Horses somehow illuminate the path from being “other-centred” to being “self-centred”; that is centred in one’s Self.
They shine a light on the moment we come outside of our self, our body, our feelings; our truth and when we focus on another or something outside of us at our own expense. So painful it seems, to pull our attention back into our self, back in into our own body, heart and centre. So used are we to putting our attention on people and things outside of us.
When I “disconnect” from myself, I feel anxious, my body shakes and vibrates, I feel ungrounded, that is, my energy is all in my head and my legs feel light and somewhat off the ground. I’m jumpy and easily scared, irritable and almost looking for problems and conflicts. And when I feel like this I’m not fully present, I don’t experience each moment. I miss the beauty both around and within me. Although I can usually see it in another person and either like or dislike them for that, an uncomfortable yet so frequent example of projection that occurs in everyone from time to time when we are, again, not “self-centred”.
Feeling like this the other day I visited my horses in their field. At first I was irritable and grouchy; the electric fence was down; again. It was wet and cold;again. However, once I’d vented at the fence and at the rain, I felt something begin to stir within me, I hadn’t felt much except anxiety so far that day and this was different. I walked down to check the water trough and felt a wave of emotion and tears begin to come up inside me. A release, a relief, to feel again. As I turned around to walk back up I saw that all three horses had followed me down the field, somehow sensing my need for their support today. My two mares stood very close by, they relaxed and softened, each one resting a hind leg and breathing deeply. It felt as though they were holding a space for me, a space of gentle support and patience as I stood feeling these waves of sadness in me, shedding a few tears on and off.
My sadness was about my need to let go of a way of coping in the world. A painful layer was being brought to my awareness and then slowly being peeled away as I felt into this deep desire in me to no longer be this way. As I begin to let go of this behaviour pattern, uncertainty and vulnerability arose within me as I stood in that in-between place of what was and what might yet transpire. I felt the tenuous stretch within my energy as I vacillated between pushing my energy outside of me, obsessively ruminating on others’ behaviour, thoughts and feelings (a legacy of my childhood), and then painstakingly pulling it back to me, in to my body, my heart, my sacrum; my centre. So that I could be fully with myself once more and not caught up in others’ concerns.
My one mare, a wise 13 year old chestnut Thoroughbred-cross called LP (Little Person), stood immediately next to me, breathing onto my body. I rested my hand on her heart area, it was so soft and warm, as I did I breathed into my own heart, feeling it gently soften and open for the first time that day. We stood breathing together, sharing this exquisite softness within each of us and between us, allowing a sense of acceptance in me of what is, rather than fighting it.
As I stood next to my mare I saw an image of my own heart, as that of a rich pink rose. Its centre slowly opening, its petals unfolding gently. I could almost see this vivid pink rose in my heart, or maybe as my heart; I’m not sure. I felt it open just a little; then wait. As always in life, there is more to come; that I am sure of.
© Angela Dunning, November 2009.
Some questions to reflection on might be:
How do you feel when you’re disconnected from yourself?
Do you find it difficult to stay “self-centred”?
What brings you back to yourself?