Exploring and welcoming our emotions is valuable and can be incredibly eye-opening, yet most of us avoid feeling or talking about our emotions because that is what we have been conditioned to since childhood. Our feelings are a window into our needs and provide a path to connect with others and therefore to our deeper selves, because to empathize makes us more human.
Why horses? As prey animals horses constantly assess whether a situation presents danger by sensing energetic and emotional currents in their environment. They have a keen sense of smell, hearing, body awareness and energy waves. Horses do not judge or begrudge, and they are completely congruent, authentic and present in the moment. If no danger is present…they go back to grazing. Humans on the other hand, over-analyze our own and others’ feelings, get stuck in emotions, and worry about past and future, while forgetting to live our life in the present.
Over the next seven weeks, you will learn about the messages and gifts behind each emotion and how, by welcoming your emotions, rather than avoiding them, you can flow through difficult situations. By illustrating parallel behavior patterns between human and horse, you will also learn how to go back to grazing…and live your life with less turmoil and more purpose.
Before we dive in, let us establish that there is no right or wrong, positive or negative, good or bad, emotion! All emotions are necessary to understand ourselves and others.
This week, we explore Anger, Apathy & Boredom.
Anger is our honorable sentry; our guard and protector. It is the emotion that helps you understand who you are, both as an individual and as a member of social groups. When you feel anger it means that someone has violated your boundaries, either physically or emotionally. It could be a violation or challenge of your self-image, your views, your voice or that of others near you.
The gift brings is an awareness of who you are, how you honor yourself, whether you are being heard by your partner or others around you, and how well you set boundaries in your interpersonal relationships. If you have a healthy self-esteem you will be able to let anger flow through you. If not, it will require work. Low self-esteem often results in an inability to say no to others, and afterwards we get angry with ourselves for being “weak”. Ask yourself: what boundary needs to be protected or restored?
Horses are herd animals and they set boundaries all the time; they also respect boundaries, because when they don’t – other horses will surely remind them about personal space, through body language (and a swift kick!) Horses have a unique ability to make sure that humans know and become aware of their space needs, whereas in human relationships we are not always listening or watching the cues when we cross others’ or our own boundaries.
Apathy and Boredom are masks for anger but also a gift. When we are unable to express anger (because of the situation) we avoid or detach…a wonderful gift that affords us a time-out and temporary protection, while we figure out how to deal with our true anger and reset our boundaries. Imagine applying an attitude of “whatever” instead of blowing up in rage? That’s the gift. In the meantime you can ask yourself what is being avoided and what must be made conscious.
Horses do not get angry and hang on to the emotion the way humans do. They can certainly become bored and apathetic. If anger is an emotion you feel inside but do not express, the horse’s feedback to you may be in form of ignoring you…displaying a disconnection or a “whatever” moment, that clearly says: “when you become congruent and recognize your anger, I may start engaging with you. Until then I will stand over here by the fence and be apathetic!”
If you want to explore your emotions further through Equine Guided Sessions and Experiential Learning, sign up for one of my workshops this winter. Visit http://www.caballusconsulting.com for more information on how to reserve your space.
Next week we look at how to welcome our emotions Guilt & Shame and Hatred