On the Edge

View from the ropeway to see Mt. Fuji.

I feel like I’m living on the edge right now. So much change. So much uncertainty as my husband and I pursue the path of our dream.


For a girl who likes her feet firmly planted on the ground it feels pretty disorienting to live this close to the edge. It rather reminds me of our 2010 adventure on the Hakone Ropeway in Japan where in order to enjoy spectacular views of Mount Fuji I had to override my fear of heights and enclosed spaces. It didn’t help that at the time I was, unbeknownst to me, heading down the path of debilitating adrenal fatigue. It made my anxiety over the experience all the more acute.


Still, with the help of my supportive husband and our two dear travel companions, as well as  Rescue Remedy and the beautiful music of Jacob Moon, I made it work.


It was worth it to get to see Mount Fuji, however shrouded, above the clouds.

The path to our dreams takes us to the edge of our comfort zones constantly. It can be scary to dip our toe in the waters of the unknown, and this is why so few people ever achieve their heart’s desire.

Surrounding ourselves with supportive people and holding dear a few creature comforts can help us negotiate those tough moments experienced on the edge.

Our dreams need to know they’re worth the risk.

Be well and thanks for visiting …



©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016

Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge



Monochrome Madness 2-3


Heart to Heart


This image was captured late last summer while I was engaged in the facilitated equine experiential learning certification program.

I love this moment. It seems to me Aria and her two-month old foal, Dancer, are having a teaching moment ~ a heart-to-heart.

Horses are completely open with each other, and us, all the time. They need to be. Their survival depends upon it.

Allowing my heart to be open in the presence of the sensitive and non-judgemental horse is one of the most soul satisfying experiences I’ve ever experienced.

Being able to facilitate this with others who have a desire to heal their lives is something I look forward to as the future unfolds.

In the meantime, I continue to engage in, and enjoy, my own heart-to-heart with the horses.

Thanks for visiting …



©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Bear’s Healing Journey



Monochrome Madness Week 32

This image of my equine companion, Bear, was captured about three weeks ago when he was feeling rather under the weather with a lameness issue.

Like me he’s been experiencing a transitional year.

New barn; new coach; new training regimen and work ethic; new friends have been positive stressors requiring adjustment and alignment on both our parts.

Releasing old behaviour patterns that no longer suit and embracing a new, more authentic way of being in the world requires big change at all levels and can be an exhausting process. If we aren’t paying attention and listening to our bodies, serious damage can ensue.

Adrenal fatigue has been my teacher here.

I’m pleased to say that now, after much considered care by his amazing vet, chiropractor, the barn owner, the farrier and with heaping doses of extra love from me and now two paddock buddies to pass the time with outside, Bear is feeling much better. In fact, it seems to me he’s moving more freely than I’ve ever experienced. Indeed, his frame of mind in his work appears to reflect this ~ probably because he is feeling more comfortable.

Like people, horses can get caught up in a negative way of being. It’s what they get used to so it becomes “normal.”

But then one day the ball drops.

The wake up call Bear gave me when he first appeared lame told me he was ready for change; told me he needed to rest before stepping even further into the new, more life-embracing way of being I’d chosen for us both earlier this year.

I’m glad I listened and had the support around me to move him gently into his next stage of development.

Today he gets a massage to complete this cycle of care.

Lucky horse. 😉

Thanks for visiting …



I notice we’ve passed the 1,000 marker for followers. Thank you so much to one and all for showing such interest in my photography. I plan a retrospective of my favourite images for a future blog post when things settle down a bit around here. Stay tuned!

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

The Healer






Monochrome Madness: Week 31


“Horses make a landscape look beautiful.”

Alice Walker


Contendor is a therapy horse. His gift: “to help people learn about their nonverbal cues, unconscious behaviour patterns and the emotional import and intent of their words and actions.”*

His work is based in fact and proven by science ~ it’s all about heart connection.

He is one of many such horses at the facility where I am learning to be a facilitator of equine experiential learning.

Of course, as I learn how to facilitate, I experience the process ~ the incredible power of the horse to reflect back to us who we are in our truth. Their ability to move us through a stuck state and give us the proverbial wings to fly.

As I learn I experience a positive shift in myself. My own view of Self becomes clearer. I am empowered to heal my inner life through the wisdom of the horse.

So, I would say to you that yes, horses make that landscape out there look more beautiful, and thank goodness for that or it might make for one boring drive in the country.

Still, I can’t help but believe that the changes horses can effect on our inner landscapes given the chance, are equally, if not more, beautiful … and magnificently life affirming.

Thank you for visiting …



©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2014

*Source: For more information on the healing journey with horses, visit Horse Spirit Connections

New Year; New Beginnings

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning


... Bear begins a new friendship with Jerome ...

… Bear begins a new friendship with Jerome …
Image taken with iPhone 5


This week has been all about new beginnings for Bear and I.

As mentioned in last week’s photo challenge, I moved my beautiful boy to a new barn on Tuesday. I picked December 31 on purpose. It was symbolic of leaving the past behind and starting the new year, and a new life, on completely fresh footing.

Of course, making such a dramatic change creates challenges.

Establishing new friends, new routines, new patterns of behaviour, and getting used to new surroundings takes time and energy and mindfulness.

But it’s so worth it.

Bear and I are beginning a new chapter in our relationship.

I am beginning a new chapter in my development as a horse person.

Bear is beginning a new chapter in his development as a confident dressage horse.

Naturally, such a major shift is unsettling for both of us. But it is a new journey we share mindful step by mindful step and a new opportunity to deepen my experience of living in the moment.

With my horse. And with life.


Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Shout Outs

Rivflo Photography

On the Streets of San Francisco

Wind Against Current

The Beauty of Loss

Daily Prompt: Unexpected/Loss

SIlver Lining


We often think that to lose smoothing means the end. To me this is a limited view. The beauty of loss is that it also marks an incredible new beginning. Sometimes, when we are in the middle of the loss this is a difficult view. Nevertheless, it is true.

When my grandmother passed away some years ago I made the active choice, in the midst of my sorrow, not to wallow in feelings of loss. To me this was not productive. Of course I needed to mourn, but to take it beyond a healthy release of stress and emotion didn’t seem to me to be the best way to honour what she meant to me.

My grandmother was a go-getter. After leaving my grandfather following 27 years of emotional and psychological abuse, she somehow had the strength to make something of her life. The scars of her experience with him never left, but she made the most of her loss of faith in relationships and people and did what she needed to do to make her life her own again.

After she died I decided to honour her memory and strength of spirit by making the most of a sad situation. I wanted to turn my loss into an expression of new life, and I did this by honouring my need to heal.

Not that I thought of it in those terms at the time. I simply made up my mind that her death would not be in vain and that the best way to do that was to pick up the broken pieces of my life and start again.

In essence, granny’s death marked the birth of my long journey to self-awareness.

So, what did I do?

Well, we had a shared love of horses, so I knew she would have loved this. I quit corporate life to pursue a dream of working with these beautiful animals. I was in my early 30s at the time, unhappily married and barren. I was at a point in my life where I really needed to start making sense of things; needed to see a few of my dreams come true.

Working with horses (please see my Freshly Pressed post Confessions of a Coaching Intern: Finding Clarity with a Pitch Fork and a Song) put me through a refiner’s fire. I leaned on my promise of making good of my loss and honouring my grandmother to get me through some really tough moments. In the process, I began to explore my suppressed creativity, which eventually lead me to working with people who could help heal a lifetime of pain.

The loss of my lovely gran had paved the way for me to learn how to live authentically, and I have always believed in my heart that she would have been proud of my choice to do so. No matter how difficult our relationship had been, I knew she wanted me to be happy.

And now, when I look at my life and how much more grounded and happy it is; when I see how far I have come since that sad summer of 1994, there’s hardly a day that goes by when I don’t think of granny and the positive life-altering experience that came of my sad loss.

How we handle loss is, of course, a personal thing. I have chosen to adopt the attitude that every cloud has a silver lining. That to honour the person or anything else that is lost by honouring the life and blessings I still have is a greater tribute to what is gone than to sacrifice my happiness on the alter of bitterness and self-pity. Granny would not have wanted that for me. Up there in the heavens she has the pleasure of knowing that I have made good. It is also her blessing to observe how happy I am in my life now compared to the miserable woman I was at the time of her death.

The beauty of loss is that with every ending there is a new beginning. I believe those we have lost who truly loved us would want us to live our lives fully and joyfully.

It doesn’t mean the journey will be an easy one, but at least we’ll be heading in a positive direction.

To me, life is too short to look at it any other way.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

More of the Unexpected

Dreams Soar | crookedeyebrows
Death. | ♥Bob’s Magical Land Of Oz♥
Daily Prompt: Unexpected | life n me!
Monuments to Loss | Finale to an Entrance
Remembering My Mother | The Pinterested Parent
Daily Prompt: Unexpected | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
The Lurker’s List | In Silence
Daily Prompt: 20 Days Left….Unexpectedly | Not The Sword But The Pen
Love and Loss | The Nameless One
Daily Prompt: Unexpected | Finding Life
Sideswiped by the Unexpected | The River Mom
Life Happens, Good and Bad | Kansa Muse
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” | Beauty
Signed Unknown | Ashes of Roses
Daily Prompt: Unexpected | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
Signed Unknown | Ashes of Roses
TEARS STING | hastywords
The Road Not Taken Does Not Exist
Not alone | Life is great
In Loss We Often FInd Ourselves | An Upturned Soul
Loss | the ephemeral petal

Be the Light

Daily Prompt: Courage

Into the Light


Lots of things take courage …

It takes courage to face each day with a sunny disposition.

It takes courage to pursue our potential.

It takes courage to apologize when we’re in the wrong.

It takes courage to step out of our comfort zone and try something new.

It takes courage to pull ourselves out of a rut and choose a new road.

It takes courage to open our hearts ~ to allow love to flow in, and flow out.

It takes courage to open our minds to new healing ideas, and to shed harmful old ones.

It takes courage to be responsible for our actions.

It takes courage to stand up for our truth; for what we believe in.

It takes courage to shine in a world increasingly dark.

It takes courage to step out of the shadow and into the light.

It takes courage to be the light you are.

Take courage … and be that light.


Happy Thanksgiving …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

More Courage

Spinning a Web of Words | In Harmony
Courage | The Magic Black Book
DP : Irrational Fear | Experimental Fiction
Daily Prompt: Fear Factor | Everyday Adventures
It was November, and I was afraid | Butterfly Mind
Fanning the Flames of Fear | Spirit Lights The Way
Emotional Baggage | Kate Murray
My.Vivid.Visions | Daily Prompt: Fear Factor
Daily Prompt: Fear Factor | Under the Monkey Tree
227. Fear Factor | Barely Right of Center
Arthur Overcomes The Fear Of Books, (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat
Daily Prompt: Fear Factor | Insanitree
Fear Factor: A litany of phobias | James Clegg
Courage | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
Daily Prompt: Fear Factor | Finding Life
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts…or whatever the line is from “Ghostbusters” | thoughtsofrkh
theferkel | My Irrational Fear of Spiders
ermahgerhd | Darkness
Going through Childbirth | A mom’s blog
Daily Prompt: Fear Factor | On My Front Porch

It’s Never too Late for a Cheering Section …

Daily Prompt: Cheering Section


When I was growing up I trusted no one.

From a very early age most of the significant adults in my life let me down. Trusting that anyone had my best interests at heart was difficult for me. So, I pretty much raised myself.

Which is fine. It builds character and the like, but it meant that act one of my life was an exercise in survival.

As I recall there were a few people who tried to take me under their wing. But I was always suspicious of their motives. I was desperate for attention but always pushing it away. My experience was that nothing was about me ~ it was about what people could take from me. So, I built walls.

Thus, I spent much of my early life invisible.

Closeted away with me, and a painful lack of self-confidence and self-worth, were my many artistic gifts and talents. A few teachers at high school recognized these and tried to get me to open up, but it was impossible. The one teacher who might have been able to reach me, Mrs. Powell, contracted cancer soon after she made a connection with me and then died within months. Back in the shadows I went.

I muddled through the things I tried. Horses were my passion and the one thing I really enjoyed, however I never excelled. My self-protective bubble prevented me from reaching my potential in anything I did. I was smart, but terrified. If I did well someone might see me.

It was a horribly debilitating way to live. I always felt stuck. Always felt unfulfilled. Always felt like a lesser mortal.

Over the years I have gradually emerged from this emotional wasteland and recovered my Self.

The journey has been marked by many wake-up calls. (Check out A Life Unravelled) And I was well into my 30s before I could begin to trust anyone to have my best interests at heart and it wasn’t until my late 40s that I really felt I was beginning to own my life; that is, to thrive.

This is mostly due to the amazing cheering section that surrounds me now. People I have learned to trust and who are genuinely interested in helping me to reclaim my life.

My husband ~ who, in the 12 years we’ve been together (we finally married this past May) has demonstrated his devotion and love in so many life-affirming ways I cannot even begin to recount them all. He’s the one who showed me I was worth hanging in for.

My therapist ~ With my husband’s support I’ve been having weekly 90-minute conversations with a qualified therapist since May 2009. The best decision I ever made in terms of taking care of my emotional and mental health. With her I’ve been learning that I can step safely out of the shadows and stake my claim in the world. You have no idea how many conversations we had on whether or not it was safe for me to present myself to the world through my writing, i.e. blogging. Believe it or not, you who follow me are part of that therapy. Thank you for your support.

My riding coach ~ I’ve been riding horses since I was 10 years old. I’ve worked with many coaches, some of them not that great. Certainly most could never really reach me. My current coach, whom I began working with in early 2010, was the first to take a sincere interest in my development as a rider and who bothered to make the effort to reach me. He likes my horse and wants to see me ride him well. But it’s more than that. He teaches me in a way that helps me to see my Self. His teaching and my experiences with my horse support the work I’m doing with my therapist. The kismet of it all sometimes baffles me.

My hormone therapist ~ Just as my head was starting to come together and the emotions were coming into focus it seemed like my body was beginning its descent into middle age chaos. My coach put me on to someone who had worked with this hormone therapist and suggested I might do the same. What had I to lose? I’ve been working with the good doctor since the end of 2010. He, in conjunction with my naturopath and chiropractor, has been helping to heal the physical manifestations of my emotional trauma. It was through him, after many tests, that I learned that my adrenal glands were functioning at the level of a 70-year-old woman. I was 48 at the time. All the exhaustion, anxiety, illness finally explained. But to what could that terrible dysfunction be attributed? Early childhood post-traumatic stress disorder. My adrenal glands had been functioning on over-drive my entire life without me realizing it. My flight/fright mechanism had been running my life. I sit here trembling just thinking about it. I know why it happened, but am not ready to share it at this time.

As a result of my adrenal function being so out of whack my other hormone levels were depleted as well. Finally, I understood why I couldn’t have children. My body had not been able to support a pregnancy. I didn’t know. Most doctors don’t test for these things. I had always felt like I’d failed as a woman for not having had children. I’d even been through invitro-fertilization a couple of times during my first marriage. Finally I could be free of the guilt of not being a mother.

And where am I today with my physical health? So much better. With appropriate bio-identical hormone support the adrenal function has improved to that of a 55-year-old (I’m 50), so we’re more in the ballpark. We continue to work to improve that while my other hormone levels have stabilized. Considering I’m in menopause, this is a good thing. 🙂

Horse MomMy friend, C ~ She is young enough to be my daughter, but wise enough to be a mentor. She inspires me to believe in myself. The daughter I never had, perhaps? She’s a good friend to my horse, too.

Last, but not least, my horse, Bear ~ his presence in my life since 2006 has been the catalyst for so many wonderful things. He has opened the door to my heart. By taking good care of him I have been learning to take better care of myself. And, he makes me smile.

My family and a few other close friends are an important part of my journey, of course, but it is those mentioned here who, in the last several years have been the key members of my support team, have supported me as I step out of the protective shadow into the light of my true self.

Which only goes to prove that it’s never too late for a cheering section.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this. Helps me to appreciate just how blessed I am.

Thank you for stopping by …

Be well,

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013


More on Support

Let’s Talk About Peace

Today’s prompt:

Placebo Effect: If you could create a painless, inexpensive cure for a single ailment, what would you cure and why?


Light House

Seems to me, as I observe the world around me, there’s a lot of talk about world peace and very little action.

Talk is cheap.

You want world peace?

Start at home.

It’s my observation, and experience, that until we can find the peace within ourselves we cannot hope to experience peace in our immediate circle never mind in the world-at-large.

The sad fact is, most people don’t have a clue what real peace even feels like.

Perhaps, like me, they’ve grown up in a broken home. Or maybe their experience is a war torn country or violent community or abusive home.

When the peace of home is interrupted, for whatever reason, and unbalances our experience of life we are, to borrow from yesterday’s theme, in conflict with ourselves trying to find that balance again.

This plays out in our struggle with the world even while most of us don’t understand why we’re struggling.

Memories are buried beneath layers of coping mechanisms which numb us from the truth of who we really are and prevent us from finding the peace within for which we crave.

We are angry, sad, resentful, self-abusive, guilt-ridden, unforgiving of others and, perhaps more importantly, of ourselves for whatever part we perceive we might have played in our pain.

As we unconsciously absorb all of that negative energy it gets projected outward at every one around us.

I know. I’ve seen it in my own family. I’ve done it myself.

It isn’t until we actually sit down and have a heart-to-heart with that hurt and grieving part of ourselves that we have a chance of finding the peace we desire … inside ourselves and out in the world.

Perhaps my view is simplistic. Still, I believe that each one of us, in every walk of life, needs to find our own inner peace if we have a hope of participating in peace on a global scale.

My painless, inexpensive cure for finding peace?

Self-awareness and love. Understanding why we are the way we are and the effect we have on the people around us is the key, and then lovingly repairing the broken parts of ourselves that speak so loudly and cause us, and those around us, such misery.

It starts with becoming the observer of your life. Investing in good books that help to raise awareness. And, if there is the opportunity, sitting down with a qualified third-party and talking things out for as long as it takes.

Addressing the emotional, mental and spiritual issues that drive our peace away is key.

“But this is expensive,” you protest.

Hmmm … not as expensive as destroying precious relationships and creating misery in the wake of our unresolved anger, grief, guilt, shame and resentfulness.

When we can find the peace within we can promote peace in the world around us.

I wish you peace.


Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013


More Placebo Effects

  1. Retention | James Clegg
  2. S. Thomas Summers | Daily Prompt: Placebo Effect
  3. Is sex love? Love, sex? And what IS love? | alienorajt
  4. Daily Prompt: Placebo Effect « Mama Bear Musings
  5. “Say what?!” I exclaimed to myself using my inside head voice. | thoughtsofrkh
  6. Health | Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog
  7. Daily Prompt: Placebo Effect | Awl and Scribe
  8. The Easiest Cure | Fruit Salad
  9. Daily Prompt: Placebo Effect | Under the Monkey Tree
  10. “Placebo” | Relax
  11. A Simple Cure for the Daily Prompt | Misifusa’s Blog
  12. Not The Pill; It’s The Water To Wash It Down | The Jittery Goat
  13. What Gods and faerys do! | Historiefortelling
  14. Experimental Treatment | Colline’s Blog
  15. Daily Prompt: Placebo Effect | Wordz on a Page
  16. The right to die | Daily Prompt: Placebo Effect | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me
  17. Carpe Diem | JC Bride ~
  18. “Age”, like in “happy” | Neva Samaki
  19. A Cure For Cancer | Flowers and Breezes
  20. Daily Prompt : Health | Chronicles of a Public Transit User
  21. Keep Walking | crookedeyebrows
  22. Daily Prompt: Placebo Effect | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Perfect in its Imperfection … Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire, England

Bolton Abbey


No roof.

No windows.

No doors.

But …

A form.

A story.

A life.



We all get older. Things happen to us. Things change us. The true measure of our character is how we respond to what we experience.

Will it make us, or break us?

When I encounter the ancient places; the broken ones, I am reminded that as I get older and my body begins to breakdown that I am more than the sum of my deteriorating parts.

I am not the greying roof of my head, the fading windows of my eyes or the creaking hinges of my joints.

The incredible spirit I am fills a form of flesh and blood that embodies the story which is my life.

A life filled with joy, sorrow, pain, peace, suffering, love, rapture, sadness, anger, understanding, curiosity, confusion, grief, success, imperfection, mistakes, misjudgement, beauty, glory … and on.

But it is my life; my story and, for all its imperfections, like this ancient and broken abbey … it is perfect.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013