Horses are such beautiful creatures.
Majestic and gentle at the same time.
Such power and grace.
On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the Gentle Warrior Retreat with Carolyn Creed, a full day of equine-facilitated learning.
The horses pick up on your energy, and as if by magic, reflect things back to you and reveal the lessons you need. The experience can be pretty profound.
Horses are prey animals, so they are very attuned to their environment. As they graze, they’re in open awareness, taking in the subtleties of whatever’s around them as they go about their business. At a moment’s notice, they’re ready to make a move, but that doesn’t stop them from feeding or playing.
When we were about to enter the paddock for the first time, Carolyn explained that we’d go in threes – one person would put the harness on the horse, one would groom the horse and the other would observe. After a time, we would switch roles.
“Be sure to stay towards the center of the paddock,” she said. “You don’t want to get between the horse and the fence in case they push you into it.”
So off I went, ready to brush Jezabel, the gorgeous mare and leader of the herd. My fellow participant put the harness on her, and I stood at a distance for a moment, just in awe of Jezabel’s presence and power. This one thousand pound animal approached us with friendliness, and looked deep into my eyes for minutes before I stepped in to brush her.
I was sure to stay away from the fence, and slowly gathered the courage to approach her. My body was buzzing with excitement. From this distance, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by the horse’s beauty. At the same time, you are VERY aware that the horse is in charge here.
After a couple of minutes, I noticed that another horse had approached behind me, and was sniffing around in the bucket of brushes I was holding, looking for treats. They had also warned us to watch out for biting, so I started to get a little nervous. Suddenly, I realized that I was sandwiched between two horses, and that didn’t feel so safe for me.
“But I followed the rules!” I heard the voice in my head declare. “I did what I was supposed to do, and this doesn’t feel safe!”
So I stepped away, passed the brushes off to another member of my group, and took a moment to myself. After a few minutes, I could feel myself relax and approached Jezabel a second time, taking my time and tuning in to what felt safe for me every step of the way.
Stepping out of the paddock a few minutes later, I was buzzing with energy. It came over me like a wave…
How many times had I followed the rules, believing that that’s the best way to stay safe, only to find it wasn’t necessarily true? When we zoom out and look at life as a whole, it can be tempting to think that way. Follow the rules, do what’s expected, and everything will work out.
I don’t think it’s as straight of a line as we’re taught to believe.
On Saturday, I wrote these words in my journal:
“The safest place for me to be is in my truth.”
I noticed that what kept me safe in the paddock was being in tune with myself, following what felt right (or wrong) to me, and giving myself permission to get my needs met.
Not doing exactly what I was told.
Not figuring out the perfect plan in advance.
Not sticking to other people’s advice.
The safest place for me to be is in my truth.
It is there that I am present.
It is there that I am at choice.
It is there that I am in integrity.
It is there that I am aligned.
So today, I invite you to consider that you know what’s best for you – in this moment, and in your life.
Maybe not in your head, but if you follow what feels right, you just might find the truth.