Bringing the Pieces Together to create a Gift Box

This morning I played with both Hope and Cherish.

I found myself bringing pieces together from Karen Rohlf’s Module 2 in the Sweet Spot Course, from past and present things I’m learning from Aimee Brimhall McCord, and from doing things in the moment that just “feel right”.

Finding the ground, finding the flow, and finding relaxation, aka, can you even breathe?

This is mainly from Aimee with some of my own adaptations.

I found myself needing to find relaxation first, even before I greeted the horses. I was on my way through the pasture at the fastest and largest walk my legs would allow, aimed right for their little group of three. When I became aware of it, I stopped dead in my tracks and just laughed at myself.

I grounded my feet to the ground. I felt for my balance. I shifted my body some.

I attempted to find a flow of energy – allow it to sink into the ground, and then recycle energy back up through the ground. That didn’t happen at this moment. It allowed me to relax, but any sensations were null.

I then tried to breathe deeply and rhythmically – just to breathe. I couldn’t. It was shallow, it was off beat, and I realized I wasn’t getting enough air. I tried shifting my body around. My ribcage would not expand. All of the muscles around it were contracted, ready for the kill, or something silly like that. Who knows what your body interprets your thoughts to be. The muscles react to intention, not to complex thoughts.

I spent a long time there relaxing. I was greeted by one horse, and then two. They both passed. Time went on. A breeze came, and went. I would find an imbalance, shift to find balance there, and wait. Then I would find a place of tension, slowly move through it and then slowly release it, and wait. This was my gift to myself. “What gift?” you may ask. Breathing. It might just be the greatest gift you could give yourself. It feels pretty darn good to actually FULLY breathe and connect to your body.

After a long while, I had found my breath, I had found balance, I had found the flow of energy cycling through the ground and back up, I had found gratitude, and love, and my bubble, and positivity. I knew the moment I started moving and doing I wouldn’t keep all of this, but this is a big moment – it’s all beginning to come together.

Helping your horse find 100%.

This is from Karen Rohlf’s exercises. I adapted them and experimented as I went along.

I realized while watching that video in Module 2 that I am usually great and fantastic with my horses getting 30% of what I’m asking… hoping… wishing… for. Karen helped me realize that this doesn’t feel good, to me or to the horse. It just feels like a bunch of wishy washy stuff and there’s pressure because you never got it right but at the same time you never feel like you were really successful at anything. Doesn’t that just sound like a fun time?

So, today, I did allow some little pieces of “restart” which had relaxation in them in between the tries toward 100%… but what I did not do is act like it was over and good and we accomplished enough for that day, I guess, sort of, and we can try again tomorrow.

These little pieces of “restart” allowed them to reconnect with me, with their feet, and breathe for just a moment, before we tried again.

When we did get 100%, it was awesome, that was fantastic, did you see how great you did?, and let’s just come together and be buddies and enjoy this wonderful day together.

How you ask for it is 50%…

Some of this was Aimee’s, some if it I may have taken from Ingela, and some of it I adapted and experimented with on my own.

I got her attention, then felt the open space, felt draw into the open space, felt my energy in my body, felt the energy going through the open space, used the very beginning of the movement for walk forward (just a tiny signal in my body), really feel and see her body going forward in that energy, hear the footsteps even, and then, if no response or not enough response, my stick came in, softly but without any nervousness or guiltiness to my swing, saying “this space in front of you is open and ready”.

Often times by the time my stick got to the place where it would have touched, she was already going and it would land on the ground behind her.

This is all very important, because after the first few tries of just asking without making sure I was getting all of these pieces together I realized that I was focusing so much on the space in front that I was actually closing it. I only found this out after my horse went to go forward and then jerked up a little bit, turned around and went the other way, as if she had hit a wall.

In moments like this, I’ve been trying to really ask myself, “What am I doing in my body, preview, intention, and thoughts? What could I do differently? Am I being clear? Am I helping her find the right answer? Do I have a positive attitude? Do I have relaxation?” And I go through a checklist of all those little pieces.

And how you respond once you find it is 50%.

Once we did get 100%, it was “That’s great! Did you see that?!” I would feel warmth and happiness and relaxation flood my body, my feet would connect to the ground for a stop, and I entirely embodied love and joy. Both my girls responded so well to this, and the more we did it, the quicker they would come in to hang out in this peaceful-happy-love shower. (That sounds funny, but it’s the best way I have to describe it.)

They became so excited and ready to do things 100% and get it all the way right, because they knew that there was no pressure, that if they didn’t quite get it we could try again, that it felt really nice to connect, that it was so much fun, and that it was also really nice at the end when they did get it, because then they got to just come in and enjoy the love and peace and happiness. What more could anyone want?

Oh, and how you perceive it is maybe a big part too. We can go up to 150%, right?

When you perceive it in the way I’ve described above – as joyful, helping your horse as much as possible, helping your horse to be successful, connecting, being positive, enjoying yourself, being connected to the ground, to the world, to yourself, your senses, and your horse, and having a “peaceful-happy-love shower”, it’s hard to get negative, it’s hard to put pressure on, and it’s hard to get nit-picky… because you have a clear picture in your mind of what you’re looking for, it’s fair, reasonable, and possible, that’s all your focusing on right now, you’re in complete relaxation with energy, you have set your horse up for success in every way possible, your reinforcement phase is just enough to put the period on the end of the sentence (no exclamation points, and definitely not a lot of them!) and both you and the horse feel great. You can only find this, though, if you’re willing to think about it in this way.

It all comes together into one really nice package – a gift box! That’s my favorite kind of gift.

Published by Kara Cumberton

Wellness and horses are my things. I'm a rider, a bodyworker, and a college student studying integrative health and wellness. I also love nature, yoga, my dog, art, writing, and cooking.

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