“Focus your attention on the area of the heart... and say yes if you find horses there!” - Christina Marz
Transcript of my speech presented at the International Wellness Summit in May 2022
My name is Christina Marz. I am an independent solopreneur and mother driven by curiosity and passion. I am also a family counselor and the Founder of MarzMethod.
MarzMethod stands for holistic, nature based and scientifically proven Interventions inspired by horses. I apply, teach and certify others in MarzMethod Interventions in 22 countries for the past 7 years.
In my path of teaching and healing both horses and humans, I became an expert in anxiety and it´s underlying root cause, emotional trauma. I have studied the topic from all angles and blended the best methods for treating anxiety and trauma into a holistic model that is now applied all over the world;
When it comes to anxiety, I know what I am talking about. I grew up in a dysfunctional home, with an absent father who left us in the sole care of a mother crippled by depression and social anxiety because “it was too hard for him to see us girls suffer”.
Instead of choosing detachment or rebellion, I found connection and empathy within a herd of horses. They made me overcome my own severe anxiety and empowered me to build my international school that has certified about 300 professionals on three continents. Horses helped me to stay away from unhealthy coping strategies such as depression, addiction or toxic relationships. I will talk more about those coping strategies in a minute.
Horses became my passion and it also became my passion to help others through their pain by sharing what I had learned over the years.
I am here today to share with you what I have learned from working with thousands of clients worldwide who were suffering from trauma and anxiety when I met them, and who were able to turn their pain around, to find their curiosity and passion again and to start a process of sustainable growth.
I will explain why you have learned unhealthy coping skills and I will give you practical tools that you can start using today. In fact, we will start using them in about 15 minutes!
Let´s break the Chains of Your Past and find out who you are meant to be.
People who sign up for this summit are often experiencing some kind of pain, whether it be physical or emotional, or pain around a creative block, or pain around money, or relationship pain.
If I had a 1-1 session with each of you, I could, in about 90% of the cases, tie your pain back to a traumatic experience earlier in your life. Let me explain that.
First of all, a traumatic experience can be many things. It could be an assault or abuse, it could be prolongued rejection, but it could also be rooted in neglect, and it could even be rooted in a misunderstanding. For example, when you had a minor surgery as a kid and your parents tried to hide the details from you in order to protect you. After the surgery, you woke up terrified, alone, with scars and you had no idea what was going on. And it was never openly talked about ever again. That is traumatizing.
The trauma expert Dr. Gabor Maté said in his award-winning documentary: It´s not the event itself that leaves a child traumatized, it is being left alone with the pain.
From the biological side, we can look at trauma as accumulated stress in the nervous system that was not dissolved properly by either a fight, flight, or freeze reflex. That´s what animals do when they are attacked by adversity: they flee, they fight, or they freeze to save their lives. Once the threat is over they tremble, and they move on with their live.
Human beings are often prevented from that process or distracted during the process, the stress stays and turns into anxiety or depression.
Anxiety would be like to fleeing in your mind, depression would be like freezing in your mind. Both are disconnected from the present moment and focus on the worry.
I could go on about this forever, but let´s just bring it down to the fact that those biological responses will then translate into other biologically smart patterns: those include shallow or rapid breathing, protective body posture, higher levels of Adrenalin, social with-drawl or over-bonding, and many others. Naturally, those should be short-term patterns during crisis.
If they become habits, if they become part of your character, your story, they all create pain on different levels. To cope with that pain, you could overfocus on work, numb the pain with drugs, or try to feel alive with risky sports. Those are called coping strategies.
Those patterns of prolonged flight, fight or freeze can also make you physically sick.
People with adverse childhood experiences have a higher risk for heart disease, for allergies, for autoimmune diseases, for asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and many more. Trauma changes your DNA. It will even be inherited.
Earlier I said that I would tie all of your current pain back to traumatic events. And we would find out that healing is not about undoing that event, whenever it happened, it´s about analyzing the coping strategies you developed back then. You know, not two people will react in the same way to the same event. Their individual reaction depends on their individual Sense of Coherence. That is a construct introduced by Aron Antonovsky, the same brilliant sociologist who introduced the term Salutogenesis – which is focusing on our strength instead of our weaknesses.
The Sense of Coherence is made of three parts and will define your stress response to any given event. Let´s say, you get robbed. someone broke into your apartment, the doorlock is altered with, Material stuff is missing.
In order to analyze your Sense of Coherence, we first want to know if you truly and logically understood what happened. That´s the Comprehensibility part.
Then we check if you have the right tools and know what to do about the event. That´s the manageability part. In our example, you´d call the police, change the lock, tell your social circle, ask for support, those kind of things.
And lastly, we will look at the meaning you have given that event in the story of your life. That´s called Meaningfulness.
What will that robbery mean to you in the future? Was it a warning, or bad luck, or maybe a punishment for your sluggishness? I find this part particularly interesting.
This is applicable to any event in your life. When I grew up, my Sense of Coherence was rotten. I believed I was the same kind of wrong as my Dad, that the solution was pretending not to be that kind of wrong, and that I should never have a family of my own.
Today I know that my adverse childhood experiences have given me empathy and creativity. They make me unique and resilient and I can share that within my profession and within my family.
When we repair our Sense of Coherence and learn that events happen for a reason, that there are tools to deal with them and that we are NOT what happens to us, we can lead a pain-free, fulfilled life. That is called Post Traumatic Growth.
The big take away for you at this point is understanding that whatever is bothering you today is like a survival skill from way back. It saved your life at some point. Today, you can make the decision to let go of that unhealthy coping habit and step into your true power.
You can re–ignite passion and creativity in every area of your life and create sustainable growth for your soul, your body and your mind, with yourself, within your family relationships and within your business.
For me, the best strategy to do that is through the values that define the therapeutic interventions in MarzMethod: Natural connection, empathy and collaboration
One of these Interventions is my own model Horse Guided Empowerment®, another is Body Language Mindfulness, another is HeartMath.
Now be aware that I am not talking about a magical unicorn that will poop a rainbow in front of you and everything turns into bright colored love and peace forever.
Turning your coping strategies around takes awareness and willingness.
Instead of overeating and numbing your pain you could go on a walk, allow yourself to feel the anxiety and then breath through it or shake it off. Every day. Until the 20, 40 or 60 years of habit building crumble and new pathways are formed within your nervous system.
“One step a day walks anxiety away.” - Christina Marz
I often say that one step a day walks anxiety away. Slowly and steadily.
Not by innundating, threatening or punishing your traumatized self. Take yourself by the hand, find a mentor who can take the other hand, and walk yourself away from the pain, step by step.
If you dont do it slowly, you will not build resilience which is paramount for your wellbeing, because the next trauma is probably just around the corner. Think accidents, Covid, loss and grief or an earthquake. Reality is full of adverse events, but Post-traumatic growth is real too.
I learned about this with rescued horses when I was around 10 years old. I had to understand what scared them, accept them with their fear, and show them another way out of the fear. Step by step. If I overdid it, they would panic and hurt me. If I went too slow, they would be sold as useless and crazy.
These horses taught me that healing was possible with consistency and the right environment.
Once we manage to grow past our trauma, we achieve resilience. We become stronger, more creative and more passionate about connecting to others in empathy.
The biological fight response, whether it manifests in lashing out to your kids or engaging in toxic relationships will turn into calm wisdom as a mediator.
The biological flight response, whether it is running away from relationship commitment or getting into trouble all the time will turn into a smart, witty alertness that makes you win in every area of your life.
The biological freeze response, wether it is hiding in your home, overeating or believing that you can´t do a chore will turn into a creative problem solving idea producer.
And then there is a last response we haven’t mentioned yet: the fawn response. That is about pleasing others to save your own skin. Dogs do that when they lie on their back and show their belly to prevent an attack.
It might be the hardest to overcome because it is not seen as unhealthy in our society.
Our fast food consumerist society prefers us to fawn and not to step into our power.
We will do the exact opposite now. We will learn a power pose that makes us feel energized and empowered.
Please sit upright, and place your feet at each side of your chair. Feel the soles of your feet touching the ground. Stomp once. Twice. Good!
Now lift your chin and put your arms on your hips.
Breathe. Smile. Lift your chest. Smile.
Do this before important meetings for about 5 minutes. Or start your day with it!
Now if you want to, let´s increase it a notch. Spread your arms. Open your chest. Smile. Imagine you are sitting on a gentle horse. He is carrying you over a beautiful field, or maybe on the beach. You can feel the wind on your face and you feel completely safe. The horse matches the exact speed you feel comfortable in. You can hear his hoofbeats on the ground. With each hoofbeat, with each step, anchor this feeling and let go of doubt or anxiety.
Breathe, and enjoy.
While you guys are riding towards your best passionate life, I´ll just say that you can find more of this on my website ChristinaMarz.com or on social media at marzmethod.
I have written several books, I offer individual counseling, mentoring, and small courses that you can take online at your pace.
With care, Christina
Enjoy living your dreams.
"Hello there, nice to meet you! I am your mentor for making dreams come true. Raised in Germany, I moved to the Andes of Ecuador 20 years ago. I am an independent entrepreneur and homeschool Mom of 3 awesome boys. I am driven by curiosity and passion, and I am inspired by calm connectedness. My name is Christina Marz, founder of MarzMethod, Horse Guided Empowerment®, and the Sin Miedo© Foundation."
My early years were no walk in the park but luckily, horses helped me gain assertive calmness and today I am living my dreams all the way. Let me guide you to find and achieve yours! Talk soon, Christina