In March, I attended my second Equus Coaching training onsite in Scottsdale, Arizona. I had left the first one with insights galore around having lived most of my life fully in my masculine energy of doing, producing, controlling, planning, organizing and performing. I had a taste of what it might be like to balance that masculine with the feminine energy of being, allowing, trusting, reflecting and intuiting. Yet, I still hadn’t quite identified how to notice it in my body and purposely move into it while engaging with other people and circumstances.
This was my second opportunity to test out what it feels like in my body to embody the feminine energy while doing things, and I knew the horses would beautifully mirror me. My intention for the four days was to find the feeling of flow in my work and personal life. My only experience with this feeling state in its purest form has been when I am in the Medium attuned space.
For the past six months, Medium Michael Mayo has mentored me in connecting and communicating with spirits. (And while I’m sharing, yes, I’m coming out of my woo-woo closet. I speak to dead people, or rather they speak to and through me via sensations, emotions and flashes of images. It’s still a very nascent skill, so I won’t be giving readings anytime in the next few years.)
In order to connect and communicate with spirits, we attune through a process Michael calls “Sitting in the Power.” Mediumship relies on our ability to: completely un-attach to both “doing” and any outcome of receiving anything, be completely present and feel into our auras, and then notice what changes and what we’re inspired to describe that comes up, and then completely release that and relax back into doing less so that the next thing can come, pass through, and then the next and the next. Holding on to any one thing stops the flow of information. AND letting our mind jump in to make it mean anything also closes off our connection. Receive, deliver while releasing it, relax and wait. That’s the process.
My best definition of flow is to perpetually move between giving and receiving while staying present in both.
So how do I take this into my everyday life? How can I live in a state of flow when we still need to do all the things and interact with people and circumstances?
In our mentorship sessions, I’ve only recently been able to maintain this attuned state with my eyes open. Never have I attempted it while walking around a round pen, engaging with a horse and talking to a coach. This would be the best test case for living in the world in a state of flow.
The first few days were rocky. I had lots of stories about what I should be doing and was very much attached to outcome. I was trying to manufacture it, which is the best way to create the opposite. On the third day, I caught some glimpses of moving between masculine and feminine. The fourth day was magical.
That day, I had two opportunities in the round pen to play around with flow. For my morning session, I had hoped to work with a particular horse that caught my fancy. With nine of us trainees spread out over the ranch practicing various skills with different horses, I soon found that I would need to choose a different horse.
When I entered the largest pasture to catch a horse, the lead mare of that particular herd walked straight up to me. Over the previous three days, I’d observed that she had been quite ornery to work with. She didn’t like being separated from her herd, was very concerned with and vocalized her desire to return to them, and she really didn’t like being given direction. She had her own agenda and hadn’t seemed interested in joining with ours. After all, she was the boss. And she was probably not even in my top ten picks for this exercise, but in my effort to follow signs, I haltered her anyway.
As a client in the round pen, I shared my intentions with my coach:
“I have found this beautifully calm level of peace and joy in my coaching business. And with launching the Institute for Nature Centered Coaching, I can feel myself regressing back into stress, anxiety, doing and planning. With emails piling up, a long to-do list, and a whole bunch of training content to create, I fear that my old corporate lifestyle will come back. How can I accomplish all the things required to create a viable business while staying in a state of peace, presence and flow?”
My coach invited me to feel into that desired feeling state in my body.
I attuned and then opened my eyes to a soft focus. (This is about as far as I get in a mediumship mentoring session.) “Ok, I’m there,” I responded.
My coach then asked me how I wanted to engage with the horse. My mind jumped in and I immediately focused my eyes on the horse and lost the full attunement connection. However, I noticed that I still felt the tingly buzzing in my heart and third eye chakras. I felt into that sensation and decided to explore whether I could maintain that level of connection while walking around. My body felt inspired to move my hips in an infinity motion. I let that motion lead into a slow saunter.
I arced around the horse as an invitation to walk with me, and she did. As I thought about how to keep flow in my new business, I began to doubt myself. In response, the mare moved ahead of me and offered me her shoulder. (I found out later, this happens in only about 2% of equus sessions.) The lead mare was showing me how to lead.
After a minute, I turned to walk a different direction and that’s when even more magic happened. She followed my change. She took my shoulder and let me lead. We walked in variations of figure eights for the next twenty minutes. I didn’t lose my connection to that feeling state or with her and I let myself feel inspired to turn and change directions rather than planning any particular pattern out. I found flow while still engaging and doing!
A few hours later and as the last exercise of our time at the ranch, I was signed up to practice some round pen technical skills. Ones with which I will need to demonstrate a proficiency in order to certify as an Equus Coach. I entered the round pen with the horse ready to practice some ground movement with my lead line. My instructor stood outside the pen ready to mentor.
Using the same movements and technical direction I’d used the prior three days with success, I could not get the horse to do anything. He stood still and stared at me from across the pen.
“What’s happening right now?” asked my instructor Kasia.
“I’m asking the horse to move around the pen, and then I was going to practice speeding up, slowing down and turns,” I responded.
“Where is that in your body?” she asked.
“In my head,” I said and knowing that was only part of the problem.
“Ah,” she replied. “And what do you want to do?”
“I would like to master the technical skills,” I replied.
“Do you really?” she asked.
I laughed recognizing what she was getting at. Then I sighed. “My whole point in choosing this exercise today was to do this.”
“Ah yes,” she said. “The story we are supposed to be doing this or that because we are supposed to be practicing our skills. What do you really want to do?”
“After almost four days of deep work, I’m tired. All I really want to do is connect with the horse.”
“Ok, now we’re getting somewhere,” she said. “So how would you like to connect with the horse?”
“I want to go for a walk like I did this morning,” referring to my session with the lead mare.
She gestured for me to go ahead.
The intention was enough. My energy invited the horse to me and around the pen, and for the second time that day, we walked in figure eights for the rest of the session in full connection and it felt delicious.
My true desire was to be in relationship with this lovely creature and move in fluidness. My mind had told me I needed to take advantage of my instructor’s experience and knowledge. I was misaligned and the horse knew it and reflected that back. When I returned to alignment, I was able to clearly communicate how I wanted to engage with him and he accepted my invitation because of my congruency. To horses, congruency is safe.
“By the way,” Kasia added, “What you’re doing now is still quite a technical skill to demonstrate.”
I nodded in agreement. She was right in more ways than one. Living in alignment between our heads and heart is a skill not often reinforced by society. Finding our flow, now that’s where the magic is.