Just Thinkin…Life Has No Set List

park-chair-yarra-river-gapSometimes life as a musician brings me to places and situation which seem beyond fantastic and unimaginable I realized yesterday.  These are the adventures that keep me coming back to loving performing music with people wherever we go. It is my rush.  I have always loved meeting new and interesting (that’s everyone!) people- and I am particularly curious about cultural norms and behaviours. I love the way we as different cultures approach the same situation in different ways. Sometimes tDigital Universehis works to my advantage as I really enjoy adapting my own cultural “norm” to a new one I may be encountering. A “when in Rome do like the Romans” thing.

So yesterday at our private SoulFusion gig I was faced with a particular challenge as we were setting up in a parking lot in 125 degree weather under a deceptively comfortable looking “play area” designed and created by the plant manager of the company for his employees. It was a very different situation to play music in and try and decipher how a “set list” would go – if there were to be such a thing.  The man who hired us was a great lover of music and was someone who had developed a real love for the men and women he works for.  So much so that when he found that the culture of the company he had come into a few years ago was “all work and no play” he took it upon himself to create a more understand and relaxed atmosphere.  This year was the first year upper management had agreed to make a particular investment in the employees excellent positive response to this initiative and the hired Us.  Believe me when I tell you I was aware of the particular challenges coming into this gig – I just had no clue how much bloody fun it would be.

It’s not all glamour in case you thought that…

First we got lost so we arrived agitated, and late for set up. That’s never anyone’s favourite start. Then I had some real challenges…sort of. Except I don’t think the old days would have had all of the variety of faces and people I got to meet on this hot summer day in 2014. As we were setting up, I tried to look around and get handle on our audience so I can create a set list.  As I looked out at the sea of different coloured faces I realized that here was a bunch of people whose lives emerged from places that spanned the globe three times over.

There would be no set list. Big surprise.

Then I was struck by the amazing unlikelihood that we should all find ourselves in this place, drinking beer on a sunny Friday afternoon. Muslims, Jews, Christians, black, white, beige – most cultural versions of humanity were here and accounted for I think.   I wondered right away what it was in their lives they had to have gone through to come to this place, on this day in a hot sunny parking lot in a company just off the behemoth Labatt brewery factory.1175557_607235729326752_1461121346_n

This day was going to be a day of celebration – this is amazing. I thought to myself.

Incredible shit happens in the most unlikely places –

Indian men with beautiful colored turbans on their heads, smiling tables full of people from the Philippines, a new friend to play djembe from Haiti, office women dressed in pretty summer dresses, volunteers manning the BBQ’s while racks of delicious smelling food was served with a smile by upper manage to their employees.  It was warm and inviting and beautiful and all faces smiling.  I feel compelled to play music so…it begins acoustic.

Soon I see the crowd is FULL of people who MUST have danced or drummed or done some type of musical ceremony where they came from – but no one is dancing – they are being quiet and polite.  This is bothering me by the second set so I decide to get together with our drummer who is an amazing percussionsit, and we simply begin a beat. Him first – native sounding earthy tones on the Djembe beat against the ground and I crawl half shy onto the big drum kit. Dave our drummer nods to me to go ahead.  I don’t usually do that but I just felt compelled. My foot begins banging HARD on the bass drum – it feels great – amazing actually. Freeing and a little and letting loose in a way that’s different from when I am “front and center” – I can just close my eyes and feel the music like a meditation my heart settles down into a steady tribal beat on the bass and toms with Dave – eyes are closed…we are having a blast. Some of the men start to dance twirling with their arms as open as the smiles on their faces. Strong legs bend and flex in joyful cadence – Ah this is the best! Everyone was so together in this music – what an amazing feeling.joy

Then I made what I THOUGHT was a colossal cultural mistake. An Indian man came and threw money at my feet when I was dancing – and I was embarrassed so I plucked it up and ran to give it back to him red faced.

In my country when men throw money at you – its a sign of an unhealthy appreciation – I explained rather quickly.

He just smiled at me kindly and said nothing.

But I had stopped his joyful dancing. I had done something wrong.

I must have looked confused because his friend came and explained to my kindly –

“In India where we come from, when we throw money it is an appreciation and to way to protect you from poverty. We do this at weddings for beautiful brides too…” He smiled at me then kindly not like someone who is defiantly defending a cultural norm – as we who are Americanized are inclined to do (Rah!Rah!…blah…). Instead he was patiently explaining to me, because his ego was in check and he didn’t take my misunderstanding personally. What a revelation.

Some people use money not for the exchange of one thing for another – but for appreciation and expression. LIke a ritual. Amazing and beautiful all at once.  I am so grateful for the lesson and the kind way it was taught me.

I was so touched by the whole day.  It was a beautiful celebration of music and I really felt so privileged to be able to intersect with all these beautiful people, on that day in that time in that unli8kely place.

I remember saying to this amazing audience…

“Imagine what it is we all had to get through to get to THIS place today…it is incredible.  We were meant to be friends.”.  It really was how that all felt.,

We made music together, we ate together and we planned next year to do it all over again.

 

Once again the universe shows me clearly that if you follow your heart the pay back is simply unfathomable.stars-purple-light-wallpaper.jpg

 

Peace

 

 

On Death and Loving…

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Morning time at WillowCreek

This morning I fed the horses – its a beautiful day. In Canada we get maybe 25 days like this – clear sunny cool. Birds are singing in this constant perfect cadence – it plays like a mediation song as I go about doing my work. I fill buckets and say good morning to each of my herd. They all have very different personalities and different ways of greeting me.

Did you know horses liked music? I didn’t either, until UI had my own farm. When a horse is sick you will try anything in your power to make them feel better, and so over time I discovered that each of my horses has a certain song or types of sounds they like. Some like silenbce. They don’t want us chattering in their faces all the time. Others, especially younger ones like summer, like singing – in her case I always sang her “Summer Lovin” from the grease album – so now when she hears this song she comes running from anywhere to find me.  I love that.

In the past three years my most special time I have to admit has been with Otis my overly tall gangly love machine of a quarter horse,.

otis10Otis came to me through a friend who had kindly adopted him from Texas even after the vets there declared that he had navicular disorder. She has a huge heart and he was truly a “big gentle giant” as his sale advertising said.  What the seller didn’t tell anyone was that Otis had been so gentle and SO perfect, they had overused him and probably destroyed his feet in the meantime.

In Otis’s case, he is the victim of what humans like to see as esthetically pleasing in a horse.  Over time, we have bred quarter horses to have small tiny delicate looking feet- not big and clunky like they should be. Otis is huge 16″3′ meaning he needs MORE of a base to stand on. But he doesn’t have that – so the bones inside his front hooves are twisted and breaking causing him daily and now in th4e past two days ridiculous amounts of pain.

I have made the decision to have him put down tomorrow at 4:00 and today feel like hell.

otis fall 2012 wearing a scarf
OTIS sporting his handsome scarf

Let me tell you about Otis…

Otis is my friend.

I am a rare a very fortunate soul to have had him in my life.  Most people I imagine never have that kind of intimacy and absolute trust and love with another living being never mind something as awesome and created with “ALL SOUL” as a horse.

 

jo and otisOtis is not just any horse you know…He is my soul-mate horse. Better r than any “man relationship” honestly…

The horse of my life..the one you dream of when you’re a little girl.

I never dreamed of a “specific” horse physically.. like big and black or white and shiny…I loved them, all and didn’t care what they looked like really.  I dreamed of the ULTIMATE relationship I would have with my horse – he would follow me and want to be with me all the time.  I didn’t dream of riding and ribbons like the other girls and boys in my riding classes.  I dreamed of a horse that would BE with me – and magical fairy tale like relationship a soulful understanding and connection.  Like Bucephalus and Alexander something extraordinary.

I am so lucky.  Otis was even better than all that.

paulette and otis

He was with me through my mothers illness, problems in my marriage, being alone – Otis was there. He single handedly got me through this winter and the incredible depression –  – I had Otis. His condition is what made me go outside every day, work with him, keep him moving for nearly four years now. Otherwise I may still be languishing in bed.

He loves and adores all humans but especially my mom. He would walk with us when she was in a wheelchair. He was the most gentle safe loving perfect listener. He never interrupted or told me what he thought he knew I just had to talk things out. And when I cried just TOO much – he would rap himself around me like a perfect blanket of love. God Ill miss him and our many hours spent in his stall, brushing him and just humming happily…

He is a grand champion line bred, in Texas he is Pine Zippo Bar something or other…blah blah blah – they tell me. Both grandfathers were most winning quarter horses in the history of quarter horses in USA. Why does this matter ? well because – humans bred him for humans – they were not thinking about the horse. .

otis faceI have tried meds, no meds, shoes, no shoes…walking, stall rest…all of it. I have gone as far as praying over his foot. I have held his leg on my lap and begged the sky. I must have looked like a lunatic in my field on my knees begging.

But my friend Otis is in terrible pain and so it is in my power to relieve him of it.

RANGER
Ranger was 32 when he died

I wonder that we can’t do this for humans…

I saw my vet today and cried all over him. Poor guy. He has had to put up with me for so many years. But again – he is the most HUMAN of all the vets I know. He comes to my fundraisers, quietly always supporting those who would work hard for their horses.  He doesn’t like killing them  I saw today the years had not in fact hardened him – this made me feel good. I need only LOVE to be present when we do this to my horse,

I have not put many horses down in my life. My first horse to die was Ranger – Masters old parted. I was inconsolable for at least 6months.

BY time has passed and I am a real farmer now – not just a suburban throwback hoping to have a pony and a larger garden.

I am a real farmer now.

My hands are hard like leather. I like them like that. It hurts less when I cut them on baling twine.

My back is sore – because I did a good days work.

My feet are permanenelty black with dirt – cause that’s the way we roll in my garden.

I’d rather smell like midnight in the pastures than midnight in paris…:)

I am a real farmer now.

But my heart doesn’t seem very “tough” or farmerish today – I wish it would take a lesson from my hands…

 

When you work on a farm, you are CONSTANTLY in the middle of life and death.

If you watch a death you will see it is just a birth – backwards…cropped-374558_10200344549270175_1888065410_n.jpg

Death and birth are the same.   I feel sorry for people who are not aware of this. Death is not so scary. But living disconnected from nature and the reality of the earth like most people do – is very scary to me.

Death is an opening – a space for something living to come in.

I am not afraid that Otis is going to DISAPPEAR. Nothing disappears.  If you work in nature – you know that very well. IO don’t know allot of farmers who fear death – their own or others.

We leave that to the city people who believe we are all separate living things.

But death is hardest on the living.  I will be lieft5 here…while Otis traipses off to go see my mom and everyone else I love who is on the other side.

I KNOW he will be there for me when its my time to “ride off”…

jo n otis
I love you My Buddy.

But holy shit this is hard.

Thanks for reading.  Please hug your animals and all the living creations you love tonight.

Namaste.

 

I love you buddy…

SPRING SHOWER

There is nothing more magical b46b5b382ed0fc2b0999b04319a1e8a6

than being in the barn

right before a torrential spring rain.

Horses munching on green hay,

The sweet smell of grass starting to rise up ,

Birds in a frenzy announcing the impending shower.

It feels like healing.

The announcement of new life

all over and everywhere around

It releases all of the sludge

from the season of icy indifference.

Welcome spring!

Maybe my heart is waking up?

Let’s dance!

horses_in_the_rain_12_by_cotten_candy101-d36lstw

 

 

 

CHAPTER 4: Matters of the Heart

Fourth Chakra

Anahata-Cuarto-Chakra

Mantra: “Yam”

Colour: Dark Green

 Element: Air

Foods: Kale, Chard, broccoli – all green leafy vegetables

Scent: Tree scents such as pine or cedar, and rose oil, Melissa and neroli.

Imbalances indicated by:

  • Lack of self discipline
  • Difficulty in relationships
  • An attempt to live vicariously through another
  • Dependence on someone else for your happiness

 

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The heart is not only the physical center of our aliveness, but it is also a central area of communication for our bodies. Eighty percent of the signals that affect and activate the heart’s actions travel from the heart to the brain and not the other way around.  Compassion is the ultimate expression of heart energy.

Every seven minutes, someone dies from a heart attack in Canada(1).  Heart disease represents the cause of death for more than 29% of the population.  In a world and culture where we are inundated with daily news of war, political and economic unrest, divorce, family violence, addiction and suicide – the heart is at the center of these matters. Love and the way we express love through compassion, joy, creativity, empathy, kindness, patience is related to how connected we are with the energy of this fourth chakra center.

It is clear that the daunting problems affecting our world could be brought back into balance through a worldwide focus on compassion, love and understanding.  This has been the message of our greatest teachers. However, this process can only begin when individuals look at the center of the heart within the context of their own lives.  This focus can then spread outwards into our families, communities and eventually into the manner in which we are making decisions on a global level.

Our decisions currently and historically have reflected only self interest – interest in our personal individual well being, the well being of our own religions, or philosophical ways of looking at things.  It has been like this since we existed as tribal cultures and only knew how to manage basic brutal survival on this earth. Today, we have the benefit of our history to show us that clearly, this “tribal” instinct must be done away with. The heart shows us we are intricately connected with one another.  The most effective way to connect to this energy is by individually focusing on the matters within ourselves that have affected our ability to express love and compassion on a grander scale. The matters that block our own hearts, such as resentment, anger, jealousy, guilt and fear must be faced and brought into perspective.

Someone once described to me the heart in a very interesting way: they said it was like a beautiful thing that radiated light, but that it had a type of “ethereal net” covering it and that when we had issues in our lives like anger, jealousy, guilt, and fear – they became “stuck” in the net like little packets of darkness which block the light in our hearts from shining outwards.  People that do not deal with these “packets of dark” (meaning simply to become aware of) become afflicted with addiction and anger issues which will cause a variety of physical and mental health issues.  The Heart is the center of joyful living.  Taking time for personal therapy of some form to help you shine the light of awareness of these issues is critically important in helping to clear out the things that block your heart.

As from within – so it is without…

Nothing can happen outside of yourself that you cannot do within yourself. In the world of horse training, we often say that we cannot do something in the saddle with a horse until we know it can do what we are asking from the ground. It all begins with us and the basics self-love expressing outwards. . In other words, if you cannot express love and compassion, patience and understanding to yourself, you will not be effective in doing that in your relationships, your work or any portion of your exterior life.  Simply put, the more you can realize and make choices with love for yourself, the better able will you be to express it to others.  Taking time with animals, in nature any time – is a great and effective way to bring this intention into your life.

secretariat

BIG HEARTED HORSES

Secretariat’s heart was about two and three quarters the times larger than a normal horse’s heart when it weighed in at about 22 pounds at his necropsy.  Eclipse, necropsied in 1798, was the first extraordinary thoroughbred racer to be credited with a huge heart, weighing in at 14 pounds.  Sham, another great winner, was also endowed with a big heart.  In horse-folk circles, if we say “that horse has heart” – that horse has a good work ethic; he is selfless and giving with his cooperation.  He is compassionate and connected.

The heart can be fed – like a great hungry stomach – with beauty, passion, creativity, food, prayer.  When the heart opens, you feel it, like a warm radiating flood of light coming out from the middle of you.

In the chakras, the heart is the place where heaven meets earth.  If you have ever been in love, you understand this feeling; a place where time doesn’t exist and everything feels in balance, easy, exciting and connected.

Connecting to the heart is something that we must do consciously and intentionally. Awareness, acceptance and fearless willingness are the keys to opening the heart.  North American culture does not  exactly teach us to strive for self love and acceptance.  We are critical and hard on ourselves, always looking to achieve something that is temporary, materialistic and fleeting. The heart urges us to settle into something that is unchanging and rooted in deep truth within ourselves.  No one can tell us this truth or teach it to us – It has to come from inside.

Teaching our children to “listen to their hearts”, as my mother often told me when faced with big choices, is a great gift. Teaching them to be kind to themselves, to stand in awe of the miracle that they are and then to take that sense of amazement and cascade it outwards in every interaction they have in their lives, is the ultimate gift and teaching we can give our children.  This can only be taught if we ourselves practice its principles.

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART!

You have nothing to learn. You don’t need to know anything more or new from a fancy book.  You don’t need to be a different version of you.  You just need to listen to your heart and be yourself. Meditation and quiet time in nature can be very helpful in quieting your mind long enough to allow you to hear what you already know.

Belief and Knowing are different.  Belief is based on an opinion, judgment – a conclusion you have made in your thoughts and rational mind. It is a “head” understanding.  “Knowing” –  is something that comes from beyond thought – from your heart.  They say “the longest journey” is the eighteen inches between the head and the heart.  The knowing of the heart feels certain and unbiased. It is a type of instinctive understanding – a feeling.

Love yourself unconditionally – is the message of the heart chakra.  Ultimately you will find that as this love becomes real for you (not just as a thought – but as a knowing in your heart) it will fall out of you and into your life, then into your community, into your country and the world will have a chance to be healed, one heart at a time.  This is the message of all the great teachers who have come before us, and maybe now, we are finally becoming ready to hear it.

Peace

(1)    Statistics Canada 2011

On Awakening Your Bliss

421350_10150574121483114_693783113_8805972_1062905027_nI have been very quiet on writing lately for an ironic reason – it seems that the more I learn – the less I have to say. The more I understand – the less I know. Wisdom teaches me that we are all on a path towards a new understanding of ourselves and the world, but that this path can’t be brought to us or taught to us, that it can only be experienced personally. In other words, anything I would say could only be a shadow of what you can come to understand about yourself using your own experience.

Years ago, during a particularly difficult time in my life I had an strange and transcending experience which at the time felt very unique and made me feel a little crazy. I immediately took it upon myself to began to write a book about this experience. The reason was that what had happened to me had completely changed the way I saw and perceived my life. The way I made decisions, the way I used my intuition and the underlying reasons behind everything I did changed. I felt incredibly lonely at times, so I would write a book that would help others who “shifted” in this way to know that they weren’t alone. That they hadn’t lost their minds.

The experience created in me a feeling of intimate connection to everyone and everything – The All – it felt like JOY. It gave me a deep understanding that we are all the same thing. It told me that time itself is a precarious thing and that the very fundamental and very real reason we are all here is to discover our inner “thing”, our talent -our strength. What it is we have been given by the Source that created us that can be of benefit to this symbiotic place in which we reside. Is it some form of creawtive expression? The ability to heal? The desire to fix things that are broken? To create new things from old ones? To Feed people? What is your bliss?

I discovered my own spaces of joy through many desperate fumbling acts and moments of fearless jumping off. Music and animals, nature and children are the things I deeply connect to and that I feel completely ALIVE with. These are what feed me and in turn feed the people I am with. When I play music, or draw or paint or teach a little kid about horses or listen to a teenager – I feel in a space of timelessness. I am not thinking about yesterday’s problem or tomorrow’s fears…I am in a current state of being. Being present for people is the most important thing we can do.

Many of us talk about finding the purpose of our lives, and yet we go on every day either to doing jobs or activities we hate or not finding the gratitude in what we have. We mistakenly believe we are stuck in our circumstances when we all have a deep need to discover who we are and why we are here. The answer is no more complicated than doing what you love and using your bliss to connect to others and create something good in the world. It is that simple. But the way you get there and to really understand this in your heart is different for each person.

My “new eyes” see that the world is in quick deterioration and that the best thing we can do is to become aware that understanding ourselves as individuals deeply from within is paramount for ourselves, one other and the planet. We have to stop focusing on trying to fulfill our personal human desires – and start understanding our very real needs. Our need for fulfillment and joy, for peace and community. Face it, no matter what we think or have been told about other cultures and all of the insanity happening in the world today, at the end of the day every single human being, from the old lady in New York City to the ten year old boy in Africa – wants the exact same thing; they want to be happy, they want to feel secure, they want food, shelter clothing, love and companionship. That’s it. And we know that we HAVE the resources for this to be for each person on the planet. So why aren’t we doing it? We live in illusion. We want “proof”. But what is proof? We have no time to “scientifically analyze” all of these things. The level we need for understanding is BEYOND the level of our minds. The mind is nothing. Just a representation of what our ego wants to believe about the world.
We need to understand this and to just jump in two feet, faith first, and make different choices, on an individual level which will effectively contribute to helping us balance our needs with the needs of the planet. In other words, the kinder and more compassionate and present you are with yourself – the more you will be able to do this with everyone else.

We ARE each other. I love the interpretation of the Hindu religion which says that the physical self is held together by sound waves – specifically the sound “Om” – which is the “sound of the Universe”. There are many old beliefs, even ones that predate the bible, that support theories that science is only today beginning to observe, such as quantum particles existing beyond measures of time, and Einstein’s String Theory which attempts to proves that we exist on different physical planes all at the same time. There are very ancient beliefs in Mayan, Egyptian, Celtic and other ancient cultures that had long ago defined these beliefs. We are at a time and place now that is beyond science, and is calling for us to access places within our selves which are beyond that mundane analysis of science, and which demand that we connect to heart and spirit and source and EACH OTHER, most importantly.

We need a change of attitude! We have seen our powers and capacity for destruction, but really I can’t wait to see what that looks like when we turn our powers for GOOD. It will be an awesome experience to being all the good we have within each person to the ultimate level of expression.

I am one of those people who believes this is possible. I believe that it is possible for the world to rise above itself and find its higher purpose – its greater mind.

This is the last thing I will say 🙂 – There is a stark difference between desire and need. desire is driven by something we think we are lacking – something that is not fundamentally important to who we are as a person, but is instead detracting from ourselves. Needs are exactly the opposite – needs are those things that support you being the highest version of yourself. Being aware of our needs and fulfilling them will ultimately and necessarily lead to finding and using that highest creative self we are given.

I don’t think there is a need for a ANOTHER book on this subject. There are plenty out there I have discovered. Everyone will find what they are looking for differently. And if what I am writing sounds like lunacy to you, then maybe it’s not for you right now 🙂 But, I believe there is a need for dialogue and opening community for this kind of exchange. It certainly can’t hurt anything worse than it already is.

Peace

.

Equine Nature Retreat ~ Second Chakra ~ A Focus on Self

The biggest problem that faces the planet right now and has since the beginning of time is that we don’t know who we are.  By taking the time to get to understand our most essential natures we are doing ourselves and everyone a great service.  A focus on studying chakras can help bring us closer to this understanding.

There are things we can solve with our minds, but the most important understanding must come from the heart. Whether you have a religious or spiritual belief system or not, it is important to recognize that you are a being made  energy, connected to everything that is alive.  The great mystery exists not only in the understanding of our “small self” – the human self that goes through the practical matters of daily living, but also our LARGER self – the energetic and eternal aspect of ourselves that are fully interconnected with one another.  It is possible that all of the problems that this disconnection over time have caused in history are a result of this “small self” thinking, and have now caused us to need to shift to an understanding of our “eternal” self. The part of us which is energy, flows through time because for it no time exists, has always been here – and will always be here.  Some belief systems call this consciousness. Some call it soul. I call it Self.serenity

Here at the WillowCreek Retreat we use the energy of horses and nature to help people become aware of their SELF through a focus on centers of energies which exist as a part of us, as use that knowledge to find a place in themselves which surpasses even thoughtful knowledge and can be found in the heart only. The Hindu culture calls these centers “Chakras”, which means “spinning wheel” in Sanskrit.

This article will focus on our upcoming retreat on the second-sacral chakra. It is intended for the participants of the retreat, but I want to make following the process available to anyone who is interested.

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bc4a8-chakra

The second chakra, also known by the Sanskrit name, Svhadisthana, relates to those aspects of our energy that have to do with creation, fertility, sexuality and the joy of living.  The physical location is about two inches below your navel.  The colour relating to this center is orange and the element is water.

When this energetic area of your body is blocked, it can result in physical ailments such as bladder problems, circulatory issues, lower back pain, menstrual issues, kidney & reproductive problems.  Life issues can include difficulty working with others in a creative fashion, addiction, sexual dysfunction (hyper or hypo sexuality) in relationships, difficulty setting healthy boundaries, and a lack of flow of abundance (like money and other resources) into your life. Psychologically, a imbalanced second chakra can produce low sexual desire (frigidity), frustration, anger, fear, hypersensitivity, unreasonable feelings of guilt, and being unreasonably hard on yourself.  In your life you may find yourself surrounded by abusive or energetically imbalanced relationships, difficulty in attracting resources, feelings of unhappiness regularly upon awakening. Healthy second chakra energies bring about healthy relationships, well established boundaries and flow of money and resources into your life.  It is easy to see why a concentration on coming to terms with and healing second chakra  energy would be beneficial.

In the west we have an extreme disconnect from our energetic centers.  Eastern cultures socialize their children in  a way that emphasizes awareness and connection to each center of the body.  Through food, prayer, song and other cultural norms, those in the East have a focus on the essential nature of the physical and spiritual connection we have to each other and the world of nature.  Here in the West we are just beginning to see the very real and practical importance of this knowledge.

984297067Horses are an excellent partner to help quiet the mind and open the awareness we have in ourselves of how our body is feeling at any particular moment. Because a horse’s energy calibrates at a higher rate than humans, just being in physical proximity to them can help quiet the mind. This is primarily because they don’t have the thoughts of past and future that keep our energies tied up in illusion and non-reality. Horses can help put our feet back on and into the ground.

A practice of intimacy with any living creature, two or four footed, can quiet your mind and center you in presence.  This is the most important first step for any act of self-inquiry. Without presence, you cannot establish intimacy with yourself or anyone else, for this requires that you be centered in where you are, not in the past or future. Intimacy with another requires intimacy with your SELF first.

484718_10152675059555230_434117789_nHorses can help us to discover our “SELF”.

Intimacy has been expressed as “into me I see”.  Intimacy with another person requires that we first be intimate with ourselves.  This means taking the time to see deeply into our true nature, true mnotivations true thoughts and beliefs about things.  Charka studies are like treasure hunting for truth about yourself. Sometimes the journey is treacherous and can feel a little dangerous, but these are the risks you must take to find the greatest treasures.

The goal is to become unashamedly and blissfully aware of who you REALLY are.

This means learning to be naked with yourself.

An act of emotional vulnerability is sometimes easier with an animal.  We feel that animals don’t judge us, they  won’t take advantage of our feelings of weakness. We feel we can “be ourselves” with animals.

We fear emotional vulnerability with humans because we are accessing negative past experiences and transposing them into the now of life.  Eventually, you will come to  a place where you understand that the judgements of others, neither positive or negative, should be taken personally. That each person’s “judgment” comes from a place of self-judging.  But, when the second chakra is blocked and not yet brought to your consciousness, you can only see what you can see.

Second chakra issues revolve around TRUST and TRUTH.

Who do you trust? Do you have a best friend? When you were young, did you have a best friend?  Have you known someone to whom you could tell all your secrets to and you  knew they were on your side and you would never fear they would break your confidence or hurt your feelings? Do you have someone in your life like that now?

Many people suffer from the loneliness they impose upon themselves from their own self-judgements.

To relieve yourself of guilt – try to remind yourself of this wise thought by author and poet Maya Angelou

“if you would have known better, you would have done better”.

Angelou goes through life with this core belief about people and about herself.  It is a very freeing thought because it acknowledges the FACT that everyone does what they believe is their best at the time they are doing it.  In hindsight, everything has a different hue.

Forgiveness is an important focus for this and every chakra.  Forgiveness is NOT an act of placing an approval stamp on the past. Forgiveness is a recognition that the past cannot be changed. Forgiveness holds within it, if it is the truth, a desire to discover what every experience has brought to you, not what it has taken from you.  Then, focus on the need you were trying to fulfill when you did whatever it is that causes you guilt.  Discover truthfully, fearlessly – the belief behind the need you were trying to fulfill. Then understand fully (prayer helps with this) that your needs are important.  That you can find healthy ways to fulfill these needs without causing yourself harm.  That you can remain from this time forward, aware of your needs, so you make choices and decisions for yourself in an aware an dhealthy way.  This is possible for everyone.

BE LIKE WATER…water_horse_by_grau23-d54263o

But the first steps begin a process of a new kind of thinking. They will produce changes in your life, and the people around you will react.  Be aware of this as you continue.  Allow the changes to unfold, and as the elemtn in the second chakra urges us as does the Tao te Ching – follow the lesson that water teaches us.  It flows with all the circumstances it comes across. It recognizxes that it is ever changing and ever moving, but like water, we never fully disappear.  If we remain like stone, and we are not in the flow of our live, using our minds and thoughts to resist what is, then we will find ourselves being eroded and chipped away, until we are finlly pulled free into the river of what life is doing around us.

TAO TE CHING – VERSE 8

The Supreme Good is like water,

Which nourishes all things without trying to.

It flows to low places, loathed by all men

Therefore it is like the Tao.

Live in accordance with the nature of things,

In dwelling, be close to the land.

In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others be gentle and kind.

In speech be true.

In ruling be just.

In action, watch the timing.

No fight: No blame

One who lives in accordance with nature,

Does not go against the way of things.

They move in harmony with the present moment,

Always knowing the truth of just what to do.

Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

RETREAT EXCERCISE – SECOND CHAKRAlily and jo in arena

The excercise we will do in this retreat is to request our participants to take a horse aside, privately and have a “conversation”.  You will tell the horse your most deep dark secrets. The one you wouldn’t even tell your best friend. The one your surely wouldn’t tell your priest.  The one you secretly believe God will judge you for.

Then take time to look deeply into the horse’s eyes.  See what they see.  Listen to your self, and acknowledge the feelings you have in this interaction.

Ask yourself some questions and stay in meditation with the  horse – quiet in your present space:

Do you believe the horse can see inside of you?

Can you see yourself as clearly as the horse sees you?

Ask to be shown how to forgive.

Stay quiet.

Observe your horse’s eyes.

Heartfelt_-low-res-file-698x1024What do you feel?