I initially wrote this blog early last week, but then something happened on Thursday which prompted me to write this short edit. A friend that I deeply respect, told me that she felt I wasn’t being honest with myself about my responsibility in the situation I find myself with Dax, and that I was placing the blame on other people. I would therefore like to print an apology for anything I’ve said that has come across in this way. It was not my intention.
Regarding responsibility, this has made me think of the difference between ‘taking responsibility’ (in an empowering way that leads to action) versus ‘taking the blame’ – which is what, in hindsight, I think I was actually doing, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and generally powerless. I have recognised that this is something I need to address and so have begun to take steps in this. This has then enabled me to look more openly and closely at what’s been happening with Dax and to take more constructive action in this too.
And now, back to my blog:
Last week I wrote about how I’ve been learning to bend so that I don’t break. A further step in this lesson for me is to practice being able to ‘dance in the rain’ – ie, not to wish that there were no storms in life, but rather to celebrate them, knowing that they bring valuable teaching and that even when times are tough, I can still dance and make the most of every moment. It’s also about being able to be present with whatever is happening in the moment and to be comfortable, even with being uncomfortable.
Getting to this point takes time and practice. We rarely manage it in any sustainable way the first time! But, like the baby learning to take its first steps, it’s a matter of getting up, dusting ourselves off and trying again.
After all, that’s what life’s really about, isn’t it – experimenting, trying, finding out what works and what doesn’t, repeating the former and discarding the latter and continually refining and adapting.
When we make decisions and choices, we might think that we’re doing so from a purely logical, rational, analytical perspective but I’ve come to realise that there’s always an emotional element on some level. This is true for the simplest of choices, such as what we’re going to wear on a particular day, to what’s for dinner, to what car we want to buy. It’s even more true when we consider our responses to situations. These are determined by our thoughts and beliefs which are strongly coloured by our past experiences and our emotional state:
In every situation, when we react rather than make a conscious choice, we are doing what we think will make us feel better / safer in that situation. However, when our perception is coloured by fearful past experiences, these decisions will not help us to move forward. They can end up being a form of self-sabotage.
This is why, when we want to grow, we need to become curious about what is motivating our choices. To do this, we need to develop our ‘emotional intelligence’ in order to gain a greater understanding of what’s going on inside. It can be a real challenge to face up to the things that we don’t like about ourselves – the things that we don’t want others to see – and to be open and honest about them. But when we can do this with self-forgiveness and self-compassion it can be a very liberating experience! Not only that, but it enables us to support others in developing the same skills and so allow them to find that same freedom.
Just imagine how wonderful that could feel:
- to no longer be held by fear
- to be free to experience the fullness of love, joy and connection
- to be fully your self, no longer needing to wear any masks
- to feel fully alive!
Of course, life still has its ups and downs. It still seems to throw us curve balls to keep us on our toes! But when we can learn to bend and to dance in the rain, we are much more able to adapt, flex and flow with these ‘plot twists’. We have greater clarity and insight on our own responses – and after all, these are the only things we have any control over.
It was very difficult for me to face the fact that we’d lost our field shelter when it was destroyed by the recent storms. There was the financial pain – it had cost about £4,000.00 and we can’t afford to replace it – and the thought of all the wasted time and effort that my wonderful husband had put in to building it and making it – we thought – storm safe. Not only that, but I worried about the horses: their safety when it went over and what they were now going to do for shelter.
Then I decided to look at the situation from a different angle. Yes, we’d lost a lot of money, but everyone was safe, and no-one had been injured, which was the most important thing.
Obviously, we had tried to stand against the force of Nature, rather than go with it, and hadn’t realised how strong the winds could get in that part of the field. So how might we do things differently?
I looked around at the resources that we have here. The house is situated on a lower level than the fields and between them there is an area of ‘unused’ land – rough grasses, gorse bushes and some trees. It had always been my plan to open this up to the horses and as I looked at it with fresh eyes, I realised that there is a lot of natural shelter there, from trees and the contours of the land.
So now I’m looking into making this area secure so that the horses can access this natural shelter. It will also provide them with additional, interesting places to explore.
I’ve also ordered some Willow, to see if I can create a living shelter for them. If it’s successful it will have many benefits, including roots to further stabilise the land and drink up some of the water which makes that part of the field a quagmire in the winter. It will provide shoots that the horses can nibble on – as long as they don’t eat until there’s nothing left! Time will tell on that one…
This is what we hope to achieve:
If you’ve ever tried to create something like this, I’d be really interested to hear from you about how it went, and any tips that you can share!
If any of this has resonated with you and you’d like to learn more about developing your own emotional intelligence and resilience, and how to feel your way to the choices that are right for you, you might be interested in attending one of my workshops on how to ‘Feel Your Way from Stress into Flow’. Contact me for further details: