From the mind to the bodymind, finding embodiment with and without horses

Embodiment with horses

I step into the presence of horses and a felt sense of release and increased awareness travels through my body. It is almost as if I could feel the body and the mind reaching their fingertips towards each other and finally finding a way to hold their hands again. At that moment, I ask myself, where was I just a moment ago? Am I really hanging out here, out and about, in the world, most of the time, cut up into bite-sized pieces, handling only one part at a time? The mind going on about its hassles and busy times somewhere out there, leaving the body alone to the playground like an oblivious parent who's too stuck on the smartphone screen? Yes, often the answer is yes.

What is happening right there at that moment? Is it the horse that made me come back to a more embodied state? I doubt it. The horse is a horse, being just a horse, without magical glitter in his pockets with the capacity to put the pieces of my puzzle together. So, who is it then that connects the body and the mind at that moment? That must be me, as I didn't see too much traffic around besides the horses. Although I might think I don't have the capacity to do so, I just did. And I keep doing so over and over again as I come into the presence of horses.

Horses are not therapists or even embodiment teachers. They are horses, doing horse things. They might be mastering embodiment better than us, humans, but at the end of the day, they're just being themselves, and probably not thinking about embodiment as actively as I do. If we allow them the conditions where they can thrive, without compromising too many of their natural needs, they eat when they need to eat. They rest when they need to rest. They move when they need to move. They are there with their mind and their body holding their hands, co-operating, day in and day out. Of course, unless there is a situation that requires them to come out of that bodymind symbiosis (e.g. threatening situation, or manmade conditions that are not suitable for the horse and its well-being). Yes, humans also have a reason to be disembodied at times but probably not to the extent as most of us do.

How do I come closer to that connected state when I come to the presence of the horses? First of all, I feel that their presence is physically too big to turn a blind eye to if I have at least some common sense left in me. I have to tune in to my body and to my surroundings in order to avoid causing silly accidents that can turn ugly if a few hundred kilograms of meat go into the wrong direction at the wrong time. So, zoning out for long periods of time isn't a really good option. Secondly, as that big beautiful creature is in front of me, I have a hard time not seeing how every little gesture, changes in the breath, tensions in the body and the mind cause some kind of a reaction in the horse. It is feedback that is hard to ignore.

Yes, horses help me to see things in myself that I am good at avoiding at other times. As it sometimes feels that my body is too close to me to gain my unwavering awareness. I can be grateful towards the animal, but the work is still done by me, without any magical glitter from a faraway land. It can sure feel magical and that's great. Yet, it just is what it is, often quite gritty, literally smelling of poop and covered in mud. And that's also the beauty of it, in all of its raw realness.

Embodiment that is "easily achieved" while being with horses, is still my responsibility. It does not need to end as I go on with my day and leave "the therapy at the horses that I just needed". Often it feels like that, and that's okay. However, can I bring that state to the rest of my life? At least make it a regular visitor? Even without the help of the horses? They might have been the ones causing me to have it "on my face" in the first place but the responsibility of it lays on myself.

Am I living in a way that I can create the conditions in which I can feel more "whole", the body and the mind, and the surroundings, in co-operation? What do I need to do to have that? How can I revisit the peace of the body and the mind what I experience with the horses in every other place where I do my things? Do I rest when I need to rest? Do I eat when I need to eat? Do I move when I need to move?

It is hard work, and not always so beautiful but it t is worth it. At least I wouldn't want to leave my body alone in the playground for another set of years because my mind thinks she's too busy and important to play. 

Thoughts on rewilding and human-horse parallels
Why horses don't heal anyone
 

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Saturday, 16 October 2021

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