Coming Home to Nature’s Gate
About Brenda Linn
I am insatiably curious and I love the potentiality of people. I’ve spent the last 40 years in search of good health, happiness and my own highest potential. Along the way, I have learned from many teachers, clients, family and life.
I began my curious quest as a child in the forest and on the shore of Lake Michigan, in nature, where I could be active and relaxed, reflective and creative. In my teen years I found a vibrant group of healthy woman at the local YMCA and I began my love affair with fitness. I graduated with a B.S. in Health and Fitness Management and I served in that field for 20 years. During that time I had the privilege of working with people from all walks of life from cardiac rehabilitation to competitive athletes. Fitness was my entrance into the matrix of what I now call wholeness.
I was pregnant with my oldest daughter when I attended my first yoga class. That teacher said these words, “Can you find contentment with your body right now?” At this time, I was a health specialist and a personal trainer and my work was making bodies better. That question bounced around in my body and mind without an answer. Being curious has a way of bringing me into uncharted places. Yoga is one of those places. After 10 years of practice I began my training as a teacher at the Yoga Center of Minneapolis and in 2013 I completed 500 hours of study with the Kripalu School of Yoga.
Yoga is sincere inquiry and a humble search for the truth of things. It was in the deeper practices of Yoga that I first connected with some of my own missing parts. Not entirely sure what that sensing was all about, I knew just three things: I needed to reconnect with myself in nature, there was an “inner authority” in me, and that a horse would be my next teacher.
Knowing absolutely nothing about horses, I began horseback riding lessons. I found that the common horse world was not all together in line with with my own heart and instincts. Horses require authenticity in relationship. Having no experience with horses, but still having contract to my own gut instincts, made my learning path, at times, challenging for all of us. Through this journey of honoring what I now call “inner knowing”, I have been fortunate to learn with some wonderful teachers. I began this work with Jen Gruber of Inspired Horsemanship . She offered enthusiastic encouragement and provided my daughters and I a supportive place to begin our relationship with horses.
Our body is our first home and an intelligent guide. Bodies communicate with sensation, tension, chronic pain and disease. I was given many signals, until pushing them away became debilitating anxiety. About a year into my adventure with horses, I experienced a breakdown or breakthrough depending on your perspective. It was a big, ugly mess and I simply had no more strength to hold onto what I thought was everything. In a deep surrender I let go.
At the bottom everything looks different. There is a calm clarity in trusting the ground. The vision for the farm came from that place. My husband, the girls and I began forming a new dream that became Nature’s Gate Farm. We sold our house, bought 60 acres and began that inspired work. After two years of sweat, tears and slivers, we moved to our new home welcoming 21 animals including 6 horses.
Still not entirely sure how to work with our horses, breadcrumbs and fate lead me to Juli Lynch. I spent a day with her and her herd and I knew without a doubt that THIS is what I wanted. With four other curious equestrians, I spent one year as an apprentice to Juli and became certified with Epala in Equine Facilitated Coaching/Learning. Juli gave me new eyes for seeing horses and a way of partnering with them that was nothing short of magic.
My horses continue to give me practice in being fully present in my body and open to ALL that is. They give me space to dance with vulnerability and power and gift me healing and practice for authenticity and leadership. Our herd has been given an invitation to be wholly present with us. This reciprocal trust is the foundation of our partnership. Working with horses is my yoga-in-relationship, it is where I am curious about what happens in “the space between us.” I am in awe of the beauty and the power that can be found in that space. I am filled with hope by the potential of that power to heal our world.
Wellness is wholeness, it includes the light and the dark places within us and between us. Mine has been a path of letting go, opening and reclaiming all of myself. Guided by Nature, learning in relationship, I am led toward the aliveness that is in deep connection to the world. Through the pain and the joy of discovery I continue to find my way home.