I’ve been reading Linda Kohanov’s second book, Riding Between the Worlds, this morning. In order to be able to relax and focus on the reading in spite of an appointment at 11:30, I set a timer to let me know when I needed to quit and go get ready to leave.
In the chapter on “The Music of Connection,” Kohanov talks about how difficult, but how necessary, it is to let go of past patterns of behavior: old ways of being-in-the-world that kill off parts of the soul, or at least don’t allow those parts to grow and thrive. She notes how this kind of pattern leads to depression and sometimes even to suicidal thoughts as the person fails to recognize that it’s the “False Self” who has to die.
This resonates with my own experience. She goes on to describe how horses have helped her clients see how this operates. It made me realize the absolute importance of knowing myself as I move forward with this work.
Then, as I read her example of the woman who was completely unaware of her own fear, though the horse felt it and was badly spooked until the woman returned to her physical body (pp. 130-132), I burst into tears:
"Do you think [the horse] was acting out my hidden fear?” Jane asked.
“Maybe,” I said. “Maybe she was spooking for her own reasons, most likely a bit of both. Either way, you gained her respect, not by denying your fear and talking a good game, but simply by being present. And you showed everyone outside the arena what being present really means. It looks like nothing to the untrained eye, but it means everything to a horse.”
At that moment, just as I absorbed the import of that sentence for my own life and work, my timer went off, leaving me laughing and crying at the same time, marveling at the “synchronicity.” Such a blessing! So my “homework,” it seems, is to just be present with my horses, with no other agenda. Just be present. Which is, of course, much harder than it sounds.
[Cross-posted on It's an Alchemical Life, my other blog.]