FEAR l WOMEN l & HORSES
After nearly 41 years of marriage, you would think that I might have learned a thing or two about relationships. Actually, I have learned more about relationships from my horses than I have from my spouse, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, marriage counselors, and the clergy combined! Furthermore, horses have shown me how keenly significant relationships can be. Have you ever thought about your own relationships with other people, animals, and mother nature? Have you ever really examined your relationship with yourself? Do you allow negative thoughts, emotions and feelings to hold you back? Let's consider feelings of fear. Fear, not unlike money, is one of the most powerful forces in nature. When we operate from a state of fear, our decisions never quite measure up to the ones that we make from a position of faith.
Understanding your relationship with fear can definitely enhance your quality of life. I am not talking about the fears that keeps you safe or fear of speaking harshly to someone. These are healthy concerns that pertain to your personal safety and common decency. I am referring to the irrational fears that can govern your decisions. It is more important to examine the reasons WHY you make choices than to question the actual choices themselves. WHY you make the choices you do reveals a lot about your relationship with fear.
NO ONE is exempt from fear and people fear all different kinds of things. Although horses are my passion, I realize that some people are afraid of them. Have you ever fallen from a horse? A fall is certainly a significant event that can be life-altering. It can change your relationship with your horse. The fear of getting on a horse again can swallow you up like a dark cloud. I know this feeling all too well and I am certain that many of you know it as well. Fear can control our lives making it impossible for us to move forward. We all know that horses are very powerful beings. Even with all of our technological advances, automotive engines are still measured in “horsepower”. After a "fall", we need to examine WHY we are afraid to "return to the saddle".
If we really understood how harmful it is to our physical and emotional well-being to live in a constant state of fear, we would all be more mindful to acknowledge our fears and put them to rest. In her book (Dying To Be Me), Anita Moorjani writes about the manner in which fear played a prominent role in her illness. She came to understand that she was governed by fears revealed during her near death experience. Ultimately, her insight played a pivotal role in her healing.
As a child, I never knew what it was like to live without fear. Like many of you, I grew up in the 60’s and was exposed to the assassinations of President John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. I watched the nightly news and witnessed rioting in our cities along with the racial strife that was highlighted during the civil rights movement. How does the mind of a child process such madness? It doesn't. Therefore, I learned to live in fear. For many years, I couldn’t watch the news because it deposited too much interest in my mental bank account of fear.
As an adult, I feel strong empathy for all people, especially for women struggling with their fears. After much self-reflection and many years of working on myself, I made the life-changing decision to let go of fear and the corresponding detrimental effects it had on me. This was not an easy process and took an enormous amount of work. As soon as I peeled away one layer of fear, another layer was right there to be dealt with. I can now honestly say that I no longer live a fear based life. I can even sit through the evening news with a feeling of ease. Whenever you feel the grip of fear, pause and take a moment to breathe. Has this fear presented itself to serve as a warning that something is incongruent in your life. Horses and humans don’t live in an ideal world but we can certainly dream of one. We simply need to look fear straight in the eye and walk toward it. As we move closer to our fears with the vision of a better future, we MAKE IT HAPPEN one step after the other.
Currently, I write a blog almost every week. I think this is very ironic because English was my worst subject in school. My grades definitely reflected the fact that I liked horses a lot more than I liked school! I never ever believed that I would enjoy writing. Like many of you, upon reaching adulthood I faced major challenges. During a particularly difficult period in my life, I decided to take a writing class. As I look back on it now, my writings during this class reflected my turmoil and assisted me in my search for inner peace. I realized that I had a lifelong fascination with horses and had always wanted to learn how to relate to them more intimately. As I searched for better methods of training, the one that genuinely called me to was Carolyn Resnick’s method of natural horsemanship because it emphasized relationships. Through the study of Carolyn’s method, I have built the strong relationships that I share with my horses today. I can honestly say that this is a dream come true for me! Carolyn became my mentor, my teacher and friend. I succeeded in becoming a certified instructor in her method. During my studies with Carolyn, she also encouraged me to write. Her method of natural horsemanship embodied everything I felt but didn't know how to verbalize. I had always known in my heart that this level of connection was possible. I continued to study Carolyn’s method and became involved in Animal Communication (a lengthy three year endeavor in which I became a certified instructor as well).
I had done all that work and now I was faced with a big problem. Can you even imagine what it’s like to be asked the proverbial "What do you do?" question and to reply “I’m an Animal Communicator” while living in the deep south???? I wasn't merely afraid to answer the question, I was PETRIFIED that people might think I had completely lost my marbles! I didn't feel that I "fit in" (even with my own family). Nonetheless, I knew in my heart that Animal Communication was possible for me just as it is possible for all. In addition to feeling like a misfit, my husband and I were having some troubles. We decided to seek professional counseling for a variety of reasons including the issue that he thought my endeavors were "strange" and was having trouble just letting me "be me". In hindsight, the opinions offered by professionals were simply words. They paled in comparison to the realization that the answers I had been searching for were within ME the whole time! I simply needed to face my fears and hold onto what was true for me.
According to Michael Brown (author of Alchemy of the Heart) we are imprinted with feelings of fear while still in the womb. We develop courage as we liberate ourselves from the fears that hold us captive. Letting go and developing trust in ourselves are our biggest hurdles. Freeing myself from fear has given me the courage to stop trying to fit into preconceived molds. Yes, I am an Animal Communicator and yes I prefer to teach a relationship based method of horse training. Currently, these activities fit into my world just fine.
With my fears under control, I now see myself for who I truly am. First and foremost, I am a teacher and I strive to be the kind of teacher that I wish I could have had in school. I love teaching women to recognize what their horses have to say and how to have the best possible connection with them. Relationships are optimal when both parties feel free to communicate clearly with one another. The horse-human relationship is one that I am absolutely passionate about. I enjoy teaching and demonstrating to others, especially women, that nothing is beyond the realm of possibility with horses.
Every creature has a song to sing and a dance to dance. Horses have helped me to discover my song and dance. They are partners in my journey of life. The elimination of fear has made room for many wonderful occurrences in my life and for the relationship I share with horses. I am no longer a slave to fear and I receive a satisfaction greater than any paycheck knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of others. As I write my weekly blogs, I have to let go of my fear that others won't like my message and simply write my truth. If I can inspire others in some way that's all the better. In the words of Mother Teresa,
"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person".
Imagine what your life would look like if you let go of fear. Go forward and walk straight toward your biggest fear. That’s right! Keep going and stay focused on your vision of how you want your life to be. Every time you feel the grip of fear trying to stop you, take a tiny step forward. Each step brings you closer to the realization that whatever you envision is attainable. We learn as we move our feet, building courage and character along the way. I teach horses the same way I teach people; one tiny step at a time. I encourage ( not discourage) with passion and compassion, nudge gently (no pushing) and recognize the things done right.
We have all heard that horses are very intuitive. I can guarantee you that they always accurately perceive our feelings. Horses have been my greatest teachers and I'm sure that I have many more lessons to learn from them. It is due to their wisdom that I am able to share my story with those of you who are ready to begin singing your song and dancing your dance. If you are truly ready to create a better world for both yourself and your horses, examine your relationship with fear and start from there. Today my relationship with fear is quite healthy but tomorrow …well….tomorrow is not yet here. Alas, I can rejoice in the fact that I truly have nothing to fear and neither do you!
Be bold and shine your light brightly during this holiday season of light!
Linda & The Herd of Eight