horses said so

I’m writing this to you from an airplane, heading back to Portland after four dreamy days spent horse whispering with my EFBA clients. This is a funny story about why I’m not writing you a missive today, even though it’s Friday and I ALWAYS write you on Fridays. (Except, wait, here I am writing you to tell you to tell you why I’m not writing— so I have now trapped myself in a cosmic wormhole of logic! Clearly the horses have scrambled my brain!)  (Also, if you’re new to my email list and you’re wondering what sort of craziness has landed in your inbox, I want to reassure you that this is just my little Friday missive to my tribe, and you are getting it because you signed up for the free call on keeping your shit together during meetings, or maybe you got those five EFBA phrases, and in any case I want to tell you that all appearances to the contrary, I’m not as nuts as I sound today and next Friday I will be very wise and grownup and witty and you should definitely not unsubscribe.  I mean, unless you want to. If you want to, you totally should. But I hope you won’t.)

So for the past few days, I’ve been witnessing my clients doing this really powerful deep inner work out in nature with horses. It’s technically called equus coaching, but I like to call it horse whispering because that sounds so much friendlier and also more romantic. And this work deserves a romantic mysterious lovely name, because it is dreamy mysterious lovely work.

Each time I take a group of women on one of these retreats, certain themes emerge.  Sometimes it’s boundaries, sometimes it’s self-care, sometimes it’s about persistence or working in community or self-compassion.  Mostly I find horse whispering to be incredibly humbling and sometimes downright mortifying but I love it so much anyway that I keep going and I keep making my clients go with me. And each time, under the mortification, there is such a sweet richness that it makes me want to kneel and kiss the ground, and kiss the smelly horses, and even kiss my own dusty palms because everything is so ridiculously holy.

One of the themes that emerged this time was the importance of rest.  Of listening to your body, tuning in, and not pushing past that internal wisdom point that says “Ok time to stop now.” This is hard for us humans, because we really like to be in joyful productive motion, and most of us forget to stop before it turns into grinding painful motion.  We just keep going.  But the horses believe in this wild scandalous notion of working joyfully but only until you need to rest and then— I know, it’s crazy talk— RESTING.  As in, being still.  As in, STOPPING.  As in, possibly rolling in the dirt, eating some clover, and dozing.

When the horses show us this, I always nod sagely and say, yes, yes, that is so true, that is so wise, and I mean it completely but then IMMEDIATELY forget to actually do it myself.

Case in point.  We were rushing out the hotel this morning, because instead of getting up early like grownups and packing our bags and hiking five miles and meditating and going to breakfast, we had  delicious, tender, languorous, beautiful sacred sex.  So then we were running around like frantic toddlers, going, Don’t forget the phone chargers! and, Can we take our razors on the plane?!?! and, Shall we take the chips?!? What about the chips!?!?  And so I sort of forgot to eat anything and took maybe a few too many advils for my after-sun headache, and between the twisty California hill roads and the swoony rental Benz (another funny story for another day) by the time I got to the airport I was feeling green.

“Babe, you look green,” said my love.

“I feel green,” I said out loud.  “And also like I might faint,” I thought silently, because I hate fainting more than anything except maybe vomiting, which also seemed like a distinct possibility.

And my kind lover took such sweet care of me, and rolled our bags through security, and brought me water, and ordered us some food, and generally was so kind and attentive that if you had seen it you would be incredibly jealous and wish you were me, and you should, because I am the luckiest woman in the world.  But I digress.

We hobbled into the line to board the plane and I said, “Wait! I have to grab my laptop out of my suitcase!”

“No way, you look terrible,” said my love.

“But I need to write my Friday missive!  It’s already later than I like to send it!” said I.

“Absolutely not, you look like you can barely stand.”

“But—“

“Babe. You just spent four days watching the horses show your women how they need to rest and take care of themselves and all that good stuff, and you’re going to totally ignore that advice yourself?!”

“Hunh,” I said.  “Well it sounds bad when you put it like that.”

She rolled her eyes so hard she almost sent herself into anaphylactic shock again (another funny story, this trip was full of them!) but then she helped me with the zipper on my bag anyway because I was so wobbly that the zipper was defeating me.

But listen, be proud, because I did rest on the plane, and I ate half of the world’s worst sandwich, and drank some green vitamin juice except it was actually a Coke.  As soon as I closed my eyes, I started chortling silently to myself about how ridiculous I am sometimes, and how that’s my main qualification as a coach, and I just wanted so badly to type it all out to you and explain why you wouldn’t get a regular missive today, and so that is exactly what I did.  And now I’m going to close my eyes again, because the horses said so.  (And because my love is watching.)

much love,

Anna

How to set boundaries when you're a kind, empathic human.

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