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  • Kirstin Halverson

Perceptions Drive Our Reality

What perceptions do you have that are creating a reality you no longer want to experience? The reason I ask is because we had a private client that had an experience I wanted to share. We will call her Wanda for her privacy. The backstory is that she wanted more connection in her relationship. The purpose of the exercise we created for her was to be curious to understand instead of allowing judgment to creep in which enables feelings of resentment. We wanted to create something that allowed for connection and understanding instead. She was asked to use a rope to drive the horse around the round pen. A simple activity, but the horse had some awesome lessons to teach us. With being patient and curious in mind we began the activity. It didn't take much to get the horse going. He was very sensitive to her energy. As she planted her feet which was asking him to do the same and come into her. He continued trotting and then loping around the round pen after she had stopped her feet. There are so many interpretations we could've drawn from this behavior, but Wanda's interpretation is the most important. The perceptions that followed gave clarity into her marriage. You may be thinking I am crazy that this could relate so much, but wait! She started explaining her interpretations that went something like this, "he doesn't like me, he doesn't want to be with me, he doesn't trust me." The list went on, but I will stop there. We discussed how this perception related to her reality in her marriage. Guess what she said? You probably guessed it. Wanda shared that it resembled her feelings and experiences in her marriage almost exactly. Woah. Then we could get to work to change her perception which ultimately had the opportunity to change her reality.


She was asked to be curious. Not draw conclusions and shut down, but seek to truly understand. Emotional connection was the goal, but that wasn't comfortable for him or even her at the time. Curiosity began. What did the horse need from her? Understanding? Empathy? Safety? We gave it to him by no longer driving him with the energy of our bodies. He loped around us for a couple of minutes and then went to get some water. At that moment he allowed us to come just a touch closer, so she did. We did this SEVERAL times before he turned and came right into her for connection. Her old perceptions were the reality of what unfolded in the round pen in the beginning with the horse and ultimately with her spouse. As she worked to toss aside those perceptions which is where the real work is for most people. Letting go of old perceptions that is their reality. It's hard hard work for most people and sometimes takes a session or two, BUT a session or two to change your perception to ultimately change your reality in your intimate relationship... is WORTH the work!


Sometimes we are so stuck with our perceptions because they are in fact reality.. We don't see the possibility to change them because they are REALITY. The crazy part is that they are OUR perceptions not theirs. What if their perceptions are different? I can promise you that they are because they have different life experiences and genetic makeup. They see life through a completely different lenses. As we seek to understand what it's like to see things the way they do, we may see that a new reality is most definitely possible.

What if our next interaction with our loved ones was more focused on understanding their perception than accomplishing our agenda? Sometimes what our significant other needs is nowhere close to what we think they need. If we are open to being authentically curious without judgment or feelings of resentment, then we may learn a great deal and experience connection on a level we may have never experienced with them. It is not easy and we have to keep reminding ourselves of our intentions in EVERY single interaction, but this allows for deeper emotional connection.

Like the horse it may feel safer for our spouse to run around us attempting to get far away, but when we continue to be curious and create a safe place for them to come to when they are ready.. that makes all of the difference. It doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't always happen gracefully, but it does happen with patience and curiosity. Remembering the patience, understanding and safety we are willing to give a horse and make sure we are giving that to our spouse, children, parents etc. We ended the session on that connecting note. We didn't ask the horse to do more than he was willing to do. We allowed him to see it was safe with us. We were curious and understanding instead of judging him for not performing the way we wanted him to.

Interestingly, this horse has since passed away unexpectedly. We are heartbroken at his passing, but this experience with Wanda is an even deeper lesson than I initially thought. Had we lashed out at this horse in ANY way due to his behavior we wouldn't have helped create a safe space for him, we wouldn't have experienced connection and he would have continued to feel unsafe. Woah. Sometimes changing our perceptions to change our reality is deeper than just having a good conversation. Maybe it's that feeling of safety, mutual trust and respect before they leave this earth. I, like many of you, want my last interaction with my spouse to resemble our last interaction with this horse. That I am patient, curious, willing to understand, forgiving and a safe space for my spouse to be his true self.


This horse has left such an impression on us for so many reasons, but mostly because we decided to change our perception about him. We were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. We were willing to put in the work to truly understand him. We were willing to make him feel safe even on his worst days. And ultimately we got the reward of his trust and incredible and unforgettable connection that will forever be imprinted in our hearts. Change your perception to change your reality.

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