F O R I M M E D I A T E R E L E A S E
October 30, 2020
FORMERLY ABONDONED RANCH GIVES VETERANS AND HORSES A SECOND CHANCE THROUGH ONE WOMAN’S “DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE”
CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, CA – Five years ago, Cherylan Hils learned to imagine a new life for herself. The 64-year old grandmother of 3 had spent 15-years at a dead end job working a desk at a local public utility in Southern California and was barely making ends meet. She had 2 granddaughters on the opposite side of the country and her heart longed to see them more than once a year.
I met this inspiring woman three months ago. I’ve written a series of novels that take place in Paris, and each year it is my dream to lead a small group of women through the streets, sights and sounds of the places in my books, helping them each learn about my journey as capture each twist and turn in the pages of my stories. One of Cherylan’s dreams was to be led by me in one of these groups, and as I got to know Cherylan when she was a part of my group this year, I became more intrigued about her story and how she achieved some of her dreams of a very different nature.
CB: So how is it, that a woman who could barely make ends meet 5-years ago, is today able to fund numerous programs that help provide homes for horses who were once destined for slaughter houses in Mexico and at the same time provide a means of successful recovery for Veterans who suffer from PTSD and other combat-related issues?
CH: I had reached a point in my life where I knew I could not continue on the path that I was on.
CB: How so?
CH: I had known for a very long time I didn’t like what I was doing. So many people would tell me I had a “good” job and that I was very lucky to have that job. But every day that I walked into that office I could feel a little part of myself just……die. As in, no longer breathe or exist.
CB: Was their one moment in particular that was the straw that broke the camel’s back? That made you realize you absolutely could not wait any longer to make a change?
CH: I know this sounds a bit odd, but I have a psychic friend do a reading for me every 6-months. I’ll never forget this one reading. It was in July of 2015 and he just started rattling off all this stuff to me with very precise details. He said I was going to have a career change and he really emphasized not to worry about money. He told me I was going to meet a person who would become my husband and that person’s name and career path and even height…..which was totally unbelievable to me because it was something I was not at all interested in.
But, the one thing that hit me the hardest was that he told me I was going to live to be a very healthy 105.
When I heard that I didn’t think to myself, “Oh whoopie.” What I thought to myself was, “Oh shit,” and I actually felt like crying. All I could think of was I cannot live to be 105 and continue to feel like I’m trapped in someone else’s life. I was so unhappy about what should have been good news.
CB: Did you know right away what you wanted to do? The changes you wanted to make?
CH: Heck no! Not at all! That is why I was so overwhelmed to the point of tears. I had no idea where to begin and after decades of corporate programming I didn’t even know who I was! I was nothing more than a robot trained to do what others dictated I do. I had a very hard time thinking for myself.
I needed to find out who I was and what my goal in life was and who it was I wanted/needed to become. I was a person very much like the veterans who begin their transformation at the RLR. I knew that once upon a time I had certain passions in life, but for the life of me I did not know what they were. I certainly didn’t know if those were true passions or just the passions that a very young woman who wanted to change the world would have.
I have always loved horses and as for the Veterans, well, my oldest son is a Veteran who has been deployed countless times. I don’t know a lot, but what I do know is there is a soft place in my heart for both horses and Veterans, and what I discovered about myself through meditation and thinking, and most importantly a program called the Master Key Mastermind. I discovered that I felt, no, that I knew without a doubt, I had a real passion for wanting to help both.
CB: Which brings us to your non-profit, the Remarkable Life Ranch (RLR). Tell us what it is you do and who is it that you help.
CH: With both the horses and the vets, many of them need several layers of healing, so there are several layers of what we do. Our program is an alternative rehabilitation program and the treatment of each veteran and each horse is very individualized. It has structure, but it is almost moment by moment. Our environment is first of all supportive and needy in ways that the veterans learn to feel of value by fixing the needs of these other things and seeing the similarities in their own needs. This place was a fixer upper when I bought it and there is always something that needs to be done. The vets are fixer uppers. The horses are fixer uppers.
We teach the vets the Master Key Mastermind, the same program that helped me. As each veteran works to find their own Definite Major Purpose or DMP, and they work with the horses to help heal them and nurture a level of trust between horse and man, and do projects around the ranch that help them feel of value, and relearn self care, something very magical happens.
CB: Magical in what way?
CH: Our therapy focuses on the close bond between horse and man. Even if these veterans have never in their life been exposed to horses, God created a bond between horses and humans, much like the bond between dogs and humans.
CB: You mention dogs. Will you at some point include dogs in your program?
CH: I don’t plan on running a program with dogs myself. However, several years ago I met Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, at a function we both attended for our horses. Cesar is currently helping a couple graduates of the RLR establish a program that includes shelter dogs and retired military dogs. Cesar has agreed to be a guest facilitator on a regular basis for those programs.
CB: The location is ideal, the facilities perfect, and the view is spectacular. How did you settle on this location?
CH: I have always been smitten by the little town of Carmel. I had only visited probably 3 times in my life, but each time I instantly knew this is where I wanted to live over every other place I’ve been to in the world. There is art and individuality in every square inch of this town. This town instantly felt like home to me and the climate is perfect for the type of programs I run.
When I enrolled in the Masterkey Mastermind and was made aware of my DMP, and how it was my blueprint to fulfill my purpose in life, I had to make that move. My life depended on it.
During the process of moving to Carmel from Orange County, I would see these abandoned ranches everywhere that still had some very good, but in need of repair, facilities already in place. I began inquiring about them and many were owned by the county or by the banks. The fact that I was able to purchase this property from the county for a small fraction of it’s value was something I could have never dreamed of being a reality. Then, with the proximity to the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Stanford schools of Veterinary Medicine in the region, a lot of details fell into place as if magic was happening. The continuous support I receive from the faculty and students in those programs is invaluable.
CB: And it was through one of those veterinary programs that you met your husband?
CH: (Laughs) I did. Life kind of happened when I had other plans.
CB: That’s the best way to have it happen.
So, in closing, I have to ask; one of your personal dreams was to spend more time with your granddaughters. Do you now see them more than once a year?
CH: OMG, yes! I see them whenever I want. They love coming to the ranch. They love spending time here at the ranch and they also come for the beach in town. And I visit them whenever I want also. Overall, I have the ability to spend so much more time with my family now.
When a person finds their definite major purpose in life, and their focus is to work that definite major purpose, magic happens. Life becomes what it is meant to be, WONDERFUL!
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