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Life & Work with Vivian Thwaits

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vivian Thwaits.

Hi Vivian, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Six years into my nursing career, I had a panic attack that changed my life forever. I had seen people in the ER with panic attacks, but never paid much attention to them or the underlying cause. When I was hit with one, I told my husband to drive fast and get me to the doctor because I was going to die. The doctor subsequently diagnosed me with anxiety and sent me home with Xanax.

Fortunately, during this time, I had just started seeing a therapist for work-related stress. My therapist told me to “throw out the pills and learn how to breathe.” This was the beginning of my awakening. I had gone into nursing to help to pay back the care that was given to my father. I hated hospitals since I was a kid, but somehow, I felt that that nursing was my “calling.”

Unfortunately, I was unmotivated and dying on the inside way too early in my career. My body and mind gave into the unrelenting stress, and I had no one to help me. This panic attack ended up being a gift that led me on a journey of personal work; it awakened me to the dark side of the nursing profession. During this same time, I began riding horses, which was the start of my ongoing healing process. The horses have guided me through a positive and spiritual transformation, and now it is my mission to share the same healing process with others.

“Let your trouble transform you.” I say this because I want you to relearn how to stop, breathe, and take care of yourself. Reconnect with what you love. And in the process, you will start to appreciate yourself more. I want you to feel peace again, and how being connected to your heart, mind, and spirit can help you avoid the downfalls of the nursing profession. I want to sit with you and hold your hand. You are worthy of much more than you ever imagined.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The past 13 years has presented me with many challenges. I found myself perpetually overwhelmed: holding down a full-time job, taking care of family, and creating a business—it was all a big undertaking.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My practice is based on the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method. Gestalt is a German word; it loosely translates to “flowing into form,” or becoming “whole” again.

The best adventures in life happen when you stay open to new possibilities, even if you’re not sure how to get to your destination. The problem is, when the voice of “I can’t do this. I’m not good enough. I’ll never be able to change my life or even my situation.” speaks up, most people falter and lose momentum on their journey. This is where they give in, give up, and let their dreams go. However, this is the exact point at which it’s best to pause: breathe and move into a curious and open place.

So what does this have to do with Art Soul and Horses?
It has to do with your story and exploring what you need to live in fulfillment. It has to do with learning to stop and listen to the voice inside you, that will help you identify the signs that you are on the right path. It has to do with learning to love and give back to yourself. What do you fear and what do you love? When you listen to your internal voice and wisdom, you can start to re-chart your journey.

Every hero faces darkness on their journey, but it is that darkness in our lives that gives us a chance to reflect on what we love and desire. In times of darkness and doubt, it is essential that we reconnect with our hearts. One way to do this is through journaling.

If, for today, you only focus on writing down what you love and how you want to feel, you have taken a gigantic first step back towards the light. Too often, we get so caught up in the daily grind of life that we forget to disconnect and go within. Taking time to write what is in our hearts is powerful and necessary; it helps us find new light in the darkness. Discover your quiet place—free from distractions—and start to write. Your written expressions will allow you to feel free (and at ease) again. As you reconnect with who you are and what is meaningful in your life, the signs will inevitably appear, and a path forward will surface.

At Art Soul and Horses, we work with clients to uncover what is stopping them from taking the next step. What do you fear? What do you love? What are your greatest dreams? We start from there and look ahead. Art allows us to tap into our divine creativity to uncover our deepest desires, and the horses open our hearts to new possibilities. This work, combined with the Equine Gestalt Method developed by Melisa Pearce, guides us to a state of wholeness and gives us wings to fly.

I am most proud of helping clients live a more purposeful and meaningful life. I always reinforce that we each hold the capacity to heal—we just need to be supported on our journey. I could not do this work without the horses who stand with me so graciously. I often tell clients that the horses are the catalysts with their energetic magic. I am simply the facilitator of this process.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I credit my mentor, Melisa Pearce. She is a psychotherapist and creator of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method, and is solely responsible for teaching and guiding me on this path. She has supported me in creating this business.

I would also say that the death of my first horse, Yanni, proved to me that love is everlasting. To this day, Yanni remains my “spirit horse,” who guides much of what I do from the angelic realm. His full name was Joan Fan E Boskaranne, and he arrived in 2007, an important time in my life and nursing career. I was unfulfilled and had lost touch with my creative heart. Yanni helped me reconnect with my childhood love of art, teaching, and of horse dreams.

Our time together was short. He passed away tragically in the spring of 2011 and my grief was insurmountable. As I tried to make sense of it all, I discovered that we still had a soul connection, and he became a “voice from beyond the veil,” so to speak. Yanni’s message came through strongly as I journaled. The property we now sit on is the manifestation of such joint creative visualization. Yanni helped heal my heart and taught me that we are all connected in many miraculous ways. This divinity of new life delivered Luca, my 9-year-old mare, who is a master healer.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: artsoulandhorses
  • Facebook: @artsoulandhorses

Image Credits

Rebecca Kuritz (@rebeccakuritz)

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