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April 04, 2004
River of Life
Over the years, I have spent oodles of money and time trying to
figure out what I want in life. I think many people do, actually.
Most of my own clients are doing the same with me and the horses. It
is a subject that can very quickly dissolve people into puddles. We
are the generation that does not know what we want! We feel alone,
isolated, threatened by failure and feeling something is missing in
There is very little, if any, sense of community anymore. We, as
individuals, feel alone and apart from the river of life, even as
technology makes it seem as if the world were a tiny thing. The
closer we get to each other with our video screens and e-mails and
conferencing images, the less cohesive it all feels. It is difficult
to feel intimacy with a machine, even if the image on the machine is
your husband or best friend. Nothing beats the real thing.
The real thing for me is group hugs and laughter. It is sharing
meals and noticing when someone needs comfort or support. It is
creating dreams with others and living them in heart beats that
match. It is feeling this connection and sharing the knowing with a
simple glance that holds eternity in a moment. Failure and
loneliness does not even exist when the real thing is around. If I
am doing what I love, if my passion is active, I am at peace. And
living your passion requires trust.
In fact, everything I learn from the horses and then go on to teach
requires trust. Every day I interact with beings who could easily
crush me. I do not look at that, almost never. Occasionally, it will
occur to me if I am meeting an individual for the first time, that I
may be hurt if I am not careful. However, it is about more, much
more, than being injured. The real trust comes in allowing an
unfettered exchange to take place. If I am fully in my integrity, I
know the exchange I have with the horse will be honest. I am the
challenged one here, because I believe horses are always in their
integrity. It does not occur to them not to be. At this point in my
life skills, I am still having to coax myself to trust.
On a daily basis the horses show me how to trust. For instance,
directly after Indie was gelded in February, he was still somewhat
groggy from the anesthesia. The vet said he could eat and go out
with the others. When I worried out loud about Indie's safety if he
were still groggy, the vet inquired into the behavior of the other
horses, asking if anyone would beat up on him. I quickly assured the
vet there was no horse in my herd who would do this. So, the vet
buttoned up his operation and left.
I led Indie over to the arena with his mom and then went back to the
barn to get Brannon, the leader of the herd. Brannon moves
confidently about in the herd and my interpretation of this is she
fully expects to be watched and for any horse in her way to move. I
knew Indie might not see her coming and worried what Brannon might
do. As I turned Brannon into the arena and watched her head straight
for Indie, I ushered trust to the surface. That is different from
turning a blind eye, I think. I, in fact, did not turn away at all.
I watched, fully aware of Brannon's power and capabilities and yet I
trusted (almost) that she would be considerate. And she was.
It was the "almost" that caught me by the sleeve and told me that I
have so much to learn, though. Brannon pinned her ears and made
gestures I could see, but the fact remains, I do not see very much.
What I do not see is the level of connectedness that exists in that
herd every day. I do not see it, nor do I know how to live it. I can
only hope that before I die I do experience some small grain of what
the horse knows about community living.
Horses will never have computers or money or fame, nor will they
wish they had them. However, what they will have is love, intimacy
and a bond that is so real as to never have to long for, miss or
desire the way humans so long for something seemingly unobtainable,
seeking endlessly for what they want, not even knowing that what
they want is always present and forever theirs. What connects us
all, the language of the soul, is like a cool river beckoning to a
parched people as we stand on the banks thinking the river is not
there. It's there! It was never missing.