Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 141 Zen master

Today Little Love and I went for a walk together.  We were supposed to go out with Becky and Col, but it didn't work out after all for Becky because she had work to do.  I was sort of thrown off by the change of plan... What should I do?  It had been quite a while since Little Love and I left the property "alone".  Actually, if I recalled correctly, last time we were on our own, we had the "running bull" incident...  Which is of course the first thing that came to my mind when I was weighing my options.  To go, or not to go? 

I asked Little Love and felt that she wanted to go.  So, why not?  But first I did some deep breathing and connecting to my body.  Then I made some ground rules - for myself.  1. No expectations  2. Stay in your body  3. Stay in the moment (sort of connected to rule 2)  3. If shit hits the fan: do your best to stay grounded  4. Be honest in what you are feeling and communicate this to Little Love  5. You can always turn home

I felt calm and confident when we set off.  Little Love seemed equally calm and confident.  She didn't stop going down the driveway, which is highly exeptional.  Great, I thought, this is going well., maybe we can take the long loop?  Oooops, I caught myself.  Stay grounded and in the moment.  Don't think about what you could do or should do or would do.

I could feel my mind want to wander, so I started talking out loud, making observations about my surroundings.  I said: "I feel the warm wind on my bare arms.  The sun is warm on my back.  I hear the crickets in the grass." This really helped me stay in my body as well as in the present moment.  Every now and then I would say: "I have zen" just because it seemed to sum up what I was feeling  (LOL).  Little Love touched my arm with her nose and blew air out of her nostrils.  I knew I was on the right track. 

Five minutes later I was struggling again.  I started thinking that it was amazing that Little Love had not called out to Col at all.  Not one single time.  This was really promising, as I has heard Col screaming in his stall when we left.  Maybe we could walk further than we usually... That very moment Little Love lifted her head and whinnied so loud, I thought I'd lost all hearing in my right ear.  She took a few jogging steps and immediately I felt my pulse quicken and my palms start to sweat.  My body was instantly tense, getting ready for the worst case scenario.  Oh no, what happened to zen?! 

But I got a grip on myself.  I took a deep breath and said: "Little Love, it really scares me when you scream so loudly, it makes me feel insecure."  I scanned my body for feelings and sensations apart from the beating heart; fly on my arm, sun in my eyes, smell of grass in my nose.  Slowly my heart came back to its normal rhythm.  Little Love sighed and lowered her head, chewing.  Phew.  I had done it.  I had stayed grounded and brought her back to be with me.  I also quickly realized how my own "being in the head" moment had probably triggered her insecurity and thus caused her to scream for Col.  I needed to really do this "body thing" more! 

We walked down the road for 15 minutes, then stopped to graze for a while and finally walked back.  The whole time I focused on feeling the ground, feeling the wind, hearing the birds, listening to cow bells, sweating in the sun - any and all sensations that would keep me in the present moment.  It was GREAT!  Woohoo!  I'm so happy.  I think we were both happy, Little Love was in the zen with me (I can't tell you how many times I said: "I have zen."  Talk about brainwashing myself haha).  Now I just have to keep my head together and not get all worked up about this, having expectations next time we walk or making plans for future walks.  Because, we know what follows when I do that...


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  2. Wow, K... you've done something very important here. This is wonderful and priceless.

  3. I am taking lots of inspiration out of your two blogs. I am also reading the Epona Book. Wish I could do a workshop. Maybe, one day...

    Inspired by your experiences I did try out the "being upfront about my inner feelings with my horse" thingy ;-) I had a pretty wild ride last week, far out of my comfort zone. So when I went for my next ride, I was still nervous about that. And in addition I had something else bothering me.

    I talked about it to my horse, telling him that I was upset, but that it was not linked to him. And also telling him about my nervousnes because of the last ride. And it all went so well, he was really relaxed from the start. And me, too. Great stuff.

    You will be such a loss for us here in Switzerland. But I am happy for you.

  4. Hmm, don't know where Jen-ska's comment went, but looks like she has been learning this same being-present "technique" in the past few days! A friend of mine said it reminded her of "mindful meditation" which cracks me up since I really suck at meditation. Perhaps I'm about to change that? (or Little Love is about to change that in me?)
    Nipomuki, I'm happy this helped you, too! Now we just have to keep working on it and stay true to our horses (and ourselves :-)

  5. Someone just left me a very similar comment about going into a zen state with my mare. It works but boy is it hard! I can't seem to get my brain to stop running.

    It's a good thing we have these wonderful horses to teach us these things ;)

  6. Little Love knows what she's talking about. I was driving today, and my little brain was going all la-la-la-la all over the place, and I very nearly drove through a red light.