We’re into the new year! It’s back to school, work, enduring the cold, and reverting back to the normalcy of the pre-holiday routines. It is known as the "January blues," and for many, the stress of dealing with them can take a toll on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Here’s a process for brightening your January blues that the horses have helped us develop. And you can lighten your load anytime anywhere through the day!
The Mustang Masters of Steadfast Steeds
In multi-sensory awareness (MSA), one is mindful of energy within, while at the same time observing the energy and activity of others. Wild horses are masters of MSA. They utilize their entire body to perceive their surroundings: thick hide protects them from harsh weather and is sensitive enough to feel a fly on their back, each ear hears multiple sounds, each eye sees a panoramic view. Their very survival depends on their MSA. By sustaining MSA and living only in the moment, these horses know when it is safe to graze, sleep, play, or move, thereby staying powerfully connected. The complex social system of the wild horse demonstrates instant, non-judgmental feed-back for all relationships.
These attributes and skills of mustangs empower their human partners to accelerate personal recovery, resilience, and development. Here’s what we’ve learned that you can practice wherever you may be – (horse not included, sorry).
Everything a mustang does within a coaching relationship is in response to the energy and presence (or lack of presence) of the person(s). Yet I’ve never seen a horse stand with shrugged shoulders or tensed face. Chief, a seasoned pinto, is exemplary at accepting people just as they are and challenging them to become so much more!
Here’s how to brighten your whole being w/in a minute or two:
Become aware of your body and shift to a comfortable position.
Relax the tension from face down to your toes
Gently slowly inhale 4 sec. then exhale 4 sec. Do this 4 times.
Discover the particular emotions
Become aware of what your feeling. It’s not helpful to judge your feelings as bad or dumb or whatever. Just notice them. An effective ask is, “That’s curios; I notice I’m feeling (name the emotions)”. Don’t ask why, or get distracted by the cause.
Discover where it is in your body
Ask yourself, “Where do I feel this in my body?”
Become mindfully aware of a particular area e.g. stomach, neck, chest, etc. and some of the sensations located there. E.g. tightness, contracted, heavy, dark, etc.
Discover the message
Consider yourself a student learning from your being. Therefore, your gaining information from the emotions rather becoming distracted by how to fix/correct them.
Ask yourself, “What’s the message in these emotions?”
Breathe into that space
Continue balloon breathing with your mindful focus on bringing ample oxygen to that specific place in your body.
Chief immediately joins up with the person as they become fully mindfully and physically present. The person gratefully experiences Chief’s response as validating their true/authentic self. And when they walk away, Chief is glad to stay with them because he feels safe in their presence.
Open the gate – Release
Now that you have raised awareness about the emotions, their message, and where they’re lodging in your being, you can release the unneeded emotions. Not forcefully, just give them permission. Because these emotions are indeed useful in different situations, just not for this one.
Kindly state to your emotional & physical being without judgment, “these particular feelings aren’t helpful right now, and I release you from my being.” You can even practice this as a mantra – (while inhaling) state “these particular feelings aren’t helpful right now. (While exhaling) “I release you from my being.” And mindfully see the emotions dislodging and departing.
Following a coaching session, when Chief rejoins his family band, he will lay down and roll, then stand up and shake it off! This accelerates his recovery from the tiring session. He’s no longer in the energy of supportive work, therefore he releases any unhelpful sensations and returns to a quiescent state, or an “E-quiscent” state in our jargon.
Galloping toward the horizon – Reclaim
With the release of unhelpful emotions, there is space in your being for how you DO want to feel without the distractions of how you DON’T want to be feeling or the distracting problems in your surroundings.
Shift your mindful focus to the horizon of your day, and ask yourself “how would I like to feel (state specific time frame, e.g. this afternoon or during that meeting) in my being?”
Name two positive emotions. E.g. hopeful and confident.
Joining up with your health and happiness
Ask yourself, “Where does my awareness go to in my physical being?”
Ah! Now you have a location to focus your mindful breathing and to expand those positive helpful feelings. This not only helps your mood, it empowers you to conserve energy for living your best life! Bright days ahead!
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