The Woo & The Wow! of Horses

CBP1001157Life is presenting me so many awesome new opportunities to LEAP and enjoy the thrill of learning something new.

Since I turned 50 (and let’s just say it wasn’t this year…), I have embarked on so many new and fun activities. Yes, it started with biking in Croatia and realizing how much I loved stretching myself.

Next, it was the Whitefish Ladies Golf League and taking a summer to invest in learning to appreciate slowing down and keeping my cool as I went through the process of being humbled week after week as our team stayed firmly in last place and my game improved much slower than I wanted. Next up, skiing and discovering the joy of dancing with the mountain.

In addition to the joy I found in sports, I also stepped out as a writer and coach. I started my book. Okay, that has yet to be completed, but… just starting is huge. I write a regular article for 406 Woman’s Business magazine.

I completed my Martha Beck Coach certification process and stepped up to present at the MBI Summit with CrisMarie.  It was magical and fun.

We walked away from the comfort of a corporate referral firm, to step out with out with own voice and brand, The Path to Great Results: Oh Sh*T! to Aha for Teams.

Many of these things have not been easy. Much like learning golf, stepping out, with our own voice and brand, has at times been humbling and not as easy as we had hoped.

In some ways it didn’t seem that much of a leap to sign up for a year of Equus Coaching. I got a nudge to apply, and so I did. Without any horse experience, other than a weekend workshop with Koelle Simpson, and no real clarity about how I was going to be using this training in my coaching, I knew something was calling. It was as if all the new things I had been jumping into, to find more of myself, were steps towards listening on a deeper level, and this Equus Coaching was a calling from some place in my center.

Truthfully, I was terrified when I arrived at the first in-person weekend to launch our journey. After being accepted to the program, I watched the training videos in preparation for the on site event, and fully realized I was soon going to be regularly interacting with these magnificent animals up close and very personal. One of the videos was about taking vitals, including temperatures…you know where…

I tried to remember that I had taken up skiing and done fairly well, even though I had been terrified of tree wells and falling. If I could do that, I could get comfortable with horses!

I had one crystal clear objective for the weekend: stay open, be willing to be vulnerable and play. Okay, may be that’s three objectives!

I soon learned that my reason for ‘joining up’ wasn’t about leadership or coaching. No, what I discovered was something I had lost or shut down a very long time ago. My little girl showed up. Not the guarded and defended girl who had learned to survive long ago, but the little girl who heard music and truly believed that all things were connected.

I don’t know if all people experience horses the way I do, but for me they sing. The music is beautiful and like something from another world. At first I spooked myself with the sounds. It wasn’t a sound I would expect from a 1000 plus pound animal. Yet consistently, I heard some version of the music with each of the horses I had the privilege to work with. As I let the music guide me, I soon discovered the music of other things – people and trees.

I have been told that I have the gift of sound – it is my language. Honestly, I never had a clue what that meant fully until I heard the music of the horses and began to discover the interconnected notes between all living things.

I also remembered hearing that music as a child. Out in nature, and with my grandmother when she was dying. I remembered shutting it down because no one else seemed to hear the music, and I didn’t want to be that different. Sharing the music seemed to bring with it more pain, and I decided it was best to stop listening. As a little girl it wasn’t easy when people would laugh at my stories of the music that seemed so loud and wonderful. Little did I know how hard it would be to remember, and what a joy it could be now!

It’s still all new, and now back home, the music isn’t quite as loud. Frankly, I am not really clear what journey I have stepped out on. I hope I will learn to listen and utilize the music. But mostly, I want to allow that little girl to play and not have to worry if no one else hears the same notes. She’s okay, and the horses are free to sing to me anytime they like!

For those who are not so into the “Woo,” no worries, I am also learning ways to relate to the horses, and discover how they are amazing mirrors of our emotional landscape and are very willing to connect when we are congruent and authentic in our communication. This I would call the Wow!

Yes, I still imagine as I go forward on this journey that bringing the horses into our work with leaders and teams is going to be one of the outcomes. I am also aware that the horses may be the pathway to building the community I have been seeking.

I don’t quite know what that will look like, but I met new friends and even now as we have scattered to our various places in the world, can hear the sounds and musical notes we each started to play together. I think there is much more to come on this adventure and I look forward to playing!  At some point I’ll be coaching with the horses and will be inviting folks interested to join me in a session.  Maybe you will hear the music as well or at least get the honor of an amazing mirror.

Of course if you want some coaching now you are welcome to give me a call.  No horses – but there still might be some magic!!



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