Quiet Hearts Can Move Mountains

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Are you or someone you love a naturally quiet person? In this world fuelled by dominance, the quiet ones are often seen as weak or less powerful than those who are large and in charge, especially when it comes to leadership.

Whisper, our donkey friend, is one of the most powerful teachers of how to move mountains with a quiet heart. And the first lesson that blew me away happened, ironically, during our first mindfulness practice here at the farm.

As someone who’s planned and facilitated A LOT of live programs, the herd taught me early on that you just can’t script what will happen when you invite them into a session. The cool thing is, what does happen is almost without exception WAY better than anything I could have come up with!

It was a summer’s eve … warm, quiet breeze, long light dancing on the land from the setting sun. I’d gathered the herd in the barn, in their stalls and five brave souls had graciously entrusted us for this first session. The intent was to practice meditation and mindfulness with the herd and tap into the power of their breath and presence to learn more. 

All six of us gathered in the wide centre isle on cushions, with the horses leaning over their stall doors enjoying the warm evening. As we started into meditation, one of the participants had her back to Whisper’s stall door (which was pretty low and a bit small for Whisper). It wasn’t long before Whisper started gently poking at the woman’s back.  

Keep focused on the breath, I thought.

Whisper kept poking. I looked over at her. Something in me recognized that even though she wasn’t banging or making a fuss in her stall, she was trying to say something. And in her gentle way, she was determined.

I decided to ask everyone to stand up and got their permission to open Whisper’s stall door and see what happens. As soon as I opened her door, she stood perfectly still.

Maybe that’s it, I thought. Maybe she just wanted the barrier removed?

We waited, standing quietly together in a circle. Slowly, slowly Whisper made her way over to stand in front of a young man across the isle. It was maybe 3 steps for her. She stopped, her body draped in front of his. Very, very gently he put his hands on her back.

Tears welled up. In a soft voice he told us that he was just like Whisper – the one who felt like he never quite fit in. The one who always felt ‘different’. The depth of his quiet and courageous vulnerability called to all our brave hearts. It was moment I will never forget and I suspect those present won’t forget it soon either.

When we feel things deep in our body, they stay with us, remembered, in a way mere words do not. And we learn things that very often are hard to describe, things that ask to be lived.

In the years since, I’ve seen Whisper work more of her quiet magic. She’s helped someone afraid of horses take their first step to move right through that fear. She’s turned a donkey-hating vet into her biggest fan. She’s presided over two deaths with unwavering presence. She’s inspired paintings of her and literally has supporters around the globe.

All without ever saying a word. With her own unique brand of beauty – huge ears, short spikey mane, fat pads on her body, scruffy coat (for 10 months of the year!). All without hardly moving while she stands with and transforms the hearts of those fortunate enough to be invited into her space (and, she doesn’t invite everyone).

No matter how you look, what you’ve been taught about ‘fitting in’, whether you hee-haw or sing like a canary, be like Whisper .. stand in the full presence of who you are. Put your attention on inhabiting your brave heart, your beautiful, unique self. Share your gifts mindfully and you too can move mountains and be a ray of love in this troubled world.

Christina Turner