Updated: May 10, 2020
It seems like Spring will never come to Alberta. There is more snow in my yard than I can ever remember for this late in April. I am impatient to get outside to work in my yard and prepare my garden for planting. I yearn to feel the sunshine on my face and hear the robins sing their Spring song.
But mostly, I want to work with my horses, and prepare for my first full season as an Eponaquest Equine Facilitated Learning Instructor. I want to continue with the profound work that I witnessed last summer, as my horses took people to new places, new understandings of who they are, new ways of creating connection.
But all of that is at a stand-still as we are in the self-isolation world of Covid-19. There is no possibility of working with clients in the near future and my dream of starting to facilitate clients as soon as the snow melts has gone up in smoke. So, what do I do? What does this time of self-isolation, of trying to stay healthy, of pause, open up for me? How do I not succumb to frustration and despair?
My fellow Eponaquest Instructor, Antje Seeber of Portugal, shared the following diagram with me this week. It asks – Who do I want to be during COVID-19? Do I want to live in the Fear Zone, or can I move into the Learning Zone, and perhaps even into the Growth Zone?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in our Eponaquest What’s App group that I was surrendering to this Covid business. I had lost any sense that I could control anything in my husband’s and my business – not revenue, not projects that were cancelled, not employees who were in self-quarantine. After I wrote the words ‘I surrender’, there was a shift for me and I began to be okay with not trying to control my circumstances. This has opened me up to considering other possibilities and looking at opportunities during this time.
I have spent the winter taking a Zoom-based coaching course from Coaches Arising called Become a Transformative Presence. It has been a deep dive into the concept of ‘inner mastery’, of really beginning to know myself at a deeper, embodied level. This course has attracted people from all over the world, and it has been a privilege to interact with participants from varied backgrounds and professions. The instructors have been world-class business coaches, spiritual teachers, researchers and clinicians. I have learned so much that I will be able to take into the EFL facilitation.
Coaches Arising is now offering another course that I would not have signed up for at this time of year, if not for the self-isolation that this pandemic requires. This course is titled The Power of Embodied Transformation and teaches the art of somatic awareness, and coaching from an embodied perspective. Equine Facilitated Learning is, at its core, an embodied way of learning. It is experiential learning, a way of re-connecting to our bodies, our senses, our emotions, through the exercises with the horses. I am so looking forward to learning new and deeper ways to help my clients do this work. Again, we will be taught by some of the best clinicians, researchers and coaches in the world. I am particularly looking forward to learning from Richard Strozzi-Heckler (Strozzi Institute for Embodied Leadership), Bessel van der Kolk, whose book The Body Keeps the Score has taught me so much about trauma therapy, Peter Levine, originator of Somatic Experiencing, and Stephen Porges, whose work on the Poly-Vagal Theory has totally changed how I understand the body’s response to trauma.
Self-isolation is giving me the gift of more time to study and learn, so that I will have deeper and clearer skills to offer my clients when we finally get back to some new normal. As I look at the three circles radiating from the question Who do I want to be during COVID-19, I think that I can say I am spending quite a bit of time in the Learning Zone. For sure, there are times I am back in the Fear Zone, but I can summon the inner resources that I have learned through the Eponaquest and the Transformative Presence programs, re-adjust my attitude, and approach this time from the creative place of the Learning Zone. There are times that I see myself moving into the Growth Zone, as I dream about the post-Covid opportunities to do the EFL work with my horses. I recognize that, as a leader, I must display the fortitude, creativity, empathy and compassion that is called for at this time. It is my hope that I can be a Transformative Presence for others.