Category Archives: horses, dogs & more

finding flow

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This weekend I had the pleasure and privilege of teaching an Embodied Equine Experiencing workshop with two lovely women from Toronto, both of whom equine facilitated educational programs in Ontario.. They had found me through my book, Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body.

The focus of the workshop was exploring how deepening and grounding our own movement practice can nourish and expand any aspect of our work with horses, whether competitive, therapeutic, or educational.  Both are students of Somatic Experiencing, the trauma recovery work of Dr. Peter Levine, so themes from that body-based work wove through the two days.

In much equine-related work, I observe that instructors and students are eager to, in the words of Linda Tellington-Jones, “turn on the lights” in the body and mind of the horse.  However, the lights in their own bodies are turned off.  Airlines instruct us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first. The same thing applies to working with horses.  Awaken and enliven your own body first, and then take that illumination and awareness to the horse.

Yesterday we worked with connecting our own fluid bodies with the fluid body of the horse.  We are, after all 70% water.  The results of finding flow, and supporting fluid connection with our equine partners were stunning.  With Amadeo, we could feel the lack of fluidity through his lower legs and feet, and by bringing more softness into those parts of our own bodies, were able to feel a profound change as he released his braced contact with the ground.  Working with Capprichio was like pouring ourselves into a warm river.  Fluids joining fluids.

This is a different way of experiencing “body work.”  It is not about fixing or doing, but rther listening and joining.If you would like to learn more, you can contact me HERE.

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Equine Affaire, Springfield, MA

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I will be giving a demo on Conscious Touch at the upcoming Equine Affaire expo at the Big E in Springfield, MA on November 8 at noon.  I hope you can come!

Conscious Touch integrates some of the principles of Somatic Experiencing (trauma recovery) touch with what I have been exploring most recently with awareness of fluids and breath. I will be focusing on reciprocity – being touched by what we are touching. Too often our touching is about doing, and we forget to be, and rest in the moment.

David Abram puts it this way:  “As breathing involves a continual oscillation between exhaling and inhaling,” he writes, “offering ourselves to the world at one moment and drawing the world into ourselves at the next, so sensory perception entails a like reciprocity, exploring the moss with our fingers while feeling the moss touching us back, at one moment gazing the mountains and at the next feeling ourselves seen, or sensed, from that distance…”

Touch is a sensory language that we speak with not only our hands, but our entire body. Touch is how we connect, explore, and soothe. Touch brings us into a visceral and immediate sensual relationship with the world around us. When coupled with our other senses, touching is one of the ways that we draw close, decode, and savor.

Please join me at Equine Affaire.  Besides my workshop, there are hundreds of events, seminars, classes, and demonstrations with terrific instructors and clinicians..

 

 

Sanne

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On Friday night we suddenly lost our beloved Sanne to a catastrophic colic. He was 21, and had been with us since he was 3.  His name, Sanne (Sa-na) means Lily in Dutch. I liked to call him Sanne, the Lily of Holland.

He was/is our angel, guide, dance partner, co-therapist, fabulous ride and precious friend. Our dear friend JoAnn Eccher wrote on Facebook that she is picturing him bathed in celestial light and moving toward a speedy rebirth.  What I am feeling is the ache, the waves of grief, buoyed by my love and gratitude for the blessings of his many soulful teachings.

There are so few words.  But there are these images.  Most taken by either his other mama Pam White or Jeff Anderson.

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Thank you my beautiful, blessed boy.  Thank you.

 

River/Body is here

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On Saturday, during one of our last rehearsals for River/Body, Cole, a young student from the Marvelwood School asked us two wonderful questions.  Cole is part of a team of young videographers working with their teacher, Ben Willis to create a documentary about the making of the dance.

First, he wanted to know if we had ever considered bringing something unexpected – an object, a surprising prop – into our performance.  He observed that the scarves we manipulate are wave and water-like, but wanted to know about something “outside the box”.” Dillon, one of the dancers, loved the idea and said, “Like what?  A refrigerator?”  We all tried to think what those unexpected things might be and how that would change the performance. Actually, I think Cole just gave us an inspiration for the next iteration of River/Body.

Secondly, he wanted to know if we had ever done any kind of ‘nature-art situation” before. So we shared with him our exprience of dancing with horses.  To me, dancing the river is similar in many ways to the equine dances.  We are entering and communicating with a different physicality.  Riding the currents of that different body.  Enngaging with the body-mind of that other being.  And yes, we see and feel the river is a being.

On Sunday we had to make a firm decision about whether to perform in a river that had become so high and fast running that we could not safely dance with her.  I have known horses like that.  It is important to know the limits.  It is disappointing not to dance in the Shepaug, but we were also happy to return to the beautiful Housatonic and know that all of our performances would be held kindly by her watery body.

UPDATE: all performances will take place at North Kent Road, Kent, CT

August 18 & 19 and August 25 & 26 will be performed at the river access at North Kent Road, Kent, CT.  We are limiting attendance to protect the site and work within the concerns of the town, so you will neeed to reserve your FREE ticket HERE.

Please join us.  We have made something beautiful, something surprising, something moving.

Thank you to Housatonic Heritage, Housatonic Valley Association, Berkshire Taconic Foundation and our loving individual donors

See you at the river!

 

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