A Simple Nudge That Turns My Day Around

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Dollar: a view that caught my eye one day. I love the flowing lines around muscle, and the warmth of his coat in the sunshine.
As I returned home after a Thanksgiving trip to join my son and his family for the holiday, I was feeling depressed that I hadn’t found a place to move the horses yet. As I entered the pasture area, Dollar, the head guy here, came up to me and quietly pressed his warm and soft muzzle into the back of my hand and held it there. It was the most alive, and soothing kiss I’ve ever received and brought me quickly out of my depression. He reminded me of the world of love beyond the material.
He’s so human sometimes. That’s not necessarily a compliment for him except for the fact that he knows how to speak my language.
Tonight, I had another brief moment with him. I’d had a troublesome human to human conversation and had lost my spiritual connection. Dollar sauntered by and gently nudged me on my leg, and as he continued moving past me, turned his head back to look at me and check my response. His equine gesture felt like a reassuring human squeeze that said , “Stay cool. You’re okay.”
The acknowledgments from this sentient being are remarkable. They often come as a surprise to me when I’m too consumed by my own “stuff” to even acknowledge him. Walking past him with my eyes glazed over, he snaps me back to awareness in such a gentle way with his nudges. He draws me deep into the heart of love, and turns my day around.
For those of you who would like to participate in the wellbeing of these 5 rescue horses, and support their healing work, https://www.gofundme.com/kaheka2016

The Equine Art of Healing

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Mariah (left) and Kaheka

Mystic Mariah, one of two mares in the herd, is a vivacious teenage dancer; light on her feet, easy to plop to the ground for a feel-good roll, bounce back to her feet, then off on a run with head flung high to the wind.

She’s also a bit mischievous with a dry sense of humor that I forget sometimes when I get annoyed at her dramatic flair for throwing hay ever so flamboyantly out of her food bin. And not just hers, but everybody elses’ as she goes from bin to bin taking over their spot.

But I couldn’t help feeling endeared by her the day she coyly deposited a tiny bouquet of flowering grasses in the middle of the sketch I was doing of her. Or the day she made me giggle and laugh when I was doing a charcoal sketch of Shaman Tal and she sauntered over with a gleam in her eye to have a look. She proceeded to erase the whole thing with her mouth, bringing me spontaneous laughter that filled the spacious stall with healing. Something about the whole scenario, my sketching and our laughing brought the restless Shaman to a peaceful quiet, and out of discomfort.

Mystic Mariah has been an active healer often through her humor and her presence alone. Recently, however, I discovered something new that came out of a problem. Mystic Mariah has always been a “noisy” breather from the day she arrived here about 10 years ago. Her audible breath would come and go and I never quite found the pattern for certain. Probably it happened most often when she was feeling a little anxious about something, just like we humans.

In the past year her breathing has become more noticeable on a regular basis but she hasn’t shown stress. But most of us have viewed it as a problem which has distracted us.

A few days ago, that all changed. A bright spirited young woman from Nevada was here on the western coast for respite. She came for a visit with the horses. Arriving ahead of me, she had some time to interact with the horses while I quickly finished my breakfast.

When I finally met her at the gate, she greeted me literally beaming with excitement. Unable to contain herself she blurted out that Mariah was teaching her to breathe! This Mariah with the breathing problem, was teaching this young woman how to breathe?!? How could this be?

I was unexpectedly swooped up and away in an invisible tornado, and swirled into a sudden shift in perspective. I was filled with curiosity, and at the same time a dance of delight. The whole pasture suddenly came alive with a song of triumph, and an otherworldly illumination sparked by this young woman, Steph. There was an intriguing sense of celebration of something new that I later discovered was more expansive than I could have imagined at the time!

Surprisingly, I had not noticed, consciously anyway, that though Mariah’s breath was noisy, each was slow and deep. That is what Steph had tapped into…long breath in and slow breath out. Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….. This is how a horse normally breathes, we just don’t hear it. Mariah’s just happens to be audible. The long slow breath is a challenge for typical human patterns to sustain. But, Steph was trying to master it.

When I quieted from the sudden and involuntary change in my perspective about Mariah’s breath, I began experiencing it as strength instead of weakness. I, too, started letting Mariah teach me, breathing long and slow breaths with her as Steph had done. A powerful new understanding began to emerge and take root.

Here at the ranch, I’ve known for years that the horses are insistent on giving to us. They are determined to offer us deep healing, and don’t take kindly to clients, nor to myself, when we try to fix them. One very friendly horse, Kaheka, abruptly walked away when one guest reached out her hand to energetically fix and heal.

The healing they offer is often wrapped in symbolism and metaphors that require interpretation. Mariah’s breathing appeared as a problem and a weakness to most humans, then Steph instantly decoded what was presented to her and she received it, then passed it along to me and others with a recorded version.

After Mariah literally breathed life and transformation into human beings, it was her turn to receive but not in the way one would expect. A few days after Steph had been here, Mystic Mariah went through a healing crisis. I at first was ready to call a vet but Mariah interrupted swiftly and spoke firmly that what she was experiencing was a good thing, a healing was taking place. I felt it to be true without question.

After Mariah’s message, I felt strongly grounded with a new sense of courage and boldness in embracing her healing. Twenty-five years of equine mentoring, coaching, and hardcore training converged in that moment. Internal arrows darted through my mind in a review of the many lessons from my equine mentors over time, reminding me and connecting me with all they had taught me regarding healing. I was most certainly taking a master exam for my doctorate in mystical living in the trenches, I say laughingly but with some seriousness. For that very day I had been prepared par excellence by the equine teachers.

I had been shown that doubts, and the very act of seeking proof would chase manifestation away. I was able to easily reject my inclination to do so this time, but a remnant of doubt caused me to struggle with trying not to listen to Mariah’s breathing for fear that I would be disappointed. Mariah interrupted again quickly and succinctly informing me that neither audible nor quiet breathing were the proof of whether or not she was healed. The healing took place in another dimension unscathed by whether there was manifestation or not. Freedom rushed over me in refreshment like a clear mountain brook bouncing lightheartedly over rocks. It quenched my thirst for something more. I could listen to her breathe and make no judgment, and stand simply and firmly in her healing.

That being said, after many weeks I have noticed that Mariah’s breath has softened…not always, but mostly. A few days ago when her breath was especially quiet, we put our nostrils together and I breathed in the sweetness of her pure and gentle breath.

She and the herd reminded me that healing comes with our receiving what they offer us. Our healing and theirs. Steph was able to receive from Mariah. Others, myself included, had not seen past her weakness or her problem..noisy breathing.

Steph started the cycle of healing by receiving from Mariah, and then sharing with others. Then healing came back around to Mariah. For years I have been experiencing this cycle of healing with horses once they brought me to the place of simply receiving from them.

This is the equine art of healing.

There is a Reason

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There is a reason so many people are drawn to horses even with varying degrees of fear and trembling.  Both the fear and the draw are in part due to their sheer size; but I also think their pure magnificence and spiritual presence is something quite mighty to experience at the soul level and also touches something quite mighty in the unconscious parts of the human being. And that can be a very awesome and a fearful thing.

Even without our knowing, horses may plant a healing that we might not be aware of that will manifest days, weeks, or perhaps years later. I am learning that we can accelerate the process by developing our awareness in their presence.

They are powerful beings wrapped in beauty and grace; gentle enough to walk beside us on a simple lead rope. Their spiritual strength and eternal flow of wisdom can crumble any resistances in our soul by our surrender to it in their presence.

This morning, I am on the cusp of being financially forced to re-home my 5 spiritual healing horses, just as we are coming into our power as a herd after 25 years. As I was pondering my surrender to, and acceptance of that very real possibility, I noticed that my least affectionate horse, and the most mystical, was lingering at the water trough with her head pressed as close as she could get to me near the fence. She was standing quietly, looking softly, but intensely at me with her deep brown eyes. There was a peaceful quality about her.

My memory turned my head back to the day my mom died years ago. She was many miles away when she departed, before I had a chance to go home to be with her. Mariah stepped up to me in the pasture, and presented herself as a physical and spiritual surrogate for my mom. This normally stand off-ish mare allowed me to hug her and caress her for as long as I needed. I knew I was touching my mom while tears of grief intermingled with joy and gratitude for these parting moments through Mariah.

Was it mom visiting a second time today through Mariah? I wonder that as I write.

As I moved to a different location along the fence, there was Mariah again this time with her head lifted high on the fence hovering her peacefulness and flow of wisdom over me like a shower of radiated spiritual light. “I receive,” I whispered to her not yet knowing the full impact of what is coming. “I receive.” Thank you.

No matter the outcome of the next two weeks, I felt a sense of quiet. I sat in an herb garden and watched the honey bees busy with their food gathering from a borage plant, the sweet purple flowers backlit by the sun. Coastal breezes were playing with my hair and keeping me comfortable from the heat of the day. “This is living,”I thought to myself, “It is not for sale.” I’ll always carry that surrender to it deep in my soul. This is the reason so many people are drawn to horses.

Equine Kissing Game

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Dollar has been creating a lot of playful fun for me these days. He use to be rather aloof and withdrawn, and seemed simply the “money man,” in reference to his name and the $ brand he came with. I would communicate with him mostly regarding that topic. Lately, however, since he’s become the new leader here when Apolinaire died, he has been actively involved in significant and amazing  therapeutic work with clients and myself. In addition to that, he is also revealing his light hearted side.

I’ve discovered he understands what I’m saying without my teaching him with an action and reward system. It’s been one of his closely held secrets! The playful part is kissing. When I spontaneously asked him for a kiss one day without any expectation, he responded immediately by presssing his muzzle ever so softly against my face. Such a heavenly feeling…the warmth of his gentle muzzle nicely scented with horsey breath fresh from the earth; and the serendipity of the horse and human interaction.

Kissing has now become a common occurrence with Dollar and me. If he doesn’t feel like it, he will stand stoney faced with no acknowledgement. Sometimes though, he’ll look at me with almost human eyes and say, “Naw, I don’t think so.”  I giggle and that’s when I ask if I can kiss him. Instantly like a statue coming alive, he’ll turn his cheek or forehead to me or some other part of his face, or nod his head, “yes.”

Such fun playing his equine kissing game! It brings to me memories of childhood delights and a reminder that the earth is God’s playground. We get to experience the joys of the physical realm while our souls are dancing in unseen worlds.

Stepping Out of the Mess

The two human angels [In the Midst of the Mess] came back with apples, carrots, and a grater, and a pan to hold the treats for the horses. It was well thought out. On the trunk of the aging Mercedes, they went to work shredding the food for the aging herd. Most of the horses were gone to another part of the pasture. Only one was nearby. I always pay attention to which one. It is usually and probably always significant. Today it was Dollar. I call him the “money man” because of his name and the dollar sign imprinted above his left front leg. He was rewarded with the whole treat without any competition from the others. I think it surprised him. There was no flack and he was the center of attention. I could feel him retreat inwardly as he did this thing alone. Maybe a little shy about it. All reflections of my own shyness about receiving and having all of the good stuff focused on me.

The two angels had their fun, washed up the utensils, and found some mustard leaves in their stash. By then, the herd had returned, and Mariah came to the fence. Mariah is my symbol of the mystical. She seems to dwell in that world. Her interaction with a human is a mix of the playful, humorous, and the mystical. She has a handle on the earth being God’s playground for us. After eating the mustard leaves, she found her way to a very large feeding bin. It was empty. She began pawing at it until she tipped it over on its side. She has a dry sense of humor doing her stunts as if she is oblivious, our very own comedienne.  The two angels got a good laugh.  Mariah’s way of saying thank you (and probably that she wouldn’t turn down another handful of mustard!)

As the angels were preparing to leave, our conversation took an unexpected turn. In the State of California, I hold a teaching credential. It appears there may be financial opportunity as a credentialed educator, to provide “job” training for developmentally disabled as they help by preparing feed, delivering hay, grooming, etc.

Did Dollar have something to do with that?

 

 

In the Midst of the Mess

IMG_7188                                           Dollar’s Sign

(This one is for you, Patricia, patriciajgrace.wordpress.com, whose comments on my last post inspired me to venture out and write about myself in the midst of my mess, instead of waiting until it is all cleaned up. And also thanks to In Other’s Words, inotherswords.com, Paper Dolls who speaks of the smiling facade some of us carry when we are dying inside. I’m trying it out. Exposing it, I mean. We’ll see.)

I am overdrawn at the bank. I have 5 cents in my pocket and a partly buried penny on the ground near where my car is parked. My gas tank has a whisper of fuel left, my muddy pasture clothes need to be washed at the laundramat or by hand. I just gathered some food from a local charity. When my social security check is deposited soon, my hungry bank account will gobble it right up. Gone. I have 5 horses, one big dog, and myself to provide for.

So how has it come to this? I’m a middle class, college educated, multi-talented and supposedly wise older woman. How could this be happening to me when I have been so diligent on my spiritual journey with the horses? There are those that know me that will smugly smile that I have failed, at least in their way of thinking, and in so doing I have proven them right. “I told ya so!” are those voices that taunt and haunt.  “Get rid of the horses.” has been their mantra. There are others who have issues with me that will feel a sense of pride or pleasure at my demise. I cringe, but I toss my head and keep on going.

I live in Northern California where we’ve been having a drought that has recently mutated into continuous rain. “Enough!” I scream, “Eeee nufff! “We need it,” those around me say. “We don’t need it all it once,” I snarl. It turns into run off and causes mudslides in the next county already tormented by a catastrophic fire where they lost many homes. “Balance! Moderation!” But the earth is groaning and the sky above is weeping, and I’m going ballastic

Closer to home, my horses’ pasture is a lake with bits of mud surfacing like bullfrog heads but without the humor. Not good for their hooves. And there is no shelter except trees which they don’t seem to use. They do their horsey thing…stand together, turn their butts to the storm, and drop their heads all looking very woeful. It wrenches my heart. When I come they greet me like hungry children and eat like crazy when the dry food arrives. They always have plenty of hay (I free feed 24/7), but the wet and mud waste it. The compost pile in their gut helps keep them warm a vet once told me.

When the sun occasionally bolts its way through the clouds, they lie down and catch up on rest.

IMG_7187                                                        Mariah’s Nap in the Sun

Perhaps it is a metaphor for my life…being in the midst of an endless storm, or maybe the metaphor is prophetic and that my financial drought will turn into an “abundance” storm! Wouldn’t that be nice!  In the meantime, I’ve been angry. Quite angry but it seems not to help. I am allowing it for the time being. Almost exactly a year ago to the day, I lost a lucrative job that I loved and that had easily come my way along with a place to live.  For some reason I have not been able to recover financially, nor find a proper place for myself and the horses. I am baffled.

But underneath all of this, there is a steady and determined drum beat just like the pounding of the rain. Step by step I am finding my way to my calling with the horses which I started 5 or 6 years ago when my landlady forced my horses and me to leave her land because she didn’t want me to do a business there…and she thought I was. I wandered in the wilderness for awhile in search of the promised land.  When I step back and look at my life today I’m watching a movie reminiscent of a Star Wars battle. I’m at the climax where the movie gets good if you are only a viewer and it is not your life. The suspense and the tension is immense. The adrenaline rushes, knuckles turn white, breathing quickens or stops altogether. I will either sink or swim, crash, or avert it at the last minute.

I have been taking huge leaps with practical and productive help from very talented people. They are guiding me in what I don’t do well.  They are teaching me how to market myself and what the horses and I can offer those that want to find respite from the chaos and pain of the world, or to do some deeper work finding purpose and uncovering gifts, healing abuse or addictions, or awakening to the mystical path led by the horses.

However, yesterday I awakened in despair. Even though I am engaged in very tangible and bold movements toward my goal of offering the healing the horses bring, in my fear and financial lack I decided that it was too late to bridge the gap through the transition. I needed to re-home my 5 horses immediately. All of them are horses I’ve rescued, and horses I’ve been traveling with and growing with for years. I cried all the way to the pasture and feared that I, a very determined survivor, was about to have a break down as I did years ago when tears seemed to flow like a leaky faucet because of a worn out washer. This time though, it is just when my life has been getting on track with a facebook page, business cards, and brochures all heading me toward my heart’s desire; and now it was coming to an abrupt halt. My mind was made up. I’ve had a year of hell, and that is enough. I drove the 3 miles to the pasture with no embarrassment that tears were streaming down my cheeks.

Nearing my destination, I started blinking my eyes to clear away the tears as I turned my car onto the lane heading toward the horse pasture. Ahead, I saw a vehicle parked in my driveway to the pasture. Unusual. I didn’t recognize the older and pale yellow Mercedes with seashells glued as a circular emblem on the driver’s side door. As I pulled up, two women happily greeted me showing no shame or guilt for being in the driveway. Not that I thought they should feel that but often people do. It was refreshing that they didn’t. Instead they were absorbed in excitement to have found the horses and were having such childlike delight in feeding them apples and carrots. One was a physically challenged young woman with a brace on one leg, and the other was her companion caregiver. Their radiance encircled and captured me bringing me into their joy. My tears changed to sweet honey from deep within me. I was being touched by magic…as were they. For me, they were God-given angels who had come to remind me of who the horses are and what my calling is with them. This was one of those mystical moments that is difficult to describe. A remembrance, a gentle humbling, a knowing, a transformational moment. I won’t be the same. I cannot be the same.

I knew then what I must do. Without question the horses are not to go, but we are to move forward. Together. Where the money will come from during my transition, I have no idea, but the horses and I are not to separate again.

My financial circumstances have not changed, but the rest of my life has. I seem to be split equally into two parts as the metamorphosis is taking place, the new and the old at the same time, the hope and the fear, the joy and the despair, the confident and the victim. I seem to be dwelling in both. Right now anyway, I’m like a ship changing its coarse in the dark waters. A new direction. I’m rooting for the new, the hope, the joy, the confidence. I want to dance and freely flutter like the butterfly freed from it’s cocoon!