Monday, November 7, 2011

When A Soul Awakens: Let It Speak

The first order of business was to head over to a large table which was filled with cards depicting different scenes and horse images.  The artwork on the cards was created by Kim McElroy and each card corresponded to a chapter in the book, Way of the Horse by Linda Kohanov.  We were told to each pick the card that jumped out at us - for whatever reason; pick the card we each felt drawn to.  We'd have the opportunity later on to read the chapter that explained the emotional and spiritual significance of our card.  I started from the left and moved my eyes across each card.  None of the cards were attracting my attention.  What if I can't find a card?  What if I'm the one person who has to pick a random card?  I started considering finding an "almost" card that sorta appealed to me, but I really wanted to find that special card that spoke just to me.  On the bottom right of the last two rows of cards, I saw an image that I couldn't take my eyes off of.


I was instantly intrigued by the horse wearing a robe and standing in prayer position, and I also liked the waterfall in the background -- I felt the scene was calming.  I studied it a few seconds more and knew that if I picked any other card, I would have wished I picked this one.  So I took it with me back to my seat.  Once we all had a card, we were to go around the circle, introduce ourselves, briefly tell everyone why we were there, and show the group our individual cards and explain what drew us to the particular cards we chose.  

While Sarah, the counselor who I first met, was telling the group about herself, I began studying my card intently.  What would I say about myself?  Other than my name, what do I really know for sure?  And the card, why was I compelled to pick it up?  It wasn't until I had carefully scanned the card from top to bottom did I realize a few things.  First, the card didn't just depict a horse wearing a robe.  It was a human being with a horse head.  Human stance, human feet, human hands.  And from each of the hands, smoke rose and formed a different animal.  Above the left hand, there was a bird of some type, either a dove or eagle.  And above the right hand, there was a dolphin.  A dolphin.  My favorite animal since I was 14 years old.  How did I not see this when I first picked up the card?  The dolphin was there, plain as day, but I didn't consciously pick this card because of the dolphin.  I felt a sense of wellness.  This is my card.  I chose the right card.  Sarah finished speaking, and the circle moved on to me. 

I have noticed that when I am nervous or unsure of myself, my voice softens and I sound a bit like a boy going through puberty.  This is precisely how I sounded when I spoke to the group.  "Hi, I'm Kristin.  And, I am at this workshop because I am on a healing journey in my life...and I felt like this workshop could take me to another place inside myself...and help me to open up some hidden parts of myself that I've been afraid to face."  This was a very authentic statement, but I was definitely attempting to be politically correct and speak appropriately and confidently, in a way that said "Yes, we all know this is a counseling workshop, but let's be honest here, I've got things pretty much under control.  I mean, did you hear my introduction?" 

Since the counselors weren't a part of the card drawing exercise, I was the first in the group to talk about my card.  I didn't know what to say.  What do these people want to hear?  "And about the card I chose...well, at first I just thought the card was funny because it was a horse wearing a robe, and I have this thing for mascots.  But it wasn't until after I sat down with the card that I noticed there is a dolphin in the background, and I have always loved dolphins because they always look like they are smiling and just have a sweet spirit about them.  And I also liked that the horse was in prayer position."  Nailed it.  Well, aside from saying "I have this thing for mascots", it was a pretty simple, "you get the idea" answer.  I didn't talk about my fears when looking at the cards, or how I thought I was damaged because a card wasn't jumping out at me, or how I felt validated as a participant in the workshop once I found my card.  Then, Sarah asked if I related to the horse being in prayer position, and I responded with, "Yes.  I believe in prayer and it's something I've been wanting to do more of and something that I know will prove to be important to my journey."  Whew.  Okay, we are done with Kristin.  After we had all introduced ourselves and our horses, the counselors instructed us to open up our green folders.  It was time to get dirty.

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