Cindi Cantrill has brought a program to Marin that coordinates with Jim McDermott at Marin Stables. You've heard of the Horse Whisperer. That's Jim. He works with children, who are handicapped, and with juvenile offenders. Cindi suggested he work with those who have or have had cancer. I was in the second group of cancer patients that went through the program with him.
It is an eight week program, and the idea is to learn how to use your body to guide the horse. It is titled "Natural Horsemanship." No words are needed. For me, it was a chance to see how well I have been indoctrinated in submissive, female posturing. I struggled to learn, and then came to enjoy how my energy could be used to get a horse, a 1200 pound animal to come forward or back up, to do what I wanted it to do. The idea with cancer patients is that so little is in their control that working with horses is a way to feel empowered again. In eight weeks, we learned to be up on the horses and gallop and trot and control the horses, with only intention and a raising and lowering of our energy.
I was so fuzzy at the time, so fatigued, that I had trouble determining if I wanted the horse to go left or right or in circles. The horse then muddled. I had an instant mirror for my state of mind. When I focused, so did the horse. When I was present with the horse, the horse was present with me. It is a mind-meld. Horses are intuitive, and they are also prey animals to our predator selves. They reflect us back.
The program in Marin is so staffed with volunteers that there were at least twice as many of them as there were of us. They kept telling us we were the givers. I realized Monday when I went back through my notes that, at the time, I was so exhausted, I was barely there. I knew it was a great experience, and I recorded diligently what was going on, but there was some way it was so much for me, that I was absorbing at a visceral and unconscious level, but was not really able to appreciate intellectually the changes that were occurring.
On Monday, when I went back through Breast Stroke and the part with the horses, I really "got" what I was taught, and I rewrote what I had written. Before, I was recording. This Monday I was back in the experience, and writing from there.
How does this relate to anything involving you, you might ask. Well, I think we have a visceral response to our candidates. Barack Obama has charisma. Hillary Clinton is heavily defended. We feel it and pull back. She says it is a good thing that she is defended, but it comes across as offensive. We pull back, because her energy is too "out there." We want to know what is behind it. What is she founded upon? What is her inner state? Is there one? Does she have any connection with what she truly feels, desires, wants? Is her desire to be president true in this moment, or is it a habit based on years of hammering that this is what I want?
When you want the horse to come to you, you pull your energy level down and exhale. You look at your feet or the feet of the horse. Curious, the horse comes forward. That is what I believe Hillary needs to do, to allow us to come to her. It may be that Barack pulls this out and is our candidate, but no matter what, I would love it if Hillary could touch some place in herself, some place of inner knowing, that allows her and us to know what she truly wants. Anyway, at this point, it is certainly a horse-race, pun intended.
I believe it is important and beneficial for each of us to learn and note how we use our energy and how others respond. Are we too "out there," or too submissive? Play with it today, and come back to neutral over and over again. A horse stays in neutral most of the time, so their energy is ready when they need to respond. We, too, can do the same, and not live every moment pumped up, but drop deeply into neutral for a great deal of the ride.
I realize now that in these days of automatic transmissions, people may not know what neutral is, but, again, play with it and see what you discover and find.