As a woman, a wife and mother I have never been a stranger to putting others first. I have during this time never stopped to consider just how much of myself I give up in doing this. 2 years ago a fortuitous event happened in my life, I met Emily from ELEA, I was at the time working with people with disabilities as a support worker and could see the benefits of the program for some of the clients I support. I supported one lady to go through the seven week program and while joining her on her journey I also discovered things about myself that I wanted to further explore. So when Emily told me about the women’s program that she would be running I was eager to participate, and thus began my own journey. I have always had difficulty letting my guard down and letting my emotions show, so for the first day I went through the motions, I believed I was doing what I was meant to be doing and I certainly walked away from the day feeling good, but I did not feel like I got a really good connection with the horses The second session was a 1:1 session and it was on that day that everything just seemed to fall into place, When I grounded myself I felt like the world fell away, there was no voice in my head reminding me of the tasks I needed to complete there was only me and the horses. It was during this day that for the first time in my life I admitted that what I wanted most was for others just to be near me not always want something from me both physically and emotionally, I also realised that if this is what I wanted then I had to tell them that.
The third session was the day I emerged from under an absolute cloud of guilt, I have spent years blaming myself and my past actions for how others behave towards me, I have felt guilty for not having the perfect house, for not working hard enough or spending money on myself (even though I earn it) and on this day I was able to let this go. At the end of the session we performed a ceremony to burn the issues that we bought into the program and to make a fresh start, at this time I also performed a small private ritual of cleansing and that action helped to release a guilt that has been holding me back for most of my life. Many things have shifted in my life since completing the women’s program, for one thing I have stopped feeling guilty about not completing every task I need to do, when I sit to read a book, I don’t think about the dishes that aren’t done, when I go for a drive for no reason just to spend time with my family, I don’t fret that the beds aren’t made. The amazing thing is that once I let all of this go I actually had more energy to get things done and achieve more in my day than when I pointlessly stressed about getting it done. In addition to this the relationships in my life that had been strained and were a constant cause of angst have improved, and I believe this is because the horses showed me that I am not responsible for others behaviour only my own and that I should not shoulder others actions but rather acknowledge that they are responsible for themselves. I can’t ever truly express the impact that the women’s program and the ELEA heard have had on my life, but I will forever remain extremely thankful that on that day two years ago Emily and her herd of amazing horses walked into my life.