The Process of Emotional Honesty
Humans are the only animals on the planet that openly lie about what they feel. Living in a constrictive pattern of denying our feelings is often a way of life. As you read this; notice your breathing. Scan physical sensations you are currently experiencing. Can you notice what you feel? Bodily awareness is essential to knowing yourself. People say “I’m fine” outwardly while their body language indicates, “I’m nervous, angry, or sad” Emotional honesty begins and ends with self-awareness. If I consistently lie to myself what follows in my relationships?
Horses notice our energy and emotions no matter how well we attempt to hide them. They listen and speak via body language and are more aware of ours than we are. As herd and prey animals their survival depends on mindfully living in the present.
Take a group of people who comprise a team. Whether a family, an executive management team, or assembly line workers in a factory it makes no difference. Put them in an arena with a couple of horses. Ask them to move the horses around the arena at liberty, or with no halter or lead rope. As they embark on their task that is exactly their focus. The roles and rules of the group quickly emerge and “get the job done” becomes the goal. When the group is first asked to “move the horses around the arena,” they are told at least twice “there is no right or wrong way to do this, it is simply about noticing your self awareness.”
Any number of things might ensue. Almost universally the task becomes paramount and the process is ignored. Denial takes root. Some voices are never heard, and tempers may flare as patterns of resentment, bias, and feeling ‘less than’ are exhibited via body language. But rarely will anyone say when asked “what are you noticing” anything other than “I’m fine.” F.I.N.E. translates to Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional in the experience of us who have been there and hope to never return.
These patterns are magnified in the arena with the horses. However, they pre-exist in the various contexts of each person’s life. These folks are connected by distorted assumptions, ‘what if’ future tripping, and the lies they accept as truth. The horses are connected by authenticity, living in the present, and discharging activating energy as needed. People can become more self-aware by admitting, “I am scared of making a mistake,” or “you didn’t listen to my suggestion and I am tired of not being heard.”
Being heard is what leads us to mindfully become more self-aware. This is part of the process and it works even if the group could not move the horses around the arena. Using our voice creates the opportunity for body language and words to flow in a congruous manner. This allows us to become more authentically connected to each other.
The horses typically reflect this as well by wanting to connect with the group in the arena. Once the energy of emotional discrepancies are acknowledged the present emerges as a safe place. A wise sage summed it up once in saying, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, and today is a gift called the present.”