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Full House Farm: Harmony With Horses

Philosophy History Articles
"The lasting revolution comes from deep change in ourselves."
Anais Nin

 

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Journals ] Annual Letter 2004 ] Annual Letter 2005 ] Annual Letter 2006 ] Annual Letter 2007 ] Annual Letter 2011 ] Annual Letter 2012 ]

March 23, 2004

The Grace of Motion

This morning, while cleaning the barn, I thought about a recent interaction I had with someone where I left the interaction filled with self-condemnation and judgment. I had wanted one thing and they another. They had made choices that affected me and I had frozen. I had pulled back on the reins and said "no," with no idea what I really wanted, abandoning my presence and forfeiting mobility. All the while, I felt my old wounds around being "rigid, strict, stuffy, uptight and weird" pouring over me like hot oil. Suddenly, it occurred to me that my body was, as usual, trying to tell me something and I was not listening very well. I realized that the rigidity, both in body and mind, was a strong message.

When I see a student who has frozen on the horse, whether by grasping a handful of mane or saddle and holding on or by gathering the reins up in their fists and pulling back saying whoa!, I try to bring them back to life by asking what they want. With the patience of the horse and gentle coaching, slowly the frozen state thaws. The student begins to contemplate what they want, to regain their vision for the moment and the dreams that move them. The better they get at identifying what they want, the quicker they can come out of the motionless state. Eventually, the student is able to simply move from one choice to another without rigidity. It is when we say "no" that we put the VCR of life on hold and our picture gets stuck.

That doesn't mean the horse's picture gets stuck, though. The horse continues to make choices about what to do next. This is when we can become victims. Every horse, every life situation, is different. When we say no, we pause inside and the motion we had in conjunction with the horse, or whatever life situation we are involved in, suddenly no longer matches. Our inner motion is stuck and the outside world begins to pummel us. It pummels us, not because we have been bad or are wrong or deserve to be punished, but because we are not moving when everything else is moving. The only recourse is to decide what we want. It can be anything; to allow the events surrounding us to move us, to change direction and influence the outcome, to move away from the current events, the choices are endless, but the point is to make a choice! Put very simply, you can choose to be the mover or you can choose to be moved, but making a choice puts you back in power.

So, when I decide to follow my dreams, I encouraged healthy change. I come out of my resistant state and immediately have room to move. Being frozen is a tough place to be, because it is hard to see what I want when I am motionless. Usually, rigidity is a learned response to stress or overwhelm. Looking at how to recognize the warnings is important, too. In most cases, there is ample warning and oft repeated steps to getting to the frozen state. Learning to look for these steps is a proactive way to changing that pattern. If I can identify what I want in any given moment and then evaluate how close I am to achieving that goal, whatever it is, I will notice sooner and sooner when I am on the path to freezing. There are no benefits to following that path, no matter how comfy that path may feel due to the familiarity of the well-worn pathway. It leads to the same dead-end every time!

We are all on a journey that is just ours, no one else can travel our path or help us move. When a student rides a horse through a difficult section of a trail or over a jump or through a gate or around a corner, they must not interfere with the horse's movement or the grace of that motion is lost. Each and every one of us must be allowed to move independent of others, even as we learn how to dance with each other! Our independence rides on our ability to remain present and mobile. We are but a part of the larger wheel called life, both following and leading, which when looked at under the microscope are one and the same. We cannot follow without knowing how to lead and we cannot lead without knowing how to follow. Whether caring for ourselves or for others, this simple rule is inescapable. We must be able to join the wheel or be thrown off.

 

 
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Photos Copyright 2004 Barbara Bourne Photography, all rights reserved.
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