Our first blog testimonial is written by Mark, an Assistant Headteacher, who volunteered to help with the running of ‘Woodlands Retreats‘ with our first pilot group during his summer holidays. We will be offering retreats in Spring 2019.
horses can act as a reflection to how we are feeling
I have been very interested in Carl Jung’s theories regarding the unconscious and the ‘inner child’ for many years. Ten years of discussion with Jungian psychotherapy professionals has helped me explore these ideas within a safe space. I was well aware therefore that the idea of a ‘Women’s Retreat’ would trigger my ‘adapted child’s’ fear of what Jung might call the Anima and that my complex around it would be ‘alive and well’ in such an environment. I am normally very careful to avoid anything that might trigger my childhood traumas and the idea of such a retreat initially filled me with some nervousness!
However, my unconscious fears were completely unfounded as I spent 24 hours in the company of several sensitive, open, empathic women who were supportive of each others’ needs as human beings on their own roads to individuation.
On a very rainy Sunday morning during the retreat, my most memorable experience occurred as I walked past a line of four clever ponies who had taken shelter in the barn busy observing the actions of the humans out in the fields before them. As I walked past, something inside me made me stop and turn towards the horses. Something, somewhere had called to me. And I quickly found myself joining the line of ponies staring out into the rain under the shelter of the barn.
Just standing with them was peaceful, tranquil and easy.
I felt closer to nature in this moment; much more than I felt I ever could
About five minutes later I was nudged in the thigh by a beautiful blue-eyed pony called Bibi and we stood closely together. She didn’t move away from me as I stroked her back, and I genuinely felt that she had come up to say hello. Someone later mentioned that horses can act as a reflection to how we are feeling and I certainly felt that Bibi had very deliberately decided to share my space that morning in a very empathic way. It was peaceful, authentic and natural, and I felt closer to nature in this moment; much more than I felt I ever could.
The whole 24 hours of fields, trees, ponies and nature was a liberating experience. It helped me further engage with my unconsciousness and bring out into an authentic consciousness a very real sense of being rather than merely doing. For a sceptical, often ‘far-too-busy-to-do-this-kind-of-thing’ middle aged man, the weekend and my moment with the ponies was enlivening and has stayed with me ever since.
Thoroughly recommended, if like me you can overcome any initial trepidations!