Jiminey’s Cricket

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My adrenaline was up, relieved I had landed on my feet.  He stood there right next to the mounting block all 17.2 hands of him, scowling at me, ears pinned and nose wrinkled in disgust.

“I’ve never seen him do that before.”  She said.

“I call bullshit!  That was well rehearsed!” I replied as I studied this 1300 lb chestnut.  I reset myself, ready for him this time.  I pondered what could possibly have him so defensive.  All I’d done was swing a leg over him.  I gathered my reins, tipped his nose to the left a bit, grabbed a little mane this time and as I stepped into the stirrup and swung my leg over his back he did it again!  It was the smoothest, most well rehearsed move I’d seen.  He reared, bucked and bit me all at once with grace, precision and athleticism ….. again!  This time I stayed with him.  He stood there, pissed I’d stuck him and I contemplated my next move.  This horse was angry and it had nothing to do with me.  I took a deep breath, releasing the air slowly hoping he would begin to match my breathing.  As we sat there both deciding what to do next he flicked an ear and blew out a little air.  I jumped off and laid my hand on his neck.  “Good boy.” I chimed in a sing song praising voice.

“I’ll take him for 30 days.”  I told her.  “We’ll see if I can help him.”

I recognized and honored the fact that if this horse ever broke in two and really came undone, I’d get hurt … severely.  He is a powerful horse and forcing him into the proverbial box (cookie cutter horse training) is what caused him to shut down in the first place.  I spent 30 days helping him learn to walk under saddle again.  I couldn’t request it, I had to sit and wait for him to offer it to me.  Once we were walking freely and relaxed, I decided it best to turn Cricket out for the winter.  He needed to decompress from his time up north at the hunter/jumper trainer’s place.  I knew the trainer and I was sure Cricket hadn’t been “abused”.  My best guess was he’d been pushed on pretty hard and he couldn’t take it.  Kicking him out with the cows and my other horses seemed like a good prescription for him.

Cricket couldn’t catch a break in life.  He was orphaned at two days old after losing his mother, Jiminey, in an electrical storm.  As a four year old he stuck his foot through a pipe fence nearly severing the entire limb.  As a six year old he missed puncturing his lung by fractions of an inch after ripping his side open on a bolt.  He flunked out of hunter/jumper school and didn’t seem to have any future ahead of himself.  The woman who bred and raised him offered him to me.  At the time I stepped up because I felt it was the right thing to do.  I cared about what happened to him but I wouldn’t say I loved him at that point.  He was such a tough ride and an utter puzzle to understand.  That said, I knew I could offer him the break in life he deserved.

The following spring I decided my best option for progressing him forward was taking him out on hound exercise.  Much like tracking cattle, I knew the energy of the hounds moving forward in front of us could potentially sweep us along offering us the opportunity to move into a trot without me asking for it.  That first summer, I prayed … fervently, every time I saddled him knowing he could easily have a full blown temper tantrum over God knows what out there in some unforgiving territory.  My goal each and every time was to support him, love on him and stay over the center of him, come what may!  The first time he offered to step up into a trot as the hounds moved out I got lost in his huge movement.  What an incredible mover!  I laid a hand on his neck murmuring sweet words of encouragement.  It was working!

We fox hunted for several seasons to varying degrees of success.  There were times I could feel Cricket get himself twisted in knots, waiting for me to come down on him in reprimanded punishment.  Instead, I’d lay a hand on his neck, reassure him I was there to support him as he learned to partner with a human in a way I don’t think he ever really knew.  More times than I can count, I walked miles back to the kennels next to him when he’d get his panties in such a wad he couldn’t even think straight.  Let me tell you, tall black dress boots are NOT made for walking distances!  Lol!  But it’s what he needed from me in those moments.

I couldn’t imagine my herd without him now!  I adore that Mack truck of a horse!  We’ve shared a lot of adventures together, foxhunting, trail riding, camping, ponying my daughter before she would ride on her own and honing my skills in my pursuit of becoming the best horseman I can.  The lessons this big fellow has taught me are too numerous to list.  The best part of our story is, I love him.  Truly, wholeheartedly, love him.

This past June Cricket got the opportunity to work with his first client.  It was a warm day and it looked to me like he was going to sleep the entire session away!  I should have known better.  Though his eyes were closed, his leg cocked and relaxed and his breath deep, he was tuned in.  As the client began to come into her truth and speak words that were congruent with her mourning, breaking heart I watched Cricket amble over to her receiving all her pain, offering her his big chest to lean into and his strong neck for her to wrap her arms around.  He embodied her loved one that was dying and did so with tenderness, grace and compassion.  I couldn’t have asked for more from that handsome hunk that day!

I am humbled to be blessed with the opportunity to step alongside him in this work, co-actively coaching our clients as they design and create a positive future for themselves.

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” ❤

Words & War

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As I prepare to take my final, I have been going through all my notes ….. two years worth of notes!  I came across the first piece of work I did at my first intensive week of training.  Actually, what I came across was something I had written that night and emailed to my mentor.  As I sit hear reading through it I can feel the emotion that was raging within me that day.  This work is powerful … that’s not fair … it’s life altering!  This work is life altering!

I remember standing there that early June afternoon as my mentor coached me, encouraging me to give our infamous cube a wack with the tennis racket.  Our society does a piss poor job of teaching us what to do with anger.  As small children we are punished for expressing our anger whether it’s in the form of a temper tantrum or a scowl.  So what happens with all of it?  Well, if you are anything like me, you learned to shove it back down.  That anger becomes retroflected as we turn it inward displacing it on ourselves.  For me it sounded something like, “Damn it Jess!  How could you be so stupid!?!  You got what you deserved!  If you’d kept your mouth shut, he wouldn’t have exploded like that!”  We take the anger that belongs to someone else and beat ourselves with it.

“Hit the cube Jess.”  She encouraged me, “Release that anger that was never yours to keep.”

The inner battle that raged was crippling.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t find it within myself at that point in time to allow myself to release all that frustration, disappointment and anger.  I remember sitting down in my chair in that arena utterly exhausted from the battle that raged within.  That night I began to write and this is what I sent her:

 

Who The Hell Do You Think You Are

I stood at the cube today, tennis racket in hand, support from the most beautiful of souls you will ever come across and I couldn’t hit it.  I wanted so badly to follow in the footsteps that have preceded me.  I wanted to know what it feels like to be free of the pain, suffering and hurt that I carry.  I couldn’t … I couldn’t hit an inanimate object.  You see, I have all these incredible coping mechanisms that have protected me and kept me alive and they are so strong, so well exercised after all this time.  They are like the big brother I never had standing in front of my door, guarding me, hyper-vigilantly.  I love them.  They have been my armor, my sword at the ready day or night.  How do you semi-retire such faithful servants?  I don’t cry, I don’t utter much of a sound and yet the words have been forming and they sound something like “Who the hell do you think you are?”  I mean really, who the hell do you think you are!?!

Who the hell do you think you are to try to take my very life.  A life that was so very precious to those who love me.  A life that had a 50/50 chance of survival at birth.  Who the hell are you?  Life is so very precious and you attempted to steal the very breath from my lungs.  The lungs my parents watched rise and fall through the side of an incubator for weeks on end; seconds, minutes, hours ticking by as they held their breath praying I’d pull through.  Who the hell do you think you are to attempt to take that!?!  Who the hell are you to try to destroy that very miracle that I am?  I am here and I am here for a reason.  I am here with great purpose.  It’s powerful and terrifying and to attempt to destroy that?  Who the hell are you!?!

Who the hell are you to make an attempt to destroy my very essence, my spirit?  You attempted to break me with manipulation, domination, fear and muscle.  Who the hell do you think you are to take my wild, wide open spirit and dominate it?

Who the hell are you to have taken my innocent, naive heart and attempt to grind it into dust?  You wanted my compassion, my innocence and naivety to be soiled and dirtied.  Who the hell are you!?!

Who the hell are you to take the very voice God gifted me with and attempt to silence my song … who the hell do you think you are?

Who the hell are you to take my beauty and attempt to sully it?  To pit me against myself and drive me to chase after false beauty.  To play into dreams and turn them into insecurities.  Who the hell are you!?!

Who the hell are you to steal my safety and security?  To steal my very sleep.  Who the hell do you think you are to keep the ground moving, shifting and unsteady under my feet!?!

Who the hell are you to drag me through the mud!?!  To paint a scarlet letter on my head to justify your own chaos and crazy.  To twist my loyalty and devotion into imagined infidelity and dishonesty.  To have my phone copy catted, to have me tailed and under surveillance … and for what?  Who the hell do you think you are!?!

Who the hell do you think you are to underestimate me!?!  To take me on and underestimate the power of a mother’s love and the fight in this pit bull.  What kind of sorry son of a bitch would think they could take me on!?!

Who the hell are you to mind screw me?  To take my logical thinking brain and drive it to the brink of insanity.  To fatigue me and beat me down in such a way that I wouldn’t think to escape.  Who the hell do you think you are!?!

Who the hell are to to lay hands on MY precious kids?  To think you can control, manipulate and destroy me through them.  They are gifts from God.  The most incredible teachers.  Who the hell do you think you are to treat them like possessions, titles to property you think you own that can be tossed around like dirty underwear!?!  To use the same tactics you began using on me when I was just 18 years old that they are now being challenged with at 1/2 that age.  Who the hell do you think you are!?!

Who the hell are you to have destroyed our marriage?  Our family?  Who the hell were you to treat me with utter disrespect, dishonesty and disloyalty?  Who the hell were you to lay a finger on me?  Who the hell were you to toss me around like a rag doll?  Who the hell were you to cause such deep seeded fear, anxiety and mistrust in me?  Who the hell do you think you are!?!?!?!?!

You attempted to destroy me.  You worked so hard to intimidate me.  I was this soft, compassionate, strong, driven woman and I terrified you.  Qualities you could never manifest in yourself.  I became a conquest for you.  I was a piece of property to you.  Something to own, show off and then put up on the shelf.  The kids, they are pawns in a game you don’t realize you lost … years ago.  Who the hell are you to attempt to destroy me and now the other two halves of me.  Who … the … hell … do … you … think … you  … are!?!

 

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” ❤