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Friday, March 26, 2010

Horse sense

Over the last month and a half I’ve been reading a couple of books about horses. The first one is the Tao of Equus and the second is Riding between the Worlds . Both are by Linda Kohanov. I’ve learned more about horses from these two books than I’ve ever known before. These books aren’t about how to feed and care for horses but rather about how horses are used for therapeutic purposes to help humans work with our emotional issues.


Through her work with horses, Linda has learned how they are able to show humans when we’re out of alignment between our thoughts and our emotions. Horses are prey animals. As such they have evolved a very keen awareness for the presence of predators. They are also pack animals and they have the ability to sense the emotional state of all members of their herd. Since their lives depend upon knowing when danger is approaching, they react immediately to any member expressing fear.


KEEP IT SIMPLE

The easiest way to think about what they are responding to is to boil our complicated emotional landscape down to two simple emotions. One is love and the other is fear. At its core this is true for us but we further define each of these in an attempt to rationalize and explain our behavior. Horses don’t need that extra layer of emotional complexity in order to survive. They simply need to know “safe” or “danger” so that they can respond. Since they have few defensive skills, their survival depends primarily upon being able to sense the presence of danger and escape while they can by using their speed and stamina.

When a predator is in the area, horses are able to sense the danger by the energy of the predator. When the horses sense an elevated heart rate or increased hormone levels, they know to take action. This is how they are able to help humans with our emotional issues. When we are out of alignment with our emotions, our energy becomes blocked and that is uncomfortable for horses to be around. When they sense these emotions they will actually begin to enact them to help us notice and release them. By helping us find places where we are out of alignment with the harmonious, free-flowing energy of love they can help us uncover our own emotional truths.

By learning about the history of the horses that Linda works with and understanding the impact that it has had on them she can better understand why certain horses choose to work with certain people and not others. This helps her get an extra layer of insight into the issue that the human is dealing with. For example let’s say that I had been traumatized by being beaten whereas you had been abandoned. I would be far more sensitive to someone with anger issues than you and you would be more sensitive to someone who is emotionally distant or detached. Horses are the same way based upon their individual history.

Through Linda’s study of horses she has learned that horses will mirror emotions for us that we aren’t in alignment with or in denial of. By learning the actions that horses do and the behaviors that they exhibit when they are stressed or relaxed, she can help inform the humans about what the horse is trying to convey. Horses pick up on unexpressed emotions and will mirror them for us to see…if we’re observant. This is just another example of what powerful teachers animals can be for us.


THE LIES WE TELL

When we say one thing but that isn’t truly what we believe or feel, then we are not in alignment with our emotions and this is uncomfortable for horses to be around. It’s like a wolf wearing a smile trying to fool them into coming closer. When we are honest about what we are truly feeling, even if it is what we label as “negative emotions” then we are “emotionally congruent”. When we are out of alignment with our truth our energies don’t flow smoothly. This situation makes a prey animal very nervous and they respond quickly to it as a perceived threat since their life may depend upon it.

When people casually ask us “how are you today?” we typically go one of a couple of ways with our response. The first is “fine”, “good”, “great” or some quick summary response. On the social level, we know that the question is simply an ice-breaker or way to connect with someone. As such they really don’t want the exact details of how we feel but rather they simply want to engage us in conversation. I learned a long time ago that “I’m great” is an answer that stirs positive emotions and gets the conversation going without interruption. The other route is that we begin sharing all that ails us and often the story behind those ails. This will often lead to the other person’s eyes glazing over or making a quick escape. Eventually we learn that the first route is the way to go and to allows them to ask follow-up questions if they really want to know more about how we feel.

This behavior is one that leads us into becoming emotionally incongruent. Our lives may be in a total state of chaos on many levels, yet our social patterning says to cover it up, put a happy face on it and move on because people don’t really want to hear about it. Soon we’ve even convinced ourselves that “I’m fine” when we are really an emotional wreck. We basically learn to lie to ourselves and that is the start of trouble for us energetically. The key is in learning when a casual response is needed socially and when emotional honesty and integrity is required internally.

The beautiful thing about horses is that they don’t have our social filters nor our human judgments. They don’t like or dislike us because of what we have done, the clothes we wear or the people we know. In essence we are either friend or foe to them. If they can’t feel safe around us they won’t come around us. They are so innately attuned to their environment because their lives depend upon it. This isn’t learned behavior for them rather it is the survival instinct protecting them. They don’t waste time thinking about past interactions with us, they simply respond to what is happening in the present.


BENEATH THE SURFACE

As humans we are riddled with judgments on ourselves and others and so we rely on surface appearances and memory to decide who we will interact with. For most of us we are so disconnected from our bodies due to our emotional wounds that we no longer feel anything. This leads us to become so emotionally incongruent that we don’t even know it. Yet because we too have senses beyond the five physical senses, we pick up on this incongruent state in others at a very subtle level. If we are disconnected from our bodies however we probably won’t notice it consciously but at some level we are left feeling uncomfortable around those who are so out of alignment with their own truth.

If left unchecked, eventually this emotional incongruency will manifest as physical dis-ease. The more we deny the existence of our emotional truth, the more disconnected from our bodies we become and the more we lie to ourselves. This denial begins to bring sadness into our hearts and minds and can ultimately lead to depression. Remember that our brains will manifest whatever we put our awareness upon. The more we focus on the sadness within, the more chemicals our brains will release to create that internal state (which is the deeper, energetic cause of the hormonal imbalance that is labeled as “depression”). Likewise, when we focus on our joy and happiness, they will also grow and expand.


EMOTIONAL HONESTY

So how do we begin to recognize when we are emotionally incongruent and work to bring ourselves back into alignment? The simple answer is to become more and more honest with ourselves. Since most of us aren’t able to go to equine facilities to work with horses in a manner that lets us immediately see when we are out of alignment, we have to find ways to do it from within. Simply put, we have to be willing to be fully and completely honest about the emotions we are feeling and more importantly about the ones that we are denying that we feel.

Most of us grew up being told that it wasn’t okay to express or show our emotions. When we were sad, someone was shoving tissues at us and telling us not to cry. When something bothered us, we were told not to complain. When we become excited, we’re told to calm down. This is all social conditioning which moves us away from being authentically connected to what our emotions are telling us. Noticing, honoring and owning our emotions, especially those that we label as negative, is the only path to emotional freedom.

As I talked about in an earlier post (Energy of emotions - June 2009 ), emotions are just energy that moves through our bodies. These emotions are neither good nor bad but rather should simply be viewed as data. To begin to see emotions as data, we have to develop a bit of emotional distance. First there is the emotion which arises and second is our response to that. Rather than respond to any and every emotion as it arises, we first have to simply become aware of the emotion but not respond from that emotional place. Even if we can’t label or define the emotion, just being aware that you “feel something” is a great starting point. Think about the difference between saying “I am angry” and “I feel anger”. In the first one you have already become the emotion. In the latter one you just have the awareness of the emotion (data) and so you can choose to respond more consciously to the source of your anger.

Emotions are felt within the body and so to feel them we have to be “in the body”, grounded and centered. Techniques for accomplishing this are given in “The Basics” series at http://shop.healingforevolution.com/. Once these Basics are in place then our task is to notice those times when we feel off-center or ungrounded. Our natural state is one of peace and tranquility where nothing bothers us mentally, emotionally or physically. Many people will read that statement and wonder how that is possible to feel peaceful with all the things they have to do and all the turmoil that they feel inside. This is a peaceful state that is achieved through meditation (Connecting with the inner Divine - July 2009), Yoga and is also the same one that you feel in those few moments after you awaken and before all the inner dialogue begins flooding in. Our true nature is one of peace but the physical world distracts us from that inner harmony.


GATHER THE DATA

I’ll be posting more information on this process soon in “The Awakening” series and that will include techniques for uncovering and working with old stored emotions to release them. Until then, I invite you to begin to notice your response to “how are you doing?” Notice who it is asking, what the scenario is and what your immediate response is. Nothing needs to change but we can’t change what we aren’t aware of so for now just hold your awareness on what thoughts and feelings arise when you are asked that question.

Are you really “Fine”?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Remember what you ask for

Recently I told you about Mars being retrograde and all I can say now is that it cannot go direct fast enough. This has been such a challenging period for me and while I know that I can’t “blame” it on Mars, one less challenge would be very welcome at this point. The thing I’ve learned about adversity however is that I’m always a better and stronger person for having gone through it. The lesson has always been to retain my composure and inner-knowing that “this too shall pass”.


While it is not my intention to whine about all that has been going on for me, one of the things that happened illustrates an important point energetically and so I want to share it with you. In December I reached a place with this blog where I was going to be putting forth some posts that perhaps the casual blog reader isn’t quite ready for and so I decided to create the pay-per-post blog site to continue the deeper lessons. At that time I was very busy at work and couldn’t find the time to do all the writing I would have liked.

I was getting up at 5am so that I could meditate and clear my head to allow the messages to come through. I’ve never been a big fan of getting up early like that but it was the only free and quiet time I could find to do what I needed to do. So in late December when the holidays were upon us, I remember asking my Spirit to help me find some free time to get things sorted out where I could get the site set up and get some posts on it. “Be careful what you ask for because you will get it.”

In looking back on the last two months, I see that I did in fact get it. Work has been very slow for me and when you have a job where if you’re not working you’re not getting any income, that can be a struggle. Unfortunately bills don’t magically disappear or shrink simply because your income shrank. I could go on and on for quite some time here sharing with you all the things that contributed to a reduced income being problematic for me but I’ll just leave it at that.

Over the years I’ve gotten used to the ups and downs of owning my own business. I’ve learned not to panic when it’s slow but rather to use that time to work on personal issues or things that I haven’t been able to get to during the busy period. It always comes down to trust for me. I have to trust that my Spirit knows when I need rest so that I can recover and face the next wave with ease. Now that I’m doing work that relies so heavily on my Spirit and that trust, my egoic self struggles when things don’t go the way that “I think” they should. It always comes down to trust though. Always.

So during this slow period I did get the new site created and got the initial Basics posts up and ready to roll. Despite things being slow at work, I kept coming back to “trust” and trying to get the rest I needed and tried to complete many of the little outstanding projects that I have in the works. I’ve come up with every possible explanation for why things are still slow however…post holiday sticker shock, the recession, Mars being retrograde, you name it. I also did a lot of introspection trying to see if something in me was energetically keeping work away. It felt like everything was aligned yet still work was very slow.

Finally last week out of desperation I threw up my hands and in a moment of frustration demanded assistance from my Spirit. Seconds later it hit me, I asked for the slow-down so that I could get things done. I had gotten exactly what I asked for. So it’s not enough to say “be careful what you ask for” because it needs further qualification to include “and always remember what you asked for”. Once I had the awareness that I was in fact getting what I had asked for, I knew that I simply had to begin asking for (setting my field of intention) what I wanted now so that the Universe could deliver it…and it is.

The Universe is completely responsive to our desires and requests because we are a part of the Universe. It works much the same way as our bodies. If one tiny part is calling for attention, the whole system responds. For example, if I’m hungry and so my belly desires food, obviously it can’t go out and find it by itself. It simply communicates its desires to the system, the system responds and next thing you know I’m eating something.

This shows the power of the spiritual adage “As above, so below”. People often hear that phrase and assign it a religious meaning of “as in Heaven, so on Earth”. The beautiful thing about metaphors is that they work on many levels at once to illuminate truth at all levels. Another perspective on that adage is to say “What is true for the Universe is true for the individual”. That’s one of the basic laws of mathematics in that what is true for the parts is true for whole and what is true for the whole is true for the parts. As much as our egoic sense of separation tells us that we are autonomous individuals having an experience with manifest reality, the truth is that we are simply part of the experience of the Universe. Everything that we are; the tissue, bones, fluids and consciousness are all here because of the physical manifestation of the Universe. We do not exist apart from the Universe (God, the Divine, Great Mystery, etc.). All that it is, we are too.

This is the information that I want to share with you at a much deeper level and is the direction that paid blog will go. In thinking on how to roll that out however, I realize that it won’t be done in just 5 or 10 entries but rather it will come out over time, even over a couple years if that’s what it takes. Given that, for one person to purchase all of those, it could run in to a larger investment than I believe is necessary on their part. To resolve that I’ve decided to continue with the posting plan as I have it but also add another option of a one-time fee of just 30 dollars. That’s about the same amount that you’d pay for a book and so it seems fair to me.

Right now I have the first series on the paid site (http://shop.healingforevolution.com/) which is the Basics of energy. The four part series gives you the fundamentals for setting your energy system to engage life and energy. I’m going to add the one-time payment option this week. If you chose that option as opposed to individually paying for each lesson, I’ll email the lessons directly to you as soon as I post it on the site. That payment will be good for as long as you want the information coming to you.

My desire and intent with sharing these deeper teachings is that I can help you awaken to all that you already are. I have no desire to change you, judge you or force you into any particular belief system. Rather I want to share what has worked for me along the way that has helped me to awaken to this expanded reality and shift in consciousness. The answers are all around us. We simply need to shift our focus to notice them. That is what I hope to help you discover how to do for yourself.

I look forward to our journey together as well as to the continued sharing of information on this free site. My best to you in all that you do.

Peace is always the answer. Truth is always the way.