How can a bond with a horse help a human heal?
Moving a human from trauma to healing requires the restructuring of emotional response. Both primary and secondary process emotions (conscious and pre-conscious) must be engaged and soothed (regulation of the sensitive limbic region of the brain). This must come in the form of new experiences. The experience of limbic neuroplasticity (the laying down of new neural pathways and responses) was deeply and beautifully expressed by a client in the following:
"What I noticed more than ever today was how all of the horses responded to me. They came close with softness. I did have a story with some alarm come up around the big black, but then I took a belly breath and allowed him to come close. I touched him on the side of his face and acknowledged his presence by looking into his eye. I used to go into such deep states of disconnect that I could not even look anyone in the eyes and my body felt like it was made out of concrete.
What is the magic of time-travel empathy?
There are different times in each year that I like to take time to slow down and acknowledge just how many miracles I have been blessed to experience in relationship with others. I enjoy recognizing invitations to deepen my capacity to both self-connect and connect with others and listen to the wisdom of our bodies through its felt-sense, becoming more and more horse-like. This year began with knowing I was stepping into a new beginning of my life, in partnership with my majestic herd, and collaboratively growing with warm community. This continues to be an ongoing relational practice.
A huge part of my learning journey has been intentionally developing my ability to be willing to trust that not only is it possible, but that it's safe, to receive deep, meaningful support for myself. Allowing myself to be vulnerable, transparent, and curious in relationship within a collaborative community of others--sharing resonant space, exchanging...
Do you feel suspicious when you receive kindness from others?
I've shared many times how, until even recently, my inner world was an unfriendly place.
I would often go to a place of harsh, self-criticism, longing to get it "right" or be "enough".
I've managed to shift my inner critical voice into one of warmth and safety over time, using resonant language, understanding how the nervous system works and rediscovering my joy.
Many of us did not receive accurate reflections of our emotional experiences as little ones, and so did not receive the understanding that what was happening in us made sense.
It can be very difficult for humans to access self-esteem and self-compassion when what we are experiencing does not make sense to us.
In fact, it is so distressing to be in this place of not making sense to ourselves that we can become cut off from accessing self-warmth and enter a place of intense self-dislike, even self-loathing.
Other times, some of us...
Some days you can wake up and feel so full of possibilities, and other days you might feel the complete opposite, life may seem nearly unbearable. All beings need to experience mattering no matter how they feel. All beings need safe spaces where they are welcomed as they are and listened to deeply and completely. Horses have an amazing power to heal and to teach. They offer unconditional friendship, experience a wide range of feelings, and provide immediate, honest, observable feedback in response to our interactions with them.
Relationships are healing for both horses and humans. Let me share with you a clients recent experience.
"I had an amazing day today, something I say often.
And just as often a voice tells me to run far, far away, as fast as I can and that I just need to hide under a rock and die. It is one of my voices that arise when I feel...
“Horses and Their Ability to Heal” by Gloria Lybecker, originally published in Natural Awakenings Inland Northwest.
"The horse has evolved over millions of years as a prey animal. Their nervous systems are wired to react quickly to known or perceived threats. The physical structure of a horse's brain, with its enlarged amygdala, closely resembles humans who have experienced trauma. This gives them the ability to engage easily with those who struggle with hyper-vigilance and reactivity, providing the "neuroception of safety" (safety felt by the subconscious) and intuitive understanding of who is trustworthy and who is not.
It is often said that horses see with their ears. This is true in that their visual to mental focus can be observed by where they point their ears. Yet every movement of the horse is communication: a twitch of its ear, a swish of its tail, the snake-like movements it can make with its neck.
Horses also have huge hearts, averaging about...
It is our birthright to live our lives whole… Many of us today don't feel completely whole, as if we are not all here. When we become aware of this, we can open to the possibility of reclaiming what we once enjoyed, and with support recover our soul - the vital essence of our life.
What can cause this sense of loss or emptiness within? For many it is the result of trauma; a part of our essence separated from us in order to survive. In an overwhelming experience our body supported us to escape the full impact of debilitating pain so we forgot the experience. In doing so, we also forgot who we truly are, and our sense of self was replaced by projections imprinted on us by others; family, authority figures, and peers, to name a few.
It is possible to receive support, to remember who we truly are, and why we were born into this world. It is our birthright to live our lives whole and help others to do the same. That is our passion here at Healing You...
Where I place my attention, my energy follows.
I notice this rings true for me in my relationships, not just with myself, but with horses as well. When I invite them to dance in rhythm with me, wherever I place my attention is definitely where my energy follows.
When I feel nervous and uncertain, and do not consciously acknowledge my inner experience, I tend to automatically look for what is "wrong" and may "over correct" in an attempt to restore a fluid sense of connection. I may also misread my horses' body language and cues and perceive my horses' actions as threatening. This does not contribute towards the beauty of the need for safety, let alone attuned resonate connection.
Yet, as I begin to notice the pattern emerging in the moment, and remember to slow everything down (dropping momentarily into my body, acknowledging my sensations and emotions and link them energetically to my needs) it's rather magical how I sense both our energies, mine and my horses,...
Today I’m going to talk about a modality that's been gaining popularity in recent years: family constellations.
Family constellations is a therapeutic approach that helps people understand and heal from the negative patterns and dynamics that exist within their family system. It's based on the idea that our families are complex systems, and that problems within those systems can affect us on a deep, emotional level. By uncovering and addressing these problems, we can heal from emotional wounds and live more fulfilling lives.
The practice of family constellations originated in Germany in the 1990s, and has since spread to other parts of the world. It's been used to address a variety of issues, including trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems. And as more people have experienced the benefits of family constellations, its popularity has continued to grow.
So, how does family constellations work? Essentially, it involves creating a physical...
As a little girl, one of my biggest dreams was to live in the country, with my own herd of horses, providing a safe haven where others could experience relationships very differently. Even radically. To experience relationships that endure, ones that maintain connection and communication - especially when it feels hard.
Especially when emotions oscillate high or low, I want to experience relationships that choose to stay, to accompany one another with curiosity and understanding. Rather than trying to fix you, tell you what to do, or make you wrong, or try to make you better. Because you are whole. You are complete. You are perfect as you are.
It may be that you need to get to know yourself with new eyes - through the eyes of a horse, or two, or three...
I am honored to share with you the story of a magnificent being who has begun to live her life on purpose - she is living her dream. Enjoy!
"I sought out and have experienced deep healing at this sanctuary in...
As I leaned forward in my chair, trying to navigate a virtual high school, I could feel the desperation mounting inside of me. I needed to get a program installed so my son could do his homework, but the computer set up was unfamiliar to me, the mouse was super sensitive, the type on the screen was smaller than my eyes could easily read, and the screen was positioned so I had to look up at it. The strain on my neck tightened by the moment.
"Relax, Mom," my son said gently, noticing how tense I was. "It doesn't have to be so hard. Take a deep breath and let go of the stress."
I took a moment to really hear him and looked into his face. He had grown so much since we began homeschooling him. We had chosen this path because public and private schools didn't meet his unique needs, and we wanted to be able to empower him to learn and grow at his own pace. It wasn't always easy, though. He experienced high anxiety and sensory processing difficulties, and I had to learn how to support him...