Sacred Moments of Connection

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This picture captured the moment of the first time Pippy, one of the herd at the Wild Horse Sanctuary in northern CA, let me reach out and touch her.

This was after three days of working with her for hours, gaining her trust by showing up consistently and communicating to her with my body language that I wanted good for her, not harm. Horses are prey animals, so their survival instincts teach them to self-protect instead of connect. Safety is their #1 concern.

Because of this, until safety was communicated and understood between Pippy and I, she was going to stay as far away from me in that round pen as she could. Some horses are more dominant, assertive types and will try to maintain control as a means of safety. Pippy was very gentle-natured and was more inclined to avoid and escape for safety, rather than control.

From the get-go, my intention was to build a relationship with Pippy. I wanted to connect with her. Horses are social beings and are capable of connection in the same way humans are. But like any healthy relationship, this one was built on choice and not force. So even though I wanted to reach out and touch her on Day 1, we waited until Day 3, when she was ready, when she said “Yes” to that request.

This time together was so sweet, so sacred. She let me stand there for five minutes, rhythmically petting her face, easing into the enjoyment of being cared for and shown affection by another being. Connection, trust, and respect were all wrapped up in this moment. When I look at this picture, it brings back those feelings for me. It reminds me about my true self, gentle and kind, caring and affectionate, capable of connection and love.

I have found that to be a pattern in my work with horses, the invitation I receive from them is always to come home to the real me. The essence of me that requires no effort or striving. Then, and only then, will they extend a willingness and desire to connect. It’s never an invitation to be the perfect version of myself with no faults or negativity, simply an alignment of self that communicates, “I’m safe, I’m not hiding anything from you, all of me is here in this moment”.

These are sacred moments of connection. Where the truest part of me connects with the truest part of another. These moments add such depth and meaning to life, and opens pathways to change and transformation. The more we get in touch with our essential self, the more we want to tend and cultivate it so it is the part of us that is able to shine the most brightly in our lives. It’s the part of us that requires the least amount of effort and makes us feel most fully alive.

I’m committed to giving people opportunities to experience this. It’s too good not to share. This work is rich, deeply relational, authentic, and connecting. It has the potential to bring self-awareness and transformation.

My invitation is constant, come and experience this for yourself. Join me for a workshop or schedule your own personal session.

Until then, may you find moments of sacred connection in your daily life.

Rooting for you!

Jamie

Self-Sufficiency Has Met Her Match

In December 2017, I attended my first NL Intensive training in Brenham, TX. I’m pretty sure it was day two, which in my experience at these trainings, is when things really start getting stirred up internally. This life lesson came to me in my blind spot. Like a horse’s blind spot, it was right in front of my face (or maybe right behind my rear?). In fact, the only one who could see what was going on was my partner for the weekend.

I was in the round pen with the horse, Indigo (name has been changed for this article), trying to connect through attachment. When we had worked together the day before, we had a pretty quick connection, so I figured it would happen pretty easily again. This was not the case. Indigo was completely ignoring me. So I started to gradually increase my efforts, going from clucking and calling her name, to stomping my feet, to waving my hands in the air, to getting closer and jumping up and down and waving my hands all at the same time.

My partner stopped me (thank goodness!). I walked over to her and took a much needed break from all the jumping and flailing around. She said something simple like, “It seems to me like your energy on the outside does not match your energy on the inside”. At first I shot a quick answer back like, “Really? I feel like all of my energy is as high as it can go! I don’t know what else to do.” And then the thought settled somewhere deep within, and I took a deep breath and looked at her. She was right.

At some point, Tim Jobe had joined the conversation (he has a way of popping in at the just the right moment). He asked something to the effect of, “What might be keeping you from raising your internal energy?” I explained that it felt like there is a line that divides where I feel safe and comfortable to make an “ask” in a relationship and where it feels all together too risky and vulnerable. Tim asked, “What is the risk if you cross that line?” I started to process out loud about how if I gave more energy toward the relationship, what if it wasn’t reciprocated? What if she still kept ignoring me? The fear of losing what connection I did have seemed to outweigh the potential of gaining an even deeper connection. A wave of realization was rushing over me. This, of course, directly correlated to how I often felt in my human relationships.

Then something beautiful happened that I’ll never forget. By this point, I was back to standing in proximity to Indigo. As soon as I acknowledged my true inner feelings to Tim and my partner, Indigo turned and came toward me. She planted herself right there next to me as tears began to steadily stream down my face. I hadn’t even asked her to come over. She chose to all on her own. And all I could do was stand there next to her and let the tears fall freely. I savored that moment with her and all that she “said” to me through her actions.

In a way that only a horse can, she affirmed so many truths for me in this moment. She affirmed that all she wanted was the real me. She didn’t require that I had it all together. She only required that I was being real with myself and with her. It was as if she was saying, “Oh good, you’re truly present with me and now I want to come be with you”. She also affirmed that the experience of a connection like this was totally worth the risk and vulnerability it took to get it.


“Most people believe vulnerability is weakness. But really, vulnerability is courage. We must ask ourselves…are we willing to show up and be seen?”

–Brene Brown


Self-sufficiency has met her match, her name is Vulnerability. It’s only through vulnerability that true connection is experienced. Self-sufficiency may give a false sense of security, but it will forever leave me feeling disconnected from others. Indigo helped me realize that what I want more than independence and self-sufficiency is the sense of being known and accepted for who I am. In order to get this, I have to show up in relationships as my authentic, vulnerable, messy self.

Every day we have the choice. Today I choose vulnerability.