Driving out to the ranch to work with Jay last Monday, I was feeling the familiar dread, which had always been present when I was anticipating my day’s work. No matter how much fun I have working with the horses, and no matter how excited I am about learning new techniques and improving my skill, my stomach ties itself up in knots on the drive out there.
Of course, it’s because of that inner critic who tells me I’m no good at any of this. I understand that tape loop very well indeed.
But on Monday, something different happened. Suddenly, driving along, I realized that no one expects me to be perfect—at anything—except me! In fact, people are always telling me how good I am at things. But that, I guess, pushes the button on the old tape that says, “If you fail, you will disappoint them, and then there will be dire consequences.”
Well, duh. I already knew what was happening. But somehow, at that moment driving out to the ranch, it shifted from an intellectual knowing to a feeling—something internal, something that was, for me, much more real. In that moment, I felt myself relax.
That day, at the ranch, I had more fun with the horses than ever before. I was relaxed, enjoying the games that we played:
Move your butt.
No, I’m going to squirt out in front of you.
Nope, you really have to back up now. That’s right. Now, let’s try that again. Move your butt.
How about if I step into you with my shoulder?
Nope. You have to back up away from me. OK, now move your butt.
Oh, all right. Like this?
Yup. That’s it. Good girl.
OK. That was fun. Now what?
Within minutes, I could see the difference in how the horses reacted to me. What had seemed impossible the day before now was accomplished quickly and easily, and the horses were calm and willing to work with me. My own energy had shifted dramatically.
Funny how working with horses helps me move so quickly through blocks that I’ve been working on for years in conventional therapy. Somehow, the information seems to bypass the verbal, intellectual parts of my psyche—those parts that are so skilled in making excuses—and go directly to the feeling level. Interesting, and useful! That’s what I hope to help others accomplish in my private practice.