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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Horse Wisdom for the Holidays: Reduce Overwhelm, Increase Delight

Dec 04, 2019 10:55AM ● By Carrie Brady
The holiday season is upon us—a time of celebration and joy, as well as stress and overwhelm. Horse wisdom can help you navigate the holidays with ease and start the new year at peace with yourself and others.

The Gift of Presence
A frequently circulated quote among horse lovers is “Let a horse whisper in your ear and breathe on your heart. You will never regret it.” The author is unknown, but the sentiment is familiar to anyone who has ever spent time breathing with a horse. Standing together, simply being with one another, is how horses show affection. Although they may groom each other sometimes, and play and eat together, most of the time they are just standing still breathing together. When a horse chooses to stand with a human in this way, it is pure magic.

Humans often forget what horses know so well: the gift of presence is always the best present. You don’t need to sit and meditate with your loved ones, but you do need to slow down and be mindful.  Really pay attention to your loved ones, listen with your whole body, and quiet your racing mind. This season, be fully present and authentic; enjoy every moment.  
 
Know What Matters to You and Your Loved Ones
Horses always know what matters to them—survival, responsibilities to their herd and delight are their guiding stars in decision-making, in that order. Humans tend to be less good about setting priorities and may assume unnecessary responsibilities in their herds. The sense of holiday overwhelm may come from a well-intentioned desire to make everything perfect for the herd of people you love. You may want to get wonderful presents, bake several kinds of holiday desserts and put up elaborate decorations because you think all those things are important to others,
therefore you must do them all.  

This year, take the time to find out what your human herd really values. Ask your loved ones what they love the most about the holidays. Don’t prompt them with examples of the things you do; accept their first responses. Also resist asking them, “Doesn’t _____ matter to you”? They will probably say yes if you ask this way because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. The point of this activity is not to make you feel that what you have done in the past isn’t important but rather to prioritize the essential things that mean the most. Make an actual written list. Instead of rushing around trying to make everything perfect in every way, adding more and more to the “to do” list, you’ll be able to focus on the priorities and truly enjoy them.

Avoid Holiday Kryptonite 
Horses do have one weakness; although they normally choose what they eat wisely, they will overeat grain to the point of getting very sick. Grain is a manmade food, not naturally occurring, and must be locked away to prevent horses from getting into it. 

Humans and pets also have holiday kryptonite. Tinsel or poinsettias may be absolutely irresistible to cats and, if ingested, can be fatal. If holiday sweets or drinks are your kryptonite, carefully consider which items you allow in your house. If unexpected sweets arrive, be thankful, have a bit, and then give them away to friends and neighbors. At a party, consider asking someone to support you in setting limits. If overspending on gifts is your kryptonite, then set a budget for each person, and bring someone shopping with you to help you stick to it. That person may even ask you to do the same. 

Using horse wisdom will help you thoroughly enjoy the holiday season, being fully present with those you love and creating experiences and memories that will last a lifetime—truly the best gifts of all.

Carrie Brady is the creator of Possibilities Farm in Wilton, where she partners with horses in innovative non-riding programs for personal growth, professional development and wellness. She will be hosting a holiday gift sale and open house at the Farm in December; visit PossibilitiesFarm.com for more information. See ad, page 25.

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