A look at how it feels to be captured into something that oversteps your boundaries, even if that intention is peaceful and/or kind.
I was still struggling with Timmy’s aggressiveness when this need for a change in perspective came into the forefront of my learning. Everytime I went near Timmy with any intent (whether that be toward him or another member of the herd family) be would turn to nip me. He has pushed me away on so many occasions and I could not seem to find within myself what feeling this was about. Of course it bought up fear and frustration and I let those go. There was an element of feeling sorry for him and myself. I let go of being sorry for all the reasons he ended up cribbing even though they started before I even knew him. I dropped the story. I was feeling a lot more peaceful but the behaviour was still there, so we still hadn’t plumbed the depths required.
Many times when I would sit in my place of peace and allow this all to flow through, boundaries would come into my feelings. I took a consultation to discuss boundaries, but this turned into working with the feeling sorry feeling, which was needed, and was a step in the right direction, but it also put me further into over stepping boundaries. I was advised to keep being persistent with Timmy on the end of a long rope. I tried this a couple of times but he just got more aggressive. At one point he literally walked me out of the arena. This is a little clip of when he did that.
My intuition told me this way of working with Timmy was all wrong. It felt wrong. I could feel his need for me to respect his No, even if that meant letting go of him completely. This wasn’t about finding a way of being peaceful together. This was about being peaceful apart. That was a tough one. As humans we often want to help. The key being in the feeling of wanting or needing. Often times we tell ourselves this story as a reason to be close to our animals.
Two other things happened to really help me find enough clarity to explain this all to myself on a deeper level, and help myself take the next steps.
Firstly, Ren Hursts book ‘The Wisdom of Wildness’ came into my life, recommended by a friend. When I read her direct descriptions of her principles (there are 13 and all apply here, as all apply all the time) things started to make sense. With Timmy specifically it was mostly about Boundaries. I was crossing his boundaries with an intention of sharing peace, but still an intention. An intention he wasn’t prepared to allow. Part of this was the feeling sorry for him, part of it was ‘wanting’ him to find peace, but none of it was about me just being peaceful and honoring how he felt. There was a desire to help him without considering he just didn’t want my kindness or my help.
The second thing that happened was I attended a course on Fascia Release (an amazing thing to learn to do if you get the opportunity). For me, as always, the course was a twofold learning. There was the intellectual learning of the specifics of the course. And then there was ‘feeling it all’. And there was so much to feel.
The feelings of people sharing a room together in learning mode, and all the anxieties, nervousness, worry etc that goes with that. I haven’t been in an environment like this for many many years, not since I started this journey of connection and it was frankly overwhelming. Then there were the horses that we learnt with, and all the associated feelings around that. Again not an environment I have been in for a long long time. I had to step back from it for quite a while and just be with myself. I suppose I had avoided these types of environments because deep down I knew they would affect me deeply. The intent of kindness. Doing something that would make an animal / person feel good. But it still felt like stepping across so many boundaries. And this is where confusion set in . How can being kind and wanting to learn feel so unpeaceful?
A lovely horse helped me on the last afternoon of the course. He taught me tenacity. He taught me that despite all the feelings that I may feel, sometimes a little persistence, with the right intent to help is all that needs to be there. Respect the boundaries. Honor the No and wait. If the intention is from the right place, whether that be doing something helpful like a fascia release, or just offering a shared feeling of peace, don’t give up, but also don’t push. Allow the other being to join in when they are ready. This horse had shown that he didn’t need anything done for him at first. Giving him the space to consider, to understand what was on offer, and to decide for himself how he felt about it, created a beautiful place of relaxation and fascia release, particular in his poll area.
So how does this all relate to Timmy.
Timmy does not want to make peace with living in a human environment the same way he always had. With head collars and ropes and equipment, with fences and arenas or sandpits, even with the muzzles I help three of the mares with. He doesn’t want my peace intention, my desire for him to be more peaceful.
When I showed him I could take responsibility for my own feelings and come to him with peace of mind, it enabled him to trust me as a human. He learnt to trust that he can tell me how he feels and I will acknowledge that, trust that I may make mistakes but I will listen, even if it takes me a while and many nudges from the universe. Now he is taking me on a whole new journey and he needed me to be ready for that. He is speaking, sharing and teaching. He is leading me down the path of undomestication. And I will tell you something, whenever I say that to myself, whenever I sense into letting go of everything I perceived to be real regarding our relationship with animals, and ourselves, I feel it right in the pit of my stomach. It is frightening and exciting and I can feel the potential of it.
When I acknowledged all this I went to tell Timmy what I had learnt…I think he approved. It feels like it has been a long time since we could just share a space of peace for a while with no intentions from either side. Especially when the flies are biting!