Being a self employed woman determined to evolve a nature based healing retreat has its challenges most days so an invite from Jenny to meet the horses at Painted Horse was a welcome reprieve.
My day started somewhat frantically as usual, catching up on emails, making some needed phone calls, feeding and loving the cat, shower, breakfast…. zoom across the Blackdown Hills and up the A303 in time to meet at a prearranged car park in Glastonbury for 9am. Well, that was the plan! Luckily I had taken the postcode as, not surprisingly, I missed our rendezvous time and had to make my own way there. After first having gotten lost, I arrived to find our small group filling out consent forms and meeting Livvy and George who run the place. Interesting people, Livvy used to be a policewoman and George, I think, is still a teacher. Proper people following their dreams and passions of what makes them feel right and good: helping those who really need it, aided by the power of horse.
The forms completed, we were taken to a small enclosed arena and encouraged to stand in a circle, close our eyes and scan through our body to notice if we felt tense, blocked or achy anywhere. Livvy then gave a guided meditation to help relax us. The words she used were very visual in that they helped me see beautiful things like a path through a sunlit field with amazing wild flowers that swayed in the cool breeze as I walked along it - at least this is what I saw in my mind… in reality I was still standing in the arena with my eyes shut. The meditation helped to quiet my mind and for me to relax in to and feel my body and establish a deeper connection with the earth. Other than relaxation, Livvy was doing this to help put us in the mood to meet the herd. She also gave a brief run down on how the morning was structured as well as general guidelines on how to behave safely around the horses.
As we stepped out of the arena toward the horses, in silence, we were encouraged to become aware of our surroundings through our senses; what could we smell, see, hear etc.? I’m always amazed when I do this as the whizzy thoughts going through my mind seem to disappear, allowing me to rest properly.
We’re with the herd now. We’re encouraged to follow our intuition, to go up to them if we want or just observe and let them come to us. I want them to come to me. I want attention and to be liked. After some while a small bay coloured scruffy looking pony comes up and bites my skirt pulling it upward. I’m reminded of a time when I’m about eight. I’m playing blind man’s bluff in a friend’s garden. My friend has two sisters and my sister is there too. I’m the blind man with my eyes shut. Next thing is, someone pulls up my skirt so my knickers show, I’m flushed with great shame, sadness and embarrassment. Everyone laughs. I want to cry. I remove the blindfold and open my eyes. I don’t know who did it, just see faces laughing at me.
I gently say ‘oi’ to the little pony and get it to release my skirt. I feel I’m being helped to process a stuck part of me, me as a little girl with all that shame. Right now allows me to say what I needed to say when I was eight. The pony idly walks away and sniffs one of the other ponies. For a moment I feel alone and rejected. I have the urge to copy other people in the group and walk to one of the other herd, but then I decide to stay and observe from where I am. This is my choice. In fact it feels good to watch everything going on around me but have the space to just be. To rest. To not get involved and busy my mind again with what I think I ‘ought’ to do. I then realise that this is actually what I need more of in life generally.
After spending time with the herd we formed a circle where we could share what came up for us, if we wanted. We then gathered some pieces of nature, leaves, twigs, reed mace, grasses and brought this together to make a living mandala that we left to dissolve back in to the ground with the help of the elements and time. We did this to honour our day, the horses, the people and nature.
Thank you Jenny for bringing me this possibility to learn, grow and release stuck unhelpful patterns in me.
Emma - Blackdown Hills, Devon, UK