The following day, it was clear to me that Kaheka was feeling distress again in his belly, but not typical colic symptoms. I went back to the cabin, my cocoon, where I often go to separate myself from anxiety so I can better discern my guidance. As I lay on my bed with eyes closed, I saw in my mind’s eye a vibrant blue sky with masses of colorful balloons floating upward. The feeling was graceful and celebratory, a sense of triumph. I relaxed and felt confident that some purpose was being accomplished through Kaheka, and that all was well. A restful calm enfolded me, at least until my Libra mind kicked in and I started seeing another interpretation. The balloons reminded of my elderly aunt who, before her death, had requested that helium filled balloons be released at her memorial service. “Oh,… death,” came a taunt. I hadn’t thought of that.
With my thoughts coming swiftly back to Kaheka, my calm suddenly shifted into fear and sadness and the balloon imagery brought confusion. Was it prophetic that Kaheka would recover, or that Kaheka would die? I was fixating on life or death, not on triumph. The imagery went by the wayside along with my sense of peacefulness. I didn’t realize at the time, that all I needed to do was to accept the feeling it brought. I did not need to know the end result.
As time went by, Kaheka would show signs of having turned the corner, eating normally and showing overall improvement, even playing with another horse, Dollar, over the fence. Then he would regress and put his head in the air and curl his lip back again, become restless, lie down for awhile, then jump up and run. He would stop eating and drinking for periods of time. One time he asked to go out in the pasture. I let him go. He ran and ran, bucked and kicked, then he would plop down on the ground and lie quietly for awhile, then up for a another run. He repeated, and repeated. Interspersed were signs of improvement. It seemed we were on another wild roller coaster ride.
Offers of the Divine
During this period I was somewhat unconsciously learning to go to my homeplace, which is for me a place of remembering in the mystical realm where peace and connection with all of life is strong. This was something that Tal was emphasizing in the Expression of the Divine series which had not yet happened when Kaheka was presenting this challenge to me. I was barely understanding it at this time with Kaheka. Once, when he was lying down in the pasture, I stood close by thinking he might be dying. As I stood there I suddenly became aware of birds singing across the pasture, different songs from different birds but all happening simultaneously. A quick glance back at the barn and I saw the herd standing still in a group, all pointed in our direction. I felt their powerful support along with the bird songs coming all around me. Kaheka was quiet. Peacefully quiet, I now recognize in retrospect.
As Kaheka continued to lie on the ground, my rescue dog, Rocky, an older male Airedale, started licking Kaheka in various places along his spine and his rear. Kaheka still remained quiet. I was feeling a bit apprehensive with dog and horse so close and interacting in a way that was out of character for both, but something came over me and I was able to surrender and trust this dog when I normally would have shooed him away. When he finished with the licking ritual, he took his place near Kaheka’s head and lay down. He looked like a large teddy bear as he curled nearby bringing comfort. Both remained quiet. But my fear kept me from full participation in these moments. I felt like an observer from afar, looking through binoculars held in reverse, vaguely getting the essence.
The following day when Kaheka was on the ground again, the horses gathered near and stood in a half circle around him. I was touched. Looking back, I realize we were not alone during this challenging time. The horses and all of life were breathing on Kaheka and on me all the way through. It was later in the day, nearing time for Kaheka to go back to the barn paddock. One of the horses (it was Tal actually) moved out of the semi circle toward him and got him up, and herded him in my direction. (story continued below photo)
Through these profound moments and many others, I was witnessing a most powerful dance of nature and of the animals. The presence of the divine was being manifested. But still, I vacillated between accepting it, then feeling overcome by fear that my “tide pool boy” was leaving us. Not understanding at that time that no matter what would be the outcome, a beautiful thing was happening whether he was being escorted into death or into healing. I have since been learning that when nothing is being revealed, I don’t need to know. All I need is surrender, and to allow the whole of divine life to participate in me, with me, and around me.
Time marched on and it seemed we were in a holding pattern with no progress nor further deterioration. A consultation with a vet was little help. He did recommend one thing, and I gained a new inner confidence because I was already doing it. Knowing I was on track at least in some areas brought an element of peace and trust in my intuitions.
In the meantime, Kaheka and I were finding ways to alleviate his discomfort, along with appropriate remedies, my writing, and being attune with nature. My writing was as important with Kaheka as it was later with Tal. One time when I was desperate to know what I could do for Kaheka, I, feeling agitation and impatience, asked for guidance with an edge in my voice. My laptop computer which was sitting on the barn floor on scattered bits of hay, grabbed a moment when I was taking a breath from my inner screaming. It made a familiar beep, barely audible but I heard it. I stopped short. It took the wind right out of my frustration. Getting the message in a humorous way, I gave a relieved laugh. Time to write. Kaheka grew quiet.
As I replay those days, I see that the struggle was within me between going to the homeplace versus wanting results, and feeling fearful that I wasn’t finding the primary solution. What is so clear to me now, was at that time only a blur. I was being offered many gifts of connection to the divine, opportunities of peace and calm which invariably brought quiet to Kaheka as well. But without the manifestations I was seeking, the tension in me was building and beginning to win. There was no hope of triumph in my mind. The vision of blue skies and multi-colored balloons had all but fizzled. I was fenced out, unable to find my way through the gateway of trust.