Lend Your Energy

WCCO’s Jordana Green takes a lesson from Dr. Allan J. Hamilton, writer of “Lead with Your Heart: Lessons From a Life With Horses”

Photo by ambrozinio/fotolia

“What does that mean?” I asked my guest Dr. Allan J. Hamilton after he said this last week on my radio show? “What does it mean to lend your energy?”

Dr. Hamilton is a neurosurgeon, a horse trainer and the guy who tells Patrick Dempsey how to sound like a real doctor on Gray’s Anatomy. Cool career right? He’s written many books but his latest is Lead with Your Heart: Lessons From a Life With Horses. I asked him to come on my show to discuss all of the above. He began his adult life as a janitor, tried to be a painter, then went to medical school, (big leap, I know) then became an author/teacher, then became a TV consultant, then became a horse trainer… all while practicing neurosurgery. Feel free to listen to the entire interview—he’s pretty amazing.

So what has such an accomplished person learned from horses?

He says horses wont trust you if you don’t lend them your energy. That means you need to be fully present with them, look them in the eye, breathe with them, and be focused on the same task.

He now uses this with his patients. Before, he used to show them images of their brains and disease pointing at slides with his back to them. Now he has them sit next to him so they are on the same plane, in the same physical and breathing space. He says he can feel his patients breathing calm down when he sits close to them and talks with them, not at them.

‘Being present’ is not new advice but ‘lending your energy’ is a new way to practice it. You may already do this unknowingly with your kids or your pets because they often climb in your lap and lend you their energy. I got to experience this with my oldest the other day. At 13 she doesn’t often climb in my lap anymore but last week she had a tough day at school, when I hugged her goodnight I didn’t let go. We stood hugging in the hallway outside her room for many long minutes. Our breathing synchronized and our bodies settled into each others in a comfortable and familiar way. I could feel both of our blood pressure drop as we had this meditative moment together. I could definitely feel her energy and she was calmed by mine. When I lent my energy this way I did not feel depleted but restored. I learned that lending your energy doesn’t mean expending it, it means sharing it and getting even more back in return. Now that’s a good investment!

This week I wish you the rejuvenating feeling of lending your energy to someone or something you love.

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