I started my blog several years ago with a poem called Of Horses and Hospitals, a work that looked at "where my heart went" after weeks on five tubes in a hospital bed. Robbed of sustained concentration, any sense of control or meaning of time, it was the memory of standing with a horse that actually held me through that traumatic period. This week, I've been hanging out with a really exceptional horse "therapist" named Hollywood--and it has reminded me how much I am "grounded" when I am in partnership with these four-legged souls.
I feel so grateful.
When I am horseback, I cannot brood or get caught in the cycles of destructive thinking that sometimes haunt me. I find myself breathing in time with her rhythm, urging my still-recovering core to straighten, my heels to reach down, lengthening my legs. I roll my shoulders back, shrugging off worry and tension and my eyes scan ahead in the arena or on the trail then refocus on the tips of her expressive ears. These are the motions of meditative movement. To ride is to be "with the present moment, the NOW" in one of the most physical, mental and emotional ways I can imagine.
No wonder Tibetan Buddhism created the concept of the Windhorse--a symbol for the uplifting energy that carries goodwill to all. Often pictured on prayer flags, the Windhorse bears the written prayers so they can ride the breezes beyond all borders.
I have to go into surgery again. That's sobering and frightening. Yet, I know the Windhorse will be there to stand by me, reminding me of all that is spirited, warm and possible in life. It will come in the guise of every neck I've stroked and every shoulder I've leaned against. It will know my way forward and home. Who could have guessed that my "rock" can take a physical form, can buck one moment and lean against my chest the next?
It is an awesome thing to have one of these creature look back at me, dipping a soft muzzle to my open hand. Eye-to-eye, she reminds me she is not a machine, not an object to be "owned" or "shown" but first and foremost a being I am in partnership with. I couldn't have articulated this when I was younger, but now, at fifty, I can finally say "thank-you" to the many horses of my life.
You have all carried me--no, not just this body.
This tender and sometimes earth-bound soul.