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Tracy Courtney

The Emotional Roller Coaster

The Parameters Process is all about Emotional Balancing as this is a crucial foundational step that not only provides a means to understand the root cause of behaviour, but the tools to enable us to change most behaviour quickly, easily & permanently. As mentioned in previous articles, the emotional roller coaster isn't just for dogs & horses, it's a natural part of the process for us as well. Although it may seem like an unrelated subject on the surface, a little deeper contemplation will reveal that one directly influences the other. If we analyze our own experiences, we can find many direct correlations between our pet's behaviour & how they mirror our own behaviour.


There is a cavernous gap of understanding as to why our pets behave as they do. When we don't have basic guidelines to follow or even available to contemplate, this leaves us nowhere to go to find answers. This is where commonly seen reactivity such as frustration, impatience & anger arise, as we feel at a complete loss as to where to go or what to do. Many of us have reached out to others for help but have left disappointed because the changes are often short lived, return sooner or later or can take extensive periods of time. 


If we begin dissect our own emotional experiences in life, we can begin to notice correlations. We have all faced very upsetting periods in our lives. If we use a breakup for example, how did we feel & what were the results of those emotions? Many of us were devastated, but now that we're past the experience, we can dissect it to start to understand deeper underlying similarities & the results of these unbalanced emotions. If we consider commonalities in behaviour, we begin to find some interesting patterns.


Why is Parameters necessary as a starting point for Emotional Balancing? If we recall how we physically, mentally & emotionally reacted to an upsetting circumstance, what was the first thing we did? In response to our mental & emotional state, we reacted to these through movement initially. When we become upset, stressed & anxious, we may not realize that subconsciously we begin to express these imbalances through a myriad of physical responses.


If our pets mirror us, what is the first thing most of us do with our pets when they're doing something we feel they shouldn't? We try to limit & stop the movement in order to prevent it from happening. What would happen to us if in a really upsetting situation, we were fitted with a straight jacket & tied to a chair? We would lose our s*#t!Preventing the ability to express emotion through motion would result in a physical & verbal volcanic eruption as we are hardwired to automatically respond to unbalanced emotions through physical expression. If we take some time to contemplate just how many times we've tried to prevent our pets from doing something, we might be quite surprised at how much frustration we have created over their lifetime through unintentional micromanagement. 


Going back to being confined to the chair, take some time to consider what emotions would build & eventually erupt for ourselves. Would it make sense to say that it would cause more stress, anxiety, frustration & even anger? Could these feelings lead to aggression in some cases? Now let's consider the other end of the scale. What are the physical attributes of someone who is mentally & emotionally more balanced? We would observe considerably less need for physical movement. 


Through the human exercises in Parameters, we each personally experience beyond a doubt not only what causes the mind to become overactive, but the results of this activity, that we were previously unaware of in relation to our pets. The simple fact is that nobody can focus, learn or retain information when the mind is overactive & this also applies to our pets. This is why we shift all minds from fifth gear into neutral. We quiet all minds so that all involved are in an optimal state for listening, learning, comprehension & retention. This is why it's referred to as the foundation & must become comfortable & effortless before moving forward.


There is a general pattern that can be observed in our pet's emotional roller coaster as they are shifting from fifth gear into neutral & if we can begin to accept that this is a normal part of the process, maybe we can begin to feel more comfortable with our own processes of change. When we allow the physical movements to express the emotions as necessary, without interference or micromanagement & we can adopt a quietly inquisitive & observational viewpoint, we allow our pets to teach us some profound things not only about them but about ourselves if we choose to reflect.


In general, the pattern goes as follows, the first emotional response is confusion & hesitation because they have become so accustomed to micromanagement, that they don't know what to do with this new freedom of expression & initially wait for us to revert back to our old habits. The second emotional response is fear. The third emotional response is excitement. The fourth emotional response is a more balanced contemplation, where they begin to think about these changes. The fifth emotional response is relaxation & a shift from wanting to get away from us to seeking a new connection with us. This is because this is the first time we've shown them that we're willing to really listen & discuss, while we're beginning to cross the language barrier.


Depending on how much emotional trauma baggage is being carried & how deeply it's buried, during the previous list of responses, we can also find different levels of frustration & different levels of anger, that will begin to express physically. In some, these can also begin to surface as aggression. This is clearly pointed to in the "equine perceptions on body language" video. If we are emotionally unbalanced & choose to perceive these expressions as a personal attack, as so many habitually do, we will force these emotions to be buried even deeper in the body & make the next attempt more difficult as we will lose all the trust gained & compound the trauma. This is where the need for more time, patience & deeper listening without judgement or reactive tendencies is necessary to help bring these more deeply rooted emotions to the surface to be released permanently.