Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A Slow Adventure
I’ve embarked on a new journey that is taking place in my backyard. For the last couple of months, I’ve been feeling disconnected from Silk and Siete. As you know, taking care of them during all the rain and flooding was not fun. Often, I was so exhausted and cold and wet that all I wanted to do was run back to my warm house. I could feel the two horses bonding closer to each other and growing more distant from me. I was blaming myself for not spending more time with them and feeling guilty that I didn’t have more time to give.
Once again, in the amazing way that it can revitalize me, some of my favorite blogs brought me around to a new way of looking at my world. It began with Kate at A Year With Horses, posting a thoughtful and caring piece about whether she was ready to take a break from her horses. Although I totally understood how she was feeling, when I looked at my own relationship with Silk and Siete, I realized that right now, I really needed them to help me hold onto myself and remind me of who I am. Doing what I do for them to make the barn safe and comfortable, to keep them fed and happy is really a way of taking care of my soul and honoring what’s important to me.
Then, I watched a video that Carolyn Resnick posted on her blog that lifted my heart. It was one of her students, Robin Gates, dancing with her horse, Fresco. I couldn’t stop looking at it over and over. I knew that right now, I don’t want to ride my horses, I want to dance with them. I was, however, a bit intimidated at the prospect of getting out there and actually trying it. Like a perfectly timed answer from the blogosphere, I got the nudge I needed when Carolyn decided to offer her Waterhole Rituals course again this Spring. I signed up and received all kinds of help and encouragement instantly as I was able to listen and download an insightful interview with her and phone conversations teaching me how to start this adventure of better communication with my horses. It’s just what Siete and I need to do together right now, and it begins with doing nothing.
The first ritual is to share space with your horse. I sit in a chair in the paddock for an hour each day reading a book while Siete is there with me. “Spending time doing nothing leads to something that would otherwise never have happened.” Carolyn says. On her blog, there are comments from other people all over the world who are doing this same course and having incredible experiences with their horses. It lifted me up to find so many other horse lovers out there making these same deep connections with their own animals. I’m not alone in my feelings about my horses, and through the Internet and Carolyn’s efforts, something really remarkable is happening. I’m so glad to be part of this community, and it reaches beyond just the horse world.
I often read Jon Katz’s blog, Bedlam Farm Journal, and I’ve been very interested in his plans for a new book about grieving over animals who have died. He quoted from a book called “Twins” by Dorothy Burlingham, about how a child’s love for animals can come out of loneliness and solitude: “The two share everything, good and bad experiences, and complete understanding of each other; either speech is not necessary, or they have a secret language. The understanding between them goes beyond the realm of consciousness.” That’s what I’ve been feeling with Siete. It’s the relationship that I already have with her mother, and I’ve been longing for it with my little horse.
Spending an hour sitting in a chair with my horse isn’t easy for me. Time is a precious gift, and I never have enough of it. My mother and my husband look out the window at me and shake their heads. I’m glad that I’m in the solitude of my own backyard so I can avoid anyone’s judgment or ridicule. To force myself to slow down to a total halt and do nothing brings me to the same level of awareness that Siete has as she’s grazing next to me. I feel one with her. It’s a huge commitment to slow down.
I just learned the term “slow blogging”, coined by Todd Sieling a few years ago. “Slow blogging is a rejection of immediacy. It is an affirmation that not all things worth reading are written quickly.” he says. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m blogging a lot less than I used to and find that many of my friends in the blogosphere are too. I was feeling a bit guilty about it, worrying that everyone would forget about me. Now, I see that there’s an ebb and flow we all follow. I’ll be mentioning my new slow adventure with Siete here on my blog as we make our way along. One of the things that I love is that Carolyn insists that there should be no agenda. Every day is simply taken as it comes, and that’s what makes it so wonderful. I was in New York for two days last week and by the time I came home, I was dying to be with my horses. I missed them so much. My love for them is being renewed, just like the lilacs, tulips and the other flowers are beginning to bloom again.