Articles

Here is an archive of the articles I send out through my email-list. These writings help you to attune to the healing consciousness of the horse. Please sign up for the email-list below to receive current articles as I send them out!

What exactly happens in my work?

September 17th, 2022


Hi everyone,

In the last few weeks, I shared some vulnerable stories about why horses move me so deeply. Thank you for your caring and beautiful responses. (If you missed those emails you can see an archive below.)

Receiving such consistent and deeply loving support from the horses around issues I couldn't talk about with humans was why I committed to helping others to also connect with horses in a healing way.

Whether it is grief, pain, fear, stress, or trauma from a relational loss or relational violence - often in the initial stages of healing we feel far too exposed to show other humans our deepest feelings. The horses are emotional beings and their soft witness is gentle enough to meet us in the silence and listen to our hurt.

It is as if the most devastated, frozen, forbidden, shattered, and shocked parts of us can begin to bear to know and to feel what happened to us when we meet the warm tenderness of the horse. Horses can be a profound ally on our path to healing and returning to wholeness.

Are you curious to know a little more about what exactly I am doing when I am facilitating people entering into this type of healing relationship with horses?

I want to tell you more and I will start with something interesting.

I didn’t feel any sense of connection to horses before my healing journey with them began in 2015.

I was NOT one of those people who have always felt a mysterious and magical draw to horses. As a child, I had occasionally ridden horses with my best friend and I was scared of them. And after a terrifying ride in 2012, I even made a vow to never ride a horse again.

So I used to wonder, “Where did the horses come from? After not caring about horses AT ALL, why did they show up in my life so strongly? So powerfully that I decided to commit my entire life to studying and working with them?”

I now understand that I have an ancient soul relationship with horses and I am honored to partner with them in healing practice.

In my current lifetime, it was important for me to come into a relationship with horses from a place of fear and distrust because the fear slowed me waaaay down. It allowed me to be unattached to riding them, completely fresh in my curiosity of them without any concepts about how things were ‘supposed’ to be, and completely open to the fullness of their beingness.

What they continued to show me blew my mind.

After my initial spiritual experience with horses, (you can watch the story about that here) I spent years so moved by my experience and so deeply curious about who these beings were.

I read about them. I spent hours across fences and in big fields meditating with them from a distance. I studied their breath. I copied it. I entrained with them. I wanted nothing more than simply to be with them - but not too close.

And the most miraculous things began happening. Again and again, I dropped into profound states of stillness and POWERFUL states of connection. I had always struggled with being still. But the horses drew me into presence so magnetically. Powerful moments of intimacy opened between us. Without ever touching, without riding. It was happening through meditation. The meditations were healing. They were sometimes empty and sometimes full. They were sometimes blissful and sometimes a release of painful emotions.

I also watched an amazing video of Güliz Ünlü, who I later got some mentorship from, doing craniosacral on a horse and the level of peace that radiated through the screen was amazing. I began to really understand that horses could share so much of their presence not only across distance, but across distance and time through video. It really did not matter if I was in person with them or not - they were equally as powerful in their capacity to connect.

In 2020 I was in trauma-informed yoga training and I had just got my horse Angus. Because so much of my experience with horses was happening at a distance, I started to explore the idea of hosting horse meditation gatherings online. My focus has always been community-building with a focus on creating a safe space for our emotional realities, so I incorporated lots of practices that invited this quality in. I began to use videos, stories, pranayama, and mantra to invite people into states of meditative and emotional connection with horses.

For the last 3 years, I have been facilitating this work. I continue to work both in person and online - exploring ways to journey together with others into this magical meditative space of healing with horses.

Now, I have an incredible collection of videos, stories, and yogic practices that I have curated into a curriculum that I share in short workshops and longer trainings.

I introduce people to the horses I work with and then I prepare their mind, body, and energy to meet the horses in meditation. And the horses are always there waiting for us.

I coach people to really perceive, understand, and honor the profound connections they are developing with the horses.

It is truly beautiful work and I am honored to be a part of it.

Thank you for reading and for being curious about my journey.

If you have been longing to connect with horses but don’t currently have a way to be with them in person and/or you want to deepen your awareness of the healing potential there is in relationship to horses, I am here to tell you - you can do it from a distance.

You can do it over the internet.

You can do it with me!

My goal is to make healing with horses accessible and affordable. I have been working on a very low-cost online offering that is full of the power and healing presence of horses. This will be a space for you and for anyone you may know who could use healing and wants to heal with horses in a HELLA powerful way, without having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. Yes! I love that.

I will be in touch soon with more information!

Lots of love,

Jamila


A Vulnerable Story of Transformation

September 12th, 2022

Hello again!

I am back with another story for you. This one is long also, but it is extra powerful.

This is quite a vulnerable aspect of my story with horses and I hope that reading it will offer you a feeling of expansion or a transformation around what is possible.

When I first met Angus, we spent several months hanging out in a series of blissful meditations in his paddock. We were doing nothing together and it was so peaceful and powerful.

When I ended up officially buying him, things shifted. He began getting FREAKED OUT. Because I had an agenda now.

My agenda was that I wanted to be able to take care of him in a few ways. To do the things I wanted to do, I needed Angus to put his halter on.

When I invited him to put his halter on, he said “no”.

He said no by walking away from me. When he did this, I paused for a minute.

I approached Angus again with the halter in my hands. This time, he didn't leave but he got completely still. His ears stopped moving and his eyes were fixed and glazed over. This stillness was a FREEZE response,

not a “yes, go ahead and just slip the halter over my head”.

My mentor Farah said, “true consent from him will be if or when he chooses to lower his own head down in the halter.”

He did not consent. He would not put his head in the halter. He seemed really scared.

So I still held the halter up as a question for him, but I shifted my agenda to be just building trust. I asked him why he was saying “no”. I listened for his answer. I connected heart-to-heart.

We spent many hours negotiating trust around the halter. And eventually, he began to choose to put his own head into the halter.

The very place where he reached a limit and got freaked out was a perfect place to practice listening to the body saying “no.”

These places have become important portals for me and Angus to pause and to heal.

In this pause, we are connected. And also sometimes we process the places where we weren’t offered consent in the past. We process the times when our body's ‘no’ was not listened to.

We meditate here. We breathe here. I sing to him in this space.

In the space between us there is warmth. There is care. And there often emerges a release of emotion, feeling, images.

We are both able to share feelings with one another that we have not shared with anyone else.

I am intrigued by the emotional and therapeutic process happening between me and the horses and prefer to spend my time on the ground with them exploring these profound feelings that open up between us.

While I do not have to ride the horses to have a full and complete relationship to them, the connection that humans have with riding horses is very significant in the medicine they have to offer us.


Just an awareness of this can expand our understanding of their wisdom.


I was taking a riding lesson with my teacher Farah a few years ago.

I was on the back of a horse named Dean. Dean is so smooth. He feels like water underneath me. Like a river.

We are outside. The sky is beautiful. I feel the immense joy of being carried on this magical animal.

Farah keeps pointing out again and again that Dean is in an ongoing conscious relationship to my pelvis.

Based on how I move my pelvis, Dean will understand where I want him to go, how fast, and in what way.

She talks about how both me and horse give and receive so much information through my pelvis.

And here is where I want to be really honest and transparent: while the horses may be able to feel my pelvis… I can’t. Not most of the time. Not really.

I have been studying with a somatic pelvic care teacher named Caytlyn Dee and she teaches that within the pelvis is the lower part of the nervous system, the foundation of the nervous system. It is the place that connects us to joy, safety, pleasure, and meaning in life.

When I first really understood this, I understood how I had been doing so much healing work for so many years and yet still felt like shit so much of the time.

In the last email I mentioned some of these shitty feelings:

  • I feel like I’m either in 5th gear or crashing.

  • I dread going to sleep because it’s not easy

  • There is a weird unnameable pain that lives somewhere between my emotions and my sensations. It hurts.

  • I feel like I’m hovering above my body because being present in it does not lead to joy or pleasure. Where the fuck are all the good sensations!?!? I feel like shit and no matter what I do, I can't feel better.

  • I feel immobilized around taking actions that I know would be good for me.

  • I’m just frozen. I can’t really name what’s wrong but I don’t feel good.

  • I feel shame. I both crave intimacy and tense up in connection or relationship with others.

In my studies of pelvic care and healing, I realized that the location of these very stressful feelings was coming from the root of my nervous system.

And I was having trouble naming them and putting on my finger on them because this culture intentionally shames and violates the roots of our nervous system - so I was separated from myself and didn't even really have a way to realize HOW much.

While we may talk about our pelvis and root, and we may pay attention to it while dancing or making love, it's rare to be in a community of people who are in a conscious relationship with this aspect of their nervous system in a way that doesn't revolve completely around sex.

This is because we simply hold SO much trauma in this area that we are unaware of how dissociated we are.

On an emotional, spiritual, and somatic level, as a culture - most of us are intentionally and quite violently forced into an unhealthy relationship with this part of our bodies.

We can easily get triggered, dysregulated, awkward, and uncomfortable when we bring up issues related to our pelvis and the foundation of our bodies. You may be feeling that right now as you read this. I feel it as I am writing.

It makes sense considering how much violence there is against us, against reproductive sovereignty, against black and brown folks, against our genders and sexualities, and against our bodies within capitalist and colonialist systems.

When I used my wisdom of discernment and found a community of SAFE women and healers who were focused on this area, I was able to heal my relationship to my pelvis because I could talk about it, learn about it, and begin to feel it. There were safe and loving witnesses surrounding me who were NOT freaked out. Even though I was.

If the root of my nervous system had eyes and ears like a horse - it probably would have looked like Angus when he went into freeze. And these women were relating to me as I related to him. They sang to me. They listened to me. They asked me what was happening. They stayed present. They gave me space and patience, they didn't abandon me.

My shame dissolved because many parts of me were reconnecting to humans after experiencing separation and isolation.

The only reason I was able to speak about it or even move toward those humans to request support and education was because of the healing work I had been doing with horses.

The horses held space for my deep feelings emanating from my heart, my pelvis, my root, my spirit, my whole being. They listened until I felt able to talk about it with safe humans.

When I was able to be in a community with humans where I could also be aware of and connected my WHOLE full self, everything changed in a major way.

Did all of my painful feelings go away? No!

But the suffering was eased. And... I dropped into alignment with my purpose so much more fully.

I wrote in my last email that often, we are working on ways to stop feeling our pain and suffering, we want to leave the dark dimension where these feelings emerge and rise up into better frequencies. We are doing research, looking for ways out.

I wrote that the KEY, however, is bringing more connection IN.

The horses invite more connection IN to this area where there can be SO much resistance, terror, disconnection, overwhelm, panic, trauma, pain etc.

I am so amazed at how gracefully the horses led me to my healing. The horses make it possible, bearable, magical even.

There is a connection between horses and the pelvis. Horses know our pelvis. For thousands of years, they have been carrying humans. Connecting at this point of our bodies. Reading our anatomy with their anatomy. Feeling our energy, feeling our feelings.

They know our secrets. They know our pain. They know our trauma. And they are our friends. They are always holding a possibility for connection and peace. They are patient.

We do not have to be on their backs or even in their presence for them to work with us in this way because it is so central to our relationship with one another historically and spiritually. This relationship is so powerful it can extend across time and space.

Just becoming AWARE of this aspect of the horse and pelvis connection - while also understanding the relationship between our pelvis and our sense of joy, meaning, and safety in life is the most powerful part.

It helps us have context and understanding for our suffering - and a hopeful pathway forward. This gentle awareness is what I’m appreciating right now.

I just want to bring it to awareness. We don’t have to do much more, we don’t have to try to excavate anything.

We can just understand that when we work with the horses - in any capacity, in person, in meditation from afar, riding or on the ground, they automatically are going to have medicine for this aspect of ourselves… this aspect where we do in fact need a lot of support.

They somehow manage to help us connect JOYFULLY to a place where we hold so much terror, pain, and pain.

I know that these topics are really big and may feel immense and overwhelming.

My horse journey and my womb awareness/pelvic awareness journey have existed side by side for a long time and lately, I have delved into doing in-depth studies around womb awareness and reproductive sovereignty.

In doing this work, I have taken my place in a circle of women and healers who can hold the stability to name and relate to these often forbidden spaces of our bodies and what arises within and around them. So, if anything in this email resonates with you and you want to share back with me your thoughts, feelings, or reflections - I am here.

If you too have been thinking of the things I write about, struggling with feeling connected to your full body, your joy, your FULL sense of purpose and meaning, are just curious and want to chat, or have been feeling a powerful draw to horses, feel free to write me back.

I am working to bring the horses to you - as gentle and loving friends in this work and inquiry.

Love, peace, and wholeness,


Jamila


Moving through Shame into Love - How Horses Help

September 8th, 2022


Hi everyone,

I wanted to share a little more of my story and experiences of healing with the horses which may inspire you. In my last email I talked about how some parts of us who have experienced trauma - become separated.

I want to share some examples of how I feel when a part of me is not yet re-connected and still in the separation stage after a trauma, loss, or accumulation of immense stress:

  • I feel like I’m either in 5th gear or crashing. I feel afraid to stop because when I crash, what if I can’t get the energy to ever get going again? I don’t know how to find stability and balance. But I’m craving it because this feels SO UNSUSTAINABLE and I’m exhausted both in 5th gear AND in the crash. When do I actually get to rest and feel safe?


  • I dread going to sleep because it’s not easy and it feels really awful to lay there with no distractions - yet also that “nice sleepy heavy” feeling is not happening. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what exactly is wrong but I just feel a terrible feeling.


  • There is a weird unnameable pain that lives somewhere between my emotions and my sensations. It hurts. I can’t name it but it makes me not want to be in my body. I keep trying to figure out what it is but I can’t put my finger on it. I feel like I’m hovering above my body because being present in it does not lead to joy or pleasure. Where the fuck are all the good sensations!?!? I feel like shit and no matter what I do, I can't feel better.


  • I feel immobilized around taking actions that I know would be good for me. I’m just frozen. I can’t really name what’s wrong but I don’t feel good.


  • I feel shame, which for me looks like: things I feel but don’t really have words for but cause me to both crave intimacy and tense up in connection or relationship with others. I want to hide. I feel best alone, but I feel so isolated. I am horribly lonely. But the idea of connection is scary and yucky. I hate this place and life feels dismal, like a dreary wasteland on repeat. I am stuck. I feel trapped. I feel lost. I feel confused about what to do. This is draining and I see no end.


In each of these situations, I am struck by the feeling of separation and inability to name or even quite know what’s happening.

So often - we are working on ways to stop feeling this way, we want to leave the dark dimension where these feelings emerge and rise up into better frequencies. We are doing research, looking for ways out.

But the KEY is bringing more connection IN.

I remember being in a somatics class and the teacher, Beth Dennison, asking us to create a dance that was generated from a feeling of joy. This wasn’t a choreographed dance.

These were authentic expressions and gestures emanating from the feeling of joy. It felt good to dance this, as I was connecting to the energy of joy to source my movements. We then had to teach a partner and feel what it felt like to dance this joy dance together. It was fun to have someone dance with me.

She then asked us to create a dance from the feeling of shame. This, as you may imagine, did not feel very good at all. Finding gestures that resonated with the experience of shame felt yucky and bad as I was making up the dance.

But something incredible happened that I will never ever forget. The moment my partner joined me in my shame dance I received a piece of information that completely informs how I think now. Being joined in my shame dance by another person gave me such a profoundly higher level of joy than being alone in my joy dance.

What? What IS THIS!?!? I am obsessed with this. My teacher, Beth Dennison, described shame as “the blade that splits our wholeness into a presented self and a hidden, held back, shadow self.“ (https://clearingtrauma.com/about-beth-dennison/)

So the feeling of REUNION... OF SAFE AND REAL CONNECTION... OF SOMEONE NOT AFRAID OF COMING INTO MY SHADOW WITH ME… after a terrifying experience of being separated and humiliated is SO FRIKIN AMAZING AND RELIEVING that it's better than joy.

It was the experience of LOVE. Because true love can reach us in the dark. I have been told by my teacher Sobonfu Some that grief and joy are two sides of the same coin: Love. So love can be with us even when we feel pain or terror or even shame. And LOVE shows us what we truly are. We are not bad, ugly, wrong, or unwanted. We are CONNECTED to something immensely beautiful. Connected to something that cares about us. We belong. We actually do.

Horses channel LOVE through their entire beings. Their hearts have huge electromagnetic fields that resonate and attune to us at the most subtle levels. They witness with a soft gaze. They sense us, and bring us into the experience of connection. Their attention is gentle enough to touch those separated parts that are in excruciating pain and terror. The parts that are longing for connection but too ashamed to withstand it. They inspire TRUST from the most untrusting parts of us. They allow us to show what’s wrong without having to know what to say. They can understand us and help us to understand ourselves. They help us know what previously felt like too much to bear.v

Firstly: I’m sooo curious and also driven (due to truly wanting to be free and feel better) about the way many of our uncomfortable symptoms in life stem back to parts of us that feel like shit, are lonely and isolated but are also repulsed or terrified by the idea of connection. I have been having such incredible conversations about this lately. If you too have been trying to figure out all about what this experience is for you and how to transcend it and want to share it with me, please feel free to reach out.

Secondly: I am super thankful for the horses and their LOVE. Their love is so beautiful - it has no price tag - and yet it can be so outrageously expensive and unaccessible to get to actually work with horses consistently in a healing way. So I am dedicated to making it accessible and affordable to work and heal with them. Keep your eyes out for some more offerings I am gonna share soon for connecting with me live online and receiving some horse healing.


Lots of LOVE,

Jamila


The Softness of the Horse's Gaze

September 3rd, 2022


Hello everyone!

Today I wanted to write for anyone who is interested in learning more about the ways that horses can help us heal from the separation that often occurs after we experience trauma - especially relational trauma.

This is a long email but it holds some really deep and tender information that may be helpful for anyone who is looking for healing - or feels like a part of them is struggling to stay afloat and is searching for relief.

Working with horses helped me to begin to heal my relationships with humans. The reasons why absolutely fascinate me.

I am still getting better at knowing when it is safe to bring parts of me that are suffering into a relationship with another person (friend, lover, teacher, therapist…)

I have had many experiences of trying to tell my truth to someone who I thought was safe - but the sense of safe connection between us would begin to dissolve as they became uncomfortable with what I was expressing. Things would start to feel very awkward - at times terrifying.

That part of me who was being so brave, trying to find a sense of connection and acknowledgment would then go back into feeling incredibly separate - but now with more shame and greater levels of fear. I wonder if you can relate? I feel like this is an experience so many of the people I connect with also have had.

Several years ago, I began healing work with one of the safest people I have ever met. Over time, I was able to tell her about some of the scariest and most traumatic things that had ever happened to me. Things I had never been able to tell anyone else.

I can’t tell you what a miracle this felt like. It took immense courage to put my experiences into words. But she was right there to affirm me and meet me with love - not fear or silence.

After trauma, we can experience profound depths of separation and isolation. And it can be terrifying. When we are able to come back into connection with another being and bring our full selves, we experience healing from that separation.

In the CONNECTION there is enough stability for the nervous system to release the energy, fear, and pain that has been stuck from the trauma. There is a need for both courage and the wisdom of discernment in our healing journey.

We need the courage to be able to find a safe place of connection where we are allowed to be our FULL selves - all the parts of us, the beautiful, the battered, the bruised, the parts that are so burnt and distorted they aren’t even recognizable anymore - and very well may not speak words. To seek out a safe connection is a SKILL that will bring about opportunities for transformation.

Developing the wisdom to discern who is safe is also a SKILL that we must develop.

How do we discern?

1. Understanding that some people are safe for you to be whole with and some are not.

2. BELIEVING that there ARE people out there who WILL allow you to be in your full truth (without pressuring you to do so) even if you haven't met many or any... YET

3. Listening to our body... how do we know when we feel safe and when we don't?

4. Trusting our body and only sharing vulnerable parts of ourselves with PEOPLE WHO HELP SUSTAIN that feeling of connection with us as we unfold into our truth.

5. Forgiving ourselves for the times when we think someone is safe and they were not. And ask ourselves - when did it stop feeling safe? Start to learn our body's wisdom of discernment.

6. Keep searching for the ones who feel safe.

The only reason I got to the point where I was able to speak words to another SAFE human, was because of the work I had done with horses.

Horses could feel my heart.

Horses offered me a place to begin to explore the parts of me who could not speak. They connected through movement, stillness, and through feeling. They were a safe place of connection that WANTED to be close to me. The more I was honest.

The more I acknowledged how terrible I felt, the closer they came. What!?! Yes! They are the definition of true love.

I remember standing with a horse at liberty (meaning he was not tied to anything and free to leave) and realizing I was feeling something under the surface. There was grass for him to go eat - there were other things that he was doing. But when I started to feel my feelings he CHOSE to pause and stand with me.

As I stayed with my feelings, they began to unfold. I felt irritation and overwhelm, then it unfolded into pain, then sadness. Every time the feeling became more clear - he stepped closer to me with gentle eyes. He let out a gentle sigh.

Eventually, he was so close that his soft eye was about 1 inch from my eye. We were both so still.

He wanted to listen and be with me as I felt my truth beginning to unfold within me.

This is something I have experienced many MANY times with many horses. They want to be with me when I am my FULL self - even when the emotions are big, painful, or “disturbing”.

This is such an incredible experience of LOVE. And it is what horses embody.

The CONNECTION that horses gave me allowed me to begin to express what I could not speak. Horses were tender enough to listen to the places within me that were too vulnerable to share yet with another human.

There are so many kinds of trauma. Horses have helped me to heal the injuries I experienced in relationships with other humans.

These relational traumas can be so incredibly vulnerable that we don't even want to look at them. The wound is too painful. But that wound is related to much of the anxiety, depression, fear, and overwhelm that many of us feel. Especially in a world that intentionally cultivates relational violence.

When we experience trauma in relationships - such as abuse, neglect, and/or sexual trauma - a part of us becomes separate and isolated.

What happened to us was so intense and vulnerable that to focus on it too brightly will be too much - at times even just the attention of another loving person may be too intense for those parts of us.

Horses have a way of witnessing us that is profoundly gentle. The horse's soft gaze and tender heart can look at us with a light that is soft enough for the most devastated and violated parts of us.

We can begin to come back into connection.

And the most brilliant and beautiful thing? Horses are multidimensional. They can connect with us in this way across space and time. They don’t have to be in our physical presence to offer us this witnessing friendship.

I have partnered with the horses to create online meditations where you can get to know them from wherever you are.

If a part of you has felt lost and wandering. If a part of you feels exhausted, is looking for guidance, or is seeking refuge...

If a part of you feels too devastated, ashamed, or terrible to even show itself to another human.

If you have been longing for healing. Longing for a transformation, a shift, a way forward, I honestly can’t recommend anything more than the love of a horse. You can share yourself with them, and they will meet you with the most sacred gentleness.

I created this free 37-minute online workshop that is a beautiful beginning to working with horses heart-to-heart without even having to be in their physical presence.

I invite you to work with it!

Online pre-recorded horse meditation workshop: https://youtu.be/vtc5B3buOXo

I am so devoted to this beautiful healing that the horses offer - please reach out if you have any questions or want to talk more.


Lots and lots of love,

Jamila