I had a full-blown, snot-dripping, throat-aching meltdown at the barn. I was hissing with anger, stomping my feet and swiping the air with my fists, as I punctuated my tirade.
The horses stood where they were when I began my blowout, with lowered heads and soft eyes. A few ambled off as I raged on, while Aude and Kaliah moved closer to me. Kaliah had been following me around for an hour already, standing near me and gazing at me for long periods.
I was so angry at myself for collapsing into Victim whenever things got challenging:
I’m so overwhelmed
Why do these things always happen to me?
Why don’t I have help?
Why is it, no matter who I hire, or what I do, I never have enough support?
I can’t take this anymore
I can’t handle this
I went through this same crucible when I increased from 1 horse to 4 overnight. And then I worked out all the logistics, worked myself to exhaustion, figured out systems and routines, and set up the infrastructure required, and finally… finally I could exhale. And peace returned. It was challenging, but I could handle it, just.
Then for the next year I kept hearing, there’s a black horse missing… and although I tried my best to ignore it, after a year or so I caved to my higher guidance. I have always followed my intuition and divine guidance and it has always been for my highest good – so even when my guidance seems downright crazy, I follow it. Keeping in mind, that sometimes things can take a decade or so to be revealed in their full glory and to finally understand why that was in my highest good!
But after the literal hell I went through going from 1 to 5 horses, I put a condition on the universe. Yes, I will take these 6 new horses, BUT, I am not going through what I went through before. I’ll do it, but you have to step up and provide us with our own land, or a second piece of land, or something – there’s no way I can have all 11 here.
How the universe must chuckle at us.
Caroline Myss talks about following your guidance in her course on Shadow Archetypes. She gives an example where intuition says, ‘Quit your job.’ And we say, ‘Ok sure, I’ll quit my job – you show me there’s a much better job lined up for me, a better place to live and oh, how about a new love relationship too?’ But Spirit doesn’t work like that. Your guidance just says, ‘Quit your job.’ Step off the cliff, like an eaglet, and trust that your wings will work.
I don’t know about you, but no matter how many times I step off the cliff, I can’t seem to remember that the process is the point! The journey is the reason guidance is asking me to take this leap into the unknown.
Winning the lottery doesn’t usually alter someone’s state of abundance; most lottery winners are broke after 5 years. The destination is not the point. Being handed the destination doesn’t usually confer much benefit, it is the journey to the destination that results in transformation.
So even as I’m ranting and raving, part of me is wondering why Kaliah has been following me around, and why she keeps moving closer to me. As my anger peters out, it turns to tears. I’m not someone who defaults to tears. I default to anger, work my way through that, and then the tears come.
The horses know this, of course, and in the early days they used to hurt me – just enough to make me really mad – knowing it was the doorway in to get me to release the tears underneath. As my sobs wound down, Kaliah had a few big yawns, some licking and chewing. But lord, my throat hurt like crazy. Aude nuzzled/flicked me all over my hands and arms and then walked out into the field to join Montaro. I was a little disappointed to see her go as I thought I was going to get an Aude-style love bath after my ordeal.
I started stretching my neck as I walked over to the big feeder where Xadaa was eating – my throat hurt so much that I hoped stretching my neck would relieve it. As I sat down across from Xadaa, Kaliah walked up behind me and stuck her head between my torso and the barn supporting pole. What an odd place to eat, I thought, two completely open sides and she squishes in here. Then Siyone came over and ate at the other side. I felt enveloped in a soft mare sandwich of delicate creatures, with legs and wills of steel, offering giant hearts and boundless wisdom.
As Kaliah softly breathed near my arm, I felt her say, “Remember my name? The destruction of Kali is hard. But the re-birth and rebuilding can be soft.” I felt her wisdom saying, hang in there, the destruction phase is brutal, even though it is motivated by love; by loving desire for your highest good. You’re not doing anything wrong, and there’s not a lot you can do to make it easier, it’s meant to, has to, be this way. But at the same time, she was offering me hope. That the backside of this can be soft. That it won’t be hard forever. Just hang in there – and try to release like this more – the ease and softness will come, when it’s time.
Remember, the energy of Kali (or Pele) comes through love. The universe lovingly supports us in our journey to wholeness. Sometimes, our highest good involves the destruction, or burning, of things that no longer serve or help us. This occurs so that a more loving, whole person can rise from the ashes.
I heard Montaro’s voice echoing in my head as it has done throughout this year, “Get bigger.” Don’t ask for the burden to be smaller. Get bigger, so the burden becomes easy, so it is no longer a burden. Same reality; completely different experience. You can be a child carrying a boulder, or a giant carrying a pebble, the rock/burden has not changed. You are the one with the power to change.
I’m reminded of the immortal words of Viktor Frankl in the Nazi concentration camps saying,
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
What is to give light must endure burning.”
I realized that I must break this Victim-negativity position I automatically default to. Of course it’s generational! Of course my childhood justifies my victim. Who cares?! I must GET BIGGER. In the inspiration created by the horses’ circle of wisdom I finally realized a powerful way to transform Victim for me…
Every time I feel overwhelm; why do these things always happen to me? Why don’t I have help? I can’t take this anymore, I can’t handle this… the solution is to force myself to look for what IS working. To wade through all the negativity and identify what I can be thankful for. I don’t need to feel grateful! I simply need to use my logical, observer mind to identify any and all positive elements and state them out loud. I started immediately:
I’ve got this great new gravel and I could afford to pay for it
7 of the slow feeders are still working (only 1 broken one)
I’ve got hay coming tomorrow that I can afford to buy
Every horse here is healthy
My dogs are healthy
My kids, husband and me are healthy
These shelters are still standing, despite 1800 pounds of Belgian rubbing her butt on the poles. And if they break, thank god I have enough money to have them fixed
My barn help Rocky is a rockstar, and Güliz is so much help when she’s around – I’m so fortunate to have both of them
and so on
I was then reminded of the God Box. This is a practice I recently read about in Tosha Silver’s book, It’s Not Your Money. You’re supposed to take each thing that overwhelms you, or that you can’t handle, or can’t find a solution for, and write down 1 item per 1 piece of paper. Fold the paper, offer it to the divine, and put it in your God Box. Close the lid. There. It’s not your problem anymore. You have offered it to the divine and the burden of that issue now belongs to God.
Of course, you as the incarnate one, will still need to walk through doors as they open, pick up the phone and make calls, lean in and do your work, etc. But the responsibility for the resolution of that problem, no longer lies with you. You have offered it up to Spirit, and it is now in the God Box. Every few months, you go through your God Box and sort through all of the issues that have miraculously been resolved. If you like, you can bury or burn the papers, while offering gratitude.
This practice has helped me to Get Bigger, whilst not carrying the burden for that transformation on my own shoulders.
When I told my daughter, Zara, about my meltdown and my new plan for Forced Gratitude, I appointed her as my watchdog. I told her the code word is Bubbles. And whenever she notices me going into negative victim, she needs to say, ‘Bubbles’ to me. That one code word encapsulates this whole process, my learning, my intention, and the space I hold for transformation. Notice how the word itself is positive and fun? No one can catch me in my shit better than my kids or husband – they are the ideal watchdog helpers.
Code words work particularly well because they are not accusatory, nor do they carry blame, nor does anyone need to repeat the same tired story we already know. They are simple, clean, helpers. My husband and I have used them with each other for relationship issues. And my kids have found them a clean, non-nagging way to help them shift an undesirable behaviour pattern.
With my new code word and my daughter at my back, this practice turned something that felt like a never-ending mountain to climb, into a game.
It no longer mattered that I felt overwhelmed, or alone, or powerless. Those emotions could remain, I didn’t need to get rid of them, or shift them, or transform them. All I needed to do was look around and force myself to list, out loud, anything (no matter how tiny) I could be positive or thankful for – I didn’t need to feel that way, just to objectively list the things that were good right now, in this moment.
It’s not a case of ‘fake it ’till you make it’ Because I’m not trying to make myself feel grateful. I’m simply exercising my will and self-discipline to choose what I want to focus on, in that moment. Remember Viktor’s solution to powerlessness: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing… to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
My friend Jenny from the UK is also visiting and she gave me another powerful image to think about. She said, “It’s like you’re digging a hole to plant your fig tree, but you’re using a teaspoon to dig with. So although it needs to be done, it feels like such a big task; so overwhelming and exhausting. But that’s not because of the hole (the task that needs to be done). It’s because you’re using the wrong tool. If you switch to a shovel, all of a sudden it’s so much easier and faster.”
Montaro’s words come floating back to me, “Get bigger.” So maybe it’s not just me that needs to get bigger, I need to vision bigger, think bigger, and be open to finding/using bigger tools!
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’m going to share the significance of my throat pain/aching – and the simultaneous throat issues of our cat Rupert and baby Xadaa choking, that made me explore: What the heck is going on with the throat??
Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Lazer Tapping instructor. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.
13 thoughts on “Meltdown at the Barn – Dancing with Victim – Part 1”
Oh Jini, bless you for your wonderful airing and sharing!!
Such deeply beautiful pictures of you with the horses. It really comes through…and is of so much help to us other members of the herd!
Many, many inspiring messages in what you write.
For several months I have ‘been meaning’ to work with the Hiring the Heavens material, (Jean Slatter), knowing that it’s the truth of how the universe works but yet again in my resisting and boycotting and sabotaging…
So to put this into physical practice – to deposit the requests and intentions in a box – is a very fine idea.
You and all the horses are already really BIG….
Sending you all a BIG hug!!!!
Well that intrigued me Rachel, so I had to go look it up and found this great little pdf:
Good stuff! Lorna Byrne also talks a lot about the specificity of angels and that they are all waiting to be asked to help. This is a unique spin on it though – of giving each angel a specific job title. Very similar to the offering idea in Tosha’s book, but more detailed.
And glad you enjoyed the pics – they were part of a shoot for CHROME magazine who interviewed me for an article on meditation. I think it will be published in a month or two – but amazing that a mainstream horse mag is interested in meditating with horses! GIANT hugs right back to you xo
Thankyou for sharing your ‘meltdown process’, which I’m sure many of us relate to. I, too have found that choosing to focus mind on gratitude for the aspects of life which are wonderful helps to realign stomping moments into calm peacefulness quite rapidly.
We forget that we do get to choose where we focus our attention. ‘Where attention goes, energy flows’. With issues, we can react to the issues or choose to focus on the solutions, not allowing our emotions to get the better of us. Each time we do this we change slowly….and find no longer we need to engage in ‘reactions’. We note our emotional displeasure as information that solutions are required, instead of diving into the pool of emotional reaction, draining energy which could be used for solutions. It’s a process of ‘growing up’ I identified when I stopped allowing my emotional ego the reins.
I love how you describe your mindfulness making you observe the horses reactions to you, and you, in that space just deciding to simply be and observe, and they too mirrored you…allowing in that moment peace once more.
My horses mirror me, I think animals in general tend to mirror their owners, I have a dog who Is so remarkably intuitive to me if I’m upset, she bounds up to me with tail wagging, licks and happy golden eyes, it’s impossible for me not to be lifted up by such loving awareness!
Despite many feeling animals are ‘just animals’ with nothing profound to offer us humans, I know that what we give them, they return, unconditionally. Their open nature help us in the most challenging moments. They remind us to ‘just be’.
Looking forward to part 2, I too have noticed a correlation between animal owners health issues and the mirroring of it in their animals…even just behavioral issues. We need to look to ourselves when our animals are off. We blindly think we’re all separate beings….by physical body only, not consciousness. Our issues are their issues, our friends issues are our issues, if only we could ‘see’.
I too have experienced throat peculiarities! When it closes down, clamped tight feeling,I should not say what I’m thinking of saying…so I observe the thoughts and intentions behind what I was going to say. Even if I don’t know I still observe the throat ‘knot’ as a signal from my more aware self to just shut up. With coughing and choking and sore throat, there generally is an element of expression being repressed. What is it you’ve got to say and are not saying? This can range from known withheld thoughts, to deeply buried wishes we’re barely cognizant of. I experienced severe wheezing over a long standing issue I had with someone, after years I finally said what I needed to say, and instantly, miraculously, I could breathe deep and clear for the first time in years. Through that and other miraculous healings could I see the link between personality discontent and physical issues.
Thankyou for sharing your path of exploration in this wonderful blog, and know many out there mirror you!
Love from Ireland 🙂
Thanks for joining the conversation and bizarrely, I have the opposite experience with my throat! When my throat tightens, closes down, etc. it means I must speak up. When it happens at a meal, I don’t even try to eat, just put down my fork and say (gently) whatever my body/soul/wisdom wants to say. As soon as I have spoken the words, my throat is fine (within seconds).
I hear what you’re saying about getting derailed by emotions and perhaps for someone who tends to be all/mostly emotion, that may be a useful approach. For myself, I find great benefit in allowing my emotions expression, and getting them into flow. Have you read the book, The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren? Here’s a brief description:
“Emotions―especially the dark and dishonored ones―hold a tremendous amount of energy. We’ve all seen what happens when we repress or blindly express them. With The Language of Emotions, empathic counselor Karla McLaren shows you how to meet your emotions and receive their life-saving wisdom to safely move toward resolution and equilibrium. Through experiential exercises covering a full spectrum of feelings from anger, fear, and shame to jealousy, grief, joy, and more, you will discover how to work with your own and others’ emotions with fluency and expertise.”
So for me, the first step in moving toward solutions, or healing, or wisdom is to FEEL my emotions. To allow my body/mind to express those emotions and put them into a flow state in my body, rather than controlling or stifling them. This is also mostly an internal, solo process. I’m not venting my emotions onto others and spewing crappy energy all over them – even the horses are free to walk away and I did this a good distance away from them. However, if I’m doing an EFT Tapping session with someone, then the first step is to get them to feel their emotions and vent with as much intensity as they can/wish. As they’re venting, we’re already tapping on the acupuncture points, getting the chi in the meridian system into flow. Only after they have vented/flowed their emotions do we get into dialoguing with the subconscious and getting into solutions.
And yes, for sure it’s better for the immune system to get emotions like anger into flow way before you’re going to explode with it. There are certainly healthy and unhealthy ways to express/flow emotions.
Our strong stunning amazing Gunner was born June 25👶🏻💙
The birth was not very natural and Taylor my soon to be daughter in law…made choices that IMO created more and more unnatural choices that created more and more intervention …going against Miss Mother Nature! But each soul has to have there own journey and learning experience! As a result…Gunner had massive suction applied to him to try and get him out…then ultimately a C-section was performed! Gunner had a very bruised, cone shaped traumatized skull! He then suffered from pretty severe Jaundice and was put under the blue light! Taylor was very distraught and I could feel her guilt oozing out and her pain was deep in every cell! When I arrived back the next day to help and try and let them get some rest …her heart pain permeated my soul! I cried seeing her regret and guilt! I sat with her quietly and peacefully and asked her to say out loud all the things that she was grateful for. It was not easy for her….but Her choices of where to focus her gratitude energy …were very beautiful! I also asked her to tuck away her guilt and put it away until a better time and that we/she could process through it at a better time! But that Gunner needed all the strength and support she could pour into him! I then explained to her that Big Pa Pa Oak tree was also sharing his strength and healing with Gunner! Big Pa Pa Oak tree IMO has wisdom strength and healing energy that is of another realm! He has been very generous with his support…and I will always been in awe of his existence! That was almost 4 weeks ago and Gunner has recovered and has also healed from a pretty severe eye infection…all probably related to his traumatic birth! He is strong, calm, easy, and the light of our lives! Gratitude and becoming Bigger very powerful…thanks for continually sharing your journey and helping all of us have ideas and tools to help ourselves, the horses, and the human loves of our lives! I believe all the stories I have read…helped me help Taylor and Gunner which of course helped my son! We are all connected so intricately…which is a beautiful life! ✌🏼❤️🐴👶🏻💙
I SO agree with you about those old growth trees!! And Big Pa Pa definitely holds a big space – that comes through in the pictures even. And wow, Taylor is very lucky to have you in her life – and you are lucky that she can/will receive from you. Our births teach us SO SO much, don’t they?! Each of my 3 births were completely different, but equally mind/soul/life-expanding. I hope Gunner gets to spend lots of time with you and the herd – maybe he can have (or already has) a dog? That would be great for him too. LOVE that the stories are so helpful, but then, that’s how humans have helped each other for millenia, isn’t it? Instead of a campfire, now we connect using a digital web – just like the mycellium network that connects all the trees 🙂
Michelle asked me to post this picture of her with her grandson, Gunner – so tiny and cute!
Hey Jini, I love how real you are! ‘snot dripping, throat aching’ meltdown. Bless your cotton socks lol.(and you) lol.
I too have battled with victim role and bit by bit Im leaving it behind.
The posting of this was v timely for me, Thankyou!
I love the ‘god box’ idea, I will try it!
I have a grateful diary where I list all the things I’m grateful for and it surely changes my focus.
I liked that you said You dont have to FEEL grateful but shift focus and list things!
I find if I shift focus then it allows the feelings of gratefulness to flow, not always instantly but it happens in its own time.
Btw re Jarrahs buddy, I felt not to ask Eponas owner about gifting her, but to wait. So I did, and another option has arisen.
A neighbour up the road wants to find a new home for her mare Ellie. I actually had Ellie and her bud Roscoe here when I first moved onto my property.
Anyway her owner and I have briefly discussed it and we are sitting with it a bit to make sure its best all round. Will keep you posted.
Thankyou for your input.
Big hugs to you, you wonderful woman.
How do you know I wear cotton socks?? Gratitude journals and practices have never worked for me – I end up wanting to throw them across the room. But this shift of focus in the moment seems to be working pretty well. SO interesting about Jarrah’s buddy – I can’t wait to hear what happens… WHO does Jarrah want? 🙂
Oh my goodness does this resonate with me. It was only last month I think that my therapist and I came up with “Worry Gratitude,” a practice very close to what you were doing here. It is an excellent way to help us recall that the Divine knows exactly what it is doing. When we are worried or overwhelmed, we are living the future, so by grounding ourselves in gratitude, we return to the present. I think it is lovely that Montaro and Aude let the comforting mechanisms switch over to ones that automatically help ground you in gratitude for the NOW — your new horse friends. Now if only I could apply this to my own life better, eh? 😉
That’s always the challenge, isn’t it? The learning is one thing, the implementation is quite another! That’s a great term though, “Worry Gratitude” – I love that, thanks for sharing it with us. Sounds like it would work well.
Just read this article and found that it really resonated with me and my current feelings of immense pressure and sadness.
I’m struggling horribly with the feeling that things aren’t going the way I feel they need to and that I have no power over the way the people around me act.
Although I don’t exactly feel like I am the victim, I do feel as though a lot of responsibility is on my shoulders.
At first I tried to shove theses waves of emotion deep down and ignore them, but they would always resurge, like bubbles in water, making me feel horrible all over again. So I found a great way to deal with these feelings, I lay on my back and imagined that the surface supporting me was pure golden energy, holding me up and supporting me with pure love.
I imagined this energy coccooning me, all around and streaming down from high, high above.
I found that once I was able to feel this support and gratitude and love, I could loosen my responsibilities and let them just fall away.
Funnily enough, as I got to the bottom of this article, the last photo stopped me in my tracks.
You and Montaro looked like you were conversing in some quiet, secret, sacred language, known only to you, but most interesting was Montaro’s peaceful, large face. It radiated such a sense of strength and solidity and KNOWINGNESS that I could only stare in wonder. If you look very carefully, you can see that his lip is almost smiling.
This tied in beautifully with the imagery in my “calming meditiations”. He was giving of exactly the same radiant, supporting energy that I feel.
Thank you so much!
Oh how exquisitely beautiful Eliya! I love your imagery and I love even more that you are actually able to FEEL what you’re imagining – many people cannot. And yes, Montaro is a powerful meditator – I am wowed by your description of our photo xoxo