By Asha Morris
You cut your finger, and your cat grabs your hand to lick it. Or you receive some bad news, and while you’re stewing about it, the dog lies at your feet and sighs. It happens all the time. Stories about animals waking their families in the middle of the night to rescue them from a fire, an oncoming storm, or some other emergency in the house, are found everywhere.
For those without a household pet, even the birds and wild animals we see in our backyard are in service to this world, and to us. Our lives are becoming more and more complex, and the simple act of sitting outdoors and listening to the birds sing, or watching a pair of squirrels cavort across the lawn, can ease the tensions of the day.
Try this quick five-minute refresher: Find a place, preferably outside, where you can sit comfortably. Close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Continue to breathe deeply. Feel the earth beneath your feet, even if you are sitting on a deck. Is there a breeze? What do you smell? What do you hear? Birdsong? Enjoy the moment. Now, open your eyes and let your gaze wander. If you have a family pet, is it nearby? Are there any wild animals? Enjoy what you see. Just take it in, without judgment, and let the moment flow into you. When you feel yourself full of that moment, in peace, thank the birds, the pet, the breeze, and go on about your day.
All of the animal kingdom is connected to us, and helps us heal in so many ways. However, horses have become a very visible example of how animals are care-givers. Because they are such large animals, their innate gentleness has a huge impact.
Horses have been instrumental in helping people cope for thousands of years. Even when horses were merely a tool, a beast of burden, they waited patiently, listened to our problems, joined in our problem solving. Ancient Greek literature documents horses used in riding therapy: Orbasis of ancient Lydia wrote of the therapeutic value of riding in 600 B.C.
Presently, horses are doing more than just helping people with physical limitations. They have moved into the role of therapist or coach. They are assisting our returning soldiers to integrate back into civilian life. They help people deal with grief, trauma and life changes. By their interactions with clients, they provide clues to issues and can be instrumental in helping people heal.
Horses are completely in the moment. In order to be with them, we must truly BE with them. We can’t be thinking about last week’s disastrous business meeting, or why our husband left us. We have to be in the present moment, in our bodies, allowing ourselves to feel everything that is going on inside us right now. This is something we, as humans, don’t like to do. It brings up stuff. But fear not; the horses have a way of helping us through the discomfort to the light at the other end. Horses help us find the answers that reside within us. They don’t just mirror our behaviors, although they’re very good at pointing out what’s going on with us at any given moment. They can also help us release the behaviors that are holding us back from realizing our full potential. More than any of our other healing animal friends, horses provide a way for us to dig into the issues and let them go. And they don’t judge.
We are predators, as are our cat and dog friends. Horses are prey animals. They move through the world in a very different way, and when we allow them to help us see a situation from their point of view, things become clearer. They know when we’re fooling ourselves, and they know when we are going toward the truth. They provide the compass for our direction. And they are there to comfort us when the emotion finally surfaces and must be released.
All of the animals have a special relationship with us. Like the cat who licks, the dog who sighs, they travel with us through this life wanting nothing more, really, than to make a difference. If we let ourselves hear them, and are willing to work with them, the rewards are beyond imagining.
Ashara Morris is a certified EGCMethod(r) coach and powerful animal communicator. Along with her husband, dog, cats and equine healing herd, she lives and works amongst the pine trees and wildlife near Elizabeth, Colorado. Visit www.harmonysheartcoaching.com for more information about workshops, connection groups, and private sessions.