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Lessons from Cowboy-Guest post from Judy James

Life changing insights come in a lot of different ways. If we’re open and receptive we can experience miracles in very unexpected places. I gained some profound insights when a couple of horses, one named Dreamer and one named Cowboy taught me things about myself that I didn’t realize.

I have to say I didn’t grow up around horses and haven’t spent much time with them. I could count the number of times I have ridden a horse. It’s not that I’ve ever been afraid of them, I was just not drawn to them. For all I knew they were ‘just horses’, some people liked them and found great pleasure riding them, showing them and doing other sports with them. Don’t get me wrong, I always thought horses were beautiful, majestic, intelligent creatures. However until I met my friend and soul sister Janice I had no idea how intuitive and magical these creatures are.

“Seriously, what could a horse teach me?” I asked my friend when she asked if I wanted to have an experience with the horses. Well, if you know Janice, I’m sure you can picture her smiling that sweet, innocent, little girl smile and saying, ‘Oh, you’ll see’. I trusted her and felt sure she knew what she was talking about and really what did I have to lose?

It was a beautiful, sunny day as we walked to the barn. I felt a little nervous and I wasn’t sure why. Janice walked with me into a pen in the barn with her horse Cowboy. He is beautiful and really big. She gave me some safety instructions, like you’re responsible for not getting stepped on, and told me to just enjoy. Sure, I was thinking, but what do I do?

I decided that maybe if I focused on the smell of the fresh cedar shavings and the horses that I could get into the experience. And just in case you didn’t pick up on it before, I have a busy head, I’m always thinking. My head is always telling me what I ‘should’ do, think, say or be. As I’m learning to feel my way instead of think my way through life I know to get quiet so I can hear the whispers of my heart.

As I tried to pet Cowboy, he walked away. My best effort of staying in my heart faded with my mind saying ‘he doesn’t want YOU to pet him, don’t chase after him’. I’m not sure if I said that out loud or Janice could just tell what I was thinking. In reality Cowboy walked to the other side of the pen to take a dump. As soon as he finished he came right back by me. I was grateful that he walked away to do his business so I didn’t have to worry about stepping in that mess. Janice said ‘See, he wants to be by you’. My thought, ‘He came back because you’re here’ must have come out of my mouth because Janice turned around and left the pen. Cowboy stayed right by me. Janice gave me a look and said, ‘What do you want’? ‘I want to pet your damn horse!’ was my response. I used sarcasm to dodge the feeling of being vulnerable. Janice didn’t respond and there was an awkward silence. I was left in the silence to hear my heart say, ‘Go for what you want, stop making excuses’. Wow! I for sure made excuses about why I couldn’t have or do something. This was a good reminder to focus on what I want. I felt good, I was finished!

‘Okay, got it, guess I’m done, no more excuses.’ I announced proudly. Janice said, ‘Oh, I think there’s more, Cowboy is still right by you.’ I hadn’t noticed his intense focus on me. As I looked into his eyes his bottom lip began to quiver. Tears filled my eyes. In the silence, my heart spoke. ‘It is safe for you to feel your emotions.’ That was a message I really needed to hear. I had spent my life stuffing my emotions so I didn’t have to feel pain. Problem is I could only feel love and connection to the degree I allowed myself to feel the pain. I was learning that in order to live life fully I had to be vulnerable and open, no more stuffing down and not feeling. I am forever grateful to Janice and Cowboy for ever so gently guiding me to heal aspects of myself so I can live my best life!

Judy James

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