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snow on trees on the mountain

November 27, 2022 – 

As I sit here considering my message to you, I sit atop a mountain in a cozy cabin as snow is falling (over four inches so far).  I appreciate the quiet, serene nature of the scene.  It (along with a steaming cup of coffee) makes a great setting for sitting down to write to you.

The slower, quieter season of winter gives greater allowances for a pause. Our being naturally wants to go a little slower. I think of sound and how its speed is much faster in warmer weather but it’s able to travel farther in colder temperatures. It’s time for the slow game now.

We need the slower pace of winter which helps to allow for reflection and regeneration. Taking that time to do so allows for regrowth and flourishing when it starts to become Spring.

In addition to being NMCTR’s Executive Director, I am also a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and this medicine is absolutely about following the laws of nature and the seasons. It will tell you that as humans, we really must use this time of winter to slow down, take a breath, reflect, reassess and regroup, in order to be healthy, flourishing, and vital beings.

These philosophies in nature and in Oriental Medicine also hold true for our professional worlds if we want to be healthier organizations.  Speaking as someone who has been in nonprofit for thirty years, the business almost never slows down, regardless of the seasons. However, at NMCTR because we do stop programming briefly, we will be using this short time to regroup, reflect, reassess, and put the seeds in place for our 2023 sessions.

What this quieter moment looks like for us:

  • Giving 7 of our 9 horses a two-month break in pasture – they’ve worked hard and need the physical, emotional, and mental break from their jobs to just be themselves and play!
  • Two of our hoses will stay on-site with more time out romping in the arena for fun, and more time for one-on-one training with our staff
  • Our lesson volunteers get a much-deserved vacation
  • Our horse care volunteers will have fewer horses to take care of each day and can spend more time loving on the ones still here in our barn
  • Volunteers will also be asked to pause and reflect and to share their experiences of 2022 with us so that we can all grow and learn together
  • Staff has more time to be able to take much deserved vacations and spend time with loved ones
  • Staff also has more time to come together, review the previous year, and take what we’ve learned in planning for the new year
  • All volunteers will receive their annual refresher trainings so that we are super prepared to step into the saddle again in 2023!
  • Our board will have their annual meeting to take a look at 2022’s objectives and how well we’ve done and start to plan for 2023
  • Donors will be further acknowledged and recognized for helping to keep our barn doors open and serving more children and adults with disabilities
  • And our staff and board will be hosting a Volunteer Appreciation Party to celebrate the dozens of passionate, hard-working volunteers who give so much of their time and talent

These pauses/reflections/re-calibrations will help to take NMCTR (and all of us individually) into 2023 even stronger and more energized than before. Personally, I’m very excited for this season to begin because I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing staff, volunteers, and board members with whom I get to share this process.

I hope that all of you allow yourselves some time this winter to truly relax, to go internal, and to celebrate your successes from this last year. If possible, take the time to nourish yourselves (in whatever way that looks like to you), come together with those you love, and revel in the internal aspect of winter.

Wishing you a cozy season,