Knowing thy self
To know one’s self, one must continuously distinguish and observe stimuli coming from the environment while recognizing and comprehending the emotions and reactions elicited by them. One can know oneself when he/she recognizes and accepts the process by which emotions, thoughts and ideas arise leading to the realization of ones needs. These needs then translate to desires that create our behavior.
Contact with horses increases the ability to observe, recognize and distinguish stimuli and cultivates better attention and acceptance. Horses like humans have needs that create desires and thus behaviors. However in horses this process is undistorted without any interpretations.
In humans the process becomes distorted when we don’t accept our needs and therefore misinterpret them and become lost in translation between need and behavior. Horses have needs, desires, boundaries, choices, emotions, without criticism. That is why they can lead us back to ourselves and teach us to respect and accept our needs and free ourselves from the distorted process, so we too can develop an honest, truthful relationship with ourselves.
In the process of reestablishing contact with true self, we learn to see characteristics we may not like with acceptance and to plan change with respect. We learn not to fear our truth and ourselves.
We are always developing. Everything changes and evolves. Evolution can occur with negative outcome being unpleasant and dangerous for survival, or it can occur with positive outcome, being pleasant and safe. Evolution and development is multifactorial, affected by the environment and continuously changing conditions. It is a combination of the characteristics of the species and the individual and of the ways they interact with the environment. Evolution is not a matter of personal choice. Even if we decide not to evolve, evolution will happen, development will happen, growth will happen. But which way? Meeting whose needs?
We need to:
- Realize change-development-evolution-growth happens and there is no need for fear or anger
- To consider in what ways we choose to change in order to grow and adapt to change
- Realize our weak points and try to face them with respect
- Realize our strong points and help them grow
Our existence, as it flows in the river of change, stops because of our rigid ideas, thus creating a collision between flow and rigidity. If these rigid needs are irreversible we must learn to carry them and flow with them. If these rigid ideas have created false needs, we must recognize them.
Collisions and conflicts reveal to us the truth about ourselves and help us understand and resolve dysfunctional issues.
Our flow in personal evolution is a learning process and horses have been and still are our teachers, ready to care for us when we are desperate and crashed by life, ready to lead us to alternative ways of dealing with self and our lives. They are ready to show us how to lead and how to follow, how to use power and how to submit, how to be our individual selves without the fear of social acceptance. Horses are there to support us on this journey with the clarity and simplicity of their existence. An existence never blocked by rigid ideas, taboos or beliefs.
A child is born… It grows, gets taller, bigger, it learns and matures. Becomes a woman or a man and a responsible citizen. Does it stop there? Does he/she reaches a point of maturity that personality, values, priorities, beliefs –the map that is used to navigate life is so established that there is no place for change and growth? Is there a chance to explore oneself further, or “the route on the map” is predetermined by family, society etc?
To grow means to unfold, to bring into the light our inner needs and serve them. Growth has to do with choices, with the route I will follow. All choices have deep roots into our personal mentality, personal needs, personal desires. When people grow in an environment that reinforces growth through personal experience, when the environment reassures emotional security and acceptance of research, when the environment has the emotional clarity to allow and support the personal view of life of the individual, then growth and development flow without dysfunction.
Usually, the human environments have premade “maps” of life which pass from generation to generation, applauding (openly or in devious or secret ways) behaviors, ways of thinking, ideas etc. that conform with their “map” and punishing the ones that do not fit in.
And us humans, with our great need for acceptance, we hide and kill all these parts of ourselves that don’t fit the map and the expectations of others.
We sacrifice parts of us on the altar of acceptance.
And then we meet the horses
Their natural sensitivity and their ability to connect with our emotional self, bring into the light the inherited “secret maps” that rule our lives.
They help us understand and decode them and realize it is a prison with an open gate:
- waiting for us to go through
- waiting for us to move on
- to discover
- to unfold our hidden abilities, capabilities and talents
- to make our own “maps”
- to travel on our personal road without guilt for leaving the road-map of our family and others
- to dare to look and search for happiness