Moving Day!

As I write this we’re well into the countdown to our move!  Most of the boxes are packed and we’re making all the final arrangements.

Tim, Kali Kat and I will be moving on Friday and then on Saturday (when this blog is published) we’ll be moving the horses. 

We’ll be without internet access for a while, waiting for BT to set us up with the necessary phone lines, etc, so it might take a while for normal service to be resumed!

Hopefully, though, we’ll soon be back online and I can share a little about our plans for our new place.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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Lessons from Dax

If you’ve been following my blog over the last few weeks and months, you might be wondering about how things are now with me and the amazing horse that I took on in May.  We’ve had our challenges and our ups and downs, so what has worked for us, and what hasn’t…?

Well, I can tell you that Dax is a different guy to how he was just a month or so ago.  He has really softened and relaxed which is wonderful to see.  He’s choosing to come with me when I ask him to – sometimes he needs to think about this for a second, but that’s fine by me.  I want him to engage his brain and to think about things, even if that means that it takes a little bit longer while he considers his options.

He’s recently had lots going on in his life – the dentist, the trimmer, a worming treatment and 3 of his buddies moving to another yard.  The trimmer (Caroline Andresen of Hoofing Marvellous) has been a few times now and he soon learnt that he can trust her to take good care of him and to make sure that he feels safe and comfortable at all times.

His dental appointment was the first since he had come to Bristol, so it was a new dentist and a different experience for Dax, but he was amazing.  I was so proud of him!

The loss of his 3 buddies hit him the hardest.  His special friend Belle was one of the 3 and he called for her for a day or so, obviously missing her and wondering where she’s gone and whether or not she would come back.

But Dax is a resilient fellow and he settled again, just in time for a new arrival.  We now have a young filly – a 2 year old Exmoor pony – on the yard.  She’s the cutest little thing and so independent!  She’s well able to take care of herself despite her size.  Dax has been a complete star too, and has been looking after her, which completely made my heart melt!

Looking back over all that’s been happening I’ve realised that I’ve learnt so much about myself since Dax arrived.  My relationship with him has been like a metaphor for my life…  It struck me the other day that the more I ‘resisted’ the challenging behaviours that Dax was showing, the more fear I felt, and the more fear, the more I resisted.  It became a negative cycle that wasn’t helping either of us.

The change has seemed to come in steps.  For example, one day I got the sense that Dax saw my attempts to be more assertive, and defend my space, as a game.  He wasn’t being nasty, he just wanted to play, but his play was scary to me – and because of his size, mass and strength, it could actually be potentially dangerous.  The important thing was that this realisation wiped out most of my fear and gave me a very different perspective.  I began to be able to respond with humour – or at least to be able to laugh at myself, and sometimes with Dax, rather than getting scared and anxious and only adding to the tension.

In the last week Dax has started to use his lips to nuzzle, rather than going straight in with his teeth.  I felt that he wanted to offer some mutual grooming – he loves a good scratch (as you can see in the video above) and I felt that he wanted to connect by offering something in return – however I was too nervous of those big teeth of his to let him try.He might always be a horse who likes to explore things with his mouth, and he might never be good with hand-held treats (he gets over excited and can become nippy and pushy) but he his now starting to offer a more gentle connection and engagement which is really helping me to relax more around him.  This in turn helps me to breathe more easily, rewarding him with softness and calmness and encouraging him to respond in the same way – a much more positive cycle.

Dax has taught me that I should have trusted my gut from the beginning and just listened to him and to my own sense of what was right for me.  This relationship is between the 2 of us.  Another horse, or another person, would bring a different response and what has worked for us might not work with that combination.

I would just like to encourage everyone reading this to really listen to your own inner wisdom.  Do what feels best to you, in your situation, with your set of circumstances.

If you’re struggling to do this, don’t worry.  It’s very easy to get out of touch with our own intuition and inner guidance, but there are simple steps you can take to reconnect:

  • One very powerful tool is mindfulness – taking some time every day to be fully present with whatever you’re doing.  You can practise this while doing simple daily tasks such as cooking, eating or brushing your teeth.  You can also take a familiar object and explore it with new eyes – and indeed all your senses.  Try to avoid any labels or judgements and just focus on what you can see, feel, smell, hear and even taste.
  • Another way to reconnect with your inner wisdom is by journaling.  This was something I thought I’d never be able to do but I surprised myself by how easily the words flowed when I made a start!  It gave me so much insight into my thought processes and the feelings behind them.  It also helped me to observe patterns in my behaviour and to see where these were supporting me – or not!

If you feel that you would like some support in reconnecting to your inner self, I offer workshops on how to Feel Your Way from Stress into Flow.  I will also be offering Mindfulness sessions at our new premises in Wales where you can spend time tuning in to the peacefulness of the surrounding woodland and / or sit with the horses.  If you’d like to know more, please contact me:

www.equenergy.com 

robyn@equenergy.com 

07980 669303

We have a moving date – and a new addition to the family

So, it’s official, we have exchanged contracts and the removal vans are booked for 2 weeks’ time!  It has felt like a long wait and I can hardly believe that we’ll soon be in our new home.

It’s been a very busy time with sorting, packing, recycling and getting rid of years’ worth of stuff.  This is a wonderful fresh start for us!  I feel lighter and energised – and just the right thrill of ‘scary’ to make it all exciting.  But the wait has been a challenge – trying to stay positive, to not get stressed, and to know how much to pack when we didn’t have a definite move date.

There have been some legal issues to sort out and at times we wondered if it would all fall apart and we’d lose the house.  We reached a low point last week as yet another proposed exchange date went by, and we lost our slot with the removal company.  I went to the yard and sat with the horses and started to visualise the steps towards successfully getting through this whole process.  I even put together a text to my husband:

That was the start of a shift for me.  I believe that if we focus on something, by The Law of Attraction we will get more of that thing.  This works both for the things we want, but also the things that we don’t want – it’s all about the flow of energy.  Where attention goes, energy flows.  So if I’m spending all my time thinking about something I don’t want, I’m feeding that energy and attracting more of it to me.  I realised that I’ve been doing this with our move – worrying that it will never happen, getting upset about the missed deadlines, grumbling about the lack of communication from our solicitor.  So instead I started to focus on how wonderful it will feel to hear that we’ve exchanged, to receive the keys on completion and to actually be moving into our new home.  I made the image as colourful as I could and included as many senses and emotions as possible:

  • the elation of receiving good news
  • the fizz of excitement
  • the flurry of packing
  • the decisions of unpacking
  • the rooms taking shape with our furnishings.

Doing this makes it all the more ‘real’ and encourages the Universe to come into line with the images and to make them happen.

This move means that Dax will be able to live with us, rather that at livery.  Because of this, we’ve been on the hunt for a companion for him.  Being a herd animal, horses need company, preferably of their own kind.  I wanted a mare this time, as Dax gets on well with girls.  Mares often make good herd leaders too, and I feel that Dax could do with a horse who will look after him and perhaps help him to learn more about boundaries.

One of the lovely women on our yard, Liz, has very kindly offered us a horse that we hope will be a good fit.  Ulrike (known as Eureka) was a brood mare and had a series of 7 foals.  She then was put to the stallion again but didn’t conceive, so her owners decided that she was no longer of use to them and they were going to give her up for meat.  At this point she was rescued by Liz’s daughter and has been living happily as part of their herd for a few years now.  Their herd has grown in size and due to time commitments Eureka hasn’t been getting the attention that they would like to give her, which is why she is now coming to live with us and Dax.  She is such a gentle and giving soul that we’ve fallen in love with her!

So we’re now the proud owners of a house in the country surrounded by 8.5 acres.  This is quite a lifestyle change for us as we will need to manage the land and care for the horses.  In fact we’re off there shortly to learn all about how to drive the tractor and work all the attachments.  My husband is so excited – he’s even got his John Deere cap ready for the occasion!

When plans change…

How are you at coping with change?  If you’re like me, change is fine in theory – it can mean something new and exciting, right? – but in practice it always seems to come when I’m not ready!  I’m kinda like: ‘I’m happy to be spontaneous, as long as you give me some advance warning…’

So, up until yesterday, we’d been thinking that we might be moving to our new home next Friday… but there have been some issues with the sale and it’s been delayed.  Also our removal firm no longer has any availability on that date.  As a result we have a new proposed moving date of 5 October.

When I heard that we couldn’t move yet I was so disappointed!  Gutted even…  It felt like a punch in the gut that left me winded.  I had got so attached to sticking to all our dates and to being in our new house by the beginning of October.  Now I would have to tell everyone that our date had changed!  This would impact on Dax’s accommodation as I’d given notice to move out at the end of this month, and would have implications for work bookings too.  All I could see were the negatives and the upset it brought to my plans…

But I soon realised that this was not going to help the situation.  No amount of stamping my feet and tantrum throwing (metaphorically speaking!) was going to bring us back to our original move date.

From my practice, I also know that clinging to my upset, rather than processing it and letting it go, could potentially make me ill.  From my META-Health work I know that my perception of this situation, if it remains unprocessed and held in my body, will push my body into stress, where it will make adaptations that could later result in dis-ease.  (And looking at my vocabulary around the situation – ‘gutted’, ‘punched in the gut’ – I didn’t much fancy what the consequences would be…)

So I set about making a shift in my perception.  I started looking for some positives in the situation, rather than all the negatives – the silver lining within the cloud.

I’m a firm believer in the benefits of a practice of gratitude and I know that I have so much to be thankful for in this process.  Counting my blessings, rather than being grumpy about everything that was going ‘wrong’, really helped me to feel better.  I’ve also noticed that, many times in the past, when things have gone ‘pear shaped’ and totally off plan, it has opened up amazing new opportunities that I might never otherwise have had.

So, thanks to this change of plan:

  • we now have more time to pack
  • we have a bit more breathing space
  • we’re less rushed (so hopefully we’ll be able to dot all the ‘i’s and cross all the ‘t’s, with nothing missed)
  • we have more time to say goodbye to everyone
  • we’ve been blessed with lots of support from wonderful friends and family.

I appreciate that writing about this process can make it seem overly simple – but then, it is simple, it’s just not always easy.  It can be a real challenge to let go of things that we might have hoped for and dreamed of for a long time, or that hold great significance and importance for us.  When we get a bit stuck we can sometimes benefit from a helping hand, or a tool, to get us moving forward again.  The practice of gratitude is a great first step and I often recommend keeping a gratitude diary and writing in it daily.  Another technique that I personally find very helpful, and regularly use with myself and clients, is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or ‘tapping’.  It’s really a matter of finding the things that work for you.

If you’d like to have a chat about any of the points I’ve made here, please get in touch:

robyn@equenergy.com

www.equenergy.com

07980 669303

Going round in circles…?

Something that I often hear from clients – and that I’ve felt myself, at times, in my journey with Dax – is a sense of frustration around facing an issue that they thought had been dealt with in the past.

It can be rather disheartening to feel that we’re ‘going nowhere’ or that the actions we’ve taken in the past have been ineffective.  As humans, we like to think that we’re moving forward.  It gives us a sense of achievement and satisfaction and is often a measure by which we determine our sense of self-worth or our self-esteem.

But we often find that, in reality, life is not linear!

Sadly, we can be tempted to give up on our dreams because we feel we’re getting nowhere, we don’t have the skills or we’ll never be good enough, when really we might be SO close to achieving more than we could ever have hoped for!  We need to remember that can’t see what might be just around the corner…

Also, I’ve realised, that we’re not actually going round in circles!  To me, it’s more like a spiral.  The first time we faced the issue, we dealt with one layer, or one aspect of it.  This is what we were ready and equipped to handle at the time and it brought us valuable learning and growth.

The next time the ‘same’ issue presents itself, I would argue that this is, in fact, a new layer or aspect.  We are now ready to delve deeper, learn more and grow further.  Isn’t that wonderful?  Isn’t that a reason to celebrate?  Doesn’t that prove that we have moved forward, and that we have the strength, resilience, inner wisdom and tools to do so again?

When I view things from this perspective I find it a great motivation and inspiration to carry on.  It allows me to trust the process and to believe that things are getting better, even though I might not see it in the moment.  It also opens my mind and imagination to come up with ways to address the issue – which might include people that I can turn to for help and advice, or just a listening ear.  I don’t have to do it all on my own!  Sometimes I can get too close to things and not be able to see all my options, whereas another person might be able to see more clearly and objectively.  And I’ve realised that sharing can help not only me, but the person I share with as well.

So please, if you’re feeling lost, disheartened, frustrated, overwhelmed and tempted to give up, reach out!  Remember that you hold deep resources within you.  You are amazing and wonderful, just like the butterfly!  And, just like the butterfly, you have everything you need right there inside of you!  Sometimes we need help to access these resources, but believe me, they are there.  Often it can help to take a break and do something to nurture yourself, before coming back with fresh eyes to reassess what’s going on.   Then, if you feel it will help you to see your path more clearly, talk things over with someone you trust.  Just remember that you hold the wisdom on what is best for you.  Go with what feels deeply right for you and don’t feel that you have to follow anyone else’s way.

 

If this has raised any questions for you and you’d like to have a (no obligation) chat, please feel free to contact me:

robyn@equenergy.com

www.equenergy.com

07980 669303

 

So many questions…

Last week I looked again at some important questions that this journey with Dax has raised recently and the answers that I have found so far.

This whole process has been a very interesting one for me.  It has caused me to question so many things – myself, my approach, my abilities and my beliefs.  This has led me to also ponder the various opinions offered to me.  Most of them have come from people that I respect, and yet their views have sometimes conflicted with each other, and sometimes with the views that I have held up to now.

This has meant that I’ve had to re-evaluate much of the information that I’ve been receiving – either from people or from books and articles that I’ve read.  I’ve tried to search for the things that resonate and feel ‘true’ to me, but found this hard when I’m no longer sure exactly where I stand.  Things have felt fluid and uncertain.

I’ve had to face up to these uncertainties, and my own loss of confidence.  Suddenly all the things that I thought I knew, all that I’ve studied and learnt, seemed to just fall away leaving me feeling empty and lost.

But I’ve come to realise that maybe I was looking for ‘truth’ and ‘certainty’ where there isn’t any… It’s perhaps a case of setting an intention (to do the best for Dax), creating dialogue with him and seeing where we can go, this boy and I.

  • Do we have a journey together?
  • Are we strong enough and brave enough to take the first steps and see where they lead us and if we feel some good potential there?
  • Can we trust each other to be open and hold space for the other, especially when fears come up and behaviours might reflect this?
  • Are we courageous and trusting enough to face the learnings, and to keep going when things get tough?

Given time, and space, I think we might be able to do it… but these two were feeling in very short supply in my world! I felt sleep deprived and overstretched…

Yes, this horse asks for so much – but I also see that what he is bringing up in me is my own inner ‘ask’ too…

It has all felt too much sometimes.  Occasionally I’ve felt so overwhelmed that I’ve wanted to press rewind and go back to the time before we sold our houses and I started this whole crazy plan!  But I can’t – practically, or emotionally – I’ve opened Pandora’s Box, for better or worse! I still don’t quite know where it will lead, and at times I’ve felt blind and lost, but something still feels ‘right’ – like this is a process that I need to go through… I manifested this… even if at times it has felt like a ‘kill or cure’!

The process has felt like a very lonely one at times.  It was as if Dax was the only other being in our little life-raft, the two of us being tossed around together.  There may have been others around – some offering great support without which I would have been very tempted to give up – but really, it was just the two of us, waiting to see if we would survive, or if we would decide to abandon ship and go our separate ways…

I talked before about facing our inner shadow.  This process brought me face to face with some deep seated fears:

  • that this is too big an ask for my wonderful husband, who doesn’t really want to move and who fears for my safety around this large, sometimes unpredictable, animal
  • that I’m being watched, judged and found wanting
  • that I am failing Dax

These fears might all be ‘just in my head’ but it doesn’t make them feel any less real!

I’ve said before that Dax’s moods are an enigma – and yet in a way they’re not.  When I think about his history, I can so get why he might suddenly seem to switch…

  • being taken from his mother
  • being left to starve
  • being passed from one person to another as a youngster, then again moving away from his home to come live with me

He has such deep wounds held within, and sometimes we can find these impossible to express without them exploding into a ‘beast’ that feels out of our control… such deep pain with no outlet… not a wonder his moods swing… not a wonder that he can appear to be struggling, ‘unpredictable’ and ‘grumpy’…

But then I wonder if I’m making assumptions about how he’s feeling, which actually are way off…

I’ve offered him various ‘releasing’ techniques – such as Reiki, massage, TTouch and essential oils – but it seems that he is not ready to go there yet.  He will start to show signs of relaxing and then it’s as if he pulls himself back.  So we’re taking it ‘slow and steady’, just doing little bits as and when he seems able and happy to engage.

I’m also trying to keep things light and to remember the value of fun and humour.  Dax is an intelligent horse with an inquisitive side so he needs to find expression for this too.

There have been shifts in his behaviour.  For example he used to get defensive if you stood at his shoulder, or tried to touch him here, turning to nip, but I haven’t seen this behaviour in a long time now.

Part of what has helped us is me going ‘back to basics’ and remembering to just enjoy being with him, with no agenda or expectations, and no pressure – on him or myself.  With animals, particularly horses, this apparently ‘overly simple’ strategy is often overlooked.  As humans we often see things as Big Complex Problems needing Big Complex Solutions, when sometimes what we need to do is just strip everything back and go for the simplest approach.  In our busy, noisy lives, it can be a real challenge to just Be and to en-joy the moment.  But it is in doing this that we unlock the potential of that moment and gain access to our intuition, our insight and to deeper listening, connection and understanding.

I want to be able to see Dax’s many good qualities, not just the less desirable behaviours.  In doing this, I hope to be able to create a space where he is set up to succeed, rather than to fail – to find his balance and contentment and to let go of his fears.  I hope, too, that he will see me as a consistent carer who will accept him in all his moods and always look for the good in him, behind any behaviours, while also supporting him to let go of the fears that create those behaviours.

 

If any of this is resonating with you and you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to comment below or to contact me.

Saying ‘No’

Isn’t it interesting how allowing our horses to say ‘No’ can bring up so much stuff – both for them and for us!?

Since Dax arrived there have been some changes in his behaviour, as those of you who’ve been following this blog will know.  At first he was like a little lamb, meekly following wherever I took him – except into that weird dark box that hoomans call a ‘stable’!  This has now turned around where he’s quite happy to go in to his stable – after all there’s hay and treats in there (herbs or pieces of carrot / celery that I leave on the floor for him to ‘forage’) – but not so keen to walk on the lead rope.

He also has times when he says a definite ‘No’ to being touched – this can be challenging when I want to check his feet or apply neem oil to keep the flies off.

Thankfully, though, he never says ‘No’ to having any scratches and scrapes treated, and will even come and show me when he’s got a cut somewhere!

His behaviour can seem unpredictable, in that some days he is quiet, almost subdued, and others he appears ‘grumpy’ and disconnected.  I get glimpses of a softer Dax, a more gentle and relaxed fellow who is open to engaging and exploring with me, and I think these glimpses are becoming more frequent, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t still see the other sides of him too.  As a good friend of mine posted on her Facebook group the other day, all of these responses from Dax are opportunities to question and explore:

  • Why has he responded this way?
  • How is he feeling today?
  • What has triggered this behaviour?
  • How does this situation look from his perspective?

 

This is also raising other questions for me, around my own beliefs and ways of being.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the use of strong discipline and ‘dominance’ theories doesn’t sit comfortably with me.  Many people talk about having to be the ‘lead horse’ but this has never made much sense to me.  A horse can see that I am different – I look different and I behave in different ways compared to horses.  I don’t have the anatomy necessary to speak full ‘horse’ either – big, mobile ears; large eyes on the side of my head; 4 legs; a tail; etc.  I am also a good deal smaller, lighter and less powerful.  Also, I can never fully appreciate what it is to see the world from a horse’s perspective.

Dominance theories are often based on research done in domestic (artificial) situations and so the behaviours recorded are not always ‘natural’.  Also we are viewing them through our human filters.

I have learnt that a herd’s way of being is more one of co-operation, synchronisation and leading / following, rather than dominance.

I want to learn how to be a good leader, one who leads by example, conscious behaviours and kindness.

  

From other, personal, work that I have done, I believe in the value of being curious and of listening to our inner, gut feeling, to guide us in finding the best course of action.  Of course, this needs to be done very consciously or we could easily think or convince ourselves that what we are doing is ‘right’ when actually it is just an ‘easier’ course of action for some reason.

So this is what I am working on in my relationship with Dax.  Seeking to find the way that feels right – for both of us.  One that allows us both freedom of expression, while still allowing both of us to feel safe.  Giving him the space to say ‘No’ while also showing him that I can say ‘No’ too.  Opening up a dialogue where we can explore those ‘No’s to see what’s behind them, and how we can find ways to say ‘Yes’ to each other.  This isn’t always easy.  Dax had a hard start in life and doesn’t appear to have learnt the subtleties of expression.  He seems to go from ‘Ok’ to ‘NO!’ in one leap, with no shades in between.  Part of this is my ability to ‘hear’ him too, and to spot his signals, so this is something that I need to learn.

In an earlier post I posed a series of questions:

  1. Is Dax really ‘unsafe’?
  2. Can the ‘ beautiful, loving horse’ within be encouraged to be brave enough to come out?
  3. What would be the best way to work with him to give him boundaries while keeping myself safe and not feeding his fear?
  4. How can I learn the lessons this is offering, to be the best person for Dax that I can be?

My responses to these would be:

  1. No, at least, no more so than any other unsure, sometimes frightened, sometimes anxious, younger horse would be.  I need to be observant around him, learning his signals and so avoiding situations that could be risky.
  2. I believe that the answer to this is ‘Yes’, and will look at this in more depth next week.
  3. This is still the big question and one which I am continually thinking about – reading, researching and exploring with Dax.
  4. I think this comes down to the observations and exploring mentioned above – that, and always seeking to be as honest with myself as I possibly can about what is / is not working, and where I need to go from there.

 

If any of this has raised questions for you, or you have any comments, I’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to comment below or to contact me.