I have just spent two inspiring days at The Donkey Sanctuary at The Trust Technique’s Practitioner Day followed by their open I Have a Dream Day. I have heard James and Shelley’s message over and over again during the last 2 years, but on each hearing there is a realisation of how much I still fall short of the ideal and the inspiration and motivation to continue to do better for the animals (and people) in my life.
I want to focus on something James said which really struck a chord:
“There is a gap between what we say we feel about our animals and what we actually do.”
Everybody says they love their animals – and they truly do, but do their actions genuinely support their words?
I have been aware of this gap in my interactions with Grace for a long time, but I saw it in a slightly different way – on one side my agenda – what I want from her, and on the other side what she wants from me and how she feels about what I want. I really love this different perspective – on one side what we say and on the other what we do. This has brought to me some clarity about this gap. Like many of my species I am often looking for instant gratification. I jump out of bed in the morning motivated to do better, I work really hard at it, I don’t see the results I want quickly enough, I get a bit frustrated, maybe even “give up” a little bit and then have to start again.
It’s easy really – all we have to do is listen to our animals – they tell us with their behaviour and their actions everything we need to know to close that gap. But we need to listen, hear it and act on it. Sometimes we listen and we don’t hear. Sometimes we hear and we don’t act. Sometimes we listen and we pretend we haven’t heard because it doesn’t suit us. I’m as guilty of that as the next man.
It’s very easy to watch experts at work and think that Rome can be built in a day. We can then set out on our new journey with some high expectations which are soon disappointed. This is why approaching every session as if you are seeing your animal for the first time and being present and acting in the moment is so important.
Don’t get me wrong some people can get incredibly quick results with the Trust Technique. I have seen changes in an animal with quite extreme issues within the space of a week – “co-incidentally” their humans committed fully to the practice – they really put their animals first and stuck to it.
Like many others, I don’t find it so easy. All sorts of things can slow things down – lack of commitment, lack of trust – in the animal, the technique or yourself, lack of self-belief, impatience, frustration – the list goes on. The animal may be highly sensitive – it is then so much easier to make a mistake as we misread or mishear. And of course every human is different, every animal is different, every combination is different and every situation is different, so results will vary widely and is no reflection on “how good you are” at this.
Maybe like me you sometimes pretend you don’t hear what you don’t want to hear – so your actions don’t support your good intentions. Then you have robbed something from the relationship bank account which now needs paying back before you can get back in credit.
What I do know is the more time you are in the present moment, the more awareness you develop, the quicker you can get back on track and the more you close the gap.
If the gap is 100 miles wide and you can only close it by a few millimetres at a time – you are still doing better for the animals and people in your life, you are still shaking off the shackles of your conditioned past, the rules and beliefs that you have followed (even if they didn’t really feel right) and moving ever closer to honouring your true self.