Setting Sun Over Round Pen
This photo reminds me that each day now we get a few more minutes of daylight and are ever so slowly marching towards Spring. As one calendar year comes to a close and a new one begins, I am also thinking about endings and beginnings, but more about the ‘in-between' place that I find myself. So it seemed very synchronous when Matt Licata’s topic this week in my year-long course of ‘Spirituality and Healing’ was on ‘The In-Between Places’.
I have had the sense that I am having one part of my life journey come to an end and another part begin. I have been feeling my age lately, with the usual aches and pains of a body well used, on top the breaks, sprains, bruises and muscle pains I have suffered this year. Living and working with horses has so many rewards, but there have also been serious challenges to my body as they unintentionally hurt me. The latest was when Faraona stepped on my foot this week!
I have also finished my Somatic Experiencing Practitioner training and realize that the wonderful people who have shared that journey with me will disappear from my life. We have shared very intimate parts of our lives through this training as we learned how to listen to our bodies and bring to consciousness the stories and experiences held there.
But there are also hints of what the next stage of this journey may be for me. I have already had much more interest from people in coming for sessions than I could have predicted, especially since it is winter and we work outdoors with the horses.
Matt refers to the in-between place as a ‘liminal, transforming time’ and asks the question – Have we allowed this current phase to come to an end? Both the grief and the joyfulness. He suggests that we make contact with the emotions and says that experiences must be digested, metabolized and processed.
For me, a big part of this liminal time is coming to grips with the fact that my body just can’t do all the things that it once could. I must grieve that. I am learning to pace myself better, allow more time to do chores with the horses or clean the house. I am also gladly giving up jobs like washing windows, which my shoulder just can’t tolerate any more. There is joy in that! But I am also determined to keep moving as best I can, doing lots of yin yoga and continuing to ride and take lessons on Faraona. My coach’s mom still rides in lessons at age 75 and she is my role model!
I am also mourning the realization that Diva is not going to be the riding horse that I bought her to be. I will write more about this later, but for now will just share that her role will be changing, and that she is not going anywhere!
What comes next in terms of equine-facilitated learning and trauma recovery is very exciting, and a bit scary. It is a big responsibility when someone puts their trust in you and shares their stories and experiences in the hopes of finding freedom from long-held wounds to body, soul and psyche. My solace is that I don’t feel I do this work alone. I have my amazing horses, who sense things at such a deeper level than I will ever be capable of. I also am learning to trust the intuitive messages that come to me when I am with a client – that ‘still, small voice’ that comes from somewhere outside of my rational brain.
None of us know what our future will look like. We can make the best of plans and it can change in an instance with an accident or illness. But in these liminal times of endings and beginnings, we can take the time to both grieve and celebrate what is ending and look forward to what this next stage will bring.
What are your endings and beginnings? Is there something that you need to grieve in order to move towards something new? Be gentle with yourself as we head into a new year and new possibilities.