Sharon was a small-business owner. She was in a new relationship, and her business was in its first year. We sat down in my broodmare stall, which had been converted into an office, to have a check-in before going out to greet the horses. Karen and I plopped down on the couches, and she began telling me how things were going. She said she often felt disconnected from herself. She was worried about giving herself over to this new relationship. She was worried about her business not growing quickly enough. She was worried about not making enough money. She was anxious that she wasn’t putting her attention in the right direction. Sharon was dabbling in this and that and was in a frenzy most days, not really ever getting anything done. She wanted to feel calm, clear, and connected.
Sharon chose to work with Samantha, a 6 year old paint mare who had little human handling before she arrived here at the farm. I turned Samantha loose in the round pen while Sharon and I stood outside for a few minutes, watching her roam around. Sharon's intent for the session was to release.
As Sharon walked into the pen, she went directly over to Samantha. She started trying to connect with Samantha by petting her, whispering sweet nothings into her ear, trying to find her sweet spot, and telling her how beautiful she was. Samantha’s response was to walk away, pay little attention, and focus on what was going on outside. She walked to the other side of the pen. This experience went on for a few minutes. I could see the disconnect between them. Samantha was clearly not interested. I gently asked Sharon what she was feeling?
“I am trying to connect,” she said, “and it’s not working.”
I asked her, “What would connection look like if you stopped trying? What does connection look like without touching? What if you could just be?”
What transpired next was a beautiful miracle. Sharon sat down in the round pen and just let herself be. She stopped trying. She stopped petting. She stopped whispering sweet nothings into Samantha’s ear. She simply sat there. After a few minutes or so, Samantha walked over and nuzzled the top of Sharon's head, then rested her head on Sharon's shoulder. Sharon wasn’t trying or forcing or working at it. Horse and human were just being themselves. Two species coexisting. A warmth filled the space.
I asked Sharon how the experience had felt.
She responded, “Wow, I didn’t have to do anything. The less I tried, the more I just sat there and did nothing, and the more she wanted to be around me. What a lesson. I can connect without touching, without trying, without buttering up. The connection is there, I just have to be in it.”
Sharon called me a few weeks later and told me how she had been practicing this new principle in her life and that it had yielded many changes. She was using way less energy, she wasn’t trying as hard to impress her partner anymore, and she had way more love to give. It was in the trying, the forcing, that her connection was lost. It was by allowing herself to simply be that the connection was restored.