Friday, October 23, 2009
Horses As Mirrors
Mirrors are a big part of our lives--we have them in the bathroom, bedroom, cars, decorating our homes, in our purses. They're everywhere. We're constantly looking at our own reflection and wondering how to improve it, how it's changed, what it means.
But I must say the deepest and most accurate reflection of myself I found did not come from a mirror; it came from a horse.
Horses are vulnerable. It may seem the other way around since they are so powerful and large and we are so small and easily breakable. But from their perspective, we are the carnivore--the meat-eaters--and they have as much to fear from us as they do the cougar or the bear. They are prey.
Yet, they will, under the right circumstances, afford this great trust and partnership. They'll subdue their inate fears to the point of allowing us to ride on their backs (the most vulnerable "kill" position for them).
Over at A Year With Horses blog, Kate's thoughts about working with horses, I was reminded of the great gift working with horses has been for me. I think today I enter the barn as "me", who I am and no more, but there was a time I entered the barn as a complete question mark.
A horse doesn't trust a question mark--am I good, am I bad, am I weak, am I strong, am I worthy or unworthy--those questions have to be answered for the horse to move forward with you.
For me, the answer was that I was all those things. I'm good and bad, strong and weak, worthy and unworthy. I try to be the best of myself, but I'm limited.
And you know, the horses seem to be just fine with that. They really are creatures of the day and creatures of the moment. To them, it's all about now--yesterday and tomorrow have no power over it. Humans have a tendency to be exact opposite--we can really get caught up in our regrets of yesterday and our fears of tomorrow.
So, today I'm thankful for Cowboy who first kicked my butt back into the moment--and then C'ya who gently pulls me back into the moment--and Beautiful Girl whose own fears were greater than any I've ever had. The other horses throughout my life have helped me as well, but these three are the most recent and powerful forces in my life.