Unedited except from Sheri Shanti Lynn Gaynor’s book tentatively titled: Riding Through Grief. Use and sharing with permission.
This week the French Apprentices have been with us at Epona. What a delightful group of people. As I sit and listen to the lyrical cadence that surrounds each conversation, I feel as if I am on holiday. One of the group is an Osteopath for horses, however that does not quite describe the transformational healing that Christophe offers to the four leggeds. I was honored to be a part of what can only be described as a healing circle for my friends dressage horse. While on the ground in the arena, Christophe was able to do a visual and physical exam to observe the horses movement patterns. Christophe located areas in the body that were out of alignment and in need of adjustment. He invited several of us to support the process of alignment, to allow the horse to find her way to the release and repositioning with our support. Christophe showed us where and how to place our hands on the horse and described the amount of pressure we would have to bring into play. The pressure would be significant and would have to be steady until she released. During the process my pressure wavered and he was kind and gentle and showed me how to use my body to support the pressure and weight of exchange. We leaned into her again and he told us, “You will know when she has made the change.”
Christophe had placed the palm of my hand cupping the point of her hip. Another woman was right beside me with her hands engaged and pointing inward toward mine. All together there were 7 of us surrounding the horse. The horse stood in a state of deep calm, never swishing her tail or in any way acting annoyed. I felt that she knew we were there to help her. As each of us held the space for her shift, I began to feel energies swirling in my body and I lost all sense that I was with anyone else. I’m not sure how long it actually took for the “change,” to happen, as I lost all sense of time, but Christophe was right, when she released, we all knew. Suddenly, there was what felt like a jolt in my body and hers, as I felt her hip shift under my hand. We all pulled our hands away at the exact same moment and there was laughter as we realized we did in fact all “know it,” at exactly the same moment. I stepped back from her and out of nowhere, I felt a huge wave of emotion rise from my feet up through my body. My eyes filled with tears and I shared this with Christophe. He shared that he forgot to tell us that this might occur and that I needed to check in using the Epona tools and ask myself, “Is this mine or hers?” This “checking in,” is an area that I am working with on a daily basis, as I am feeling so much right now that at times it can be overwhelming. It is a new challenge to clearly distinguish my emotions from the animals. Is what I am feeling, “Mine or theirs?”
For most of my life I have been able to do this with the humans. When I was young, I had no idea how to deal with it. I would share things with my mom about feelings I had when they came, but as I look back now, I didn’t even know why I was sharing the thoughts with her. I was 15 when we moved to Florida. One of the neighbors on our block befriended her and after meeting her I remember saying to her, “Mom, you’d better watch out for her.” I had absolutely no idea why I said this to my mother, but it is the first memory I have of consciously feeling something, getting a message and verbalizing it. Sure enough, this woman was quite manipulative and caused my mother a lot of heartache during the time of their supposed friendship. Eventually the relationship shattered apart. To date, I have not shared this with many people and I know it is time for me to come out of the closet and honor the gift. The gift is the gem that is culled from a deep wound and now it’s time for me to claim it and to work more actively with it in service to myself, humans and horses. To this point I have talked with clients about the “wheels” spinning in my head. At that point I tell them that I need to stop the conversation and take a breath to “hear,” the message. It is all done quite light heartedly and thankfully they have not thought this strange. It has been my way of sharing with them that I am getting information as I sit with them. It doesn’t happen every session, but when it does, the messages are very clear and I will often check it out with them to make sure it has meaning for them. When working with humans I have learned to discern the messages I receive in the moment, but with the animals, it is all new and it will require patience and I believe some support to help me separate personal projection from the feelings I am receiving. As for the horse in the story I have shared, I am not sure what I received. I can only say that I felt a wave of sadness, a release and a sense of gratitude move through me. Perhaps it was mine, perhaps it was hers, but the experience of giving to her in this way was deeply profound for me.
Somehow the experience with Christophe and my friends horse put the last few months in perspective for me. I came away with an intense feeling that I am somehow to be of service to horses. To be completely honest, I’ve had moments of what can only be described as shame and feeling like this new awareness is grandiose, but when I stop and check in that feels like my false self talking. To say it aloud now it feels like truth, as when I feel into my body wisdom, I know it’s not about my ego, it is a much more authentic knowing and radiates from my heart center. It does feel like what I wrote about in my first book, “A calling…”
I am not sure I know what this new insight means yet, but I have learned to trust the messages that surface and the unfolding of my life path. I have learned to trust what comes, to Be with the information and remain in the void, letting go of my desire to “know,” a specific answer. I have learned to hold awareness with a curiosity. It is no longer a place of “darkness,” and fear, it has become a place of peace and stillness. For me it is finding a balance between hearing the messages and allowing room to understand what I am “hearing.” Once I have a sense of clarity, I can hold the place of possibility by creating intention and taking a step or two in an active way, without attachment to the outcome. This is the waltz I dance with the mystery, when when “The calling…” arises and it has been a long time of practice to get to this place.
During my time here at the Epona ranch, I have come to understand that is not as much for me about riding the horses, as it is about giving of myself, to enhance their lives. As many of you know, I have used the term co-creative for a long time. During my time in the desert with the Epona herd, the term has deepened in meaning for me. I now see the co-creative process as symbiotic, “One being or one species sharing with another-spoken or unspoken-an exchange of wisdom, both restorative and healing.” The co-creative exchange and healing often happens for me within the simplest acts. During feeding time, as I turn the hay in their boxes and they stand beside me, huge heads raised above mine, I feel the heat of their breathe close to my ears, and listen to the grinding of their powerful jaws. I feel safe and grounded beside them knowing that the bridge of trust has spanned between us. The practice of grooming the herd has become for me a meditation. As I honor and witness their beauty, speaking softly to them as I brush the dust and dirt from their hides, I feel my heart beat slow and find a quiet rhythm, as our breathing deepens and falls together. To date I have only known this feeling when creating a piece of art and to know it can be found within this interspecies connection and co-creation has been a tremendous offering.
Next week I will begin my second Epona assignment which is to work with an alternative horse practitioner. I have chosen to learn Reiki with horses. I will receive my Reiki attunement next week. I am not sure where things will go from there, but today I am filled with the willingness to sit in the great wisdom of the void and trust that I am on the path.
Copyright 2013. Sheri Shanti Lynn Gaynor