“We will never have to tell our horse that we are sad, happy, confident, angry or relaxed. He already knows long before we do.”
– Marjike de Jong
They say that horses are clairvoyant. In the Summer of 2016, I found that to be absolutely true. I had recently lost my home and my two children in a deadly house fire. This article is not about that. As a part of my healing process, I was grateful to participate in an equine horse therapy program at Healing Strides in Boones Mill, VA. Several mothers of my son’s closest and dearest decided they wanted to move through our grief together. Our time at the stables is not about riding horses. It is about connecting and allowing our own healing process to percolate, and breathe, using the horses as mirror images of ourselves, or as representations of other events, people, experiences and concepts in our lives. I am just learning about this, and it seems to be a back door, metaphorical approach to accessing the deeper parts of ourselves that are seldom seen by others.
One horse in particular caught my attention as she was very anxious and pacing the edge of the fence line, desperately wanting to be on the outside of the fence. This horse reminded me of Patrick, my oldest son, and all I wanted to do was help it calm down, settle back into its body and get grounded. I wanted to help ease the anxiety and do what I could to bring it some sense of Peace. As I stood near the horse it continued to pace back and forth, back and forth. It charged at me, and darted to the side as I stood my ground, speaking to it through my mind as though it could hear my words. Twice it circled me. I just stood there feeling into its heart space and speaking to her from my heart space, without words, just presence. Words often get in the way, and the horse probably didn’t need my words. Children are sometimes like that too. Eventually, the horse slowed down but continued pacing. It was breathing deeper. It gradually closed its gate, and then, it dropped to its knees and laid in the grass on its side, head and neck upright. I gasped as I watched her do this. I clinched my chest and started crying, as I had never had such a big and gorgeous creature lay down in front of me like that, and of course, I was thinking of my boys. Inch by inch and trailing tears, I crawled on my hands and knees through the grass until I reached her. She allowed me to touch her hoof, her leg, her neck and her head. I swiped the hair from her third eye and massaged her ears. And then, as her brown eyes searched mine, she laid her head down into the grass as well. So, I did too. I slid my arm out and laid down on my side next to this beautiful, magical creature. Her gaze completely pulled me into hers and there was this moment that I can not describe as anything other than other-worldly. She became a gateway between me and my boys; for a moment, an enchanting, Divine and powerful moment, I could hold them energetically while we laid in the grass together. I wanted to stay in that moment forever. It was fleeting. When it was over, it was over… but not really. As the Moms and the “Watchers” gathered together to process our individual and collective experiences, the horse continued to stand up, and then lay down again, and again, and again, making its way from the edge of the fence to the center of the field in the sunshine. I’m not really sure what happened between me and this mystical creature, but I know it was special. I am still processing it, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I was completely spaced out and totally discombobulated for the rest of that day: forgetting where my keys were, being on one side of town for an appointment when I was supposed to be on the opposite side of town, and forgetting to pick up a friend at an agreed upon location. I couldn’t even form sentences to communicate thoughts in my mind, just jumbled up words. That kind of aloofness happens when we humans have spiritual experiences that take us outside of what we have already known. Memory and speech is a functional process related to the left hemispheres of our brains. It is associated with our lineal and rational thinking minds. Experiences such as the one I had with this horse, opened and expanded my way of thinking, feeling, and being; experiencing reality outside the boxes I have so carefully placed myself within. The horse raised my vibration and opened a portal beyond linear and feelings and sensations. I wish I could live in that spot.
I had an amazing and unique experience. But it was not just about me. It was not even about me and this beautiful horse. There were several other amazing and courageous women standing in that field with me, and several other beautiful horses. Each one having their own experiences simultaneously. Each one peeling back the layers of rational thought and allowing themselves to feel the space inside of nature, to be in Communion with it all. Common. Union. My experience was no more and no less important than that of the others, they are equally powerful and Divine. How often do we have these experiences, but do not talk about them? How often do we hold back from sharing incredible, almost unbelievable experiences because we are afraid of what others might think of us? Will they even believe us? It happens more often than we think. I’ll bet that as a reader, you may be nodding your head recalling profound experiences in your own life. Together as a Community we have the opportunity to lean in to one another in the heart of seldom-seen transparency. Do you have the courage to share that with your lovers, your close friends, your children or colleagues? We can be in that field together and honor ALL of it. When I heal, you heal. When you heal, I heal. This is true of the women gathering with horses. This is true of our entire Community of Roanoke that is greatly impacted by one another’s stories, for better, for worse. This is true of you, and this is true of me. They say that horses are hyper sensitive and clairvoyant, and I am so grateful they are. To be in their presence, to be fully seen by them and to be so taken in by them… I am on-my-knees raw with gratitude.
* Grab a sneak peek of my book-in-progress right here! I will keep you updated as it moves through different stages, AND you’ll be the first to know when it’s published!
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