I've been on a path to restoration all my life. I began the journey with my first pony, Trixie, a beautiful tri-colored Shetland mare. Later came Beauty, my beautiful black Morgan mare who became my constant companion from grade school through high school. The path has wound around and about, this way, and that way, sometimes winding in circles. My intention has been to stay true to my path as it unfolds, putting one foot in front of the other each step of the way, learning increasingly how to accompany myself with warm resonance and loving kindness.
As I continue to journey home to my heart, now accompanied by my Healing Herd of Horses, I notice more and more of my own patterns of thought, speech, action and reaction. I've learned to listen deeply from my heart, rather than from my judging left hemisphere, to hear more clearly and compassionately that which has been hopeless of being heard for ever so long.
This inner voice desperately wanted to know how to "get it right" whatever that meant in the moment - unfortunately my inner experience was repeatedly "getting it WRONG" most of the time. What can this look like?
Be indispensable to others
Not miss anything happening in the environment
Compare self to others and find self always lacking
Fear driven stories I messed up
A narrowed perception of living life through a lens of scarcity
I had a deeply healing session with a majestic horse named Romeo, he held a sacred space for me to allow more clarity and focus to emerge from my heart. To see a pattern that had been deeply imprinted in my nervous system; one of terror laced with morbid shame due to trauma from early childhood experiences with others. The interconnections needed in my nervous system, to learn something new or to stay afloat socially especially in group settings, had been disrupted. This pattern was not easily recognized because it ran in the background of my consciousness and had driven my behavior for years. It was quietly familiar. (Seemingly safe without recognition)
When my limbic region (emotional alarm system) detected a threat in my environment; i.e. someone voiced their care for me yet their face did not reflect a warmth that reached their eyes, their posture was stiff and rigid, the tone and cadence of their voice was crisp, sharp or dismissive, then a familiar, toxic, and reactive pattern would be activated instantaneously to ensure my survival - no matter the cost to myself. I first began to recognize this experience only after my body would be immobilized by a flood of neurochemicals so I couldn't feel the debilitating pain that is felt when there is a perceived (or actual) abandonment in relationship.
Gratefully, over the years I have found resonant empathy support (both 4 legged and 2 legged beings) which allowed me to learn something new about my life experience.
I make sense after all!
A part of me believed I was utterly alone with no one I could trust to turn to for comfort and soothing. This learned helplessness and hopelessness, imprinted at a cellular level, does not have to be a life sentence. It is possible to experience relief and healing. With repeated experiences of being held with warmth, compassionate understanding, and attuned resonance, we can connect our own Compassionate Witness who is always with us in each moment. When we can notice our body sensations, and catch the essence of our experience, then link sensations to emotions and the deepest needs awakened in the moment (Divine life energy) our inner knowing has a visceral shift. This is an accompaniment of the soul.
Slowing down to time travel back to my younger self, my Compassionate Witness sits beside her and gently asks, "Are you terrified and overwhelmed, and desperate to live in a world where safety is possible? Are you lonely and afraid, and do you need tender protection you can count on? I wonder if you are worried about the other person, and do you need to know everyone will be okay? Do you need acknowledgment that this has been really hard for you to experience?"
As I sank into my body I noticed a softening of my shoulders and relaxation in my belly, my breathing deepened ever so slightly. A felt sense of feeling felt and getting gotten by another (in a new visceral way) slowly melted throughout my being.
My Compassionate Witness shifted slightly closer to the younger self, "I am an older you," she explained, "and I have come back to be with you, because this is too hard for anyone to experience alone. Of course you felt terrified, because you so long to bask in the freedom to be who you are authentically. To know you are enough, exactly as you are. Would you like to come home and live with me now? I will always be here to accompany you."
The younger self climbed onto her Compassionate Witness' lap and as she nestled her head into a heart of love that she could really feel, she sank into the warmth she'd been longing for.
When I slow down to self-connect to my souls needs, I am empowered to recognize precisely where I AM. This process brings me back to my roots, my sacred values. All my needs are met in each moment when I am Present. They are perceived NOT to be met when I am attempting to be that which I am NOT.
I am passionate around the importance of not making anyone wrong. Rather, living transparently rooted and grounded one can be empowered to tune in to the nervous system and recognize any underlying ruptures (trauma) and intentionally resonate with the needs alive in the moment. It's not about making the other person wrong, no one is wrong. Each person is in a different place in their own journey home to their heart.
How can we develop the capacity to stay relational, to make repairs, and to have enduring relationships? In my experience I need trust as my solid foundation, trust it is possible to stay in my body, trust in my own social engagement system to be resilient, to have an authentic voice, to speak my truth, to make clear requests for heart connection with others, and to be empowered to hear the needs alive in myself and in another person's expression and/or action. I need to be in an authentic relationship, both with myself and with others for this to be doable.
The metaphor that has been most helpful for me to slow down and reconnect, to restore the heart of my younger life experience, is that of a horse and human. The horse represents (and reflects for the human) the emotional alarm system and its deep under currents of learned experience. The human represents a curious and open-hearted Compassionate Witness. The Round Pen (where the human invites relationship with the horse) represents the Sacred Circle of Life.
How much time does the human take to deeply and respectfully listen to the subtle nuances of communication coming from every movement of the horse? The horse is much larger and more physically powerful than the human, yet when they connect authentically on the ground on a visceral (intuitive) level, where a Heart Connection can take place, there is a felt-sense magic that happens. Every action and behavior is recognized as a communication to remain curious and open to learn from, for horse and human alike.
Am I, as the human, listening to understand and stay in the dance of relationship being reflected by the horse and reflecting back what I hear? Am I willing to redirect my foot steps to restore balance to this sacred relationship and reestablish trust when it is needed? When I have established a solid trust on the ground in a flexible and congruent relationship with my horse, then we are ready to dance at liberty together! (see video below)
I have come full circle, I am ready to accompany my visceral self (and horse) to live at home in my heart.
There is no shame in me. I recognize what I'm saying YES to now. The freedom to be me. To live life in relationship authentically with others. There are no comparisons possible to being who I am created to be. I am unique. I am empowered. I am whole and I am free.