In Response To Being Told To Leave My Emotions At The Gate

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In response to being told to leave my emotions at the gate, or find a point of operating we might call neutral…

Dear friend,

I really don’t think there’s any such thing as leaving your emotions at the gate, or even finding a place within yourself that you would call neutral. What even is that, I ask myself, besides a damping down of everything that makes us human?

I don’t expect my horse to turn off their horse-ness when I am with them. To do so, I think, is what we would refer to as shut down.

It would be unfair, unrealistic to expect the same thing of myself. For Jane to be less Jane.

So, I simply don’t.

I carry them with me. Me and my emotions, we arrive at the paddock, to the arena, we adventure on the trail. I don’t try to escape them- we both know that would be futile- but we dance in a way that is dynamic, ever changing.

My horse is emotional, not in a human way, but a horse way.

A human is emotional, not in a horse way, but a human way.

The true building of relationship and understanding comes through an alchemy of both these forces, not by pretending or turning off the enlivening part of me in an attempt to present as something I am not.

In writing this, I recognize this is a nuanced conversation. Some musings that spring to mind that maybe led us to this point:

Humans are often led by emotion rather than informed by them. We easily find ourselves hijacked, taken over by the experience of what we would label an emotion, which removes us from the ability to be present, to be effective, and sometimes, to be compassionate and fair.

But this, my friend, is not the emotion, but the story, and alongside it, a fixed idea of outcomes. The story and the judgement- not the emotion- is what we need to leave behind.

Emotion, sensation is the body’s communication network, a lively conversation between the body and the brain.

Emotion is the body informing, relating, understanding its place in the environment it finds itself, its current situation.

To be empty of emotion, simply put, is to no longer be alive.

So where does that leave us then? If we are humans, full to the brim, a complex sea of ever-present emotion?

It leaves us with the truth of ourselves and the moment we find ourselves in.

It leaves us with the opportunity to reconcile the patterns of people pleasing, the pressure of what we feel like we should do instead of what we are able and willing to do, to understand the presence of emotion is not fixed, but ever changing, constantly fleeting.

To learn to act within the experience of emotion in a way that feels do-able and kind.

To learn to trust and advocate for ourselves, and for our horses.

To reconcile our triggers from the past that push to the fore old experiences that are no longer relevant to our present moment.

To observe our emotions and understanding the choices we make within them, as exactly that: a choice.

And if we can’t. If we find ourselves in the position where we feel like our capacity to be clear, consistent, and kind for our horses is removed, then we can choose to walk away, if only for a moment.

To get off. To take a break. To hand the rope to someone else.

But we practice, every day, letting go of the story, allowing ourselves to be new.

Bringing the fullness of ourselves to conversation and allowing our horses to be free to do the same.


❤️ Jane

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