Hope

Now we know why love and grief are one in the same.  And why we grieve…long after we’ve said goodbye.

For where love had trodden, in the secret places of souls. Where it has made its mark, and stiched itself into our hearts, there always will be hope, even when it seems most lost.

 

Building A Relationship

One of the best ways to learn about relationship building, is training a horse.

Especially if you are not in a relationship…like me at the moment.  But really, aren’t we always in relationship with something?  Our family, our friends, our children, our co workers, nature…so maybe we can practice the principles I’m about talk about in all aspects of life.

I can testify that my horse has taught me more about myself then I care to know.  They are perfect mirrors.  If you are anxious they are, if you are angry, they act up, they can’t speak a word, but an annoyed flick of the tail says everything.

Getting a horse to stand on “The Box” is not as easy as it looks.  Especially for my stubborn mare.  She’s the most obstinate thing sometimes,  such a Taurus.  Then again, I’m equally stubborn, we make a fine pair.

We are constantly at odds with each other, and kind of madly adore each other at the same time.  I know how I feel about her, I know how she feels about me when she knickers every time I walk in the barn and when she’s tired, she liked to lay her head on my shoulder.  It’s a soulmate match to be sure, we both help each other grow.

Today was one of those days.  I wanted to teach her a new trick, in typical Perdu fashion, she didn’t want to do it.

My goal, just get one foot on the box.  After an hour of cajoling, being patient, creating a shoot with polls to help guide her, getting on the box myself, placing her foot on the box at one point, getting angry, being assertive, trying to force her on to the box, I stopped….and surrendered to the moment.

What the hell was I doing?

Trying to control the situation by literally expecting her to do what I say, something scary, without any sort of incentive.  If someone is going to follow you to the moon and back…or to the top of the box and back, they’d better trust that they won’t die on the journey up and down.  Getting angry and frustrated doesn’t garner trust.

There’s a point too where you stop and say…is this even possible?  Clearly she doesn’t want or can’t put her foot on the box.  I should just give up on this untrainable horse, put her back in her stall and call it a day.

But stubborn me wasn’t going to leave the arena until I accomplished the goal.  However…you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result with people or horses.  You can’t change the horse or the person…but you can change yourself.

Changing Perdu was a bad idea…I loved her…so…change myself and my strategy.

I removed all the polls, stripped the environment down to simply the box and a wide open area to give her space.  I wanted her to feel like she had choices and space, and even if she didn’t choose the box, that was okay, we’d keep trying till she felt comfortable….I’m a wealth of patience these days.

I moved her up to the box, placed her foot on it, gave her grain, let her remove the foot.  We did it again, and again…foot, grain, foot, grain, click click, a tap with the wip and presto!  I eventually got her to stand peacefully on the box with two feet.  A minor miracle with a flighty stubborn warm blood mare.

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Lessons:

Don’t change the person/horse, change you.

Don’t be crazy, if you keep trying the same thing over and over again and it’s not working, change what you are doing.  The goal is still the same, take a different path.

People and horses take time and patience.  Don’t give up on them…give them options, if you get angry, take a break.  I had to do that quite a few times today, then go back.

Have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish

Clearly communicate

Remember…everything is possible.

Be humble…maybe your way of doing things isn’t the best, keep an open mind and be willing to change.  You might not be right (obviously I wasn’t)

Make your environment pleasant.   Frankly, who wants to be with or follow a tyrant?  Be pleasant, speak kindly, carry grain…I guess for people, grain wouldn’t be the best thing to carry, maybe sweet treats and warm loving kisses.

Perdu is 20 and she learned something new…so can you… people and horses do get better with age.

 

How to Not Screw Up Love

As my last piece was about heartbreak, I would like to give your the sure fire way to prevent it, and create relationships that last, healthy homes and healthy kids, healthy everything.

”God does not love us if we change, God love us so that we can change.  Only love effects true inner transformation, not duress, guilt, shunning, or social pressure.  Love is not love unless it is totally free.

The ususal expected ego pattern is

sin——punishment——repentance——transformation

This is totally recalibrated by Ezekiel, after experiencing the perfection of Yahweh’s love for Iserael…for him the pattern is radically changed and becomes instead:

Sin——unconditional love—-transformation—-repentance

–with our now “embarrassed and humiliated face” being our ongoing punishment and conversion! Grace is always a punishment for us.

Ezekiel the prophet, through mounting and outrageous metaphors, first disqualifies Israel as worthy of any love by reason of their complete unfaithfulness, and then he completely requalifies them by reason of the totally one-sided covenant love of God!  Whether it be the self-serving shepherds or the whoring girl or the field of dry bones, in every case Yahweh punishes them by loving them even more!  Yahweh says to Ezekiel, ” I take no pleasure in the death of a wicked man, but in the turning back of a wicked man who changes his ways to win life.  Come back, come back!  Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel?”  Israel is, of course the standing metaphor and symbol for the individual soul and all of history.” Breathing Underwater Spirituality and the 12 steps, Rohr, 42-43.

The answer to everything, to any transformation, is to love more.  I just typed that and teared up.  Why?  Because that’s grace, and I was raised with the opposite sin punishment model.  Of course, I reflected that model in EVERY relationship I had prior to now. Duress, guilt, shame, shunning…yes, these were things that I did to people.  And when I received this treatment back, I mistook it for love.  I was a bad person and I needed punished….or they were behaving badly and needed to be shunned, as I had been shunned…and in some circles, even my own family, I still am.

Well…that’s not love.  That’s ego.

Additionally, we have the ability to love like this too, like God does, it really is a simple choice.  We do it with our children, why don’t we do it with each other?

Love is not conditional….

Let me repeat that.

Love is NOT conditional.

A hard concept for those of us who grew up with conditional love and fell in love with people who loved conditionally, and ourselves loved conditionally.  This is a new way of being, this IS the transformation that 12 step programs, spirituality, and contemplation offer.  The path toward unconditional love and grace.   And it’s not easy because your ego will fight you at every step…but that is what Jesus means when you must die to self.

When someone harms you…love them more.

When someone leaves you…love them more….let them go…but love them more.

When someone does something incredibly stupid, says something stupid, acts out…love them more…

Why?  Because what they are doing is completely unconscious.  And if we believe in God’s grace and love, that he is in us, and we are in him, then that conditional crap, isn’t who they are, or you are, or we are.

We are in this together, and the more of us who wake up to that reality, the less heartbreak there will be.  That’s heaven, this unconditional thing.  We’ve experienced it a few times, grace, guess what…we are supposed to give that to each other, no matter what, particularly if we are in a relationship with someone, because by God…being human, we will make mistakes, big ones, small ones, middle type mistakes, and if we want a relationship that lasts, then it must be a place of unconditional love and grace.  Doesn’t mean we condone bad actions,  doesn’t mean we don’t say, “No…no you don’t treat me that way, no, that behavior is not acceptable.”  We do get to call each other out on our own bullshit; but, we love each other through it at the same time.  That’s love…you might piss me off to high heaven, but I get to tell you that you do, and then I get to love you right on through.

When you can do this with yourself first then you can do it with others, and hopefully you get to do it with that person who sets your soul on fire.

That’s what I wish for you…and myself…a person/love that sets your soul on fire, where you both can practice unconditional love…together.

Like anything in life…you must practice it.  For those of us who did not grow up with unconditional love, we didn’t get our 10,000 of practice to be come an expert in it yet (Malcom Gladwell), so we may be a bit of a late blooming.  But we can do it.

Namaste…Peace…Love

 

 

Everything you Need to Know About Love-Neil Gaiman

This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.

This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing.

Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.

It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.
Somebody’s got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.

It’s not two broken halves becoming one.
It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together.

So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,
like a book without pages or a forest without trees.

Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,
and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.

And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet,
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.

And that’s all I know about love.

Neil Gaiman