The idea of harmony is a really interesting one. I searched for the definition just now and this is what came up:
- the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce a pleasing effect.
- the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.
- the state of being in agreement or concord.
Here’s the way I see it. Harmony, like balance, is not a static state. To my mind, there is no such thing as harmony, only harmonising. An experience of constant adjustment, of ever changing energies that we constantly seek to meet and partner with. The actual idea of harmony, by default, requires an ‘other’. We do not harmonise alone; we find harmony in relationship with something or someone else and that experience produces something more beautiful, more resonant, more powerful than each part could have produced independently.
If we keep following that train of thought, the seeking out of harmony is a constant process of adaptation. It does not look or feel one set way. It is a process of me meeting the circumstances and environment I am a part of, understanding what is being offered and allowing my emotional and physical self to adapt in a way that allows me to best complement the moment.
Harmony is not a static state and it does not have a fixed presentation. Consequently, neither should we.
To be able to harmonise with our horses, we need to be someone that it’s possible to harmonise with. From a mental and emotional perspective, this requires us developing a relationship with sensation in the body (the way emotion makes itself known on a physical level) that does not leave us either emotionally hijacked and unable to be practically useful. Something that is absolutely possible to expand and develop.
We also have to take care to not use the idea of harmony as another thinly veiled attempt at control where we require our horses (or indeed ourselves) to ‘be’ a certain way- which in many instances involves limiting their energy and expression within a very limited window. It is up to us to develop the capacity to move freely forward with our horses, to become the musical note that together with them becomes the symphony.
Our movement patterns are also a big part of this conversation. Remember, our movement is either motivated by the sympathetic (flight flight) or parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system is a system of reflex. Reflexes are fixed states. If our movement patterns are motivated by the fight flight system, our body essentially only has one set of possibilities to match the movement. It is not possible to harmonise with a horse if we are operating from our sympathetic nervous system. We can control and direct absolutely- but that is a different conversation from harmony.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll be discussing this and so much more with the fabulous Josh Nichol. We are teaming up for a 4 part workshop called Embracing Challenge: Exploring Peace, Energy & Balance under pressure.
We would love for you to join us! You can learn more or sign up here.