Each one of us is unique, and each of us has gifts we can share with the world. Our lives are intended to be a process of self-discovery, a journey in which we can learn who we are and our purpose in life. As an individual, you are the result of all that you have learned since childhood, including your traumas, disappointments, failings, and all learned behaviour, both positive and negative, and hidden within these experiences that compose your personality is the seed of your true nature. Revealing your true self to others is the way to develop meaningful, lasting relationships. Unfortunately, this is difficult today, because society does not encourage authenticity, but rather demands conformity with behavioural norms that are based on acceptance and the fulfillment of expectations.

The best definition of authenticity that really inspires me is a wonderful quote from the American author and professor, Brené Brown …

“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect – and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.”

Authenticity is exactly how horses express themselves and their needs, by indicating through body language what they require. They don’t question whether they will be rejected or punished, nor do they feel guilt or shame. They just communicate what needs to be ‘said’. Once things are expressed and responded to, they revert back to eating, grooming or sleeping. They always remain in the present moment about what needs to be done in the now. Horses use vocal cues, but they are most often accompanied by other indicators that need to be seen and understood.

It fascinates me how horses, as a herd, are so organized. In the human world, I see it as the equivalent of a family, a team, or a corporate structure, but they are much better at it than we are to keep the group balanced, loving and authentic. Horses have a hierarchy that indicates who is the leader and is better at keeping the herd organized and safe. No individual in the herd questions or judges why this particular horse has this position of leadership. Each horse in the herd has this inner wisdom, this knowingness that things are the way they are for the safety and well-being of the herd as a whole.

In their world, their common goal is to survive, and they have done a pretty good job of it throughout the millions of years of their presence on this planet. In the wild, as animals of prey, the first need of horses is to be safe. Even today, if I had to describe the order of their needs, it would be safety, play and eating. They don’t eat if they don’t feel safe. Horses are very sensitive to their environment; in the wild, they are nomads, they go from place to place to find food and drink and a
safe spot where they can settle for a while as a herd. When they are done, they move on to the next spot. They don’t get attached to a particular place and grieve when they have to leave. They don’t question the decisions of the leader and are not scared of the unknown. They just trust the leader that the next place will be at least as good as the last one.

During the past 20 years of my life with horses, I have learned how to communicate authentically by observing that they always indicate directly what needs to be said. Everything is expressed openly, and the message is never in doubt. Different kinds of energies will be used if necessary, or if the volume needs to be increased, but the message is always very focused, clear and appropriate for the moment.

As humans, our tendencies are to question everything, to overthink everything, to doubt, to judge, to fight, to resist, and on and on, making every significant actionso difficult and uncertain. It’s no wonder that we get so exhausted mentally and physically when we could, as horses do, reduce all actions and decisions to the simplest of terms; how do I feel about this, is this right for me and my family and, by extension, for society? The Path of the Horse will take you to a place where you will meet your authentic self.

Sending you joy…

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