I've been back from Costa Rica for just under a week and I've been hemming and hawing around the idea of putting into words what that experience was like. It's hard for so many reasons; first, it was a deeply personal experience and I still struggle with sharing really personal stuff and also I'm still processing all that happened there and how it did and will continue to impact me and not only can I not do a good job of communicating it before I've processed it, I know I shouldn't even try. So I've been working on finding the line of which parts to share and how much of those parts I'm comfortable with putting out there. I'm not ready to say much yet, but today I received an email with the following quote:
When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. Our job is to figure out whose opinions really matter and ignore the cheap seats. ~Brene Brown
Reading that quote from one of my all-time favorite people who writes about vulnerability and living wholeheartedly made me realize that Costa Rica and all that happened at the Horse and Soul Retreat happened because our group that gathered was ready for real connection with others and with ourselves. To be sure, the process is not easy or magical. There's a lot of crying involved, and there were many moments that I just wanted to run away to the safety and solitude of my cabin. Being vulnerable feels really sucky at times, but if you can get comfortable enough with it, it feels great on the other side.
I had two wonderful horses that chose me to work with during the week -- Pocahontas, a young female horse chose me on the first day. From the moment I took off my bandana, she was in my face making me smile and daring me to try and not fall in love with her.
On the second day, I was chosen by Paisatine, whose name when translated, means “My countryman, my loyal friend”. Paisa and I rode together several times, and I cherish not only the time I spent with him but the lessons that he taught me and the way he taught them to me.
All animals are so skilled at helping us learn the lessons we need in order to help our souls evolve. If we are open to learning and growing, they will teach us in their animal ways. As Debbie, our facilitator, said when I expressed fear over being bitten by Paisa who was nibbling my leg with his lips "they are horses first". It was a great reminder that even though animals are here to teach us and help us, they are animals first. They'll teach us using their animal behaviors. If we are open to learning, we will watch, listen and learn. And that is pretty magical.
Are you ready for some soul-level learning from your pets? Are you seeing behaviors that maybe make you a little crazy or make you worry about your animal? Schedule a session and let's get started on finding out what they are trying to teach you!