Friday, October 8, 2010

Moving Through Fear, Ego, Drama Into Confidence

Dawn is from Boston and CR is from Montana. They met in Millarville, Alberta. It was no accident some would say. But they are an unlikely match. Dawn is new to horses but they've been a lifelong dream. CR is not new to humans and he is not a beginner's horse. But somehow, all of that was irrelevant in light of the connection they immediately felt.

CR is a beautiful moving horse, light, very senstive but prone to nervousness and anxiety which is why he didn't seem an "appropriate" match for Dawn. He was also the herd boss with somewhat of an ego, his actions seeming to originate from anxiety. He didn't suffer fools gladly!

But, somewhat surprisingly, he went to work "teaching" Dawn under the skilled guidance of Dessa Hockley. And Dawn, with patience and enthusiasm, embraced their experiences together in the arena. Their relationship grew. Dawn went out to the field each time she had a scheduled lesson and most of the time, he agreed to come in with her.

And then, this past winter, he stopped coming in. Dawn patiently agreed to spend lots of time with him in the field which turned out to be just what she needed to help dissipate the stresses in her busy professional life. But what was going on?

When doing herd checks, I would see CR, usually from a distance, approach him and check him over. He would tolerate my attention - not unusual. But then we noticed he was kind of depressed. So I decided to try and offer him my homemade brand of energy work when I went to see the herd, something he surprisingly said yes to - but from a distance. Dawn continued with her visits, enjoying her many field experiences. But there was no evidence of willingness to engage as before and come in.

One day this summer - a hot day - I went to check the herd. They'd come in from the field and were in their paddock. It was quiet, except for the buzzing of the flies requiring frequent tail swishes, head shakes and foot stomps. There was CR in a prime spot in the shelter, head facing inward and surrounded by several horses. Would he like some energy work? Yes. From a distance? No. Come in here. Seriously? There's no room. Come in here. Okay.

So I went in there and made my way to his head. Stand with me. Okay. It was hot! It was crowded! The flies were terrible. There we stood. For how long, I have no idea. Then, he reached out and touched me. It was done.

Through that time, we started to notice a change. Something was happening. He and Dawn were having rich conversations. Sometimes they sat together in the field. This wasn't a change per se. But he was starting to engage. Dawn even got to sit on him one evening while he grazed on the lawn. His eye looked different. His expression was more ... aware. He seemed to be meeting things with interest, ears alert instead of off to the side. He seemed taller! Occasionally, he even approached me when I went to check the herd instead of me approaching him.

Then, in September, he agreed to attend the week-long Women's Retreat with Dawn which meant leaving his herd and staying with the other horses in a different field. It was difficult but he made it to Thursday before he really had to go back out to his herd. But while he was in, we noticed again. Something was different. Dawn definitely felt it. It was as if a new CR had emerged! Still the herd boss, he had a new confidence about him, now moving amongst the horses with assurance, the old anxiety gone.

It seems he had moved through his fear, ego, anxiety, into confidence appearing now to be comfortable with himself and able to engage with Dawn and his environment more willingly, intensely, deeply and with a new kind of awareness. It was as if a huge load had lifted from his shoulders. He even exhibited something akin to compassion with a skill for healing as evidenced by an experience I'll tell you about another time with my injured horse, Diva.

Other horses have done this too. They've gone through a process where they've faced something and then emerged. Sometimes their process is a very physical one with an injury or illness. Others, as in CR's case, is more of a detachment and depression. A friend of mine calls this a "healing crisis" in humans. Hard to believe, but this "crisis" is actually a signal that you are ready - to face, deal with, allow, and then to emerge. If you're someone like Dawn watching the process, it's not easy. And whether you're the one in it or the one watching, ask for and be willing to receive help; breathe deeply; listen closely and with an open heart and, most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Trust it all.

Getting back to Dawn and CR, what an example of awareness and courage. Facing those things from the past that keep us stuck in the drama and allowing it/them to pass through can take us to our true essence, our authetic, confident selves.

This exceprt is from "Litany Against Fear" and is by Frank Herbert, author of the Dune series of books:

"I will face my fear [anger, sadness, pain, guilt, ego].
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where fear has gone, there will be nothing.
Only I remain."


hcumming said...

Wow, Cathy what a beautiful post--uplifting and hopeful!
(plus awesome pictures-of course)

Kolina said...

I agree with Heather. How inspiring! thanks for lighting up our day Cathy!!

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