It’s what all overachievers need to know. It’s the reason that, in the end, many high achievers feel empty of their personal joy. It is also the key to our destiny of living an inspired life that can shift chaos into order.
I recently heard statistics for the women of today, There is a drive for women to be superwomen and the end result is not what we expected. The majority of women suffer from exhaustion, multitasking, heart disease, over-scheduling, insomnia, overstimulated, striving to be perfect, overwhelmed, under constant pressure to be everything for everybody. It was shocking to hear that one in five women suffer chronic depression over their lifetime and half of the women today are dissatisfied with their life.
The Key to an Inspired Life
It all started at Barnes and Noble. I had a cup of coffee and ended up with a book that unbeknownst to me, would change the direction of my life forever. It was a woman’s journey to healing and transformation with horses. Of course, there are no coincidences …
Joseph Campbell said, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”
Like may women in leadership roles, I thought my ‘treasure’ was found in achieving goals and caring for my family. Keeping up with the things that inspired me was an exciting adventure, reaching and doing more, doing better than I had done before had been the norm. But something insidious had slowly been changing.
Over time I had begun to lose both energy and inspiration but it wasn’t that I was just getting older. I had ignored the warning signs until it began to take a toll on my body. So what had shifted and why didn’t I notice that I lost the joy in my life?
Fear of Change
Many of us put up with a lot of things before we are willing to make a change. So how much discomfort is enough before we are ready?
The Inner Lizard, referring to one of the most primitive layers of our brain, sends out warnings to keep us out of danger. It is thought to link back to the neural structure that evolved in early vertebrates. Listening to the Inner Lizard leaves us believing we don’t have an option. Thoughts flood our mind with feelings like there is not enough to go around, we can’t get what we need, and that we may lose something we want.
The problem is that the Inner Lizard blocks us from getting the message so we can create a better life experience and many people end up feeling stuck where they are.
I once heard that “When you find your inner wisdom, you find yourself. “
Like many overachievers, I had overridden the messages of imbalance for years trying to stay ahead in my work and responsibilities. One day, I told myself, one day I would meditate or learn yoga or something…
We have learned that there is infinite wisdom in every cell of our body but most of us have no idea how to access it in everyday life. We are just beginning to learn skills for tuning into intuitive intelligence in ways that provide guidance for health, life direction and inner balance. The ability to tune-in, unencumbered and clear on a regular basis, seems to be the common challenge.
When I noticed that I had begun to not care anymore I knew I needed to change. I was not sure what was wrong or how to fix it. That was when some inspirational words from a book led me to a retreat with no idea of what I was about to experience.
There are many ways that science and mysticism have crossed paths and if we are open to learn, we may be lucky enough to find what we are looking for.
What I found was that my greatest teacher was within myself, and that I was the only one keeping me from Me.
After stumbling upon this information, I signed up for a retreat. This was not equine psychotherapy that uses horses as tools for therapists, this was a program based on the sentient nature of horses and their mystical ability to help humans find balance within.
He chose me. He who was skilled in the art of allowing his own authentic nature to be fully focused and in the moment … all 1200 pounds of him!
I was mesmerized by his magnificence as we both stood untethered and open to what was next. It was exhilarating, and I felt so alive!
Many of the people attending the retreat had never experienced horses this close. We had no idea of what to expect, but the outcome started an extraordinary chain reaction that helped me reclaim the person I was meant to be.
It felt like a rush of clarity and insight. I was seeing myself mirrored through the eye of this horse. While it took a few moments to stop resisting the possibility of what was actually happening, I realized that this was the equine-influenced shift in consciousness that I had just been reading about.
The Vibration Between Two Beings
Horses do not project their opinions of us as good or bad. They interpret involuntary and non-verbal cues like heart rate and blood pressure as opposed to what we may try to project, for instance acting like we are in control or that we have no fear.
Both horses and humans have the ability to sense non-verbal energy as communication. There are subtle layers of information that we are continuously emitting. Because of their highly developed instinctual ability as a prey animal, horses shift their behavior the split second we energetically shift ours, thereby teaching us incredible lessons of self awareness and interpersonal communication skills.
This unforeseen teacher was a horse who patiently taught me how to shift and modulate my physical energy. I trained in the art of non-verbal communication with tools to develop mutual respect and trust with increasing skill and subtlety. His patience and persistence was amazing and if I had not experienced it for myself, it would have been hard to believe.
The Effects of Being Out of Balance
Because I had learned to value my intellect as opposed to my emotions or inner wisdom, I did not pay attention to the red flags signaling that my life was out of balance.
I also realized that without learning the subtlety of simultaneous awareness in connection to others, relationships could become a painful experience. It was an epiphany when I began to understand all that the horse had shown me and how it related to my own human interactions at home and in my office.
Having spent most of my adult life working with Fortune 500 companies, I felt a great sense of sadness for what I had been missing. The lack of personal awareness in business was causing ripple effects of dysfunction among individuals, families and businesses. The majority of men and women in the workplace either acquiesce until they quit or conversely become dominant with immature responses to pressure embodying a survival-of-the-fittest mentality.
A New Beginning
What I learned was not about the horses, it was about me and the way I had been showing up in my career and my life. This equine dance of biofeedback was extraordinary. It was an exquisite personal guidance at the most intimate level – something I never could have learned from a book or a lecture. My new direction was born.
My journey back to joy started when I was willing to open and learn a new way of being and that’s when a book landed in my lap. Now this has landed in yours…
Barbara Alexander, Founder and CEO of Barbarainc, Teacher and Leading Innovator of Equine Experiential Learning and Coaching for Advanced Human Development.
After twenty years in traditional leadership development, Barbara stepped out of the mainstream and choose to follow her heart along a different path. A path that would eventually lead her back to the business world of today with a whole new perspective.
Since 2004 she has developed many innovative programs that have literally transformed lives. Her work provides skills-based training in personal development and effective leadership tools for today’s men and women so that we not only survive, but we thrive with soul-aligned confidence in our ever-changing world.