In 2015, may you have the courage to live an authentic, creative, empowered life, and the love to make it all worthwhile!
In The Power of the Herd, Linda Kohanov asked an important question: “What might we accomplish if we finally understood how to be powerful, together?” The goal of employing mutual aid, mutual inspiration, and mutual empowerment in daily life extends to our horses and other animal companions, as well as to our personal and professional relationships in the human world. Linda feels that learning how to uplift each other and share power is the greatest challenge, and the greatest opportunity, of the 21st century. As she wrote at the end of her 2013 book:
How often do we read about the mythic or historical adventures of heroes, barely noticing the silent heroes they ride? What is a hero, after all? Someone who transcends survival instincts to face the unknown, sometimes enduring terrifying ordeals for a greater cause? Someone who remains poised in the midst of turmoil, who prevails despite the odds to capture a treasure from the gods, an uplifting innovation, enduring significant hardships to bring some glistening piece of magic back to the tribe?
By this definition, horses are every bit as heroic as their riders, perhaps even more so: a prey animal going to war is the epitome of a counterintuitive, wholly unnatural move. And yet, horses re-connect us to nature, more specifically to nature’s gifts, her ability to not just challenge, but nourish, inspire, and renew us.
And so, after the long journey we’ve taken together, we come to the deepest, most healing piece of horse wisdom I can offer: The importance of joy, awe, wonder, and inspiration, of celebrating the talents and intelligence of other beings, appreciating daily acts of kindness and courage, as well as the beauty of this world we all share, most especially those rural areas and wilderness preserves we must guard as blessings from a benevolent force still urging us to grow out of fitful adolescence into real maturity, empowered empathy, agile understanding, and unbridled yet compassionate creativity.
Horse wisdom, fully activated in humans, requires paying attention to what is good and right with the world, and expanding that, even as we protect ourselves from predators hiding in the grass. No matter what’s happening around us, the emotional agility, social intelligence, and fear management skills horses teach help us deal efficiently with technical difficulties and interpersonal challenges — and then “go back to grazing.” Over time, as we learn to ride life’s roller coaster with ease, an underlying sense of “deep peace” emerges and strengthens. We find that we can let go of the stories that tie us to past injustice. And we can fully enjoy the present, knowing that we are courageous, empowered, and adaptable enough to meet the future with the relaxed yet expanded awareness of a mature herd leader.
Now that horses are no longer obliged to work in our fields and carry us to war, they’re doing something more important: They’re working on us, helping us reclaim, daily, a hint of paradise not so much lost as misplaced. In rekindling our relationship with horses as guides — as catalysts of human transformation going back at least 30,000 years — we can’t help but realize that even when we wander off the main trail and get lost in the woods, we’re never alone in this world.
We have the tools. The schoolmasters are waiting at the barn. So saddle up, open that gate, head toward the mountains.
And, most importantly, enjoy the ride!
For information on upcoming Eponaquest workshops: www.eponaquest.com.