Updated: Apr 15, 2019
As you know by now, at The Gift of The Horse we look at things a little differently. What if we considered the following notion;-
No matter how damaged or imperfect the physical form, the horse lacks nothing.
How can I approach the horse in this way when clearly my eyes see atrophy, my eyes see pain in the body, my eyes see stiffness? Surely as the owner of this horse it is my duty to bring the horse to better health and well-being?
YES!! Absolutely! This is your responsibility, but not from a place of viewing the horse as less than, lacking or incomplete.
When we approach the horse (or any being we encounter) as lacking in some way or another, there will be a heaviness in our energy that will be felt by the horse (and others) no matter how good our intentions are to help. When we accept the horse (or human) for who they are and what they look like, regardless of the “imperfections” we may notice in the physical form, our energy will be very light and we will have a lovely high vibration. When we show up to the horse in this way we accecpt him exactly as he is now.
We have all experienced how it feels to have someone in our life who doesn't quite accept us as we are. Perhaps they don't approve of how we look, dress or the choices we make. Maybe they disapprove of the books we read, or how we chose to spend our spare time. Often the people who don't fully accept us, are the ones we seek the most approval from, like our parents or even our peers. We have felt the low vibration from others who constantly tell us where we need to improve or how we need to change. Perhaps its subtle criticism or perhaps it's an outright objection and full blown confrontation.
If you are like me and you follow a plant based lifestyle or you have broken away from traditional ways of raising children or being with horses, it often comes with a great deal of judgement from others. What I have come to understand is that their cross examinations and questioning is not so much about seeking to understand you but more of an attempt to justify to you, what they do. Through walking this path I have come to quickly notice who is genuinely interested to learn more and who is looking to trip me up. Neither is right or wrong and everyone is entitled to show up to life as they see fit. What is pretty amazing though is that even the toughest of encounters are FOR you in every aspect. Each encounter giving you a greater sense of knowing what is true to you. At the end of the day judgement separates us from our true nature and the true nature of others. And when we look at the horse and we see bad feet, atrophy or behavioural issues we are only seeing what is wrong, what needs to be changed or fixed. We are judging, labelling and creating a story around that horse based on our own perception of what the problems are, as we see them. Some horses are even labeled as projects. "This horse is my project horse, who I will fix." And then of course there is the "problem horse." How is that for a limiting label? In the human world we have labeled children as "problem children", "learning disabled" or even as having "defiant disorder".
Through the Gift of The Horse I would love to share with you how to see beyond these mind identified and self created labels and then, disregard them all together. The horse is not a problem horse and the child is not a problem child and you are not less than. The horse, the child and you are far more than the labels and the stories.
Energy and Intention.
If I approach the horse and my energy emanates pity or a feeling of being sorry for the horse, he will feel that energy. If I view the horse as lacking in some way, either physically, mentally or emotionally, the horse feels that energy from me. If I come to the horse and focus only on what the problems are and what is wrong with the horse, the horse will feel that energy from me.
We have to ask ourselves how it would feel if others pitied us, felt sorry for us or felt we were seriously lacking physically, mentally or emotionally. It would be felt as an extremely low vibrational experience between two people. One would be the victim, the other would be feeding the victimization of the other. Empathy, support and understanding from others is very different. “I hear you, I see you, I feel you. I am here from you.” This energy has a far greater power and high vibration compared to, “I feel sorry for you, you are lacking, poor you, you are not enough.”
Our Stories and Labels.
I had a deeply personal experience once when I began to work with Twilight, the magnificent grey pony in our videos. Twilight’s story is a very sad one and I found myself coming to him with my sad feelings around this story. I felt deeply sorry for him and when I worked with him and I would handle him as if he were damaged goods. I emanated this energy out to him every single time I was with him. “Poor boy”, “you poor thing”, are some of the things I would say to him repeatedly. I would also tell everyone who came to visit about Twilight’s story right outside his stable door while he tried to enjoy his evening meal. So not only was I talking about this “poor boy” in front of him to others (more on the impact of this in a future blog post!) but I was also spreading the low vibes to all who would listen! (Yikes!)
“There is something deeply damaged here,” I would think, “something broken that I need to heal.” There was a weighty responsibility and a feeling of heaviness around both of us when I came to be with him.
The Stories and Labels are nothing more than our own Perceptions.
Then suddenly something in me shifted and I realised that it was me and my perception that was creating this heavy energy around us. I was the one bringing the story of his past with me every single day we met. I was the one dragging in all the lack, all the bad circumstances and treating him as if he was less than and lacking. It was a huge “ah-ha” moment for me.
I started to imagine how I would feel if my friends constantly visited me out of pity or because they felt sorry for me and made me feel that without their wisdom and guidance I would be doomed. I imagined what it would feel like if I was regarded as damaged goods or as being broken. I realised that each time I came to meet with Twilight, not only was I feeding this negative energy to him, but he was living into it too.
Role Playing: The Victim and The Hero.
If we label anyone with our own mind identified story around their lack or their shortcomings, that person (or pony) feels it and instantly will begin to play the role of the victim, the role of the broken damaged person. Remember that we may have very heartfelt and good intentions, but we need to mindful of the energy that we bring. (The only time a person will not respond to a low energy that portrays the other as the victim is when that person can see beyond the human need in others to label! Then they will not role play. They will simply listen and observe with non-judgement.) Think about how so many human relationships are tarnished with labelling. She is too thin, he is short tempered. The pony is no good. Thoroughbreds are spooky. Can you see how labelling blocks us from the real being that stands before you?
Now it does not mean that the person is not damaged, that the person has not had hardships, it does not mean that we pretend that those things never occurred or that we disregard the past – not at all. The horse may well be spooky and he may very likely be dangerous. We acknowledge these things, but we accept the pony (and the person) exactly as they are NOW. So for example if you child does struggle to learn - it is not WHO they are. It is a factual part of their mental make-up, but nothing more. If the horse has feet that crumble and crack, it is a factual part of their physical form, it does not make them "the horse with the bad feet." Behavioural problems in horses are probably more labeled than any other imperfection. No-one is going to touch a horse who has been labeled as dangerous, unmanageable or untrainable. (Incidentally my horse was labeled by others as all these things and more. One who would be likely to kill me eventually. I was told to put her down and buy a new one that I could have fun on. If I had taken on this limiting belief, completely crafted and created by others, I would not have been blessed to see beyond all the mind identified stories and labels and directly into the heart of that being. And what I saw there was good and pure and not dangerous at all. And Vari - "imperfections" and all, was exactly what I needed.
Role Playing, Stories and Labels vs Creating a Space for The Truth to come through.
By accepting and embracing the horse or human as they are now, what we are actually doing is creating a space. Through this space we see that they are no longer the stories or the labels. By accepting them as they are now, we have created the space for them to accept themselves.
Calling Twilight “poor boy”, was not only setting the tone for the energy that I brought to him, it was also feeding my ego. (Oh dear!). If he was the “poor boy”, then surely that made me the hero, complete with a red velvet cape, who would save the day (and the pony). Making Twilight the victim, made me the saviour.
I was not really aware of this at the time, but it makes great sense to me now. The more we see the victim in others, the more likely our own situation will look a little better. I recall someone saying to me once “Oh, I am so glad you also have these issues, that makes me feel a lot better.” (double oh dear!).
When we label the other as the victim and ourselves the rescuer, the saviour or the hero, we inflate our own sense of self-worth. When others are in a bad way, our situation suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.
I had to take quite a big step down off my high horse.
I realised that Twilight would never heal if I kept seeing him as damaged. For as long as I did this, he would remain “the damaged pony”. I realised that he could only begin to heal when I stopped treating him like he was broken. I just had to see and acknowledge the pony who showed up each day and meet him where he was in the present moment. He was not the story. He was not the past. He was simply here and now, in the present moment with me, asking for a carrot and a walk. Dragging his past into all our time together was not helping him at all.
Perception is Everything.
Slowly I began to see beyond the story. I began to see beyond the chronic imbalance in his physical body, so much so that he was unable to stand on three legs, so I could clean his hooves. I began to see beyond his aloofness and his intense inner retreats when he was being handled. I began to see beyond his panic attacks at the slightest movement under his nose and his go-to safety brace when he got a fright, that pulled me off my feet. I began to look beyond that deep and unnerving sadness that I saw in his big black eyes.
And then one day I looked at him and I saw something. I felt something. That “something” glimmered and flickered at me. It shot a wave of shivers down my spine and gave me ripples of goose-bumps all over my skin. A warmth hit my heart and shot inwardly and outwardly all at the same time. (Words do not do this moment justice!) It was as if the world around us when instantly silent and into slow motion.
Seeing with Spiritual Sight.
Looking back at that experience now, I know that I had been gifted a glimpse of Twilight’s spirit and perhaps he had been offered a glimpse of mine. And maybe, if even for a moment, our spirits connected with one another. There was an exchange between us that was not in words, thoughts or actions. My mind would like to explain this to you in a logical way, but I do believe that when we experience moments like this, we do for a brief time “lose our minds”. Once the mind is out of the way, the heart and spirit are free to take over. Logically I understand that quietening the mind to the point where we are not controlled by an endless stream of thinking and labelling can bring about these encounters. Only you can never seek them out, plan them or control them.
How we Block the Divine Nature or Spirit of Others.
Our spirit and the spirit of every being we encounter (and I mean every being) exists quietly tucked away under the many layers of our labels and our stories. We block our innate ability to see the divine nature of others by projecting stories and labels onto them. Those stories and labels are cultivated and created in our own minds, based only on our perception. Usually a label we assign to someone really has nothing to do with that person at all and everything to do with us.
Not only do we prevent an opportunity to see the divine nature, the true essence of other beings with our stories and labels, we also block their access to our true nature by building up walls of our own. These walls are made up of our stories of what our so called limiting beliefs are: our fears, our worries, our self doubt, our insecurities. All of which we have created in our minds. It is true, we may have had real experiences of fear, worry, lack, doubt - but those experiences all exist in our past. We constantly give new life to them through our thoughts in every moment that we chose to. They only exist because we allow them to exist. For further articles on how fear gets in our way, we have recourses on www.thegiftofthehorse.com that will serve you greatly!
This is what Twilight had done, and this is what I had done, like we all do. He had put up his walls and I had projected my labels and stories. But no matter how high the wall or how deeply buried the spirit, there is always a way through. And the way through is to accept the horse that stands before you as fully whole and complete and lacking in nothing.
A Practical Exercise: Moving away from Stories and Labels towards Acceptance.
So what do we do? How to we move into acceptance? How do we let go of the labels that prevent the truth from coming through? How do we stop projecting the stories? How to we break through the walls that prevent us from seeing beyond the form to the true essence of the being that appears before us?
The answer is actually rather simple.
All we have to do is get really, really present to what is AND accept what is. No labels. No stories.
Let’s break it down bit by bit:
** A horse trainer and a beautiful grey pony, who is very stiff and braces easily.
(I have labelled myself and I have projected my story of Twilight onto him. I have also called the pony by his colour – this is so common!)
Let’s take it further:
**A girl and a beautiful grey pony.
(There are still labels here – “a girl” and “a pony”.)
Let’s take it further still:
**You and me.
(This is a lot better, but there are still labels here – “you” and “me” and what is more there is separation.)
We talk about the Concept of Oneness in our e-book: 8 Steps to a Happier Healthier Horse and a Happier Healthier
Let’s take it another step further:
**Two beings. Together. In this moment. Nothing more.
(Now this is more like it!!)
**One source, manifested in the physical form as two beings for the purposes of their evolution to higher conscious awareness. Have I lost you? I hope not!
We look deeply into these concepts and more in our books, blog and videos!
The Physical Form is the Container of The Spirit.
The physical form is simply a container for the spirit body. A container for the true and divine nature, which is in essence, the God within, this same divine nature that exists within every single being.
You see when we look beyond the physical and recognise the spirit of the horse (and all beings), we see that it is absolutely ludicrous to even think that a mere human, such as ourselves, can ever add anything to this already perfect divine being. It already exists in pure essence. Thinking that we can add to the horse in any way would be like telling God that he slipped up with this one, and we are here to help. The same goes for our loved ones. Regarding anyone as less than, or labelling them as "problem children" or "project horses" really is a call to examine our own ego and let others be as they are.
Now this does not mean that we ignore the "problems" or don't support the "learning disabled child".
But what if my horse is underweight, atrophied or in a bad way and does need my help? What if she does have physical shortcomings that can be solved through the correct care and know-how?
From a place of ACCEPTANCE of what is and KNOWLEDGE that she already is a perfect and complete divine being (as we all are) ONLY THEN we can come to the horse and assist her to find her greatest well-being through guiding the physical form of the body to greater health and vitality. At The Gift of The Horse we adopt what we call a Mindfulness Practice with the horse, once we have established acceptance and view the horse as already a complete being. Further information can be found about this practice in our Mindfulness Membership Group, launching soon!
You see there will be a certain humbleness and grace about you when you handle the horse (or the child, or spouse) from this place of knowing and acceptance. There will be an energy of gentleness and kindness in all that you do with her. You are acutely aware that you are only here for her greatest good and not for your own personal goals. (Many horses exist purely for the entertainment needs of the human - be they leisure needs or competitive needs. As I have said before nothing is right or wrong and there is no judgement. It is just worth examining for yourself - is this what my heart speaks to? Or do I just do this, because it is the norm, because it is what is done?)
At The Gift of The Horse we believe that as the human, you are very much of service to the horse rather than the horse being of service to you. And that is the entire point really.
We are not here to take over, to fix, to change. We are here to recognise and accept what is and know that it is exactly as it should be. Every challenge you have, including the "problem horse" or the "difficult child" is here for you, exactly as they are. Why? Because it needs to be so for your greatest growth.
(For more information on how to be of service to the horse please see our article: How can I be of Service to the Horse and expect nothing in return?)
You see we are not just humans training horses. We just happen to have manifested as the being who domesticated the horse and now the horse – through our own unconsciousness and no fault of her own finds herself reliant on us for her exercise, her nutrition and her mental and emotional well-being.
It is not our right to train the horse. But it is our absolute duty to ensure that she lives a life that is most natural to her.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupery teaches us in The Little Prince;
"Just that," said the fox."To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world....”
“People have forgotten this truth," the fox said."But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”
So, my friends, let us be with the horse as if she is the rose that we are responsible for, so that she may bloom and grow as nature intended. We are not simply humans training horses, we are so, so much more.
Sat Nam xxxx
The Gift of The Horse