Listen to the wind, it talks.  Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows. — Native American Proverb

Going through recovery, having a plan of action that keeps me on the right path, learning a new process and doing the work, is what works for me to stay sober. Recovery is not just about becoming sober, it is about listening to your heart and learning how to live your life to its fullest potential.

If you google the “12 Steps,” you will get the AA version, the mindfulness version, a holistic version, and biblical comparisons showing verses that coincide with AA’s way of working the Steps. There are many pathways to recovery and each of us has to choose the way that works for us. I have read all of the versions and each gives me tools to put in my recovery toolbox.

I have also experienced the amazing healing power of horses when I’ve shared my heart with them and listened to what they have to say or show me. Tapping into their wisdom, I am sharing with you my version of the “12 Steps.”

I have condensed mine into 7 steps, because horses live in the moment and I believe they would ask us to cut out the ‘horse manure’ and get right to the heart of the matter!

In the next few weeks — 7 to be exact — I will share our horses’ and my Seven Neighs with you. I hope you enjoy them, will work them with me, and use them on your recovery journey.

Our Horses Nicker and Neigh…

Neigh #1. . .Listen to your Heart. You have a beautiful power within you to listen to your heart. Surrender to your truth.  Follow what your inner voice is saying.  Life is precious. Let your authentic self be healed, whole, and healthy.

What does it mean to “listen to your heart?” For me it means surrendering to my truth in order for my heart to begin healing. When I was drinking my truth consisted of fear, pain, and shame.  Fear of how my life was going to change if I stopped drinking, pain of facing my family, and shame based around all that I had done. So I kept listening to my head instead of my heart. It persuaded me that I was doing great, that I would be okay, and that I could slow down my drinking — tomorrow. My heart knew that was not the truth.

The reality is I had to listen to my heart and get help, ask for forgiveness, and face my shame in order to live life by following my heart’s truths. The horses helped me find my heart. I had lost it in the process of drinking myself sick. In order to heal I had to learn what it felt like to know when I was speaking from my heart and not my head. I had to get in touch with what it felt like to listen to my heart, to understand the difference between what my mind was saying and what my heart was feeling.

The horses support us authentically, heart to heart. They are old souls who bring their wisdom to the round pen — our office in the arena — where they and I partner as coaches to offer you love and to heal those who are willing to show up and listen to the wisdom of their own hearts.

I hope you will take a moment right now to listen to the messages of your heart. And if you need any direction or help, we – our horses and I — are waiting to see you in the barn!