The Chelsea Principle…moving beyond your comfort zone!

Yesterday I facilitated an Equine Assisted Learning session with a 30 year old client who we’ll call Sharon. Sharon is a Christian searching for a deeper spiritual relationship with God.
Each time we bring a horse and a person together for healing or learning, the Holy Spirit always shows up in a unique and encouraging way. Not only does the client learn something about themselves but I am constantly renewed in my own faith in God’s ways as His Word comes to life!
Sharon has found her life seems to be stuck and she has come for some sessions to help her become more aware of why she is stuck in her same patterns. So we chose Chelsea as her teacher that evening.
We turned Chelsea loose in the arena and I set two jump poles on the ground 5’ apart to represent Sharon’s “inner and outer blocks”. I also set an orange cone further beyond the blocks to represent her goals. These goals are the desires God has placed in her heart to fulfill her purpose in her life and bring her joy on her journey!

The blocks and the goal

The blocks and the goal

My instructions to Sharon were to have Chelsea move through (over) her “blocks” to attain the goal she is longing for. She was not to use any rope, halter or any device to help her move the horse but to use her own energy and intention. Sharon has already identified her blocks but wanted a session on moving beyond them.
The comfort zone

The comfort zone

As Sharon started to engage with Chelsea, the horse moved with her for a few steps then circled around and returned to the window that looked out of the arena towards her stall and her friends. Sharon asked her several times to go with her towards the “blocks” and the goal. Each time Chelsea would go several steps, once even going to the pole on the ground (the block) then would circle around and go back to the window. After about 15 minutes of this, Sharon exclaimed “That’s what my life looks like, circling around and around with nothing changing. I keep going back to my comfort zone. That’s where I want to stay!”
“What would break her out of that comfort zone to head towards her goals?” I asked Sharon.
Sharon’s answer was that she noticed Chelsea wasn’t even focused on the goal or heading towards it. She wasn’t any more interested in the goal than Sharon herself was. Even though Sharon verbalized that she wanted to achieve her goals, she realized she was internally acting just like Chelsea!
“What if we got something that she wanted badly enough to go after with some passion?” Sharon asked. So we filled a bucket with hay to encourage Chelsea to follow her “dreams”.
With the bucket of hay in hand, Sharon encouraged Chelsea to follow her to the goal. Chelsea sniffed the hay as she took several steps with Sharon towards the poles on the ground then once again circled back to the window. Sharon tried again. With head in the bucket, Chelsea followed her with an eager step but stopped as they moved toward the poles and away from the window.
“What’s going on?” I asked Sharon.
“She’s interested and excited enough about the hay and wants to follow me but keeps stopping. It’s like there is now a passion to move towards the goal but something keeps stopping her.” Sharon responded.
“There appears to be something still missing for her to want to reach the goal” I said to Sharon.
“I don’t know what that is?” Sharon replied
“How about trust and faith…could it be Chelsea doesn’t feel that in your relationship yet?” I asked her.
“Yes, that’s it!” So Sharon spent some time relating to Chelsea. After stroking her, talking to her and encouraging her with her body language and words in a gentle yet firm tone, Sharon once again asked Chelsea to follow her.
This time with eyes on the goal, Chelsea walked with Sharon over the poles as though they weren’t even there and straight to the cone that represented the goal. If I could describe the difference of what changed in both of them, I would say it was an internal lightness of heart, a bounce in their steps with renewed energy, and a determination that they could both do this! There wasn’t even a hint of hesitation this time. With a screech of joy and excitement of what they’d accomplished together, Sharon gave Chelsea a big hug!
“So what changed?” I asked Sharon.
“Our eyes were on the goal and she didn’t even see the blocks. It was like they weren’t there at all!” Sharon’s voice was filled with excitement at the success of their partnership and the willingness of Chelsea’s changed demeanor.
“Chelsea is just like me! When I have faith and trust in God being with me and all the talents He’s given me, I want to go after my dreams and I get excited about everything but every time my eyes get on the blocks and I start thinking about all the reasons I can’t do it and won’t succeed, I stop going forward towards my dreams and circle back to my old life and what’s comfortable…Wow!!” Sharon exclaimed.
As we put everything away and put Chelsea’s halter on to lead her back to her stall, Sharon said, “I’m going to call this the Chelsea Principle so I never forget that with faith and passion, I can achieve whatever I keep my eyes on! The joy and excitement is in the process of achieving the goal!”
What profound truth a shy and quiet horse was able to show my client. There was a message from the Ranch that evening…
Each day we are creating our stories with the thoughts and decisions we make… Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and be sure we are creating the story we want to write with our life…
Trish Andros Carlo, CPC, MP-ELI
Story Book Meadows
Life Coaching & Equine Assisted Learning

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