Horsey Therapist

Friday, June 09, 2006

Learning from projections

This evening I heard myself say (silently to myself during one of those endless conversations inside my head as I dissect events and emotions and attempt to make sense of my relationships), "Rusty is just like me. He hates being told what to do."

It fit when I said it. Then thinking more about it, it didn't fit.

I was recalling a few summers ago riding in a clinic with Harry Whitney. Riding Rusty three days in a row. Following suggestions/directions from Harry and passing them on to Rusty. I may have been practicing gentling my hands on the reins, or developing consistency when I ask for direction, continuing to ask until the horse responds, or in those special moments, when the horse prepares to respond.

Rusty started letting down mentally and emotionally like I'd never seen before. Yawning and soft and patiently waiting for my next message of guidance. It was sweet. Unspeakably sweet. Bring-tears-to-your-eyes sweet.

I scratched my head during that clinic. I have historically offered the horse a bit too much choice, and it baffled me to get such a melting response from Rusty when I was -- in my interpretation -- giving him so few choices.

I did not follow up after the clinic with regular riding or with offering him as much direction and support as I did in that clinic. Mea culpa. But today I'm thinking about this. And recognizing that it is ME who does not like being told what to do, hence it has been hard for me to be in the role of telling Rusty what to do.

But what if he really needs that from me? Can I let go of my stuck place and give to him what he needs, without the emotions that tend to surface when I'm being told what to do and happen to have some other superb ideas about what I should be doing? Ugly moments of defensive, disconnecting emotions, at least as recognized by my more sensitive, aware, and honest self.

Rusty is not the only one who gets the brunt of my emotional expression. RNB does as well. I am making progress though and this about all I can ask for. Though saying that and acting in full harmony with that belief are two separate experiences. But growing closer.

Dissolve, oh ye persistent particles of perfectionism!

1 Comments:

At 10 June, 2006 19:41, Blogger ZinniaZ said...

"And recognizing that it is ME who does not like being told what to do, hence it has been hard for me to be in the role of telling Rusty what to do."

I think this is a crucial thing to think about! I have found myself exactly there and have heard other riders express this in different ways-- my husband who feels uncomfortable insisting that a horse go, my daughter same way. The idea that we impose our will on another creature-- it is foreign and hard to bear sometimes. But what if... it is not imposing our will as much as setting the boundaries for the relationship and the leadership that we must take?

Remember "finding the NO"? We have to find ours TOO. We enable the horse the expression-- we need to express it as well... right? Not right?

At any rate, I think about this a LOT. Very interesting Lasell. :)

 

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