He Sent Me Home to Paint



[This post was published briefly months ago so may be familiar to my followers. It has been rewritten and edited]

There was sweetness in the sorrow I felt when my memory took me back to the day my first horse, Apolinaire, died. At the end of his recent visitation through Dollar,l my emotional balloon was stretched to full capacity. Knowing I needed  to release my tears, I was driven to walk the pasture paths that the horses have created through the wooded areas, revisiting the different places where Apolinaire and I had been together during the last four days of his life. Retracing our story together, I lingered at the very spot where many months ago he lay in exhaustion.

He had sent me home that day to paint.

To leave him in such a condition was difficult but I had been through this drill many times before with the other horses who were having acute or chronic physical issues, with miraculous results. Each time I had been guided to write, sketch, paint, to simply stand nearby and tune into nature, or to “please leave and let me work this out myself.” The malady magically disappeared time and time again.

Knowing his directive was not one to ignore, I left.

Once home, I painted with a restless spirit but with spiritual awareness, sensing that Apolinaire and I were most likely walking his death journey as companions. It was premature he told me that night and reminded me of the day years ago when he’d shared the way he was to die.

At that time, he had wandered away from the herd which was unlike him. He stepped over to another pasture and stood alone silently calling to me. I responded and stayed at a distance giving him space and dignity. Since it was late afternoon, the coastal fog had found its way inland and dimmed the light of day, creating an appropriate mood for what he was sharing. When he finished, I had thought his death was imminent, that he would likely disappear during the night. There was no distress. Sadness, yes, but most of all I felt a deeper closeness to him. He had trusted me with something intimate and sacred. But, the time for manifestation had not come.

Now, years later, I understood that it still was not time for Apolinaire to go, but an ominous feeling was pressing in. He was giving me continuous instructions as to my role in the partnership and in the process.

I was to hold space for him while he did his intercessory work which was very serious and challenging would make the difference in whether he was to live or die. For the most part, the magnitude of his cosmic work was not revealed.

I was to hold the belief he would recover as the other horses had done many times before. This time, however, my growth was in the believing. It was important even if there was never a manifestation of that belief. That one was tough for me. It didn’t make sense to me nor can I make sense of it now. All I know is that deep down there was a powerful freedom in it and there still is. I gave up attachment to results, and was free to hold space for his recovery and allow the Divine to flow. There was no more resistance to “believing” because it might not manifest since that was no longer a part of my formula. This is new to me and there is much more for me to discover about that practice.

Back home after putting away my paints and returning to the pasture, I quickly found my way to the spot where I had left him lying on the ground. My breath caught with new hope when I saw he was no longer there. There were indicators that reminded me of the “yellow brick road” that helped me find him tucked in the thicket, well away from where he had been lying. His eyes were brighter, there was new energy in him. I was encouraged.

As time went by, I continued to work on my painting and holding space for Apolinaire. Each time I returned, he showed improvement. My hopes were running high. Things seemed to be progressing.

On day 3, an acquaintance stopped by the pasture. I was not able to tell her that I was in an important process with Apolinaire. In fact I tried to hide it from her not wanting to talk about it. I surrendered to her arrival thinking maybe it was meant to be and might bring the ultimate healing. I completely forgot about my deal with Apolinaire. My only hope was that he would stay hidden.

Forgetting I was on a sacred mission with my horse, I lost my connection with Apolinaire that day as I followed my distraction. It can happen to me so easily. I suspect I am not alone in that tendency.

I had not spoken up which was a disservice to my guest, to Apolinaire in particular, and to myself. I lost the day with him. I lost my sense of confidence and holding space. I didn’t paint. Didn’t even think of it. From that day, he went downhill extremely fast and I forgot everything I’d been learning and went into crisis mode.

The next morning, he waited for me to arrive. When he turned and looked at me, I knew he was dying. My heart sank, and I gave up. In less than an hour, he was gone.

I had known it was a challenging task. I do not feel guilty nor that it was my fault as one might expect. We were on a treacherous journey together. I had known that.

My painting had brought continuous improvement for Apolinaire as it had done for the horses over the years. This time there was a bigger challenge. I became distracted and stopped painting. He went downhill. He died. It is sometimes a tough journey.

When he sent me home to paint, he sent me home to that other worldly place where the soul sighs with relief. There I find my joy and the peaceful pool of healing. There I am out of the way; the Divine is free to flow and the extraordinary follows.

Kaheka Rumpelstiltskin

Today Kaheka was peeking at me from around the corner of the barn… only half of his face was visible. I looked briefly, then looked again. It was deja vu for me. I suddenly remembered a forgotten memory, a Rumplestiltskin character that I use to see where we lived nearly 60 miles south of here.

This old and wrinkled being would often peer kindly at me from around the corner of the rustic siding of the house. Silent, still, just there, looking, watching. He was ancient and otherworldly with knobby knees and boney knuckles, wearing soft eyes under his oversized felt hat, colorless like a living pencil sketch. I knew he was there, but didn’t take notice. Sometimes I saw him standing under the apple tree on the way to the barn. His presence was like a friendly smile that felt good. I would see him but didn’t acknowledge him even to myself. He was just an everyday part of my internal landscape like a moss covered fence post, seeing without seeing it.

I’ve kept him a secret for 14 years. This morning, with Kaheka looking around the rustic siding of the barn, I am reminded of that being again. Who is he? Is Kaheka hosting him here, or could it be that Kaheka, my long-legged, lanky, and warm-eyed thoroughbred, is he?

So, whose eyes were fixed on me today, unblinking, beckoning? I paused, stepped forward, and lingered with warm and familiar feelings.


Beyond the Blue Door

sidewalk chalk drawing “Youth In Arts Italian Street Painting Festival” youthinarts.org
Click on image for original color

She saw many horses coming and going across the misty pasture that night, but when she counted there were only 6. She heard them first from behind, then ahead of her. But when she counted again, there were only 6; just her own herd lazily moving toward the barn from the pasture ahead. But there were others. One over there, then here. Ever so briefly.

At first it seemed her eyes were playing tricks. When she looked hard, they disappeared. Dollar, her solid, no frills horse, could see them. As the two stood together while he was eating, he lifted his head and grew peacefully still, staring intently down the hill at them. He knew. There were many. She could feel them nearby. When her eyes relaxed into a soft focus, there were gentle hints of form as if a skilled artist had used single strokes of a brush to capture each essence.

All pretense was shed. She became as a child who had stretched on tip toes and cautiously turned the knob of an old and creaking door, its blue paint faded by the years, forbidden but beckoning. With barely a touch from her hand, the door had fallen open to her and she had entered the world beyond, both in the seen and unseen.

Lifting her face to a smiling moon and to the expanse of the sky beyond, she heard the melody of her heart in harmony with the longings of her soul. This was life as she had known it merging with life as she was experiencing it this night. She stood quietly beside her horse, both knowing they were in the presence of powerful, yet ordinary and playful mystical beings who were the bridge between the worlds. Her own herd a part of them. She took a long deep breath and slowly released it as quiet contentment wrapped its arms snuggly around her.