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Full House Farm: Harmony With Horses

Philosophy History Articles
"The lasting revolution comes from deep change in ourselves."
Anais Nin
 
Click photos to enlarge. Back to return.
Magali & Dao
Magali on Dao under the "Big Top" with press.
With Fred & Magali after the interview in March
Christine & Dave trailing wild mustangs in the High Desert in June.
Our Annual trip to the berry patch in August (we ride this sturgeon every year).
Eyla, Senior Year '04 Analy High School
Alex, Spring '04

 

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About Christine Cole & Full House Farm ] History ] Philosophy ] Articles ] Elephant Sanctuaries/Training ] T’women Productions ]

Annual Letter 2004

The Pendulum of My Soul

 

Perhaps this letter reaches you in good spirits and well-being.  We have had a busy-as-usual year, with some not-so-usual highs and lows.  My dear friend, Clancy, died October 30, an extreme low for me, but one that passed quickly as I really feel he is still with me.  You can go to "A Tribute to Clancy" to read the tribute page and see pictures taken of him during his long, generous life.  Dave’s business is booming, Eyla is in her senior year at high school and aiming at going to Santa Rosa Junior College (right now), and Alex has returned to home schooling.  As for me, well, besides the everyday family hustle and bustle, I have spent the year traveling, mostly inward.  I have taken great leaps in how I see things and how I play with my life.  Encouraged by the experience, and motivated by the fun I have every day, I am thirsty for more!!

I have not forgotten, even if you have, that I promised a rough draft of a manuscript by this year’s Christmas Letter.  I have to admit, I do not have it, unless bits and pieces of deep-thought on paper, an ameba-like outline and good intentions count.  No, I did not goof off.  Instead I got caught up in another passion entirely.  The passion still involved writing, however. 

In February, 2004, I got a call from my good friend, Susan Bassett, who has since moved to Guemes Island off the coast of Washington, taking with her a horse some of you may know named Kona.  She asked me if I was going to go see Cavalia.  Given that I had no idea what Cavalia was, she explained there was a full page ad in the paper and that it was “a show with horses…”  I never let her finish the sentence.  “We have to go!” I said.  I usually avoid shows with horses for obvious reasons, given my propensity for empathizing.  Something inside me was intensely sure I did not want to miss this show, though.  I called that day and bought tickets.  I have seen the performance two more times since.

For those of you who have not seen it YET, Cavalia (www.cavalia.net) is a stage performance with acrobats, dancers, great live music, lights and waterfalls, all spectacular.  It is similar to Cirque du Soleil, in that regard.  They also include in their entourage 37 wonderful horses.  The horses are often allowed to run free on the stage with the performers, with the same emphasis behind the interaction as is in my own work (or more accurately, play) with my horses and clients. 

The lead performers, Magali Delgado and Frederic Pignon are from France.  Magali is well versed in dressage and Frederic dances with his horses at liberty, which means no equipment while he is on the ground and only a strap around the neck of the horse if he rides.  Deeply moved by what I saw, I wrote Frederic a poem and asked if I could interview him.  I was working on the chapter about “Play” in my book and felt he had a good handle on that subject.  He invited me to meet him in San Francisco last March.  Since then, I have written an article and spent countless hours developing my understanding of the value Cavalia has for me and for the thousands of people who delight in the sensual feast provided by this production, as well as the transformational message it conveys.

In May, I took the young article down to LA to personally hand to Magali and Fred so they could tell me if I was on the right track.  They were rehearsing at the time beneath the Big Top and I was able to watch.  I reveled in the feeling of being there with them.  It was not so much the things I was seeing or doing as it was the immersion in creative energy and my utter lack of resistance as it played out.  I sat on the steps overlooking the sand stage where Fred was playing with his stallions.  Magali sat with me and we talked about her life, how she met Fred, the dreams she finds coming true.  She read my article and felt the depth of import I was trying to put into words.  She was excited.  I was in heaven.  I left LA at the height of rush hour, and remained in bliss.  No amount of traffic could have penetrated that high. 

From there I went to play with my friend and mentor, Carolyn Resnick, who had invited me to join a group of six or seven similarly inspired horse people learning from her the art of dancing with horses.  At one point, I was fortunate enough to actually be able to dance with a Mustang.  The music was Aboriginal, lots of drums and a didgeridoo, that long wind instrument the Aborigines play.  Carolyn turned the music on and asked me to enter the arena first.  I climbed through the arena fence and, loving the music, began to dance by myself (I thought) in the sand.  In the far corner of the arena stood a beautiful bay Mustang.  He watched me, but I was not focusing on him.  I danced.  Then, I noticed him coming towards me.  I did not look directly at him, but kept dancing.  He came to my side and moved with me to the music.  I moved where I wanted and he moved beside me, dancing.  Now everyone was in the arena, dancing.  The mustang stayed with me the entire time.  I was able to allow the sensation of unreserved intimacy and, honestly, this fluctuated with a little unease because this was not a domestic horse.  I was concerned I would not be “good enough” for him, as if he would discover I was not wild and not a horse!  I guess I was wild enough and horse enough for him, though.  The opportunity to dance with the Mustang, who did not know me before that day, brought me to a greater understanding of how we can all meet in a place that transcends physical form, time and judgment.  That weekend was one of the best of my life! I definitely raised the bar on having fun.  I left Southern California a transformed and ever changing person. 

I spent the summer and fall coaching groups of people who are leading edge thinkers, which is inspiring and enjoyable for me.  Having fun ranks high on my “to do” list.  It has taken many years of living to recognize nothing I do really matters as much as the amount of joy derived from whatever is being done.  A considerable amount of my life has been spent worrying about the risk of failure, loss or pain.  It is the very fact that I am focusing on the possibility of such that I see it happening, like watching for the inevitable arrival of a train.  The harder I try to avoid it, the more failure, loss and pain I notice.  It is everywhere.  The interesting thing is, there is actually more joy than pain, more gain than loss, and more success than failure.  I was amused the other morning when I pushed my overly laden wheelbarrow of breakfast hay out of the feed barn and through the pasture gate.  I was aware there was a big hole somewhere between where I was and where I was going.  As I rolled along, I kept looking and thinking, “Where is that hole?”  Suddenly, the tire slammed right into the hole.  I had wheeled my way directly to it, as if that was my one and only goal.  Twenty-three acres of pasture and one 6-inch wide hole into which I can fall.  I laughed. 

Whether I am laughing, crying, appreciating or fuming, my emotions come as a package deal with every experience I have.  I have learned so much from my emotions.  To think, I have often cursed the emotions that course my body, raising me high, dropping me low, and often tempting me to act impulsively.  I have sought a monotone to stay out of the spot light and out of trouble because I viscerally experience all my emotions.  If there is any great failure in my life it has been in seeking that emotionless state.  Not for the seeking but rather for the thought that I could ever be successful in that endeavor, and this failure is fortunate.  I am learning it is my range of emotion that has helped me to develop a “voice” like no other, a uniqueness all my own.  Without this ability to passionately “sing” I would never have had the gut-wrenching grief over Clancy’s death that was only matched by the depth of  my love for him, or the vibrant, unbeatable experience in LA or the ecstatic moment with the mustang or the insights I have on a daily basis with the horses and the beautiful people who come here to learn how to dance to the song in their own hearts. Emotions are the tuning fork of life and the richness of the experience is why I am here. 

This year has been both challenging and assured.  I have worried and labored ceaselessly over the article called Dance of Liberty, stomping the publishing world, learning what works and what does not work, exploring the jungle of my own insecurities and the cluttered pathways to my dreams.  There is also the unwavering certainty that no pathway is the only pathway, no dream the only dream.  It is all a playground and every child plays for them self, no matter how much I think they are playing for me or I am playing for them.  I am here to have fun and that is solely up to me and defined by me.  (I mean, how many people think picking up manure is fun?)  Like a pendulum hanging over soft, white sands waiting for someone to give a tiny shove just so it can swing and sway, making beautiful patterns in the glistening grains, I merely have to give it a tiny thought and the pendulum of my soul will score a path for me to follow.

With no help from me this year has slid by, the seconds ticking into days and each day sliding seamlessly into months.  In the early mornings as I feed the horses, I have watched as the sun rises in a slightly different place on the horizon and sets as the moon follows tirelessly.  If I catch myself glad a day is over or longing for something other than what I have right now, this is the only source of effort.  It is only my well-learned way of fighting, resisting, struggling and perceiving lack that causes fatigue.  So, as the solstice draws near, when the sun retraces her steps back along the ridge from whence she came and the moon retreats before her, I settle into the season of barebones, when doing is reduced to a minimum and the farmer in me gives way to the philosopher and the writer.   It is now that I begin to look within and it is here that I discover that all is well, and I wish the same for you now and always.

 

Copyright © 2004--2011 Full House Farm
Photos Copyright © 2004 Barbara Bourne Photography, all rights reserved.
Webmaster: GraphicSmiths

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Copyright © 2004--2012 Full House Farm
Photos Copyright © 2004 Barbara Bourne Photography, all rights reserved.
Webmaster: GraphicSmith.

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