For over ten years, I've compartmentalized my talents. During the day, I played the floral designer, by night I became the songstress. I created two business plans, two marketing strategies, grew networks for both industries. I'd take off one hat and put on the other. Who am I kidding, as a small business owner, you wear a thousand different hats. So, as much as I love hats (in another life, or maybe the next decade, I want to be a milliner), I dizzied myself switching modes all the time. When you're torn between two worlds, you're never fully in either. So, I decided to make a change.
Truthfully, I wanted to ditch my floral design business altogether. The stress of the wedding business (more precisely, my experience of it), was killing me, but the lifestyle of being a full-time musician (hauling gear 5 nights a week for a few hundred bucks, late nights, long hours, being away from home for weeks) did not appeal to me either, especially with six furry babies to take care of. I dabbled with the idea of pursing other careers, but always came back to the flowers. It should have been a dream job to play with pretty things in a studio lit by a dozen crystal chandeliers, and create my own schedule. But it wasn't.
Enter Mouse, the horse that changed the course of my life.
When I got married, I wasn't riding. It's probable that Jamie might not have proposed to me if he had known that half my heart would always belong to horses. They were a huge part of my life until my mid-20's, when I sold my last one. Living in Middleburg without horses was like being a kid in a candy store whose mother wouldn't let her buy anything. So, when my friend, Melissa, asked me if I wanted to start riding her beautiful German Warmblood, Mouse, I jumped at the chance. It was like coming home to a place you'd never been. It felt new, a little scary, and familiar all at once. I hadn't had a horse in my life for twenty years. I'd sat on a horse here and there (because let's face it, you can't really keep me away from horses), but I hadn't felt that incomparable bond between a girl and her horse in many, many years. Mouse also hadn't been ridden in three years due to an injury, so we both were getting back at it together. For Mouse and I, our comfort zones were in the show ring. In our day, we'd both won lots of ribbons, and were accomplished athletes respectively, but our journey together took us through magical forests, cool streams, and over the most stunning countryside one could ever hope to call home. But it took a while for us to trust each other enough to see the magic around us.
I was nervous on a new horse, Mouse was nervous with a nervous, new rider and a new job, but we had a lot of trusted companions (both horse and human) guiding us. Eventually, the timid horse and rider pair that we started off as became the fearless leaders. One day, we even herded a bunch of cows with their babies away from the gate though which we wanted to pass. For those of you who know warmbloods, bravery isn't one of their strong suits, so it made me giddy to see how far our partnership had come.
Mouse opened up a place in my heart I had forgotten was there, and I like to think I did the same for him. Our relationship showed me how much the years of growing pains had hardened my heart, and I didn't even know it. My time with him on his back and in the barn, with the sweet smells of shavings and hay and the soft noises of the horses' breath, took me back to a time in my life before heartbreak. He allowed me to remember what it was like to love without fear. The funny thing is, I thought I had been. I have a relationship with my husband that is built on mutual respect, trust, and a love that grows stronger every year though our common passions. But this special horse showed me that I had more love to give and more love to let in.
It was no accident that Mouse came into my life when he did. I know it was cosmic intervention. I had taken some time off from my floral designing, only accepting jobs for friends. As Mouse and I meandered through the woods and hills, I reflected on the recent work I got to do for the amazing people in my life. Not only was I honored with the job of creating floral designs for beautiful friends, Jamie and I got to play music at the weddings, too!! Here I was riding a magical horse, married to the kindest and most talented person I know. I was enjoying my work which I shared with my husband, and fortunate enough to witness how my talents--both musical and floral--magnified the love that was being celebrated at these weddings. I wanted to live in this space all the time. It just took me a couple years to figure out how.
Now, I wear one hat. The hat of a Creative. It may look different on the outside--sometimes it's a velvet hard-hat when I ride, other times a fairy crown with feathers and moss, and some days it's a lavish wide brimmed number, spilling over with huge blossoms and satin ribbons, most days it's my favorite cowboy hat--but it's the same hat. My creative chapeau. I arrange flowers. I produce concerts. I make music with my husband and friends. I design parties. I work with energies and essential oils. I teach workshops. But, I only wear one hat. Mouse taught me that if you are guided by an open heart, your truest self shines. And in that place of the heart, any endeavor has endless support: support from the earth, from the stars and moon, from the sun, and from the etheric. Mouse led me to a place where my work could be transformed into my calling as a creative.