Martha Beck Explains How Children Learn from What They See
Martha explains to Wendy that if she wants her son's forgiveness, she must first forgive herself. "Our children model what we do to ourselves, not what we do to them. So if you see unforgiveness in his eyes, it's because you're not forgiving yourself," Martha says. "Your only job is to learn to love yourself. The children, that's all they're waiting for you to do."
According to Martha, a mother who lives her life well is going to have happier children. "Let me tell you my favorite story from a psychiatrist who spent 20 years dealing with neurotic patients. They'd always say, 'I know my mother loved me, but...,' and then they'd go into the problems," she says. "One day she met a really, really healthy man, and she thought, 'Gee, I wonder what a normal person's mother is like?' She never heard that. ... She thought he would say, 'My mother loved me perfectly. She made no mistakes at all.' Instead, he said something she had never heard before from a patient. He said, 'My mother loved life.'"
Martha says parents who neglect to love themselves raise kids who don't show themselves self-love, either. "They don't treat themselves the way you treat them. They treat themselves the way you treat you," she says.
"When she said that in order for me to live my best life, that's going to show him, that was incredible for me, because I never looked at it that way," Wendy says.
The Equine Experience
One emotionally revealing activity at Miraval is the Equine Experience. With the help of best-selling author and psychotherapist Wyatt Webb, the women get to interact with horses on an emotional level. The goal is to get the horse to lift its leg so they can clean its hoof—but it is harder than it sounds. The horse senses how a person is feeling, and will only raise its leg when it feels comfortable.
"I created this almost 15 years ago, and it's based on the premise of how we do one thing is pretty much how we do everything," Wyatt says. "You will end up treating these horses how you've learned to treat people."
The first time Oprah tried the Equine Experience on a previous trip, she says she had some trouble getting the horse to cooperate at first. "[I thought], 'I know how to talk to people. I'm assertive. I'm calm. I know how to get things done. This horse should be lifting its leg,'" Oprah says. "Then you're embarrassed that you weren't able to do it, because I thought I was going to be able to walk in there and be my assertive self and do it."
Eventually, Oprah succeeded after she realized horses don't care what you have to say—it's all about how you feel. "Horses are like living lie detectors," says Martha Beck, who works with horses often. "If you're not really authentic with yourself, a horse is afraid of you and they can tell your heart rate, your adrenaline rate—all of those go up when you're not being completely authentic."
Equine-Assisted Therapy at the Equine Experience
Jennifer and Amy hope that the Equine Experience will help them move past tragedies and begin to live better lives. Jennifer's husband of four months, Cody, was riding in a Humvee in Iraq when he was killed by an explosive device. "I feel like I'm just not normal anymore, like no one can even relate," she says.
Amy says she defended herself with a kitchen knife when she was attacked in December 2005. "A man came into my house and sexually assaulted me, and I turned it around and I stabbed him," she says.
As Amy and Jennifer each try to complete the task, they become frustrated when all four hoofs remain firmly on the ground. Amy says she approached the horse with confidence, but it soon melted away. "[I thought], 'I can do this. I mean, come on. I'm strong and independent,'" she says. "But when I got up there right next to the horse, my heart just instantly started racing, and I didn't know where that was coming from." Watch as Amy and Jennifer complete the Equine Experience.
"We realized that the horse could feel that we were really scared and upset and angry, and that was how we portrayed [ourselves] to other people, too," Jennifer says.
Finally, once they release their pain and fear, the horse becomes more agreeable. "I think it was Amy that helped me out a lot, because I knew that she was hurting just as bad as I am," Jennifer says. "And when we both did it, the horse did what we needed it to do."
Oprah, Gayle and the Women Say Goodbye
At the end of their life-changing week together, Oprah, Gayle and all the women gather for a farewell champagne toast—and a big surprise for Oprah. "One of your loves are the girls in South Africa," says Diedre, one of the guests. "And so we would like to offer ourselves as mentors to those girls in South Africa on a one-on-one basis with a commitment of at least a letter every month to those girls to encourage them and to [let them] know that they are loved."
"When you love my children, when you do something good for my children, it's the loveliest gift you could ever possibly give," Oprah says.
Before saying goodbye, Oprah tells the women what the trip has meant to her. "This week has been so joyful for me also, because I don't spend a lot of time with people I don't know, but I feel that you all are my sisters," she says. "I call you my warrior women. You are what the world needs, and I know this—you will leave this place and continue to give your heart to yourself. Every moment of joy and peace and contentment and recognition that you felt here, that's who you are. That's who you really are. You are the love space in the heart of God, so take that with you and rock on!"
As she leaves the resort, Oprah receives an e-mail from Dr. Oz summing up his thoughts on the experience. "I went to Miraval believing that I would be helping 60 women who had troubled lives," he wrote. "I left realizing that I had met 60 shamans who had been steeled in the fires of hell and represent healers all over America."
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