A New Hope: Forgiveness

Juniper Natural Therapies Paintedhorse A New Hope Therapy Writing

Spending time with ‘Hope’ a gentle soul at Paintedhorse

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain” – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

This poem came to mind recently as I left Dorset for pastures new in Glastonbury. This time the part of the poem that jumped out was the bit about betrayals – have I been opened by them?  I am not shrivelled or closed, my heart is still open to people, but was I opened by those betrayals? What does that mean?

Last week I sat in a lay-by pondering my circumstances and options.  I had just managed to get up a winding forest hill road and find a safe place to pull over as my clutch finally burnt out. I was 2.1 miles from where I would be counselling someone in 3 hours.  I was early as I had arranged to meet a friend for a catch up first.  I texted her to let her know and she came to find me. My bladder decided it also wanted in on this drama.  I smiled, no point crying, this is life – see the thread of humour George.  I knew the moment my car died would eventually come, but I had no money to replace the clutch and even if I did this little banger would not make its next MOT due to the amount of welding. Another ‘Dorset’ relationship, over.  My friend met me in the lay by with a drink of water and was amazingly quick at helping pack my car belongings into bags and into her car – my car is like a home so there was quite a bit of stuff!  A local garage agreed to come out and tow away Noddy2 and I watched as he left my life 15 minutes later.  It seemed like the last page of the Dorset chapter had turned and was now closed.  There is a clip in a movie that came to mind for this moment – ‘The Money Pit’ with Tom Hanks who after yet another mishap on his money pit house begins to laugh in a ridiculous way, its hilarious. I am not sure how long this link will last but here.  That was me last week.

Before I left Dorset a few things occurred to test my resolve.  One of which was I heard something that once would have angered me – yet another persons betrayal – but it did not anger me in the same way.  Not since a special equine therapy session last year, where a wise horse told me to make friends with my anger as its not going anywhere.  It was innate emotion, there to protect and there for survival.  Sometimes we are told we are not allowed to show anger, as children anger is not usually tolerated by adults around us.  Some of us are even told its not ‘lady-like’.  So it becomes suppressed within us in different ways, and this is what causes the issues not the anger itself, which if you think about it is quite transient.  To reflect further, I was once quite passive and over many moons eventually learnt that it doesn’t pay to be passive, as in response people were quite nasty towards me or took advantage in one way or another. An art history performance called Rhythm 0 in 1979 conducted by artist Marina Abramovic disturbingly showed what could happen to a passive person with no boundaries.  Reading what happened to this performance artist was chilling, someone tried to rape her, whilst another cut her neck and drank her blood. Interestingly when the performance was over and she became her ‘normal’ self the audience ran away as they couldn’t face her.

How some people treated me upset me, particularly family or those close at one time, my feelings grew into a despair, and at some stage anger surrounded my despair in a layer of protection.  Stored-anger often surrounds grief and sadness and I wonder if at this stage is more accurately called resentment, one that can have an explosive state of rage. Anger if expressed at the time of hurt is usually released quickly and does not cause the injury that suppressed anger can.  Releasing compressed-anger safely has been quite a journey for me.  I have acknowledged all those times I have not spoken up for myself, all those times I have remained silent, all those times people have stepped over my boundaries because I did not make them clear enough, all those times I have put my dreams/goals/wishes to one side for someone else’s. My self-belief that ‘I am not as important’.   I re-wrote my self-belief from childhood scripts, and got under my stored-anger layer. I am now working on releasing grief and despair – so really what better time to have some betrayal?

I recently came across two books and I love the way that happens when you are seeking answers.  In ‘You can Heal your Heart’ by Louise Hay and David Kessler there was a perfect paragraph “every relationship is assigned to you for your healing. Grief after any relationship gives you the window to heal your wounds and begin anew. Each relationship gives you an opportunity to face your fear and anger, they give you the chance to come closer to authentic healing and true love“.   In ‘Returning to Oneness, the seven keys of ascension’ by Leslie Temple-Thurston, I was drawn to chapter three  – ‘the second key: Forgive all betrayals‘.  How apt I thought as she explained ‘forgiveness’ clearly in a way I had not been able to comprehend before.  Having the experience of betrayal and being third dimensional – so therefore in our ego states or analytical mind – we often ‘feel hurt, a sense of loss, breech of trust and even victimised’. We attract more of the same.  I certainly did. The ‘tension of these experiences build up in the diaphragm’ – which is where I grew my cancer tumour of resentment – and this ‘tension-hardened’ muscle acts as a barrier between our 3 base chakras (worldly consciousness) and our 4 higher chakras (spiritual consciousness).

By meditating we can tap into our spiritual consciousness so we can explore further where we maybe holding the hurt of betrayal, as it can store beyond our consciousness. I wondered if this is why we can take emotions such as grief with us into other lifetimes?  I suspect I may have done this, which is why betrayal is being presented to me again – for healing.  Can I be opened by it?  See it as an opportunity to let go of it all and move forward to align to my souls purpose?  Betrayal and resentment, hatred even, has no value to my soul, only love is real (which is another fantastic book by Dr Brian Weiss). Under parental control we became either; ‘dominant/ rebellious/ assertive’ or ‘passive/ submissive/ victimised’, I did fall into the latter, but became more rebellious and outspoken as life went on and my anger grew. When we are born it does not take long before we are plugged into what I refer to as ‘The Matrix’ – yes, after the movie of the same title in 1999.  This matrix is one of control, of separation, and of games and drama of our own making. If we believe something was done to us, we feel separate – this is third dimension stuff.  But we are also fifth dimension beings, vaguely aware that we are trapped in time and space in the third dimension but knowing there is something more than this, and perhaps questioning if any of this is even real?  The truth is that we are all unified, part of each other, oneness.   So I betrayed myself as much as I was betrayed, I chose to come here, I chose to create or be involved in all of my experiences, I chose my parents, friends, relationships – each presenting for an opportunity to heal the soul (from a fifth dimension perspective).  The process of unplugging from the matrix of the third-dimension can be hard, and if we don’t ‘take the blue pill’ and look around its all very familiar, we know this on some level. Can I unlock the second key and forgive myself as well as others?  Can I be opened by life’s betrayals?  As I sat in the horse field most of this week, car-less, with a wonderful herd of ponies feeling anything but separate, I suspect I may have turned the key of forgiveness.

In its place I have begun to create a new business venture with a friend, one who incidentally – for those of you who like to tie up loose ends – got me to my counselling placement in good time so I could complete my final session with my client and then drove me back home to Glastonbury.

Dear Dorset: A letter to a place

 

gerry white horse photo portland

Chesil Beach from Portland – Photography by Gerry White

Creative writing can be a useful tool for personal growth and development.  I recently attended such a workshop with Sue Ashby included as part of my counselling training.  We were challenged to write ‘free-flow’ for 6 minutes, even if we repeated the same word until other words came to mind. We started the exercise with the word ‘If’.  After the 6 minutes we stopped writing and underlined things that interested or surprised us. We then chose a sentence, used it as our next title and began writing again for 6 minutes.  For me, it was great to express and not worry about editing for readers, that was the cathartic bit and the time limit seemed to help with the flow.  It was an interesting exercise which I will take into the counselling room with me for clients who wish to use writing as a way of expressing themselves.  If you like the idea of creative writing for personal development here are 5 more ways to use creative writing for yourself:

  1. A letter from your heart to your mind – for times you have conflict, you could write a letter from both, but often the heart doesn’t have the voice over the logical part of the mind.
  2. A letter from your emotions (anger, sadness, fear, joy) – expressing our emotions can be difficult, it is interesting to see what things get written on free flow.
  3. An unsent letter to someone (or something) lost – because its unsent there is an honesty that can come from free flow writing that allows us to just express our feelings without sending it anywhere…and sometimes there is nowhere to send the letter.
  4. Same event, different perspectives – this is a little bit like the ’empty chair’ exercise in Gestalt therapy where one person talks at an empty chair imagining someone in it, then changes seats and becomes that person to reply. Of course there may be many perspectives over one event which may give the writer more empathy for others at the end of the exercise.
  5. A letter to a place – this could be as a goodbye upon moving and could even be more specific and include an old home, or to express feelings over an event that occurred in a place.

When I move from a place, a home more specifically, I usually smudge with a joss stick or white sage to take my energy with me.  I think I got this practice from reading a Feng Shui book 16 years ago and its stayed as part of my moving homes ritual, which may seem a strange ritual to mention until perhaps I add I have moved 34 times so far.  My DBS checks are always so much fun!  The longest time I have spent in one house is 10 years. This was my family home in the town where I was born, but I only lived in that town throughout my teenage years.  I have stayed in one other county for as long since then, but admittedly moved homes 8 times within its boundaries…

DEAR DORSET,

I first met you in autumn 2007, when I was on a coastal trip from Exeter with St Luke’s Teacher Training College.  The chemists and physicists got to see Lulworth Cove and study the amazing Jurassic rock formations, and the biologists (myself included) walked a steep hill and did quadrat samples on the grass and quite frankly we could have been anywhere in the country.  At least we saw a bit of your coast line whilst having our lunch. On the trip back, a fellow PGCE student asked if I would swap my placement for his as he was a surfer. He had got Weymouth and Poole, whilst I was down for Barnstable and Ilfracombe (better surfing opporunities).  Although Barnstable was where my grandpa George was from originally and I was intrigued about living there, I thought Dorset would be closer to my sister and niece who would be an hour away in Salisbury so I would get to visit more often. I swapped.

I visited you again for several days later that year when I visited my first school placement at Budmouth College in Weymouth.  I met a geography teacher who was looking for a lodger and I moved in with her for the start of Spring term 2008. Barnes Wallis Close my first address here, around the corner from school and perfect for someone without a car.  I got to know Weymouth pretty well, which bus to take to town and when to avoid the bus as it would be full of students!

I bought an old red micra called Noddy just before I moved to lodgings opposite Poole Park for my summer term placement at Parkstone Grammar school, Poole and got to know Poole and Bournemouth fairly well too. I was a big fan of Poole pottery and ‘painting your own’.  I also enjoyed a mindful walk around the lake and sometimes coastal path between lesson planning in the evenings or at weekends.

I returned to Weymouth for my first teaching post at Budmouth and rented a room above a teachers garage for autumn term. I finally admitted defeat when it got so cold in there that the water froze as it touched the sink.  I moved back in with the geography teacher and warmed up for spring and summer term.  At the end of summer that year I organised a fossil hunting trip for a group of year 7 for activities week, we got to explore chisel beach and we went successful fossil hunting.  It was a shame the weather was too bad on the Friday for the glass bottom boat trip on the lagoon. Harry Potter at the cinema was the only thing that could have helped the disappointment – that’s me, not the students.

I explored and climbed your rugged rocks around the isle of Portland, as a mate at the time rented a room from a rock climbing landlord. I recall he had a sofa called ‘the seat of truth’ turned to face the window and the view of chesil beach linking Portland to the mainland in Weymouth.  It was great to watch the sun go down from there.  And it was a sobering walk from the The Cove pub back to her room. When she moved to Weymouth we discovered Finns, a very important haunt that got us both through a standard teaching week!

In Sep 2009 I moved to Portland to teach at Royal Manor, and lived in Wakeham by Church Ope Cove which was peaceful at that time of year.  I often walked down the many steps to the beach to listen to the waves crashing upon the rocks and pebbles.  I once ran from Fortuneswell to Portland Bill Lighthouse with a colleague who was training for a half marathon. My goal was to blow off the teaching blues and being ex Army I always think I can just do these things without training.  I recall I couldn’t walk normally for about 2 days much to the students amusement.  Years later I would finally get around to walking up all the steps in Portland Bill and be lucky enough to see dolphins swimming up to the boats out at sea from one of the windows.  On the rugged rocks around Portland Bill after a nostalgic walk around Fortuneswell I even received a marriage proposal.

I briefly left you in 2010 when my career in teaching came to an abrupt end, and consequently I couldn’t afford to stay in my flat so stayed at a mates in Amesbury whilst she was on tour.  Weeks later Budmouth offered me a supply teaching post which I came back for but sadly the damage of teaching was already done.  I did however make up my mind to stay and the only way that was achievable was to invite a long lost father to rent with me – and his two terriers.  We moved to dog friendly Cerne Abbas in a lovely home called Ginger Fox Cottage, Duck Street and I could see the cheeky Giant waving his bits at me every morning as I drew back the curtains.  I appreciated the village life in your more rural parts and I soon rekindled my love of horses up the road at Home Farm in Minterne Magna and it all inspired me to set up my business Juniper Animals.

I bravely took a teaching assistant job at Colfox in Bridport to support my business and became a little more familiar with your more arty bohemian town.  A year later I took up lecturing at Kingston Maurward college teaching the science and welfare subjects in the Animal Care dept.  Moving around the campus between lessons sure beat the noisy corridors of a secondary school.  My niece joined us for a year in Cerne and she ran wild in a way you could as a child in yesterday years.

In October 2013 my niece and I moved to your county town of Dorchester. We went on several ghost walks and learnt more about the Roman town of Durnovaria and often went for walks around the place taking in the old architecture.  I became reacquainted with Lulworth Cove and other old haunts as I explored them again with my niece.  For her birthday we went on a coastal activity and got to kayak out of your cove and around the coast towards Durdle door. We ditched the kayaks at the stair hole for a bit of coasteering – can’t beat a bit of jumping off rocks into the sea in October!

When a friend moved in with us for a while and we got touristy once more. I finally visited Brownsea island and travelled around Old Harry Rocks by boat.  We visited Athelhampton house which is just stunning and we set the world to right in the secret hiding seats between two conifers in the garden.  My niece and I got to know your Piddle Valley area very well as that’s where Jac our first horse lived for 3 years. I enjoyed the hacks out and foraging in the hedgerows with him.  There was a bit of time spent in Dorchester hospital when my niece was paralysed, but thankfully more time spent at Aquae Sulis chiropractors where she fully recovered. I remember I had to find a posh dress to wear for the Venus Business awards finalists ceremony in Poole and I never did find out who voted for me in the first place.

I began my counselling studies in Dorchester, and continued at Poundbury, where I have watched Prince Charles’ project town develop more and more.  I have even spotted 2 royals whilst being here.

Like my teaching career, fostering came to an abrupt end. It ended before my counselling training was finished and the only way to continue studying and keep Jac (our pony) was to give up renting the flat. An opportunity came up which would mean leaving you, but I did not take it as I had decided to wait.  Wait to see if ‘blood is thicker’ than the pull of dark energy. Wait to see if there was any foundation to that marriage proposal on the rocks at Portland. I embraced my vulnerability in waiting, then I accepted my reality, there was nothing more to wait for as it was all in the past.  As they say, there’s no point looking back, as you ain’t going that way. Thankfully that opportunity has come back around to make sure it collects me this time. Dorset, I appreciate you letting me stay this long, and I am grateful for a real mix of opportunities and adventures here.  I may have moved many times but goodbyes don’t get easier, so here is my fond farewell to you and I ask you to look after all those lovely people I have met here over the last 10 years, even those who are no longer part of my life. I’m not going too far away and I will no doubt be back to visit from time to time.

“And suddenly you know its time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings” – Eckhart von Hochheim.

 

 

 

Great Expectations

tania

When I first heard Carrie Bradshaw say these lines I recall they resonated with me as that’s what I have been looking for. My whole life. Until recently this ideal had never been challenged.  I don’t mean people had never suggested to me that my expectations were too great or I had a ‘fairy tale complex’, I mean I myself had never challenged this belief. What was my belief exactly? Well, boy meets girl, they fall in love, they live happily ever after. Like my own Gran and Grandpa who were married 50 years until physically separated by death. And where did this belief come from? Childhood I guess. I remember reading a lot of ‘Happily Ever After’ books and dreaming about my moment of riding off into the sunset.

I had a few reality checks along they way.  Parents divorce. Estranged father. First boyfriend cheating on me. Second boyfriend cheating on me. Husband cheating on me. You may have noticed a pattern?  I remember the first year of marriage being a huge shock to the system because of my expectations of what it would be like.  I often thought, ‘why on Earth did my mother not warn me about this?’  Why was my marriage so hard?  We are supposed to be on ‘happily ever after’ now.  My sister wisely reflected, that after a wedding such as I had had (rural Scotland, old castle, hilarious ceilidh) that anything after that was going to be decidedly less exciting. One of the last days I spent in my marital home before we separated, I recall looking at the beautiful, solid, Mexican pine furniture he had insisted on getting as ‘it would last’.  He was right, it did.  Longer than our marriage.

I insisted afterwards, that I would meet ‘the one’, he was still out there.  I would just have to be wiser or an even better idea – I would just listen to my friends opinions on who I picked next, as they seemed to know my ex-husband wasn’t right for me long before I did.  I basically gave away my power as I didn’t trust myself at all.  I had a brief relationship a year later, only when it ended I realised it was the infamous ‘rebound’ one. Whilst we were together I remember an uncle asking me ‘do you think you can keep this one this time?’  I replied, ‘the real question is whether he can keep me’. Good retort, but his words did hurt me.  They hurt because they resonated with another script, that it was my responsibility for keeping a relationship together. Even when it was clear ‘this-one-this-time’ was using all my money up.

Fast forward to a decade later, I finally got my fairy tale boy-meets-girl which reinforced by script, my belief.  My niece had come to live with me and as the new girl at school, she was assigned another girl to look after her.  They both became good friends, best friends. One day we all walked past a bookshop it sparked a conversation about my nieces friends dad. I realised I knew who he was.  I had known him 5 years ago when I worked at the same place.  As chance would have it without this discovery, I would have ended up meeting him the following day anyway as my niece and his daughter were doing an activity together.  Destiny!  If this was fiction, this would definitely be a ‘cute meet’. Within no time at all he became a real love – ridiculous – consuming – inconvenient.  It seemed eighties romantic rock music played wherever we went.  We were going to move into together and be a family unit.  That idea was a short lived as storm clouds gathered around us and we did not move in together.  We instead lived separately, but stayed together despite how dark it got around us.  I was determined that if we separated it would only be because we chose it ourselves not because of other people and their agendas.  Our relationship lasted four years when we decided to end things, not to sound Avril Lavigne about it but ‘so much for my happy ending‘ I thought sadly.

On my counselling journey over the last year, I have had a lot of beliefs challenged, discovered scripts I didn’t realise I had and re-written a lot of them.  Society had given me a belief of what ‘real love’ looks like, my belief.  Mine didn’t look like that, so mine must be wrong.  I have to try harder.  Its a bit like the ‘ideal Christmas’ – what it ‘should’ look like, anything else and I have failed.  But love is supposed to conquer all, and it didn’t, how can that be?  It has taken me a while to realise love starts from within, my internal feminine and masculine embracing. Then I am not on a mission to feel complete from an external source.  My ‘cute meet’ is undoubtedly one of my soul mates, my mirror – and I have tried my best to deal with all that he has reflected to me, particularly my mistrust in men.  I acknowledged the script from the inner child who believed she wasn’t lovable enough for her father to stay, so why would any other man.  And contrary another belief, a soul mate does not necessarily mean for life, it could just be for a season or a reason but it doesn’t mean they are any less important to your evolution. It has been a wonderful but crazy journey with him and one I now wouldn’t change.  I can accept it for what it was and let go of my expectations.  Love has many amazing and different forms.  It is not limited to a set of beliefs and ideals.  It can guide us all sorts of different ways through life.  Love doesn’t always involve staying together, it can mean letting each other go, but with love and light.  Maybe that’s what is meant by unconditional love.  In changing my perception and understanding of love, it now feels that I can keep hold of one of my beliefs that love conquers all, but I can let go of the Hollywood adaptation of it.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” – Rumi

Walking Down the Line

Juniper Natural Therapies Counselling

The last day of the year tends to always find me reflective and perhaps a bit melancholy – this year is certainly no different.  To me this picture captures it all without words. It was taken by a friend who I met a couple of years ago at work, she returned home to New Zealand after life changed unexpectedly and dramatically.  Luckily for me she came back to England this year, on New Years Day, and ended up staying most of this year in one way or another with me. As a result she was there to witness my life change dramatically and gave me the support network I realised I never had. Consequently that knowledge created more change, that was perhaps inevitable but painful nonetheless.

The last time my life changed as dramatically was when I found out my marriage was over. Immediately I lost my husband, my best friend, and instead he became someone I never knew. Within a month our house had sold, my notice was in at work and I left the area for the south west in my little old car with what could fit in it and the rest didn’t matter anymore. Although I was supported by random acts of kinds all around, I felt alone. I listened to and over identified with Greenday’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams.  I promised myself nothing would ever floor me like that in life again. I was going to study a degree and see what happened, a beautiful beginning from a sad sad ending.  This year I was presented with the end of my fostering placement. Similarly to my marriage ending, it was not my choice so it was hard to accept as giving up on someone I love was not something I did. I was 37 when I fostered my sister’s daughter and am now nearly 42, I know it cost me my last chance of having a child of my own. But even now, knowing how it played out, I would do it all again. I have been deeply hurt by events this year and felt the sting of betrayal by people who supported them, some of whom I let into my life properly without any caution. All part of life I guess.

That moment caught unaware of me walking Jac back to his field was the last day I had with my friend before New Zealand called her home. It was also one of the last days before I moved Jac to a new home out of the area, away from our past as it now was. Like me, he was mostly on his own when he went home and was no doubt hurting. Unlike me, he was able to shake off our past as soon as he entered his new home by rolling and shaking his body a couple of times. It is taking me a bit longer to shake it off and as daft as the rolling around on the floor sounds, its actually one way of moving blocked emotions in the body. Wherever my body is feeling tension or pain, that’s where I put movement and it seems to release the blocked energy. I did keep my promise to myself that nothing would ever floor me like my marriage ending. People come and people go, even family. And I guess once you have let possessions go, its easier to do it again as the attachment just isn’t there. So here I am with some belongings on borrowed time in someone else’s living space, attempting to finish my counselling training and earn enough to live on around that. It is not as secure as I found university, with friendly student accommodation, a student loan and a three year plan. But I feel a lot stronger in myself this time around, even though I am perhaps more vulnerable security wise. I am once again surrounded by random acts of kindness which always give me faith and hope. Again, all part of life.

I have appreciated all the beginnings gifted to me alongside the endings. Opportunities that fill me with excitement. And those harder lessons in life made me stronger, less afraid and gave me the motivation to chase my dreams.  I am grateful for those people that have reached out to me this year with kindness, love and light freely given. All those that sent Christmas cards or gifts and invited me to come stay with them or pop in for a mince pie – I thank you once again but hope you understand I really just wanted to keep this Christmas low key, and spent it with Jac and his new herd.

“Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone” – Green Day

Thanks also to Jac who did find me and now walks beside me making the road less lonely.

Journey with the Horse

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‘Journey with the Horse’ is an equine-facilitated activity which I use with clients to help aid self development and learning. As I was thinking of ways to adapt the programme in the winter months, it got me thinking about on my own journey with the horse. Not the workshop I did as a pre-requisite to becoming a LEAP practitioner that was insightful in itself [read more], but about my journey with my first horse Jac. The beautiful young man up there on the left with the long eyelashes.  Who in the three years he has been with me, has now had three homes and settles down quickly within each herd he has been with. Usually passive within a herd, this time he lives out with only mares, so has become quite assertive and I am experiencing a whole different side to him. He is a wise pony, humorous and does not like being stabled (just last night due to the forecast of heavy rains they were all stabled, he undid his bolt to go and stand in the rain all night). He likes people to get on ‘horse time’ with him and I love watching him spend time with clients who get so lost in the here and now with him, they forget I am there, their concept of time and become so peaceful in their surrounding environment.

As a kid I always wanted a pony. I borrowed other peoples horses where possible and in some places we lived it wasn’t possible. I always thought one day I would have a horse, as I grew older that turned into working with them. After school I joined the Special Constabulary with the longer term goal of working in the Mounted Police. After a year in the specials I had my application ready for Merseyside police and they stopped recruiting for 3 years. I joined the Army instead, but as ‘girls can’t join the household cavalry’ my path then took me a different way for a long while.  I did sign up for horse riding wherever possible wherever I was. It wasn’t really until 2010 aged 35 that I spotted an advert for Monty Roberts Horsemanship that I remembered my old dream. It probably helped that my life had spectacularly crashed around me, so it was good opportunity to reassess what I wanted from life. I signed up and I worked voluntary for a horse sanctuary and also for a lady who needed help with about 18 horses.

In 2013 whilst I had been fostering my niece for a few years, that little grey pony came into our lives and I am not sure to this day whether I would have bought him for me. You see I had got used to the feeling the horses were for other people, people who knew more and had more money. So I would have talked myself out of it, ‘you don’t have time, money, know how, you’re too old to start this, everyone else has loads more experience’. But here’s the thing, that thought process didn’t apply to my niece. I made it happen for her, something I couldn’t do for my inner child. No big deal, that’s what parents do for their kids all the time. My ‘inner child’ watched as my niece learnt more and more about horsemanship, and gained valuable qualifications that would help gain all those wonderful equine jobs that passed ‘her’ by. She literally sat there within me and watched, filmed or took photos. For a Christmas present one year, she spent days or rather weeks helping me put together footage of 5 years into a movie for my niece called ‘my journey with horses’. On reflection I think she started to get angry with me, and as I didn’t give her time to express herself it became resentment.  If I think back to this time I imagine her like a butterfly trapped in a jar, wanting to get out and spread her wings, but I did not take the lid off.

In 2015 as I have mentioned in my blog anger I had a small non-spreadable malignant tumour removed from my solar plexus and I knew this was a nudge from ‘the universe’ about sorting myself out emotionally. I had already had the warning from my body for about a year to get the mole checked and I ignored it. It was easy to write it off as I was dealing with my nieces paralysis, ‘I’ll get to it’, ‘It’s probably nothing, you had a mole removed at 17 and that was nothing’. One night I woke up in pain with blood on my fingers and it turned out I had tried to scratch it out in my sleep. Three weeks later it was cut out professionally, then I received a letter to say they were ‘surprised’ at the result and ‘couldn’t guarantee clear margins’. They hadn’t cut enough out so it could grow back or alternatively my immune system could probably deal with the stray cells and it wouldn’t. I decided to leave it to heal up, boost my immune system and work on the emotional front. I always thought that my resentment was triggered from external sources but I see now it was also internal. My inner child knows what our dreams are, I rarely let her speak as there is always a reason I can’t follow them, not yet. She perhaps just upped the ante on continuing to be ignored.

This year, has been a whirlwind of change and has challenged my resilience and adaptability.  For the first time, here I am at the tail end of the year with a pony but without my niece. My inner child stepped up, she knows she can handle it, and for the first time in a long time my adult stepped up with her. My adult made a few ‘big’ and perhaps ‘crazy’ decisions that other adults would question (and they have), but I acknowledge what our dreams are now, and know what I have to let go of and keep hold of to realise them. I know this is my path, it has been very uphill and rocky and I am determined not to step off it again. There have been a lot of obstacles on this journey, the one I am still dealing with now is the part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve my dream. This is the fourth obstacle that Paulo Coelho talks about in his book that I keep close to my heart ‘The Alchemist’ [read more].  I now have to “believe myself worthy of the thing I fought so hard to get, then I help the Soul of the World and understand why I am here”. Pondering on this thought whilst sat in the car having just seen Jac and his friends, I re-discovered a chocolate bar in my bag that a friend bought back from Ireland and on the packaging was a Gaelic blessing I thought apt…

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back…” Traditional Irish Blessing

Anger

Juniper Natural Therapies Anger

Those who know me, know that I pressed pause on my business in August 2014 to begin a difficult journey which for me has centred around the emotion of anger.

I fostered my niece several years ago when she was 11 years old, both her parents were unavailable to her. The conflict I had with social services to get her back to family was immense and took a long drawn-out 11 months. For me it involved loss of a job, the end of a relationship and selling of material possessions. It involved a lot of conflict with persons that had forgotten professional standards within their roles. As this chapter closed, things seemed to settle down for a while. In hindsight, I don’t think I ever released my anger from this time.

Then came the next chapter of conflict with social services, which seemed harder to deal with than the first. It was actually more unbelievable than the first. I could not express this added anger and disbelief to the people involved as by the end of this chapter they had moved on/been moved on. The best way to describe my feelings was that I had enough energy for a physical battle, but there was noone on that battle field but me. I know from my Army career how important physical exercise would have been if I could have engaged with it, but I could not. It may have helped to use up this energy physically and consequently would have improved my mental well-being. I was in a much darker place emotionally and not able to take time to heal self. My focus was on my niece and I did not heed useful advice once given to me…

fit your own oxygen mask before fitting other peoples‘.

In addition to this conflict, my niece was paralysed whilst at school, by something, later diagnosed as Transverse Myelitis. I spent days in hospital with her as doctors tried to figure out what had gone wrong. It took a whole year for a full recovery, it also took a lot of therapy, most considered ‘alternative’: chiropractic, reiki, nutrition, equine therapy and homeopathy. It also took self belief in the healing process from my niece.  It left me very reflective of her healing journey and realising I had neglected my own. I had ignored a nagging voice about a mole for some time, when I tried to remove it in my sleep I decided it was time to see the GP. It turned out I had a small non-spreadable cancerous tumour. Why had I not listened to my intuition sooner? It’s not like this had been the first time it had been right.

Louise Hays talks about emotions and their link to dis-ease. Cancer she discusses is resentment, anger that has not been released but repressed. This hit a chord with me. Stepping into Transactional Analysis for a moment, anger is one of the four emotions a ‘free’ child has innately. Most of us become an ‘adapted’ child as anger may not be an acceptable emotion to display to our parents. Adapted anger is displayed by children in various ways: withdrawal, boredom, moping, petulance, sulking, tantrums and rebellion. Certain situations can trigger many adults to enter their ‘adapted child’ ego state and anger is not released freely. I was perhaps displaying ‘withdrawal’. Expressing anger when it comes up, reflecting on why it has come up and also releasing old anger has probably been my biggest challenge to date.  Studying Therapeutic Counselling, having personal counselling and practising meditation has been helpful in this pursuit.

I recently gained my Reiki masters and was reminded of one of the five principles…

Just for today, I will not anger‘ –

I realise now, that this does not mean suppression of anger. Anger can be used as a powerful stimulus to achieve many positive things. This principle (to me at least) is about not allowing external stimulus to effect me internally to trigger an anger response. That I am in control of my own emotions and I can create a space around myself and allow what comes in and out. This is a ‘work in progress’ as I get used to looking at things in a different way.