The Gift of Being Seen

The blog is back!

After a healthy hiatus, I’m excited to be writing for all of you beautiful readers once again. Check out my short video about that below.

 

It’s three in the morning. I tried to sleep, but I’m so energized by the last several days that sleep is a distant reality. I’ve given in, turned the light on, and I’m sitting up in the bed of an Airbnb in Missoula, Montana, writing this blog that was begging to be written.

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Rasberries I picked in the front garden of my Airbnb. There were ripe cherries on the tree in the backyard too – a delicious surprise.

Why so energized and in Montana? I just attended “Healing the Herd”, a four-day workshop led by Linda Kohanov, Dr. Rebecca Bailey, and Sheri Montana – all of whom are great inspirations and leaders in the field of Equine Facilitated Learning and Therapy. There is so much to be said about this experience, but it can truly be summed up in one word: WOW.

Signing up for this workshop was not an easy choice; the summer is the hardest time of year for me to leave home and work. Living on a farm, summer is jam packed with projects and responsibilities, trying to make the most of nice weather and preparing for winter. As a farrier, my summer schedule is also jam packed, with horses’ feet growing faster, and people riding exponentially more which requires more time-consuming hoof care. On top of all that, my husband’s catering business explodes with cottagers ringing his phone off the hook. Clearly, not the best idea to try to get away.

And yet, I had to do it.

About a month ago, I received an email about an upcoming opportunity to learn more about Connection Focused Therapy, Trauma Informed and Polyvagal Informed approaches to the work I do with humans and horses. Something inside me wouldn’t let it go. My inner voice was like a dog with a bone, not resting until I figured out a way to make it happen.

I’ve learned that when I listen to my inner voice and let my (horse) heart lead the way, I live without regret. So, I made it work.

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Overlooking the river in Missoula. 

The learning and growth I received was outstanding and multi-faceted. As with other Eponaquest workshops, it was a combination of theory, horse and somatic experiences, and group processing. Luckily for all of us attending, the group was absolutely wonderful, and they gave me the biggest gift of this entire journey: to feel seen.

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From left to right: Paige Wilde, yours truly, Sheri Gaynor, and Carlee Chiate. A few of us were enjoying an impromptu dance party during an evening hike.

It’s rare to truly feel seen. Perhaps because we wear our own masks so tightly that we don’t let others see us. Perhaps because we are surrounded by people observing with lenses that simply can’t perceive who we are. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. In the end, we are so often left with the feeling of being misinterpreted, under- or over-valued, and yearning for more clarity and connection.

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Sometimes we can feel the most lonely when surrounded by others. What a gift to feel connected instead.

I don’t mean to infer that I never feel seen. I’m grateful and privileged that I have many people and experiences in my life that satisfy and nourish that need. What is rare, or maybe even a first for me, is to feel seen by so many all at once, and many of whom I’ve never met before.

This was truly supported by the horses and other four legged creatures, and by facilitators whose prime focus was connection. That focus primed us all to open our eyes and take off the armour with each other, and with ourselves.

As I return home, I carry these new learnings and experiences back with me, excited to weave them into my day to day life, and into the work that I joyfully offer. I’ll also give the gift of seeing others as much as horse heartedly possible.

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I gave this gift to myself as much as others gave it to me. Thank you.

 

How can you help others feel seen?

How can you help others see you?

How can you help see yourself?

 

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This is part of a continuing story, click here to start from the beginning.

 

10 Replies to “The Gift of Being Seen”

  1. So glad to have you back, you were much missed by all.With your wonderful blog we are slowly seeing more of the real Carmen as you share your innermost feelings with us. Your path to personal enlightenment is without a doubt making you grow and develop your inner self to new levels. With your writings you do touch us all and make us look deeper at what we have become and where we could be going (or should be going). You have taken many courageous steps that we can only envy and wish we had the same Horse Heart as you. The feeling of being SEEN as apposed to seen is one that few people will understand. Thanks for sharing as your self understanding and betterment also encourages us all to become better people. Glad your back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m blown away by your comment and deeply grateful you took the time to share that. Thank you for reading, for the encouragement, and your differentiation between the kinds of seen. 🙏🏼✨
      Sounds like you have a strong horse heart within as well 🙂

      Like

  2. What a nice surprise!
    I will finally try to answer your questions, Carmen. I think that a big part just boils down to being fully present. To help others feel seen, meet them in the moment you are sharing. Notice- listen- connect. To be seen, be authentic and vulnerable. To see myself, be mindful.
    Thank-you as always for your writing and for the introspection.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful! We all struggle at times to be heard and seen. Sometimes the struggle takes too long or it’s way to hard and we have to part ways because no matter what we do the reality is we haven’t found “home” yet. Whether that is with people or horses, home is where the heart is.

    Liked by 1 person

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