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Vulnerability and the Courage to Show Up Anyway


Ro the Coach


I’m standing in the center of a roundpen with a mare whose ears and eyes are laser focused on horses grazing across the field from her.  As I feel her longing to escape, I’m being stared at by a group of fellow workshop participants, waiting for me to “simply” get her to move around the circle.  My heart beats faster as the mare darts back and forth along the fence, ignoring me. 


I am frozen, still, powerless, totally disconnected from my body except for the feelings of shame and inadequacy.  I’m supposed to be good at this, and I’m failing fast. Suddenly a voice from the crowd asks “do you want support?”  Embarrassed, I accept the help and a workshop participant comes into the center with me and has me stand directly behind her.  I feel her confidence radiate like a warm sun as the mare turns to look at her.


My rescuer, Deborah*, calls out confidently for the mare, Ro, to move forward. Her hips swivel in alignment with Ro’s, who begins to move around the circle, walking, then trotting rhythmically, one ear focused on Deborah.  I start breathing deeply, the pressure finally off, and relax into the rhythm of the three of us.  She invites Ro to slow and asks me to move into the forefront. 


Now we are in timeless synchrony as I envision the mare trotting and turn my hips to invite her forward. Ro responds, ear on me, neck stretched down, and I feel the natural hum of power in partnership as she trots and then canters in response to my invitation.


As I leave the roundpen to reflect with the group, my coach Lisa** asks “So…. how did the mare reflect you?”   I’m smiling and speechless. “Feel it in your body,” she prompts.

I close my eyes and put my hands on my belly. “Power. Easy. Flow. It’s still here.  I moved from nervous jangles to feeling connected with everything, and she and I have found a comfort.”


“There it is!” Lisa calls out. “Can you see how you connected by matching her power instead of being afraid of your own?”  This revelation blew me away.  I am the one I am scared of?

I’m still learning to give myself permission to fully show up. Power does not equal force – it can be shared compassionately in healthy relationship.


This passage from Marianne Williamson resounds as I reflect on the experience:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”


*The power-radiating woman is Deborah Pierson of Equine Therapeutic Connections of New Mexico

** The wise and intuitive coach is Lisa Murrell of Equine Alchemy

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This is wonderful. Who are we indeed 💖🙏

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