Annual Letter 2005 from Full House Farm: A Community of the Heart
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Full House Farm: Harmony With Horses

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"The lasting revolution comes from deep change in ourselves."
Anais Nin
 
Click photos to enlarge. Back to return.
Magali Delgado on Dao in Hidden Valley, California
Frederic Pignon with Lusitano Stallion, Madarin
Photographer, Frederic Chehu and Christine
Indie at 2 years
Indie and Rowdy playing
Jon and Liz Minor with their lions in Australia
Amanda and Gary with their blind elephant, Jokia, in Thailand
Christine playing Hide & Seek on Lyric with Missy and Indie following
Alex by the McKenzie River, Oregon
Eyla on her phone
Heading out on the Harley (2005 Heritage Soft Tail)
Dave and Christine panning for gold in Oregon
Flowers in Big Sur
Dave and Christine in Big Sur, California
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Annual Letter 2005

A Community of the Heart

My fingers hover over the keys of the computer, the writer in me opening a channel to that place that offers infinite ideas and inspiration; the place of dreaming and the place that summons a community of the heart. I seek to create ways to invite you momentarily into my life because it feels real and good. In the sharing of something good there are always subtle shifts that can change our individual and collective lives for the better. Every year there are plenty of incidents that produce in me a desire for an improved experience and it is the spontaneous invention of those improvements about which I enjoy telling you. No matter what I can dream up each year, I revel in the relationships that ensue in the process of moving towards my dreams. Intricately woven into my journey are all the people I have met who, in the truest expression of self, have changed my life in ways I and they may not even be aware.

Two of those people are Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado, stars of a show called Cavalia (pdf) now performing in the eastern US. In January of this year, I drove down to Santa Monica in Southern California where I was graciously invited to lunch with not only Fred and Mag, but their incredibly gifted color photographer, Frederic Chehu (who, by the way, has several of his photographs in the new 2006 Cavalia Calendar). Lunch was at a ranch owned by Sylvester Stallone in Hidden Valley. I was one of the few people who did not speak French, so I spent four hours quietly watching Fred and Mag play with their stallions. For me this was utterly euphoric. I was the proverbial fly on the wall. There was wet sand being flung from galloping hooves, sleek coats rippling in the sunlight, flowing manes, Fred’s mischievous grin, Mag’s intense eyes and quick smile, and me with my trusty camera. So inspiring was this, I managed to drive away with some great photos and even better memories. Subsequently, over the course of this year Fred and Mag have become lights for me to focus upon in my adventures with horses and ways to meet all life in deeper places.

Actually, there are many lights that shine in my life. In fact, I am beginning to discover that I am surrounded with them! It is like when you leave behind the artificial and overwhelming lights of the city and enter the dark envelope of night in the country. Suddenly, the immensity and depth of our galaxy emerges, having been there all along. I see this immense galaxy in the eyes of one of the most wonderful playmates I have right now: Indie. Indie is exactly two and a half years old on Christmas Day. He lives with the other herd members, Rowdy, Lyric and Missy. The first days of Indie’s life were spent playing with Clancy, who died in October last year. Now, he plays for hours on end with Rowdy, for whom I am very grateful because he is infinitely patient with Indie. An ever-present leading role model, too, for Indie was Brannon. She was certainly, hands down, the best leader I ever knew. I say “knew” because she died this summer. Before Brannon died she taught me a very important lesson, which I documented in the “Tribute to Brannon” found at my web site, about how to connect in ways that go beyond words and even body language. She still guides me in this way. So, I practice with Indie and we play; no equipment, nothing between us but a few restrictive stories I tell myself that thankfully drop away more and more each day.

Now it seems I rarely look up and take score in a restrictive manner. Instead, I have moments where I feel still and quiet followed by thoughts that inspire me to move in some previously un-thought of direction. One of those still moments brought me razor-edge clarity that I must learn more about elephants. In November I had dreams about them every night. Like a woman possessed, I perused the Internet and poked at my worldly friends who might know about elephants and elephant people. There were Liz and Jon in Australia, who have first hand encounters with exotic animals and the people who handle them, Jon being a lion trainer and Liz having her degree in Zoology. There were Fred and Mag, who wrote me about an Ethologist friend of theirs, Marte Kiley-Worthington who studies horses and elephants. Then, Jami Sieber, a talented musician who performed at a recent concert here in Sonoma County, generously gave me her time on the phone to tell me of her experience playing in a band with elephants. Serendipitously, her web site linked me to a woman who lives in Guerneville, only 30 minutes from me. Within days of having my initial “idea” to be with elephants, I met this woman who is deeply involved with elephants. We came together like long-lost sisters. Amanda de Normanville and her husband, Gary Soden, have an organization called All for Elephants. Amanda and Gary are developing a sanctuary for elephants in Thailand, an incredible endeavor, and I am galloping alongside them with the glorious wind in my mane, so glad to be allowed to assist them in any way I can. On December 10, I go to an event put on by Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) called Elephant Holiday at ARC 2000 in support of the elephant sanctuary they have in Central California. Then, in January, I fly to Thailand to meet up with Amanda and Gary for an immersion into their world of elephants and sanctuaries. As an added plus to all this, Brannon has even shown up in my dreams as an elephant!

My elephant journey in no way negates the fact that here in my little valley of peace there are horses who devotedly reside. I play with them every day. One game we all have fun playing in the summer is Hide & Seek. I ride Lyric (Indie’s mom) out into the pasture and when no one is paying us much attention she and I gallop off to hide behind trees or in the bushes. This elicits enormous excitement in Indie who roars around looking for us. When he finds us he leaps in the air, twisting and turning. I can just feel him laughing! Then, I try to gallop off and find another hiding place unless the others are too close on my heels, in which case we all just get silly and giddy.

Beyond the obvious romping with the horses, there is mostly simple tending to chores. Willing servant that I am, I clean their living quarters, provide them with clean water and food, and watch them as any good apprentice of harmonious communities might in order to study what only takes an eternity to learn. Chores are an integral part of my life, like breathing or the beating of my heart. I love them. My daily routines may seemingly provide the security of my life style but, more importantly, offer me a sense of rhythm and connection to life that is essential to my well-being. That is to say, by doing what I love and loving what I do, increasingly more is revealed to me about the intimacy of my experience living in this body. There is so much more to living than simple sustenance and survival.

Those basic needs well cared for, I am open to enjoy involvement with my family and community. Home schooling Alex (13) keeps me teetering on my toes. He is teaching me to let go. His tenacity, hugs and sensitivity shed light on cob-webby beliefs and an ill-placed sense of responsibility to be “right” for everyone. He out and out refuses to let me establish what is “right” for him. (Hmmm, sounds a lot like me.) Eyla turned 18 years old this year, graduating from High School and going on to a full schedule at the JC. She holds down two jobs, one of which is at a fancy Italian Restaurant where she is training to wait tables and serve wine. Better yet, she is learning what it is like to work for someone with whom she does not exactly see eye-to-eye. I am enjoying watching Eyla as she discovers what is most important for herself. Ever impressed with her inner strength, I am amazed at how much she actually must have listened to me as a child. I keep hearing her quoting my values and beliefs as she struggles to ascertain her own.

However, that ascertainment is eternal in nature as Dave, my “dance” partner in life, and I are discovering. We have the great fortune of sharing with each other our excitement for life. We love listening to inspirational talks given by the Abraham-Hicks team, going on road trips on the new Harley and panning for the gold in our lives. Together we balance our businesses; the ever-more-popular Vacation Rental, the amoeba-like Agri-Tours, the Harmony with Horses programs and Dave’s much-sought-after Ranch & Home Maintenance. Our linked journey reaches out to include friends and teachers; his happy clients and grateful vendors, all my students (past and present) who in the process of dancing with me and the horses become my teachers, Carolyn Resnick who just came out with her new book, Naked Liberty, and who tirelessly gives me her love and support, and Kip Mistral, exceptional writer and spontaneous partner in dreaming. And what is dreaming but our allowing ideas previously unthought-of to occur and what is community but the synthesis of those dreams. Without these collective touchstones, I might drift away (blissfully, I might add) and for that tethering I am grateful.

Children, partners and friends aside, I can’t resist telling you how fun it is to be absolutely certain I am the inventor of each moment (for myself) and in the realizing of this an array of choices, as infinite as the stars above and previously undetected by me, suddenly emerge. I enthusiastically share with you that which feels good because in so doing we can potentially expand our dreams together, the truest expression of community. I am amazed by the immeasurable ways in which we positively touch each other, changing the course of lives with a profundity we will perhaps never know. We are all so inextricably connected to each other; you, me, the horses, the elephants, the seasons as they dress and undress Nature, the entwining ethers of life that subtly move through and around us. I am profoundly moved by the gift of all the lights in my life, you among them. Thank you for illuminating my path and for being a part of my community of the heart! May your coming year trail into the next with harmony and de-light.
 

Follow your trunk and neigh what you feel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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