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By Angela Dunning

Engagement is a two-way process requiring self-belief, intention and energy.

Whether we are wishing to engage with another person, a horse, or life in general, any form of engagement and progress requires us to take the first step.

We must locate the drive within us to tentatively reach out and do something before we can reap any rewards. Sort of like The Law of Attraction suggests: for anything to respond to us, we have to first move towards it, even if in the smallest of ways.

As a highly sensitive introvert, with an Animus (masculine-side) who is still very much healing and developing into a more positive part of me, my confidence levels can vary from day to day. Therefore, I can sometimes find this initial action difficult. There is also a part of me that hopes, (fantasizes), that somehow, life will respond all on its own and that I can just sit back and wait for the things I want to transpire. Yet this is just that: a fantasy.

Yes, sometimes life sends us the good stuff seemingly without our direct input first. Yet I’ve found that this often happens when in fact we have been taking steps within ourselves to effect some change, maybe in letting go of our attachment to dreams or wishes. Or perhaps we have been taking better care of ourselves – tending our sweet inner-garden more gently through rest, healthy eating and much, much self-love.

As a creative person I can also let this non-active part of me let this fantasy seep into my work at times, until I remember that it is I who must reach out, in whatever way, and sometimes even just in the smallest of ways –a phone call, an email, a piece of writing. Basically, a connection of some kind to someone else to kick-start the process and energy of engagement once again.

When we interact with horses, generally, they show us that this is also the case. To invite the horse to connect and participate in something with us usually requires us to take the first step towards them. We need to have a clear intention about what we’d like. And be able to raise our energy levels sufficiently so that the horse feels our desire to engage and, is, therefore, more likely to respond to us; just as with life generally.

I frequently work with clients to help them increase their ability to reach-out and invite the horse to join them. However, to do this requires some degree of self-worth to be in place first. As without this missing ingredient,  it is hard, if not impossible, to believe that the horse will want to be with us. Many times people try to simply raise their energy levels, in fact, many horsemanship approaches teach this, yet without digging deeper and uncovering why the energy is not available to them in that moment. Again, if our confidence is low, or our self-worth is not solidly developed, our energy will reflect this and not yet be accessible to us.

I notice in others too, especially creative, introverted sensitive people, sometimes a reticence about taking that first step and engaging the world to respond to their art or work. A holding-back, usually for fear of rejection of them or their creations, and/or being unable to stay with their vulnerability as they dare to show the world what comes from inside of them and their imaginations.

It takes courage to venture out. To put ourselves out for all the world to see, especially in this instant social media world which we live in where we can receive instant feedback or a lack of responses. It can be harsh, scary and downright heartbreaking as we sit and wait for the engagement process to happen after mustering so much courage and bravery to reveal ourselves to the world.

Yet reach out we must. Engagement is a two-way process. If we think of it in terms of two partners dancing: it literally takes two to tango. If only one is keen then no dance is possible. And if we really want to dance with a particular person, or to a particular tune, then we must take that first step and invite them to dance with us – human or equine – with clear intention and sufficient energy present so that the other party feels our desire.

When I have been feeling low, going through a period of vulnerability, or lacking self-confidence, I find it helpful to remember all this when I am wanting life to send me certain things. To remind myself that I must take the first step towards whatever it is I desire. This usually encourages me to take that step which also usually fuels my confidence to take another, and another, as life begins to respond to me. I think of the horses or imaginary dance partners, and ask the world to dance with me again.

Angela Dunning has been a certified Eponaquest Instructor since 2007. Based in Herefordshire, England, she also practices elsewhere in the UK and abroad on an invitation. She delivers gentle yet powerful personal development and training programs in Equine Facilitated Learning to individuals, groups, and organizations. She specializes in helping people reconnect to their body, emotions and personal power. She particularly works with women with depression, low levels of confidence and relationship issues, using groundbreaking techniques that make a real difference to your life, your inner healing work and your relationships. In addition, she offers consultancy, supervision, and training in equine facilitated practice. Angela is also a passionate writer of books, articles, and poetry on related topics. Learn more about Angela and her EFL work and read her Blog here: www.equinereflections.co.uk | You can also connect with Angela on Facebook also: www.facebook.com/equinereflections