What are two challenges you face moving forward? I have always wanted to learn how to drive a horse; my heart’s desire came true with Diva, at a Mindful Horsemanship Program several years ago.
I remember stepping into the arena to stand behind Diva, I gathered the long reins in my hands, and prepared to move out.
“What is your intention?” My coach asked.
“I’ll move out to the right and pause by the big barrel, then make a big circle moving from right to left coming back down through the center of the arena.”
“Want to step it up a notch?” she asked with a grin as she stood the big barrel up and moved small barrels to stand parallel in the center of the arena.
“What are two challenges you face as you move forward with your vision?”
“Hmm…” I thought for a moment, “being available...
Did you know that Horses can read your thoughts and emotions? They have an innate ability to give honest feedback and naturally use their bodies to "know" the world. As sensitive, sentient beings, they are in a unique position in the animal kingdom to teach us in ways never before possible - accelerating learning exponentially in ways we can apply to our lives immediately that creates lasting change.
I remember working with a group of youth one day, during an activity each participant wrote down on a tag something they treasured and wanted to protect about themselves. Then they each shared what they treasured with the group, and tied their tag onto the chosen horse's mane. One girl, we'll call her Anna, shared, "I'd like to protect who I am, meaning everything about myself, cause I'm accepting who I am!"
Next, as a group they built a boundary they thought fitting for that horse and attempted to keep the horse, which now represented what each one...
When people experience trauma, their symptoms may last months or years, with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions. Today I want to share with you how one of my clients experienced stepping into the constellation field with a horse.
Terrified of not mattering, being abandoned, and cast aside in her relationships, she came to Healing You Sanctuary to begin to heal her traumatic history. We went outside to the round pen and I asked her to build a magic room, a place she could go and feel safe. There were a variety of materials available in the round pen, and I had turned out Saphira, my mare, to provide female companionship. Let me share her experience in her words.
"Being asked to build a place to feel safe felt confusing. I put a chair and a stick and string in the round pen. I thought, "I really don't need anything to feel safe with Saphira." So I just stood, looking at all the other things and...
Have you ever noticed something when you were all alone and it both shocked and horrified you? I have. Let me tell you a story…
"NO!!!" I felt a flash of heat as I screamed in silent horror.
Rushing upstairs to look in the bathroom mirror my worst fear was realized. I saw the beginning of a stress sore on the corner of my mouth. Without conscious awareness my inner alarm triggered panic to flood throughout my nervous system. With ghastly images becoming more hideous by the second, I frantically searched through the cupboards, looking for my prescription to head off this atrocity.
As the panic attack triggered an asthma attack, and my breathing became very shallow, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Wide frightened eyes, raised eye-brows, and frozen facial features. Slowing down, I held my own gaze, and watched as it slowly transformed into one of recognition and then the warmth of gentle kindness.
Silently, I acknowledged what it was like to...
I’d like to share a story with you about an adolescent and a horse. It was about seven years ago at my sons doctor appointment.
“Do you work with the horses too?” the doctor asked.
“I had my own horse once, when I was 10. I got up early to go out and ride him all by myself. I was so excited! But when I got to the pasture, he was down, and didn’t move. He was already gone. Lucky wasn’t very lucky.” Rylan solemnly replied.
“That must have been very hard for you,” His doctor responded with care, “did you ever ride again?”
“Oh yeah, I rode Saphira, but it wasn’t the same.”
Hearing their conversation I felt stunned in the moment, and a tingling buzzed momentarily in my head. That was the first time I had heard of my son’s experience with his horse. He had never told me that he’d gone out earlier than I had, that fall...
As I pause and reflect upon the fruit I see growing in my own work, and in the world around me, I feel such profound gratitude for the clarity Marshall Rosenberg had when he gifted so many with the process of Nonviolent Communication.
17 years ago my life felt like it was turned upside down and inside out. I blamed myself for my son’s difficulties; I did not have tools developed to maneuver new territory that was totally unpredictable and unstable; and my window of tolerance was raw and quite narrow. I perceived no choice but to reduce my private practice in order to sort out how to move forward and even function. With a heavy sense of desperation, I began to search for information and processes that would help me to parent and nurture my then 5-year old son so he could regain developmental territory and begin to thrive in his environment, not just survive.
A friend mentioned Marshall Rosenberg’s book, A Language of Life,...
I invite you to hear or read this word, "math." If you are willing, pause and observe what is happening in your body. Is there a sensation of opening and softening? Are you acknowledging how fun and easy it is to focus on math? Or does your body contract and withdraw? Does a frown of concern or worry move across your face? Do you need a little understanding about how little you want to interact with any math concepts? Would you rather anything else? Do you love choice, and freedom, and autonomy?
As I say this, I noticed my own body (which had contracted and withdrawn into avoidance) loosened and relaxed as I named the sensations of my own inner experience. This observational practice, when mindfully experienced repeatedly, can take just a matter of moments.
I remember when I attempted to help my son with his math, I automatically moved into the strategies I was taught as a youth. "I'll be right back!" I told him as I raced down the stairs to...
I worked with a young man one time, and it was tough. I remember hearing him cry out in despair, "I just want to kill myself!"
When you hear those words, spoken in pain by someone you care for, how do you feel inside? Does your stomach clench and spasm? Or does a semi-paralysis claim your whole body and your breathing nearly stop? How do you hold space with love and support for someone when they are experiencing a primal response from the ever-present-past of trauma?
We may not be aware of a past trauma holding us back in the moment when we are triggered, yet in attempting to protect us, our hypothalamus and triple warmer can lock us into outdated defensive strategies that rigidify our habit field.
It is not possible for a person to think clearly when the blood has left the forebrain and moved into the limbs for fight or flight. Even though many people know the kinds of changes they want to make, they find themselves unable to make...
How do you stay present in the face of perceiving an unexpected attack? What happens in your body as you take in the heightened expression of your child or loved one? As children move through adolescence, it can feel emotionally rocky, not only for the child, it can feel rocky for the parents. We can find ourselves reacting when we’ve promised ourselves we will stay present. Today let me share an experience I had with my youngest son, Rylan.
I remember feeling momentarily stunned as I heard him cry out, “You’re not my mom, you’re a hologram!” His eyes were wide, and the corners of his lips were turned downward.
I automatically slowed down my inner experience and took a deep breath in through my nostrils. I noticed my stomach was tight and my breathing was shallow. As I monitored my inner world, I further noticed my back was rigid, and the whole of my experience felt surreal, as if I was looking out of my eyes from a great distance.
There have been times in my life when life seemed to have a particular pattern, that I’d forget it’s possible for something different to occur. Let me share an example.
I remember one morning several years ago I heard the movement of our son coming from the other room, at the time, I felt it was incredulous when I turned and saw him. There he stood; with a slight grin on his face, holding his dog in his arms, and... his sound therapy headset on his head!
Throughout the day he was energetic; he literally bounced around the house, sang to himself as he cleaned and organized his room, smiled often, attended to his chores, and engaged in conversations which quickly changed from topic to topic. (Identifying my child’s natural movement and tendencies is an important step in understanding and honoring his true nature.)
“Wow! Look at you this morning!” I exclaimed, with surprise and delight registering in my tone of voice and...