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By Angela Dunning

I love this phrase, "Slowing down the tongue to soul-speed", from Marion Woodman’s incredible book Leaving My Father’s House: A Journey to Conscious Femininity, as it speaks volumes to me about how connected we are to our body and soul when we speak.

"Soul-speed" is where we generally become less and less verbal, and, that when we do speak, we speak from our soul and heart where there is meaning to our words, rather than the usual clipped, ready-prepared sound-bites which try to fill the slightest bit of empty space.

You know when you’re in the presence of someone who’s really mastered the art of connecting to and speaking from their mind-body-soul because they speak at a slower pace. They leave pauses and allow you to finish, rather than interrupting you mid-sentence or second-guessing your replies. We all hate this when someone does it to us, yet how many of us still fall into that same trap and finish others' sentences for them?

People who live a soul-based life, indigenous peoples, and those who've spent years engaged in spiritual and meditative practices noticeably speak much less, and when they do, they tend to speak much more slowly, in a considered, thoughtful and clearly connected way. You can literally feel they are speaking of their body and soul rather than just their mouth. You can hear the depth of their voice rising up from the belly, via their heart and eventually picking up some thoughts along the way, before carefully easing their words out into the world. Contrast this to the rapid, spilling-out that takes place from most peoples' mouths...My years of gentle work alongside horses, a non-verbal species, has shown me that our very human tendency to be overly-verbally and mentally focused can get in the way of making a meaningful and beautiful connection of depth with them.

It also hampers our ability to fully connect with ourselves at the deepest, trust level. It blocks us from our heart and its desires, and our body and its needs. It also stops us from hearing the gentle breeze of our soul's whispers, so light that if we even think or speak too loudly we risk missing them as they float softly by.

When we talk at anything other than soul-speed around horses, in my experience, the horses either switch-off or walk away from us. However, when we regularly engage in mind-body-soul reconnection practices such as mindfulness and embodied heart-based interactions with the horses, and self-reflective, soul-based practices such as journaling, being alone in nature, creating pieces of art and so on, we do indeed slow down, both our thoughts and our words, to soul-speed.

This is why I think the horses turn and come towards us: as soul-full beings themselves, they can finally feel us in our entirety. We are complete and full of ourselves when we speak from our heart and soul. And boy, do they love this.

The rest of the time, I believe, they just learn how to tolerate us and most likely tune-out the vast majority of what tumbles out of our mouth at break-neck speed, so fast usually that we don’t have any clue as to what or how we are really saying to others; what a superficial way to go through life...I find now that when I speak, I feel a pull of focus down into my belly. No, in fact, it’s lower than that: Down into my sacrum, my centre and the very core of my being. And, I feel I have to connect with what I feel there first to find out what my true meaning is. Then I can try to form the words that rise up through my body, to my chest (heart); then my throat and only then, finally, allow them to come out of mouth. Rather than those that want to fly straight down from my brain and out of my mouth; seemingly of their own volition.

By slowing down to soul-speed it also becomes possible to more easily follow one’s own true path. We're less likely to be influenced or swayed by the outside world and its temptations. It becomes far easier to stay true to oneself and to speak what is helpful, rather than what is expected or what we feel we ought to say, in order to be liked and accepted by our peers.

It becomes possible to move through life in a soul-full way, or to put it another way: in a more horse-like way.

Reference: Leaving My Father's House - A Journey to Conscious Femininity, Marion Woodman. Shambhala Publications, 1992.

Angela Dunning is the author of The Horse Leads the Way: Honoring the True Role of the Horse in Equine Facilitated Practice. You can learn more about Angela; her work helping people and horses reclaim their wildness, and read more of her articles at: www.thehorsestruth.co.uk You can also connect with Angela on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thehorsestruth | www.thehorsestruth.co.uk