…A Personal Experience with Natural Lifemanship
As I entered the 2017 Natural Lifemanship Conference I felt very small, and insignificant compared to others there. I felt the need to make myself humble, kind and help out to be seen by others. This was the agenda of my 4yo little girl self that insisted that she must sacrifice her own needs, thoughts and ideas and voice to meet these things in others in order to get attention. She believed the only way to get attention and love is by catering to others and sacrificing yourself.
During the conference, I was fighting to be true and authentic and not fall into this agenda to get attention through submission. As I did so, the tension in my shoulders increased throughout the day. A self-regulation exercise at the conference revealed the tension in my shoulders was connected to the 4-year old self. She was pressing hard onto the upper portion of my right shoulder to cause me to submit, cower down and be passive to others at the conference and I was trying to resist her insistence. She wanted me to accept her way to protect me from getting hurt and trying to connect in the only way she knows how through submission. At that moment, I just assured her that I love her, I see her. I explained inwardly it’s safe to explore a new way, but the sharp pain of pressure in my shoulder remained.
Later that evening after the day was done I found a quiet spot to put on my bilateral nature sounds and focus in on my little girl and that pressure in my shoulder. Quietly and with love I entered into how scared and terrified she was. How she was trying to protect me and help me get attention in the only way she knew how and I was resisting her. I just sat in the rocking chair and loved her, held her, rocked her in that terrified-place she was living. I explained to her this new community of connection the NL community offered is pure and allows her
to be completely herself and that she doesn’t need her old ways of cowering. At this exchange, a deep rumbling of weeping arose within my chest. It rose and fell like waves rising and crashing at a deep place within my core. At the same moment, a great sense of gratitude fell over me. I was grateful with all my being to be now offered the love I always deeply desired.
Though my heart desperately had looked for love all these years, I came to rest on the truth that what I was truly seeking was true, pure, connection that sought good for both in the relationship.
That night at the NL conference demonstration, Tim showed with the horse, Jack, how he gently invited the horse to a pure, true connection that offered good for both in the relationship. It was clear from watching how safe and secure that invitation was. I realized that was what Tim offered me that day in February 2017 at the NL Fundamentals Training during the Rhythmic Riding demonstration. Tim offered me a true, pure connection that didn’t take from me, nor demand any part of me that met his needs. He offered me a
connection that had my back, that held me as the horse did and if I couldn’t connect with the horse, it was ok, he would connect and hold the horse. I only had to connect to me and my deep grief. The grief of having no support for so long and the deep desire to be seen and connected. It was there in that moment with a gentle hand on my leg his touch said, “I see you, I’ve got you, it’s ok, just let go and be held.” When I connected to myself and what I was feeling, it was then that the horse met me there with connection and held me from
beneath. I was not alone. I was held by this beautiful horse that carried me on his back and a man that didn’t take from me but offered to be my strength and stability while I fell apart.
That experience was so terrifying, but so deeply satisfying at the same time. I wanted to run from the eyes and attention of everyone that was holding me at that moment. I was so fearful it would turn against me, but it DID NOT, the care and connection were true and secure. That secure holding experience just made me cry deeper in grief of not having it for so long. Now at 40 years of age, I was being offered it freely by a tender, strong and loving cowboy, a beautiful horse, and a crowd of strangers that desired the same kind of connection.
After the NL demonstration at the Natural Lifemanship conference that night, I rocked that scared 4yo inside of my heart. I cried and cried with the grief of so much time gone by without a secure connection and yet I was overflowing with gratitude my body felt it could not contain. With bilateral nature sounds in my ears, chest heaving, tears falling and body rocking, Texas raindrops began to fall on me. I felt as if a deep cleansing and filling was happening as I received the pure connection this community offered and all of me moaned and cried with gratitude. I sat in that place for a long time. Suddenly out of nowhere, I felt a pop in my shoulder and the pressure that 4yo girl held on me was released. With clothes damp and rain diminishing the thunderous shaking within me softened and became like a soothing lullaby. My eyes closed and a soft sadness fell from that little girl inside. She realized her attempt to protect me had hurt me and kept me from connecting truly with others. With soft whispers and loving kindness, forgiveness and grace was exchanged. Peace within us was found and connection deepened to a quiet place.
As I looked out into the darkness of that cool Texas night I felt a nearby presence that approached more as I moved through this inner exchange. In this quiet place, I realized it was the paint horse I met in the pasture the day before. He was the lowest in the herd and approached them with a fearful submissive stance. I noticed his position then and my 4yo little girl could relate with his position and loved him for it.
That night as inner peace was found, this paint horse stood nearby in the pasture, almost there to acknowledge and honor the little girl he met the day before. I was drawn to get up and go near the fence and show my gratitude for his appearing. As I walked in the darkness in his direction I could feel my attention on him made him uneasy. In honor of his concern, I turned my body parallel to him and looked away, yet stayed connected to him in my heart. I knelt toward the grass to make myself even less threatening and listened as He grazed even closer to me. My little girl self so wanted to have a physical contact with him, but inwardly extended honor and gratitude for him seeing her and honoring her at her most vulnerable.
In desperate waiting for more closeness, out of the darkness the black lead mare ran between us and moved the paint horse far away from me. At that moment, my little girl fell away and my adult self stood up and appeared along the fence. I was shocked and saddened, but also realizing that black lead mare just gave me a precious gift. She reminded me I am no longer a scared submissive little girl, I am a confident and beautiful woman that doesn’t need sympathy but encouragement to move forward, walk boldly and be me. As I made my way to the bunkhouse and prepared for bed that night, I heard a whinny out in the pasture. I felt called to meet it. When I arrived at the fence the black lead horse stood close to the fence and grazed while I stood beside her. Her presence assured me, all was ok and I did not need reassurance from anyone that my experience and my healing release needed validation. All was good in the pasture and she was calling me to graze on and just confidently be me.