Over the years I have worked with a number of different teachers. There was a time when I tried to be like them; it’s taken a while for me to have some faith in being me and knowing that that is enough. I can still remember the exact moment I had that awareness but it’s taken a while to even begin to believe it.
I am an obsessive learner, always keen to learn something new and upgrade my skills. It seems to me, the more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know.
I aim to choose teachers who are already aligned with what I am doing, who are going to support me with my own choices and not try and change me into someone else, to help me grow and not try to keep me in one place. I aim to teach in the same way.
We are often warned not to work with different teachers as it can be confusing. I think that depends on your choices. Personally I find it helps me to see the same thing from different perspectives. When I am only looking from one direction I can lose my way. I choose teachers who seem to be heading the same way but maybe approaching from a different angle so everything looks new but the similarities outweigh the differences.
The Trust Technique with James French has provided a foundation for me, both as a student and a teacher, of present moment awareness, patient and non-judgemental observation of self and other and building a relationship on shared feeling.
Last year I took a deep dive into Elsa Sinclair’s work where I found my feel, timing, observation and responses could be and continue to be refined with the horses as our teachers.
I have started this year by jumping into Lockie Phillips Emotional Horsemanship, where I have already discovered that I have a more solid foundation than I realised from which to expand further.
Each new teacher provides the opportunity to make that foundation ever stronger in order to support whatever is to follow.
I have also been working with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner which has opened up a whole new world of communication from my unconscious “lizard” brain in the form of bizarre images which bring something important to my awareness. And this leads me to the milk bottle….
Grace has a tendency at the moment to get a bit too comfortable in her parasympathetic nervous system where motivation can be low. Yes, I could escalate pressure and she would do as I ask, but that’s not really how I want to be communicating with her these days. I am looking for ways of refining my ask so we can both be on the same page and she feels like doing the same as me.
Grace can appear to be calm on the outside but still be holding some tension in her body which can prevent her from moving freely . Today I was exploring how I could ask for softness and then movement with the most subtle feeling on the halter. When there is little or no response it’s tempting to get bigger and clearer, but it is also possible to get smaller and softer to find a response. This is the horse teaching us that we don’t need to shout.
I had a picture come into my mind of a plastic milk bottle with some water in it, together with the question, how softly could I touch the bottle to get the water to move just a little bit?
I put that feel into my hand on the noseband of the halter – not trying to make Grace or her head move, or her muscles let go; but just to have the image/feeling of jiggling the molecules inside her body the smallest amount and wait and feel for a change.
When you work at this level of sensitivity you can feel the let go before you can see it.
After a few repetitions, I would move my had towards her and she would let loose and start walking before I had made any physical contact at all – I love it when that happens. The added bonus with working in this way is that a feeling of inner peace and smoothness starts to permeate your own body at the same time – all becomes one for a moment.
Everything we learn or experience in our lifetime is stored somewhere in our unconscious brain. We don’t have to remember it all, just be open enough to allow the right message to surface and be seen, and trust enough to act on it.