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March 14, 2004
Our Souls Laid Bare
Now, in my middle-years, I still struggle with the imbalance of my
life experiences surrounding truth. I have learned to trust myself
because I have developed a keen ability to observe my behavior and
that of others. I have learned to recognize kindred spirits amongst
the people I meet. I have woken to the enormous gift the horse
offers in their ways of integrity and honesty. Yet, I have my own
tangled story to edit and rewrite, play with and put out. I "know"
the bonds within which I hold my horses are there because I don't
wholly trust and just as certainly these bonds exist within my
friendships, as well, perhaps just not as visible.
Fortunately, horses have always been consistent for me. They don't
change their stories ever. They present themselves as they are and
cannot even begin to imagine conjuring up stories. People, on the
other hand, make up stories about themselves. As a child, I believed
these stories, until I saw the truth was not the same as the story.
As a child, I prefered to hang out with and observe the horses. I
also learned to watch people very closely. At an early age I
realized the story and the truth frequently did not match in humans.
On the one hand, I had horses who told the truth, no matter what and
then on the other I had humans who never seem to tell the truth
entirely. I found I had to watch very closely and "read between the
lines" to know what people were truly saying.
There is a book I am reading to my son right now called The Giver.
It is a book about a boy who lives in a community that is controlled
in every way. Intrinsic to the nondescript, controlled and
predictable life they have are lies, or denials, that allow the
people of the community to function undisturbed. For example, when
twins are born they have to choose one of the twins to "release."
This boy's dad is often assigned to do this. The dad picks one of
the babies and injects something into it that kills it and yet he
simply calls it release, not killing. He does this with no emotion
and does not admit he just killed a baby.
The Giver speaks of something we do as a species, almost as if it
were ingrained, a part of what it is to be human. It speaks of our
way of changing reality to fit our pictures. Everyone has their own
personal picture of what life is and how they fit into it. If
someone comes along who might spoil this picture we try to "release"
them from our life, criticizing them or judging or hurting them
until they leave, without even realizing we are doing this. Yet,
often, it is those whom we find most irritating who have the most to
offer us. They will help us to open our eyes and see ourselves
wholly as we are, our souls laid bare. Perhaps the day I can see
myself wholly as I am will be the day I can also ride my horse
wholly as she is; no equipment, no bonds but our trust and love for
each other, just me, the horse, and the wind in our manes.