One of the concepts which Mike presented to me was the idea of "corralling my horses." As he explained it, I have many gifts and many deeply felt emotions. It is quite possible that I have more horses in my corral than others have in theirs and thus more horses to responsibly manage. While someone else might only have five horses, and experience no great difficulty in keeping these horses in line, I have (his example) fifty horses and at times find it quite challenging to keep them in my corral where they belong.
I believe part of the reason he gave me this image was so that I would stop trying to find fault with myself all over the place. He wanted to silence my tendency to think there is something wrong with me which triggers the depression and the inability to deal with the life I have been dealt. If I compare myself to others, they might have absolutely no difficulty living in the middle of the country with no close friends and the constant demands of small children. I need to think about the fact that I am unique and my manner of coping, as well as the level of effort this requires, will not be the same as someone else's coping tactics or effort levels.
Most of the time, I don't really share with my family what I'm learning from the counsel. Sometimes I get off the phone from my weekly session and the boys can tell that I have been upset, but I rarely discuss what we have been discussing. Yet, a few weeks back, when Mike presented me with this word picture, I felt a need to share it with the child who is most like me, Trevor.
Trevor and I had gone on a walk. As we went along, I told him about Mike's analogy concerning a person's gifts and emotions. I emphasized that some people have a limited number of horses and their horses stay in the corral quite easily, but that others, like me, have fifty horses and sometimes find it difficult to keep a handle on all the emotions and gifts.
I turned to him and asked, "Well, how many horses do you think you have in your corral?" I wasn't surprised when he told me he probably had fifty. But his next comment slayed me. He said, "Yeah, and I think my biggest horse of all is called 'Art'."
When I passed this on to Mike, I had to explain it a bit. He doesn't know that Trevor lives and breathes art and even writes his own art blog. He said it made him chuckle so much that he shared it with his wife.
Now, I have a little supervisor around me. When I get extra upset about something, Trevor will pipe up with "Mom, you'd better corral those horses!"
I don't mind because there are plenty of times when I have to say the same back to him! Ha!