Do you ever experience unpleasantly high energy in your body, whether it be stress, anxiety, obsession about a topic, or another cause that you can’t seem to diffuse or “shut off”?
Do you ever experience unpleasantly low energy in your body, whether it stems from depression, sadness, fatigue, hopelessness or another cause that you can’t seem to break through?
I call these highs and lows that are a result of happenings in our life the Energy Roller Coaster. We all ride this roller coaster and we have our own unique range of the highest we get and the lowest we get. Regardless, the highs and lows can be unpleasant, and our energy level most concurrent with Joy and Peace is somewhere in between. Playing with energy regardless of how you do it increases your awareness of the power you have over your energy. Playing with energy with horses brings a heightened awareness and immediate feedback on how successfully you’re altering your energy. When playing with energy with your horse, you’re asking the horse to go and asking the horse to stop.
I believe my ideas about going and stopping are best demonstrated by Stacy Westfall, a horse trainer, in fact a lot of my ideas were probably adapted from her. If you’re a horse person, watch her video about training Jac to stop (http://stacywestfallhorseblog.com/tag/wave/). If you aren’t a horse person, you can watch it as well but it may not make much sense as Stacy Westfall is a horse trainer so she’s talking about educating a young horse.
I teach asking a horse to go and stop based on the energy and movement in your body. This, in turn, teaches the person how to settle their energy in times with unpleasant high energy, and how to raise their energy in times of unpleasant low energy.
Again, for horse people, Stacy talks about training Jac to do the sliding stop based on movement. If her legs are still moving and asking him to lope on (she calls it leg waving), he lopes on. When she wishes for the stop she adjusts her body first, the precursor, then ceases movement in her legs and that is more the cue to stop than any movement of the hand. If you’ve lost harmony between your energy and your horse’s energy in that moment, then a bump with the reins may be needed.
You can practice playing with energy on the ground. A powerful practice is mirroring. Mirroring is matching your energy and movement to your horse’s energy and movements. This gives you energy to emulate first which for many people is easier than putting their own energy out into the universe. The horse will let you know when you’re mirroring well by beginning to mirror you back. This gives you practice at small adjustments in your energy and movement. You can also play with energy with horses by practicing voice commands at liberty (asking the horse for different paces with your energy, movement and voice). Lastly, you can walk a horse down. Walking a horse down is similar to mirroring in that you’re matching the horse, but it is focused on walking forward whereas mirroring can be done at a standstill. While walking a horse down, you follow the horse around wherever they’d like to go in an enclosed space. As you match the horse more and more consistently, the horse will allow you to get closer and closer until you’re walking together or the horse will turn to follow you and mirror you. One of the above three (at liberty work at different paces, walking a horse down, and you mirroring a horse) may work best for you and a horse, I suggest trying all three and seeing which one resonates best for you.
As you gain experience in elevating and decreasing your energy, you can advance to dramatic increases and decreases in energy. This is the
Energy Elevator. In the Energy Elevator you raise your energy sky high and then drop it back down to the ground, first at the walk, then trot, then canter/gallop. So you’ll ask a horse/pony while at liberty for the most exuberant walk, trot or canter (depending on your experience) as you can by raising YOUR energy, like an elevator going up your spine up through your head up through the crown of your head and match that with your body with an exuberant walk yourself. Once the horse/pony is really going at the chosen pace, you completely drop your energy like an elevator going down through the crown of your head, down your spine straight into the ground and match your movement to that energy by halting yourself, looking at the ground and becoming very small energetically.
Once you can do this consistently and seamlessly with a variety of horses, you’re well on your way to living in harmony on the Energy Roller Coaster because you can neutralize its impacts by choosing the opposite on your Energy Elevator. For example, if you’re at a high place on your Energy Roller Coaster you can be aware of it and acknowledge it and then choose a low place on your Energy Elevator to balance out your energy to be wherever in the middle of the spectrum Joy and Peace resides for you.
We don’t always have influence over what happens to us, or our Energy Roller Coaster, but we can reduce its impact by increasing our awareness and skill at utilizing our Energy Elevator. With a roller coaster you can’t choose if you’re going up or down or left or right just like you don’t always have control over what happens to you in life, but with an elevator, you can choose how much it’s going to affect you mentally and emotionally and how you’re going to react to it by choosing what “floor” you want to be on.