The Horse That Whispers Back: fear and curiosity

IMG_0628_2optA Two-Act Play

Characters: the herd; Shaman Tal, the horse; Carrie, the human; Self, the observer/participant

Props: A tree, and under it, a country table dressed with a flowing white cloth delicately embroidered with pink flowers, set with a bouquet of roses in pinks and reds, a dish of bright red strawberries in a handmade bowl of blue and white, a crock of water floating with orange and lemon slices. Two french ladder back chairs with rush seats.

Setting: barnyard with rambling weathered picket fences and pastures all around.

The Story Begins
A guest client, a very gifted body worker, arrived to work with her fear of horses. Tal, a very gentle horse and comfortable with humans, had flushed out her fear on a prior visit by a quick gesture that frightened her. This is typical of the horse. Incongruity drives them a little crazy just like it does a highly sensitive person. The horse wants the truth we are trying to hide and will find a way to get it from us.

This was the second session. I had wondered which horse or horses would choose to work with Carrie this time. It became clear early on when all of the other horses went out to pasture, that Tal was the one again.

Act One: The Dance of Curiosity
He at first became what seemed more pushy than usual, but from Carrie’s point of view, his behavior aroused her curiosity. We sat down at a table nearby to talk, and to drink some refreshment. Tal came fearlessly to join us. He now was the one to become curious about everything on the table. He gently nibbled at the roses and the strawberries, and checked out the water glasses. All the while Carrie sat as Tal who was seemingly calculated, eased closer and closer to her. He is a very large horse and I was amazed at her courage, but she later told me that her own curiosity overrode her fear. Perhaps a tool for her in the future.

As an observer during the session, I became aware that Carrie was indeed a very curious person. She had many questions. Just when I was ready to encourage her to be silent and to listen instead of asking, I flashed back to many years ago when I was on a meditative walk in the countryside. I had many questions arising in my mind and was apologizing to “God” for chattering so much. What I heard back surprised me. I learned that the questions were welcomed, in fact inspired, because it opened the door to answers, new understandings, insights, and deeper personal growth. So, with Carrie, I did an about face and encouraged her curiosity. Simultaneously with this sudden burst of clarity I realized it as a genuine spiritual gift.

While there is a time for silence, in this case, her questions were a portal into the world of her own uniqueness in the spiritual realm. I was delighted with the discovery of this gift in general, and hers in particular. That is what the horses bring, the unveiling of the beauty within.

Act Two: Down to Busines
After Shaman Tal had uncovered Carrie’s curiosity by his own curious behavior, he moved to the next stage with Carrie in drawing her out of her fear. It left me speechless in amazement. He intentionally wedged himself in a tight spot between a fence and a tree so there was no room for Carrie to squeeze in on either side of him. A very strategic move. The tree stood between Carrie and Shaman Tal creating a protection for her, and she was able to lean against it in safety. The tree had a “Y” that was perfectly located and Carrie was able to reach through to do her bodywork on Tal. A deep peacefulness engulfed us as she and Tal worked silently together.

Then, in another purposeful strategy, Tal moved his body out of his confined space and planted himself gently on Carrie’s side of the tree so nothing stood between them. He did this only briefly and returned to his original position behind the tree. This took place several times. He seemed to be coaxing her into a more serious interaction beyond curiosity and without protection between them.

The tree itself was like a wise old friend. It carries the energies of the horses who love to rub themselves on it. Tal knew it well, and worked with it with finesse as he moved back and forth so Carrie would experience him, the object of her fear, with the protection of the tree, and then without.

I too received the benefits of this session. I sat nearby at the table with the cloth blowing in the breeze, and with the smell of horse and roses intermingling. I knew I was where I belonged. This was “home”. I felt I was in the arena of an outdoor theater watching a play for which I had set the stage and then was privileged to watch the drama unfold led by a horse and a human willing to respond.

Tal ultimately took Carrie to a deeper connection with herself through the interaction with his eye, the Shaman’s eye. An experience that remains deeply personal for her. With that connection, the rest of the herd came back from pasture right on cue. They had come to celebrate the ending.

Once all had gathered, I suspect to applaud, Apolinaire, the head guy, moved the horses away indicating that the session was over. The play had ended. And before Carrie made it out the gate to leave, Tal walked over to his favorite spot and laid down to take a much needed rest. He had worked hard bringing a human being out of her fear…of him.

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