Have you ever reflected on the journey of finding your potential?
In many ways this process is right before us, all the time, in the rivers, the rocks, the trees, in us. But sometimes the things that are right in front us, all around us and even in us, are the hardest to see. Especially for us very smart humans!
There is so much in the popular media today that shows us what it looks like when we forget this quest. When we get mired in negativity, superficiality, numb to the words we use and the thoughts that are consuming us. It happens to all of us, at least for a brief moment, and it’s easy to get consumed by it. But this too is part of the process of finding potential for it’s not a set of perfectly crafted steps we climb or a straight path forward that we follow.
Finding our potential is not a neat or tidy process. There is no manual, no recipe for it, no seven or three steps and we’re there. There is no there, it’s never ending. And the road signs along the way can be confusing and sometimes covered in mud, hard to read. It’s the journey of journeys for it’s the journey of Life, not just our own small self’s journey. When we seek greater potential, we are seeking to grow everything and everyone around us. We become a beacon. Many people have found that when we take on the quest, it ripples out all around us, backwards and forward in time.
And, it’s not for the faint of heart. Or put another way, it requires heart! The greater you cultivate your inner life, the greater the resources you have for the journey. Our inner resources – our present mind, our heart intelligence, our intuition – help us to see the writing through the mud.
Finding Your Potential Through Horse Connections
What does this have to do with the horses? Everything. Over and over again, through a myriad of different settings I hear stories of how the horses are helping people come back to themselves and find a path in this journey. And, it’s the living story of The Courage Herd.
When the horses and I first arrived at the farm in the fall of 2015, we had, as many of us do, some healing to do. Many of the herd were still carrying the remnants of their recent rescue experiences both physically, energetically and spiritually. And, we had some practical stuff to do, like forming the herd (well the horses worked on that), and getting a heat trace line installed to bring water inside the barn, fencing, etc. The land itself was altered to make room for us. We had an intent written in our tag line, and at first, the intent sat quietly, under the surface so to speak, helping us start the process of coming together.
In hindsight I can see how that intent informed every seemingly simple, almost inert, everyday task. As I wrote in my last blog post, it often doesn’t look like anything much is happening and I’ve come to see that this is at the core of the magic of the horses.
Everything and nothing is happening all the time, which is in such stark contrast to our frenzied, sound-bite filled world, particularly here in the West, where it’s become easy to be consumed by cool new memes, new technologies, new discoveries, debates, even the latest drama. It’s easy to forget all together to cultivate our inner resources. In fact, it’s easy to not even notice that we’ve forgotten about our inner life all together. We make decisions based on what others think we should do – so-called experts, popular people, well intended friends or family. We become addicted to our rational minds. As a woman who has prized intelligence, good grades and smarts, I will share that as much as they’ve served me, they’ve also landed me in places I could only shake my head at in dismay (“what was I thinking!!”).
But the horses are not interested in memes or drama or busy minds. They are experts in the inner life of heart and intuition. They sense things – not just feeling tones or energy within a person, but big things, things that are flowing and moving all around us. Things we have become so anesthetized to (a word, which literally means non-esthetic, or beauty disabled) that we no longer even notice them.
Of course there are many ways to wake up again to the beauty of life, to relearn to cultivate our inner life and rededicate ourselves to the path of potential in ourselves and others. Working with the horses is one of the most powerful I have found.
The physical beauty of the horse is informed by the inner beauty of the horse. They are experts in heart and gut intelligence. In the power of presence. In the cultivation of the herd as the primary act of cultivating one’s own unique gifts. And for so many, in so many incredible ways, they are reaching out to us, inviting us into the journey with them.
One of the most perspective shifting ideas I heard recently came from a talk Linda Kohanov gave at a recent FEEL conference. She suggested that while we humans believe we have domesticated certain animals, perhaps it’s the other way around. Kohanov sited many research studies that point to this possibility. One is the research of Joe Hutto and his seven plus year experience living with a herd of mule deer.
Are the horses reaching out to us or are we reaching out to them? Who is leading who in this work and how do we know?
One thing I know for sure – our logically mind, especially a logical, distracted mind, will never answer these questions (or questions like them). To explore this journey of potential, we need to cultivate a much richer inner life to listen to and guide us.
Slowly, slowly and patiently, patiently, the horses are helping to crack me open. To crack open so many doing this same work.
About two months ago, in late August, I got a clear message from The Courage Herd – a foal was coming to our farm. I had been intent for months on creating our space, becoming part of the herd, connecting to the land, cultivating our invitation. This news was not on my radar. Stability was on my radar, savouring the beauty of all that is Flying Moon Farm, experiencing the amazing effects of living with a herd of horses, bearing witness to the way the herd was working with those who came to be with them,starting to invite clients to the farm. Those things were on my radar.
That’s the thing about finding potential, while it includes resting in what is, savoring and simply being, it also has a powerful aspect of movement. Of pulling yourself up and out. Of giving birth, exploring and flowing.
The story of our new foal, Pearl, arriving is on one hand incredulous. The herd alerted me she was coming, they said not to go looking, that they would make it so clear I would know. And that’s just how it happened. Two months later, on one particular Monday, our ‘chief sentinel’ mare, Sonnet, kept standing next to me whenever I went to be with the herd. In fact, for much of the day she stood at the fence outside my office window staring at me (very unlike her). I could ‘hear’ her saying TODAY, LOOK. And despite me believing the foal might just wonder onto the farm, she presented herself on Facebook … I mean how can you not laugh at that! The irony is not subtle.
I don’t know what magic Pearl is ushering in or where we are going and I suppose that’s the mark of the best journeys. I know that despite all the logic ever taught to me, a foal has arrived as alerted by the herd, just as they told me, without me going to look for her. A foal that was through miracle or accident or both, born on a cold, late January day. A day burned in my heart as the same day our dear herd member, Cohen, died. As our lead mare, Echo led a vigil that entire night of Cohen’s death, facing the north, somewhere close by and utterly unknown to me, Pearl was being born.
The North Point of the Medicine Wheel: the night, winter, and the element of Earth. The North is the place of no-thingness, where we return to the Great Mystery to receive our vision to be ignited in the East. It is a place of the three dreams: the day dream, the night dream and the life dream. This is the time where we are to dream deep and wide, for the vision of our life purpose and who we truly are. Deep ancient elders and wise ones live in the North, but we must be able to empty ourselves to receive their wisdom. It is the place of the Owl and other nocturnal animals. The North relates to elder-hood and correlates to the archetype of the warrior.
I share this as a call from The Courage Herd as a love song to you, to all of us. Awaken to the magic within you today. Cultivate your inner life and all the richness within. Seek for yourself, for those you love, for Life, more than you can imagine at this time is even possible. All is not lost and broken in the world. The horses are calling us up and out. Don’t make the journey too much to bear even as we start. Everything and nothing can happen at once. Do one small thing today to listen inside and re-enchant your life.
And, as the wise friends who have helped me make sense of Pearl’s arrival have reminded me, we are in this together.