Sometimes, a recurring thought wave begins to travel through the small quiet moments that I have, sneaking in between all of the mundane things that I do, like mucking the stalls or cooking dinner, as if a secret dispatch is coming to me from some mysterious messenger. At this time in the holiday season, there’s a blizzard of reflections flying around the media about what’s happened in 2014. I’ve been trying to ignore it because this has not been an easy year for us. Yet in spite of trying to keep my screen blank, I have been receiving over and over some unexpected communications about the life force that is in all of us.
Some people seem to naturally come equipped with a strong life force, while others appear to develop it in those times that test our souls. My mom demonstrated throughout her life that she had a will to live that defied all odds. My father did not have it and gave up quickly, no matter how hard I tried to convince him to fight. For the last two years, since his accident, I’ve watched my husband soldier on without complaining despite enormous pain. His life force radiates out around him, inspiring others. Even my horse, Silk, has proven to me over the eighteen years that we’ve been together, that she has a goodness and a spirit that will never be broken. I have tried to raise my daughter to believe that she comes from a long line of strong women who shall not be defeated.
Still, deep in myself, I am a worrier and a doubter, a strange combination of a timid, cautious soul and a blazing risk-taker. When we lived in California, my old cowboy friend, Joe, used to tell me that a little fear was a good thing. Especially around horses. Maybe it’s just since I have grown older and my bones began to creak that I’ve felt much more vulnerable than I used to, or perhaps the world has speeded up too fast and people have grown a new seed of hatred that often appears to be impervious to human kindness. Whatever the reason, I find myself fighting off small twinges of fear that never used to be there.
As I sat in front of the fire on the night after Christmas, I had this urge to see what the Tarot cards would predict for me in the new year. Only I couldn’t find my deck, and in searching for it, I re-discovered in my bookcase a different kind of message from a gorgeous set of cards created by Linda Kohanov and artist Kim McElroy called “Way of the Horse”. What kept coming up over and over in my reading was the concept of honoring “the sacred space of possibility”. It is an expression used by Kathleen Barry Ingram, an Equine Facilitated Learning therapist who helped Linda start Epona equestrian workshops in the 1990’s (http://eponaquest.com). “It’s an active form of patience unattached to outcome, allowing someone in a place of uncertainty to feel supported through the darkest night of the soul.” In other words, when facing fear or grief, don’t put on your armor or try to control reality, just let your heart accept whatever happens and support those who need it, regardless of what the outcome is. I've always like the word "possibility" since it keeps open the door for hope.
Since I am a “recovering perfectionist”, it requires a big leap of faith for me to just allow what is happening to take its course. Living with my horses, day in and day out, definitely encourages me to not get attached to the outcome but simply learn from it. My four-legged sister, Silk, especially like to remind me to trust the life force and stay curious about its mystery, even if it means that I am traveling off the map. For some reason, that seems to occur more often than it used to around here.