In the 1930s, Eleanor McClintock Williams was a champion trick and bronc rider, traveling in Wild West shows and performing on the high trapeze for Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.

She was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1986 because of her contributions to rodeo and Western life.

Williams, the daughter of wealthy artists, spent her childhood in Pittsburgh. She met her first husband, a rodeo cowboy named Walter McClintock, after watching him compete at Madison Square Garden in 1928. 

They eloped two weeks later and joined a Wild West show heading for Chile. The show had a short run because the manager ran off with the gate money. They had to return to the U.S. on a Japanese cargo ship.

The couple had dreams of owning a ranch and in the 1930s they bought 300 acres in New Mexico, for $2 an acre.

They established their ranch headquarters and named their spread the Rising Sun Ranch. The ranch served as a dude ranch for a number of years and in the 1940s was re-named the Williams Ranch.

Her marriage to McClintock ended after six years in 1934. They had one child together.

Williams refused to rely on her wealthy parents and paid off the ranch without their help.  

In 1938 she wrote in a letter.  “This year has been a nightmare of financial worry,” she wrote. “I finally got desperate this spring and took a job on a big Wild West show that opened in Chicago in April, riding bucking horses. The show is headed by Col. Tim McCoy, who made a minor name for himself in moving pictures and whom I worked under on the Ringling Show.”

By the mid-1930s, women’s relay racing was gone from most rodeos. Trick riding had become a contract event for entertainment instead of competition. 

The Madison Square Garden Rodeo was the first to cut women’s bronc riding, and financial problems during the Great Depression made it hard for the event to continue in smaller rodeos throughout the country. Bronc riding for women has never returned to the traditional rodeo circuit.

In 1940, Eleanor married Frank Williams. They raised a family of four and ranched together until their deaths in the 1970s. 

Eleanor went on to run for the New Mexico Senate, became a published author and a recognized artist.
Bonnie Gray, was born in Kettle Fells, Washington, in 1891. She graduated from Moscow Idaho University with a degree in music, and taught music in Kettle Fells for a short time. Bonnie, having grown up around horses, quickly decided to focus on rodeo and trick riding. She married Donald Harris and celebrated by having her horse, King Tut, jump over a car with people inside. This trick was very popular and they performed it often. 

Throughout her career she participated in rodeos and shows across the United States and several international countries including, Mexico, Canada, England, and Germany. She is considered to be the first woman ever to attempt, and succeed, riding a horse at full gallop while under the horse’s belly. Bonnie was also a pioneer in the western film industry by being one of the first women stunt and double riders. She often took the place of western stars such as Tim McCoy, Tom Mix, and Ken Maynard. Gray died in 1985.
What determines your success or failure, and whether you direct your life’s change or feel like a victim of it, comes down to CHOICE. You can choose to continue on with your life as you currently are living it, letting the external world and your past dictate what you experience, or you can choose to create your life to be everything that you have ever dreamed it could be.

Even if your excited about transforming your life, there is an important obstacle you need to address in order to be successful. That we are often our own worst enemies!  We let our own negative thoughts and actions keep us from living the life of our dreams.  We limit ourselves, which is why we seek personal growth, to be free of the pain we cause ourselves, to make better choices, to feel better about who we are becoming, to give ourselves permission to be our unique, powerful, authentic selves.

We all have changes we want to make in our lives and goals we want to reach, but often get stuck repeating the same “change cycle” over and over again. We experience this process of inspiration and resistance when we face a decision to change. 

Change Cycle
1.  Discontent--You grow increasingly unhappy and discontent with an area of your life. You “hang in there,” tolerate, ignore, repress, or otherwise deal with the circumstance because it is comfortable and familiar, and you fear change. 

2. Breaking Point—Eventually your level of discontent builds high enough that you cannot take it anymore. You reach a “breaking point,” either through exhaustion or due to a dramatic event occurring that triggers the break. 

3. Decision—You decide you’re ready to change and declare that you will no longer tolerate the undesirable situation. You take the first step toward change, giving you a short-lived sense of hope. 

4. Fear—Usually, shortly (or immediately) after your feelings of empowerment, you encounter your fear. You become uncomfortable and anxious about the idea of changing. You doubt your decision. Both options look bleak. You feel helpless, empty. 

5. Amnesia—The fear of change grows strong enough that it makes the original situation look much better than you originally thought. You perceive the original situation as less anxiety-producing than the change. You’re used to it; it’s comfortable; it’s familiar. Plus, it has become part of your identity, so you resist letting it go. You temporarily forget why you wanted to change it so badly. 

6. Backtracking—Most people choose to go back to or stick with the item they wished to change. You essentially talk yourself out of changing. 

Inevitably, you soon will find yourself unhappy and discontent once again. Your level of pain will continue to increase until you reach another breaking point, this time even more extreme and more painful. This cycle will continue until one of two things happen: 

Extreme Pain: You have a breaking point that is severe enough to push through the change cycle. For many people, unfortunately, it takes an extreme circumstance to push them to evolve, such as major financial loss, job loss, loss of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, a severe accident, or a nervous breakdown. 

Your True Self knows what you truly want and will lead you to it. If you resist changing long enough, something will happen in your life that will put you in a position where you have NO CHOICE but to change. 

Self-Honesty: You have the humbling experience of realizing that there’s a part of you that doesn’t really want to change. You are comfortable with your habits, with what you know. You have a lot of fear that holds you back. You have many self-limiting beliefs. You receive some sort of benefit from staying where you are. You are unhappy because you want to be unhappy. You are addicted to the situation. You believe your pain is you; it’s your story. You can see your resistance to letting it go. Only after reaching this level of self-honesty can you truly choose to change.

Personal power is directly related to personal responsibility.

Can you see how this change cycle has impacted your life? Are you ready for it to stop? Have you experienced change amnesia before? If so, you know that the more you move toward the changes you want the stronger your fear and resistance will become. Are you ready to take full responsibility of your life, even if it is hard, because you are tired of being dissatisfied? Are you ready to take responsibility for your life and create the life you dream of having? Are you at the point where you will accept nothing less than what you truly want? 

Consider the following reasons you may have been allowing yourself to fall victim to this cycle: 

You don’t want to change. You don’t really want the thing you think you want. You may be trying to convince yourself to change to appease others or conform to what you believe you “should” do. If you don’t want to change, accept it. This is very common with people who say they want to quit smoking. They don’t really want to quit, they simply think they should quit. It never works. You have to want it. 

You don’t know what you want. You don’t know what you really want or you’re not allowing yourself to think about what you really want because you don’t think you can have it. So, you end up thinking you want things that aren’t what you TRULY want, and your True Self knows it. You’ll never feel inspired enough to follow through on change if it isn’t even what you want. Try imagining what you would want if time, money, and people did not limit you. 

Your dream isn’t big enough. The reward isn’t big enough. You aren’t excited. Happiness is excitement. Passion is what makes you willing to endure to attain a goal. What would you do anything to attain? 

You’re letting your fear be bigger than you. You don’t believe you can do it. You don’t trust yourself. You put everyone else before yourself. You’d rather tolerate severe pain than face temporary discomfort. Are you really willing to settle? Isn’t the fear of being stuck in a life you don’t want and missing out on your dreams more painful than the temporary experience of changing? 

You are attached to your problem. Your ego and identity are wrapped up in your problem, and you fear that if you let go of your problem you’ll have nothing to talk about. Who would you be? Would it be better? 

You’re benefiting from your problem. The benefit you’re receiving from not changing is bigger than your perceived benefit from changing. It gives you an excuse and something to talk about. It allows you to hide deeper issues from yourself and others. 

What are you holding onto? How does it benefit you to not change? Failure no longer has to be an option. Neither does doing nothing and staying stuck where you are. If you’re facing a potential change that’s nagging at you to be made, take some time in self reflection and be brutally honest with yourself. Is your desire for more, for fulfillment, for happiness finally strong enough that you are willing to encounter the obstacles and endure the fear? If so, congratulations, you will succeed—you are ready to break through!

If you have signed up for this blog you received with it a change worksheet. If you would like to receive these worksheets please sign up for this blog and they will be sent to you. 

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Bernice Walsh McLaughlin won the Canadian Rodeo Champion High Jump contest in 1911, setting a new record. According to the book, Buried Treasures: Famous and Unusual Gravesites in New Mexico History, she cleared 6’2” on a borrowed cowpony named Smokey.

She was a natural horsewoman, winning numerous jumping contests and relay races. Raised doing ranch work, she and her husband homesteaded in New Mexico. After he died, Bernice managed to keep the ranch and increase its size and success, despite challenges to her citizenship status.

She was a devoted horse woman to the very end. At 93, Bernice asked that her son-in-law drive his stagecoach by her hospital window so she could see the horses before he drove them in a local parade. A book has been written on her life entitled, Prairie Trails of Miz Mac by Rhonda Coy Sedgwick.
Lucille Mulhall began a show of rodeo skill—running, roping, and tying steers— that put her competition to shame. Lucille was the best known Western performer of her era and was the first American “cowgirl” long before the term was widely used. She learned to ride and rope on her family’s Oklahoma ranch, and began her career performing in her father’s Wild West show and later becoming one of the first and most accomplished riding and roping champions. Competing with, and frequently beating, male competitors in steer roping events, Lucille helped make women an integral part of rodeo.  

Lucy herself was mean with a lasso and a crack shot, able to rope eight men riding abreast, rope, throw, and tie a steer in twenty-eight and a half seconds, and shoot a coyote from 500 yards, earning her not only the respect of her rodeo peers but necessitating the creation of a new title, which she proudly carried: First Champion Lady Steer Roper of the World. 

Tickled by the girl’s feisty spirit, President Roosevelt approached young Lucy after the show, telling her with a wink and a pat that if she could lasso a wolf he’d invite her to his inaugural parade. The fourteen-year-old girl nodded, mounted and disappeared in the wild stretch of Oklahoma prairie, returning three hours later, dead wolf in tow.
Last week we discussed what unhealthy boundaries are and how we can be violated by them, but what are healthy boundaries?

Someone with healthy boundaries is able to identify how they feel, what they think and chooses how they will react or behave in any given situation; taking full responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and behavior.  They do not blame others for what they think, feel, or how they behave because, they are able to stand up for themselves calmly and intelligently, without using intimation or manipulation.

A person with healthy boundaries does not allow others to control how they think, feel, or behave, nor do they try to control others through manipulation, guilt, blame, or by being bully.  They refuse to play the role of the victim or the martyr. 

They are able to recognize their own needs, take responsibility for those needs, and ask for what they need honestly and openly without drama or mind games.  They are also able to accept "No" from others without having their self-esteem demolished. 

They have a strong enough sense of self that they don't absorb others negative emotions or personalize another’s bad behavior.

Our culture romanticizes love as being totally absorbed or enmeshed with another.  This is not love and can’t be sustained without losing yourself.

A true partnership requires that each person be healthy within themselves before they can form a healthy relationship together.  In order to be healthy within yourself, we have to have a clear definition of who we are in order to clearly communicate that to another.  It’s impossible to do this if you are carrying someone else's emotions, blaming others for your behavior, or practicing someone else's beliefs.

We set healthy boundaries in relationships to protect ourselves from being manipulated by the emotionally needy or by those who are self-aggrandizers.  When both people in a relationship have healthy boundaries all the “games” are eliminated.  There is no need for blame, guilt, manipulation, victimization, martyrdom, or scapegoating. 

It also makes the resolution of problems clear and simple.  If your partner hurts your feelings, we can take another lesson learned from the horse.  The horse will experience the hurt, get the message behind the emotion, set the appropriate boundaries, release the emotion and go back to grazing.  
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We can do the same if someone hurts us, knowing that we have a right to protest the hurt and stand up for ourselves.  You can do this in a respectful manner without guilting or blaming, but by simply stating that you are feeling hurt and asking that the behavior not be repeated.  If the person who caused the hurt, decides to keep hurting you, healthy boundaries will allow you to walk away from them.   

While boundaries should not vacillate wildly according to what is happening around you, it’s important that we have the ability to adapt and change when it is needed and appropriate.  Boundaries are there to protect us but, they can also imprison us if they become too inflexible. Healthy boundaries include awareness of your emotions, the situation you are facing, and your ability to set or relax boundaries in response to your needs.   

It’s also important to remember that what is healthy for someone else may not be healthy for you.  Everyone has to determine what feels "right" for themselves.  Some people have very thin, permeable boundaries and are comfortable with this.  Others require more rigid boundaries to feel safe and comfortable.  Define for yourself where your boundaries are and what feels comfortable for you and stick up for your right to feel that way.  

We all inherit different sets of family rules that determine our boundaries.  No one is right or wrong.  They are simply different and have the right to have that difference respected.  Realizing that you come from two different, but equally "right", ways of doing things validates both of your feelings and avoids the blame game.  Communication about how to negotiate these differences and the willingness to compromise is crucial.

Healthy boundaries are not selfish.  They allow you to have a clear sense of how you experience the world around you.  They also allow you to have empathy for others, without taking responsibility for them.  Healthy boundaries create a good balance between taking care of yourself and being there for others without being manipulated or exploited.

Healthy boundaries lead to empowerment.  They empower us to make healthy choices and take full responsibility for ourselves.  Learning to sense and articulate your own needs and choosing where and when to share them might be the single most empowering life change you can commit to.

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The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."
~Alice Walker
The process of creating a true relationship requires setting boundaries.   In order to avoid losing ourselves or because we fear losing or upsetting our loved one, we often over commit to rigid boundaries, or fail to have them at all.  Which explains why some relationships are in a constant boundary dance that swings between doormat and narcissistic syndromes.

The doormat is always accommodating, ever flexible and always nice.  They are the self-sacrificing loser in most conflicts and usually the self-righteous victim.  They often absorb and “carry” the feelings, opinions or behaviors of others, walking around on eggshells to avoid a conflict. They are often unaware that this is a boundary violation or that they are even doing so.  

They can be highly reactive in response to whatever is going on around them demonstrating severe mood swings in this constant state of flux, and be easily distracted.  Being unaware of their own boundaries, they are also unaware of others’.  

They do not take being told no, constructive criticism or feedback without personalizing it and their self esteem suffering. By not standing up for themselves, they will often blame themselves for their own abuse.
If you spend your life sparing people’s feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can’t distinguish what should be respected in them.”  ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
On the other hand, the narcissist is always aware of their needs and often completely unaware of the needs of others, or notice the effect of their behavior on others.  

They have a strong sense of entitlement and usually win most arguments, losing respect and intimacy in their relationships along the way.  They can be very intrusive and manipulative, blaming the doormat for outcomes.  They are often withdrawn and isolated in relationships.  

They can also be inflexible and hang on to how things “have always been done.”  Listen is not their strong suit and they are often impervious to feedback or anything outside of themselves.

These are the extremes, and relationships like this are dysfunctional and unhealthy and setting boundaries is the only positive response for your own self worth and esteem when encountering either of these individuals.

Ways in Which Our Boundaries Can Be ViolatedTime -  One of the most common boundary violations is when others encroach on your time.  This can include showing up late, or not at all, or someone who is making constant demands on your time without returning the favor.

Physical Boundaries - Each person has their own unique needs for personal body space as well as what is acceptable in regards to touch, this includes sex.  Never have sex if you don’t want to.  Last week we discussed how horses can help teach us to set boundaries.  Horses only test our physical boundaries.  Only humans can test the rest of these.

Emotional - Emotional boundaries are violated when we absorb others emotions and we don’t feel allowed to experience or express our own emotions.  We all have the right to feel our feelings, no matter what they are, even if they hurt or disappoint another, or if another places guilt on you if you for not buy into their emotions.  

While we have every right to our own emotions, we are always responsible for how we express them.  Emotions are our natural reaction to life and not allowing them denies us the full experience of life itself.  You should be able to ask for what you want and need.  If you are not allowed to express certain emotions or only allowed to feel what someone else thinks you should feel, that is emotional abuse. 

Emotional boundaries can also be violated by name calling, insults,  hateful remarks, discrimination, intolerance, and prejudice.  In no way do you have to tolerate being treated as inferior.

Mentally - You also have every right to hold your own opinions and express your own ideas.  Someone who tries to tell you what to think, when, or how to think, is trying to brainwash you.  You have a right to disagree.  If it is not safe to express your options without fear for your safety, this is also abuse.  This includes religious beliefs.

Privacy -   You have a right to privacy, this includes a right to receive mail, emails and phone calls in private.  Someone should not be snooping through your phone, iPad, or computer.  If you can’t trust someone you shouldn’t be in a relationship with them.  Even someone passing along personal information about you that was entrusted in them in confidence is a boundary violation.

Property - Your personal property is an extension of you, nobody else has a right to it without your permission.

Noise -  Sound can be a boundary violation and quite intrusive, especially in public.

Relationships - We should not be blaming one another for having unhealthy boundaries.  You cannot control the behavior of another and having healthy boundaries is not an excuse for making sure to point out where others fail.  It is a way for you to take full responsibility for clearly and consistently maintaining your own boundaries.

I had the pleasure of spending this last weekend with my mom and aunt for Mother’s Day.  At dinner Saturday night, my aunt said, “we have to take time to fill ourselves up, do what make our souls happy.”  I realized this is another somewhat elusive boundary violation.  As much as I do for those I love, it often feels more like an obligation, because I haven’t been able to keep my commitment to myself to allow myself time to “fill up.”  I don’t want to love begrudgingly or half-heartedly.  I want it to be authentic.  But with constant and continuous demands, fatigue, and feeling overwhelmed, before I know it, I am resentfully doing something I promised.  Sometimes this requires me to check in with my intuition regularly and much self-forgiveness.  

It’s taken me years to realize that setting boundaries is the same as letting go of the outcome of a certain situation or relationship.  I think this is what distinguishes between healthy boundaries and manipulative relationships.  Healthy boundaries, once set, determine the outcome. Where as trying to control the outcome is a form of manipulation.  There is great freedom in letting go of what is not ours to deal with.

Now it’s your turn.  I have attached a boundary checklist for you.  As always, we would love to hear what your thoughts are and if you found the boundary checklist useful.  Stay tuned next week we will discuss what healthy boundaries are and how to reset your boundaries.

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Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”  ~ Shannon L. Alder
What was Alice Greenough Orr's contribution to women's rodeo?

During the golden age of rodeo Alice Greenough Orr rode saddle broncs and occasionally rode bulls.
She grew up working on a ranch in Arizona.  Her rodeo life began with  Jack King’s Wild West Show where she not only rode rough stock, she also did trick riding.  She became an international rodeo star, performing in 46 states, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, England, and Australia and winning four World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider titles. Her sister also rode with her and they formed the “Riding Greenoughs,” which was their own rodeo business and featured the first women’s barrel racing events.
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