One of the many joys of connecting humans with horses is the unforced effortlessness of excavating treasures buried in the human’s heart. Again and again I have eye-witnessed the simplicity of this miracle that can be easily overlooked, ignored, or about which we can be unaware.
Out at the barn I met a young lady. It was but a short time in her presence that I realized she had a secret place deep inside where no one was ever invited. That was until an “equine breath” entered into her “no trespassing, barbed wire” zone! It was this unreachable part of her heart that this horse had every intention to touch!
The baseline of this CORRAL CONNECTION is that this precious human being suffered from severe difficulties in taking ownership of her life. Made in the image of God, she was created to take responsibility for certain tasks. Check out the first book in the Bible, Genesis, chapter 1, and verse 28. Part of taking responsibility or ownership of one’s life means that one knows what her job is and what isn’t. People who take on duties that aren’t theirs will eventually build walls, shut down, or go away inside.
There are those who aren’t aware that it is okay to set boundaries in their lives due to the fact that their personal boundaries have been previously violated instead of protected, cherished, and valued. The first step here is to acknowledge that it’s alright to (1) have personal boundaries, (2) set personal boundaries, and (3) enforce personal boundaries. Bottom line: let your “yes” be YES and let your “no” be NO.
It is the setting of our personal boundaries; mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually in our lives that bring clarity in what is our responsibility and what isn’t. The action of setting personal boundaries is a great antidote for “confusion”.
Two emotions that popped up like popcorn in a microwave, were guilt and fear. These were faced and acknowledged in the corral connection of horse and human, equipping her so that when in the big arena of human to human interaction, she could transition from toxicity to health.
I enter my round pen through a gate. The gate that enters into the round pen area swings both ways. I can open towards me or away from me. The setting of boundaries always brings in the dynamic of ‘gates’ and ‘choices’. ALWAYS!
Boundaries are NOT walls! Boundaries are your personal property line between you and your neighbor. In these boundaries are gates, gates that let the goodness, safety and health in, and allow the pain, poison and toxicity to exit. OR, gates can allow pain, poison and toxicity in, and causes goodness, safety and health to exit.
Horses, round pens and gates offer a support, awakening, and invitation to humans in creating boundaries. Isn’t that amazing?
What treasure was uncovered from the heart through our CORRAL CONNECTIONS? Feelings! Please don’t put the paper down, hear me out. There are teachings that refer to feelings as ‘fleshly’ or ‘unspiritual,’ and not to be given attention or governed by’. If we are told to run, ignore, pay no attention to ‘feelings’ and we believe and judge them as ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’, we will NOT connect. Feelings come from your heart and tell you something. A feeling can tell you the state of a relationship. Feeling loved, accepted, supported, cherished and safe indicates measurements of a healthy relationship. When you feel numb, rejected, anger, shame, guilt and fear you have a problem in this relationship that needs to be addressed.
The core of the life lesson that was a ‘gift’ to this person during our CORRAL CONNECTIONS is that your feelings are your responsibility. You must willingly face them and make a decision to how you will begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to. Perhaps it will be asking yourself some questions about a particular relationship, acknowledging something in your belief system that is tripping you up and keep you from walking in the unforced rhythms of God’s grace, or an agreement that needs to be broken, or one that needs to be agreed upon.
Our ability to receive and give love is our greatest gift. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, ‘love one another even as I have loved you.’” Let’s receive His love for us and give it to those we come in contact with.
By: Deb Kitchenmaster