Last week I looked again at some important questions that this journey with Dax has raised recently and the answers that I have found so far.
This whole process has been a very interesting one for me. It has caused me to question so many things - myself, my approach, my abilities and my beliefs. This has led me to also ponder the various opinions offered to me. Most of them have come from people that I respect, and yet their views have sometimes conflicted with each other, and sometimes with the views that I have held up to now.
This has meant that I've had to re-evaluate much of the information that I've been receiving - either from people or from books and articles that I've read. I've tried to search for the things that resonate and feel 'true' to me, but found this hard when I'm no longer sure exactly where I stand. Things have felt fluid and uncertain.
I've had to face up to these uncertainties, and my own loss of confidence. Suddenly all the things that I thought I knew, all that I've studied and learnt, seemed to just fall away leaving me feeling empty and lost.
But I've come to realise that maybe I was looking for 'truth' and 'certainty' where there isn't any... It's perhaps a case of setting an intention (to do the best for Dax), creating dialogue with him and seeing where we can go, this boy and I.
Given time, and space, I think we might be able to do it... but these two were feeling in very short supply in my world! I felt sleep deprived and overstretched...
Yes, this horse asks for so much - but I also see that what he is bringing up in me is my own inner 'ask' too...
It has all felt too much sometimes. Occasionally I've felt so overwhelmed that I've wanted to press rewind and go back to the time before we sold our houses and I started this whole crazy plan! But I can't - practically, or emotionally - I've opened Pandora's Box, for better or worse! I still don't quite know where it will lead, and at times I've felt blind and lost, but something still feels 'right' - like this is a process that I need to go through... I manifested this... even if at times it has felt like a 'kill or cure'!
The process has felt like a very lonely one at times. It was as if Dax was the only other being in our little life-raft, the two of us being tossed around together. There may have been others around - some offering great support without which I would have been very tempted to give up - but really, it was just the two of us, waiting to see if we would survive, or if we would decide to abandon ship and go our separate ways...
I talked before about facing our inner shadow. This process brought me face to face with some deep seated fears:
These fears might all be 'just in my head' but it doesn't make them feel any less real!
I've said before that Dax's moods are an enigma - and yet in a way they're not. When I think about his history, I can so get why he might suddenly seem to switch...
He has such deep wounds held within, and sometimes we can find these impossible to express without them exploding into a 'beast' that feels out of our control... such deep pain with no outlet... not a wonder his moods swing... not a wonder that he can appear to be struggling, 'unpredictable' and 'grumpy'...
But then I wonder if I'm making assumptions about how he's feeling, which actually are way off...
I've offered him various 'releasing' techniques - such as Reiki, massage, TTouch and essential oils - but it seems that he is not ready to go there yet. He will start to show signs of relaxing and then it's as if he pulls himself back. So we're taking it 'slow and steady', just doing little bits as and when he seems able and happy to engage.
I'm also trying to keep things light and to remember the value of fun and humour. Dax is an intelligent horse with an inquisitive side so he needs to find expression for this too.
There have been shifts in his behaviour. For example he used to get defensive if you stood at his shoulder, or tried to touch him here, turning to nip, but I haven't seen this behaviour in a long time now.
Part of what has helped us is me going 'back to basics' and remembering to just enjoy being with him, with no agenda or expectations, and no pressure - on him or myself. With animals, particularly horses, this apparently 'overly simple' strategy is often overlooked. As humans we often see things as Big Complex Problems needing Big Complex Solutions, when sometimes what we need to do is just strip everything back and go for the simplest approach. In our busy, noisy lives, it can be a real challenge to just Be and to en-joy the moment. But it is in doing this that we unlock the potential of that moment and gain access to our intuition, our insight and to deeper listening, connection and understanding.
I want to be able to see Dax's many good qualities, not just the less desirable behaviours. In doing this, I hope to be able to create a space where he is set up to succeed, rather than to fail - to find his balance and contentment and to let go of his fears. I hope, too, that he will see me as a consistent carer who will accept him in all his moods and always look for the good in him, behind any behaviours, while also supporting him to let go of the fears that create those behaviours.
If any of this is resonating with you and you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below or to contact me.