Wednesday, March 10, 2021

A Heart As Light As a Feather


As I was walking last week, a virtual hike through the land of the pyramids, the guide told us a story about how the Egyptian pharaoh's hearts were weighed in the afterlife. If they were lighter (or as light) than a feather, they proceeded, but if they were heavier, they were devoured.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the heart recorded all of the good and bad deeds of a person’s life, and was needed for judgment in the afterlife. After a person died, the heart was weighed against the feather of Maat (goddess of truth and justice). The scales were watched by Anubis (the jackal-headed god of embalming) and the results recorded by Thoth (the ibis-headed god of writing). If a person had led a decent life, the heart balanced with the feather and the person was rendered worthy to live forever in paradise with Osiris. (Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

A heart as light as a feather. Hmmm, interesting concept.

Last night, I watched the 41 minute documentary, A Mind Like Still Water. You can rent it on Amazon. After it was done playing, Amazon suggested another movie for me, based upon a book also by Mark Rashid, Out of the Wild.  The two shows together were an interesting juxtaposition, and shed light on one another. 

In the movie, Out of the Wild, the main character has a heavy heart. He carries around guilt for a tragedy that occurred earlier in his life. The female main character is watching him struggle to get a horse to interact with him, and she says, "You have a bad heart."  In fact, she says it a few times, which made me wonder if she was saying he was about to have a heart attack. But no, she meant "bad", as in heavy or burdened.  He was actually a good man, with a hurting heart.

A Mind Like Still Water.  A heart as light as a feather.


These concepts are not easy, especially for anyone who spends a lot of time in their own head.


Oh, to have a mind like still water OR a heart as light as a feather. 

But how?


We worry a lot about "training" our horses and ourselves. Just think of all the books we've read, clinics we've attended, and movies we've watched.  

But what do we do to try and make our hearts lighter before we interact with our horses?

Our horses have enough to worry about in their own lives--getting enough food to survive the cold, enough shelter to survive heat, reading the body language of their herd mates so as not to get kicked or killed, everyday aches and pains, and trying to understand what their human handlers want.

Why would we bring our burdens anywhere near them? They deserve better. 

They deserve lightness, and stillness, and a partner who is grounded in the present moment.


I'm reminded of another book, CS Lewis', The Screwtape Letters.

The humans live in time but (God) destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which (God) has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. 

So, in some ways, our horses are playing the role of God by teaching us to live in the present. That's a gift, isn't it? If the present is the point at which time touches eternity, our horses really are a slice of heaven on earth. Our time with them is like eternal time.


I have some ideas about how to become grounded and present before touching my horses. This journey toward lightness, however, is unique to each of us.
When they say our horses are mirrors, I think that's true, but they are also the weighers of our life's scales. 

On one side of the scale is a feather.  

On the other side, our hearts. 


  1. I hope I get to see that movie without renting it from Amazon.
    This echoes some of the spiritual reading I am doing at the moment, the revelations of Jess to Luisa Pincaretta. He says:
    Jesus tells Luisa: “I do not want this restless heart. Everything in you must be sweetness and peace… I love this sweetness and peace so much, that even if it were about something great concerning my honor and glory, I do not want, I never approve, resentful, violent, fiery manners, but rather, sweet and peaceful manners… If one speaks about or deals with things, even of God, with manners that are not sweet and peaceful, it is a sign that he does not have his passions in order; and one who does not keep himself in order, cannot order others. Therefore, be careful with anything which is not sweetness and peace, if you do not want to dishonor Me.”

    For us to have a peaceful heart around our horses (and the people in our life, whoever they may be) is the way to the light and love that comes from God and is the desire of our soul. I am sure my horses appreciate my efforts! I know my husband does. ;o)

    1. Sorry, typo: The revelations of Jesus

    2. Yes, your horses do appreciate your calm and peaceful nature. I know your way of getting that is through your spirituality. The section you quoted brings to mind Mother Teresa. She didn’t go around arguing about theology, she lived her life as a perfect example of peace and love. And I would also say strength. Beautiful.

  2. I wonder how many hearts were rejected by the Egyptians? I've got to rent those movies, they sound good. I feel that when we are with our horses we should really try to be with them. It is hard to empty your mind but its worth it if we can and just be present with them and interact with them peacefully and with love. I really don't know how to explain it but just being calm and respectful and fair with them is how we try to be all the time.


    1. I can tell you that answer—zero. Zero pharaoh hearts came up lacking. Lol. And there’s something to that. Many a sociopath retain a clear conscience about atrocities. It’s part and parcel to their natures. The rest of us torture ourselves and die early deaths from stress.

      But despite that, we are who we are, and horses help us live full, present and open lives.

      I put this post to the test today, and really took time to clear my heart and mind before going to the barn. I was out there for five hours, and it seemed like one. So many beautiful moments with each member of the herd, and they opened up to me so much more. Beautiful Girl, Leah, Lily, ...all of them. The mares seemed even more eager to be with me than the geldings. Mares must be extra sensitive to negative versus positive mojo.

      So, I can give you a 💯 money back guarantee on the advice in this post! 😂

  3. Such a thought provoking interesting post, very deep. Movies sound great. I too would like a heart as light as a feather, for my mind to be still(er) and live in the moment. Very difficult for me. I wish I could stick to a yoga routine, it really helps me with all this. The years I practiced regularly were eye (and heart) opening years. Our daughter recently moved back in with us and I gave up my indoor yoga room. I will restart (for the jillionth time) once I can practice outside on the deck, it is my favorite spot. I need it now more than ever. Horses are definitely barometers.

    1. On the deck sounds fun. When the snow melts, it might be fun to do yoga out in those beautiful woods you walk through! There are so many benefits to doing yoga—mental, physical and spiritual. I combine it with a gratitude exercise. And I’ve found gratitude/thankfulness to be one of the most powerful positive energy expressions.

  4. I've seen both of those movies, but not at the same time. I can't remember if the book was better than the movie, on the one that Mark Rashid wrote, but I do remember it wasn't as good as his non-fiction. Still good though!

    I've been thinking about these things as well. I am in a place right now where I can't control my physiological reactions to stress and it's making me avoid my equines because I don't want them to be a part of what's going on in my heart right now. Literally and figuratively. My heart rate is well over 100 most of the time, jeez. I'm hoping to get some good time with them this weekend though. I need to quiet myself. The moment is so much better than all this brain trash.

    Oh, and yes, I totally agree about mares being much more sensitive! It makes for a much deeper connection. But they sure aren't afraid to tell you when your insides are all out of whack. I love my Bella. She doesn't mince words. She just won't talk to anyone who isn't right with themselves. But get in the moment and she is the embodiment of peace.

    1. That’s a high heart rate. It reminds me of my tachycardias where my heart rate got to over 200–220 and they had to stop it and let it restart. My life was stressful at work, and the country was in a 24/7 fight. I don’t miss those days.

      You’ve had a lot in your plate these last few years, but I wouldn’t avoid your horses. It sounds like you need them. And Bella sounds like Beautiful Girl. I would let her guide you back to a place of peace. It seems like you’re doing so much right by road trips and getting into nature. You’re on a unique journey. Keep opening up to it, and please share what you can, as you can. ❤️


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.