Grace of the horse:
7-week Live Online Class
Empower yourself with a self-coaching method that allows you to successfully tend to sexual trauma - in a way that doesn't feel icky or make you sick with dread.
I want to offer you a powerful idea:
What if healing from sexual trauma doesn’t have to be terrifying, dreadful, or horrific? Because we have already been through that. What if our healing could be gentle, and beautiful, and dare I say… relieving?
The phenomenon of sexual trauma is immense and overwhelming, to say the least. But if you are here reading this - a part of you has already made the choice to face the challenge of healing.
I want to invite you to consider that there is a pathway forward that is gentle and beautiful. I am not just telling you this because I want to sell you something. My genuine hope is that just through reading about healing with horses you will be educated, transformed, and empowered whether you choose to take my class or not.
To begin, I want to explain where I am coming from. I am a survivor of sexual violence. For years I experienced overwhelming feelings of powerlessness against the shadow of my sexual trauma.
I say shadow because that is exactly what it felt like. Even though there were some moments I was able to consciously acknowledge it, most of the time it felt like a looming shadow, something heavy, painful and scary haunting me that I couldn’t even quite perceive.
The upsetting but truthful thing is: sexual trauma is something that most of us carry in our own bodies and in our bloodlines. There are varying degrees of traumatic experiences and all of them are worthy of healing.
No matter what you have been through, if you are sensing that you are ready to engage in trauma healing - I commend you and welcome you with my full heart.
Hello, my name is Jamila.
I am a trauma-informed yoga teacher, dancer, Equine-Assisted Learning facilitator, and an IFS-inspired Coach. Horses are a central component of my teaching. I work specifically to support conversations about trauma-informed embodied and community practice, spiritual development, coming back into contact with nature, ancestral work, negotiating with power and privilege, and initiating a sacred and non-predatory relationship to power.
My purpose in this life is to support people in remembering and healing our sacred sense of belonging to nature. This sense of belonging is everything. It is where our relationship to our ancestors, to our medicines, to our ability to heal and create is rooted. This belonging is where we come from.
The class is for women, including trans and gender nonconforming women, who hold any degree of sexual trauma in their body and/or their bloodline and are looking for a graceful and empowering way of turning toward the healing work.
I offer you a community space to be whole within - and a set of tools, supports, and strategies to tackle one of the biggest hurdles of turning toward our sexual trauma: doing so without getting extremely dysregulated, being overwhelmed, and feeling so deeply upset that we can't go forward.
There are three important reasons why we struggle to acknowledge and tend to sexual trauma...
The first reason is:
It's Too much to bear
What happened to us feels too big to face. It is TOTALLY overwhelming and dysregulating.
The word "trauma" refers to an experience (or series of ongoing experiences) that completely overwhelms the nervous system. And so it makes sense that focusing on it - or even the idea of focusing on it will feel daunting, burdensome, painful, terrifying, and at times so overwhelming that we check out, numb out, dissociate, or become unraveled.
For years, I felt anxiety at the topic of sexual trauma or sexual violence even being brought up. I would get triggered SUPER intensely, experiencing panic, insomnia, overeating and/or losing my appetite. I felt creeped out by very the idea of it. How was I going to heal it when I could barely think about it, let alone name it or, God forbid, say it out loud?
You may relate. You may have been carrying around a feeling that you need to heal this trauma some day but it feels WAY too hard to begin… impossible even. It may be showing up in your body, your relationships, your life, and your finances. You may think about wanting to take steps toward healing. You may even know that you need to take steps toward healing. But when you think about it, your body becomes hazy, disoriented, numb, checked-out, terrified, lost, or shut down. That is because no matter what is happening in our mind, trauma exists in the body. These disorientation symptoms are a protective measure that your body is taking to shield you from the immense pain and fear that you experienced in the past. This is a protection that makes so much sense and is a gift from our body.
The second reason is:
Sexual Trauma is taboo to talk about.
Sexual violence pervades our culture and the trauma that results from it is taboo to talk about.
Quite often there is no safe space to tell the truth about our experience, and it can be dangerous to voice our feelings. Many folks don't have access to healing spaces or practitioners, experience cultural taboos around therapy, or experience financial realities that make it very difficult to access help. It is important to recognize that there are immense levels of structural, financial, and cultural barriers to accessing help.
While we are becoming more comfortable with talking about trauma in our culture, sexual trauma is still taboo. As survivors of sexual violence, we can have one of two experiences: one is that we don't want to trigger other people and so we suffer in silence. The other is that when we do share, other people don't know how to respond to us, or become triggered by hearing us, and so we get silenced, have our truth suppressed, or even get punished when we attempt to talk about what has happened. Our families, our communities, and our culture are saturated with sexual violence and most people’s nervous systems struggle to stay regulated when this topic comes up.
The difficulties and challenges we experience from other people when we attempt to share what we have gone through can become another trauma in and of itself.
This compounding trauma can send us into profound depths of separation and isolation. And it can be terrifying.
The problem with not being able to talk about our experiences, and receive loving supportive witness and coregulation, is that our bodies require relational connection and safety for this healing and we are not able to find it.
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 used, and still use, so much energy to keep a part of myself hidden while presenting an acceptable self to the world and my relationships.
I wonder if you can relate? I feel like this is an experience so many of the people I connect with also have had.
We need a safe person to acknowledge our experience, name it, and not be afraid of it.
The third reason is:
Through colonization and enslavement, our ceremonies, relationships, and healing medicines have been systematically violated.
Not only that - but it is through colonization and slavery that much of the violence we are trying to heal from was initiated on our bloodlines. While at first, this may feel even more depressing, this truth is actually a gateway to recalling the fullness of ourselves and our relationship with all of life.
This is important to acknowledge because:
even if we do have access to the most safe and loving person to share our story with, something as vulnerable as our sexual trauma may, at first, feel just flat out too sensitive to ever want to share with another person.
We need something sacred to bridge The gap.
We need something that is more tender than even the most tender human heart.
This sacredness comes from our relations
in the more-than-human world.
we will find that there are in fact pathways forward
and there is access to this level of tenderness.
Enter the grace of the horse
Healing with horses is one pathway of returning to nature’s sacredness and to tender medicine.
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 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 no matter how terribly I felt. Horses brought a grace into my life that showed me a path forward through what previously was impossible. And I devoted my life to making their grace accessible to others.
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.
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.
In a safe connection, there is enough stability for the nervous system to release the energy, fear, and pain that has been stuck from the trauma.
What happened to us as survivors 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 and they are brilliant at projecting their healing energy through video. This means I can guide you through working with horses... online.
I have partnered with the horses to create an online self-coaching curriculum that integrates Equine-assisted learning and the IFS (Internal Family Systems) model.
Through The Grace of the Horse live class, you get to be in a room where you don't have to split into a presented self and a shadow self. All of you will be welcome.
You will be empowered with a self-coaching method that allows you to heal with horses from wherever you are.
About the horses
In this class, we will be working with herd consciousness as a whole and specifically with my horse Angus.
Angus is a 10 year old horse that is very strongly rooted in his purpose as a healer and teacher. He has been through immense trauma in his own life and meets those he works with with profound love and compassion.
Angus is skilled at projecting his energy through video and at communicating with others energetically no matter where we are located. He has guided me to cultivate this work.
I am honored to work with him in this lifetime and I am grateful to get to facilitate your meeting him heart-to-heart through video and meditation.
The Grace of the Horse is a 7-week small group class for women that teaches tools for self-coaching ourselves through trauma-healing in a way that actually FEELS GOOD.
It FEELS GOOD because:
1) We DO acknowledge that sexual trauma is the reason each of us showed up. This honors our truth and creates congruence in our system. This offers a sense of relief in the body.
2) We DON'T focus directly on memories of what happened. Instead, we focus on cultivating connection, safety, and an opportunity for our body to rest.
We invoke connection with one another, connection with our Self, and connection with nature.
We focus on understanding and honoring our system - so that our body is given the time, structure, safety, and support from nature to heal in our own rhythm.
And most importantly, we partner with the Grace of the Horse which provides our system with a truly beautiful witness who brings so much relief!
Understanding and tending to what happened to us through relationship with horses changes the process in a POWERFUL way -
it makes it actually feel beautiful because we are reconnecting our entire bloodline back to Nature's medicine.
About Internal Family Systems (IFS)
In IFS we recognize that we have this deep witnessing presence within us and we call it the Self.
Horses hold powerful Self-energy and help us to build our own Self-energy.
One of the primary videos that I use to teach this method online is a video of two horses - Angus and Izzy. I took the video on a snowy January day in 2021. That day, Angus had a hurt hoof and lay down to rest in the snow.
Izzy stood near him, incredibly still and present. Often, in herds, horses will do this for one another. When one horse wants to rest by laying down, another horse will keep a lookout. As prey animals, this protection and witnessing allows them to deeply let go.
Internal Family Systems (IFS), a therapeutic method developed by psychologist Richard Schwartz, views each person’s body and mind as being a system of many parts with an inner compassionate witness: the Self.
Our parts include the tender and childlike parts of us that hold trauma and pain as well as protective parts that attempt to shield and protect us from pain in order to keep us safe. By recognizing that all of these parts exist, like separate people within us doing their jobs, we can practice witnessing and relating to them compassionately from the position of the Self. This allows us to heal and transform.
It can be difficult for people to access Internal Family Systems' healing spaces. It can be expensive and sometimes impossible for people to work with horses in person. We could go our whole life without anyone truly acknowledging what we have been through and reaching out to help us.
I want to make all of this available to you.
I invite you Join me in: Grace of the horse!
Equine-Assisted Learning Makes healing with horses possible Online
There is a parallel between the ways that horses gather and communicate with one another in herds and the way IFS approaches the human psyche.
In the wild, each horse is anchored within their own individual personality and is also connected to a part of a larger system: the herd. As prey animals who navigate the landscape, the herd sources its intelligence and leadership through a powerful witnessing presence.
IFS offers the perspective that we ARE a witnessing presence (Self) holding together a system of individual parts that have unique personalities. We truly have a herd within ourselves.
I began to integrate IFS principles into the healing work I was doing with horses and eventually studied to become an IFS-inspired coach.
I love the way IFS supports the healing wisdom of horses because they both empower us to have a powerful relationship with our inner witness as a way to welcome all parts of who we are. Healing with horses and IFS are so powerful that just one experience with either of them can completely transform the way we understand ourselves.
IFS offers us a map of the psyche,
and horses serve as guides for us as we navigate the landscape of our healing journey.
One of the many ways that I work with the video of Angus and Izzy in the snow is a meditation that I call: yoga (union) with the luminous consciousness of the horse. I designed this meditation to allow us to merge our own inner witness (Self) with Izzy’s witness and in the process be strengthened by her powerful level of presence.
I had practiced it several times but I was not quite aware of the incredible power of this meditation until one day something triggered my PTSD.
Immediately after the event that triggered me, I felt a familiar level of panic begin to arise within me. Usually, when this happens, I feel COMPLETELY devoured by the panic and I either have to take panic medication or wait many many days (even weeks) for my nervous system to regulate.
However, on this particular day, I spontaneously felt Izzy deep within my heart joining me in witnessing my emotions and sensations. Her presence was so palpable that I was able to stay present with the part of myself that was terrified.
As Izzy and I continued to witness this part of myself, I was able to dialogue with it and be curious about its experience. The immensity of terror dissolved. I felt more regulated, and I felt grounded and able to continue to take steps to take care of myself.
Reflecting on this experience much later, I KNEW without a doubt that I had achieved my goal:
which was to figure out a process for people to access the living & healing presence of horses without having to be in their presence.
Horses had spontaneously shown up in my mind and heart when I was not with them and helped me with my pain.
I knew that once they knew you, they could show up and help you at any time no matter how far away you were.
The types of videos and meditations I create support people in starting that bond from afar.
This means you never have to even meet the horse in the physical to create a heart-to-heart bond that will allow the horse to come help you in times of need.
Before needing to do anything else in terms of healing - I invite us to pause and to honor our fierce bravery. We have chosen to stand for ourselves in a world that makes the thought of healing feel impossible.
This bravery is what brings us through our suffering into our awakening.
While there were many years when I felt truly hopeless, a part of me understood that my sexual trauma was something that I needed to learn how to address and heal. That part of me was hell-bent on finding a way.
While it was SUPER overwhelming, I found myself keeping an eye out for information, having a tab open on my phone or computer for healing, reading books - being curious about it - sending some signals out there into the universe.
There was still this sense of burden that this was WAY too heavy. But I found myself looking and strategizing - I felt a whisper in my heart:
"I am READY for a way out even if I can't see it. I am praying so hard.
I know this is something I need to deal with but the immensity of it is VERY much TOO much. I need help and I am open to receiving it... I just haven't figured out what it is yet."
These words, these experiences were powerful choices I was making.
If you are reading this, its likely you have a similar relationship to your trauma and at the same time have also been making some really powerful choices deep inside.
These choices we make are subtle and we may not even recognize them at first. But if we honor them - we actually begin a healing transformation right now:
First, we made the choice to acknowledge that we have trauma. And what is incredible is that we have also chosen to be WILLING to face it - EVEN if we don’t yet know exactly how. This is courage, this is power.
We have also made the choice to acknowledge that we can’t do it alone and we are looking for help. We have already CHOSEN to heal.
What that meant for me and what it means for you is that this is a challenge that we are ready to move through. And I want to meet you in this part of your life for this specific reason.
This small group class is an opportunity to be in a room with people who have made the same choices as you. A room where you can experience solidarity and relief.
Once I learned how to be with myself fully - in a way that didn't completely overwhelm me, I became empowered to CREATE and GOVERN my own life, body, and soul.
I became empowered in my life, health, purpose, and relationships. I became empowered to reclaim the wealth in my bloodline and my relationship with the earth. When you are empowered, you can face your feelings, you can be in your body, you can make aware choices.
I was also more and more able to access the present moment and thus: CONNECTION, SAFETY & ALIGNMENT. I was able to move toward relief from stress, relief from being plagued by burdens, powerlessness, and terror. I became anchored in my purpose.
Through this work, you will build a connection to your own authority that will stay with you lifelong. You will reclaim your sovereignty.
Together we will empower ourselves to traverse the landscape of our own healing
with a map (IFS) and a guide (myself partnered with the compassionate presence of horses).
It is possible to gracefully tend to your trauma.
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.
Horses are one pathway forward that exemplifies the way that beauty is healing. They offer a real relationship where it is safe to share feelings related to all types of trauma, INCLUDING sexual trauma. This experience that horses offer can be THE transformative step on our journey when it's not safe yet to talk to humans. Through working with horses - we can slowly re-enter a safe relationship with our truth, and begin to know and understand what has happened to us.
GRACE OF THE HORSE
is a 7-week online class that empowers you with a self-coaching method that allows you to successfully tend to sexual trauma - in a way that doesn't feel icky or make you sick with dread
This class is for women including trans women and gender nonconforming women - who hold any degree of sexual trauma in their bodies and/OR their bloodline and are looking for a graceful and empowering way of turning toward the healing work.
We will meet on 7 consecutive Thursdays from 7 - 8:30pm Eastern Time from March 16th - April 27th, 2023.
This class is taught online via zoom in a small group and space is limited. I will sign-up participants on a first-come-first-serve basis after you have both completed an application and then paid for the class. If the class becomes full, I will start a waiting list.
To join the class you need to fill out a short application. Within a few days, I will send you a link to make your first payment. Once you have paid, you will be registered.
This class is offered on a sliding scale with payment plans available for every price.
Tier 3 : $947, full price of course
Pay $947 in full OR a payment plan: two monthly payments of $477 OR four monthly payments of $242
Tier 2: $647, price for folks with a limited amount of expendable income.
Pay $647 in full OR a payment plan: two monthly payments of $327 OR four monthly payments of $167
Tier 1: $347, price for folks experiencing financial hardship.
Pay $347 in full OR a payment plan of two monthly payments of $175 OR four monthly payments of $89
Your payment includes 7 live classes including a live integration call as well as lifetime access (as long as the internet exists) to my online curriculum The Herd Within: Healing with Horses and the IFS Model. I will give you this curriculum for free when the course begins. This course is hosted on an online portal which includes healing with horses videos, guided meditations, an introduction to IFS and Equine-Assisted Learning, and a full workbook).
Check-in with your body right now. If you are truly considering joining this class, you may feel like you are making a date with unpleasant company... your trauma.
I get it.
And I respect the immensity of this. Deep within, a part of you may feel suspicious and be questioning whether this is something that needs to be done at this moment - or if this is the right way to do it.
I want to tell you two things:
1) Your system is incredibly brilliant. It's important to trust your body and listen to your feelings. There is no need to join this work if it isn't right for YOU or isn't right at this moment. YOU are who matters most. Each of us needs to have support on the inside and on the outside in order to move through certain levels of our struggle. We need to have a certain amount of stability. If your body is saying don't do this - please listen to it. There are many cycles moving your life. What is for you will show up for you when the time is right. You don't need to rush. I hope that just reading this page has offered you a sense of grace, acknowledgment, and hope.
2) You have a purpose on this earth. That purpose is carrying you and guiding you. Your gift is needed. It is powerful beyond measure. The bulk of trauma you have experienced and the fact that you are trapped in the burden of it is not an accident. While this might sound scary - it's important to acknowledge. Most trauma originates from systems intentionally designed to keep us from healing and stepping into our purpose.
This is because your purpose WILL contribute to the awakening of the planet - to freedom from slavery and exploitation paradigms. If you feel called to join this class it could be because the strength of your purpose brought you here. It could be because the grace of your purpose is bringing you the horses; it's reconnecting you to the earth and your innate abundance and power.
The task of learning to face and tend to your trauma is daunting. This class is one way of rising to the challenge that offers a breakthrough not only in ways of thinking but into entirely new ways of walking in your life. My goal is to root you in spiritual strength and confidence. I want to welcome you into a room filled with empathy and understanding. I want to you leave empowered to step out from under the shame and burdens placed on you and step into your purpose - the reason you are here. The world needs your gifts.
Through the grace of horses, we can create a
BEAUTIFUL, RELIEVING, SLOW, SAFE, and CONNECTED environment
where the full truth is welcome IF and WHEN it wants to show up.
We are empowering our own compassionate witness through aligning with horses - and respecting the timing and intelligence of the system to lead us in our healing.
Our trauma is at the root of so much of our distress - trouble sleeping, anxiety, economic hardship, depression, physical pain, immense stress, fear of intimacy, struggles in our relationship, etc.
Instead of numbing out, feeling overwhelmed, terrified, stuck, blocked, isolated, and your only option being hiding from this wound - I invite you to step into a graceful way forward. I welcome you with all of my heart!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a therapy group?
No. I am not a therapist or an IFS practitioner. I am an IFS inspired coach, a trauma-informed 500hr yoga teacher, and an Equine-Assisted Learning practitioner. This is not therapy - it is a class that teaches you self-coaching skills.
Will we be sharing our trauma stories?
The focus of this class is not on our individual trauma stories. We will be focusing on learning self-coaching skills and cultivating bonds with the horses. I will teach meditations and IFS skills. That being said - if an aspect of your story or experience arises in meditation and you feel called to share it when we have space for reflection, both myself and the container I have designed can witness all of who you are and what you have been through. I will ask that if you are going to share specific details of an abuse or assault experience - you say so before sharing so that anyone who may feel triggered can leave the room for a moment and/or take care of themselves.
How is it possible to work with horses online?
Horses can work with us through energy. I teach using video, stories, and meditation to help you connect to my real actual horse through meditation! This is amazing because it makes working with horses affordable and accessible for your entire life.
What exactly will we be doing each class?
The most important aspect of this class is that it is a way to join a safe community space to be whole within. Having access to a relationship with me, the horses, and the other women in the class will lessen feelings of isolation and shame.
The second most important aspect of this class is that you will get the chance to learn and practice a set of tools, supports, and strategies to tackle one of the biggest hurdles of turning toward our sexual trauma: doing so without getting extremely dysregulated, being overwhelmed, and feeling so deeply upset that we can't go forward.
We will engage in specific listening and empathy exercises that help us to connect as a group and teach us how to relate to our own inner system with more skill and compassion.
We will practice: listening to (and singing if you like) sacred sound (mantra), breathwork, and rest practices to honor our system, connect to the horses energetically from a distance, and work with trauma gracefully.
I will share stories, videos, and guided meditations to help you build a real heart-to-heart relationship with the horses that you can call on for the rest of your life.
And finally, throughout the entire 7-weeks, I will be training you in an introduction to using IFS as an empowered self-coaching method that will aid you on your healing journey life-long.
I will also be giving you unlimited access to my online curriculum.
What if I join the class but get overwhelmed and want to quit - can I get my money back?
Yes! I will refund you fully after the first class. And for each class after that, I will refund you the full amount you have paid divided by 7, and then multiplied by the number of classes left that you will not attend.
I have questions not answered above, can I email you?
Yes! Please reach out to me, Jamila, at: firstname.lastname@example.org