Last week was Mental Health Awareness week and this year's theme is "Letting Nature in." Around 20 mental health professionals swapped their office for the barn and some "horse time" at our facilities just outside Christchurch. Nature also made her presence felt in all her glory with howling winds and relentless sheets of sleety rain....just to be sure we really would let her in!
As the metaphors and stories unfolded through this short time, I was again reminded of the unique insights that each person takes away from their equine experience.
A few hours later I received this reflection from Margi who generously allowed me to share.
Buddy’s acceptance of us
and the slow, quiet, watchful warm-up,
allowed time to still –
to be present in proximity,
but not touch.
to gauge the mood of the individuals
and the group.
The smell of sun-soaked hay
amid sodden earth.
Blasts of wind
with sleeting, horizontal rain
zipping through the poplar stands,
through open barn bays.
while encased in leather-lined boots.
A multi-sensory experience
viewed and labelled
through my OT lens,
meshed with a teenage history
of an unpredictable,
who I was too untrained to understand.
Today was enriching and empowering;
To offer a hand
and be acknowledged and received
was an honour.
To calmly allow my stranger touch
and then a deep and lengthy currying,
was my privilege.
To be confident
not to have to do
or offer anything,
except praise and touch
That was my lesson today!
This is a short account of an event that we held recently in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week. There is no down side to carving out some time to let nature in. Thank you Margi for allowing me to share your experience.