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2017: A Year of Unfolding

“Thank you for following your dreams.” – Linda

How did your life unfold in 2017? Not long ago, I purchased a painting from my neighbour Anne Renouf. The Art Gallery of Peterborough describes Anne as an artist who examines her sense of place in abstract tree and landscape imagery. Her work appeals to me and a few of her pieces adorn the walls of our home. Perhaps it is because we share a woodlands (and a Sugar House) – a place where I am able to quiet the thoughts in my head and feel a spiritual connection with the nature of this space we call home.

‘Unfolding’ by Anne Renouf (Detail)

What drew me into this particular painting was not just the imagery – but its title: “Unfolding.” If you Google the

meaning of ‘unfolding’ you will find the following description: “To unfold is to open or spread out from a folded position; to reveal or disclose (thoughts or information) or to be revealed or disclosed (thoughts or information).” Synonyms offered include the words: develop, evolve, happen, transpire, occur, progress or play out.

My word for 2017 was illuminate. When I look back and see again the events and experiences that have defined the past 12 months, what occurs to me is this: 2017 has been my year of unfolding.

Starting your own business is like walking into an abyss. You can have a business plan; you can have a ton of connections and a history of experience and success. But when you step up and step out on your own – it makes you feel vulnerable and open. Sometimes I can taste my fear of failure.

There are days when I want to curl up and roll away like an armadillo – protected by my tough, crusty shell. However, you resist and you persist. You allow yourself to unfold carefully and with a sense of hope that each small step forward is a step in the right direction. The nature of this work is begging me to unfold, to open my heart and to embrace what’s possible.

I am grateful for the way The Mane Intent has developed and evolved and how things have happened this year. We are making progress in small incremental steps. I am grateful for a herd of horses that continue to show me and others their emotional intelligence, awareness and the gifts they present to the many different people who are drawn in to work with them. I am grateful for the family, clients and friends who continue to provide encouragement and support. While there are days where I feel very much alone – I know that I am not.

Here’s how our year unfolded:

• In January, we welcomed Hon. Maryam Monsef, Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha when she announced the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre’s (KSAC) successful application to receive a $464,983 contribution fund, over four years, from The Public Health Agency of Canada. We hosted the event together with KSAC and Trent University. It was supported by the participation of the Hon. Kim Rudd, Member of Parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South and other local dignitaries. We developed and launched Building Internal Resilience Through Horses in March and to date over 30 young women have participated in our offering. It’s been a privilege and gift to witness their own unique unfolding as they work with our horses over the 12 week trauma-informed program.

• International Business student Viviane Burmester arrived in March to complete her 5 month internship with us. Viviane was a huge support in helping us build our social media presence with visuals and videos. She supported program delivery and helped behind the scenes with barn work and the caring and feeding of 12 horses, one donkey, goats, cats and dogs. The horses loved her and she developed a particularly strong bond with Sebastian. We said goodbye with a community BBQ and barn concert in July. Viviane is an optimist who follows her heart and she made a big impact in her short time here.

• We stepped out into the community and stepped up, supporting Peterborough Chamber of Commerce’s #lovelocalPTBO campaign to promote supporting local business. We participated in “Ignite 2017” hosted by Kawarthas Northumberland RTO8, a 4-day experiential tourism workshop hosted by Northern Edge Algonquin to activate the potential for experiential travel. We hosted a Wellness Fair in our arena in partnership with Peterborough Economic Development & Tourism. I joined the Women’s Business Network and accepted an invitation to have our story profiled in Kawartha Now. We hosted a Vital Signs community conversation, an initiative launched by the Community Foundation of Peterborough to bring people together to talk about Greater Peterborough’s Vital Signs, support our community’s ability to work through big issues and crowd-source some priorities for the Foundation’s 2018 grants. More recently, we announced our sponsorship of the ‘Creating Community’ workshop at the 2018 International Women’s Day Conference in Peterborough.

• We accepted an invitation to share our ‘Moonshot’ with Archangel founder Giovanni Marsico and Archangel Summit 2017 keynote Naveen Jain (billionaire philanthropist who is building spaceships to fly to the moon) on how we would use $50K in our business to create exponential change and positive impact.  We were thrilled to be one of 20 finalists in the competition.

• In July, we welcomed our 100th participant in our Equine Support for Post-Trauma Growth offering. This is a one-day equine experiential learning workshop tailored for Toronto-based Bellwood Health Services Addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress/Occupational Stress Injury Treatment Program clients. We welcomed our first group from Bellwood almost two years ago in October, 2015.

• I began my training in Somatic Experiencing, a form of alternative therapy aimed at relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations (or somatic experiences). It is the life’s work of Dr. Peter A. Levine, resulting from his multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, together with over 45 years of successful clinical application. I supplemented the training by completing a workshop in Fundamentals of Lifemanship – Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP™) and an introductory workshop combining principles from EQUUSOMA and trauma-informed care.

• In October, we were recognized with a Business Excellence Award in Health and Wellness and we were a finalist in the Micro Business Awards category at the Business Excellence Awards hosted by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.

Yes it has indeed been a year of unfolding.  I am grateful for every moment of it.

How did your year unfold? Where do you want to grow and expand in 2018?

Jennifer Garland and Raven, a natural coach at The Mane Intent

About the Author: Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent, offering Health and Wellness Workshops and Individual and Team Effectiveness Coaching. Jennifer’s intent is to bring horses and humans together to explore new possibilities, getting you out of your comfort zone and giving clarity of voice to your leader within. She has over 25 years of leadership experience in communications, cause-related marketing and change management. As a strategist, facilitator and effectiveness coach, Jennifer has provided counsel and support to senior leaders from all walks of life to build productive relationships, facilitate learning and to embrace change. She is a ‘socialpreneur’ who values the art of living life fully with intent.

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