A Perfect Storm

perfect storm is an event in which a rare combination of circumstances drastically aggravates the event. The term is used by analogy to an unusually severe storm that results from a rare combination of meteorological phenomena. (Wikipedia)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where one thing after another seems to be going against you?  It can really zap your energy and optimism!

Recently it’s felt a bit like that here.  When we moved to this beautiful part of the world, we knew that there would be some work to do on the outbuildings, and managing the land, but we thought that the house was sound and all we needed to do was move in and we could do any necessary repairs, etc, at our own pace.

However, this has turned out not to be the case.  Of course, this summer was one of the driest on record – even here in Wales.  But the day we moved we had storm Callum, and then in this last week we had storm Diana.  All that wind and rain tested the solidity of the buildings and revealed leaks that weren’t apparent on our earlier visits.  We’ve found that water is coming in, in several places – through roof, doors and walls.  All of this of course means extra expense, which is scary when you’ve just moved house!  There are also leaks in several outbuildings, and the roof on the cabin was threatening to lift off.  We lost a panel off the side of one of the storage buildings and several items were blown into the stream.

The winds also turned poo picking into quite an adventure!  One afternoon I lost my hat, barrow, rake and poo skip – all blown away from me.  The horses were rather spooked by the waving branches and the sound of the wind in the trees and hedges.  Dax quickly settled once he got some hay, but Rika was more uncertain.  She seemed to gain confidence, though, when I stood next to her and reassured her.  She pushed in a couple of times for a scratch and it was lovely to think that my presence put her more at ease.  Thankfully both have still been keeping warm, despite the weather.

Added to this is the fact that we still haven’t been connected to the internet and phone.  TV is also part of the package that we’ve ordered, so we don’t have that either.  This has been a big challenge in many ways and my husband is finding it particularly frustrating.  I was managing reasonably well, using WiFi in a local café as and when I could, but when hubby was away with work for the night of the storm, the sense of isolation from a lack of contact with the outside world, hubby’s frustrations and the fact that he is very unhappy that we’ve moved here, concerns about the effect of the weather on the horses and financial worries, all piled up, and I suddenly felt hopeless and just wanted to rage at the world!

This made me think about what I could do to support myself, when I felt I had run out of energy and resilience.  These were my tips to myself:

  1. Remember to breathe! A simple thing, and it might seem small and insignificant in the face of the storm, but it helps you to be more grounded, to find balance and perspective when the storm is threatening to blow you away.  Also it can be heartening to know that you are still holding on.  When you look back and see what you’ve managed to come through, it can build your confidence and awareness of your inner strength.
  2. Take one step at a time. When you’re in a ‘perfect storm’, everything seems overwhelming.  Each issue appears to be too huge to manage.  We can feel lost and uncertain of where we’re going or what the future might hold.  But keeping moving, even at the slowest pace, means that we’re taking action rather than getting stuck.  And again, we can discover an inner strength and resources we were unaware of, which is a great boost to our confidence and esteem, and contrasts against the things that seem to be knocking us down.
  3. Don’t make any big decisions. When you’re struggling, feeling lost and out of your depth, it’s not a good place from which to make important decisions.  If others are pressing you for an answer, it’s ok to say that you need some time.  You need to be able to restore your sense of balance, perspective and hope, reconnecting again with your inner sense of who you are and what matters to you – your inner compass – before you can hope to make a choice that will serve you.
  4. Spend time with those who lift you up. When you’re struggling to find anything positive or hopeful inside of yourself it can be good to spend time in the company of people, music or books that soothe and encourage us.  I’m very fortunate to have some wonderful friends to call on.  I rang one the night that my ‘perfect storm’ hit, and she immediately suggested getting together.  We’ve arranged to meet up tomorrow and having this to look forward to, I suddenly felt a little better, almost as if I was drowning and had found a rock to rest on allowing me to catch my breath and have the space to regather myself.  It’s said that we become like the 5 people we spend most of our time with, so pay attention to the people – and the energy – that you hang out with.  Are they uplifting?  Encouraging?  Supportive?  Reassuring? Optimistic?  Do they build you up?  Encourage you?  Believe in you?  Reignite your passion?
  5. Take time to rest and reflect, and be gentle with yourself. When everything seems to be yelling for your attention, it’s important to take some time out for yourself. Peace and quiet are invaluable for helping us to recharge and think about where we would like to be once the storm has passed.  For me I noticed that getting outside into the woods, or into the fields with the horses, helped me to put some distance between myself and most of the things that were stressing me.  It helped to restore my balance and sense of positivity.
    Also, don’t be too hard on yourself for being in this situation.  Life can throw us curve-balls.  Finding yourself in the middle of an emotional storm is not a poor reflection on who you are.  It’s our responses to our situation that show our true character.
  6. Take good care of yourself. In the midst of the storm, everything seems to be demanding your time and attention, leaving no time for yourself.  But this can lead to draining your batteries, leaving you exhausted and even ill.  At times like this it’s important to eat healthily – including lots of fresh, preferably organic, produce, including fruit and veg of a wide variety of colours to boost your vitamin and mineral intake – and to get as much sleep as you can.
  7. Hang in there and remember that even the worst storm passes. Suddenly something will shift, or it can be a slow and gradual change that you don’t even notice at first, but then, one morning, you look up and there’s a glimpse of sunshine poking through the dark clouds.  For me, I arrived home yesterday to find a strange car in the driveway.  When I went into the house, I found hubby talking to a lovely bloke who turned out to be, in my husband’s description, “a jack of all trades, and master of all of them”!  In short, it appears that we might have found the guy to help us put our place in shape and get us through the winter intact.  Of course, it’s going to cost money, but those financial concerns seemed to fade into the background when presented with this solution to our other worries.  Also, the fact that hubby was now in a much better mood lifted my spirits immensely!

So, what about you?  What are your tips for dealing with a ‘perfect storm’?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you ever feel like the ‘perfect storm’ is building, and you need a break away to think, take stock and recover your balance, you are very welcome to book a session here at Equenergy.  I offer Reiki, Emotional Freedom Techniques (‘tapping’), mindfulness through reconnection with Nature, and workshops on rediscovering that sense of ‘Flow’ in your life.  Please contact me for further information:

Or you can see more on my website:

 

 

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6 practices for when life feels like a roller coaster!

Last week I talked about some of the challenges that I’ve been facing after taking on the care of ‘Dakota Horse’.  If you’ve read some of my other recent posts you might remember that we’re currently also in the middle of selling up and moving house!  This is not only about our home, but also about my business and my vision of how it might develop in the future – so no pressure there then!!  All of this has meant that life is feeling a bit crazy at the moment.

At times like this it’s all too easy to slip into old patterns of overwhelm and the consequent unhelpful behaviours and thought cycles.  I am therefore doing my best to remember to practice good self-care.  I’m far from perfect, and still very much a work-in-progress, but they say that practice-makes-perfect, and it’s certainly giving me insight and a lot of food for thought.

I promised to share some of the things that I’ve found helpful in the hope that it will be of use to others to:

  1. The first and most important thing is remembering to breathe!  Yes, perhaps a rather obvious one, but when I feel stressed I know that my muscles tighten and my breathing becomes more shallow.  This means that my body feels more tense, and gets less oxygen, which becomes a negative spiral, feeding my anxiety.  On the other hand, when I remember to pay attention to my breath, and to breathing deeply and evenly, it helps me to relax.
    To help with this I recommend doing a body scan several times throughout the day.  This enables you to spot areas of tension in the body, and to see when breathing is shallow, allowing you to then breathe into the tight areas, inviting them to release and relax.
  2. This in turn helps me to take a step back and to have better objectivity, which allows me to see more clearly and rationally.  It helps me to keep a greater sense of proportion and not to spiral into overwhelm and feeling out of control.
  3. Breathing properly and being objective also help me in evaluating the reality of the situation and carefully considering my options.  If I slip into panic this is much more difficult to do – if not impossible.  It’s known as ‘blind panic’ for good reason!  Being able to think things through like this, usually allows me to see that there are lots of things I can try, and people I can ask for advice and / or support.
  4. Another thing that helps me in this is to get moving.  Going for a walk helps to break the sensation of being ‘stuck’ and powerless and helps my brain to function more effectively.
  5. I also find being outside in Nature very soothing.  I love the energy of being surrounded by trees and wildlife and find it very grounding.  It helps to restore my sense of perspective too.

  6. Mindfulness, meditation and journaling have helped me to develop more emotional intelligence and self-awareness.  This has allowed me to let go of some of the things that were no longer serving me, and to reconnect with my inner stillness, allowing me to relax more effectively.  This is so important for moving out of ‘fight or flight’ and into ‘rest and repair’ which is essential for our wellbeing.

 

Next week I’ll share some further techniques and insights that I’ve learnt along my journey.

Challenges and Triggers

Last week I started the story of how a handsome young gelding came into my life.  This week I’d like to formally introduce him!  In his previous home he was known as Lucky, however I felt drawn to giving him a new name to mark the start of this new chapter of his life.  I believe that names can carry a significant energy and I wanted to find one that would represent the relationship I hope to develop with this amazing being, and so I chose ‘Dakota’, which means friend or ally, as I hope that we will establish a close connection and partnership through our time together.

Dakota (Dax) and I on the evening of the day he arrived in his new home

This beautiful boy had rather a hard start in life – he was separated from his mother at 1 month of age and left to starve.  He was then rescued, and after a while ended up in the care of his lovely owner.  She spent a considerable amount of time, care, attention and money in getting him healthy again and now, at 6 years of age, you would never imagine that he had had such a history.

In his previous home he was living barefoot, non-ridden and with 24/7/365 turnout, on a diet of ad lib hay and a few wonderful Thunderbrook supplements.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find facilities in this area that quite match this, so we’ve had to make some compromises.  This has triggered me in ways that I was not expecting!

I feel such a huge sense of responsibility for this animal who is now solely in my care.  I might know the theory of looking after a horse, and have practised it in various ways in the past, but it has never been all on my shoulders before.  With other people’s horses, I wasn’t the one who had the final say on decisions such as:

  • when and how to introduce him to the other horses on the yard;
  • or when might the grass be safe enough for him to go out on it,
  • and for how long.
    (When he arrived he was in the ‘winter field’ with ad lib hay and very little grass, but that was not going to be a permanent arrangement.)

We also, obviously, need to fit in with the others on the yard, as I’m not on my own land…

I know that all this takes time, and is a matter of trying things, then tweaking them as necessary.  The others on the yard are there to discuss any concerns I might have, which can be helpful, but sometimes it is actually more confusing – and stressful – when everyone’s opinion is different.  It has pushed old buttons within me and raised some uncomfortable feelings for me to explore – about my abilities and also my sense of worth and the value of my opinion and views.  I know that these feelings relate to old fears and conditioning that no longer serve me, so this is a great opportunity to look into what my discomfort is showing me:

  • where do I have old needs that have not been met?
  • how can I best learn the lesson that they have for me in order to let them go?

Previously, my coping strategy was often to push down my feelings, however I’ve learnt that this actually makes things worse in the long run.  In fact it has made me ill in the past, leading to migraines, eczema, digestive issues and anxiety.

Over the last few years, on my journey of learning more about myself and how I can support my own wellbeing, I’ve learnt some very valuable techniques that generally work well for me.  This can be a very individual thing, as each of us is unique, with our own challenges and personalities, but next week I’ll share some of what has helped me, in the hope that it might be useful for you too.

 

Deepening your connection – Part 5

Other ways of supporting your own wellbeing and balance include:

  • taking time-out for yourself
  • meditation / mindfulness
  • physiotherapy / chiropractic / massage sessions
  • a healthy diet
  • getting sufficient sleep
  • complementary therapies (eg homeopathy, aromatherapy Bach Flower remedies, EFT, healing, etc) 

I personally offer a range of support which can be used face-to-face or at a distance:

  • MetaHealth : This sees dis-ease as a process and, by analysing what is going on for the person, it can trace back to find the original trigger behind the symptoms. The practitioner can then suggest ways in which the trigger can be addressed directly, and cleared, allowing the person to make the journey back to good health.
  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) : this uses the same meridian lines followed by Traditional Chinese medicine, however without the needles! It helps to clear blocked traumas and so is a very effective therapy.  It can be used with a wide range of issues including chronic pain, anxiety, limiting beliefs, allergies and phobias.
  • Energy Healing / Reiki : This is a wonderfully relaxing therapy which encourages your body to naturally move into the parasympathetic cycle of rest and repair. It can be used to support a wide range of issues including:
    • healing of injuries
    • detoxification (eg after chemotherapy of giving up smoking)
    • pain relief
    • balancing
    • a sense of wellbeing and calm
  • Nutrition : I am currently studying to be a nutritional therapist and I can advise you on ‘clean eating’ to support health and wellbeing

 

The information in this article was taken from my workshops and video series on giving horses a more natural lifestyle and the benefits that this brings, not only to them but to their owners / carers.  To see more, please follow this link:

www.equenergy.com/horse-care-video-series

If you have comments or questions about anything in this article, or if you would like to book a session with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: 

            email:              robyn@equenergy.com

mobile:           07980 669303

You can also read more about me and my work on my website: www.equenergy.com

 

(Read the full article here)

Deepening your connection – Part 4

Given that horses are such sensitive animals it is also very important for us to take good care of ourselves.  This is true physically, emotionally and mentally as any imbalances could affect the horse and his behaviour in negative ways:

  • If we are physically out of balance then this will affect how we sit on the horse, and our aids will be different on one side compared to the other.

    As soon as a rider gets on a horse it changes the horse’s shape and balance considerably. Horses move differently at liberty compared to having just a saddle on, and very differently again with a rider on board.

  • If we are out of balance emotionally or mentally, even just ‘having a bad day’, the horse will pick up on this and it will affect his mood too.

As humans, we often live in a busy, fast-paced world, and have learnt to turn down our sensitivity.  We must often come across as uncomfortably loud and pushy to our equine friends!

Their way of being is much softer and more subtle, meaning that we might miss their signals because we drown them out with our own noise and busy-ness.

Using our breath and getting present can help to:

  • bring our energies down
  • calm our rushing, busy minds
  • bring ourselves more into focus and alignment
  • open ourselves to the world and communication of the horse.

breath

If we are not used to doing this, it can take a little time to tune in at first – to calm our busy minds and find that inner stillness – but the effort will be worth it!  I recommend taking a look at the work of Jenny Rolfe and James French to help with this.

When we are relaxed and grounded our horses will pick up on this energy and respond to it.  They in turn will feel calmer and happier and consequently will be more able to respond to what we ask for – and our asking will be clearer!

We also benefit in that we become more receptive to them, being quicker to pick up on anything that feels a little ‘off’ and therefore being able to respond in a timely and appropriate way.

This kind of interaction will quickly build a deep rapport and trust between you and your horse and he will really open up to you.  Your relationship will reach a whole new level.

When we begin to listen in this way, our horses will teach us so much!  On one level they mirror what is going on inside us, bringing us face-to-face with our own energy, which we, so often, are not fully conscious of.  (If you would like to explore this further and how it can benefit you and your horse you might like to take a look at Rosie Withey’s work through Horses as Teachers: http://www.horsesasteachers.co.uk/)

The information in this article was taken from my workshops and video series on giving horses a more natural lifestyle and the benefits that this brings, not only to them but to their owners / carers.  To see more, please follow this link:

www.equenergy.com/horse-care-video-series

If you have comments or questions about anything in this article, or if you would like to book a session with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: 

            email:              robyn@equenergy.com

mobile:           07980 669303

You can also read more about me and my work on my website: www.equenergy.com

 

(Read the full article here)

Deepening your connection – Part 2

The tension that we sometimes see in our domestic herds is due to the unnatural conditions in which we keep our horses.  There could be perceived competition for precious resources – eg food, water or space – or frequent changes in their surroundings or herd members resulting in them exhibiting stressed behaviours. 

In addition, when we see the strength and power of these large animals we often feel that we need to keep control by dominating them, and this causes them to fear us and the punishments that we give.  These punishments make no sense to horses.  To them, their behaviours are seeking to avoid a fight.  They prefer a quiet life because, as a prey animal, fighting within the herd wastes energy and distracts you from looking out for prey.

scaredIf we focus on dominating horses, this will come across as aggressive and the horse could feel threatened.  This could push him into one of the stages of the fight / flight response:

 

  1. fidget
  2. freeze
  3. flight
  4. fight

In any of these stages, we have lost his attention because he is focused solely on diffusing or avoiding the tension that he feels.  If we don’t understand his signals, and think that he is deliberately misbehaving, we might resort to punishment which only adds to his fear and distress.

Also if he is tied or being ridden, any attempts to get away will probably be futile adding to his stress and possibly causing him to shut down. 

Another problem with using punishment is that the horse will probably not make the connection between what he has done, and the punishment he is given.

For example:

A horse refuses a jump and the rider comes off.

If the rider then picks himself up and goes to shout at the horse, who is now calmly grazing nearby, the horse will not understand.  To his mind he has moved on and is just looking after himself.

Even if the horse does make the connection, he is learning what is not wanted, not what is wanted.

Fear based relationships are unstable and unpredictable.  The horse might comply as long as he is more scared of the human than the environmental trigger.  But what happens when something comes along that is more scary than the human?

Viewing things from the perspective of dominance versus yawnsubmission also means that we are less likely to spot the subtle signs that horses use to maintain herd cohesion and harmony. eg

  • looking away
  • yawning
  • stretching
  • licking lips
  • relaxed ears

When working with a horse (or any animal) it is very important to be consistent and clear, with the signals we use, our boundaries and even our behaviour / mood.  Doing this helps the horse to feel safe around us because he comes to see us as predictable and learns that he can trust the relationship.  This particularly applies if you are not the only person working with the horse.  If he gets different signals from different people, it could be confusing for him.

Our signals also need to be clear, that is, not contradictory.  Sometimes horses struggle because we think we’re saying one thing, but our body language / energy is actually saying something very different.  For example if we’re trying to teach boundaries to a horse when we’re not clear about holding these for ourselves.

The information in this article was taken from my workshops and video series on giving horses a more natural lifestyle and the benefits that this brings, not only to them but to their owners / carers.  To see more, please follow this link:

www.equenergy.com/horse-care-video-series

If you have comments or questions about anything in this article, or if you would like to book a session with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: 

            email:              robyn@equenergy.com

mobile:           07980 669303

You can also read more about me and my work on my website: www.equenergy.com

 

(Read the full article here)

Deepening your connection – Part 1

looking-with-heart

In this series of 5 blogs I will look at the interaction between our horses and ourselves:

  • how we can develop a deeper understanding and connection with our equines

  • how having us in their lives affects them

  • how we can do our best for the horses in our care

bossThe traditional approach to working with horses has been to assume that we need to establish who is the ‘boss’.  Horses are generally bigger and stronger than us and so people have tended to believe that we need to hold a dominant position in relation to them.  Many of us have also been taught that this model is taken from how horses organise themselves in the wild.  We hear stories of the lead stallion, or the alpha mare, and while there is some truth in this, the reality is more complex. 

In fact, horse herds often act as a single entity.  They will spread leadershipthemselves out to graze, each animal facing in a different direction, effectively giving them an all round view to watch out for predators.  A horse’s usual way of interacting is therefore one of cooperation, synchronisation and leading / following, rather than dominance.  Any member of the herd who sees a threat can lead the others, by starting to run.  The rest sense the movement and follow.  This cooperation encourages cohesion within the herd, allowing them to live together peacefully, so maximising their chances of surviving.  The horses will also follow leads in terms of moving off to look for new grazing or water.

In the day-to-day life of the herd, horses tend to defer to those who are older or more experienced.  These horses are the ones who appear calm and assured, rather than those who are nervous, or even bossy.  Horses like to feel safe, and they are attracted to those who make them feel this way.  They are also very sensitive to the energy of others and they can quickly assess who makes them feel relaxed and who doesn’t.

In the next post I’ll look at why domesticated horses sometimes appear to be less co-operative.

 

The information in this article was taken from my workshops and video series on giving horses a more natural lifestyle and the benefits that this brings, not only to them but to their owners / carers.  To see more, please follow this link:

www.equenergy.com/horse-care-video-series

If you have comments or questions about anything in this article, or if you would like to book a session with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: 

            email:              robyn@equenergy.com

mobile:           07980 669303

You can also read more about me and my work on my website: www.equenergy.com

 

(Read the full article here)