Horsey Therapist

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pain brings focus

I think Mark Rashid is a remarkable person and teacher, and I am inspired through him to become a better person myself. What I especially like about him and try to develop more in myself is the consistency he offers across the board to horses and to people.

There are times when I have found it much easier to offer softness to the horses in my life. Whenever I realize I am having trouble remaining soft around people, I take that as a strong indication I have some inner work to do. Because my intention is there for my own clearing and cleansing, whatever it takes to become the best for my horses, those opportunities arise, and sometimes in surprising places.

Recently I injured my shoulder in Aikido class. I go to Aikido in order to become softer, more balanced, and better at blending with and directing whatever comes my way. Why did I injure myself? Many thoughts have run through my mind and the most compelling one is the thought that I am ready to really know my shoulder. Not just use it, not just notice when it aches after stacking 400 bales of hay, not just taking a breath and letting the shoulders fall to their normal resting place after I realize I'm holding them up and feeling defensive and worried about something.

Today my right shoulder is my meditation. Anytime I forget and move unconsciously with that shoulder, PAIN! Instant and sharp. What better teacher for me who otherwise might not bother to pay attention...

My point is that I have adopted a way of life of inquiry -- sometimes the inquiry is external to myself, and sometimes internal. I find that what I have learned about horse's survival instinct applies 100% to us humans -- when we are threatened we run, and if we cannot run, we defend. What is different is that humans have developed very complex ways to defend. Imagine if we simply bite or kicked when we felt threatened and trapped! How simple life might be!

But we don't. I will leave it to anybody who wants to figure out for themselves just what 'we' do to defend ourselves. I suggest there is a special mix of defenses that each person has developed to get through the minutes, hours, days, weeks, years of living with some larger or smaller sense of threat. It is always my hope that people find their way quickly to letting go of defenses. And always my understanding that we, just like horses, act -- when threatened -- in our own best interests despite the possible consequences to others. That is why I did not get mad when my favorite horse kicked me. He didn't do it TO ME, he simple did it.

I do look forward to a level of awareness that will allow me to learn some of these important lessons without such physical pain -- if that is possible!


At 05 April, 2008 06:57, Blogger Pam said...

Sorry to hear about your shoulder. I have been having shoulder problems too. I bought a book by Craig Williamson just before Christmas called Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living. It talks about how a person does forget how to move their body, the impact of the mind over the body and other things. Turns out he practices in Portland at the railroad building on St. John St. So I went to see him on Wednesday and he really woke my left shoulder up. Now my right shoulder wants the same treatment. I've been trying to do it myself but it is still lagging behind. I told Craig that it was just like riding horses where someone says feel how soft this can be but if I never get to feel it, I don't know what I'm looking for. My brain/body connection forgot what a release feels like. Pam

At 05 April, 2008 13:58, Blogger LJB said...

Thanks for telling me about Craig. I found his website and have emailed for more information, like what it would cost to bring him to Vermont for a day's work. I am confident I can collect a few friends who would like the benefit of his craft!

Meanwhile, I'm heading to CT to meet with my favorite physical therapist who does functional biomechanics, and hope for guidance how to proceed with my shoulder. I imagine that next time I'm headed to Portland, I will book a session with Craig.


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