Clean water is still coming out of the tap, there is food in the fridge and the NHS is still (just about) functioning, so please don't misunderstand me here. I do have things very much in perspective and the attitude of gratitude is still in full flow at Tynewydd Farm. However, challenges do seem to be coming quite thick and fast in 2017. Some of them are more serious than others and some of them have had me temporarily shaking in my boots. The difference seems to be that these circumstances are waking me up to where I am stuck in ever increasing degrees of urgency. They seem to be shining a bright light on where I am habitually looping around some old emotional and behavioural patterns. I am getting plenty of grist for my spiritual development mill at the moment and for this awareness, I am grateful.
This awareness also has me developing my teaching once more. I am focusing even more attention on the development of the human in the horse/human relationship. Teaching is becoming more experiential, less theoretical. More focused on sensing and feeling our own internal landscape and how we can work with this positively in a way that massively benefits the relationship with our horses. Time and time again of late, I have been stunned by how subtle changes in my energy have melted away an issue or improved something that has felt hitherto, illusive. There has been no need for strategies, practising, or actually doing ANYTHING with the horse. The change in me was all that it took.
I can't help but wonder how deep this approach goes?! What is the logical conclusion of this journey if such a thing even exists? How profound can the connection become in developing my own emotional and spiritual wellbeing?
In exploring and developing this shift, I find myself constantly returning to the words Flow, Feel, Energy and Release to describe and define to students, that which supports us on this journey.
I knew there was a reason I settled on this name for my business! I wasn't fully aware of the 'why' at the time but the reasoning is certainly much clearer now. Flow, to me, describes the lack of emotional blockages or barriers in both human and horse, enabling a free flow of love, energy and good feelings to circulate unhindered between us. It is this flow that creates that magical (and for some, elusive) connection, particularly at liberty. Flow works on so many levels but this is the level that appeals to me presently.
A word often used widely in relation to horses and humans and a subject that has filled many books. Increasingly my understanding relates more to my own personal 'feeling' that I offer to the horse that is entirely shaped by my ability (or otherwise!) to offer openness, honesty, authenticity, trustworthyness, groundedness and willingness to be emotionally vulnerable. The basis of all healthy relationships between any two beings. Feel is always in operation, whether we are aware of it or not, so far better to engage more fully and consciously with this 'unswitch-offable' aspect of our interactions with horses.
“Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial - mental and spiritual” Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University (quote taken from “the mental universe)
At a quantum level, we are all beings of energy. Our material nature is just and illusion. How much more productive to honour this and work with this fact more consciously. The possiblities genuinely become endless when we interact as energy beings. There becomes far less need to rely on gross physical mechanics in our exchanges with horses.
Out of all the four words, release has been the one that has recently had the most significance for me. Previously I had always interpreted release in horsemanship as meaning a de-escalation in whatever I was communicating to horses. Something that would signify that the horse was on the right lines in following my feel. Now I am far more likely to understand it as the need to provide a release in myself. Offering some kind of internal softening both physically and emotionally to support both myself and my horse. I have had many interesting personal experiences experimenting with release. Figuring our that sometimes I can encourage it and also learning that in many instances, the release has a life of its own and happens magically, allowing energy to circulate more freely within me. I have no control over it. I just release to the fact that 'spontaneous release' is about as good as it gets and trust that my body's innate intelligence supports me totally in this.
So for however long this bumpy part of the ride lasts for, Flow, Feel, Energy and Release will be my welcome travelling companions. A touchstone for me to come back to and rebalance myself. For anyone out there travelling along their own bumpy road, I sincerely hope my words help in some small but meaningfull way.