Sunday, March 1, 2009

More about Tao of Equus and The Forgiving Self

These books have definitely captured me. I have bookmarked so many pages and started writing down great quotes that I hope to share in later posts.

I just went to the website for Epona Equestrian Services and found pictures of the horses that Kohanov writes about: I am so glad I get to put faces with the names! I particularly like the pictures of the horses in motion.

One idea from Tao of Equus that is really present in my mind today is the idea of giving boys the space they need to express their male energy without punishment. Kohanov writes about one horse (Merlin) who had been punished for expressing his vital energy - and as a result he came to associate his life force with punishment, pain and fear. As the mother of two young boys that insight struck me to the core. My boys do have a vital male energy that I cannot really relate to - but I hope to give them space to express that energy in ways that are beneficial to their community and to themselves. My hope is that they see their male energy as vital and life-giving, rather than something destructive that must be suppressed or disciplined out of them.

I have also been meditating about Kohanov's ideas about emotional congruence - about letting your body match your emotions. I think that children pick up on real emotions - and not the "nicey-nice" front that we show them. And when the nicey-nice is covering rage - well, the kid will respond to the rage not the front (which generally has the effect of bringing the suppressed rage to the forefront). Robert Karen talks about children's need to protest in The Forgiving Self - he writes, "Protest, which is what anger is all about, is a natural and necessary part of nonnarcissistic connections. People aren't perfectly attuned to us, they don't do the right thing by us all the time, they can be mean and vindictive or simply wrapped up in themselves, and protest is part of the way we negotiate and correct relationships." I realize that I must give my children space for their protests - and really hear those protests - if I am to honor them as human beings. And I must give myself space for my own protests as well.

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