Suitcases & Scars

Summer Cricket

This is Cricket.  If Cricket went to an “Emotional Horses Anonymous” meeting, his introduction would sound something like, “Hello, I’m Cricket …. did you see that squirrel ….. I’m sorry, where was I, oh yes, I’m Cricket and ….. oooh an airplane, do I like airplanes?  Oh, wait a minute, I was introducing myself, okay, where was I?  Ummmm ….. I’m Cricket and I’m emotional …. and I have good reason!”

He is emotional and he really does have good reason, up until we met and I brought him home that is (I would like to think things really turned around for this dashing chestnut fellow when we met – like I was his lucky break).  Since he’ll be one of the red heads I introduce you to in my quarterly newsletter, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, suffice to say, Cricket turns 14 this May and he is very much like handling a 2 year old (said with love)!  When I feel discouraged after a tough ride, I remind myself that this precious horse has come a long way.

Cricket is as unique as any individual and one of the things that makes him unique is an impressive scar on his left side.  He missed puncturing his lung by fractions of an inch when the injury occurred and those at Littleton Large Animal Hospital did an impressive job putting this horse back together.  I didn’t know him then though I’d imagine that this expressive fellow was likely pretty sullen and depressed over the whole thing (he’s the extrovert in our herd).  I have slowly, over much time, built enough of a relationship with this horse to be able to start working the scar tissue that was left behind as a result of such a deep wound and as that tissue loosens it makes room for the muscle to fill back in where once it was void.  All really amazing stuff if you like to nerd out on those sorts of things like I do 😉  Where am I going with all this you ask.  This horse has a big ol’ scar, so what!

Yesterday’s weather was beautiful and I went out to brush on the horses and help them rid themselves of the dead hair they are shedding.  A word of warning, this is NOT the time of year to wear chapstick, lipgloss or anything else that acts as glue for hair floating about in the breeze to find it’s way to your lips and land there!  You WON’T get it off!  I digress (squirrel!)!  Part of my grooming ritual with Cricket involves me “working” that scar tissue a bit.  I only do a little at a time (remember he’s emotional) and I start at the front of the scar and work my way back.  As I sprayed the scar with some flower essences (a botanical spray that Dynamite makes called ‘Release’) and began “working” the area, Cricket turned his head to look at me putting his muzzle on my hand.  I reassured him I wouldn’t over work anything.  Apparently, that wasn’t reassuring enough and he nipped at my hand to get his point across.  I stroked his face and massaged his jack rabbit ears until his eyes got all  soft and droopy in relaxation and contentment.  I went back to work, spraying and then softly manipulating the scarring.  As I was doing so I began talking to Cricket.

I shared with him that the scar doesn’t detract from how beautiful he is.  It doesn’t define him.  It’s something that happened to him and is a part of who he is however it isn’t ugly in any way, it’s part of his story.  Then I quietly stated that I understood there is a great deal of trauma that he’s been holding onto for so many years, including the trauma held within that scar.  I shared with him that it was okay for him to begin to release that, let it go (thank you Disney, I cannot say that without ‘Frozen’ playing in my head now!).  The trauma doesn’t serve him anymore.  That wasn’t what Cricket wanted to hear and in a bit of a huff, he walked away from me, went a few hundred feet, stopped, looked back at me looking somewhat put out and then walked completely away utterly disgusted with me! That was it, session over!  Was it something I said!?!  Lol!  It got me thinking about my own trauma I’ve held onto for so many years.

My scars are emotional.  And they are deep.  I’ve been slowly working those scars to loosen the proverbial scar tissue and allow them to heal.  As I peel back the layers of the onion more scars surface. Much like Cricket, for so long, I wasn’t ready to do anything with those scars.  It hurt too much to face them as they tried to define me.  I believed they made me far less valuable as a person and there was definitely no beauty to behold, only a banged up, scarred up mess.  The time has come to flush out a suitcase full of junk.  I have felt it bubbling up to the surface for a while now, ready to pour out.  Much like Cricket, I’m not sure how to release what I know is no longer serving me and if I’m honest, it scares me a bit ….. okay fine, it scares the hell out of me!  I question, have I actually allowed this to define me and is what scares me not the emotion and tears that are bound to pour forth rather the loss of identity I may feel on that level …..

I’m not sure.  I do know that part of the education I am receiving for my certification will deal with flushing out that suitcase full of scars and emotional trauma.  As exhausting and daunting as the personal work sounds, I can’t wait for that dam to bust so that after the initial surge what will be left are the healing waters of a quiet babbling brook.

New Beginnings

Change takes on a variety of forms as we all know.  That change is either embraced or shirked.  Some change is welcomed and much needed; like a long cool drink of water after riding fence out in the summer sun.  Some change is unwelcome and begrudgingly accepted; like that colt we’ve all seen in a western bucking and broncing trying to rid himself of that wiry cowboy that clings to his back like a spider monkey.  I suppose it’s all in how we perceive it, either way the only thing in life that is constant is change.

Depending upon one’s innate temperament, change can be quite frightening.  Routine and status quo are much more comfortable.  My particular temperament lends me to avoid change, any kind of change.  That being said, long ago I made a shift in how I view change and I began to reprogram myself to be more flexible and flow with change (it takes far less energy and is a much more peaceful place to ride the waves of change).  I like to view change as a new beginning.

This ….. this is my new beginning.  I am studying to become certified in Melisa Pearce’s Equine Gestalt Coaching Method.  EGCM is part of the horse-human healing movement that has been slowly evolving and becoming more and more prevalent over the past 20+ years.  I became aware of it and began following a number of the front runners about 12 years ago.  I never dreamed that I’d be studying to become certified to practice in the very arena I had been merely observing from the shadows for so many years.  An unsupportive, narcissistic man who’s view of me was one of a possession not a person, couldn’t even for a millisecond consider that I might have my own dreams.  To be honest, I think if and or when he did consider this in the deep recesses of his mind, it scared the hell out of him because it meant that all those years working stealthily, slowly isolating me would be all for not.  And so, I read, observed and wished in secret that I might participate in something like the horse-human healing movement.  Suddenly, almost like an earthquake a chain of events were set into motion that spurred on a MAJOR shift, the biggest change in my life that signaled a new beginning!  I was getting to hit the reset button on my life!

And so here I am, beginning a blog to share with you this journey to fulfilling a calling that required me to navigate a furious, frightening and firey path.  One that tested me, exhausted me, broke my heart into unrecognizable bits of shrapnel and at times had me flat on my face.  I was being shaped and formed for this beautiful path I have had the opportunity to strike out on.  In a few short months, that which always seemed out of reach on the tippy top shelf is now in front of me.  I am beginning to dream again and a great vision is beginning to slowly unveil itself to me.

This new beginning has a name … ‘Untethered Hearts’.  This name, which is the name of the future practice I will open, came to me a few weeks ago and perfectly summed up precisely what I have done for years with troubled horses coming to me off the racetrack.  Each one had chains that bound and tethered their precious hearts and it was part of my job to help loose them so that the horse could find joy again.  As I pondered this it became clear to me that through the refining process of the firey path I had walked, and at times crawled through, the chains around my heart that had bound and tethered it for so long were loosed and they too fell away as I began to find joy again.  And so, this is the beginning of “Untethered Hearts – Horses Coaching Humans”  🙂