Wake up and smell the Roses

Equine Facilitated Learning can help you reclaim your sense of self

Why did I dream of lakes and mountains and become rapturous when I visited beautiful landscapes, hills and valleys?

When I always lived in the countryside, why did I yearn for something that I was already surrounded by?

After I sold Hartley Wood and began to travel around the countryside as a freelance riding coach it was as if I was noticing the flowers of the spring, smelling the honeysuckle and seeing lambs skip in the fields for the first time!! I had awoken from the dream that was my life.

I’d been so focused (obsessed) with my work, working long hours, that I didn’t even notice the simple things in life – which were always there.  I literally ‘woke up’ and could smell the roses!!

If only it was that simple!  If only I had realised that my dreams of lakes and mountains, of open landscapes etc were a call for me to connect with the nature that was all around me.

We live in an area of outstanding natural beauty, we overlook the Mendip hills, have woods and a lake within walking distance and the horses close by in the fields.  And yet, being too busy, too tired, or too much ‘in my head’ I proved that it’s actually possible to spend considerable years of one’s life being completely ‘disconnected’ from the beauty of nature that surrounds us.

Inevitably some event (often life changing) occurs that jolts us out of the dream that we know as our life, to change our perspective!!

I’ve had several of these experiences or events in my life – divorce, death of my father and the sale of my business. However, it was a fall from Jack – which caused me to ‘wake up’ and led me to my first experience of the Epona approach. I began to change my perspective and become clearer about who I am and what I truly want for myself.  Yet again I was being called to question the purpose of my life.  It was no surprise that the EASE programme attracted me with it’s title “Awakening to your Life’s Purpose through the Way of the Horse”.

I realise now that I had lost my sense of self.  I had a huge desire to help others and yet as I sought approval from those nearest and dearest to me I became so lost in other people’s dreams, desires and wishes that I completely disconnected from my own.  In fact, I even realised that some of my goals and achievements were actually driven by a desire to please others.

How did I recognise this?

When I noticed that I didn’t feel a sense of ‘joy’ on achieving some of these goals, rather I experienced a sense of relief!! However, when I achieved goals that were truly my own desire I felt joy and contentment.

Gradually I began to discern what I truly wanted to achieve for myself and what I was drawn to achieve to gain approval.  Sharing ideas with those whose approval I would normally seek, especially in my ‘new growth stage’, only served to fuel my confusion and discomfort!!  I realised that I either had to keep my thoughts to myself or have conversations with those who were impartial to my path.

It’s easy to be attached to the belief that if we ‘please ourselves’ we are ‘selfish’.  I can only speak for myself, but as I have become more self aware and begun to understand my feelings, emotions and desires I can better support others and am more able to show true empathy and compassion.

To become connected with your true (authentic) self and to let go of all the expectations of the ‘ego’ is a journey of a lifetime – but I’m finding it is a journey worthwhile as every day opens up new challenges and new opportunities for growth and fulfilment.

At first there were times when I wished I was still in my dream.  When life’s challenges seemed to overwhelm me it was tempting to revert to the old familiar patterns.

However, the joy that I am experiencing through meeting life’s challenges with true feeling and openness and the new depth I feel from engaging with my family, friends, animals, community and nature in a more authentic way is well worth the effort.

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