“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another ‘What, You too?! I thought I was the only one.'”
I attended the Touched by a Horse annual Summit this weekend. It’s a big event with speakers, break out groups, and Graduation night for the new certified coaches. It’s a pretty big deal.
I arrived on Thursday evening for opening night and all through the evening and into the next day I could feel myself sucked into a dark space, like a vortex it held me fast and I couldn’t pull myself up and out. I was there in body, on a chair listening to speakers and talking to friends, but my spirit was elsewhere, floating in the ether, adrift, a headache pulsing in the back of my skull, letting me know that something was amiss.
Normally, this ranch is my safe space, my home away from home, where the moment my feet touch the earth I am at peace. This time it was like I hadn’t even arrived. I skipped out several times to go nuzzle the muzzle of a lovely horse named Gus, who was able to ground me back into myself and each time I visited him I felt myself appearing out of the fog, my heart a little lighter. That’s the magic of horses.
What I want to talk to you about today, is the magic of friends.
What was my problem? I was in my favorite place with some of my very favorite people, yet I was feeling very isolated, very alone. I was poisoning myself with an untold “secret”. I was carrying the weight of news I hadn’t yet confessed to a very dear friend. I was wary of telling her. Weary of telling everyone.
We went for a walk and paused at my car and before I could stop myself the words were pouring out of my mouth. She looked a me with a small smile on her face and a mischievous glitter in her eyes that spoke volumes. She wasn’t overcome by sadness for what will ultimately be her loss for a time, but delighted by what is going to be a grand adventure. She shared stories of her own grand adventures and shared with me her excitement for the growth and experiences that are ahead of me.
We left my car and as I settled back into the arena in my chair, I felt finally at ease.
The next day was Saturday, filled with speakers and a cocktail party, and dinner in the evening, followed by graduation. All day I was filled with a groundedness and happiness I hadn’t felt in the previous days. Finally I was present and able to enjoy the friends and family around me.
As the evening and graduation drew to a close, I was leaning on the sidewall of the arena watching new sisters walk across the stage and into the next chapter of their lives. Shoulder to Shoulder with me are two Powerful, Beautiful, Bone-Deep, Soulful, Badass women. The bond between us was tangible, a living thing. As we stood together I was struck with such force, how impactful our friendships can be. How empowering, if we let them in.
I’m connected with the women (and a couple of men) in that arena on a soul level. We have shared deep trauma history with each other, we have witnessed, cried, laughed, screamed, held, healed.
It is my default setting to block people out, to go it alone, to do it myself, and say that I am fine in my independence. This weekend reminded me, that going it alone is not the answer. If we were all better off alone, we wouldn’t feel so broken.
If we had all the answers to heal ourselves, we would, nobody would choose suffering if they could help themselves by themselves.
The truth is, we need community. It’s the secret sauce. The ultimate healing magic that we all seek. We need our tribe, our herd, to lift us up when we are down, to lean on in grief, to laugh with in moments of joy, to inspire us when we feel like we are not enough.
It takes bravery to make those connections, because these types of bonds do not come without deep vulnerability. We hand over the power to people to hurt us, we have to trust that they won’t, know that disappointment comes with every relationship, and build on the knowledge that the foundation is built on trust, the best intention, and pure love.
On Sunday during the closing ceremony, there is a song that is played that always goes straight to my heart. We stand in a giant circle, hand in hand, heart to heart.
This time, as I stood with two more of my dear sister-friends, all my feelings came pouring out of my eyes and I cried and cried as the song played on, I felt them both squeeze my hands.
Once it was over I was enveloped in the arms of a woman who has become so dear to my heart over the years, and she told me everything was going to be fine, it’s going to be great, and I know she speaks the truth. It means so much to me, to be seen and held both physically and emotionally by such beautiful souls.
I never knew the power of a group of women coming together in tatters and binding each other up could be so healing.
It’s my job now, as a certified Equine Gestalt Coach, to pass on this gift of sisterhood. To pay it forward, on to the women who have not yet found their tribe. If you’re going it alone right now, if you find yourself lost, unsupported, lonely, searching for something bigger than yourself, I’ve got a group and a horse for that.
If you feel compelled to share your story with me, or you’d like to sign up for a group or private coaching session, or you’d like more information on Equine Gestalt Coaching, please send me an e-mail at: