Popcorn: a horse story of spontaneous healing

It was 4 AM. Tal, my black and white paint, was in crisis. He was unable to get up even with the allure of food to motivate him. Feeling helpless, I found myself in deep conversation with him. Words of wisdom from this shaman came to me in the form of memories of what he has taught me through our many years together with his history of conquering sore feet and sore joints. Methodically he took me through each event. His message each time: find the truth in the unseen world. That is where the miracles lie, that is where we overcome fear, feelings of overload, frustration, powerlessness. That is where we find our power, our purpose, our own super-amazing gifts so needed at this time. That is where we find love.

I moved into the mantra he’d taught me even though part of it is contrary to common spiritual teachings that propound “acceptance” as key. My mantra: ”I don’t accept this! This condition does not exist in that other realm. I expect the best and embrace love.” I then requested that he stand up with grace and ease not as a technique but because that was what I wanted for him. He remained on the ground. I went back to bed. We both rested. When I awakened, he was still on the ground. He was trying to get up with back legs flailing in impossible contortions. My heart sank with a thud. I totally forgot what he had told me during the early morning hours about the unseen world and miracles. Understandably that is a hard thing to accept even as possibility under these pressing circumstances. My body was rigid while my mind overdosed on adrenaline and worst case scenarios. I was considering putting him down, then just conventional horse aspirin, then remembered homeopathy, then energizing body work in an emergency. But cutting through the internal noise…first, a bowl of water. A bowl of water! I can do that!

He took a couple of quick sips, and before I knew it and as I was walking away, he stood up in the very way I had wished and had spoken, with grace and ease! Standing together in the afterglow of a divine surprise we radiated smiles in all directions and felt the warmth and bonding of love!

A few days later…

Dear Tal,
I was so happy with your sudden “rising from the ground the other day,” and even more so that it was with grace and ease. Despite that, two days later you were on the ground again, not that it was unusual for you. You’ve always been one to take care of yourself and head to bed early in the evening, and often when your feet or joints are acting up. Lately though, I’d been observing that it was becoming more of a challenge for you to get up, and to even have the will power to meet that challenge. In the past, it has always been food that motivated.

I have noticed now that it wasn’t even about will power anymore; those back legs seemed confused and unable to find the right position. I thought of Carob, our herd matriarch, and her neurological problem a few years back,” and her inability to get up without human help from the rear. It caused me to wonder what might be developing for you. But still, there was that surprise miracle a couple of days ago when it was looking dismal and you magically got up! That was then; now you were glued to the ground again. My heart sank this time slowly but deeper into a surrender of whatever was to come. At the same time, a certain stoicism overcame me. Was this your time to leave us? You’ve been such a powerful horse in my life. How would it be to have you gone from your teddy-bear body that has brought comfort to countless humans?

I was resigned to a prognosis that wasn’t uplifting. You had been down overnight and into the morning. Your love of food that is a strong driving force in your life was not enough to get you up. I could tell you had been trying by the ring of weeds and dirt that had piled up in a circle around you as your legs searched for some help from the ground. You were stressed, and gums were pale with duress. You kept trying to get up but it was becoming more mental consideration then physical effort. You thought about it but then slowly lowered your head back to the ground with a groan. I knew we were in an emergency situation. A horse of your size would not be possible to get up if the whole neighborhood showed up, but even if so, then what. I rolled up my emotional sleeves and was ready to let you go if this were your time. Let’s do this together, I imaged to you. I wanted to make you as comfortable as possible during your process.

Water. You needed water. Then food. I had been holding out on the food because it had been the motivator for you in getting up, but that was a rule, a speculation, and now withholding it felt rigid and authoritarian. For me, it was a delightful release to offer you some hay and a bowl full of softened pellets. It was my joy to observe what a relief it was for you.

Touching. When Carob, our matriarch, was down, John, her person, was with her in beautiful ways, but I was so busy, giving her homeopathic remedies, talking to the homeopathic veterinarian on the phone, spraying water in her mouth, giving food, trying to figure out how to get her up, I was not present with her. This was my one big regret. I had an incredible experience with her immediately after she passed, but not while still alive. (Not Today: In Remembrance) I wanted to make sure to do it differently with you. When I started to touch your neck, a new level of awareness overcame me. I felt you all the way inside both you and me. Your body felt so alive and deep, both soothing and exhilarating at the same time. That was all that mattered in the moment. This wasn’t about trying to heal you as has been my practice, it was simply being with you, dwelling with you. As I am remembering those moments, I’m wanting to press my face deep into your neck right now and hold it there until all the world comes to peace.

I then sat down on a stool near you and started to write to you. I had done a few intuitive portraits (The Art of Healing Through Portraiture) which often brings interesting results and especially did with Dollar, but writing on my blog has always been a thing with you and me. So I wrote. When I looked up, you had your head up and were looking directly at me. It is difficult to find the right words to describe what I saw and felt. You looked both youthful like a colt, and wise like a sage. You were looking at me with dark and shining eyes penetrating deep into my soul in a moment I will never forget. The connection between us was unfathomable. I found myself speaking almost involuntarily with an enthusiastic and enlightened authority that I’d never felt before. We had embraced the mystical or maybe the mystical embraced us. I suspect we all met simultaneously and danced together while the voices of the many reminded us that two days earlier you had been down, unable to get up and after two magical sips of water, stood up with grace and ease as was spoken by me, by us, by all. The voice in unison overcame me with delight, enthusiasm, and power. And then, I must have blinked ever so briefly, or maybe I didn’t, but you were immediately standing like a kernel of popcorn that had literally just popped up to your feet. You were down and then up. On your feet. In a speechless moment we lifted our cheering voices to the heavens. And you are still with us!

There is a warm bond between us. You are no longer laying down as had been your pattern everyday during the past months and for long periods of time. In fact, I rarely see you laying down. We stand quietly together and feel love.

More on Portraitures and New Portrait Gallery

Today I stepped through a portal. It was my day to publish this post; a step celebrated by the horses after 32 years of grooming me for the art of healing through portraiture. I have not always been an easy student; nor they always kind teachers. When needed, they are masters at tough love especially when confronting my deeply ingrained skepticism. Many months ago on my birthday I knew it was time for a new direction; time to make a commitment to intuitive portraitures. And now it is time to not only share the revision of “The Art of Healing Through Portraiture,” but to introduce my new “Gallery of Portraits.”

When I took my dog for a walk today on a 150 acre ranch, I was feeling a deep sense of satisfaction that the day had finally come for me to publish. As we wandered in large open pastures between groves of evergreen trees, a large red-tailed hawk made his appearance from the top of one of the taller trees. Much to my awe and delight, he swooped around the open field flashing his red tail in the sunshine making sure that I could see it, and knowing that I would understand his reason for being there, a special anointing for this day and this post.

My eyes welled up as I understood the importance of this act. It was almost 30 years ago that I sat on a wooden deck in the midst of a thick redwood grove a few miles from where I now live. I was with a therapist who was doing healing work with me. Directly above us, there was one small window of sky that was visible. Magically in that space were two red-tailed hawks circling overhead all the while that shifts and changes were taking place within me below them. Today this red-tailed visitor was revealing to me that they had a part along with the horses in this 30 year journey of bringing me to this day.

Today I offer you a dense package of information and story along with a combination of supporting links as I present some of my history together with the horses and the unfolding of intuitive and healing portraitures. For those who prefer to scan, I have tried to highlight topics for ease of navigating quickly. The paragraphs that follow the highlighted information provide more in-depth detail for those who prefer to dig a little deeper in a given area. There will be more stories to follow in future posts, stories of individual horses and their part in bringing me here at this time.

The links follow below. The main links include the gallery and are interlinked with each other. The supporting links are imbedded in the main posts, but I have also listed them here for your convenience.

MAIN LINKS: [both are linked to each other]

  1. The link to the main post which is an extensive revision of my last post, “The Art of Healing Through Portraiture,” for those that would like to have a look again, and for new readers.
  2. The link to the new page, “Gallery of Portraits.”

SUPPORTING LINKS: [embedded in the main posts above]

  1. Meet the Herd in Photos and Story
  2. “30 Years to Learn The Equine Art of Healing” [the story of horse, Dollar]
  3. “Mystical Living in Everyday Life”
  4. “The Rest of the Day: My Mystical Day With Nature”
  5. “Equine Guided Personal/Spiritual Growth and Healing Sessions”

The Art of Healing Through Portraiture

[Click here for full Gallery]

I first learned from horses that I was an artist and that sketching or painting them brought interesting and surprising results: physical healing, behavioral changes, and new insights into the healing process. I later felt prompted to sketch humans as a means to healing. The results have been fascinating and rewarding.

UNCOVERING OUR MYSTICAL NATURE: [Mystical Living in Everyday Life] For as far back as we can remember, horses have been viewed as mystical beings. In the beginning of my journey with them 30 years ago, they made it very clear that if per chance I might be thinking that I was to be fixing them, it was rather the other way around! They were in my life to fix me, plain and simple. Once I got that straight, they hovered around and took me on as their childlike human protege’ to show me their ways. [Meet the herd in photos and story]

Horses take us to places where intuitions are essential. Once that journey starts, the magic begins. There are unseen worlds to be discovered with rich and mystical gifts awaiting to be uncovered. Gifts that are needed especially at this time on our earth. Sometimes there are inklings of that which is hidden, but fear or unbelief hold them captive and inaccessible. We have been well programmed by a culture that has emphasized the material world and sameness. It is suppressing diversity and anything out of the ordinary or outside the narrative, keeping us away from the precipice where flying begins! It is there that we integrate the unseen world with that which is material, infusing it with life, vitality, and the true power to make a difference in our own personal lives and in the lives of our neighbors.

The seen and the unseen world…One of the many scriptures I learned growing up in Christianity comes to my mind now as I am writing, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” This is a crisp comparison of the seen and the unseen; the world of flesh and blood, and the world of spirit all wrapped up in one being that we call human.

INTUITIVE PORTRAITURES: Your portrait may reveal something unseen combined with the seen, and together we interpret. 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; clearing of obstacles that stand in your way; shifts in perspectives, re-framing; and a deeper connection with the divine in yourself. Most exciting to me, is the unveiling of mystical gifts you don’t know you have!

Your portrait may not even look like you..it is a working art form…a tool of healing. Your portrait is an evolution as things come to the surface. I am simply a conduit. Though it may not look like you, it may carry symbols important to you, or may look like someone significant 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, a subject worth discussing. With a female 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 did an oil portrait of a friend 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 following years to the surprise discovery that she is an incredible natural artist, I wondered if the red hair in her painting symbolically 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.

FOR MORE PORTRAITS: Click here for Gallery of Portraits

HOW I ARRIVED HERE:

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!

As the years unfolded and with the help of the horses, I learned 4 key things that have moved me toward intuitive portraits:

  • 1. There is a spiritual connection between artist and subject

During the time I was sketching George Harrison, I had a small town art center and our first weekly class was life drawing with human 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. Through the years and with the help of the horses, I learned to recognize that connection. It has become the integral part of my intuitive and healing portraits, and benefits not only the subject but also myself as the artist. This includes the horses as important Divine catalysts to the whole process especially when sketching in their presence.

  • 2. Distortions and imperfections in the art open the door to important information.

Secondly, as time went by, I 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, 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 even beyond the physical. In doing portraits of myself, I have been focusing on free-flowing or intuitive sketches each looking different but revealing information. Click here and scroll down to view.

  • 3. The intuitive portraits bring healing or other significant changes. Skepticism can cloud that recognition.

Thirdly, during my 30+ years of “being fixed” by my herd of rescue horses, I was often 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. These experiences were the first indications that there was in fact a spiritual connection and that sketching the equine or human subject brought healing. However, my own skepticism clouded full recognition and acceptance of that fact for many years.

A few years ago, my old guy, Dollar, a quarter horse, was determined to overcome my chronic skepticism, and get through to me the correlation between sketching and healing once and for all. After the many years of experiencing behavioral changes and physical healing with the horses when I sketched them, I still wasn’t fully grasping it.

Dollar was relentless. Thanks to his persistence, he overcame my core skepticism. The understanding and acceptance that I was sketching the horses and now humans into health, was now, finally and deeply etched in my soul. Click here for the story.

  • 4. The ultimate goal of the intuitive portraits is to uncover the mystical gifts that are often hidden under trauma or troubling issues.

The final and fourth awareness has come more recently. Starting with the spiritual connection between artist and subject, paying attention to information that distortions and imperfections bring, and the actual correlation between sketching and healing have all led the way to understanding that hidden under the rocks of trauma or troubling issues, lie mystical gifts waiting to be discovered and released. Therein lies the power of who we are and why we are here.

ADDENDUM: There is one more thing that I would like to mention as food for thought. Many years ago, I had a feeling that faces emanate spiritual gifts. I encourage you to notice how a face makes you feel. To mention a few, some are light and bright uplifting our spirits; some faces are comforting, soothing, peaceful; others catch us up in easy conversation; some, like a brother of mine, have a twinkle and hint of mischief ready for a humorous quip that brings healing laughter; some are beautiful not to own nor to judge nor to compare, but to absorb the beauty into some not-so-beautiful part of ourselves to bring healing. I just wanted to stir the waters and would love to hear your own observations and experiences. For those whose faces are burdensome, I believe that is only damage showing. I am of the opinion that a radiant face will either change physical features or override them.

PORTRAIT SESSIONS: If you are interested in exploring your own unique mystical nature on a journey carved out by the horses through portraiture, let’s make it happen! The great artist, Michelangelo, once said, “I saw the angel in the stone and carved until I set him free,” and what amazing work he did. The horses do the same for humans!

  • HEALING PORTRAITS: 1 1/2 -2 hour session includes the intuitive charcoal portrait, a write up, a 1/2 hour follow-up, and a final charcoal portrait $135.
  • COMBINED HEALING PORTRAIT WITH HORSE SESSION: [horse session] Sketching the charcoal portrait in the presence of the horses, and considering their responses as significant and powerful feedback. Includes a write up, and a 1/2 hour follow-up session, and a final charcoal portrait. $200.
  • DISTANT HEALING PORTRAIT: When you live too far away to come to the ranch, I can sketch charcoal portraits from your photos. Add $30 to prices above for preparation handling and mailing.
  • 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).
    DEPOSIT: For Distant and Commissioned Work (see below), 50% required.
  • I welcome your questions. Yes, I do animals!
  • Beverly Smith, Artist/Listener/Facilitator

WATCH FOR NEXT POST: HOW THE HORSES TAUGHT ME I WAS AN ARTIST

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.

AFTERWORD:
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: https://themystichorsechronicle.wordpress.com/about

There is a PBS Interview with the author of the book from which the movie was taken: https://vimeo.com/

ACADEMY AND OTHER AWARDS:
https://abc.com/shows/oscars/news/winners/nomadland-wins-the-most-2021-oscars
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9770150/awards

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.

Beverly

A Quieting For Your Soul…Visit With the Horses

 

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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.

$125/hour.

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.

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Good Kitty: Listening to a Cat

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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

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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!

Beverly

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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.”

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