Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It All Starts With the Heart

                            The Mystic Cowgirl, Stacey J. Warner and her dog, Doodle

A quote from Stacey’s Facebook web page, “Curious what horses can bring to your life? I've never seen someone walk out of the round pen untouched by the experience.”

…Yes, it is curious what horses bring into your life, but it becomes a whole different experience with the help of Stacey J. Warner.

I didn’t know what to expect, and that is the best way to approach a session with Stacey and the horses.  Yet, I was deeply moved, and so will you be, if you take the chance to work with her.

Stacey is a combination of intuition, expertise, and cowgirl rolled into a gentle laser beam of awareness. She doesn’t just whisper to horses, she sees, hears and feels who they are AND what they are saying about us. That's why stepping into a round pen with one of the horses and Stacey perched to coach, gives us humans a unique perspective of our lives. This is not a riding session, in fact you never get on the horse; nope, this is a “being” session. We come face to face with all 1200 lbs of muscle that is either working with us or against us. This becomes a perfect dance as we have to find cooperation within ourselves and then with the horse. It all starts with the heart.

I’d just come back from the bliss of graduate courses at Monroe Institute of Consciousness, to the grief of my cat’s failing health, and  his miraculous bouncing back through one of his 9 lives. My heart was getting more than a work out. I knew that taking a session with Stacey would helpful. But I had no idea how that would look, or should I say... feel.

I'd had horses as a child, but that was 40 years ago, and when I found myself in the middle of the herd, I had a grab bag of emotions, mixed with excitement, awe, and a strange slice of fear.

Stacey knew the herd's personalities and quirks. She read them like they were colorful family members and had even intuited which one I would be drawn to. She was right, Gretchen, the dark sorrel, part Clydesdale, alpha female was who I chose.

 The first thing that came up for me while standing next to Gretchen, was profound respect and yet I was overwhelmed with an awareness that I missed so much in my youth, I had no concept of who I was back then, and in this moment with Gretchen, I knew all would be ok. 

Stacey watched our encounter. I stepped in closer to Gretchen to finger comb the straw from her mane, and I immediately remembered that a great deal of my time with horses was about wanting to please my father, and in that moment I felt paralyzed. Stacey guided me through that fear and drew my attention to how Gretchen was responding to me; the relationship I was creating with Gretchen was an opportunity to see myself in a different way. Stacey brought my attention to how I approached Gretchen, and how I approach people in life was similar, why some things work and why they don’t. The horse is the reflection, an immediate mirror for the student.

I adjusted my energy, and then Gretchen and I went for a walk.

By the time we’d walked back to the coral, I had found ways to “make things work” outside of the human box I was in. I had to think and feel different, change things up and just let go.

My next encounter was with “Rushmore”, a gorgeous chestnut thoroughbred who had been eyeing me, and me him. I fantasized galloping with him over a finish line to victory, but my work started when I felt the pull to press my heart against him. That meant I had to stand right in front him, placing my heart at his breastbone. I was tentative, but Stacey said, “Yes, do it”, and when I followed my intuition, WHAM! Deep sadness, and profound joy shook my chest and pried it wide open.  I had to remember to breathe as I reconnected to the energy that helped me gain so much strength and confidence as a child. My father had given me the greatest gift for my ninth birthday, a buckskin Arabian/quarter horse, and in that relationship I found freedom, power and strength that helped me moved through the tortured home life of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of my mother. BAM!  Yes, I had healed that, and there was Rushmore to remind me, and Stacey to guide me.

I went through a barrage of emotion laughed at myself and wanted to have more fun with Rushmore, but I had just jockeyed my life in a completely different way with the horses and I was spent... from a different kind of ride.

The old cowboy boots that I’d had since I was 14 that fit like a perfect key in a lock, reminded my back that I had been holding in such powerful emotion. Being with these great, huge, sentient beings was a risk worth taking I had no choice but to share my heart so they would know me. Brilliantly guided by cowgirl, angel Stacey, I learned life in the round pen is a mirror for the delicate balance of all life, ego has no place in making things work, cooperation is essential, truth comes out because the horses know our shit and it can all be fun, even the scary parts. It all starts with the heart.
I look forward to my next “ride”.