Lessons From a Horse

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Ok.

I am standing here all by myself.

Where is my horse?

I have been walking around the arena with Max, my horse. I signed up for a day of exploration, teaching, healing with horses, and we are just getting going. It all feels a little weird, because I have no idea what to expect from this experience. I used to ride as a child and teenager, but have not been on a horse since my kids were born. Some scary encounters with horses have left me with a bit of fear, and it would be nice to at least shift that.

Today, I am not riding, just walking with Max, holding onto the reins. We move in a small circle around the arena, sun streaming in through openings in the walls.

Max stops. I keep going forward – until the reins are tight.

I stop.

What now? Pull on the reins? How hard? Am I the boss? Is Max the boss? (He is very big and heavy!) Do I do nothing and wait? Do I go back to stand alongside Max?

This happens a few times. The 4th or 5th time, I become deeply aware of my body as I am standing out front – on my own – the horse having stopped behind me.

I notice myself moving from my busy mind, from all the questions of what I should do now, to becoming aware of my body and what I am feeling.

I realize that my head is starting to get fuzzy, and I am no longer not sure if I am still energetically inside my body.

I decide to take a few steps back. I feel the warmth and steadiness of Max as I stand beside his strong neck. It feels welcoming and safe. I relax. Max starts to move.

We repeat this pattern a few times more.

I finally get it. This is about me and how I move through life.

What do I do when I step out and leave the familiar, my zone of comfort behind? When I learn something new, tackle a project, am asked to step up and stretch myself? Go to a new place, meet new people, share myself?

I feel exposed, alone, vulnerable, and afraid.

Every day, I go through this process many times, sometimes gently, sometimes right to the edge of what I can manage.

And, I know, you do as well.

We all do – all the time.

Stepping out of the comfort zone: I now know that my brain gets fuzzy and I disconnect from my body and feelings.

What happens to you?

It is empowering to know this.

When I become aware of my habitual behaviors, I can do something about it: Breathe, put my attention onto my energetic center, move my body, notice what I am feeling and allow the fear and discomfort to be there. No need to change anything.Reconnect with this moment where I am actually safe.

Allow one safe moment to roll into the next one, until I have my grounding back, can feel my body again, notice my feelings and take my next step from there.

I can do it.

You, too?

 

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