Making Contact

The little blue horse I encountered in the round pen was simply shut down.
His eyes alternated between vacant and worried, his body always coiled tight and ready to flee at any moment, yet he stood stock-still as if thinking any wrong move would result in punishment.  Perhaps in his past, that was the case.   How could I reach him?

If I moved too fast or made a strange noise, I lost him to a fear induced race to get away from me or he’d literally backpedal at impressive speed.   Even a task as simple as changing direction on the round pen would worry his eyes and I’d see him panic inwardly if he began to move in the opposite “wrong” direction from what I asked.

I also saw athleticism and a willingness to get things right, even if his response was overreactive.

We started from scratch.

It took a few sessions of progression and regression for me to find the magic ingredient.

Contact.  Something we all need to survive, whether that might come from family or friends, co-workers, or a kind gesture from your regular server at your regular restaurant.

Many of us don’t have any true contact in our lives.  We don’t feel heard or seen.

This horse was starved for contact and not only starved for it, somebody had broken the trust where his contact with humans had started. Those who were tasked to care for this horse chose rough & harsh contact over what he needed, which was gentle understanding. Does that sound familiar?

One morning I had Blue working at liberty (no ropes) in the round pen, for over half an hour he would not come in to me, just kept trotting trotting trotting around and around.  Again, I found myself saying, “How can I help you?”

I turned my back on him and waited. I listened for him to stop and when he finally did I backed up slowly in his direction.  I kept my energy non-threatening and quiet and finally was able to clip a lead rope onto his halter –  the first point of contact.

That session progressed rapidly with his confidence growing, as the line between us helped direct him. Any time he got scared and pulled or ran we weren’t starting from scratch, we had a starting place with him at one end of a rope and me at the other, he learned he didn’t have to run in an endless circle to keep the pressure off.

With our line of contact between us, he learned that he was allowed & encouraged to stop and think through what I was asking of him. He could breathe and we began learning how to communicate with each other. If he made a wrong move, he learned he wasn’t going to be reprimanded, just gently corrected with a nod of the head or point of a finger and we moved on.

Over many months, the little blue horse and I have worked through many progressions and a handful of setbacks, our conversation getting clearer with each day. More on the little blue horse and the lessons he taught me to come.

Where do you get positive contact in your life?  Where does negative contact live?
Do you have someone who listens to you, someone who you feel heard with?

Contact is a main tenant of Equine Gestalt Coaching. I believe learning to be a good listener and to be present with peoples pain (and horses pain) has made me not only a better friend and coach, but a better horse trainer as well.   

How can you create more contact in your life?
Can you be a better listener? How has truly listening impacted your relationships? How has not listening impacted them? Dig into some of these, maybe journal about them, see what you discover.

Happy Trails!
Coach Amanda

The End of the Road

This is not a post on horses or horsemanship. This is a personal post, a public confession, a purging of my mind. I hope you, dear friends & followers, don’t mind.
Sometimes the truth hurts.
One of my greatest fears is dependency. Dependency is an affront to my number one value of freedom.
Yet I have found myself neck deep in a dependent relationship.
This knowledge has been simmering insidiously in the back of my mind, and in the mind of my beloved for not an insignificant amount of time. Time enough to leave a stain on our relationship.
But I, lazy, comfortable, and complacent, have turned a blind eye.
The ugly truth rises up before me from the ether.
I have always been here.
This is the path I was shown. This is the path I have chosen, albeit subconsciously, to walk.
My deep value of freedom placated and laid low by my value of stability and comfort.
Meanwhile, the foundation has been quietly crumbling beneath my feet.

The reality check was delivered by my beloved with a firm but loving blow to my ego. I love him all the more for it. He’s been kind, generous, and very very patient waiting quietly for me to step up.
Gently nudging me from time to time. I know I’ve taken his patience for granted. I’ve been asleep at the wheel. He is hurting and he is tired from carrying us both for so long.

I finally, finally, woke up.
I found myself filled with shame, disgust, and a good deal of self loathing. How have I allowed this to go on for so long? This is not the person I want to be. This is not the relationship I want to have.
It is anathema to my soul.

So I crawled inside myself, filled with anguish, remorse, anger, and I wept on the bathroom floor, like a child.
I grieved the loss of trust between he and I, the damage done to our relationship, the loss of myself amidst years of co-dependency not just with my most beloved man, but as a theme throughout my life. I grieved.
I raged against myself for stepping into a role that I loathe with every fiber of my being.
And then I rose, a woman; determined to step into the next chapter of my life.

I apologized to my love.
I will continue to make amends with my actions, because my words have lost their meaning.

On the cusp of 30 years old, it is time to grow up. It is time to be a functional, self sufficient adult, in a loving relationship. One of interdependence and not co-dependence.

This concept of independence I have preached for years to the women in my life. A concept I was told repeatedly throughout my childhood; but as I have learned, words mean nothing if the actions behind the words tell a different story.

It’s time to practice what I’ve preached.
I’m ready to grow up & I know I have the tools to get there.

As always, thank you for joining me on this journey. If this speaks to you in anyway, please feel free to reach out, leave a comment, shoot me an e-mail. I’m here to listen as we all grow together.

And a special thank you to My Heart, for doing life with me, for not giving up, even when it gets rocky.

Coach Amanda

Bitter Fruit

It is a bitter taste that slithers itself over her tongue
Her words choke on strange fruit that turns to ash in her mouth. 
All she can do is look on
As a monster lays waste to the world she so carefully, so lovingly built. 
Promises of true love, whispered and caressed into her skin,
shattered at her feet as the knot they tied wrapped around her throat.
Silence is her legacy.

She has not the strength to stand, no will to fight for herself. It is all she can do to get from one day to the next.  So I shall stand before her, draw my sword and fight this battle until she is ready to go to war.

No vicious creature, I will not let you steal the screams from the mouths of our mothers, grandmothers, and ancestors, any longer.
You have been in power too long and now you must bear witness to our rising.
I see you cower there in the shadows terrified of the righteous feminine rage,  terrified of the justice to be doled out should we choose it.
As if we would sink to your subterranean level.
I will not tear you down, as you have torn us down for centuries, but I will rise with my brothers of the awakened and divine masculine.  Together we will grasp the arms of our brothers and sisters held beneath the surface of your oppression, and we will rise as one; an unstoppable force of love with the power to change everything.
You will not stand in our way.
Remember our Faces, Remember our Voices because we will Not be Silenced any longer.
Generational Silence will not be our Legacy.
It’s time to speak out, the world needs your story.