…yes, there is truly a heart on his rear end (other rear ends)
We stood in quiet stillness, our foreheads pressed together, life pulsating between us. I felt his warmth and smelled his horsey breath. My heart tasted the sweetness of love for my equine guru, Shaman Tal, and it outgrew my chest.
Springtime is yawning and stretching. The freshness of nature awakens but I’ve been feeling jittery and jumpy. Haunting memories of green grasses and inflamed hooves crowd out my peace. Memories of nothing working,—nothing conventional, nothing alternative. Helpless and frustrated, only the spirit remained.
For three seasons of spring, the Shaman has reflected my own inflamed hooves—my procrastination, hesitation, fear, ingrained patterns of bracing for the worst, and the lifetime patterns of abuse that until this year held me hostage by some internal gestapo. But there have been three seasons of schooling by this master teacher.
One day of the first year, I finally followed the Shaman’s prompting that I’d been putting off. I sat down in my cozy cabin warmed by soft light and I started to write after a 2 year stall. Simultaneously, the Shaman who was also bound in a stall with sore hooves and little improvement, walked out of his dark cell into the sunshine on his own and continued to improve from that day on. The second year, I was the one who walked, saying “no” to a toxic partnership, and rediscovering my divine self after numerous daily reminders by the Shaman. He had been stalled again with no improvement nor worsening. The very same day that I came back to my home with the horses, the Shaman danced away into healing hooves.
Year 3. “Come to me in joy,” he whispered. I came in fear. His feet were sore and miserable. “Come to me in joy, he whispered again this time with raspy voice. I came to him in joy. He shone like the sun. The next time, I again came to him in fear. He drooped. Having finally understood, I came in joy having done what he had taught me to do to find it. Again and again as I found my joy, he glided painlessly across the grasses, light and free as the raven soaring overhead.
This year was the fourth season of green grasses. When I drove up to the gate one afternoon, there stood Shaman Tal, away from the rest of the herd. “Isolating,” I noted on my mental notepad filled to the brim with a clouded history. This was sometimes a symptom of the Shaman’s discomfort. There was an initial hint of fearful clutching in my chest, an old familiar pattern grinning and winking at me to return, but a gentle wave washed over me and swirled and lifted my heart up and away. The words “expect the best,” flowed through my lips from the secret places inside.
Through the years of equine schooling, blinders and binders have been dropping off onto the rutted pathways of traditional thought and habits that I’ve been abandoning for the unfamiliar but liberating trails ahead. I had been learning to ride that wave that came from somewhere in the unseen world that scooped me up like a mother lifting her child from danger, above those temptations to brace for the worst, and tenderly moved me to expect the best. Shaman Tal sometimes within minutes of that choice would do something playful or unusual, or otherwise reassuring that let me know he was doing well. And joy would waltz through my heart.
Today, my drill kicked in, tapping everything I’d learned over the past three years. Feeling like I was taking a serious university exam, I grabbed my tools—a sketch pad, charcoals and a stubby stool to sit on. I’d learned that shifts take place in both human and animal as I sketched.
I went to the Shaman and sat down to draw his large body…he’s a white and black paint. He welcomed me with a gleam in his eye, walked over and stopped with his large chiseled head towering over me. I looked up at him from underneath. A challenging position to draw, and from which to draw. He stood close and gently kissed me on my hair. I happily sketched.
When he moved away, I went to the tack room and gathered brushes to give him a good grooming. With the fluffy white sheddings from his coat piled around his hooves, he looked as though he were walking on clouds. Instantly I joined him. I looked back through the years at the numerous times his “symptoms” dramatically improved with a shift in my own perspective, or a simple inspired action that transported us to realms beyond the ordinary. We walked lightly on top of the clouds that had once hovered and suppressed.
I tossed the brushes back in the pail where they clunked as they fell against the metal sides, then headed back to the barn. When I returned minutes later, Shaman Tal stood head to head with Dollar as they screeched at each other in preparation for play. At that moment, a deep knowing that the Shaman was feeling good flowed through the cracks of any residual braces of concern for the Shaman’s wellbeing. My muscles released their tension. But, in his gracious ways with me, he had more reassurance to offer. A half an hour later in a serendipitous moment, I noticed that he and Dollar were munching hay together from the same flake of hay. These two horse who usually engage in a butt to butt kicking match over food! I had my answer. In his soigne’ style, he had taken me more than once today to walk with him above the clouds. I knew that Shaman Tal would be okay. We were making him that way.
Links to more stories of physical healing:
Physical Healing 22 stories by Bev (at the bottom of last story on the page, click the obscure “previous entries” to continue)
Surrogate Messenger, Parts 1-5