April 22nd, 2006

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Good Morning!!

I am still enthralled with my horse experiences, though I see that Mandu offers much of the same stimulation in a much smaller, easily cared for,  beautifully designed package. He is thrilled we are not hopping out of the house first thing this morning, and is carefully grooming himself on the bed. Horses need to be groomed, and actually, that is a very pleasurable occupation. I enjoy brushing a horse, and I am glad Mandu takes care of himself.

I learned yesterday that you can buy a time-share in a horse. You have your day of the week to groom and ride the horse. It helps the owner, and you don't have the hassles and vet bills. It is a win-win, like life.

We worked with the horses yesterday the same way as last time, though more smoothly, as we learned to perfect our body language, and adapt to each horse, and each horse's adapting. One woman spoke of wanting everything black and white, the same. That is the point. Nothing is the same. Each interaction is new. What a concept, and how foreign to so many.  This is a lesson in presence and patience. 

My book group met last night at Emma's to discuss Joan Didion's Slouching Toward Bethelehem,  which is a collection of essays on the 60's. I recommend that book, plus Didion's next one White Album, essays on the 70's. That, plus Shana Alexender's book on Patty Hearst, Anyone's Daughter, and you've had a good visit back in time. 

So, with the horses, the body language is Ask, Suggest, Inspire. Inspire is a little more forceful. The point is to bring the energy up in your own  body, and inspire the horse with your own energy, so if you want the horse to back up, your energy is helping to back it up.  When the horse follows a suggestion, you release.  Both in neutral again. This is a way to consciously work with our energy through the horse, and receive instant feedback as to our effectiveness. 

Also, we need  to know what it is we want to convey  to the horse.  We have to be clear in our own mind.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  Are we used to giving ourselves  a moment to be clear?   Do we want the horse to stand there, back up, come forward, go in a circle?  What do we want?   If we don't know what we want, how can the horse know?   A mess ensues when person and horse are confused.  Again, I was struck by how when I knew what I wanted,  the horse knew. Horses are telepathic,  when we are clear. 

Horses want to please, and they have considerations of their own.  They don't like to waste energy.  Young ones may, but older ones know how to conserve their energy, so they are ready to run when there is a threat.  It makes sense, and is again, something we once knew and can re-learn or re-inforce through the horses.  We can learn to be in neutral,  unless there is a need to mobilize our energy for response.

Many of us have had the experience of becoming frightened on a horse,  and wanting it to stop. What do we do? We raise our energy, shouting and flapping and kickng.  How does the horse respond?  It goes faster!   Doesn't that make sense?   What would you do if somebody were flapping about on top of you?   So, it is another lesson in learning to be calm when we are frightened. Pause, and convey that it is time to stop now.  Pause.  Ah, the wonderful roundness of the pause.  I love the pause. 

Inhale. Pause.  Exhale.  Pause.  

Lessons abound.  Horse therapy is a lesson in presence.  Am I present with myself?  Am I present with the horse?  It becomes very clear whether I am, or not.

Also,  I am meeting a wonderful group of people at the stable in Fairfax. This is a touching experience in all ways.

There is a free water coloring class for cancer patients today.  I am amazed at all that is offered.   I'll see if I make it up to Redwood High School.  I am enjoying being  tucked in on this day where the sky looks like smoky quartz, healing in all ways.  I use the sky today instead of the radiation machine.   It is a gentle, quiet eye.

Angie, who works at the Mill Valley library, is looking for volunteers who love books to staff a desk, and  talk to people who come in looking for suggestions.  The idea is to  inspire people on reading, and open them to new possibilities in their reading repertoire.  It could be as little as two hours a month.  Let me know if you are interested.  It sounds fun, and imagine how many more books you will learn about while sitting there.  Everything you give comes back in multiple folds.  Live your life as origami.  Live fragrantly Bold!
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More on yesterday -

At the end of the horse day yesterday, two of us met with our first mentor of the day. Each of us had fifteen minutes with the same horse, to groom, hug, do whatever we wanted. My perception of the horse was of gentleness. The other woman saw the same horse as tough and difficult. The mentor commented that I am gentle, and so that is what I see in the horse, and what I receive.

It is interesting to watch people interacting with the horses from the place of fear, or domination. I see how each one of us has our own experience with each horse, and that experience is constantly changing. This is always true, but we think and often set ourselves in stone. I am this. I am that. We are not permanently anything, unless it is change. I melt today in the flow of that.
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Thoughts -

I woke this morning in the radiation position, my body slightly skewed and my left arm overhead. I am hoping my body/mind interprets that as a healing position, and I am healing in my sleep.

I met two women yesterday who had mastectomies, and no radiation or chemo. That possibility was not open to me, and I am grateful for my treatment as it has been provided.

I am feeling fresh and lively today, and, also, aware that it seems I know so many people in need of prayer lately, that maybe I will just ask for one big gentle, generous hug for all those I know and love.
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Evening -

The painting class was lovely, soft music and direction, and a chance to feel just where my arm and hand want to go. I am happy with my paintings, and yet, it is not about that. It is about the joy and relaxation in the process. Again, I find myself wondering why everyone in this society is not given the chance to feel they are an artist. In Bali, art is worship, and each person worships creatively. I think that attitude here could make a tremendous difference in the crime rate and road rage.

Cancer was the subject of discussion. I appreciated hearing of others' experiences. I struggle however, with the concept of myself as a "survivor," and the collective labeling. "We are cancer survivors."

I learned that everyone there had chemo every third week rather than every other as I did, and they found every third week tough, so I feel really good that I made it through with every other week. It means I finished in four months, rather than six, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I can't imagine still being in chemo. Also, several of the women today were in their early 40's, and cancer has meant an inability to have children. I feel grateful that it has not been that for me.

I also feel that in this experience I am better prepared for death when it does come. I don't fear it, though I don't welcome it. That is my perception of the moment. I am tired this evening. It has been another full day. It certainly whizzed by. May we all live aware that life balances on points of death, and we are held like shining stones.
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Poem by Franz Wright -


We speak of Heaven who have not yet accomplished
even this, the holiness of things
precisely as they are, and never will!

Before death was I saw the shining wind.
To disappear, today's as good a time as any.
To surrender at last

to the vast current -
and look even now there's still time.
Time for glacial, cloud-paced

soundless music to unfold once more.
Time, inexhaustible wound, for
your unwitnessed and destitute coronation.

Franz Wright