It seems that one of the essential elements in life is embracing the process without judgment or attachment. The first step in this is to understand that there is a process, that it is intelligent, and that supporting the transformation is the most powerful tool we have. Because as humans we have become smart, we think a lot and we decide that we know what is right, the processes all around us are often not allowed to unwind.

Embracing the Process

Developing the courage to allow, open space, and support without intervention seems to be fundamentally important for growth. An experience recently that happened for me was when Epona, one of my little Italian greyhounds, who is now quite advanced in years, seemed to have become incontinent.

She has some mammary tumours that we decided together should be left alone. It felt to me that a major operation at this time in her life would be too traumatic for her to undertake, and she agreed with this. She is not in pain, and she doesn’t seem affected by them, but when she began to pee when she was asleep at night, it seemed like maybe her system was shutting down. She was also drinking a lot during the day.

My intellectual mind was quite keen to jump in and find a label for what was happening, yet it felt more loving to listen and support the process. This was looking after her particularly attentively, making sure she was comfortable in her bed, and that she could go out as often as possible, that she had her special treats when she wanted them, etc. We did do some energy work, going into our relationship and emotional issues that might not have been acknowledged, and our relationship reached a new closeness. A few times I gave her some colloidal silver and grapefruit see extract, but not in a regimented way.

The main aspect of it that felt crucial was not to track her physical situation too closely, to decide how it might turn out or to worry about it. After a few weeks she wasn’t incontinent anymore, and after a month or so I noticed that her drinking was normal again. She has so much energy and doesn’t behave like an older dog at all. Trusting that her own healing intelligence has the most powerful influence was the right way for us. After all, her healing intelligence is her whole, authentic Self, so given space, time and love, why would it not rebalance. The same would be true if her soul had been ready to leave. 

All of the time when I am with the horses I am reminded of the difference between focusing on the process, and focusing on an arbitrary result. Every single moment requires a willingness to recenter into what is unfolding right now. To unhook the mind from its attachment to an accomplishment that is often irrelevant.

When I take the head collar or cavesson into the herd to suggest that we can work together, I am remembering to be here, now, with the herd. It is not so much about what they are doing, if they are grazing or snoozing or whatever, it is a sensing into the deeper energetic current. Feeling for the energetic pattern right now. Is there turbulence? is there receptivity? Without doubt the most crucial part of this is who I am, where I am in myself at these times. Without fail, if I am in a place of self doubt or lack, and I am looking for something to fill that hole, Quaramba will decline my invitation to work together. That doesn’t inspire her, and she is quite happy to tell me so, although I am still allowed to scratch her ears!

Awakened Soul Quaramba
Quaramba is such an awakened soul, always guiding our relationship with simple wisdom

If I let my thoughts detach me from the present moment, it becomes so tempting to focus on a result. A result that is only really related to equestrian doctrine, such as putting the cavesson on, going to the arena and training for the sake of it. Even meditation can be an arbitrary result if we make it so. What is so inspiring and fascinating, is that when I am able to align with the present, and become aware of the energetic processes that are intertwining and happening all around, there is a definite sense of being drawn in and locked on.

It is strangely subtle and powerful at the same time. When it happens, it feels so fundamental, so necessary and so right. I have the feeling that it is still relatively invisible… perhaps it can only become more visible when more people experience it. In embracing the process there is both an energetic and a physical transformation in the being of the horse, and in the connection between us.

Sarah has been working on her connection with Gorrion over the winter, and they have been resolving many layers between them. He has been choosing to visit the arena recently, and the last couple of times he has been overwhelmed with a kind of fatigue that feels to be related to a defence mechanism he has needed in the past. In these moments his energy would seem stormy and chaotic, he would plant himself and be unable to move. When Sarah was tuning into this pattern, it came to her that there has always been a breach between them, in that his trainers have been able to get him to perform, but she could not elicit the same result.

She has felt that this was an inadequacy on her part, and we discussed this in a different light. That perhaps she had simply been less willing to force him to do what he wasn’t comfortable with, and that he feels he can relax more with her, and reveal to her how stressful the work was. When this perspective came to light, Gorrion began to breathe much more deeply and he began to relax. he had not moved his position, yet he was clearer looking and even his colour seemed more vibrant. 

Embracing the Process
Stills taken from the video of this process. Gorrion seemed filled out and expanded after the process was embraced.

I used to categorise whatever I was doing with the horses as ‘healing’ or ‘training’, and there were different parameters for each. When we were doing healing, it would be the horse who dictated what we would do, and when we were training it was me who decided. Since we developed our wellbeing dialogue, where we communicate with each other, everything has become integrated. There are no categories, it is simply being together and communing. This has allowed some exciting developments, one of them being the way we are addressing crookedness patterns in a training session in the arena. Instead of always attempting to work it out physically, which at times has caused some tension to arise between us, we are embracing it energetically, just as in a healing session. 

This has been particularly prevalent in sessions with Honey, because she has done less gymnastic suppling in the past. A few years ago before we started our herd dialogue, Honey would get very tense in the arena, or if she felt she was ‘working’. This was a defensive energy to keep the experience at bay.

Since we started again recently, and she has been enthusiastic about it, she has been very calm and present, and we are able to go deeply into supporting these patterns by acknowledging them, feeling them and letting them be expressed. In the video I avoided showing the extent of the pause times, but we could be embracing the process for several minutes at a time.

Transformation with Honey

We start with the engagement itself, the energetic connection that I initiate, and which is then reciprocated by the horse. The engagement in motion asks the horse to move, channel and stretch themselves in a way that requires the postural ring to respond. At the moment it is relatively gentle, like beginners yoga, because we are still at the beginning of the interactions, but it is fascinating to discover that the physical issues we were working with before are directly surfacing again. Honey has a stiffness in her pelvis that makes it difficult for her to stretch, and when she feels it, she wants to pause. This is a huge step forward as before she would try to rush because she felt trapped by the situation. 

The same willingness to be present, to be unattached and to focus only on each moment, allows the process of transformation to reveal itself. If I start to focus on making her stretch, making her move straight, making her engage more deeply, then my role as a cog in the machine is disconnected, and the machine itself is derailed. The power of this is so much greater than I feel I have experienced yet, although the approach itself feels perfect. 

Embracing the Process

Totti and I have been becoming aware of a certain gap between us. She is such an independent horse, with her own ideas, generally related to her own dietary upkeep!

And because I don’t necessarily want for us to be grazing around the arena the whole time, instead of trying to persuade her to do it my way, I was able to bring my focus to the disconnect itself.

It was an ancient pattern, a primitive status of horse and survival and separation and we only touched briefly on the significance of it. Yet there was a process, a transformation that injected a warmth into our partnership, a flexibility that had not been there before. What I noticed was that this same energetic vibration was then present with the other herd members, and I remembered again that the process is happening within the whole herd! Perhaps it is happening within the entire equestrian community, which is why every little awakened step that we take, just us and our horse, is embracing the process for all of us.

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