Journey Into Surrender, Part 7: Perhaps It’s Not Surrender After All

    watercolor by sylvia smith 

The Shift

The day I changed my life, Tal started getting well.

Moments after finishing this post which has been a struggle for me to write, I looked out into the pasture from my second-story barn studio. Tal was standing up the hill about the distance of a long city block away from me. It was the closing of the day and the sun was getting drowsy but still had one last beam left as it was nodding off to sleep. It just happened to be cast across the pasture like a spotlight on Tal as he was happily grazing. The white in his coat shown so brilliantly against the soft golden background, I actually squinted my eyes. He seemed to be glowing from within, or perhaps angels had tiptoed into the pasture while I was writing, and secretly dusted him with luminous magic from their own world.

Wisdom From the Four-Legged Shaman
For months, the youngest in the herd but not in spirit, Tal, had suffered laminitis with conventional and alternative treatments not working. Undaunted, he had been giving me spiritual tools all along but as I tried to use them, I fumbled again and again without understanding. He had continuously told me to go to the homeplace spiritually. For the most part I was able to do it with a degree of comfort having experienced it for years when I allow myself to linger in a good feeling that feels like coming home within, but little did I know that this time, he meant literally as well.

Secondly, he said to embrace my heart desires. I had been swinging like a pendulum to extremes. He spoke firmly that I was to embrace, not suppress, nor on the opposite swing to “let go” in some kind of smug and pious surrender. My desires were to be accessible, free flowing, fulfilling, a natural expression of who I am, and to be shared. There was an urgency about it.

And the third thing, baffling to me at the time, he emphasized, simultaneously and with the same sense of timeliness, to become acquainted with my divine self. I could speak the language, but he was calling me to something more.

I had clumsily tried to take to heart each one of Tal’s directives individually with limited results. Naively trying to explore them separately, I hadn’t realized that all three were an integral part of one another. I ultimately discovered that those deep heart desires, and those transcendent, other-worldly feelings of the homeplace that Tal had repetitively nudged in my direction, were in fact expressions and experiences of my divine self.  All along I had been acquainted but hadn’t known it.

The Underground Labyrinth
It is now that I’m seeing the wisdom of it all. This has been a very calculated and organized learning process. From my vantage point at the time, however, I felt as though I was in a tortuous and chaotic underground labyrinth trying to find my way out but seemingly circling back to where I’d started. There were hints and clues along the way that didn’t seem significant at the time, but deep down I knew they were. I would put them in my mental carrying bag only to have them fall somewhere to the bottom out of sight and no longer useful to me.

My goal was to find my way out of the dark and endless underground maze. I had thought, feeling quite noble about my task, that the way out was by solving Tal’s continuing laminitis. To do that I needed to find the right whatever it was.

While all this was going on underground, strangely I was watching myself in this dilemma from a place of numbness above. I seemed to be out of my body hovering as I watched matter-of-factly my endless struggle day after day with Tal’s physical condition and my efforts to reconcile it with a multitude of spiritual shifts. I knew I had a choice and would ultimately make it, but didn’t yet know what it was. I observed myself grabbing incessantly at each possibility that might be the answer to Tal’s ongoing physical issue, but nothing provided the healing I longed for us to experience.

Finding the Way Home
One day I finally got it. It wasn’t about Tal. It was not about finding the solution for him. It was about me. I hadn’t been able to understand Tal’s directives to me because of my own entrenchments. I’d been giving myself away to friends I cared about because I wanted so much to accommodate them. This meant my life had become fragmented, and that was depriving me of my lifeblood which is being with the horses and being with nature, and as I was to finally learn, being with my divine self. The time had come.

Unknowingly, the door opened for me to finally recognize that other self. It happened after I met head on with this lifestyle that I had been living the past two years trying desperately and innocently to make conflicting aspects of my life work together. In my frustration, I had been slowly, and without awareness, detaching from what was meaningful to me in my everyday life in order to make other parts of my life work and to accommodate those I love. I was becoming lost to myself and living in a somewhat sedated emotional hell as I searched for the wrong solution and overlooked the underlying problem which was the abandonment of my divine self.

On that day, something finally clicked for me and I decided then and there to fulfill the cry of my heart by rearranging my life. That I did. In the middle of an accommodating “commitment” to a dear friend, I literally turned the car around and drove home. The moment I made the decision, I felt a sense of peace and inner strength well up inside of me. On my trip homeward, I noticed I was free of the rigid body that had become the norm for me in these past months as I was racked by concern for Tal. Instead I felt a deep knowing within that he would be all right. I drove home peacefully with all the unsettling voices and noises of this long journey at last quiet. I was headed home both literally and in my heart.

I was not disappointed. As I drove to the barn, Tal was standing straight and tall as if a burden had been lifted, holding his chest out and his head high over the fence with intense interest in what was going on in the rest of the world. He had suddenly come out of himself as I had come into mine. That was the beginning of Tal’s dramatic and ongoing healing. Everyday from then on his improvements were the background music for the dance of my heart,… and his.

When I made the choice to listen to and live my heart’s desires, I no longer had to ask Tal how to get to know my divine self. She had been there all along, I had just forgotten while courting ego remnants. When I reconnected with the lifestyle that works for me or rather, I should say, the lifestyle that works for her, there she was waiting, and what a beautiful reunion. I finally understood what it meant to embrace desire. It was the luring voice of my divine self calling me to my homeplace. Those seemingly fragmented messages that Tal had been giving me for weeks, came together in an implosion that lifted me out of the cold and dank labyrinth of hopeless despair and placed me in a pulsating and rich adventure of my unfolding life mystery.

With Tal’s immediate shift in health, I could never have predicted that the weeks and even months of agony would be so quickly reversed by one important action which became the culmination of a very long journey, and the beginning of a new. Instead of anguish, I now feel joy when I come to the barn. I see him watching for me, and responding to my call. And I watch for him. Each day Tal has improved noticeably. He is finally moving more fluently, eating well, staying at a good weight, and very alert. He is full of lighthearted playfulness, often throwing his large, black Roman head in a carefree figure eight with its own symbolism I haven’t yet pursued. It’s as if he is simply saying, “Let’s get on with it. I’m ready to take flight. Are ya comin’?”

After finding my way home,I started having involuntary experiences of recalling my past, mostly pleasant, but not all. They washed over me unsolicited and uninhibited.  For days I lived in a nostalgic state, and still do, a profusion of memories surfacing out of my control. Memories that came as snapshot flashes, only glimpses but with strong feelings that seemed more important than the actual event. Most feelings were now familiar to me as that comfortable homeplace that Tal had continued to encourage nonstop through these grueling weeks. Memories that were spiritual but I hadn’t recognized as such when I was younger were now linking past with present. Memories that held beautiful feelings but created pain because of loss now became alive with reconnection. I had been experiencing my divine self for years and had not realized it, and now with the remembering, my feelings were finding their home as past and present merged and integrated.

Honeymoon
The honeymoon had started. I was having a reunion with my childhood flame, my divine self. The feelings of contentment, peace, joy greeted me each day. I thrilled at dappled sunlight, the cry of the red tail hawk, the struggling pink dahlia in my garden, the reflection in my front door window of white daisies, wild dandelions and fluttering butterflies, and with Tal as he continued to come more fully into health.

Perhaps it wasn’t surrender after all. Perhaps it was the sweetness of embrace. Putting arms and heart around that which has always been there.

In the midst of my being immersed in a soft euphoria, this poem arrived in my mailbox from a friend who I’m sure has been smuggled into my life by celestial beings to be my patron saint. What she brought to me through the words of Mary Oliver could have been my whole blog post, punctuated only by “and Tal started getting well!”

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!
each voice cried
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left the voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

Journey Into Surrender, Parts 1-7

Journey Into Surrender, Part 6: Trusting the Unseen

standin’ tall                                                   charcoal by bev

Tal was lying down and I needed to leave for a few hours. With most horses that would not be a problem, but with Tal it was a different story. On the one hand his physical circumstances brought questions about whether or not he could get up. On the other hand, I was given an incredible peace that all was well and that leaving was ok. Even if I were misinterpreting, in the worst case scenario, it helped that it was a cloudy day and he wouldn’t get too warm in the sun, there was water and food within reach, Tal takes good care of himself when he’s down by rolling periodically to keep the circulation going in his organs, and I was prepared to come back soon. The risk wasn’t huge, but it was a big step for me, even though a gentle one. Those voices in the head nag about what I should or should not do, but the  peaceful knowing was stronger.

Tal was in sitting position on the ground. I kissed his forehead and walked away. As I drove off in my car, I felt an inner quiet around my decision to leave. I instinctively looked back over my shoulder as I always do for a quick glance, and I couldn’t believe it… well, yes actually I could. Tal was standing up… and standin’ tall! I laughed heartily and shook my head feeling awe that the divine gives such amazing feedback sometimes when there has been a leap of faith. And the peace of mind it brought me as I settled into my trip into town was a gift, so loving and kind. It touched my soul and opened the door to that magical dance with nature as I traveled the winding road.

Journey Into Surrender, Parts 1-6

Journey into Surrender, Part 5: The Seen and The Unseen

 charcoal drawing by bev

We were sitting in the small receiving room awaiting the vet to appear. Soon enough she did. When she walked in I heard a voice somewhere in my head that startled me. A coarse and unfamiliar voice snarled, “I don’t like you. I’d like you to go away.”  Humorously in retrospect, I thought I might be picking up the vet’s thoughts… but then I worried that it had come from some unrecognized part of myself. I finally understood that it was Lolita, the cat, trying to orchestrate her own destiny.

My interaction with the vet was rocky to say the least. Lolita had taken a nasty fall and was showing signs of disorientation. When the vet gave the suggested course of action, i.e., blood tests, etc., I mentioned that I’d like to pursue other options. The vet let me know there was no time for options, that Lolita was fast becoming a hospice case.

Lolita’s own need for survival was so strong, I felt an overpowering impulse to take action that was out of character for me. I gathered her up and fled the office before the visit was complete. Once in the car and driving away, I started to breathe again, and was surprised that I could feel Lolita’s life force coming back in so powerfully.

I took her home and brought this barn cat into the house where I held her for hours. I made a place for her on my bed and drifted off to sleep with her nearby. The next morning, I was awakened by two paws planted one on either side of my face, massaging my cheeks. It makes me giggle when I think back on it now. It felt like she was patting my face to get me to wake up so she could say, “thank you, thank you, thank you,” but in a much nicer voice this time. She was clearly better than the day before without any treatment other than rescuing her from the vet she didn’t like, and giving her love and attention. “Love alone can heal,” were words from a practitioner friend that replaced the vet’s doomsday prognosis.

Love certainly was making a difference and may have been the only thing necessary, however, I also gave her a homeopathic remedy that turned out to be the perfect match and she showed a response almost immediately. For the next couple of hours there were dramatic improvements, sometimes minute by minute. It was like watching a speeded up version of a flower opening on the nature channel. Within 24 hours she was well.

Lolita knew how to manifest physical healing in a spectacular way and allowed me to be her witness. Her unusual attentiveness to me and to Tal during his time of physical duress is a constant reminder of what she brings from her own experience.

In defense of the vet, Lolita appeared in very bad shape clinically. I was appalled that she seemed to be shriveling right before my eyes as the vet was observing her. As I pondered this later, I was reminded of an incident with my son over 35 years ago when he was about 4 years old.

He had poison oak. During that time in our lives, he would accompany me to a prayer group I attended weekly. This particular day, the women said prayers for him not as some kind of focus on a miraculous healing, but rather as what I call courtesy prayers but no less sincere and powerful. The next morning, however, he was worse. His face and whole body were covered with poison oak. I was preparing to rush him to the doctor when I noticed that he was exhibiting absolutely no discomfort even though he looked awful. He was playing happily with his little matchbox cars, and I remember him humming a tune… or maybe he was mimicking engine sounds for his array of miniature cars! Nevertheless there was an intriguing contradiction between how he looked and how he was acting. Once I became aware of this, I relaxed and within a couple of hours, his physical symptoms completely disappeared.

Lolita’s experience, and my son’s so many years ago have been supporting reminders for me as I have been presented with discrepancies between the seen and the unseen worlds with Tal. There have been numerous times when I was given his true essence when physically his condition seemed unchanged.

One night in particular, he seemed to glow in the starlight and there was a delightful, almost fragrant energy emanating from him. This seemed to belie what I was observing physically but the impact of what I was feeling was so strong it overpowered what I was seeing. When I asked him if there was anything more I could do for him that evening. He told me that it would make him happy if I would go back to the cabin and eat my dinner, in other words, “I’m ok. Go take care of yourself.” I did. I carried his warm glow home with me.

There were more events all seeming to be planned to give me practice, a schooling perhaps, in preparation for the time with Tal when I would be surrendering to the unseen comfortably and effortlessly.

Journey Into Surrender Parts 1-6

Journey into Surrender, Part 4: Orchestrated by a Cat

cat                                                            charcoal drawing by bev

I went out one night in the pasture and sat down in the moonlight on an old chunk of aged wood that formed a natural bench. It was during the time prior to the events described in my last post when I was feeling perplexed about the lack of substantial manifestation in Tal’s healing. I felt a gritty gravel packing in around my heart. The cat came to join me and sat quietly beside, holding her breath for the opportune moment to speak. When she did, what I heard was this, “Why do you sit here and cry when you are on the brink of something wonderful? It is time to get on with your work. Go do it.”

Her words spoke life into me. I jumped up with excitement knowing it was time for the healer in me. I had let go of fixing the horses until I’d learned to receive from them, and now I was in a partnership. Tal had told me that he was not my guru (nor was I, his). We were working together.

I walked straightaway to Tal who was lying down. I surrendered to my divine self and to Tal’s and felt a rush of warmth in my heart as I rolled up my sleeves in preparation to do what I love to do. Tal was relaxing in the light of the moon in his white and black coat. I rubbed and massaged him up and down his back, on his large chiseled head as he squinted his approval, and any other area that was reachable. Without busy thoughts or even conscious intention that might have interfered, I moved effortlessly as my hands found spots on Tal’s body that felt good to knead, to quietly hold, to push, or to gently circle

I  began to experience being a conduit for all of nature, and the animals who were thrilled to finally be allowed to participate. Lolita, the cat, came near with a silent joy. She could hardly contain herself but did very quietly with just her bright eyes reflecting our mutual joy!

My hands continued to find their way on Tal’s massive body, and my heart expanded outwards beyond boundaries. I felt the land, the trees, the clouds, the moon, and oh… the frogs. The frogs!  My heart took a leap as if I were one of them. I let their song permeate and do the work through the sounds and the rhythm of the music itself and as it pulsated through my hands.

What a night!  The healing was unfolding, the unveiling of the unsuspected interference (Journey into Surrender, Part 3: Unsuspected Interference) was soon to follow in the step by step process over rocky terrain but with beautiful vistas along the way. And there were more to discover!

Back to   Part 1    Part 2    Part 3

Journey Into Surrender, Part 3: Unsuspected Interference

“shaking it off ”                        photo of the original by chandra smith

The night the hole was torn in the drapery in the sky (Journey Into Surrender, Part 2, Drapery in the Sky) when I surrendered to my divine self and all of life, I felt a wave of relief that Tal’s healing was not all on my shoulders. I also knew something big had shifted. I felt the expansiveness of the divine in all of its expressions especially through the horses and cat who surrounded Tal that evening. It reached its arms to the rest of nature and to the whole universe as an unseen power came rushing in as if a tangle of brambles had been removed from a creek.

I looked forward with bright hope to improvements in Tal’s continuing laminitis. We had been on a roller coaster ride together, with spiritual moments bringing short term encouraging manifestations, but nothing lasted.  However, even though I was cloaked with this new and substantial hope, still nothing changed. Tal was no better and no worse. The days droned on with no breakthroughs. I was writing my stories and posting them as had been the issue before, but this time something else stood in the way. I was sinking very low, clawing my way through depression and trying to find my way back to the homeplace as Tal continued to remind me. None of my spiritual “techniques” or choices to be at peace was working. I felt as though I was dipping in and out of hell and mostly thrashing around in it. I would feel a joyful ecstasy and then loss of hope. Anger began to surface.

One night when I was storming through the barn on an emotional rampage because of my frustration with lack of manifestation in Tal’s healing, I caught a quick glimpse of him as I stomped through the area near where he was standing. I thought he was sleeping but instead the shaman was fully aware of me and was licking and chewing, an indication in this case that something was feeling right to him. I caught my breath and stifled a laugh I wasn’t ready to express because I wasn’t finished being angry, but I knew deep down that Tal was applauding my anger. I felt comforted but at the same time I felt robbed of what I interpreted then as my rebellion. Now I see it as a blind knowing that something beyond myself was amiss but I couldn’t get a handle on it. Tal of course knew.

Anger is not one of the many things with which I struggle. But even so, often times in spiritual circles we judge any anger as not spiritual. Through the years I’ve had occasion to express an anger unjudged by myself that felt clean and pure. It was directed toward something in the spiritual realm that was working against a higher good and it became the fire that refined the gold and released the precious metal. It seemed to have done that this time. [Many a spiritual teacher might explain it differently but it doesn’t change my own knowing.]

The anger even in its rough form did its job. I had divinely stumbled upon unsuspected interference. Information was brought to me that turned the tide. I was speaking with a special and well meaning friend who mentioned feeling concern and worry about Tal. It had been festering in the background and apparently had become a source of stress for her. I had not been consciously aware of her feelings but I had been carrying a significant fear of condemnation from her which I’d tried to push away thinking it was my own imagination.

I was feeling judged albeit without tangible evidence, and it had seemed I was off base once she explained that it was not judgment but rather it was concern. That stopped me. Concern definitely sounded like a caring thing, but on the other hand it didn’t feel that way to me. It felt like judgment. I was confused. At a time when I was being drawn into a vulnerable spiritual journey with Tal when convention had ceased to bring physical results and tensions were building in me, I needed my friends to hold clear space for Tal and me. Concern felt like an intruder that wrapped rope around me and tethered me from movement.

Interestingly, the day before this interaction with my friend, I had been given the discernment that the fear that had been taunting me didn’t belong to me. I had been curious as to whose the fear it was but nothing came to me so I shrugged my shoulders and dismissed it. As my friend’s story began to unravel, I suddenly understood that it was her fear I had been unknowingly picking up. I’d garnished it with my own fears-of-choice and then thought it was my own. With that revelation, the depression lifted immediately and the fear vanished. The oppressive dark cloud dissipated and I began to feel whole again after days of being a stranger to myself.

Then the remaining veil was removed and I learned the rest of the story that had been acting behind the scenes. A mutual friend who had joined in the worry decided that  it should be turned into something spiritually productive which in the case for these two worried friends was doing yoga together, and perhaps included some kind of meditation for Tal, I don’t know. But as the two of them were engaging in the particular form, Tal, who had been lying down for too long, got up, bringing a sense of empowerment to the two women who were doing their meditative yoga. The shaman was responding to their redirected spiritual energy and gave them instant feedback!

That was a turning point not only for them, but for Tal and me. As I released the fearful energies that didn’t belong to me, and as these two friends released worry and concern, and went to their own internal “homeplace“, that Tal continually advises, the spiritual realm around Tal and me was released and I started having more clarity regarding him. The medications and remedies I’d been using became more effective and Tal and I started moving forward again in our healing process. Tal started to show improvement. It felt so good. But as I was soon to discover, there were still a few more hurdles lurking ahead to be shaken off.

In the meantime, Tal wasn’t wasting away his time. He was doing his work with the humans in his life. He was definitely having an impact on at least three who were brought back into alignment with each other and with our own spiritual authenticity. Amazing horse.

Back to    Part 1    Part 2    Forward to    Part 4

Journey into Surrender, Part 2: Drapery in the Sky

charcoal drawing by bev

Next morning. I called my friend to hear her voice, to get grounded and to revisit that incredible spiritual place I was in the night before. I told her about slipping into my crazy whirling mind during the night, wondering about this or that regarding Tal. She asked me why I thought I needed to know? That stopped me cold. As I had let go and surrendered to the animals, to life itself, I didn’t need to know, only to trust what I’d been given for the moment. That was to be my dwelling place.

After being freed from the mind chatter, I remembered something else important that I had forgotten. Usually when I leave Tal, if he’s looking uncomfortable to any degree, I acknowledge it and ask if there is something more I can do. He most often says, “Go to the homeplace.” When I asked this time, as I was leaving that night before, he took me by surprise when he said clearly, “You already have. You’ve created an opening by your surrender.”

As he spoke, I could sense the opening. It was big, and as I stood under the stars, I felt it in the sky above. It seemed as though something even bigger, that had been there for eons, had been rent open, for us, all of us, leaving a gaping hole. An opening. As I looked more closely, I saw a giant drapery, very old and water stained, thick with a dingy cream colored lining, that hung from the sky as far as the eye could see upward and as far as the eye could see from north to south as I saw it. It’s dark colors had muted with age. I had not seen it before. It now hung with a hole in the middle looking like something massive had burst through it suddenly, leaving edges that were frayed and in shreds. I was in awe as I felt the power from this vision and from the events of the evening.

I don’t know yet what that drapery represents and, amazingly, had forgotten it until I reviewed my journal yesterday, but I understand it as some kind of hindrance, some kind of a blockage that had become a part of the landscape from times of our ancestors, perhaps stopping important manifestations of spirit in the physical realm.

I’m giving new attention to this imagery as I write, and because of things that are unfolding now weeks later. I’m getting inklings and will need to ponder the significance and interconnections. For me to share now would be to tell the whole story in one post. Best left to unfold as I put the puzzle pieces together.

One of my horses, Mano (Man o’ Halo), who died a few years ago, appears to me at an old gate that leans against the fence. I call him, the horse at the gate. He is actually a composite of his ancestors, one of them being Man o’ War. Mano chimed in with Tal and told me that I had done something incredible for all of them that night by releasing to my divine self and surrendering to all the sentient beings gathered near me, and the whole universe. A simple act of letting go. I was astounded. Little did I know what lay ahead, the twists and turns, the jolts, the desperations, the joys all weaving a path back to the drapery in the sky.

Back to    Part 1    Forward to    Part 3   Part 4

Journey into Surrender, Part 1: Joining Up

charcoal drawing by bev

It was night. I was standing under a cozy coverlet of stars, but deep inside of me I was feeling blanketless, empty, and hollow. There was a peaceful quality to it however, even though I was drawing a blank in knowing what to do next after trying so many things all seeming to fail.  Tal had developed another case of sore feet. This was the 3rd time. (Day Three. Zigzagging With Realities, Expression of the Divine, Parts 1-7)  I had known this might happen again, but had hoped it wouldn’t. The last two times he’d had such dramatic recoveries. But for now, another layer is being addressed. As was so the first time around, there was still a correlation with my blog writing, his getting worse when I would hoard the stories and let days go by without writing. Perhaps we both were subject to the same energies that would hinder flow. He also continued his mantra in which he continuously reminded me to “Go to the homeplace,” that quiet, peaceful place I had been learning to experience.

Tal was leading me daily in step by step insights that were expanding my spiritual vision, each one building upon the prior one. He had brought me to where I was this night. But in spite of all that, I was confused. While I was progressing in the spiritual realm, Tal was remaining the same physically in spite of the remedies I had given.

Before this round of sore feet, he had initiated a conversation with me about hoarding desire, and hoarding the expression of my authentic or divine self (Hoarding Desire). He encouraged me to get acquainted with my divine self (Reflection in the Fiery Sunset) and I had been practicing surrendering with wonderful results.

Tonight in the darkness, I was barely able to see that there were horses stationed along the fence on 3 sides of the paddock area where Tal was hanging out. They were mere wisps as I grabbed quick glimpses out of the corner of my eye, taking me back to my childhood memories of the poem, “Seein’ Things,” by Eugene Field, that speaks of seein’ things at night.

The 4th side of the paddock was the barn, and inside was a cat with her own remarkable story of physical healing. In my typical and unreasonable expectation of the worst, I thought the animals had all gathered because Tal was going to die. They must be paying their last respects, I had thought, and went into the whole scenario of his death, feeling grateful to the animals for their participation in his departure. Later, thankfully, I was given a different perspective.

Two of the horses were playing with each other like two kids in the back of a classroom during a boring history lesson. I recognized one as Mariah by the white blaze on her face reflecting what little light stretched outward from the barn. I had just been thinking about a “buddy” horse for Tal for the night, even though he tends to be a loner. Mariah’s name had come to mind, and there she was only a few feet from the gate. In a magical moment of surrender to my divine self, I asked Mariah if she would like to come and stay with Tal. Before I finished my sentence she was moving like the flow of a creek and headed directly for the gate. I opened it, and in one easy movement, stepped aside, and she walked in. It was an experience of beauty and rhythm. Comfortable, easy, fun, and fast!

Mariah, who is Apolinaire’s female partner and sometimes Dollar’s, has a tender place in her heart for socially awkward Tal though he doesn’t always reciprocate. He’s a bit gruff, not quite knowing what to do with her friendly overtures, but secretly he holds a shy smile. I thought she was a good choice to be with him this particular night. But after letting her in, the accusing voices in my head started their taunt and I began to second guess myself, worried that she might be pushy with Tal and force him off balance as he tried to re-established his dominance over her. I caught myself before the mental interference took full control, and decided to trust the graceful moment when she came in. I was so glad for her company with him.

While still slightly unsettled about my “not knowing,” I called my friend and told her that I didn’t know what to do about Tal. I felt peaceful and not frantic but there was no guidance. I was blank. Nothing. Nor did I feel that anyone else knew what to do, there was no answer. She asked if I had gone to the herd? Had I listened to them? No. I hadn’t even thought of it so narrow was my focus. I then described their interesting placement surrounding Tal’s paddock area. I mentioned Mariah’s fluid movement to the gate in sync with my thought about her coming in.

As I talked, I suddenly had a revelation which started a process of “waking up”. I realized that I had unknowingly acted on guidance by inviting Mariah into the paddock, and that the horses had been there not only for Tal, but also for me. They had been there doing their work. At that moment I saw what they were offering, and what Lolita, the cat was offering as she stayed close to me. She had been hanging out with Tal and walking around his feet, gifting him with some of her own healing. As clarity replaced my foggy vision, I felt the vastness of the influence and power of these animals right here in my backyard, and I felt their delight in my allowing it, as recognition poured into my soul. I knew finally, that it wasn’t up to me. They were only waiting for me to let go.

Lolita, the cat, sat on a stool next to me as I held the phone to my ear and described my transformation process to my friend as it was unfolding. I looked at Lolita through spiritual eyes that had just been washed, and in that other world I saw her as a prime character in our allegorical story. She stood on her two back feet as if human, and wore a maroon-red beret. Her large smile was salted with mischievousness, and a twinkle in her eye indicated she had lots more under her hat! In human terms, she’d be classified as a type A personality. A mover and shaker. During those moments that I was breaking free of my cocoon, she emerged and was prancing and delighted to take charge! When I surrendered to my divine self, I was brought back into harmony with the others,… the horses, and all of nature, and into the expansiveness of the universe. A true joining up. I suddenly felt safe, and transformed, that every cell of my body had changed, that my genes had changed. The work had been done, I could not go back. I realized that Mariah was with Tal for more than just company. Her role was spiritual but I didn’t yet know how and still don’t. But, all was well, Tal would be alright.

With my surrender, I had gotten out of the way. I was told by them to go back to the cabin, to eat some dinner and write the story about Tal. I did.

Forward to    Part 2   Part 3   Part 4