The Wisdom of Watering the Lawn

“To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us, all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the core work of all spirituality—and it is work. Yet, it is finally the work of “a Power greater than ourselves.” [5] All we can do is keep out of the way, note and weep over our defensive behaviors, and open our full selves to God’s presence.”
-Richard Rohr

The sound of water on grass is soft and inviting. I was barefoot in my oxford shirt and work pants rolled up watering the lawn. It was pure heaven.

Yes, strange right? Something as simple as light reflected in hose water, the humid Southern Ohio air on my neck, my bare toes sucking up the stability of solid ground was a little bit of heaven. I felt like I was watering my spirit at the same time. It was so quiet.

I had spent the day mired in an accreditation audit, spreadsheets, emails, stressed out co workers, and I bounced through all of it…zipping from one aspect of the project to the next, the busyness, I wanted to not think. Watering the lawn was the most thoughtless and wonderful task of the day.

Just me and the hose, sunlight, and almost no sound. Only children in the background, the neighbors who spied on me creeking in their lawn chairs, maybe wondering why the barefoot blonde had a smile on her face this July evening.

It’s important to take time to be quiet. To let the mind quiet down, and take in what’s around. The trees, the leaves starting to yellow a bit reminding us that summer would soon wane and school would begin. The way the sun seems to stay long like a good friend, and you are happy that it’s there.

Step 2….

One

“it’s much easier to live in denial. It seems we are not that free to be honest, or even aware, because most of our garbage is buried in the unconscious. So it is absolutely necessary that we find a spirituality that reaches to that hidden level. If not, nothing really changes.”

-Richard Rohr

Step one: Admit you have a problem and you are powerless over it.

It could be drugs, alcohol, spending, unhealthy relationships, unhealthy obsessions, all those secrets we hold. We are only as sick as our secrets.

Whatever it is, one can only stave off the dark bottom for so long, or deny you are living in it.

This one is hard for me, because powerlessness is not something I do well. I pride myself on pulling myself up and controlling my life.

But then again, you are in it…everything before that is simply denial.

I think getting to this step is incredibly personal.

For me it was a collusion of events, selling a house, family behaving badly, ex husband behaving badly, ex boyfriend coming back to dabble once more, realizing I had spent almost every night at the neighbors having a cocktail, financial strains, my daughters 9th birthday, and a play/ rock opera that asked…what would you do if it was the last night of the world. And as I looked around at all the people in the audience who I had the most fake connections with I went home and spiraled.

I was just as fake and it was time for me to do something about it.

This was not what I wanted.

This had to change…I had to change my life had become unmanageable, and I was responsible for changing it.

Maybe powerless isn’t such a horrible word…maybe it’s wise.

Start Over

This I know…

Sometimes…you need to start over. And unplugging when you have a child, a mortgage, and a job is almost utterly impossible, but I will figure out how to do it.

Why?

Because I have come to realize some very important truths about myself…and other people, my family of origin, and how it has shaped my life thus far. I want the last part of my life to be the best part of my life.

That starts…with letting go of the past…all the way back to age 3, and re parenting myself, developing secure attachment styles, and starting to live the life in accordance with my inner wisdom, not someone else’s opinion of me. What that looks like, I will let unfold naturally, but I can tell you what it doesn’t look like…

Shame
Dishonesty
Abuse of myself or others
Disrespect of myself or others
Secrets

Sometimes…we have to disconnect, even from our own families…sometimes healing is a stubborn dogged drag of a journey.

The Accident

The summer morning was cool with sunlight, painting the grass in shadows and light. Perdu waited patiently by the gate. Anna went out to get Ellie Mae the blonde Halflinger mare and as I put Perdu’s halter on. In a few minutes we were on our way back to the barn.

Typically I have no problem leading Perdu back, her breakfast is waiting for her. Today as soon as I closed the gate to the pasture she stopped. I clicked her along. Anna and Ellie Mae fast ahead of us. Perdu walking six feet behind me stopped again. Not scared, just stopped and looked off to the left and put her head down and stood very quietly.

“Come on…what’s wrong?” She just stood. Quizzically I looked at her.
“The pony is beating us back to the barn? What up?” Again calm big eyes. I started almost dragging her behind me, it wasn’t a stubborn refusal, it was as if she was weighted down by something. Was she not feeling well?

We got closer to the barn, there were 3 of our fellow boarders outside the big doors. Katie came up to me as I went to lead Perdu in.

“Can I speak to you for a minute?” Emily stood next to her with tears in her eyes.
“Sure.”
“Cat just died.”
“What? Gabby’s horse? When?”

“Yes, she’s up there, they have her covered it happened just a little bit ago. I wanted to let you know because you may not want to take your daughter up that way. It’s just awful…I heard Gabbi scream.”
“What happened?”
“They were trying to load her into the trailer, she got upset, reared, flipped over backwards and hit her head on the drive, died instantly. Gabbi saw it all.”

Gabbi is 16 years old and the type of horsewoman many of us admired. She was fearless and confident, responsible, a talented rider, great seat, but most importantly she was kind. Her horse Cat was a four year old typical thoroughbred mare. A lot of fire and spunk still needing to gain the wisdom that age brings, the kind of wisdom that only comes through experience. Gabbi could handle her though, I’d watched her ride her through rearing, and all sorts of silliness, with a calm disposition and sense of humor, never getting angry; rather, calling her the “big goof”.

My heart broke for her.

“How’s Gabbi?”

“She lost it…as we all would. She laid on top of Cat and just sobbed.” Tears started to well up in my eyes, as the girls began to cry. To loose your horse is like loosing a piece of your spirit.

I’m so very sorry…I will go over in a few minutes, let me put Perdu in her stall.” I walked my dark bay mare into her stall. She ate her grain as I put her halter up and as soon as she was finished she came over to the stall gate and stood. Unusual, she typically goes right to the hay after that. I walked in and stood with her, she closed her eyes, I closed mine and we stood there forehead to forehead, grateful that we still had each other. She had known Cat was gone before I did.

The connection between horse and rider is one that if one is lucky enough to experience in their lifetime is something bordering on divine love. This is the only way I can I explain it. My horse and I have been together through heartbreak, and we have broken each other’s heart a time or two, but we never leave each other. When I purchased her I made a promise that she would never be sold. I have kept that commitment.

I often think, what if we humans committed ourselves to each other like that. No matter what, we aren’t selling each other, we are in the for the long haul.

Somehow, we are able to forgive and forget the bucks, the spooks, the times she laid me flat out on my back eating the dust of the arena, the times she was so stubborn I threw my hands up in the air and left her in the middle of the pasture, the times she humbled me and made me cry, and made me curse in frustration and anger.

Then there are the times where we have flown together, where our spines have been so connected that my legs became hers and the wind whishing against my face was like feeling the breath of God on my cheeks, when the sunset was all purple and pink against the jump field and she carried me fast and excited, happy to be running free in the grass forward as we both enjoyed the evening. The times she nickers when I enter the barn and I greet her with a kiss on the nose. The time I sat under the locust tree reading as she grazed in the paddock and we shared each other’s space quietly enjoying the sounds of summer morning. It is a physical and spiritual connection that goes beyond words, as the Koran says, the saddle is a seat of prayers up to God.

My head on her head, I knew this horse was soul of my soul. It is the same connection I have with music, love without words.

All the horses in our barn hold a special place for each boarder. We grow close to all of them, as we women chat while cleaning stalls, or simply patting one on the neck as we walked by.

I left Perdu to walk up to say goodbye to Cat. Gabbi was gone, needing a walk alone in the woods. Cat’s beautiful bay legs lay out underneath the tarp. Her shoes shinning in the light. There were five of us, all tears streaming down our faces. I placed my hand on Cat’s leg, and silently prayed for Cat as she moved on her journey.

My heaven is part rolling pastures like the pastures at my barn. And there will be all the horses I have known and loved. I hope to see Cat, grazing in the tall grass.

Magnificent Cat.

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Life Aside

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I have wanted to ride side saddle since I saw my first Jane Austen movie. My love was solidified when I saw the Lady Mary of Downton Hunt. Everything about side saddle just seemed to pull me to it. The elegance and beauty. It’s been a dream of mine to learn. Today that happened.

5 years ago I put a picture of Lady Mary of Downton riding aside. Go figure, it worked. I am beginning my journey to learn the art of riding aside.

What I can say is, somethings just fit, physically. This “fitting” principle works with people too. If anything riding has taught me is to pay attention to you body. Go with what “fits”.

I was most me, riding tall and aside. It was natural.

Ironically, my mare Perdu took right to it too.

That’s how life is. You are supposed to just do the things you love, the things you are drawn to, the things you are curious about. Those things are your true north. Those things are your soul pulling you closer to you.

One last thing about riding side saddle…

It’s all about staying balanced when you are slightly unbalanced. Isn’t that how life is? It’s always a bit unbalanced. When you are riding aside, the feeling is free and tall, powerful. Are we are most powerful when we are unbalanced and balancing anyway?

Another lesson maybe, when life had you slightly eschew, rise up tall and ride through.

The Reiki Session

“Reiki is the life energy that flows through all living things. Reiki Practitioners understand that everyone has the ability to connect with their own healing energy and use it to strengthen energy in themselves and help others. It is believed that a person’s “ki” or energy should be strong and free flowing. When this is true a person’s body and mind is in a positive state of health. When the energy becomes weak or blocked it could lead to symptoms of physical or emotional imbalance.

A Reiki session can help ease tension and stress and can help support the body to facilitate an environment for healing on all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. A session is pleasant and relaxing and is often utilized for one’s personal wellness.”-international association of Reiki professionals

“She is a very different energy then any horse I’ve dealt with. Wow!” Scottie closed his eyes, opened them as he held out his hands one inch above Perdu’s flank. “Amazing, she’s almost like reading a human.”

“What do you mean?” He continued to quietly work moving his hands slowly across her body and smiled.

“Well…she has a huge amount of energy in her head and her heart. A huge heart, but she’s guarded. Lots of energy in her crown chakra like a spiritually in tune old soul. She’s a highly sensitive horse, highly intelligent,lots of power, talent. However…

He moved his hands to the back of her body. “She’s not taking care of her basic needs. She’s the kind of animal that would forget to eat because she’s so in her head….she has an old injury here, but she’s learned to live with it. Hmmmmm….wow…amazing heart, this is a very loving horse, tapped in, but she doesn’t relax into it enough. She has abandonment issues I think, she’s guarded.

He turned to me.

“You two have the same energy, pretty neat. This is a good pairing.”

I was still realing, his reading of Perdu was like reading me.

“How can I help her?”

“Take care of you first, your needs, bring that energy to your rides, but more imprortant, speak very lovingly to each other. Open up your own big heart, with everyone.”

I felt released. I thanked him, “Can I give you a hug?” He laughed, “of course! I get a lot of hugs.”

Healing is sometimes just allowing yoursel to release into your own energy, releasing your heart. I 8AD8685C-9406-462B-8AEF-42E6DF1C508E