Shall we dance?

I’d like to reshare this blog that I wrote some time ago, because I love this concept and it is still very relevant to my work:

I’ve been having some rather vivid dreams recently and last night was no exception.  Between that, and some half-awake musings in the small hours, I woke this morning with a picture in my head – a new image and understanding of my relationship with my beautiful feline friend Kali, and indeed, to a greater or lesser extent, with all the animals I’ve ever known.

the gorgeous Kali

Obviously our animal friends don’t share a spoken language with us, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less expressive.  Perhaps my work as a sign language interpreter comes into play here.  I am used to having to process meaning from a visual source.  Obviously this is again using a form of human communication, however it is very much dependent on facial expression and body language.

Animals also communicate using these channels, within the physical parameters of their species.  As with Deaf people who cannot learn to speak as hearing people do, due to the lack of auditory feedback, animals also cannot learn to use our vocal language.  It is therefore down to us to learn to communicate in ways that we can share.

This morning it was as if some connection suddenly became clear for me and I saw this interaction in terms of a beautiful ‘dance’ and Kali my wonderful teacher.  She has an amazing range of styles at her pawtips!  Sometimes she instructs me with great flow and elegance, like a ballerina.  At other times, thanks to her Oriental blood (she’s a Cornish Rex, related to Siamese) her style is more passionate, fiery or elemental.  I, on the other hand, often feel like I’m clumping around in hobnail boots!  However with infinite patience, forbearance and grace she repeats the lesson, showing me when to advance and when to withdraw, when to raise my energy and when to hold it in.

This amazing teacher – and all the others I have met along the way – seem to look deep into my soul and challenge me to bring out the best in myself, to go further within, accessing resources I barely knew existed.  What Masters they are!

She teaches me how to hold my space and how to use my energy to be authentic and powerful in myself, without needing to engage in competition with others.  She also shows me how to be in the moment and how to know joy in the simple things in life.

What are your animals saying to you?  What lessons are they seeking to share?  What messages lie behind those eyes?

Advertisements

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE HORSE – part 2 of 5

Last week I looked at some of the similarities and differences between us and our equine friends.  One of the ways we can see this is in our use of body language.  For example, when two horses meet, they introduce each other by approaching slowly, often at an angle rather than directly.  They are very respectful of each others’ space and will read each others’ body language to know if it is acceptable to come closer.  If they are both comfortable they will come close enough to touch noses.

As humans we often walk directly up to horses, even those we don’t know very well, which is contrary to their code of behaviour.  Instead we could learn from their example and approach slowly and gently, watching for signs of how the horse feels as we enter his space.  Stopping a few feet from the horse and extending a hand, allowing him to choose whether or not to come close and make the first contact, respects the horse’s need to assess new situations, making sure that they are safe and that there is no threat.

When two horses know each other well and have built up a mutual trust, they will often groom each other.  Humans tend to pat their horses  but perhaps a better way would be to mirror the horses’ own behaviour and scratch instead.  Find the place that the horse enjoys being scratched — his body language will let you know when you’ve hit the right spot!  It will often be in the places that he cannot reach himself such as the neck, withers or rump.

If you’d like to learn more about equine body language and facial expression you might like to read my other blog series, part 1 of which can be found here.  I also have a video on this topic which forms part of a series.  Follow this link to see more.

As horses are herd animals their natural instinct is to be with others of their kind.  Living in a herd means protection: many eyes looking out for each other.  Also horses prefer to be in open spaces where they can see in all directions, knowing that they can spot a predator in time to run away.  Living in a stable therefore is not natural to a horse, both because they are on their own in the stall, and because they cannot see far and they are unable to run.  On top of that, life in a stable can be very boring with only four walls to look at for hours on end.

This can be very stressful for a horse and can lead to behaviours which have been labelled stable ‘vices’, a rather unfortunate term since the definition of vice is:

“a practice, behaviour, or habit generally considered immoralsinful, depraved, or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a negative character trait, a defect, an infirmity, or a bad or unhealthy habit (such as an addiction to smoking).

Synonyms for vice include fault, sin, depravity, iniquity, wickedness, and corruption.”   (Wikipedia)

This seems to place the fault with the horse instead of looking at the underlying reason for the behaviour.  All we need to do to understand this stress is to put ourselves ‘in the horses shoes’ and imagine how we would feel if we were left totally alone in a box with no-one to talk to and nothing to do.

In next week’s post I’ll look at what you can do to support greater wellbeing for your horse.

 

(You can read this article in full here)

What is ‘META-Health’ and how can it help me get well? (Part 5)

So, having looked at the process of META-Health, and a personal example from my own life, how can this help you in your healing journey?

My first step in working with a client is to ask for their ‘timeline’.  This is basically a chronological account of all the Significant Emotional Events in their life.  I personally like people to write this covering all the way from birth onwards as it can help me to detect repeating patterns and get a sense of the person, but in any case the timeline should go back to at least 3 years before symptoms appear.  I also need to know the person’s medical diagnosis, if they have one, and a list of any medications they’re taking, or have taken, for the issue.  It is also useful to know if they’ve tried other interventions and how helpful – or not – these were.

Once I know which tissue is affected I can work out which brain relay this relates to.  From this I can tell which stage they are at in the healing process:

It is then possible to work back to find the initial conflict (2).

Writing the timeline in itself can be very healing.  As one client said to me, it was amazing to put her life story down on paper and see it all in one place for the first time.  This was a kind of affirmation for her that she had, in fact, dealt with a lot in her life and that she was actually stronger than she had realised.  It can also be a very cathartic process to put down, in black and white, things that you might have been bottling up inside, or trying to push to the back of your mind.  This process helps you to look at things and to acknowledge them so that you can then start to process them in order to let go and to move on.

I often get the feeling that, in our society, we are encouraged to ‘move on’ before we’re ready.  As I said earlier, trauma is subjective, so other people might not appreciate the impact that an event has had on a person.  They might, with the best of intentions, want to encourage the person to ‘put it all behind them’ or to ‘think positively’ but this is not possible until the person has finished processing what happened.  Or perhaps it’s our own inner voice that is encouraging us to push everything under the carpet and carry on as if nothing has happened.  However, if we don’t listen to our inner needs, they will just start to get louder in order to be heard!

META-Health teaches great self compassion and understanding.  We can truly begin to see that we are doing the best we can with the resources available to us in a given situation.  Also, our bodies don’t make mistakes.  If we’re experiencing symptoms or discomfort, it’s just our body trying to let us know that something isn’t right, but if we listen and make some changes – meet the needs that are currently unmet – then the body will find its way back to balance and wellbeing again.

So, having identified the trauma, or ‘UDIN’, what next?  As part of a consultation I will look at all the layers of a the client’s life: physical, emotional, social and spiritual.  I will also consider their characteristics: do they tend to be primarily a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic person, for example.  Taking these things into consideration I then put together a suggested plan of action, to discuss with the client, to help them create the healthier, happier life they dream of.

This plan can draw on a range of different therapies depending on what is most appropriate for the person in their particular situation.  I personally offer a variety of energy therapies including Reiki / Energy Healing, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT / sometimes referred to as ‘tapping’) along with some nutrition, lifestyle and relaxation techniques and tips.  I am very happy to offer these as part of a client’s action plan and for them to continue to work with me if they choose.

In addition I have a wide network of colleagues offering other complementary holistic therapies that we can draw upon to create a full and rounded wellbeing package.

The steps to be taken and the time required to create a new and healthier life will depend on the person, their condition, the circumstances in which they find themselves and their level of commitment, however it doesn’t need to be ‘hard work’ and the journey is in itself something to enjoy and to learn from.  It is worth remembering that it has taken time for your body to get into dis-ease and it will take time to get back to wellbeing but at each step along the way you will see an improvement.  This process can also result in lasting change and a whole new perspective, helping you to better deal with any issues that you face in the future.

If you’d like to talk with me about anything I’ve mentioned above, please get in touch:

robyn@equenergy.com

07980 669303

Alternatively you can see more about what I do on my website: www.equenergy.com

 

(This post was taken from my article on META-Health.  You can read the full text here)

What is ‘META-Health’ and how can it help me get well? (Part 3)

In the last post I talked about the trauma I’d experienced at the announcement of my parents’ plan to get divorced.  This was my UDIN (Unexpected trauma that was Dramatic, Isolating and for which I had No coping strategy – point 2 in the diagram above).

Shortly after the announcement, Mum took us to her parents’ house for the weekend to give my Dad space to pack up and move out.  I remember ‘running’ around on my crutches and being a bit ‘hyper’ because the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, were pumping round my body as I went from the ‘freeze’ state of shock and into the ‘fight or flight’ state of the stress phase (3).

We then returned home and over the next few weeks life settled down into its new routine.  I began to realise that, actually, life was a lot calmer without my Dad around.  Also, contrary to the belief of my primitive brain, I had not been ‘cast out from my tribe’.  Instead I discovered that my Mum and I had a lot in common and were very close whereas my brother – now the only boy in the household and quite a different personality type – was becoming a bit of an outsider.  This realisation was a ‘shift’ for me (4).  (It wasn’t quite a resolution as there were still issues going on that continued to trigger my fears (around contact with my Dad) but it was enough to send me into the second phase (5, 6 & 7) ).

If you’ve been following this series of blogs, you might have already begun to suspect what kind of symptoms I then experienced.  Earlier I talked about my fears being related to survival and so this was a brain stem issue.  This relay relates to various tissues including those responsible for digestion.  I mentioned that ” my whole insides rebelled ” and ” I felt that all the stuffing had been knocked out of me”.  Also the news of my parents’ divorce came as a complete shock and I couldn’t digest it.  All this meant that the organ tissue which held the shock was my intestines and when I went in to regeneration this is where I experienced dis-ease.  I began to suffer from IBS and food intolerances as the tissues started to heal.

During the stress phase these tissues had added extra cells in order to better digest the trauma.  Now that there had been a shift these extra cells were no longer needed and so the body started to break them down and eliminate them, causing my symptoms of pain, nausea, cramping and diarrhoea.

In my next post, I’ll look at what happened next and how I was able to start the journey back to better health and wellbeing.

If you’d like to talk with me about anything I’ve mentioned above, please get in touch:

robyn@equenergy.com

07980 669303

Alternatively you can see more about what I do on my website: www.equenergy.com

 

(This post was taken from my article on META-Health.  You can read the full text here)

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 3

If you find that things are not going well in a session with your horse, consider the factors that could be influencing his behaviour, for example:

  • is he in pain? (eg injury or uncomfortable tack)
  • is he bored? (eg has he been doing the same thing for several days in a row / is he a young horse with a short attention span)
  • is he distracted?
  • is he picking up something from you or other people / horses in the yard?

In regards to tack, many people are now beginning to exploring alternatives to the traditional options in order for their horses to be more comfortable, and therefore calmer and less stressed.

For example:

There are a variety of saddles available, for example:

There are different views regarding which is best and much will depend on your horse’s shape and the type of activity he will be doing.  The important thing is to make sure that the saddle fits well and doesn’t restrict movement, pinch or put pressure on the spine or kidneys.

This short video is a good illustration of how to make sure that your horse’s saddle is a good fit: Proper saddle fit

Bits: Veterinarian Robert Cook believes that the bit breaks the horse’s lip seal and destroys what should be a vacuum in its mouth.  He feels that as horses are obligate nasal breathers (they cannot breathe through their mouths) exercise triggers a cascade of soft palate instability, suffocation, exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (bleeding in the lungs), and even unexplained sudden death in some racehorses.

riding-on-the-power-of-othersSome are even exploring ways to be with horses that don’t involve riding.  For example Ren Hurst of the New World Sanctuary Foundation in Ashland, Oregon who has written a book, Riding on the Power of Others, talking about her journey from horse trainer to barefoot trimmer and then to setting up a sanctuary.

(If you’d like to know more about her work she has a Facebook page: Riding on the Power of Others and a website: New World Sanctuary Foundation)

Horses are very sensitive to the energies of those around them.  It is part of being a prey animal who lives in a herd.  They tune in to the others on a physical and an energetic level.  It is part of their survival strategy.  They also use this ability to maintain peace and harmony within the herd, and with us, if we too tune in and learn how to listen and respond.

Sometimes, however, horses come from an environment where they have not been given any choices.  They might have been kept stabled for much of the time or punished when they got things ‘wrong’.  This can lead to the horse ‘shutting down’ or developing a condition known as ‘learned helplessness’.

As we start to remove these limitations and fears, the horse can start to push boundaries realising that they are now allowed to say No.  This can be challenging for us, particularly if we want to use only positive reinforcement methods and other people are telling us that we are just allowing the horse to see himself as the ‘boss’ and that this will make the situation worse.  In fact it is good to encourage your horse to think for himself as it enables him to engage his brain before he responds to situations rather than just being reactive.

However, if you are struggling with a horse who is showing very dominant behaviour I recommend finding a good equine behaviourist to support you.

Also the book A Tale of Two Horses by Kathie Gregory is a great tale-of-2-horsesread if you are feeling alone on your journey to try to understand your horse and to work with him to give him a happier life.

 

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)