Meri*, 36 y.o., came to Stand InBalance because she was having a hard time figuring out what she wanted to do with her life. Her relationships felt superficial and she was uninspired about her work. She was stuck and needed help to get out.
In her third session, Meri set up an Obstacle Course that represented her desire to break through to creativity. She connected up with a horse she named “Ruby” and easily walked her around the arena and through the beginning of the obstacle course. However, every time she brought Ruby to the last obstacle (a raised pole placed between 2 barrels) Ruby would plant her feet and refuse to move forward. Meri grew frustrated as she kept trying to pull her over the obstacle. She continued to try the same thing over and over again — the more she tried the harder Ruby resisted. She yelled out in exasperation “This is impossible! Why the *#%^ can’t I get her to move?!” Although, exasperated, Meri brought up a good question, “Why?”. What were the possibilities? As we explored this “stuck” point, Meri let out a deep sigh, her body sank and she said that it was just like how painting felt to her. She used to love it and kept thinking about painting again but found she just didn’t do it.
Instead of focusing on the obstacle ahead, I asked Meri how she felt about “creativity.” Once she connected with what creativity meant to her, Meri became congruent with both her frustration about the loss of art in her life and an underlying fear that she may no longer be good at painting. We encouraged Meri to experiment with what might help her and her horse get through fear to creativity. What was she not seeing? What could she do differently? As she took time to really “see” what was in front of her and consider the possibilities, Meri recognized that she could actually lower the pole and approach it from a different angle. She also decided to have Ruby “look at the obstacle from different angles” before she decided to re-start the obstacle course. This time they both walked through and completed the course with ease!
When we are stuck in life, it’s hard to see beyond the mud and the muck of what we’re stuck in. Horses teach us to connect with what is authentically true, to try different things, and to look for the “anything is possible” possibilities. They know when you aren’t feeling “right” about something and without judgement their behavior reflects that. Meri found a lifeline she wasn’t expecting when she connected with possibilities rather than self-doubt. She also found that possibilities aren’t always what we expect them to look like either. Meri did start going to an art class which opened her up to deeper connections and the motivation to change jobs.
*All names and identifying information have been changed.