I write this morning from a place of groundedness, peace, breathing deeply and quiet joy. My mind is clear, my body feels light and I feel as if a fog is lifting. Watching the fog lift off the mountain tops from the vantage point of Epona Ridge where I am retreating is a great joy to me. I feel as if my feet are stepping onto a new path and I walk forward with hope and confidence that I am exactly where I need to be right now.
My journey here so far has been nothing but amazing. To allow myself the gift of stepping fully into each moment, feeling all that comes up in that moment, is filling me with such hopefulness that I can learn to dance again with both the dark and the light. There is such a sense of wellness and rightness that is flowing all around me and through me that I can almost watch myself dance a little bit more with each activity we do. More and more I am feeling the energy of the earth, the sky, the horses, everything around me thrum through my being like the deep, bass beat of a drum. I feel the pulsing all around inviting me into this paradoxical dance between grieving and rejoicing, darkness and light, sorrow and joy. It is a powerful, powerful invitation.
It would be hard to fully explain all that we have been doing in these last few days. And as I write I realize I don’t need to explain it all. The activities aren’t really the important thing; the wisdom that comes from them is.
First horse lesson in our meet and greet time was with Cierba, a lovely bay mare. As soon as I went over to stand in front of her the tears started to roll down my face, just pouring out of me. I was stunned as I had entered into this activity with joy to be meeting the horses of Epona Ridge. But looking into her eyes the tears just poured out of me. As I cried, her breath became more noticeable and her mouth was slowly moving. The message clearly coming from her was “I will breathe into this sacred space for you right now. Release, let it go, cry. I will be your breathe as others can do for you in your time of need.” My heart filled with gratitude and love for her.
During this time with Cierba I felt a pull on my pocket, lightly at first then stronger when I didn’t pay attention. I turned to see the little paint mini, Bodhi, tugging at me clearing saying “come on pay attention to me now. Let’s play.” Laughter bubbled up and out of me as he chewed my journal, pulled on my shorts, almost giggling himself. Cierba pulled my attention back to her briefly as she grabbed my pen. I think she just wanted me to say goodbye before I focused on Bodhi. As I moved around the space to say hi to the other two horses, Magic and Zorro, Bodhi kept following me, pulling at me anytime I got too serious.
The message I took out of this first day from the horses and the amazing women gathered with me here was that I don’t need to tell my whole story, to bring my whole self to this time and this moment. They simply want me to be in the moment, live and breathe and let it all go. Cry and laugh and listen and speak and just be in it all.
Day 2 was a most powerful day with the horses for me. Settling into just being and not trying to plan how I could bring my learnings into doing at Avalon was a conscious intention all day. I listened to the worry I have, my vulnerabilities, my ticker tapes of negativity and honored that they are part of my story. Then, before entering the space with the horses I began the flipping of this into thinking of all as opportunity to experience new things. I am being given opportunities to learn new things, to open myself up, to align myself with the core being and the Source of all that is. I can be right here and right now in this time and this moment and just Be Me.
Zorro was my teacher in learning about sensing energy levels and finding a mutually healthy place of respect and awareness. We practiced moving forward, holding our center and stepping back to find just the sweet spot of awareness. As Zorro moved forward to engage and greet me I felt his openness to learn with me. His nonverbal communication enable me to find just the spot near him that I could be what I needed to be in that moment. If I was too far away from him (about 3 feet away) I felt myself disconnect with myself and him. If I got too close to him, wanting to lean into for support he would first lick my hand then nip as if to safe “nope that’s too close.” As I rocked back into a space about 1 1/2 feet from him, I felt him say “Yes” as the tears started to flow again. I felt deep into my core all of the sorrow, confusion, grieving, and loneliness of this time. In this sweet spot of respect and awareness with Zorro he relaxed his entire body, with eyes half closed, ears cocked slightly forward to listen to me, and let me be in my deep , persistent tears.
From this time with Zorro I took away the following messages:
*Horses are calling me back to my core center to honor whatever I need to honor in each moment.
*Connection with another isn’t always about being close enough to touch. Sometimes we need a little more space between us and another to truly connect.
*Whatever I need to do right now is 100% okay.
In the afternoon of the second day I chose to play with Bodhi, as I felt like part of me needed to add some play to my journey that day. My reflective question that I brought to my time with Bodhi was: “What do I need to know to be able to dance in the center space between the dark and light of my life?” This was a lighter session with a lot of laughter in the midst of the tears. I scratched Bodhi all over and took turns with him leading us in play around the arena. I whistled and cried and laughed and talked with him and listened to the wisdom in his joyful little self. After some playful “follow me, no you follow me” time and lots of chest scratching, Bodhi wandered over to Barbara for awhile and seemed to try and get her to come play with us. I simply watched him for awhile vocalizing to Barbara what I was sensing from him and messages I was hearing. Then, I went up to him and scratched his forehead one more time. Instead of nibbling at me he dropped his forehead onto mine and just breathed into me. I felt our hearts connect and love surround us until we both decided we were done. Joy!
With Bodhi I took away the following learnings:
*Self-care always comes first. If you have an itch take care of it before anything else.
*Playing can be done with laughter and with tears. The whole point is to play.
*Don’t have to be engaged with someone all of the time.
*I don’t have to do it all.
*You need others to play with you at this time in your journey. And you need wise mentors to guide your way. (Thank you Barbara and my fellow journeyers for walking with me right now.)
*Watching can be just as much fun as doing sometimes.
*Just breathe the love in and out and do all with joy.
So, so much more has happened in the last day and a half. Lots more learnings and openings to myself. For now, I find that the wisdom of these wise, horse leaders needs to stand on its’ own. I know I will write again of the other reflections, my experiences with the wise women gathered here, the visitation by a hummingbird this morning and much more. But in this time, in this moment, the horses are the wisest teachers I know. I am filled with gratitude and love for all they are sharing with me.