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by Wendy Ball s I read a blurb on Tara and Daniel Goleman’s Mind Whispering workshop I noticed they were bringing in Rob Sadowski, a natural horsemanship trainer. Intrigued, I googled him and soon found myself entranced as I watched a video of him coaxing a horse to walk backwards 35 feet, around an obstacle, and backwards into a barn and then, backwards, into a particular stall. He had no rope. He occasionally picked up and lightly held a few strands of hair from his horses tail, to simply orient, he said. He never stopped talking, in a friendly relaxed voice, responding to the flick of an ear, a small roll of the eye with reassurance.
I began to think about what I experience when something triggers anxiety in me and I have the impulse to avoid doing something I have decided to do. I think of the self talk I become aware of in those moments, i.e. if I can muster awareness of it: "this won't work, you don't know what you're doing, go eat something or find something else to do...." Is this kind of self talk familiar to you? Often I give in to the self-talk. I consider myself successful when I "hold" myself to the task. This brings up images of a teacher in 1st or 2nd grade declaring that I will sit at my desk until my task is done, or a parent declaring that I will sit at the table until I have eaten the dreaded vegetable. Then I thought of my mind as a horse, and myself as a horse whisperer. How would it be if, instead of hobbling my mind or forcefully roping it in to performing I would notice the hesitation and talk to my mind in the same calm reassuring voice Rob uses on his horse: "I know you feel anxious because you are doing something unfamiliar and you are putting yourself on the line but you can do this one little step at a time and you know how good you will feel when you can say “I did it!”........ I was fairly certain in that moment that I understood what the Goleman’s meant by “mind whispering.” Most of us have heard about horse whispering or natural horsemanship based communication and connection between human and horse as opposed to forceful control of horses by humans. Understanding of horses as flight animals has lead to an emphasis on reassurance and rapport building.
Healing Springs I #70 October-November, 2013
The Healing Springs Journal, Issue #70, October-November, 2013