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  • Writer's pictureKathy Rumsey

A taste of Costa Rica

I've been back from Costa Rica for close to two weeks now, and I find that instead of getting really back into the groove of everyday life here I'm missing being there more and more. It could have something to do with our 45-50 degree days and all the rain, but I think it's something more...

When I signed up for the Horse & Soul Retreat, I kind of knew a bit of what I was getting myself into. I knew that Danielle MacKinnon ( was leading it and that was kind of enough for me at the time, though this was sure to be different than the other animal communication work I'd done with her for the past couple of years. The closer the time came to going though, the more I realized I wasn't quite sure just what it was that I'd signed up for. And then I arrived at the retreat and met a couple of the woman who live (and work there), who came and did a similar retreat and found it life-changing - so much so that they left their old lives behind and now live there. Huh? Um, I like my life thankyouverymuch. I'm all for a cool experience and doing some work on myself, but life changing? Not sure how I feel about that. It was a little too late at that point as the next morning, we'd be meeting in the covered arena, doing some work and then going through a process of being chosen by a horse, who would help us work on our "stuff" for the week. While blindfolded.

Talk about being out of my comfort zone. I like horses. I think they are beautiful animals, and I would love to say that I like riding horses, but honestly, all the riding that I had done I had tried to enjoy but the truth was I was always riding in fear. It's hard to have fun when you are afraid. That's part of the reason I thought this retreat would be good for me -- help me get over my fear while riding a horse. Silly me. I really had no idea what I had signed on for. In hindsight, it's a good thing didn't, as I probably wouldn't have gone. And I'm so glad I did go.

This retreat centered around "equine facilitated learning" -- the horses helping us with becoming more balanced and in touch with who we are. One the first or second day, Debbie, who runs the program told us we'd be watching a Tedtalk on vulnerability. Brene Brown immediately came to mind, and I was happy to see that she was who we would be watching. Yay! I love Brene Brown. I have all her books -- on audio and hardcover. And I LOVE listening to her podcasts. I'm a huge fan. Huge. But I'd never actually done the work.  And this retreat was all about doing the work.

Commence the tears. They started during the Ted talk, and stopped about 5 days later. Not constant tears, mind you. But daily, definitely daily. Intertwined with the tears were lots of laughing, a lot of connecting with the others, a lot of emotional breakthroughs and moments of awareness and connectedness within myself, a strong connection to Cosmo, the horse who picked me on the first day. And a couple of pretty awesome horseback rides, with no fear.

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