The power of self reflection is profound. Without checking back deep within ourselves and listening to what is happening within, we cannot grow and prosper. We might remain slaves to what we have been taught to feel, to sense, to think. Yet we are slaves without shackles. Nothing is truly bounding us, but..
the limitations of our mind. In our journey to explore the depth of our soul, we are never alone. While some may seek to stop us, many seek to guide us on our path. Authors, priests, gurus, therapist, friends; their consult may work or it may come unsolicited and irritate us with irrelevancy. However, one guide holds the wisdom to deliver accurate, remarkably authentic and pure advice. If we are committed to liberating our soul and opening the door for development and growth, we must pay heed to the guidance of mankind's oldest friend; the horse.
Horses have incredible powers to teach people about self imposed limitations, unproductive thought patterns and self destructive tendencies that prohibit them from reaching full potential. And yet the majority of people uses horses as a tool for self advancement in a more superficial nature. We seek success, monetary gain, approval, excitement and use horses to gain access to those things. In the process, the horses are gagged; after all, their voices would only hinder our quest for the things we think we need. Sometimes we silence them gently and with empathy. Other times our frustration steers us toward impatience and violence. No matter our approach, whenever we silence our horse, we take away our source for genuine, unbiased feedback; their freedom to respond to us the way they see fit.
Last week I finalized my certification with EAGALA, a world leader in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Their concept is simple, yet profoundly effective; bring horses and people together without restrains, allow the people and the horses to interact with each other and ask the people to reflect on their experience. While learning about the method, I participated in sessions with the horses. The experience was humbling. After years as a business consultant, I believed the reviews and coaching I received, had made me pretty aware of my thought patterns and proclivities. Yet the horses demonstrated my ignorance, and allowed me discover my authentic self. They showed me how my lingering perfectionism hinders me in finding peace. They demonstrated how I still struggle with conformity versus following my own heart. They uncovered how deep inside I am not satisfied with working all by myself and miss working in a team. They showed me how I am still trying to make my father, who passed away 10 years ago, happy by working as hard as I can so I'll never fail him. They showed me how much more I can do with gentleness instead of force. And they taught me much much more.
I want other people to experience this exceptional wisdom. I want people to not only uncover their own potential, but also the potential of the horse. The potential that is right there, in our barn, in our pasture, waiting for an opportunity to not be bridled, not be disciplined, not be steered around a dressage test. That potential that awaits us at the end of our lead rope and is unleashed the minute we untie the rope halter's knot.
We horses owners are lucky to have the most insightful, instinctual psychiatrists waiting for us to be ready to listen. Our horses are forever remaining in readiness for us to be become aware of how their peaceful wisdom can guide us back to ourselves, to our equilibrium, to quietude. My journey has begun. I can't wait to see where it leads me next.
"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom"