Belonging and priming….. words only go so far

Belonging and priming….. all of our words matter. The environment matters. (Perhaps why zoom lacks a dimension in terms of communication ?) The emotion and body language matters. How we feel matters. How they feel matters. (Studies show that someone sitting on a hard chair vs a soft chair will perceive things differently…) (someone holding a cold drink vs a hot drink etc) The coherence between our thoughts and our words/ language matter.

Or our lack of them - Yes I am a work in progress.

I will retain/freeze rather than express myself. This can be damaging for both me and the other person.

Words themselves are the least important. I was privileged to spend three days with the German speaking ttouch practitioners. A fascinating experience from a communication point of view. I rarely understood every word but so much of the essence of what we communicate is communicated in the body language, tone of voice, volume, breathing rate, emotional response…. (And yes, I do need to learn more German because words add richness to the language and it will be easier! I’m seeing another working student placement in the future….)

This experience of not fully understanding the language (many kind people helped out when necessary) was fascinating for me. I imagined being an animal (horse, dog, donkey etc) and being in a situation where there was clearly a task to do, how much would I understand based on gestures and body language ? When did I need clarification with actual words? And then there were situations where the context was so clear that understanding became really simple - where I was very familiar with the tasks, for example, or where I knew the subject really well.

As a non-German speaker I was a bit of an interloper on this event, so I also explored the sense of belonging… how a smile or someone making sure that I understood gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling of security and belonging. Where someone else’s frustration (not necessarily with me!) or my own insecurity put me on alert and sometimes got me stuck in a funk.

So next time you feel a negative emotional response or lack of understanding after an interaction with people, ask yourself questions, is it really warranted ? Intended ? What does the other person have going on? Or are you stuck in your own head? Or was it just the circumstances that conspired against you having a positive experience.

Ask yourself what could have changed to make the experience better and learn from that.

How might you « prime » the situation for your horse / client to have a positive experience ?

I find that some clients prime me… maybe before I arrive they’ve given me clear instructions to find them, they’ve offered a place to stay or lunch if they know I’ve come a long way. If I arrive to someone smiling, flexible, prepared and enthusiastic… my teaching seems more inspired, I find myself making an extra effort, I might remember more stories and useful details - because my brain is working differently to when someone is clearly stressed, pushed for time, uninterested or requiring me to justify the work or myself…. Where my brain will go into a more stress response mode. (If the neuroscience interests you - Book recommendation - Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky) 

In the first situation together we are in coherence and finding the oneness and following the flow of energy, in the second there are constant road blocks!! While I make every effort to find solutions, that is my job - to help people and animals understand each other and themselves better, the occasional road block is possible, but finding a way round does require participation from both sides!

When I was following the German, a surprising amount of which I could understand - at least on day three - I didn’t focalise on the words I didn’t know, but let it flow over me to gather as much information as possible, the brain in its infinite capacity and search to understand then takes all the pieces of information and together provides a sense. The more information it has, the better and more accurate it’s interpretation. This is not dissimilar to how we learn TTouch. You do not need to understand everything to start. Not understanding can be a roadblock in itself, what do you do when you don’t understand ? Get stuck or look for more information ? If you try, you can get stuck at one roadblock. (I know some people get blocked on the fact we use animal names for our touches and find this difficult to get past, what a shame to miss out on this amazing work because of such a roadblock - but how fascinating to consider what part of the brain might be operating in this situation) 

With each course or exercise or session you get more detail for your picture and your understanding improves.

There were many practitioners with more than 20 years of experience on the weekend - and they keep coming back to learn more… more about themselves, more about the work… If you talk to Linda, she too is still learning…

Ok, as you might have gathered I’m all inspired and can’t wait for the next projects coming up, but for now I’m off to cuddle some donkeys.

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