Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Breathing and Together-ing


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My primary intention for the week (Notice, Breathe, Let it Flow away, Let Love flow In) evolved a bit as the days went on. It turned into, at its base: “Breathe in, Breathe out. Breathe in love, breathe out.” Sometimes I would continue, saying to myself “Breathe in love, breathe out acceptance. Breathe in joy, breathe out gratitude. Breathe in peace, breathe out forgiveness.”
It became quite a powerful little breathing exercise. In a moment of turmoil, I would remind myself: “Breathe in. Breathe out.” and go from there. Whatever I could honestly do, I would do it. Sometimes, all I could do was “Breathe in. Breathe out.” and that’s okay.
I also added one other reminder to myself as the week went on: “We.”
Without realizing it, over the past few weeks I had started to become a firm and resilient “I”. “I can do it! I can do it all by myself!” I would practically announce every morning.
This was helpful, useful, and empowering… but just as I need light for daytime and dark for nighttime, I need to be able to be an “I” sometimes and a “We” sometimes–with my horses, and with humans–to be able to truly have connection with the other individual(s), and to truly appreciate and enjoy together-ing with them.
Mindfulness

Sure-ness


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My bodywork and movement education practice, much like everything else in my life, is changing.

It’s growing. I can see even more now how much of my influence is based off of my intent, my approach, and my energy. Much of the change, too, is driven by inner sure-ness.

I’ve come to a place of believing in myself and my abilities. I can still get nervous or apprehensive when approaching performance or social situations, but even in the jitters, there’s something different. I’m sure of myself. I know I can. I know I will.

I’m starting to realize, too, how much information I have. This goes along with some of the reflex and sensory integration work that has come together recently–it always felt difficult for me to retrieve and explain information. Even though I had it and I knew it, the lack of external translation could, at times, make it seem like it simply didn’t exist. Now that the boundary between the internal and external world are gone, the information flows (for the most part) freely, even if apprehension is there. In a nutshell, I’m starting to realize how much I know and understand.

Today my sessions with the girls were focused on freeing different areas of their bodies. I also  focused on playing in different levels of the doability perspective: can, will, and is.

Through a mixture of Hanna Somatics and bodywork, along with intention and refined connection/communication, both horses began to really unwind. The difference in their movement and standing before and after was quite amazing to me.

I’ve seen the same levels of influence and improvement in human clients, in other areas of my life, and in myself.

I’m always amazed at this life thing. Always learning, always growing. I’m so happy to be able to experience each moment so fully.

 

***

The sketch of this big German Shepherd-like guy (ears didn’t fit on the page, unfortunately) to me represented sureness–it was in a time when I had very little, and for some reason, when I drew this he made me feel steady. I had him on the wall above my bed for a long time, and every time I looked at it, I would feel more stable and more sure of myself, and also more hopeful for the future. I could look at him and remind myself that it was okay to feel unstable. Cherish also often represented this for me. These two helped me find sureness in a time when I had none–funny enough, what I didn’t realize is that that sureness I felt from them… the feeling was still coming from inside of me.

Mindfulness

Mark Rashid’s Developing Softness DVD


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Mark helps riders understand the importance of softness in both the horse’s and rider’s body and helps you to find awareness of and understand the impact of your body and thoughts (on yourself and the horse) through simple but highly effective exercises.

For me, this DVD really helped me understand how to quickly find my center, the power in using my energy and my thoughts, and the importance of softness. For those of you who know and appreciate the value of simulations, this DVD is for you.

I would recommend this DVD to anyone. You don’t have to be a cowboy to get a lot out of it. I initially rented it from GiddyUpFlix.com and will most likely end up buying it in time.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness? There’s an app for that.


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In the midst of a difficult time, I downloaded a mindfulness app called “Stop, Breathe & Think“. If I start to feel myself spiraling, or like I can’t possibly sleep and never will, I simply open up the app.

You take 10 seconds to scan your body and how you’re feeling, then pick your level of physical and mental/emotional wellness, and then pick up to five emotions from a fairly comprehensive, but organized, list. The app then generates a short list (usually 2-3) of guided meditations for you to try. Most of the meditations are 5-8 minutes long, which is great for a beginning meditator like me. (With such a busy mind, meditation has always seemed a bit daunting to me, so in the past I’ve gone for moving meditation, such as flow yoga. I’m sure many others can relate.)

Each meditation talks you through the whole process, using imagery, asking you to feel for different areas of your body, and bringing your awareness to different perspectives. So far each time I have completed a meditation, my emotions at the beginning were quite desperate sounding, and at the end they are at least neutral, with a bit of “hopefulness” or “love” or “gratitude” mixed in there.

My favorite guided meditations so far have been…

  •  Falling Asleep:   Before I downloaded the app I was unable to fall asleep, and then upon falling asleep would promptly wake and be unable to get back to sleep. Needless to say, I lost a lot of sleep. Now, before bed, I do an emotion-specific meditation and then “Falling Asleep”. I’m usually out before the meditation is finished. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can just turn this on and be drifting off in no time.
  • Great Compassion:    In a time where it would be easy for me to be angry or upset at someone, I have instead been able to have love, empathy, and compassion for the other person.

Sleeping instead of not sleeping, and loving instead of being angry? I would say that’s a pretty big deal. So, go download the app. It’s free. What do you have to lose?

Mindfulness, Wellness with Horses

Happy Humans=Happy Horses


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(I would like to note that any mathematical equation can be flipped around, i.e., it could also be Happy Horses=Happy Humans and mean the same thing.)

This is a very clear lesson that my lovely mares have been teaching me lately. Happiness and love come before softness, before connection, and before energy, and before any of those other cool things we can do when we start to communicate.

There are many qualities of pure happiness and love. One of those is complete acceptance, and even utter appreciation, for each other. As the humans, we get to initiate that way of thinking by loving and fully appreciating our horses for what they are… but also knowing that that is not just mediocre, but amazing. For more on this perspective, see my Facebook post – if you type the phrase “I’m learning a new level of self-acceptance.” into the search bar, you should find it immediately.

I have been experimenting with a type of communicating with the horses that involves no pressure. There is no “and… you have to.” at the end. There is no force. I haven’t been using a whip with a string on the end – I’ve been using a (riding) dressage whip while on the ground, for guidance, for encouragement, and as an extension of my arm, meaning I will touch and love on them to tell them they’re awesome or they’re alright if they’re afraid as well. With Hope, I’ve been using a rope (for giving her a feeling of sureness and safety when she gets nervous)… but the rule is, no pressure on the rope, and I have to drift with her. With Cherish, we’ve been at liberty in large, open spaces. If they leave because they’re uncomfortable or not connected, I drop all aspirations at communicating and follow in love and happiness and relaxation.

This has been quite an interesting experiment. It requires allowing them to make choices. It’s been difficult, and especially while using the rope, requires discipline – but it’s also becoming very liberating.

The horses respond not just as well, but so much better, when they feel like they are loved, taken care of, appreciated, and listened to. We are communicating, not in a way of “because I told you so”, but in two-way communication. There is a co-leadership going on, but that co-leadership is full of mutual respect, trust, love, and joy. This kind of communication requires that we take ourselves off of our podiums and become individuals that see our horses as individuals.

I’ll share more as we go along. For right now, happiness and love are all you need.

Mindfulness

Gratitude


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purple2At the end of the day, I spend time connecting with my breath, my body, and my internal self, and being thankful.

At the beginning of the day, I do the same thing.

These simple practices help me ground my life in gratitude, love, and wellness.