Friday, October 20, 2023

Building Resilience In A Chaotic World

Are you feeling like life is passing you by? Are you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and tired of looking at the chaos around you...and possibly within you?

Would you like to use some easy tools to help empower you to feel better, to feel greater sustainability in your body and life?

Building resilience and strength is an inside job. Join me for this masterclass that will offer you tools to feel more into your body, to take a look at the emotions that are running your life. More importantly, you will access tools to help you through anything life throws at you.

I too have been in the throws of frustration, overwhelm, anxiety, and depression. You are not alone. Let me be a contribution to help you learn skills to feeling better and be the leader of your emotions, life, making your well-being your priority.

It's your choice...all you need to do is press 'play'! Watch to the end for a special invitation. I hope to visit with you soon!! --Jacqueline

(Read full video description in YouTube for more information.)

Links to 'Secrets for Empowered Emotional Awareness' chart used in video:

Email me at jacqueline@vibrationalenergysolutions if you'd like to learn more about mentorship, coaching, or to learn more about hiring me to support developing your sustainable leadership program that elevates job satisfaction, mental and physical well-being, and greater productivity. Fostering the success and cultural environment of your corporation, organization, or institution...and most importantly, your greatest asset - your people.

Friday, November 25, 2022

The Necessity of Feeling

The Necessity of Feeling

What is the gift of ‘feeling’? What happens when we avoid feeling our feelings?

My heart hopes you find this article helpful on your journey of being aligned in Love, and inspires your discovery of how to embody joy daily.   

I have had great losses in life. My marriage ending was my first tragic loss for my heart, because of the toll it took on my family to regain our connection and love for one another. This was then followed by the deaths of a sister, Mom, Auntie, Uncle (who was my Godfather), and most recently my Dad. Grief has been my intimate companion for over a decade. The greatest lessons have been ‘Life is Now!’ and ‘grief is a journey of acceptance, trust, and a great teacher’. Please visit my article on grief. 

We need to feel our grief as it helps us to be present with the whole range of feelings that are possible. Suppression of feelings, in my opinion, perpetuates stuck energy within us. Suppression also leads to numbness, disconnection (from self and others), compartmentalizing, perpetuating pain, dis-ease, and a loss of integrity and trust with ourselves.

To be unwavering in love means we are taking on the deep work within ourselves. We are not projecting our pain onto others, we are dealing with it, by feeling our way through. Since childhood, we have been programmed to deflect our pain. To ‘Suck it up’, ‘behave’, ‘you are weak if you show emotion’ are popular opinions in society’s conditioning. On the contrary, it is not natural to deflect our feelings. It creates dis-ease within the body, mind, and spirit.

Consider the reactions of a small child. They fall down and respond according to the emotion of the adult that is present with them. If the adult overreacts with immense fear or concern, the child will generally feel their energy and react with a matching feeling of fear. Which can lead to crying or feeling a greater depth of pain from the fall. Worse yet is when we are met with anger, frustration, and projection that again shuts us down from showing any emotion at all.

Alternatively, if the adult is light hearted and responding to the child with a gentle smile and reassurance that they are okay, the child will generally pick themselves up with greater ease and brush off the incident. Can you see how this helps set them up for success to embody resilience for future falls? In life we all fall, over and over again. It is a part of life’s journey.

Having a perspective of seeing the world with childlike wonder and playful curiosity feels extraordinary. It allows us to be open to greater possibilities and experience for joyful presence. I believe these are all qualities that support us in connecting to unwavering love.

You might ask, ‘that is all well and good, what about when life hands us difficulties to face?’ Prior to opening myself to these possibilities, I would shy away, shrink back, and avoid confrontation at all costs. To make sure everyone else was ‘comfortable’. Never considering myself or the cost to my own well being. The ‘comfort zone’ can be a zone of contraction and staying in patterns and limitations that hold us back from allowing us a more authentic life.

I have witnessed the gift of seeing this reflection play out over and over, allowing me to understand my own patterns. How might you ‘lean into’ the feeling and circumstances in your life, to support you in working through your emotions quickly without getting stuck in the lower range of feelings?

Get out of your comfort zone and feel deeply and passionately. A good cry does wonders. An anger expression/process - in a controlled safe way - can support you in releasing what is ready to be complete. We hold back. Where does this show up in your life? 

Imagine again being that small child. Something is upsetting, it doesn’t feel good. It could be a reaction of immense sadness or anger, something that hurts your heart. It could be the feeling of being left alone, and feeling the pain of loneliness. It could be not being able to find your favorite toy or blanket, that helps you feel secure. It could be feeling helpless, as you wait for someone to provide for your basic needs like providing a bottle or changing a diaper. Imagine these instances for a small child.

What would you do as a small child? We feel the feels. We go into a full on temper tantrum. Screaming, pounding the floor. Give it a minute or two and there isn’t much intense energy left. It purges itself from our system. It is gone and often we cannot even recall what made us upset in the first place.

Then we grow up. We learn that ‘it isn’t okay to show our emotions’. We stuff it down, stuff it down, stuff it down, until our body reaches maximum overload. The stress in the body accumulates and creates dis-ease in the body. It doesn’t end well. If we cannot deal with the cause of the stress, it continues to build. It goes from a slight disturbance of alarm, where if we caught it would then be a Godsend. Though without being acknowledged, it turns into numbness. Ultimately, leading to greater destruction in the body.

That is the path that most are on. Are you wanting to choose a path of greater body awareness? Are you looking for support in transforming your perspective to align with greater love in your life? Are you looking to rediscover your passion and joy in life?

Working with transforming these patterns, limiting false beliefs, and welcoming the gift of reflection for what life is presenting you is powerful work. It takes courage, patience, and a great deal of love.

If I can support you on your journey, I welcome the invitation to connect. Feel free to email me at

Becoming...Unwavering In Love

Becoming Unwavering in Love

How are you experiencing love in your relationships and in our world? 

How are you experiencing love within you?


“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of the state of your mind.” –Wayne Dyer


Understanding the wounded patterns and stories the mind is telling you, is programmed from a young age. Have you done the work to reframe and rewrite these stories? If not, you aren’t alone. Neither has more than 95% of the population. 

We stay in the safe space of this conditioning - because it has kept us ‘feeling’ safe. It is the early programming that shapes the ego personality. It served to protect us when we were little to stay alive. Though now how old are you? 30’s, 40’s, 50’s (like me), 60’s 70’s? How did that 3, 4 or 5 year old little one within need to protect you, manipulating your environment to stay safe?

Did you need to be good, to not be seen, not be heard, not show emotions, not embarrass, to numb yourself, to distract yourself, to hate yourself in order to survive? This is all protection of a defender (the ego personality) who didn’t want you to get hurt or feel rejected when others projected their own shortcomings, self hatred, disappointment, abandonment - because they never took the interest, time or learned ‘how’ to heal it within.

Can you imagine the shifts that are possible when we begin to awaken on a massive scale? It is happening!

Having studied energy work for more than 20 years, I knew the day would come. It is exciting to see it all unfold. What seems scary for most, I can see it through another lens. One of hope, compassion, love, and understanding. We are witnessing awful traumatic outcomes currently. You might say, ‘how can you possibly say it’s exciting?’ 

It is only exciting because it is helping people to awaken. To awaken to their inner power, voice, truth, light, and love. To remember who they are. Remembering who you are is one of the most radically brave journeys the heart will take one on.

We weren’t meant to live a life of suffering, it is only a guide to awaken from the ‘dark night of the Soul’. To no longer choose to stay in the dark and use the momentum of your grief, heartbreak, helplessness, loneliness, and outrage to declare, ‘NO MORE!’ To remember your light, remember you are a vessel for/of God (Source, Universe, Spirit). A vehicle to make conscious choices and take critical action to awaken to the Divine design of your life.

How will you fill up your vessel when life is difficult or you feel empty inside? What would be actions that you can take that would create a declaration for yourself (your body, little one within, mind and Soul) that you are loved? Start by looking at what you enjoyed when you were young. Blow bubbles, play in the sand/dirt, create art, color a picture, go for a hike/walk, ride your bike, play in the water. These are playful starting points. Use your imagination and make your own choices to bring you back into the thriving state that gratitude welcomes us into.

Cleaning up your state of mind…and our world, begins within each one of us. Uncovering the old conditioning, beliefs, that are not aligned with peace, joy, and love. Then choosing a new path forward. 

To stop playing a part in another’s drama movie and pick up the pen and write your own screenplay. What would Heaven on earth feel like for you? What would you choose? How much time are you focused on activities that enliven you and your Spirit? How often are you focused on mind numbing activities that deaden your perception and lull you back into a slumber?

It is understandable as many people’s minds have been hijacked. Many have wobbled way off their true vortex…far, far away from their authentic self as they are ‘fighting’ the system. 


“Where attention goes, energy flows.” –Quote said by too many amazing humans to discern who first said it.


The mainstream media is constantly projecting fear and separation. Many are defending beliefs in whatever ‘side’ they were taught and conditioned to believe. There is massive control and manipulation rampant in society. It is a continuous looping cycle because many remain in fear and separation within their own mind. It will continue to be the broadcast, until enough people choose to turn the channel to a new station or turn it off altogether.


Mother Teresa wasn’t being lazy when she made the following declaration. “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” 


Can you imagine how it would have deterred her path of helping others had she been preoccupied with a focus on ‘war’. Can you see how her life giving energy would have been siphoned off? It is an energetic anomaly that where you give your energy (time and attention) - it will expand the focus of that which your focus is. Focusing on what you don’t want will only bring more of it.

A much better use of energy is to focus on what you do want. So it’s time to let go of the limiting beliefs that are keeping you hostage. Believing your lot in life is what you were dealt, is simply not true. Your Divine Destiny is what you choose…and by feeling love (God, Spirit, Universe) within, you have the exponential energy to co-create it.

If you remain distracted, addicted to whatever your vice is (youtube, facebook, eating, shopping, alcohol, drugs, etc) you will continue to be lulled into numbness. From this vantage point, life is depressing. From this self defeating space of thoughts and behavior –you won’t wake up. That is the goal of what I choose to call ‘the darkness’. 

Often it is only when life gets so uncomfortable and painful that life seems unbearable, do people choose another path and break free from the pain that enslaves them.

We can easily see the darkness in the world. What we often are pretending not to see, is the darkness that exists within each of us to varying degrees. I am far from perfect. There are many choices I’ve made that were HUGE lessons. I’ve gotten to stare - face to face with my darkness, as well as my ego that wants to fight to survive. I’ve learned to be humbled by it, to learn and grow. I’ve learned to drop the conclusions, judgments, and telling of dis-empowering stories. I’ve learned to create boundaries for my health, well being, and fostering of my light within.

Most people are ‘taught’ what to believe. From an early age we were ‘taught’ to conform. By our parents, by school, by the government. Those who don’t conform to societal conditioning are considered a threat. Variance outside of conditioning can lead to attempts to disqualify someone’s reputation. 

Other solutions, thoughts, and sometimes evidential documentation are kept out of the mainstream if it doesn’t fall into the narrative that ‘the controller’ wants. So it is excluded from the algorithm as a choice. You will be stuck inside the Matrix of what is being fed to you, as long as you belly up to the table.

It’s like an abusive relationship. Have you ever been in one? I hope not. Though if you have, you can begin to understand the conditioning. They lure you into conditioned helplessness, sometimes making you feel stupid, gaslight you to create self doubt, or create fear and/or manipulation through guilt or expectations. 

Unfortunately, many grow up with this type of abuse as well. It leads to a lifetime of questioning oneself, striving to be enough, or living in self hatred, shame, and self abuse. Once you experience or see it, it makes it blaring clear where else it exists, when you are ready and willing to see it.


“Could hell be a place where there is no self-respect? A place where people have no pride in their own existence or behavior, and thus would have none for anyone or anything else?” - Neil Peart


This can shift with one choice…to take responsibility. The ‘ability to respond’ is such a gift. To not be reacting to life. To respond and step outside the box you are in to see other perspectives, create new possibilities, and have access to solution level thoughts.

To stand unwavering in love for the little one within takes courage and using your voice. To no longer choose to chameleon into what others want that suits them, that offers you nothing in return. How much of this beautiful gift of life and breath have you given to others who have only chosen to take…until there is little left but dis-ease within you? When will you say, “NO MORE!” That is a valuable lesson and gift to learn.

What if this life we are living is a reflection of ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’ and the only thing that determined it was our choices and perceptions? How powerful would that be? What would you choose to shift to claim your freedom and break free from the gates of Hell?


“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.’ –Aristotle


Standing unwavering in love means that you are connected to your heart. You no longer choose to have the mind and the games it plays running the show. To have an extraordinary life requires you choosing to be extraordinary. Are you ready to choose you? In choosing you…you are choosing better not only for you, it is for those you love, and for the collective of the world we live in.

So what do you have to give up in order to create unwavering love? For starters, being a victim of life. Choosing the perspective that life is happening for you. Life isn’t against us, contrary to how it sometimes feels. Adopting the idea that life is happening for me, not against me, being patient for a new outcome, and witnessing how life can work for you is critical. 

We can start by looking within ourselves and dancing with source energy. It takes having a curious outlook with life. Asking a lot of questions can awaken this gift of wonderment to play in. I wonder…? How can this work out better than I can possibly imagine? 

Getting into the feeling as if the outcome you seek is already here, can also be a valuable resource. Not to play God and think you know the answer, though to leave enough space and openness to allow God to work with and through you. 

Trusting when life doesn’t seem to be working out for you and adopting curiosity ‘then there must be something/someone that is more in alignment with my heart’. For example, I cannot imagine staying in some of the relationships I have been in. When they ended, they created space for my soulmate to appear. 

If I maintain my trust to offer grace and understand my soulmate is also learning difficult lessons and is expanding his consciousness in order to meet me, I will be blessed with a soulmate who is ready for the next chapter of life, who is aligned in love. Where I get to be ‘me’...and ‘he’ is blessed and encouraged to be himself.

Until that day happens, I will joyfully feel into his energy, envisioning our togetherness, and trust if I continue staying focused on my work, passions, joy, love within - he will one day be standing in front of me.

Can you trust like this? That is standing unwavering in love. Trusting everything happens as it is meant to. 

Take a good look at your life and ask, ‘How is the reflection of what I am witnessing in the world and in my relationships showing up within me?’ It is there to teach you. What you are witnessing is offering clues for healing that you get to focus within. Where do you get to release control? Is it in your body? Family dynamic? Feeling broken, not enough, unlovable, too much, constricted, contracted, taken advantage of, conforming or not being true with your heart? 

There are many facets to this…and the best gift is to shine your light and ‘be you’...from a connected space in your heart.

Then we get to dance with transformational alchemy. This dance includes being honest at what your life has given you as feedback. It gets to be your guide to awaken in your Divine Destiny. Would you like to dance more with me?

My legacy is one of help guide 1 million people home to their heart! Please consider sharing in this legacy by sharing this a friend or family member. You never know, you may be the angel who helps them awaken to their Divine Destiny!

In Gratude and In Love.

Monday, September 28, 2020

No More Holding Back — I’ll Stand By You

I was sitting quietly this morning in the dark, listening to the silence —when this song popped into my mind —‘I’ll Stand By You’.

The thought came to mind about how ironic that the band who sings it is — ‘The Pretenders’. How often do you need to ‘pretend’ you are ok, to hold it all inside? To not show emotions, to have a ‘poker face’? I use to hear this all the time — “I cannot read you, you have such a poker face and being asked regularly why I wasn’t ‘happy’”.

If you can relate to this, I have been giving it a lot of consideration as to ‘why’ and can assure you, that you may be better than ok, and you aren’t ‘broken’. 

Many of us were ‘conditioned’ to lock down our feelings. Imagine being 2, 3, 4 years old...and you are frustrated, tired, in pain, for some reason that seems worthy to your learning mind — and your parent or trusted adult is attempting to hush you, to tell you to ‘brace up’, discounting how you are feeling — to get you to stop the behavior of crying to quell their own frustration or embarrassment — and share with you some false beliefs they likely grew up with.

We believed what we were told, because it was the norm. Conditioning from society and generations that came before us with stories to discount our feelings, such as... ‘Big boys don’t cry.’ 'Good girls should be seen and not heard.' ‘It’s not that bad.’ ‘You’re an embarrassment’. ‘Only those who are weak show emotions’. ‘Pull yourself up by your bootstraps’. Shamed into believing that any sign of vulnerability is equal to being weak. 

This creates a society where many of us hold ourselves back from feeling, emoting, with this false belief that we cannot fully be ourselves -- with this insatiable need to prove just how strong we are. And where does that get us?

What we aren’t often taught is that suppression can lead to depression. We also aren’t taught that those walls that we build around us to keep us safe turn into a self imposed prison. They may keep us safe in a moment, though in the long term they hold us back from fully experiencing life, love, and the joy that we may feel is ‘just out of reach’.

You can only hold in your emotions for so long, and in my opinion it leads to resistance and dis-ease in the body - inhibiting the flow of life, love, health, and vitality. Imagine what holding it in creates? Attached in the comments is an ‘NET’ chart of emotions and organ correlation. Use it as a tool if you are having a health challenge to see if you can connect your body pain and challenges to any subconscious emotions and what is ‘up’ in your world. 

What if your strength was actually in your willingness to be vulnerable, to feel, to show emotions, to cry, to get angry, frustrated, to ‘feel your feels’ allowing your feelings to move through you to finally get to the space where you can ‘let go’? I wonder what that could create for you?

It takes great courage to feel, to be seen, to be honest and tell the truth, and to share your feelings with another. Vulnerability is one of the most courageous ways of being present with your heart and with others.

You get to be victorious in your life by taking responsibility for your body, mind, and emotions. You aren’t a victim of life or circumstances when you choose not to be. You choose to be a victor. To be sovereign knowing the kingdom of God is within you, owning your presence. 

As I listen to this song, it is empowering to feel as though it is that presence of God within that will never leave your side and will stand with you, no matter what. 

You get to honor yourself, have self respect and confidence, being true to your heart. There is no space of allowance for others to manipulate or hurt you, when you stand with God —allowing for your own knowing, Guidance, to acknowledge that you get to trust yourself and ‘feel the feels’. You feel the way you do for a reason. Honor that. 

If you don’t like how you feel, look for what brings you joy and peace. Connect with your heart (cry, scream alone in your car or into a pillow —or punch that pillow to let it out), connect with nature, turn off the tv, listen to high vibration music, dance, move your body, take a bath, get quiet, listen to your heartbeat —it is your center and the rhythm of your Divine essence. 

I believe the extent of the joy we are able to feel — is the extent of the pain we are ‘willing’ to feel.

It is interesting that my clients have been exclusively women as it is always what felt ‘safe’ for me. I am considering opening up my toolbox of resources to help create a greater shift in our world by stretching out of my comfort zone, to also work with high level men and couples who are desiring to connect with their heart. 

I believe the women in our world deserve men who are not afraid to feel, share their emotions, and maintain their strength through their vulnerability. I also believe women get to be that space of Love that holds that vulnerability, to create security for a man — and honor the protection, security, safety that he provides for her.

No more offense, defense. No more drama. Being a team that is unshakable- honoring the vulnerability of both. 

The heart is where it all starts and where it all ends. Loving you. 🥰✨

You are never alone...

“Oh, why you look so sad, the tears are in your eyes,

Come on and come to me now, and don't be ashamed to cry,

Let me see you through, 'cause I've seen the dark side too.

When the night falls on you, you don't know what to do,

Nothing you confess could make me love you less,

I'll stand by you,

I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you,

I'll stand by you

So if you're mad, get mad, don't hold it all inside,

Come on and talk to me now.

Hey there, what you got to hide?

I get angry too, well, I'm alive like you.

When you're standing at the cross roads,

And don't know which path to choose,

Let me come along, 'cause even if you're wrong

I'll stand by you,

I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you,

I'll stand by you.

Baby, even to your darkest hour, and I'll never desert you,

I'll stand by you.

And when, when the night falls on you baby,

You're feeling all alone, you're wandering on your own,

I'll stand by you.

I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you,

I'll stand by you, baby even to your darkest hour,

And I'll never desert you,

I'll stand by you,

I'll stand by you.

I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you,

I'll stand by you, baby even to your darkest hour,

And I'll never desert you

I'll stand by you”

I’ll Stand By You - The Pretenders

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Taming 'Wild' Horses

A Beach Walk at Sun Bay, Vieques, PR.

At first glance, it is easy to be mesmerized by the 'wild' horses on Vieques Island. The beauty and freedom that they display are easy to appreciate and create a romantic facade.


If you have taken your time to connect with the horses of Vieques, you will likely be able to share a story of how they have made a difference in your they have mine. When you realize the 'rest of the story', there is a great amount of depth here that many do not take into account which allows an opportunity for making the world a little better place to be.

Eye See You...Photos by Jacqueline Bambenek

In my last post, I talked about sitting with a female horse and being present with her. With the tears streaming down her face, I wanted to understand. Why are you so sad beautiful girl? It was as though through her tears she was speaking to me. The clarity of the horse situation is beginning to show itself. This last week, I received a glimpse of how we can all make a difference - through the 'wild horses of Vieques'.

First of all, the history of the wild horses is that their ancestors were brought here by the Spanish conquistadors back in the early decades of the 16th century. There is a regal quality to them that many enjoy. What many do not realize is that most of these horses are not 'wild'. They are quickly captured and branded to boast possession.

I know this is really sad...and to get you the full feeling of what concerns me as well as possible solutions, I am going to share some graphic pictures with you. The title of my blog is 'Everyday Magic: Dancing with the Universe - and you hopefully will see some possibilities that may occur by gaining greater visibility for the struggles relating to the local people who live here and the horse population. 

I would love to introduce to you - el Valiente...and we invite you to share his story with your horse and animal loving friends.

el Valiente - 'the brave one'
el Valiente being 'broken', abused, tied up, and not give water or food for four days.
The brave and courageous...el Valiente.

This last week, a few concerned citizens reached out to share their growing concern and to ask for a united effort to help a horse affectionately named el Valiente ('the brave one'). It seemed as though el Valiente's 'owners' were using inhumane practices to try to 'break' their horse. 

El Valiente had been tied very tightly to a post - that had razor wire on it as well as on the ground around the post, he was deprived of water and food for four days, and he was violently branded with a hot knife on his face and body with an 'S' type marking. The final straw came when those attempting to 'tame' him were loading weight onto his back and he collapsed, which was witnessed by several people. The police questioned those who were there and quietly turned and left, without any support for el Valiente, without any type of reprimanding to these young men. El Valiente's sad story does not end there. We were made aware yesterday that he was stolen from his real owner and they are in the process of being reunited.

The goal in this method of cruel horse 'breaking' is to make them weak and tired until they have no strength left and can only submit. I wish it could be said that this form of horse breaking and abuse is a rare occurrence. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is heartbreaking to see and when you become aware of it, you begin to see how prevalent this type of behavior is.

This momma and baby have been seen quite frequently over the past two weeks.  Their faces are branded and they are extremely thin. They have also captured the hearts of local residents.

Facial branding with hot knives is a common practice.

Mom also has the same facial and front leg branding.

Skinny Mama and baby. - Photos by Ted Konkel.

Being that there are no rules for keeping horses in a corral, many owners choose to allow their horses to forage freely. There is much grass and fresh mango along the road sides and around the island. It is common to see several horses driving around this 52 square mile island. There are many times that I see 30 in open view during the six mile drive from Isabel Segunda to Esperanza.

When first arriving on the island you think about how lovely it is to see the wild horses roaming freely. Vieques Island is a gorgeous destination for traveling...with beautiful beaches and activities including: snorkeling, scuba diving, and the world famous Mosquito Bio-luminescent Bay which lights up the water with any form of movement under the star filled night sky.

The reality is much different than one would first imagine when glancing at the horses. When a new horse is born, they are often captured and branded by young men who think that it is a numbers game. 'The more horses you own, the bigger a man you are' - is a popular opinion without thought given to the humane treatment of the animal and responsibility required for ownership. They are possessions to be 'broken' to make them docile so they will be easy to ride. They are often left to fend for themselves and live off this lush land.

Allowing the horses to free range along side the roadways also brings the concern for local traffic. Although the speed limit is only 35 mph - there are a number of accidents which destroy horses, vehicles, and cause personal injury. 

Baby who was hit by car. Photo by Sandra Mudge.

This beautiful baby was hit by a car last week. My friend waited for five hours with her as she called local Police and US Fish & Wildlife, attempting to locate someone to assist with animal control. After the long wait, the US Fish & Wildlife Dept. arrived and provided assistance by euthanizing the young horse and removing her body.

No one seems to want to claim responsibility for the care of these horses, so it falls onto the citizens to advocate for their well being. How can we go about getting Animal Control Officers who will care for them? 

My friend went on to tell me that one of her friends hit a horse last month on his scooter and was in a coma for a week with a total of three weeks in the hospital. There is no firm count on the number of animals killed each year on the roadways of Vieques, though I have heard estimates between 50 and 200.

Milk Stop Road Block.  Photo by Ted Konkel.
Traffic jams on Vieques Island are normally caused by horses and consist of less than ten cars. :)  Photo by Jacqueline Bambenek.

Here is a little historical trivia. The population on Vieques Island is approximately 9,500, which includes many who return to the mainland during low season. (The population of horses is approximately 2,000.) The unemployment rate is around 60% with the number of people living below poverty level being around 70%. There are few jobs on the island and the education system is terrible with little opportunity for future growth. Many turn to drugs or other illegal activities to survive.

With those statistics you have few people that actually have the means including land to graze or funds to care for a horse let alone themselves. The Viequenses people have endured a great deal this past century. 

The US government possessed 2/3 of the island and used it as a bombing range for US Military operations for nearly 60 years which ceased in 2001 after a series of heavy protests. The efforts to clean up the ocean and the land are on going as they estimate that over 300,000 munitions were fired over this time frame contaminating approximately 9000 acres of property.

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the military leaving the island. The land once occupied by the military has been under the control of the US Fish and Wildlife Service since 2003. This background lends insight into the culture of the island and her people. Vieques was once a booming port with sugar cane crops and plantations. The only remnants of this life are on display at the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust and in the falling down remnants of plantations. It leaves me with the question, what can we do to make a difference and help to restore the livelihood of the Viequense people?

We teach our children through our actions as well as through our non-action. We work to provide them with the tools that we learned to attempt to teach them how to be a productive member of society and to participate in life. What I see is a culture who needs their true culture has been disrupted by our Government and Military Occupancy here. I see so much beauty around me, yet little opportunity to succeed.

I think about the importance of sharing with our youth a desire to love and respect the Earth and nature. What can we provide to make the greatest impact for the future of our world? It begins with respecting ourselves and extending that to one another and our world. How can we teach this? One idea is by offering a program called JUNTOS, which the Vieques Rotary Club is trying to generate funding for in conjunction with the Humane Society helping children to learn respect for others and animals.

There is GREAT potential here...because there is so much room for growth. It is a small island community which would be a great incubator for evaluating the difference we can make. If I have ever seen a situation that has such great potential for change it is with these amazing people - who have 'endured' so much over the many decades. These children are beautiful and they deserve a chance for a future and they will extend that to the lives of others around them - human and animal friends. That is where the magic lives...that is the dance with the universe - in the possibilities.

I am fully of the belief that we each have a contribution to make. It doesn't matter what our employment status or poverty level is. We all have gifts and purpose to share in this world. We are provided with opportunities for change and betterment as our awareness grows, and there is great strength in our diversity and through adversity. It is as though this world is a great big puzzle and each of us carry in us a piece to make it complete.

There are also many wonderful and caring horse owners on the island who can adequately provide for the needs of a horse and treat them in a loving manner. They are as upset by this mistreatment of animals as well. 

This past weekend many horse owners participated in the los caballos de la Cabalgata en Vieques. A day when horse owners groom their horses and take them out on parade. It was beautiful to see the connection that these people share with their animals. It is easy to see the love and how much they care for one another.

los caballos de la Cabalgata en Vieques - Eddie and Alain.
How does it get better than this state of beauty? Photos by Margo Cheney.
It is amazing how easy it has been to relate to the horses...even after so many experiences before that had left me fearful of them. They are all individuals with different attitudes and temperaments. I can't help to see the reflection of myself in them...and how I feel about being 'tamed' from my free spirited nature. 

Feeling the fear of the horse and humanity of 'not being good enough' or 'not up to others standards or expectations'. Society in a way does the same thing to us - attempting to tame us into being good students and workers. Can we attempt to see the qualities that make each unique - whether person, horse, dog, or other animal - and thrive on our abilities as well as our 'imperfections'.

In an attempt to hear the concerns of horse owners and residents there will be a meeting on Thursday, September 12 - 11 am, at Duffy's in Esperanza. Everyone is welcome to attend. The goal is to offer a non-violent horse training called 'Horse Reset', free of charge for all residents who are interested. This meeting will be a first step in seeing what type of positive outcomes are possible when we unite with a common interest.

We will be attempting to raise funds over the next couple of months to assist with the airfare, lodging, and meals for a Spanish speaking trainer to teach valuable skills to horse owners. With enough interest, in the future we would also like to provide scholarships to attend training clinics off the island to bring valuable skill sets and create local mentors to help assist in the needs of the island horses and their owners.

If you are able to help financially, please send a check to Vieques Humane Society with 'Horse Training Clinic' written in the memo portion of the check sent to: VHS, PO Box 1399, Vieques, PR 00765. Click here to donate via paypal - click on 'Other One-Time Contributions' - and add a special instruction to include 'Horse Training Clinic' in this remarks area.  

I commend the Vieques Humane Society for their efforts in caring for the abandoned island animals at their shelter outside of Isabel Segunda. Every Friday it is a great joy to participate in walking of the dogs, where they are able to run free and enjoy a little beach time and loving attention. Volunteers are always welcome to meet at the Humane Society between 9:30 am - 1:30 pm. It is definitely a win for the dogs and a win for those who share their time with them.

It has been a pleasure to connect with local non-profit organizations who are committed to bringing greater possibilities to the island. The Rotary Club of Vieques is doing a beautiful job in raising money to fund JUNTOS for the children in the Vieques School System teaching Humane Education. Fund raising is currently on going to offer this program and we need your help - please share with your local Rotary Club to see if they are able to provide financial assistance. The Vieques Conservation & Historical Trust (VCHT) provides a summer program called MANTA to the children of Vieques which offers environmental education to those kids who are interested. Thank you also to animal lovers Vieques and Caballos de Vieques for generating visibility, sharing information, and being willing to facilitate change by bringing awareness through education.

Jacqueline Bambenek with horses at Sun Bay, Vieques, PR. Photos by Ted Konkel.

I have enjoyed the blessing of being able to get close enough to love and appreciate these beautiful animals.

Please share this blog post with animal lovers, horse lovers and Rotary members who you know. Grateful for YOU and your assistance in helping us to gain greater visibility!!!