I like writing. I like putting my words out there. I like expressing myself in a way that gives meaning to my life and impacts the life of others. I read and listen constantly. I know the power of words to affect positive change or to hurt people and start a war. I’m learning to say things in a way that gives people hope, that encourages them to try, that makes them feel seen and heard. I have touched many lives and given my gifts to those in and out of my immediate circle.
If my words touch so many, then how is it that, without saying a word, the horses have the power to change lives, to change MY life? While it’s great to be able to use the highly developed, newly evolved front part of our brain for thoughts and words, rational and complex musings that lead to all matter of progress, it is also necessary to tap into the less developed processes of the brain, the horse brain if you will.
Tapping into the part of the brain that allows you to interact with your environment, both inner and outer is the basis for learning to BE PRESENT. When you are more aware of your body and the messages it sends, you learn to RESPOND, rather than REACT. In other words, you learn to develop behaviors that are calming and focused on one thing at a time. When you react without this awareness your thoughts become the spark that ignites a fire storm of inconsistencies, disjointed emotions and behaviors, defensive postures and a sudden need to escape-you are a primitive horse.
Watch and witness the actual feelings of your body-warm, tight, hard, dull, burning, jittery, calm or relaxed. These sensations come from our “horse brain”. Tap into them and you gain greater insight into the inner environment that you previously thought was out of your control. Yes it is possible to exert influence over these sensations before they lead to a cascade of unwanted events in our life. Horses gain wisdom from their inner environment and are acutely aware of the messages of the body. They learn by remembering what happened BEFORE what happened happens.
Then they can RESPOND calmly and cooly, avoiding the rush of adrenalin from an even more primitive area of the brain that sends them running. For us, it’s the difference between taking a moment to breathe and let the negative feelings pass and running from the sensation through aggression, numbing behaviors (including addictions) or trying to make others feel better even as we are off balanced and distressed. Horses can sense this disturbance and find it difficult to stay in the presence of someone struggling with imbalance.
Can a breath bring you back to awareness? Most definitely. A breath connects the outer environment (air and the life giving oxygen contained within it) with the inner environment (your lungs and the blood stream that carries the oxygen to each cell of your body). When you consciously breathe in and out, you silence the constant chatter of the highly developed mind. A mind that drags you into thinking about the past which you cannot control and the future which you have not seen and have no definitive say over. A breath brings you to the HERE AND NOW which you have complete control over. With a breath, you are the master of your universe!
Standing with your horse and simply breathing allows you to feel a connection of two beings, both in touch with their bodies, completely and authentically. The inner you, reflected in your horse is now in balance and can positively impact your outer environment, including the people and events in your life. ALL WITHOUT SAYING ONE WORD!
Today as you sit at your desk or move through your daily life, take a breath and feel the sensations of your inner environment. Honestly and genuinely identify the feelings that come from your horse brain and see if you can calm the rumblings, the stirrings of those sensations. Stay with your horse and respond to your outer environment with the peaceful feeling of balance with this outer world.
Starting this FALL, you will be able to tap into your “horse brain” by joining us at a unique experiential education course, “Let the Horse Be With You”, offered through the Clark College Continuing Education program. I will be your instructor and facilitator. Click on the photo to find out more!