The Art of Healing Through Portraiture

I first learned from horses that sketching and painting them brought interesting and surprising results: physical healing, behavioral changes, and new insights into the healing process. Over time and after a special interaction with a client’s horse I was helping, I felt intuitively prompted to extend portrait drawing to humans as a means to healing. The results have been fascinating and rewarding.

With this approach as a process, and based on your own commitment to personal growth, you may experience any one of the following or something else unique to you: a spiritual, emotional, or physical shift; release from stuck grief, depression, fears; significant support and recovery from sexual abuse; clearing of obstacles that stand in your way; shifts in perspectives, re-framing; a deeper connection with the divine in yourself; and, most exciting to me, the unveiling of gifts you didn’t know you had along with a new sense of life purpose!


Your portrait is an evolution as things come to the surface. I am simply a conduit. It may not even look like you but may carry symbols important to you. It is a working art form not necessarily an aesthetic piece, . With one client, I had trouble doing his nose. He volunteered that it was because he stuck his nose in others’ business. With another client, I had difficulty drawing anything that even looked decent even though she was an attractive older woman. Finally I turned the page and surrendered to whatever I might draw. And when I did, it turned out to be a man. I asked her if there was a significant man in her past. It turned out she had been raped as a teenager…and here was an opportunity for a completion of healing around this issue. I later did an oil portrait of her and on a whim I decided to give her red hair. She later told me she had always wanted red hair! As I watched her life change over the past few years to the surprise discovery that she is an incredible natural artist, I wondered if the red hair in her painting released something new, something hidden? I don’t know, but I like to think it contributed to her personal process. For another client, as we talked, the portrait evolved into a new look of maturity and confidence that became the finished portrait.


I am a 79 year old portrait artist, writer, and horse “listener.”Approximately 40 years ago after retiring from a teaching career, I did my first human charcoal portrait. The subject was Beatle George Harrison from a photo on the front of a book. I spent days working on it trying to tweak it. In the end, I had erased so many times, I feared there would be no paper left behind his face!

During that time I had a small town art center and our first weekly class was life drawing with nude models. It was then I first observed a spiritual connection between artist and subject and became curious about what might be experienced in the exchange, and the impact on the art itself.

As time went by, I also began to question why I sometimes had proportion issues or distortions in my drawings. I had some inklings but years later the answer came. While looking at a quick watercolor of my thoroughbred who has beautiful flowing lines from the rear which is so joyful to observe and to sketch, I noticed that in my painting, he was lopsided from one side to the other. Before condemning myself on the distortion, I remembered that this horse had suffered a major hoof injury a few years earlier and because of his physical compensation, there was an actual distortion in his body that I had intuited but my eye had not discerned. I now pay attention to such subtleties. They often open the door to important information.

During my 30+ years working in nontraditional ways with my rescue horses, or rather they were working with me, I was nudged to draw a horse when it was physically ill or uncomfortable. Over time, I began to notice that either they immediately became more peaceful, or I would receive an insight of something to do that would bring comfort or healing. Most of the time there was a spontaneous recovery without my doing anything more than just sketching them.

A few years ago, my old guy, Dollar, a quarter horse, was determined to overcome my chronic skepticism and get through to me this correlation between sketching and healing once and for all after the many years of learning from all the horses. Dollar went through a period of suffering colic multiple times within weeks. The first was most severe. I had never experienced such debilitating colic with any of my horses. I am well trained in key acupressure points on a horse for colic and in the past had been able to avert it in the beginning stages. But nothing was working this time. He miraculously survived that first night. However, with subsequent colics, having exhausted different attempts and modalities with no success, finally, and a bit reluctantly due to that skepticism, I pulled out my sketch pad and sketched him. Each time the symptoms reversed within minutes. It took multiple times for me to really get it and by the final time I literally ran for my sketch pad and charcoals, sat down by him as he lay on the ground and started to sketch. He got up immediately and was eating and pooping within minutes as he had done each prior time…except for one exception, the first and the worst of the series. That had remained a mystery to me through the whole ordeal. With that colic, he had done such violence to his body as he flung himself to the ground over and over there was no way he could possibly have been alive by morning. But…he was. When I had awakened from my bed in the car, he was standing peacefully as if absolutely nothing had happened during the night. He showed no signs of body injury nor even tiredness.

After finally accepting that there was a correlation between the sketching and the reversal of symptoms, I puzzled over the profound reversal of that first and harsh colic many nights before when in my mind I had done nothing except fail with every effort. How did that fit with the lessons Dollar was teaching me with the rest of the colic events? Revisiting that night in my mind, I had gone into the barn to retreat from my helplessness to make a difference for Dollar. When I came out awhile later, he was sleeping peacefully on the ground. I did not assume his colic was gone but only that he was exhausted. I did not want to risk waking him up to his pain again, so quietly retired to my temporary bed in the car where I had awakened hours later to that miracle of Dollar standing alive and unscathed! 

As I pondered the various colic events that Dollar had presented to me, and that awful night in particular, I caught my breath as I suddenly remembered that I had in fact sketched Dollar that night when I went into the barn! OMG! How did I forget it?  I had been so weary, I did not get my sketch pad but had sat on the steps and in a desperate surrender, sketched him in the air over and over with my fingers as if doing a charcoal drawing!  Strangely, so thick was my skepticism, I had made no connection to the quieting of his symptoms minutes later when I found him asleep on the ground. But I had in fact sketched him! With this unexpected realization, I could no longer doubt. Dollar had been relentless in getting that message across to me that the horses had been trying to teach me for 30 years while my skepticism had held my mind captive. Thanks to Dollar’s persistence, he kicked the skeptic out the door, and the understanding and acceptance that I was sketching them into health, was now, finally and deeply etched in my soul.

HEALING PORTRAIT:1 1/2 -2 hour session includes the charcoal portrait, a write up, and a 1/2 hour follow-up, $125.
DISTANT HEALING PORTRAIT using your photos. Add $10 to prices above for handling.

DEPOSIT: For Distant and commissioned work, 50% required.

OTHER OPTIONS: Commissioned charcoal or oil portraits of animals or humans that also bring healing but the focus is more on the aesthetics of the art and a look alike of the subject. Pricing to be determined depending on size and medium (charcoal or oil).

I welcome your questions.
Beverly Smith / Artist/Facilitator


I Didn’t Give It Another Thought: A Fun Story. And True.

A little over 2 years ago a movie was filmed on the ranch where my horses are pastured. Since filming was to take place inside the home and not at the barn, I didn’t think too much about it. I did, however, engage in some grumblings about the inconvenience of an imposed schedule of when I could and could not be on the ranch. I probably only remember that because of one incident, and only one, when the schedule changed without my being notified. I was there at the wrong time! I got into a bit of a squabble with the ranch caretaker who wanted to make it my fault. While I don’t look kindly on false accusations; in this case, the underlying issue was my fear that I had unknowingly messed something up with the filming. I worried that my car might have cast roving sunlight beams through the windows of the house as I drove by, creating an unwanted light show at a strategic moment during the filming. I cringed as I imagined the whole room erupting in curses and wall pounding from the crew!

In the end, it didn’t happen, at least as far as I know, and apparently no one really noticed nor rolled their eyes in frustration at my being there at the wrong time. Weeks later when the film crew was packing up to leave, a coordinator of some sort appeared at the barn to give me kudos for my cooperation. The acknowledgement soothed any remaining irritation, and I went back to caring for my horses as they drove away. With a year or more ahead in editing and whatever else it takes to bring a movie together, I didn’t give it another thought.

The forgotten movie surfaced unexpectedly a few months ago. During a barn chat, Kenny, the ranch owner told me he had seen it. The movie. Oh. Right! That one! He casually mentioned that my horses were in it, as well as his chickens and guardian dog, Atticus. Because of his matter-of-fact style, it took a little time to sink in. I was surprised and pleased, cautiously, not knowing anything about the movie. However, had I known the cameras would find their way to the barn, I might have fretted and been a little more meticulous with the horses’ grooming, and would have cleaned up the growing manure pile in the paddock. But since it took place without my knowing, thankfully, I was spared the angst. Maybe some day I would see the movie for myself. In the meantime, any intrigue and curiosity wore off in a matter of days. I didn’t give it another thought.

Many weeks later, Kenny mentioned the movie again. This time he informed me that our small town but prestigious theater was showing the movie outdoors as a fundraiser on Mother’s Day weekend. There was also going to be a tour of the movie site here at the ranch on the following day. Oh. Wait! I needed to catch up with this new information. I assimilated what I could, and worked robot-like at cleaning my portion of the barn. At the last minute, it all hit me that given that my horses were in this movie, my opportunity to see it had come. I decided just a few hours before the showing that I would like to go. I asked Kenny for details. What he said stunned me. The price was $100 per ticket and had sold out within an hour! Feeling that “cold water in the face” sensation, I stood blinking, dripping, and awkwardly laughing, “Gues-s-s I won’t be attending! “

Instead, that evening at dusk, I hiked one of my favorite paths with my dog, Henii, on the coastal bluffs above the Pacific Ocean. At a certain point on the trail, it hit me that my decision to hike this particular path must have been intuitive. The trail just happened to overlook the harbor cove where the movie was going to be shown that evening. I stopped in my tracks and stood looking down the hill as cars with headlights on by now, were pulling into the parking lot one by one positioning themselves for the outdoor showing. Unbeknownst to anyone in those cars below, Henii, my bearded Airedale mix, and I, stood statue-like above, mysterious shadows watching their every move, carrying this secret that none of them knew nor, quite frankly, even cared to know. Why would they? It was my own undercover story. My horses were in that movie they were preparing to watch while they were being watched from up the hill by what became a woman and her dog as I transitioned into the observer and storyteller of my own waggish creation. I stood silently. An enchanting tickle moved through my body; fresh ocean air lightly touched my face. It was surreal.

Mother’s Day tours arrived. Guests drove into the ranch at their scheduled time and I became the self-appointed greeter for early arrivals. I felt admiration for the committed members of this rural community who would so lucratively support the theater for a small town movie, filmed a few miles up the road. It was amazing. I inquired of one outspoken guest how he liked the movie. He responded that it deserved every award it received. Awards? I had not heard of any awards. I cocked my head questioningly trying to decide whether to expose my ignorance with my next question. Being a skeptic at heart, and not wanting to be gullible to someone’s mockery in case that was what he was doing, I warily asked if it had actually received awards. His answer was simple and succinct. Yes. End of story. He had no personal need to educate me.

I couldn’t wait to ask a fellow boarder at the ranch about possible awards since I knew she had seen the movie months before. She told me that her mother had said it received multiple Oscars. Oscars? Oh? I was impressed that this backyard movie I assumed was a short documentary had actually made it to the Academy Awards. How cool was that?! With eyebrows raised, I asked her the name of the movie. (Yes. It is true. I did not yet know the name!) I ran to my computer and typed N…o…m…a…dland and aaaaahahaha! The joke was on me!

For those of you who are not movie buffs and don’t follow the Academy Awards, Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand won 3 Oscars for best movie, best lead actress, and best director and was nominated in 3 other categories! It also won 3 Golden Globe Awards and countless others. I had no idea that the movie I was continuously brushing off was destined for such grandeur. All the time I was oblivious! But my horses knew! They saw those cameras roll in their direction. They had teased me each step of the way for the past 2 years allowing me hints while keeping mum about the secret they held.

Since successful films often have hidden symbolic and powerful icons tucked into the movie known only intimately to the crew, I like to think that my horses, even though appearing so briefly that you would miss them if you blinked, added in that moment some secret magic too. Why not?! That…is what they do.

As I reflect on the journey for myself as both storyteller and main character of my own understory, from the partial making of Nomadland here at the ranch, to the revelation of its masterful accomplishments in the end; it has been like the opening of a rose in slow motion. It started as a tightly wrapped and colorless rose bud amidst my grumblings at the ranch, then over time, gradually opened to a flower in full bloom while I was looking the other way and not giving it another thought. When I caught the fragrance, and turned to find the source, the special magic burst forth.

I was finally able to see the Nomadland in the lovely theater mentioned above in our small coastal town. I recommend seeing it in a theater if you can. The local audience was entertained by a special Zoom Q & A with Frances McDormand who was now familiar with and connected to our small coastal community. She was delightful! Natural and authentic. What stood out to me in the interview was her description of the director and how she works. She listens to the actors’ stories and incorporates their personal lives into the character they are playing. There was no script at least in the beginning. I assume a script of some sort developed from the stories. Frances was a combination of both herself and the character she played. The part that was filmed on the Northern California Coast was the Frances part of the character. She had suggested it because in her words, “the light is so wonderful here.”

Nomadland caught a glimpse not only of my horses, but also captures a lifestyle which carries resonance for me. I am a solitary nomad at heart as well as in personal experience. I’m contemplating a blog of my experiences. Stay tuned.

About the Herd:

There is a PBS Interview with the author of the book from which the movie was taken:


Not Today: In Remembrance

in remembrance

Having animals in our lives means we not only experience the special tricks and delights they bring to us in their living, but the crushing sorrows when they leave us. Death is not always an easy topic. I have found it to be a very sacred time, rich with a sweetness of memories and magical surprises in the parting, mixed with a deep and raw sadness in the grieving. This short story is about my time with Carob, a very special horse, just after she had taken her last breath and became still. It has left me with a beautiful and deeply intimate memory of having traveled a distance with her as she left her body. It carries a sense of closure in one dimension and an opening of another that is as real in a mystical way as her physical presence when she was alive in body on the earth plane.

Originally published in 2007

Not Today
August 19. I don’t want to write. I can’t. Carob died today. There. I said it. She died. No fluffy imagery. She died. All the stories she created have gone limp. They suddenly have no meaning, no point, no purpose. She had overcome the odds so many times, we had thought she was invincible. Not today. It was not beautiful, not lovely like the last story. No magic. Not today.

My body wrapped around her as she lay lifeless. Quiet. Her struggle was over. Relief. Stillness. I was stunned. No tears. Not yet. This was not the way it was supposed to end. I lay there with my head pressed into her middle, her body still warm. I felt her breathing, but she wasn’t, but I felt it. It was sweet, peaceful, soothing. But she wasn’t breathing. I could feel it. I did. She moved. No. She didn’t. She did. I felt her. I let myself feel her. I let go and felt, no more resisting. It was real. At last! I crossed over with her. I was free to feel her breath, her movement, to believe, to be with her, to breathe with her, to ride with her as she made her departure. It was real.

I stroked her beautiful face, the curve of her nostrils, the shape of her mouth. I admired her slender ankles, the beautiful trim of her hooves. My eyes caressed the gracefulness of her legs. I couldn’t get enough, over and over I moved my eyes and felt the pleasure of her form. I reached out and touched them. These legs had galloped so beautifully in those last moments. A perfect rhythm and movement, strong, determined, flowing, harmonious,…a powerful dance. But now quiet. Never to move again in this body. I ached.

I brushed her gently while my heart whispered love messages as we remained together in silence. Her tousled mane that had often blown in the breezes reminding us of her unicorn nature was now still. I brushed it. And her tail. As I brushed, it fell to the wind waving behind her as she sailed onward. Questioning why. No answers came.

I found flowers in the garden, bright yellow ones, bold, perfect for her. I placed them in her white mane, a special bridal flower in her forelocks, lavender in her tail as it stretched out behind her. I let myself love her, miss her, feel her.

During that week prior, she had come to each of the four of us who loved her, one in a dream where she was beautiful, tossing her gleaming white mane as she breathed upon the dreamer. She came to her primary person, John, in a dream. She jumped over the pasture fence, did somersaults, landing on her rear and then bounced to her feet and trotted past him. John’s wife had seen an imagery of her with wings flying to a new pasture of horses. I had found her in the beauty of a reflection in the creek…

I knew where to go today as she lay there motionless but beautiful, her silver body adorned with colorful flowers. There at the creek, looking at the gently rippling water, I found her reflection once again. I breathed. In the distance, I heard her whinny. It was real.


A Quieting For Your Soul…Visit With the Horses



Soften your anxiety and fears during these tumultuous times. Visit with the horses. Smell their horsey breath, let their eyes caress your soul and sing a melody to your heart.

Sessions: on-site or remotely.


On-site sessions: Take an essential mental and emotional health drive to Manchester, CA. Sessions are outside on a beautiful ranch with fresh ocean breezes, and gentle rolling hills covered with a carpet of golden summer grasses.  Non-riding. With or without fence between. Just myself ( 6+ feet away) and 4 horses awaiting your visit…

Remotely by telephone. Not the same as a physical presence, obviously, but we can make it special and highly effective. I will be on site with the horses and observe their responses as we talk.

Besides setting your spirit free from fear, horses can also help with the following:
…balance your heart rhythms
…uncover your own unique role  (we are here on this planet at this time for a reason)
…help with guidance
…reveal how to personally navigate these challenges
…empower you
…discover new perspectives
…uncover your mystical nature

Here are some things to consider:
>Why do you want a session? What do you hope it will bring?
>Review the times in your life where you have experienced that otherworldly or “home”  feeling. You may be amazed at how it is threaded through your whole life.
>What do you feel you are good at? What do you wish you were good at?
>What do you long for?
>What are your unfulfilled dreams?
>What significant things have happened to you in your life that you feel has impacted you in a good or in a negative way?
>It might be helpful to review your life in 5 year segments: 0-5 years, 5-10, 10-15, etc., and 10 year segments as an adult.

Equine Guided Sessions:

Propective Client Information:

Meet the Herd:


Good Kitty: Listening to a Cat


Once in awhile what I’ve learned from the horses about listening to them, also lands on other animals who seek me out. A few weeks ago, I met a cat I will never forget. Her person, an elderly man who lives alone with her, met me at the door of his home and invited me in. He introduced me to his recently adopted cat whom he called “good kitty,” because he doesn’t like names, he said.

What she lacked in a name, she made up for in her powerful countenance. She was  petite and thin (not because she lacked food from her new person), and a pale peach color which visually registered as anemic though she wasn’t. And frail she appeared, but she was not. She had eyes that penetrated from clear across the room where she sat upright on her pillow. We made contact. She simultaneously assessed me from head to toe, and deep into my soul, and at the same time, approved of me. I knew I was in. Thumbs up!

Her person spoke again gesturing to her, this time to say, she’s the one who caused the problem (which was the reason I was there to clean). He had found a flea and sprayed a natural bug killer in the house that left a film on everything which had been in need of a thorough dusting even before the spray. In my thinking, because of her, he was having his house cleaned. In response, I quipped back without much consideration,  “I think she is the solution!” Little did I know at the time how significant that statement was until my time there over the next 3 days unfolded.

I got right to work and turned on the shop vac that made a high pitched and abrasive sound. I noticed a little later that Good Kitty was no longer stationed on her pillow on a desk top in the living area. She had apparently found a place of safety in another room. I thought nothing more about it. The next day when I arrived she was curled up on her pillow with plants all around her and a picture window framing redwood trees outside. What a place to live, I said to myself as I switched on the shop vac with that loud and annoying sound. Good Kitty flew off her pillow like a bird under attack and nearly killed herself as she landed in a small space between the seat of a desk chair and the underside of the desk, only long enough for a quick direction change and launch as she continued her flight out of that space, out of the room and gone. Somewhere. Safe.

As my cleaning chores quieted, I noticed that she had returned. The next time I reached for the shop vac, I had an idea. I looked Good Kitty in the eye and told her I was going to turn it on. She seemed to soak in my words.

When I turned the vac on, she started to get up to leave and then in slow motion sank back into her pillow. That is where she stayed from then on as long as I gave her a heads up about the shop vac.

I was feeling a nice connection with this cat, and proud of myself for coming up with the idea of forewarning her. After the rest of the story unfolded, laughingly I realized that the idea for which I was taking credit, had actually come from her!

Her person who had a brilliant mind was struggling with some memory issues and confused thinking. Having someone in his house, his things moved around, and energetic talking triggered his frustration which he unintentionally took out on me. As I prepared to leave that day feeling falsely accused and shamed, decided I did not need that in my life. For a moment I contemplated not coming back the next day to finish the job. Two things stopped that intention immediately. One, he had prepaid me and I’d already used the money, and secondly, Good Kittly’s eyes beckoned to my heart. There was work to be done beyond the physical cleaning.

As I was driving home that day, the cat gave me a message to decipher and then to give discreetly to her person whom she adored. He was not a victim, I was to carefully tell him, there were things he could do to stop the deterioration of his brilliant mind. She offered a 3-step plan: exercise, drink water, schedule a session with my horses who are powerful healers sometimes giving tips about what herbs or remedies to take. Okay, maybe I added the last one about the horse session but it was a valid part of the plan. I sent him an email. There was no response.

I arrived my last day with some trepidation. He made no comment about my email, but didn’t fire me. A good sign I thought, though he had prepaid and wanted the job done. However, he did treat me very respectfully, then drove away a few minutes later leaving me to my cleaning and the abrasive shop vac. Once alone with Good Kitty, I explained to her that I had sent the email with the 3-step plan, and that I had done all I could do.

That day, my 3-day project was finished. I gathered my cleaning supplies and said my goodbyes. When I turned my attention to Good Kitty, I was taken aback by her response to me. As I said goodbye to her, she narrowed her eyes at me just like in the cartoons, and abruptly turned her head away. She had shape shifted into a hostile cat! I might have been done with my job, but she absolutely was not done with me!

A bit perplexed and a little confused, I drove out the driveway. By the time I came to the end of the driveway at the main road, these simple words came to me like a typed message in my mind which I could not ignore, “Check medication side effects.”  Aha! I thought. I went home and Googled her person’s medications. Sure enough, information from Mayo Clinic included an FDA warning of possible memory loss and mental confusion! It was at that moment that I knew Good Kitty, as I had said on day one, was indeed the solution but beyond just having the house cleaned.

As Kitty’s advocate, I emailed her person with the information about the medication side effects which he was experiencing, and a link to a site that confirmed it, and another site that offered natural and safer remedies. Kitty and I were finally done…or so I thought.

A week or two later, I met a woman at another cleaning job who was there to feed that client’s cat. I told her about Good Kitty. As it turned out, this woman had a similar health issue, had been on the same medication as Good Kitty’s person, and suffered multiple side effects as well. She was so exasperated she was ready to give up the medication and suffer the potentially life threatening consequences.

Her primary physician intervened on her behalf and recommended another doctor who could prescribe a different and newer drug that had no side effects (if that is possible). It was extremely effective for her and she wanted to sing the drug’s praises to the world! Good Kitty was at it again. I had another email to send with more information of perhaps a better drug that could do the job for him without the side effects. I sent the email, the name of the drug, the link, and the information of a local physician he could contact. This time, I think we are done, but I have thought that before. I will continue to listen…for yet another life saving solution from this amazing cat without a name!

The Burp That Healed: The Mystical Language of Horses


One of my new awakenings that has become imprinted on my heart, is that I, Beverly, can do this! I’m learning it with finances in magical ways, and last night I relearned it with physical healing. Mariah, my most mystical horse has been inundated with health issues. She was once a youthful and spry mare who has always reminded me of a teenage dancer, but that has faded.

In recent years I have discovered that on my mystical journey with the horses, they have presented physical issues to me that have required my learning how to be a catalyst for their healing. In most cases, they have been reflecting a need for a shift in my own perceptions and perspectives which would then bring a positive shift in their health. There have been several different approaches I have learned from the horses in their own rendition of “equine university“ which I have written about. Most of the time it has been a process, but there has always been a deep longing to bring a spontaneous healing especially when there is discomfort involved.

I remember many years ago as a young adult, I was camping with my new husband in the crispy cool mountain air in Oregon. It was a dark night with flickering campfires as our source of heat and light. Cutting sharply into the evening silence came shrieking screams from an infant child in the neighboring campsite. She had fallen and burned her hands on smoldering wood from the campfire. Immediately, an oversized desire welled up in my chest to take her in my arms and heal her. Never before had such a feeling engulfed me and I had to swallow to keep it at bay. Then my skeptic mind kicked in with all kinds of “who do you think you are, this is crazy, you don’t know the child nor her parents, you have no history of healing, the child will be terrified and you’ll look like a fool; on and on went the rant. I was paralyzed by my mental taunts. To this day I periodically re-visit that scene and the overpowering desire to take the child in my arms. What might have happened had I been courageous enough to take the risk? Worst case scenario, I would have walked away in total and complete humiliation. But what if…?

Last night was another one of those times. Mariah was not comfortable. Suddenly, riding on the winds from other worlds that are more evolved than our own, came the words and the feeling, “I can do this. I can bring physical comfort to Mariah.” Not really knowing quite how it would happen, I focused on touching one area of her body, and then in the suddenness of the moment, my hands moved to a different area of her body that had been forgotten. In that simultaneous remembering and hand movement, Mariah made a sound like a burp that seemed to have been separate from her body and startled both of us, especially her as she flexed her ears. Kaheka who stood nearby on the other side of me, awakened from his sleep, turned his head toward Mariah’s head and yawned a big one!

Yawns, and burps along with sneezes, coughs, flatulence, tears and other bodily functions such as simultaneous tummy gurglings, or other happenings in nature like a bird fluttering by in precision timing are indications of releases, that something has shifted. Unlike my usual gnawing questions, wonderings, and doubts that would drench my psyche, I knew a healing had taken place in Mariah and that my job was done. Finished for the night.

This time I easily overrode my tendency to doubt; a habitual pattern of checking and double checking for some kind of additional miraculous proof, and yet another and another. In my past experiences, I learned that doubt itself shrouds the manifestation of the actual healing. I felt a refreshing relief to simply trust the inner peace and the deep inner knowing that was blanketing me. There have been years of profound manifestations, this time the burp and the yawn were all that were needed to let me know something had shifted. It was time to trust that my desire for Mariah’s comfort had been spontaneously fulfilled.

I finished my chores, packed up, and went home effortlessly believing in the unseen, and feeling the joy of mystical living in everyday life!


Nappng Mariah

[The next day, Mariah was perkier and well rested. I was given the next action for manifesting deeper physical and spiritual shifts in Mariah and in myself. That is another story in the making. Her breath has already become sweeter, and her life force stronger!]

Head Butt and Muzzle Hug: The Language of Horses

Bury Your Head In This. ..And Smell His Horsey Body

My heart was aching as I was feeding the horses one night. I sought out the comfort and the wisdom of Shaman Tal, my teddy bear horse. When I found his big, woolly body, I started to cry about a repetitive and gnawing problem in my life which I couldn’t seem to get a handle on. I was searching for what I was doing wrong. Shaman who is drawn compassionately to people who are grieving, startled me by pushing me away roughly with his head. Wooh! What was this head butt about?! Feeling sorry for myself and the ache getting worse with this unexpected and out of character reaction, I didn’t understand his uncaring response to me.

Deeply offended since I was coming to him for comfort, I opened my mouth to scold him for such rude behavior that was completely unnecessary. Instead, what came out of my mouth changed and reinvented my original message. Instead of scolding it became, “Oh this is because I am railing on myself again, beating myself up!”

For the longest time I have known I am not to look for what is broken or wrong with me. Not that it isn’t there, but I’m a bit of an addict about it. Those things drop off effortlessly when I see the hidden gifts. Now that I’ve had enough years to practice this, the horses are impatient with me when I default to that familiar and addictive inner rant that has carved deep ruts in my habit patterns. Shaman had no tolerance even though I was in agony…but it was an agony that was coming from a false belief.

I continued interpreting Shaman’s head butt, “…so, this is about being on the roll in a positive way and this is resistance flushing out?!” Shaman licked and chewed, and licked and chewed his affirmation. First, I was busted because of my self-flagellation! Then, when I got it, he was now affirming my recognition that often times when we are in fact on track in our lives even though with some ragged edges, we flush out some violent storms as the inner barometer changes. With the acceptance that it wasn’t me messing up, but rather a good thing in disguise, I cried harder with mixed and conflicting emotions all vying for attention.

Shaman, who towered over me like a large burly father, pressed his muzzle into my shoulder and hard against my neck, holding it there patiently and compassionately for the longest time as I sobbed both relief and self-compassion. It was a cleansing. With this hug from his huge head and muzzle pressing in firmly, no human gesture could have equaled the feeling of security it evoked in me. I later learned it was not just his amazing physical compassion he was offering, but he was sending healing that manifested on my way home, removing a blockage I have been feeling every since I embarked on my journey to my inner home place.

Horses and other animals or manifestations of nature not only bring messages or revelations to our conscious minds, but they actually are radiating healing without our realizing it because it can’t always be felt in the magnitude that it is offered. Perhaps it needs time to absorb and for the mind to gradually catch up.

Driving home, I had an epiphany. I knew that the issue that has been playing out in my life is actually a reversal of my gift. Where my life has been dysfunctional is where my gift is embedded, hidden and not operating because it has been submerged. My life has manifested the opposite of what is true.

It is both frightening and empowering when a new super gift is uncovered. So how can I move into experiencing the power of my gift? A step at a time with this new awareness. I’ve been experiencing the distortion of my gift for a large part of my life. I now see it surfacing, like an interesting rock emerging from the sands of the wear and tear of history. A new way of thinking and feeling, and the perception of myself as no longer a victim is already shifting.

I know the steps I am to take today.

Shaman’s head butt became a muzzle hug. It not only comforted but shifted my perception. I love those muzzle hugs!

[After sharing this story recently at one of my presentations, someone mentoned the location on my body where Shaman placed his muzzle. I hadn’t yet put together that his muzzle hug was placed where I “shoulder” the most stress in my body as a pain in the neck.]

Get Rid of the Horses!

Get rid of the horses! The voices were screaming at me both heard and felt.
You’re doing this to yourself! Get rid of the horses! The conventional directives battered my confidence when some of my most trusted friends began to doubt, and joined the death verdict. My life was shriveling at a time I was being set free. It wasn’t suppose to happen this way. My finances crawled to a halt. I was homeless moving from house to house with friends, some who welcomed me as a privilege, some as obligation, others with judgment. I could feel the difference. My own doubts began to sprout as the weedy seedlings rooted in my soil of fear.

In the midst of the chaotic rants, one day I heard the quiet place deep inside. Somehow I heard. There was a miracle in that. The words snaked and curled their way to my mind like a genie released from a bottle. The horses aren’t the problem came the message. The horses only appear to be the problem. Money seems to be the problem. You cut expenses, but then income reduces. You cut again. Income reduces again. The flow stopped cold. Reduce expenses again and again, further constriction. What was going on?

I was looking for the wrong solution. Simple as that. Instead of constricting, which is something I know well how to do, I was to expand. To take steps toward the vision I had carried for years. It made no sense when money was the issue…or was it.

Every time I’ve taken a step forward toward my vision or my personal forward movement, money flows. When money shrivels I know to look for forward movement, not pulling back. It’s not about the horses! The horses are the vision! Move forward!

“Our calling is important. The heart is good at reminding us, the mind is good at stopping us with a myriad of logical reasons we must wait. The reasons may be valid, but each of us has our own unique way to trail blaze around or through the roadblocks. The mind tries to push us back into the familiar pool to tread water until someday. Someday is now. Our gifts are needed.”


Horse Guided Personal/Spiritual Growth and Healing Sessions:

Problems with Your Horse:



Not Being Heard


During my recent workshop, Horses and the Mystical Journey, an issue came up with the human participants regarding “not being heard.” This topic had also been a major issue for me in earlier years, and is especially common among females. In the past as a child and young adult I used to have an excruciating and repetitive dream in which I was screaming for help and could see my father but he could not hear me. I would awaken drenched in despair and the feeling would impact me for the rest of the day. As the symbolism was addressed and the healing took place, that dream subsided.

However, in more recent years I experienced a different level of it as I sat in a small claims court room. The other party blatantly lied about me and the actual circumstances as he spun a captivating story to make himself look good. I was so shocked and taken aback that someone would do that and especially under oath, that I did not speak up with the truth. The real reason besides the shock was that I didn’t expect to be heard and it was my word against his and I assumed the judge would not believe me. I looked at the judge in helpless despair and said nothing. All because I didn’t think I would be heard. The judge, of course, ruled in favor of the one who lied. It was a searing moment for me, but one that awakened me to deal with the absurdity of that situation. The horses in their dramatic style  launched me out of my silent and protective cocoon where I had been cloistered for most of my life.

There are, of course, many reasons for not being heard depending on an individual’s own story. One possibility might be having experienced a trauma in the past and no one was there to answer the heart wrenching cry for help. We become stuck in that emotional place and the pattern perpetuates throughout life in varying scenarios. Other reasons have to do with our not listening to ourselves, our calling, our intuition, the deeper desires of our hearts, etc. In that case, if we aren’t listening, no one else will.

After this subject came up in class, I went to the horses who are prone to theatrics as one of their ways of communication, and asked what response I could offer to the class on the topic of not being heard. One horse answered my request. Amoura, who represents love. It was meal time. The herd was snacking on hay while I was preparing soft foods for their dinner. Amoura walked away from them and came to the gate of the corral where I was inside the gate preparing their supplement. She started banging against the gate quite aggressively somewhat out of character for her since this was excessive and was the first in a long time. Assuming she was being impatient, I was annoyed and asked her to stop. She continued. Suddenly I realized she was doing theatrics, and I had to smile inside because she wasn’t very good at acting out the message. She was rather awkward. In my story mind, I surmised she had reluctantly volunteered for the job on behalf of the herd.

I described the story to the class, suggesting they look at it as dream symbols. One member gave this response (with permission): “Amoura and the question of not being heard (herd). In my imaginary dream I am the one behind the closed gate, love is trying to get through my barriers but I am annoyed and connecting on only a lower level. Perhaps if I really wanted to be heard I could make a ruckus like Amoura did, but normally I am not heard because I am unsure of myself so I come across too quietly. Maybe if I loved myself, and let love (Amoura) in, I would project that love outward in a loud and clear voice that would be heard.

I too, had a love issue. Only months ago, I had just opened to new understandings and experiences of love awakened by the horses. I was on a honeymoon with love, feeling it for everyone and everything, sending it, and receiving it, learning new expressions of it, noticing that some unseen barrier had been removed, and a new gift of healing was manifesting. I was living high on the mystical life. Then, my horse died. Dollar. The one who had jumpstarted me. In self-protection I slammed the gate closed. On love. On Dollar. I became disconnected from the life I had been experiencing. Stopped listening, feeling, and believing in the new part of that mystical reality.

When I re-opened the gate, there was a flicker of light as I let Dollar back into my life as a new expression of love as he merges with the whole herd, and me.

Something Bigger Lies Beyond: The Language of Horses

The pasture is quiet, not a sound, just long stretches of swampy grasses, clumps of trees in the distance, rolling hills beyond a pasture gate. The herd is no where to be seen. On overcast days it is eery. On days filled with coastal sunshine, there is promise.

One horse lingers. Alone. Day after day. Alone. The herd has gone to the hills, or a ravine, or beyond behind a grove of trees. Yet she stays nearby but not visible from the barn. My wonderings tell me it is her lameness though I’ve seen otherwise. When I call, she comes to greet me. My thoughts tell me it is because she wants food. And of course she does. But these reasons are not why she lingers near. They are not why she comes when she is called. There is a cosmic reason. I can feel it. Sense it. There is a bigger plan still hidden from me.