This fall my partners and I successfully completed our first Coming Home: Exploring Relationships with Humans, Horses and Nature workshop. I left the rolling grasslands and beautiful sunsets of that weekend feeling I had found 'something more', but this is not the something more of quantity. It is the something more of quality; of deep satisfaction from being in I-Thou relationships, of creative spontaneity, of watching grandmother moon move through the sky, and of not just being in awe of the raptor flying overhead but actually sensing the air move beneath his wing as he soars. Each person, horse, dog, and every part of nature contributed to this by bringing the authenticity required to create a sense of home where this 'something more' is available. For this I am deeply grateful.
We began as normal with introductions and many spoke of not fully understanding why they came, however they knew they were drawn for some reason. They were drawn to horses, drawn to nature, drawn to heal, drawn to the land, and perhaps most poignant, drawn to explore the intricacies of relationship in ways yet untouched. Each shared a deep desire for contact and connection in every aspect of their lives while simultaneously noticing how they protect themselves from the very connection they seek. Human beings make contact and promote relationship through language, breathe, body posture, energy, touch, spirit, awareness, sensing, and proactively reaching out. We are designed for all of these things. Interestingly, we use each of these ways to protect ourselves as well. This introductory unfolding through tears, laughter, sharing, honestly and kindness laid the foundation for the weekend.
Meeting the horses created a heightened experience of sensing, awareness, emotion and energy. As we began engaging with them, we asked them to be with us in relationship. We asked them to guide us and to follow. We intentionally were trusting in them so they could in turn trust us. We explored this trust through creating contact - which is that fertile place where our emotional, physical, spiritual and energetic boundaries touch. If you were to be a fly on the barn wall, you would see people breathing and sinking into their interactions with horses; you'd see eye contact between horse and human; you'd see softness in handling ropes and animals; you'd see people creating openings for new ways of connecting; and you'd see humility and authentic tears at the realization that one is uncertain about how to truly connect to others. Everyone at the workshop loves horses; But love is not enough. We must also have true contact, presence, listening, compassion, and trust. Love without contact and trust remains free floating, not finding a place to land as a seed blowing in the wind with no fertile ground to nurture and grow. Participants and myself found a place to land and to explore the fulfillment and reciprocity that exists when in a contact relationship.
We worked hard, played with gusto, dreamt deeply, experienced the flow that happens when we are in sync, and struggled when stopped in our tracks by the bitter wind. We allowed ourselves to cry, laugh, fox walk, track, play, rewild, and get dirty, wind-blown and smoky. Everyone tried on new ways of being, perceiving, riding, breathing, and attaching. We learned about giving ourselves and our horses a "good deal", about accepting what we are given by horses and others, and about releasing judgment in order to enter into relationship open-hearted. This was a true Coming Home for all.
Thank you "Z", Milo, Mayballine, Sapphire, Frosty, Dillon, Sparrow, Pepsi, Neo, Jade
Thank you Amy, Steve, Cindy, Bill, Kimberly, Lizzy, Marvin, Katharine (aka: George) Jess, Donna, Dawn, Tres, Megan, Dr. Sandi, and Marina. And as Kimberly would indicate in her Thanksgiving each morning, please forgive me if I left out anyone or anything for I have done my best to remember and include.