Feeling safe sounds like such a simple thing. But for those of us who grew up in chaotic environments, perhaps with parents or caregivers who were unable to give us a ‘felt-sense’ of safety, our nervous systems became hyper-attuned to ‘threat’ instead. And neuroscience has shown that those early lessons that our bodies learned never go away – at least not without the curiosity and willingness to explore why we are the way we are. The good news is that our bodies can learn new lessons!
A big chunk of the work that my horses do with humans is showing them what feeling safe and being connected is about. The horses’ ability to sense the human’s nervous system state seems almost mystical to me. And it still brings tears to my eyes when the horse ‘speaks’ to the human by licking, chewing and yawning – their way of showing the human that it is safe to be in connection with the horse. I see a perceptible shift in the human at this point, a softness where I hadn’t really realized there had been a hard edge. This is the beginning of healing.