saturday morning 11:00 sharp, my home, on the Herengracht. Our visit was to be an interpersonal archeological dig to figure out what the serendipitous connections meant… we had all the clues.

When she arrived, I had just returned from researching make, models and prices for weekly bicycle rentals. Having been through knee surgery and shoulder surgery over a two-year span, I was feeling fit, feisty and healthy enough to do the research. My conversation on the tram with Bregje had inspired that curiosity in me. It had been five years since I cycled in Amsterdam. I was motivated.

After a small house tour, a little conversation over my best dark roast, I stated the obvious, our purpose for meeting,
“we have 30 minutes left to discuss/discover what we are to do together.. shall I start with some questions and maybe some things I have been considering?”
“Sure,” was the response.
“Did you get your broken bike back? Did you make a choice to buy your Mac? Well before you answer here’s what I’m looking for:
I want someone to go to the MacBike shop with me to rent-a-bike Alternatively, I want someone to help me organize my computer…
Do either of those activities appeal to you?

In no time Bregje and I were on our way to Central Station to rent a bike. On the way we stopped to look at computers for her at the Mac House. She said her creativity was connected to buying a Mac and she had been thinking about investing in an iMac for months.

I rented a bike, she made a computer appointment. As we walked the bike back to my house, the final piece fell into place. There was a reflective moment as we said our good byes, and a moment again about her creativity. She had closed the door on her acting career many years ago and wanted to re-find that energy again. She asked for an intake about coaching with me.

Today we have a connection over bike riding in Amsterdam, Mac computers and I have a new client.

Whether in a hot tub, on a ski lift, at the iPhone store, clients with questions are everywhere. If your awake, living the process and put out your intention to serve them, loving, grateful and appreciative clients will find you!

Was it all because of the lucky tram #7 or…the universe weaving its magic for two souls to connect.

“The Untold Story” – The inside story

Family Fusion
By Lynn U. Stewart

The timing was right. The dates were clear on five people’s calendars and all indicators were “Green Lights.” Phase II of the Docudrama would proceed in spite of the funding process being in its infancy… the message was to “seize the moment.”

Cherie, Michael, Brenda, and Will Harper had a brief hiatus between projects. Lynn had a break from teaching in Holland, Barbara could break away from her responsibilities in New Jersey. Synchronicity is often about reading the signs and taking action even when all the “I’s” are not dotted. Everyone booked their air travel while Cherie and Michael located an apartment for six of us in the Murray Hill district of New York’s East side, John Robert Powers modeling was contacted for young female actors, and the request was initiated for an afternoon shoot at Convent of the Sacred Heart, our Alma mater.

Oct 18, 2009 –We landed at Newark airport within hours of each other, boarded our mini-van, and descended on our sister Barbara for two of the six-day shoot.

It was a chilly autumn day in Elberon, New Jersey. Michael and Will were headed off to 900 and the sisters were staying behind to welcome Cherie’s daughter Jenn who was arriving from Dubai by train from NYC. At the final moment, I got a message. “Get in the car!” the inner voice commanded and before I knew it, the “Go/no go” decision was silenced as I watched the scenery fly by the van cruising down the driveway. Something was compelling me to accompany our production team. I didn’t know why I had to be there, but I trusted the feeling.

After winding our way through the autumn foliage of Locust, finding Shrewsbury Bridge, we drove through the flooded streets of Long Branch, and cruised up Ocean Avenue. We turned into a driveway, flanked with stone pillars crowned with eagles. The experience was about to be launched. When the ancient stained-glass door opened to the warm welcoming of Douglas Jemal, we knew there was magic in the air. Douglas is the home-owner of our family home for the last forty years. He was anticipating working in Washington on the one day shoot at the house. Wood-worker and caretaker, Andy was supposed to greet us, however, at the last minute Andy opted to be elsewhere. Douglas jumped at the opportunity to be there himself. There was an instant connection between all four of us. As we started to scope out the location, Douglas went in search of coffee.

When he returned, we chatted about his love for cold weather, running with his dogs on the beach and the recounting of the day he chose to buy our family home. When our home became his home, it changed his life. He bought our once, forty-room mansion from our father in 1971 for $100,000. That was the moment he connected with the “spirit of the house.” He talked about the changes his wife had made to the house and how he had removed the circular porch and port-cushier. On a psychic level he recalled, “the house was unhappy and I felt it.”

An renowned master of restoration for period buildings in Washington D.C., Douglas Jemal began a serious restoration project. In addition to paneling the halls, painting a mural on the central atrium ceiling, leveling the floors, and replacing every pipe, he had upgraded the lighting, refurbished every mantel, sent carpets to Cairo for reweaving and installed alarm and sprinkler systems throughout the mansion. The piece-de-resistance was importing original paneled walls from Napoleon’s Castle outside of Paris. He had been installed the antique panels in one of the downstairs sitting rooms. Our home had been magnificently restored to period by a team of master-craftsmen.

As we walked and talked about the shoot on the following day, Will felt compelled to do a brief segment on Douglas. He recounted parts of his retail-family story, and his relationship to his brothers. His story was going from rags-to-riches. Our story was going from riches-to-rags. That in and of itself was a connector. As he told his story the bond between us deepened. Will asked me to step into the shoot. I had a moment with Douglas that touched me. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude to this man who cared for, upgraded, restored, and honored our family home. As I stood there, I looked into the eyes of another father who had raised his family of six during these last forty years. At that moment, Douglas glanced at Will and told him that many filmmakers had approached him requesting to film his story. He confessed that he had never felt comfortable enough to do that. His connection with Will was strong enough to state “Your face is full of sunshine.” Then the two men exchanged business cards.

At a certain moment we told Douglas the story line for the following day. In addition to having the three sisters reminisce about the house, we were looking for someone to play our mother and a six-year-old little Cherie.

“My daughter Sally could be Mary and my granddaughter, Joyce, is the perfect age to be little Cherie.”

Without further ado, Douglas was on the phone asking Sally if she and Joyce could make themselves available for the shoot on the following afternoon.

The requisite cast was magically manifested as a result of that interview with Douglas. Mother and daughter appeared the next day to give a stunning performance as the missing members of the Untermeyer family cast.

A most unexpected family-fusion launched an unforgettable week. The soul of our home magnetized the union of two families.