Non Resistance

Bury Your Head In This. ..And Smell His Horsey Breath

Shaman is a teddy bear disguised as a large horse. People love to bury their heads in his neck, smell his sweet horsey breath, and sink their lips into his soft muzzle.

He recently presented me with a new problem to solve, after Kaheka Boy and I finally resolved a halter issue with him (prior post). It all started when I recently made a commitment to get more serious about working with equine problems other than my own. Since then the horses in my care have lined up to present new lessons to get me ready. As the “professors” in their equine university, they never miss a chance to groom and school me for what is next. Thankfully they always show me where I have already changed but didn’t realize it. One of those times is demonstrated in this story.

Apparently I had to first be shown a technique that I didn’t like. An acquaintance wanted to show me a 1-2-3 step to get Shaman to step forward on “demand.” (her word, not mine) Multiple times he failed steps 1 and 2 and ended with the 3rd step which was jerking on Shaman’s head and using the abrasiveness of the rope halter to get him to step forward. No. That is not to be my relationship with horses! That was clear. So, I was now ready for my own step forward with my equine instructors.

A friend, who is honing her skill of listening carefully to her horse, said to me recently that her desire is to work with her horse in a way that allows her to choose to cooperate without threatening consequences. We both value an authentic, cooperative, and deepening spiritual relationship with our horses. A horse may change its behavior because of uncomfortable or negative consequences, but that change is based on discomfort or fear, and hierarchy, not trust and cooperation which is my goal here at the ranch. While there may be the desired outward change, their connection with their human is not the same.

Daily I move Shaman back and forth between paddock and pasture at supplement time. He tries to sneak away under the rope I use as a corridor to guide him. After multiple attempts, I hoped he would settle into a routine. He didn’t. Finally, I put a lead rope gently over his neck like a bolo tie with my hands as a clasp beneath so I could guide him to our destination. He immediately did an awesome musical figure 8 with his huge neck and head and almost dislodged the rope, pulling his head under and away from any confinement. Clever. And a bit mischievous. I, instead of bracing and holding the rope taut like I normally do, was extremely surprised by my spontaneous and effortless response which was a new experience for me. Without thought, I simultaneously released any tension on the rope. Still holding it, I let it drape loosely in place beneath his neck, and felt that inner place of peacefulness and harmony. He stopped immediately. There was no resistance for him to push against. I waited. At last he took a step to move forward with me.

For 5 days we did this. Each day he whirled his head around to free himself from the rope. Each day I relaxed and released any tension. The 6th day, after putting the rope softly over his neck yet again, there was quiet. There was no figure 8 with his head. None. Instead he immediately stepped softly forward on his own initiative toward our destination. It was a gracefully choreographed movement which I am sure was designed by the gods with me as his dance partner. We then walked side by side with his bulky body light as a feather!!

There was no human jerking his head, and no figure 8 maneuver on his part. Instead he chose to step forward quietly without any waiting…and without any threat. We floated back to the pasture. He gave me these moments of feeling what two Olympic ice skaters must experience during a gold medal performance. Complete synchronicity and pure harmony. We’ve been experiencing that daily since then. The joy of non resistance. Not a technique, nor a rule for all times, but a pure moment when what was right for that time, emerged spontaneously.

 

What My Horse Taught Me Today

Kaheka Boy

Tonight I tangled with Kaheka Boy. Again. Every evening I put the halter on him before turning him out into the interim pasture to eat his supplement. Every night he throws his head at the very last minute just as I am buckling the halter, jerking it right out of my hands and propelling it to the ground. Each night I yell at him, “Every goddamn night you do this!” all the while I’m cringing inside with poisonous shame and guilt. I knew I was being a bitch and not solving the problem even a little bit. Even though I knew there was a better way, taking the easier road, I persisted in my reactionary response.

My goal for the past 20 years has been to work cooperatively with horses. But I still forget. Tonight, I not only yelled but I picked up his halter from the ground and threw it back down. Hard! I don’t think I could ever hit this horse but throwing the halter on the ground like I did felt like the same harsh energy. Even though he is in his 20’s, an older guy by now, he has a youthful innocence. Like a teenager, he can be challenging but endearing at the same time, and extremely sensitive. In this instance, he simply rolled his eyes, turned his head and looked around as if embarrassed, to see if anyone was watching my foolishness, then patronized me with a “guru” type superior nod as he patiently observed my childish tantrum.

A few months ago Kaheka walked away from the new-to-us but old-in-years ferrier as he was trimming Kaheka’s hooves. I mean, he didn’t casually saunter away, he was on the move and ignored my efforts to stop him. In response to this horse’s one time “un-ruly” behavior, the ferrier made a stud shank out of a soft lead rope for Kaheka and put it over his head and muzzle. Then he yanked down on it to discipline him. Seemingly, it worked! Kaheka stood statue still. Exactly the behavior the ferrier wanted! Done. Wrong. Unfortunately, the ferrier wasn’t done. He also wanted to educate me in how to use it, as if I were interested. I wasn’t. My preference is to look behind the scenes at the real message the horse is bringing rather than resorting to harsh physical techniques assuming malicious intent. The ferrier, however, continued to give a periodic yank on the rope which was wrapped around Kaheka’s muzzle attempting to get a point across to me. After about 4 more times, not only was I paralyzed with a feeling of chaotic confusion and not wanting to get into a fighting match with the ferrier, something I must get over, Kaheka too was bewildered as to what the hell he was suppose to do or not do as he stood there absolutely still which was the original intent of the ferrier. By the last yank Kaheka had enough and immediately headed toward the barn door. The ferrier, to his credit, tuned in to his own Native American wisdom quickly laying aside white man authoritative “I-need-to-win” mentality. Realizing his error, he pulled the shank off and Kaheka immediately calmed down. But the impact had not dissipated. Kaheka spent the rest of his hoof trimming session with his lanky thoroughbred legs trembling noticeably.

A few days later I noticed that he, a normally friendly horse, drew away when a man he didn’t know came for a visit. My heart felt like it had been cinched a notch too tight. Kaheka was experiencing the aftermath of a disciplinary action from the “strange” ferrier a few days earlier that did not have to happen. Had the two humans involved stopped to examine what the horse was communicating to us about our own interactions, what a different outcome we would have all experienced. That is why I would never hit this horse. But my throwing a halter harshly to the ground was not a good option.

When the halter hit the ground in a puff of dust, I wondered at how I had regressed. It seems the closer I get to responding to ordinary behavioral issues in nontraditional ways, I backslide more ruthlessly into the very tradition I am hoping to abandon. But all was not lost.

In my efforts to work cooperatively with horses, Kaheka communicated to me now that I was listening with intent to learn from him. He had been throwing his head nightly when I haltered him because he was nervous about the other horses nearby. When I started buckling the halter, he felt constricted and more confined. Instinct for flight overtook him and he threw his head ready to flee. As he explained what was going on with him, I began to feel compassion and understanding. I instinctively lowered my voice, reassuring him that he was safe. “You’re okay, Kaheka, you are okay,” I was reminding him that all was well. And it was! We breezed through haltering him that night.

The next time, he threw his head again! My heart sank after thinking we had found a solution. “Wait,” he said, “This is a process. Don’t give up on me.” He meant don’t give up on yourself! I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, then, spoke softly again and reminded him to try to keep his head down, and that he was safe. After more coaching from him, I gave him space to stand in a position that helped him feel more confidant, where he could see the other horses. I whispered reminders to keep his head down, and to reassure him. All has gone smoothly since.

We are now both getting what we want. I get to buckle him without hassle, and he gets to feel confident and safe. I can feel him still on the alert, but putting every effort into keeping his head from flinging upward. He gets buckled more quickly, and then gets to his food sooner. There is a new camaraderie between us instead of antagonism.

In addition Kaheka also has shown me how I do the same thing in my own life. Throwing my head when I’m starting to feel constricted and unsafe, and slowing the process of forward movement by giving into my fears. That is his “guru” lesson for me.

Gratefully, the connection and the cooperation between Kaheka and me has grown deeper and at the same time more transcendent. It is another step forward on our horse and human journey, to work together in cooperation.

 

My Love Affair with Amoura

There is a special bond between us—Amoura and me. I’m not finding words easily to describe the feeling we share. The way she looks at me and watches me, the way she humbly responds after throwing her head violently because an unexpected movement triggered past abuse. She lowers her head and her eyes shamefully for having given into her past. I reassure her and she responds. Her prior owner often slugged her in the head, a memory not easy to overcome.

Lately I have been talking softly to her, “Shhhh, it’s okay, you are safe.” She quiets and looks at me with big dark eyes and seems to melt. We melt together into a new trust that has become a thriving seedling. The inside connection is powerful. An experience of love. Amour. That is who she is and who we are together.

Amoura came to the ranch a few years ago, and the closest she would allow me was about 10 feet if that, any closer she would pin her ears. Seriously. One time she charged me, but I instinctively and instantly threw my arms straight out like wings that looked like a wooden beam to her, and I simultaneously stepped directly toward her, which quickly quelled her aggressive attempt. There was such vulnerability underneath her facade, so much fear.

The evening of her arrival at the ranch, I could hear her tummy from afar making all kinds of gurgling noises, and I knew it was a form of colic from stress. She had been raised alone on one ranch for many years and now in her upper teens had been moved for the first time. I could understand her anxiety. A different location, a new home, other horses, dried grasses instead of year around green, and the unpredictability of a new human.

I hung my body over the old wooden gate and put my hands up with palms softly outward toward her using the reiki my first horse taught me. Amoura and I were both surprised as her gut grew quiet. Right then and there she decided I wasn’t so bad after all and edged over closer to me still on the other side of the gate. Eventually she pushed her rear against the dilapidated fence nearby somehow intuiting that I was a human who loved massaging equine tails and rear ends.

I went to work cautiously and well-armoured with gratitude that there was a fence between us. Those back legs were too fast for my comfort and had a keen and swift edge like a recently sharpened knife that could quickly slice through any obstacle, getting the job done in a moment. This was not a time for me to be reckless.

To be able to touch her from a position of safety was a treat. It was her first step in trusting me. It was definitely not instant calm, but it was a start. I still needed to approach her with caution, with the intention of stopping before she pinned her ears, hoping to ease her out of that reflexive habit.

Her name was Babe when she arrived. There was no way I could call her that. The thought of it hung up in the back of my throat like a fish hook. It must have been a rude cowboy that named her. It was a cheap name for this horse who is flavored with elegance in her sturdy quarter horse body and certainly in spirit. Even though she’s a challenge because of human violations, I sensed a spiritual depth still being uncovered.

Amoura brought me her new name. It was night time again; seems to be when the magic kicks in with the horses and me. Daily chores done, horses all fed, and time to relax under the stars. I was standing near another mare who was in the final stages of her life. A friend I respected had mentioned to me that this mare, Carob, had a deep love for me. The words sounded alien to me. At that time in my life I didn’t expect the horses to love me, nor did it occur to me that they might. I did my job with feeding and caring for them and assumed any affection was related to what I gave to them. That was it. Neat and tidy with no expectations. And of course, no disappointments nor vulnerabilities. And besides, Carob really belonged to my friend who was my partner with the horses. The two of them had a very deep connection. A love relationship for Carob and me was not even a consideration at that time, as if love is rationed.

I learned differently from Carob. She genuinely loved me even in her awkward and often aloof way of letting me know. She was not an overly affectionate horse, preferring not to be touched because of her extreme sensitivity to the carelessness of human energy. She would offer me a quick affirming nudge with her head then just as quickly return to her personal space. She would stand near but not touching while I did an oil painting, hang her head over me while I sat and wrote, and like a housemaid wiping her dishwater hands on her apron, then placing her hands on her hips she marched across the pasture to scold the new and contentious horses to get with it on my behalf. They were all cues I had missed because she was a tough broad. No cuddling with Carob.

With stars blinking their own rhythms above, I stood with Carob near the fence separating us from the adjacent pasture. I was deeply engaged in conversation with her, acknowledging her love and telling her that I received it even though I wasn’t sure how, nor how it might feel. As we stood side by side not touching, I felt something nibble on my outside elbow. I turned to look and there was Amoura with her head stretched well across the fence, just barely able to touch my elbow. There was a definite purpose in her action; no coincidence here. I was intrigued by her gesture and her timing, though slightly confused by the distraction during such an intimate moment with Carob. But Amoura’s message came through immediately. Her name was Amoura and she and Carob were sandwiching me in love. This moment was bursting forth from the heart of the Divine. There was not just one, but now two offering me love in the language of horses.

When Carob died the following week, I understood there had been an important exchange between Amoura and Carob that magical night. Amoura had accepted the torch of love from Carob to carry on with me and the lessons of love.

Over the years I lost the consciousness of that divine encounter; but Amoura had not forgotten. From time to time I would wonder how a horse embodying love was so challenging that I didn’t trust her. But, through the years she has moved in close to me like an unseen angel when I was going through an emotional or spiritual transition or crisis. Even today, she will silently slip in behind me without my knowing. When I’m not aware and think I am alone, there is a very gentle nibbling on my hair out of nowhere. I smile knowingly when I discover it is Amoura. Her quiet touch brushes my soul with tenderness.

Her lameness has come and gone since a trailer incident 5 or 6 years ago, but in the past few months, it has become more obvious and acts like it has burrowed in for good. I cannot find the source of her discomfort, but once I let go of the conventional approach with questions and treatments which I usually pursue unsuccessfully, I am reminded of what I have learned from the horses over the 25 years together. They have taught me that equine issues that they present to me are solved only by approaching it spiritually so it is best to get on with it. That is what the two of us are doing. Her lameness has lured me back into her spiritual world after months of personal distractions.

We are back on the journey into love. Almost a year ago I began wondering about love. I’d always believed I was easy to love (right!), and that I loved easily having been raised in a loving home. But, at that moment a new thought rushed in. I suspect Amoura was whispering a divine message through the trees nearby. What if my perceptions were amiss? What if what I think is love, isn’t? What if the majority of us don’t know but think we do? If we haven’t experienced the truth of love, we have no standard by which to compare what we think is love. We toss the word around so loosely, sometimes so carelessly. What new and expansive sacred world awaits our discovery? These thoughts were more than I could deal with at the time. I set them on the back burner to percolate until the right time. In hobbles Amoura. Her lameness is a love lure. I am curious what she, a damaged and a most unlikely candidate as a carrier for love, will bring and where she will lead. She, the one horse I don’t fully trust, is the chosen one to bring me the most important experience of life, authentic love. When I receive from her, she too will heal. Please join us on this journey into love.

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He Sent Me Home to Paint

 

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[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.

Listening Intuitively, Seeing Beyond Appearances

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The following are vignettes, examples of listening intuitively and seeing beyond appearances with humans and animals.

CHILD
He was just a kid. …my son 35 years ago. We were getting ready to leave the house one morning to run some errands. At the last minute I wanted to iron the wrinkles out of something quickly. I don’t recall what.

At 8 years, he was old enough to know better, but knowing better was not on his radar screen during the following episode. As I was getting ready to iron, he grabbed the ironing board and gave it a good yank almost knocking the hot iron onto the floor. In my opinion at that moment, it was a purposeful and belligerent act coming out of nowhere. Immediately my ego mind kicked in obsessing about my son’s “act of violence.” I was a teacher after all and how could I have such an extremely disturbed child. I felt helpless. Punishment seemed futile, he was doomed, and destined, I was convinced, to become a ward of the public penal system with his own personal mug shot.

My mind was obviously working overtime without pay on this one. Condemning thoughts about my son and my failure as a mother were whirling out of control. This was fertile soil for a parent to perpetuate the violence by inflicting it back on the child. Anything to stop the behavior, and the embarrassment! But I, instead, was like a buzzing fly caught paralyzed in the sticky spider web of the mind.

I do not recall whether I even got to the scolding stage with my son. But what I do recall was a sudden “knowing” that pierced through the chaotic and internal noise and into my soul, and the absolute peaceful silence that ensued. The mind had been dismantled when the backstage curtains were pulled open. Intuitively I saw behind the stage set, behind the facade, beyond appearances. I then understood what prompted his behavior. It was the only way he knew how to communicate the emotion that had welled up inside of him taking us both by surprise.

I had a careless habit back then, and still do, of getting ready to leave the house numerous times always thinking of one more thing to do before leaving, or one more thing to take with me. That particular day way back in time, I had, I’m guessing,…maybe 5 false starts. Each time I had called to my son to get ready to go to the car.

Finally he’d had enough! Frustrated, he impulsively did what he could do to send that message to me. He shook the hell out of the ironing board the source of the final delay. Who wouldn’t be upset? Well, maybe my dog who considers me her personal snooze alarm. She simply lifts her head and puts it right back down again for more nap time until she knows it is the final call. At that time, she pulls her body up slowly, dipping it into an upside down arch as she takes her own sweet time in a oh-this-feels-so-good stretch, then ambles with a yawn somewhere in the direction of the car. That was not the way of my son. He’d had enough.

With this new understanding, my ego mind laid shriveled in a heap wrapped up like a mummy in its own spider web, and for me, and for my son, this became a teachable moment. His behavior wasn’t acceptable nor was mine, but his emotion was. After apologies, my goal was to listen, to honor his frustration, and to teach him how to express his feelings in a more constructive way. He would need to learn to trust that I would hear him, and I would need to earn his trust. I needed to listen intuitively and without defense.

ADULT
It was super bowl Sunday, back when our favorite team, the 49ers, were winning with Bill Walsh. We were excited and, thanks to my husband at that time, we had all kinds of delicious food spread out on the spacious kitchen counter. You would have thought the whole neighborhood had been invited…but actually, it was just for the two of us.

For some reason I had gone somewhere before the game started, and was to be home for kick off. The excitement and suspense was like walking on a high wire in a circus tent. And, somehow I tumbled off and was late for the kick off. I missed it! The disappointment was almost more than I could allow myself to feel. I was grappling with my own sense of loss and guilt about my screw up and little did I realize the impact on my spouse. He showed very little  emotion about it, at least not then.

At half time, he laid down on the sofa and “napped.” It was a “nap” that made me feel like straps had been wrapped around me and I couldn’t get my breath. My mind told me there was nothing wrong with his taking a nap at half time, what an obvious thing to do, but it was not normal for him during a football event and we had all kinds of food to devour. Most importantly, however, I was being locked out. This was not something I could bring to his attention unless I wanted to look like a fool. How could I take issue with a nap? How silly of me. But it was a nap that was loaded with venom, an aggressive nap.

Finding a way through my emotional struggle with his passive aggressive “nap” came the understanding that he was hurt because I had arrived home after the kick off. I had no idea my presence was that important to him especially after he had shown such minimal emotion when I arrived late. I was intrigued  by the possibility that he had felt so deeply. Based on that intuition, I accepted it and did not question him, but I brought up the fact I had been late, and then apologized for it acknowledging the importance of my having been there. His demeanor changed immediately. He instantly got over his nap and the rest of the day was redeemed. I never ever discussed it with him. He would not have admitted his emotion. But he did respond to my apology, and perked up with all kinds of conversation.

HORSE
I stopped by Glory’s stall a few days ago when I heard voices coming from his vicinity. Sure enough, his person was there with a friend. Glory was standing with his head near the stall gate with his fly mask on. For some reason not being able to interact with his eyes because of the mask, I unconsciously passed by him and engaged in conversation with his person and friend who were standing next to him.

While we talked, Glory repositioned himself behind his person who was facing in my direction. Finally he started nudging her rather roughly. Then, like a choreographed dance, the friend stepped up in a perfect rhythm and discreetly tried to calm him, while his person continued to stand with her back to him as if facing the audience in a Broadway show ready to deliver her potent line. Without missing a beat, the words floated out of her mouth and danced in the air around us. “He wants to see Beverly,” she said. That was me. I was surprised, but sure enough as she finished her statement, she stepped aside so Glory could find a way around her. He did, in perfect timing, and put his head over his wall near me and started licking my hand. You can imagine the joy I felt! But the joy was not just about his wanting to see me, but also that his person had listened intuitively…and acted on it. Glory will learn to deliver his messages of intent a little more gently.

I’m not suggesting that we over analyze every circumstance, but I am encouraging that we always remain open to listening intuitively, and seeing behind the scenes of appearances. I believe that listening intuitively would change our relationships. Go for it. Trust it. For my son, shaking the ironing board totally made sense once I intuited his frustration; my husband, who was unaware of my insight, responded instantly when I spoke to his disappointment which I assume he’d never acknowledged even to himself. And Glory, moved quickly to interact with me as his owner stepped out of his way. There is a metaphor in that.

Spiritual Acceptance and Physical Healing

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Magnificent Shaman Tal came to my attention today with the never-ending saga of sore feet that is often a reflection of what is going on in my life. He made it back slowly to the barn from his position in the pasture a long way away. I walked over to him and softly stroked his leg. As I touched him, a shiver rumbled through his body like gentle thunder. He turned his head toward me and in acknowledgement of what just happened, he wrapped himself around me in a hug. Something had happened. I knew it. A little later he greeted me with a bold and hefty nicker as I brought the hay. I always know he’s feeling better when he does this.

As he walked I did my habitual checking to see if he were really better, but something stopped me and held me in the “knowing” that healing had taken place no matter whether I could see a manifestation. With that spiritual acceptance within me, he suddenly walked a little more smoothly, and over the course of the evening showed significant improvement.

Inspired by this manifestation, I revisited the numerous other powerful moments when I knew a healing had taken place, but my doubts stood in the way of manifestation. I embraced each one as the remembrances washed over me.

Standing in Our Own S*** Collects Painful Rocks: Lesson From Shaman Tal

What, me?

On Tal’s road to recovery, he had a little set back today with his sensitive hooves. Or maybe it was not a set back at all but pageantry to get a point across to me. If so, it worked. Just before my fears had a chance to take hold, I had an intuition that I needed to clean Tal’s hooves. Sure enough, when he lifted each one, I found them impacted with his manure and a ton of rocks!

He’s been mirroring me lately by standing in his own manure even though there were plenty of clean places all around for his hooves. This is out of character for any of my horses. But I learned from Tal that I’ve been standing in my own muck for years without realizing it, and collecting painful rocks. All I felt were the continuous jagged and sharp edges that hurt, and didn’t notice the s*** that was drawing them and holding them in my life. For me it was imprinted patterns from an undealt-with childhood abuse. Just the revelation of that and my choice to step out of it, led me simultaneously to a beautiful and gentle experience of forgiveness. Standing now where there are plenty of clean places, I’m viewing life from a new perspective. No more s***, no more impacted rocks to painfully distract me from the life I intend to live.

As I left for the day, Shaman Tal and his buddy horse were massaging each other over the back fence, a synchronous reassurance that all was well. He was free of his own muck and has been freeing me of mine. I rather like the imagery he presented as I left, a picture of pure pleasure and delight. A breath of heaven!