I believe that one of the most important things when training, working with animals, or having a pet, is somewhat counter intuitive- you have to know yourself first!
It's interesting, when I first started working with horses, when I was about 8 years old, I just thought, "hey I love being around horses, and riding is really fun!"
Yet as I learned how to ride I understood more and more that
certain aspects of me could get in the way of my riding.
Fear, anxiety, over excitement, sadness- all of these could affect not only the quality of how I rode, but how my horse interacted with me. I began to slowly understand that my horse was a mirror of me. The same is true for working with dogs and I am sure most other animals you may work with ( I can't rightly say all animals, but I know from experience that horses and dogs definitely pick up on our energy!) as I am sure you may have also observed.
You may have already intuitively understood this. When I can slow down, and create space between what I am asking an animal to do, and the actions we each take, I am better able to see their end of what's happening, and how they are interpreting the situation. I am also able to better see what they can expect from me.
The purpose of this blog is to draw parallels between the practice of mindfulness, and working with animals. This blog is for animals trainers looking to add spiritual depth to their art, animal lovers, people who work with animals, or anyone who is interested in learning how to connect more deeply with themselves and therefore the world around them.
Mindfulness, in my opinion, is a daily practice that focuses on drawing our attention inward to our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors so that we can become more aware of our patterns. We can draw more awareness to how we operate and become more aware of ways we have been conditioned to think, feel, and act. This is exactly how we work with or train animals! I believe if we can't understand ourselves first, how do we expect to do the same for the animals we work with. To truly be compassionate and empathize with what an animal is going through when we ask something of them, we should lead by example and understand the process ourselves- at least that's how I see it.
I will say that this blog is going to incorporate a balance of science and woo woo where possible- a balance of the left and right side of the brain, a masculine/ feminine duality, a yin and yang.... ya feel me?
Anyways, keep an open mind and think on this stuff from all angles! It could just bring you that peace and understanding you were looking for when riding your horse, or teaching your dog to heel on leash. If you're reading this, I assume you love animals, or are maybe interested in what all these crazy animal people are talking about! Of course love is important in any relationship, but communication, clarity, true understanding? You can't measure it's importance when trying to bring two different species together under the same roof. My life's journey and passion is to obtain ultimate understanding of horses and dogs, which will almost certainly take me more than one life time! This, paired with my love of animals, is what keeps me constantly searching for more information, experience, and full understanding and keeps me open to whatever is out there for me. Whatever your personal goals-
I hope this blog can help you add spirituality and understanding to your relationship with the world around you, including of course, the animals so near and dear to us. I believe the animals in our lives are our "mindful guardians" they keep us honest with ourselves so that we can be honest with the world.