Welcome to our eleventh "stroll" together. I think I am most excited to tell you about the interactive Road Trip map now at my site, but as usual there is much more than that to be discovered in the following.
January, 2011 Newsletter Content:
Letting Go of Right and Wrong
Here's Me Dreaming
Here's You Dreaming
Farm Stay News!
Letting Go of Right and Wrong
One of the aspects I love most about horses is how I feel when I just hang out with them. My life is busy, because I think I like to be busy, and I don't realize how intensely focused I have been until I step into the presence of the horses. There often seems to be a huge difference between the busy life I lead and the peaceful now that pervades the herd. The first indication I have is my entire body sighs. I feel muscles release and tendons loosen. I take a deep breath and my shoulders drop a bit as I begin to let go. My world seems richer in that moment. Without doing a thing, I am having a good time.
I often ask myself what lies between me and having a good time, me and what I call the State of Play. Having just listened to Leonard Mlodinow, who recently coauthored The Grand Design with Stephen Hawking, I am inspired to consider that question in depth. Mlodinow spoke about the answers derived from science as being superior to those provided by God, not that it takes the right away from others to consider God for answers, but in his words, "The idea of God is not necessary...". However, those words are indicative of the same misconception or flawed premise as can be held by philosophers and theologians; that there is a "right" answer. Perhaps there is no right answer and there is no wrong answer. There are only ideas, the present moment, and our own personal response to them which can vary from absolute despondency to bliss or play.
From a very early age it seems I have been driven by one primary thing; the desire to prove myself right. Distilling this even further, I believe this endeavor was in an effort to feel happy, as if happy was not possible unless I was right. I tried to prove to my father that I was right, and to all self-appointed authority figures, as well as to friends, colleagues, and perceived opponents. One conversation I had with my mother years ago was particularly poignant in regards to this journey about getting it right. We were discussing my long career with horses and her close association with it in the way of support. I laughed and said to her that I was completely comfortable changing my mind about something when I discovered a better way. I said I just proceeded as if that was the way I had always done it. It became the new "right" way. She agreed and said she found it difficult to keep up with me because just about the time she had settled into doing things "my way" I changed it. I have always felt that whatever I was doing was the ONLY way to do it. Whereas the pursuit of happiness is innate, I believe I innocently acquired this need to be right. It was given to me by my family, my community, society, and culture. I learned it very well.
Right and wrong and the importance of recognizing which is which was made clear to me from a very early age. As a young child, I was a free spirit, especially in regards to my relationship with horses. I hung out with them in the pasture. I clambered onto their backs steering with my weight and tugs on their mane. I fell asleep to the rhythmic walk of my horse on the way home after a long journey into the hills of what is now the Rancho San Antonio Preserve, and was completely comfortable emoting in the moment when with them. I was Mowgli of Los Altos Hills. This went on until the day my mother determined it was time for me to take lessons when I was about eight years old. I was hauled off to an arena where a few other young children around my age were gathered. We were all assigned a horse; mine was Charlie. He was older and slow. He was compliant and someone to whom I could easily to convey an idea such as "whoa" without ever speaking a word or even touching the reins. Our teacher was an older man, gruff and "right". We were intrinsically "wrong" and he set out to prove this to us all. Somehow I became his greatest challenge, though. My mother was asked to bring me to him privately so he could focus entirely on me.
I remember the day so vividly, it is hard to believe this happened 45 years ago. I was in the arena, but this time I was not riding Charlie. My teacher had given me a spirited dapple grey mare and she was not interested in pleasing me. I could do none of the tasks my teacher asked of me and so burst into tears at last, fully aware that I was "wrong". As I sat sobbing in the saddle, my teacher, who was on his own steed, rode right up to me and swatted me on my butt. I suppose I was shocked, really. I probably stopped crying and "bucked up', as the old saying goes. He was "right", after all. Teachers in my era were always right, as were the police, all parents, anyone older than I, including my contemporaries. My sisters were incredibly right.
Since then, I have spent my entire life seeking the rightest of the rightest. Fortunately, each new mentor has been righter than the last. This quest had "collapse" or "implode" written all over it, though. It is contrary to the concept of "right" to believe there is an ever better "right". That implies that there is no end and the concept of something being right includes an end. I have yet to find the right answer or an end. At first glance it looks like it might be comforting to find the right answers and an end, but that is misleading. There is only one reason I have discovered for living and that is the delight of a moment that inspires yet another; the aliveness of now that leads one into the next now and the next. I have found that it is the infinite choices of life yet to be realized in our present moment that call us forward and when this is placed next to the pursuit of "right" there is a despair revealed in that pursuit.
I appreciate the solidarity of horses. In the face of much disparity throughout the world in the way they are handled by humans, I have observed horses exhibit undeniable presence and an interminable focus upon promising opportunities for improved living. In small mud holes of corrals, confinement alone in stalls with grilled windows, with sore backs and stiff over-worked hocks or knees, you name it and horses still find in their soul a desire to play.
When I consider that there is really no point to all I do, no right answer, no ending or prize for all my busy-ness, I have at once a thought that perhaps I should just lie down, curl up and die, and the thought that maybe, just maybe, I am at last on the verge of the State of Play. Perhaps, then, what lies between me and the State of Play is the ability to let go of all that is right and wrong. I am greatful for all my ideas, and yet it is when I enter the presence of a horse that I am at once reminded of what is happening right now, and given the opportunity to allow myself to just feel without judgement. Like a horse, I aspire to allow each moment to blossom into the next, to flow together like water, to breathe like the wind as it swirls around our planet, to crumble and heave like the earth in its eternal shifting, to swing in orbit with all other moments at once repetitive and unique, chaotic and complete, rhythmic and free. I aspire to play.
Here's Me Dreaming...
The new year was born on the Solstice, and with it a deep desire on my part to drive around with Indie. I also feel that Missy might very much like to go with us, just for a change of scenery. Since we are on the subject of driving, I think a road trip or five or ten would be great fun. I loved the two road trips on the motorcycle with Dave this past year, which I mention in my Annual Letter 2010. I felt so free and so wonderful. Of course, Dave was doing all the driving and I was the best passenger ever. I don't know if you have ever been a passenger on a motorcycle, but it is the perfect opportunity to think and think and think. I thought so much I got tired of thinking! I am not kidding. I would catch myself dreaming up some new business idea and I'd say to myself, "Self (that is what I call myself), Self, stop thinking and just be!"
I have to say, though, that I came up with a very cool plan as we were driving alongside the Klamath River at dusk. The edges of my world were softened by the dim light as the sun sank behind the ridges that rose steeply up from the river bank. The bike leaned gently around the curves in the road, first one way, then the other. I watched the river slide past us, cocooned in the warmth of my leathers behind the man I love. Breathing in the scent of damp earth and pines, it occurred to me that I would love to do this more.
Therefore, to that end, if you would be interested in a coaching session with me and your horse (or a horse you borrow), I will come to your area and coach with no travel fee or housing cost whatsoever, provided it fits into a road trip! I have posted a map at my web site and you can put a pin in for your area (be sure to email me when you do this so I have your contact information.) Tell your friends, post it on your Facebook, share it with your co-workers! I will allow the map to collect these pins until I see a viable road trip. Next thing you know, I will be coming your way, provided it still works for you. What an adventure this will be! Stick a pin in the map and let's do it!!
Here's You Dreaming...
In my last newsletter, I invited you to share your dreams, visions, and ideas for no other reason than it is fun, inspiring, and enhances well-being. We can dream together. It does not matter whether what you dream comes true or not. That is not the point here. The point is you have a voice, you have ideas, your imagination is vast. Don't hold back. Sing.
CL wrote:: My current vision (nothing set at the moment) is to combine a number of efforts into a living of some sort. Massage, Qi Gong, Pilates and of course I have Project Management Consulting as a lucrative tool in the mix. I'm not ruling out using the skills that I've established up to now. Anne is a TV, Film and Radio Journalist and works in Germany and the US (increasingly). She is a talented artist and I bring a level of business and management to her efforts that will increase her ability to produce and earn money. As a result, we are considering setting up a production company to support these efforts so that would be another piece of the puzzle. All of this is very exciting - primordial soup, if you will - at the moment and I feel empowered to make my life as I see fit. A quantum shift in self trust and valuation has occurred and I trust that I will figure out a path (or many) from here. HAO LA! (Chinese greeting that we use in QiGong means "All is well").
KI wrote: If I had three wishes (desireless desires), I'd wish 1) to wake up fully in the miracle and majesty of this soul as a spiritual being having a human experience (and not the other way around), 2) to be able to sit down and talk to Eckhart Tolle or Byron Katie (or some other awakened person) 1-1 about the spiritual awakening process and life at this particular time on the planet, and 3) to experience the eternal joy of loving unconditionally, regardless of who is in my life, and what specific conditions or circumstances.
JB wrote: I still see land in my future, where the horses run free but there is also a garden. A garden for reflecting. It is open to all. Like a ship on the ocean I can see land not too far off in the distance. (can't take credit for that great analogy, but it popped back in today) Ahh, the dream state. A wonderful place to be.
Dr. Brandy McCans wrote: I have dreamed up something yummy! I am putting together a 6 month program called "Quantum Adventures....Transform Your World From The Inside Out!" Basically, this begins by the students bringing their bucket list and through an exercise come to a dream that they intend on manifesting within that 6 months; something that will make them stretch, and yet feel doable. Then, each week we will be meeting for a 3-hour class. The 1st and 3rd weeks we will meet at my yoga studio (hopefully) and do a few personal development exercises with partners/groups. Then, I will take them through a guided meditation, breath work, and with my yoga teacher lead them through nervous system/postural balancing techniques (yoga). The 2nd week of each month I'd like to bring them to you, conduct their class there, and have them work with you, each week having them take home a "tool" that they can utilize in their manifestation from their bucket list. It will be my job to guide them and hold them accountable for their work. The 4th week of the month they will be going on a secret adventure! They will have no idea where they are going until we get there, yet throughout the month there will be a theme towards it and I will be teasing them with hints. They will be doing things like vision questing, led by a native Apache shaman, zip lining, wind tunnel, drum circle led by a teacher with drums, paint ball games, spa day, and anything else fun I can think of. Hee Hee!! Each time they will be prompted to think about what they want to get out of the experience. Then, after they go through it have them realize what they got and how they will utilize it in creating the dream, which I will assist them in manifesting.
The 2011 schedule is taking form. Although the winter months of January, February, and March are perfect for "down time", I am completely open to slipping in Harmony Sessions with anyone who is interested. In April, the regular Harmony with Horses Workshops start up again. They are open to the public and held the first Saturday of every month through November. You can reserve a spot for yourself online, email me, or call.
Last year, I held several Therapist Workshops with great success. These are free the first time to any licensed therapist. They are designed to demonstrate the potential value of Harmony with Horses in assisting individuals who seek a shift in their lives. There are two dates; one in May and one in June. Understandably, they fill up quickly. This is an amazing opportunity, so please pass the word!
Finally, if you missed it under "Here's Me Dreaming", I have a collaborative map called "Inspiring Clarity Road Trip" to which you can add a pin for the chance of my coming to you and your horse (or a horse you borrow) for coaching. This would be at cost for the session only! There would be no travel fee or housing fee, provided your location can be worked into a Road Trip. How exciting is that!!
Farm Stay News!
Health and Well-Being are getting a lot of attention these days. Turning up the dial on self-care, nurturing, and finding ways to be inspired are important. Where spas make the skin glow and the muscles hum about how good life is, Full House Farm does the same with our "Sustainable Living from the Inside Out" approach.