Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Food For Thought

I’ve been listening to a teleseminar series created by Stormy May and Mark Mottershead that grew out of Stormy’s video, “The Path of the Horse”. Stormy and Anna Twinney are joined each week by some of the people who appear in the video to further the discussion about an emerging horse consciousness. This latest conversation was with Linda Kohanov, who has been a great influence in my life. Years ago, Linda was the first person who really validated and clearly expressed what I had been feeling about horses when she wrote “The Tao of Equus”. I often feel the little “aha!” light bulb go on inside me when I read or hear what she has to say, and I’m happy to find that she didn’t disappoint me this time.

Linda brought up some scientific research being done that shows there are energy fields around human and horses’ bodies that pulse out as far as ten feet from us so that horses can actually feel our heart rate and blood pressure when we approach them. If we are incongruent --wearing a mask and trying to stuff our emotions-- the horse will feel it, and its blood pressure and heart rate might also rise. She suggests that we do our horse a favor and admit it if we get scared or frustrated or angry. Don’t punish your horse for what you brought to the stable, was one of her messages.

She suggested that when you start to interact with your horse, you ask yourself, “What are we going to discover today?” Like many of us, Linda admitted that being with horses this way reverberates out to how she relates to people in her life and makes her less interested in riding than in exploring what the horses can teach us. She said that in order to connect to the horse, we must learn to pay attention to both ourselves and another being at the same time - not just paying attention to the other being or just to yourself or not paying attention at all. She believes that the horse teaches you to have these kind of mutual relationships with others. She explained that it’s often a real revelation to the woman who comes to workshops at Linda’s ranch who doesn’t pay enough attention to herself and focuses too much on what others want and need. When she said that, the light bulb went on for me. Isn’t that just what I’ve been noticing about myself recently? Not taking time to nourish myself takes its toll on my relationships with everyone else in my life.

Her advice is if your horse acts like it doesn’t want to be around you, step back and check in with yourself. Just being conscious of what you’re feeling will cause your blood pressure to drop, and you’ll become more congruent. The horse is simply asking you for the acknowledgement, not to fix it, but to hold the place where healing might occur. Anna Twinney responded by saying that it’s very important not to miss the little miracles that happen every day.

This weekend, I was talking to a woman about how people find their strength in their broken places. It reminded me of a quote Kohanov attributes to an anonymous aboriginal woman in her book, “Way of the Horse”: “ If you have come to help me, you’re wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound with mine, then let us work together.” If Silk could talk, I know she'd agree with that. And I have come to appreciate this wisdom deep in my bones.

13 comments:

billie said...

Nice post. I've felt this with my own horses, particularly with Salina, who is an absolute biofeedback machine, and thus the perfect horse for doing equine-assisted psychotherapy.

She mirrors back what you're feeling, and for clients trying desperately to gain self-awareness, it is amazing to watch as they adjust things in themselves and Salina adjusts along with them.

She's been such a blessing to me, personally. I feel, on a daily basis, that I have a zen master awaiting me right in my own back yard. :)

Victoria Cummings said...

Billie - Thanks. When you write about Salina, I feel that she and Silk would be friends. Old mare wisdom. They have so much to offer if we stop and listen.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Glad you posted this. I always believed that horses can sense what a person is truly like, not what we try to convince ourselves and others we are.

Angie said...

Good reading!

the7msn said...

This is great stuff, Victoria. I never recognized the whole energy thing until I started watching and reading Cesar Millan. The more I learn about it and acknowledge my energy when I'm with any of my animals, the better our relationships become.

Spartacus Jones said...

If you haven't already done so, I think your MUST read The Secret Teachings of Plants. Has a terrific section on the heart, electro-magnetic impulses and entrainment.

I think you'd dig it.

sj

deejbrown said...

And I thank you for the wisdom in your bones that pass on to my tired ones....

Night Owl said...

I think you're right, I met a student once, I can't remember what sort of course he was doing, but he was studying the effects of owners blood pressure and pulse on their horses behaviour.

jane augenstein said...

Great post! I am glad I found this blog; I too believe that horses can read us like a book and are very sensitive to what we are feeling.

Linda said...

Thanks so much for the link to the video - I loved the book "The Tao of Equus". I really feel that my horses are communicating with me - I just don't always get it!

Carolynn said...

Time and time again, I find that what I bring to the party is what I get back. If I'm tense or nervous, the horses give it right back to me. If I'm relaxed and at peace, so are they. It's a little unnerving to be so transparent to another creature, yet it's a powerful lesson that can flow out into other areas of my life.

LJB said...

I love that quote... touches the Buddhist facets of my being.

enlightenedhorsemanship.net said...

Excellent post. I'm working on one that gives the specifics of how horses and people sense the energies of one another--through heart coherence (measured by EEG) and other parameters. It's neat to have actual proof that they really CAN sense that we are hiding things.