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Dunia De Morales
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Living Without Masks

Learning Through Experience


Horses changed the course of my life. They changed my vision, my way of living life, the way I see nature, the "herd" and the community

We live with masks.  For a long time I wore the mask of a know-it-all, happy, brave, friendly and well mannered woman.  Truthfully, my ego had even allowed me to wear the mask of perfection.  Why do we wear masks?  I remember one time during a session, my therapist told me to take my mask off,  and I answered that it was too difficult because the person without the mask suffered, and I didn't like to suffer.

dunia_1Fandango, my horse, was the first one to help me take the mask off.  As I was riding him one day I almost fell.  But during the whole ordeal I was able to remain calm and transmit it to the horse so that he would stop.  I was amazed, I had done it!  I got off the horse feeling happy and wanting to tell everyone that I hadn't been afraid, that I hadn't worried and that I felt very well and proud of myself.  The next day, my trainer and my husband asked me if I was sure I was all right, to what I immediately responded with a clear and definite "Yes".  Moments later I noticed that the horse was not following my lead, and that his behavior was not as usual.  I soon realized that he was reacting to something in me I had not wanted to accept: I was afraid.

I was horrified to see how I had been able to deceive everyone, even myself.  But I couldn't hide it from my horse.  He knew I had been afraid, he could sense I was still afraid.  As I genuinely faced my horse's reaction, I was able to hear a voice inside of me saying, "Yes you were afraid, you are still afraid, and there are things that need to heal before you can go on.  You cannot continue acting as if nothing happened, because something did happen.  Go ahead, cry and face what you are feeling."

It was strange to feel, strange to feel I was afraid and that I felt the need to cry.  I cried my eyes out for several hours.  I think I cried because I had been able to see myself again, bare, without masks, feeling my need to cry, to heal what had been hurt with my previous experience.

And this is where my voyage began... My voyage toward the unknown - my inner self.  This was a voyage into what is authentic and valuable, into what really matters; a voyage in which I would discover who I am, the gifts God has given me, my purpose in life and the seed I will leave behind.

It was in Arizona, during the first workshops I participated in, that I realized that the voice I had heard was my intuition.  I never even knew it existed.  I knew that something in me was sending me messages, but I thought it had been my conscience.  Now I understand its function is a different one.

In my quest for answers, I had found Linda Kohanov, founder of Eponaquest.  She is the author of the best seller The Tao of Equs and Riding Between the Worlds and the Power of the Herd.  I didn't only enroll in the workshops they offered.  What I learned was so life-changing that I decided to become an instructor.  I graduated from Eponaquest as an Approved Instructor for Facilitating Experiential Learning through Horses with an Emphasis on Leadership.

Today I can say that I am a kind, gentle, caring, empathetic, brave, honest, hard working, persistent and perseverant person.  At the same time I am also rebellious, proud, jealous, fearful, vulnerable, arrogant and a perfectionist, to mention some.  What I am saying is that I now accept the fact that I have qualities and defects.  I am not ashamed of any of them; not of the ones on my bright side nor the ones of my dark side.  I now understand that they are all part of me, they all form me and make me the person I am.  I just fight every day to accept my dark side in order to be able to use it to achieve good works.

dunia_2Horses changed the direction of my life.  They changed my vision and my way of perceiving life, nature, the herd and the community. Since then, I always make a conscious effort to remain aware, alert, present, and to listen to my intuition.  My greatest satisfaction is to be able to contribute to the process in which others can also learn to find themselves, their purpose and to improve their quality of life.  I am a leader and an instructor of leadership and personal development workshops which help people improve their emotional and social intelligence through conscience in action with horses.

I have also worked in the process of training my horses on the arena.  In this I have had the support of my great friend, Alane Millions, from Australia and Jose Miguel Alejos from Guatemala.

When I discovered that horses transmit important information about our lives, I made it an issue to be empathetic with them, to learn to know when something is bothering them and how to live with them.  I have spent many hours observing horses in order to determine the most efficient way to call their attention and obtain their respect. 

I have had the opportunity to work with horses considered to be dangerous due to their "intent in throwing the rider off".  What I have discovered is that this behavior is usually simply their reaction to the different situations, elements or beings that they consider threatening.  I have done desensitizing exercises with these horses with the primary purpose of gaining their trust as well as offering them trust and security.  Once this is achieved,  have been able to help them face their fears so that they may overcome them, letting them know they have my support and unconditional care.

I have been able to observe and understand that behavior is a form of communication.  In being empathetic, understanding and able to read their behavior, while establishing clear limits, I have had the opportunity to transform horses who were fearful, easily frightened and shy, into self assured and brave horses who are willing to work with the rider.  What I have seen is that as a horse learns to see objects, places and situations from a different perspective,  their behavior undergoes a radical change.

This opened my eyes to a new revelation.  Often times the behavior of our children, family members, employees, bosses or co-workers is tagged as negative or undesirable, instead of seeing it as a source of information that can contribute to help help them transform their lives.  In working through this process with the horses, I have discovered how these same principles can be used in human situations, in which an undesirable behavior expressed by (the work done with) children, teenagers and adults who are highly sensitive and potentially explosive, is really a call for others to treat them in a gentle and empathetic manner.  It is possible to work this out when it is backed up by the wise use of the non-predator power.

Dunia de Morales familiacubuntu

Certified Eponaquest Instructor