2018 Series 1

The Foundations of Perception

Week 3:  February 5 - 11, 2018

Integration week

dude and me.jpg

Welcome!  It's time to, as my dear mentor Carol says, "pause between the notes".  So much has happened in the first few weeks of class it feels like the timing is perfect to catch our breath and integrate the tools we've been exploring.  In lieu of a welcome video this week, I did a live chat video on Facebook to answer a few questions that have come up.  This will be the sum total of the content presented this week. 

Enjoy!  And feel free to continue to interact with me and each other on the forums throughout the week.

Topics covered in the video:

  • How to work with the tools we've been exploring to navigate situations where we get overwhelmed by people's energies or emotions.
  • What kinds of questions might you ask of your horses now that you are listening more?  Many are chiming in that they are a bit at a loss as to what to do with their horses now.
  • How can we engage in lines of inquiry to discover what our horses might be trying to tell us via their behavior? 

A little food for thought as we close out our week of integration:

How the core practices become the anchor point for the rest of our journey


Building strong, healthy relationships with horses is a journey. It’s a crooked path with many forks. What we’re left with as the journey continues and expands is something that resembles more of a web than a pyramid or step ladder. Everything we do going forward uses the skills introduced in the last two weeks as the strong, central core of our web.

The explorations thus far are simple, profound life skills that I hope you’ll continue to explore and refine for the remainder of your life. As many of you have noticed, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. The greatest power often lies in the simplest of practices, so take your time and learn as much as possible about yourself.

Here is what we have covered so far:

  • Being in a body: noticing our internal dialogue and what it feels like to stay in my body.
  • Self-care and basic survival needs: developing my capacity to recognize what happens to my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state if I am meeting my needs versus when I am not.
  • Resourcing: becoming familiar with my internal and external resources and learning how to support myself to stay embodied and be resilient. These are the things that help me pick myself back up when I fall down (figuratively speaking).
  • How healthy horses interact with the world: as a baseline for understanding that a healthy nervous system can take in vast amounts of sensory input without becoming overwhelmed by it.

Thus far, the explorations have kept us on fairly safe footing. By and large I’ve asked you to engage in solitary explorations and intentionally seek out positive experiences. I want you to discover the ways in which you are already strong and resilient. There’s a reason for that. If you look at a spider’s web, you’ll notice the center is tightly woven and solid. It acts as the anchor point for all the other strands, if it’s weak in one area the outer strands that connect to that area will collapse, there is no supportive structure for them. You can think of the practices we are developing in Part One as the tightly woven core of our web.

So, if you have not felt compelled to do those early explorations or have only done them once and thought – ‘that was easy, what’s next?’ – I encourage you to go back and touch base with yourself again before moving on to the next round of learning. Because now we’re going to expand our awareness even further, moving into outer strands of our web that need a strong anchor point.

The better we know ourselves, what supports us and what compromises us, the better chance we have of holding our ground in the face of challenges, of not becoming overwhelmed by our experiences.

I invite you to pause, take a breath, take stock and review all of the concepts we’ve covered so far. If there is any area where you feel you don’t have a full understanding or appreciation for how this practice applies to you, your life or working with horses you may want to spend a bit more time with that practice or reach out and ask for clarification or assistance before moving on. If you feel irritation, overwhelm, frustration or angst of any kind around any of those practices, that means something. Spend a little time investigating the source of your angst. If you feel stressed or overwhelmed, ask me some questions and dig a bit deeper. Make sure your personal web has a strong core.