You are often taught fear is a bad thing and that you must overcome it at all costs. Certainly, fear can hold you back in life, stop you fulfilling your dreams and cost you a great deal, and not just financially, but in lost opportunities, low self-esteem and loss of confidence to live your dreams.
Fear can paralyse you, cause palpitations or other unpleasant physical symptoms and sensations. Prolonged exposure to fear, anxiety and stress create chemical responses of adrenalin that slowly poison your body, weakening your immune system and eventually burnout, depression or some other form of breakdown.
The movies in your mind are nearly always so dramatized in the consequences of the “what if” scenarios that it would make Steven Spielberg want to sign up the film rights!
What if you made friends with your fear?
What if, your fear was there to actually help you?
What if, it wasn’t for your fear of getting run over, you would probably just step into an oncoming bus and get flattened.
What if, it wasn’t for your fear you may have made decisions that you would have really regretted.
What if, it wasn’t your fear of riding a specific horse, you may have got thrown off.
What if, your fear is trying to redirect your life?
“ I was waiting for my turn to go over a jump. Feeling sick through to the stomach, my mouth dry and heart was racing so much that the horse underneath me also started feeling jittery from my nerves I was transmitting to him, I was in terror. To pass my Instructors exam, I had to learn to overcome my fear of getting over 3’6” (1.07m) jumps but the problem was I was even terrified of getting over 1’6”. (0.4m)!!
That’s when I clocked it. The feeling I was going through, right there, as I was building up the disaster movie in my mind, it was the same feeling of terror I experienced pretty much most nights as I lay awake anxiously waiting for my violent alcoholic partner to return home. The fear of what would happen when he got home was the same sick toxic feeling I was experiencing as I waited for my fateful turn to go over that jump…………
As luck would have it, I had an “interfering” friend. You know the type. The ones that can sort everything out about you and your life whilst theirs is in equally a mess! “Read this” she demanded. It was my first introduction to self-help books. Creative visualisation was the key it stated. “You can change your thoughts!”
“You can change your feelings!”
“You can even change your reality” was the claim.
I must confess my first reaction was disdain “what a load of codswallop!” “if you could create your reality who would choose a violent partner, being in debt and chaotic life like this?” Naturally my disbelief was enormous, but nevertheless I ended up giving it a go! Heck what did I have to lose?
Well the very shortened version is, I passed the jumping part my exam. I did get over 3’6” in one piece. I did change my reality and I did change my partner! This stuff was working for me. And then I had the crazy idea of “What if I introduce these concepts to my riders at my riding school?”
Well I resisted for a couple of years going public because I thought I would get laughed off the planet. However, the more I taught the more frustrated I felt when I could see that people’s fears were not just down to riding. I could see how everything that was out of balance in their life affected their position, their horse’s way of going and their riding confidence. It even affected the way they approached and handled their horse. How they interacted with their horse (or one of mine) in the first 5mins told me everything I needed to know about the beliefs, feeling and behaviour patterns they had, that were in the way of them succeeding or getting the best from their horse, riding and as importantly their life.
The real truth behind my resistance was I was terrified of my life purpose
My excuse of “what others might think” was just a cop out. Eventually, using my newfound tools, I worked with overcoming my fears and I pioneered working therapeutically with people and their horses, even before they rode. Today its known as the HEART equine assisted coaching and therapy programme.
The real point of the story is that it was my own fears that were my conduit for change. In the end the Universe/Life/ Greater Power “forced” me to get out there and help these people properly. It might sound odd, but I am truly grateful for the terror I initially went through, because thanks to the deeper message of my fears, I have been able to help thousands of people with overcoming their fears and getting the life they truly deserve.
The most common denominator to EVERYONES’ fear I have worked with was that their fear was always trying to not only protect them but also to help them get clear about what was really going on for them and how to move forward in their life. The other realisation I discovered was that in nearly all my clients the real fear was the fear of a deeper feeling. Fear of feeling things like loss, rejection, failure, success, not good enough and then these feelings would translate further into deeper emotions of terror, anger, sadness and believe or not, fear of feeling joy and happiness.
How do the horses respond to this?