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Life coach, riding instructor, writer, I was raised in a barn and now spend my time figuring out how farms heal us.

What I learned while traveling sober

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I like to think of Charleston, South Carolina as New Orleans-light. I can satisfy my need for deep-south, gritty, gothic, haunted ambiance without feeling like the devil is following my footsteps.

I’m the kid who spent one night in New Orleans and changed my flight the next day. This empath just can’t take that much voodoo. But Charleston — I feel at home there. I’ve spent a lot of time in that city, but until last week, I’d never experienced it sober.

My aunt and uncle restored an old house in the city center and I remember them talking about…

How I came to terms with my inner snob in a Wal-Mart shopping aisle

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I have this memory. My husband decided our marriage was over while we were visiting his family in Istanbul, Turkey. Fourteen hours later, I was back home in America and driving through the ugly remnants of a cotton textile community in upstate South Carolina. The community that raised me.

I was devastated to have returned to that place with its boarded-up strip malls and rusted corner stores selling scratch-off tickets and false hope to the destitute.

Istanbul was spice markets, dinner parties, my in-laws sparing no expense to dress me. Housekeepers kept the floors spotless. Grooms prepared the horses. The…

My intuition screamed at me from the beginning to the bitter end

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We overuse the term narcissism. A person with a brutal exterior bravado coupled with a toxic inferiority complex isn’t always a narcissist — but when you’ve encountered one, you know it. Or, at least you know after the fact.

To make sense of what you experienced, you find yourself scrolling through every thread in every article and forum, wanting to know more about this disorder and how to safeguard your life from falling into its trap ever again.

That’s what I did. And while I never want to purposefully relive my time with a narcissist, the things that I learned…

How I use experience as an antidote to fear

Photo by the author — Dark Corner, South Carolina

A lot of things frighten me, but no one really knows that because I spend a lot of time soldiering on with a tough exterior. I’m good at soldiering, but being a great, big liar doesn’t do much to help me grow as a person.

In an effort to get to know the limiting voices inside my head a little better, I decided to write down all the things I remember being scared about today.

I do this, mainly, as a reminder so that I can catalog these tiny surmounted hills and remember that even though I was scared, I…

The stories we tell ourselves would make a really bad novel

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

I’m not going to bore you with a long introduction because I don’t need to waste your time telling you what you already know — if you spoke to another person like you talk at yourself all day, that person wouldn’t be your friend for very long. Let’s skip the crash course in the psychology behind your internal narrative and get straight to the point.

There are lots of words floating through our heads every day and not many of them are positive.

What are we going to do about that?

1.Write it out

Sometimes we’re too close to ourselves to actually hear…

A crash course in nature, healing, and expansion

Photo by Simon Fanger on Unsplash

I teach people how to ride horses for a living, and I also partner with horses in helping humans achieve self-growth. Very little of that growth happens when we’re actually riding the horse. Most of it occurs when we’re doing mundane tasks that help keep the horses alive.

And you know what we’re doing around the farm when we reach the most trance-like familiarity with the genius of our subconscious mind?

Shoveling poop.

Yep. Something magical happens when we’re cleaning horse manure out of the barn.

We might be moaning about having to get started with this thankless task, but…

An obscure forest landmark bridges the past with the present in Greenville County, South Carolina

Photo by Jonathan Hanna on Unsplash

What do Washington, DC and a winding trail in the middle of the Blue Ridge mountains have in common? Poinsett Bridge, a 200-year-old stone structure that is thought to be the oldest remaining bridge in South Carolina and possibly in America. It has also earned the title of the most haunted site in the state.

My favorite sort of travel happens when I go in search of ghost stories. Poinsett Bridge, located near the state lines of North and South Carolina on the US east coast is one of those places I’ve returned to time and time again hoping to…

How our changing rituals allow space for honest emotion

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

As I recently sat in a memorial service for a friend who died from a heroin overdose, I realized that each word from the speakers had meaning and value. The church was sparsely filled. The service organic, raw, and charged with honesty and vulnerability. I truly believe this experience would have been vastly different two years ago.

I wrote my first piece about Covid-time funerals after the death of my uncle in the early part of 2021. …

Apparently, I have anger issues.

Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

Within hours of the first Moderna shot, I learned all the various meanings of the phrase, “I’m inflamed.” Top of that list, I was angry, mean, short-tempered, grumpy. So, when it came time for the second shot, I was equally curious and apprehensive as to what it might do to my inner state.

I’m not going to lie — the horror stories circulating of people’s experiences with their second dose of the Covid vaccine had me a little scared. …

Kimberly Carter

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