Soul-to-Soul Communication?

DSC_0545E-(ZF-1880-86909-1-001)I had such an amazing experience with Galahad this afternoon—we were (as usual) hanging out at the back of my car. He had been munching his hay and looking at “stuff” going on around us, and I’d been just randomly grooming at him, stroking him, and admiring his fuzziness. Then I sat down on the tailgate.

After a while he turned his head toward me and suddenly he was just THERE—so extraordinarily vivid and present to me—impossible to explain, but he was HUGE and REAL in a way that has only happened once or twice before. Wow!!!!

In the few moments that it lasted, I was able to ask him how he feels about me: He loves me, in the way that horses do, so different from the way humans love but just as strong.

I could sense his enormous patience with me, despite the fact that he doesn’t understand why uncomplicated things are so difficult for humans to grasp.20190117_144757

And I asked him if he actually likes being touched (since I had this amazing channel to actually find out!). When I asked that (all of this through my tears, as you can imagine), he turned his head toward me and touched my hand. Yes, he loves to be touched—but only if I’m not doing it as a task. My tendency is to “groom him” because he “needs” grooming, and not for the pure joy of touching him. It’s the loving touch, the friendly contact, that he enjoys.

The feeling faded quickly, but I will never forget it. Wow…. What a blessing!

Part of why I’m sharing this is because I really believe that these kinds of experiences are available to ALL of us! The key seems to be listening to what’s going on in the horse AND in ourselves. That, and NOT doubting ourselves—we may not know the “why” of some feeling or sensation, but we need to notice it and acknowledge it.

It feels very much related to the way I’ve talked about experiencing the imaginal world, in the sense of requiring the same attention, the same willingness to allow these things to be true. And it comes with the same caveats: We need to be aware of how our own deepest desires, and our need to explain things, can actually cloud our experience, and so we can watch for the feeling of surprise, for example. I’ve talked at length about this in the “Brian Is Real” series, here.

It’s a rare and fleeting experience, and doesn’t happen just because we want it so badly—but it happens. At least that’s been my experience. We can ALL do this!!!

And I’ve been wondering if maybe this is how non-human animals perceive the world. And I wonder if our rational mind, and our spoken/written language, may be some kind of impediment to this way of communication? I have no answer to that, but I am starting to believe that maybe it’s true.

Interesting. I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts….

 

[Cross-posted on The Alchemical Horse]

 

 

Fox

resized_20190110_125626_7123A week or two ago, a friend messaged me about a troubling dream. I suggested we get together and talk about it at the barn, horses in hand. Horses are always helpful, if for no other reason than that their presence helps diffuse tension about sharing potentially difficult topics.

After a lengthy chat (it was a VERY interesting dream!), we were on our way back down the lane toward the barn.

Right across from Midnight’s old paddock, my friend spotted a fox crossing the pasture away from us. It disappeared pretty quickly behind the shed. While it’s not exactly rare to see a fox out there, it’s certainly not a common occurrence—a few times a year, I’d say.

We had been talking about metaphors in dreams and waking life, so we laughed and wondered what the fox’s message was. And then I said something like, “Well, if we see another fox today, we’ll know FOR SURE that we need to pay attention!” Neither of us thought any  more about it.

As I was standing with Galahad by the car half an hour or so later, the barn owner came running over with his cell phone out and said, “I had to show you what I just saw!” On his phone was a picture of—you guessed it—a fox, an old one from the looks of it, sunning himself on a warm cement slab near one of the cabins near the office. He’d stopped to take a picture, and the fox had just sat there and looked at him.

My jaw about dropped…. A fox?! Another fox? The fox we had seen was younger, and headed across the pasture away from the barn.

So I asked him to text me the photo, which he did promptly. And his text was the message, “Wonder what the fox is saying?” Wow…..

I hadn’t said anything to him about my conversation with my friend. So of course Galahad and I ran over to tell her about it, and her jaw landed on the floor also. I mean, it was another of those situations where it’s just impossible to calculate the odds….

Have I figured out what the Fox’s message is? Well, not for sure. But one part of it is certainly, “Yes! We’re right here, watching and listening and helping and loving you!” I am so grateful!

Delicious grass, delicious life

20180817_105926Though I’ve been somewhat limited in what I can do the last seven or eight months, there’s still been plenty of horse time. Galahad and I have continued our adventures in relationship-building, and it’s been wonderful. I have so much to un-learn, including how I interpret his behavior. I’m really beginning to understand that everything he does when we’re together is a way of trying to communicate with me. He’s not “bad,” “difficult,” or “stubborn.” Those are just interpretations I’ve put on him. He just has a good sense of himself and a great and patient willingness to keep trying to communicate until I finally “get” it.

I’m always humbled by his patience. But something happened the other day that really shocked me.

We had done a little bit of work in the small indoor arena, then we went for a walk down the lane past where Midnight used to live. I let him graze there while I just hung out enjoying the beautiful day. We’ve had a stretch of cooler weather, and that morning it was in the mid-70s. The grass was damp and there was a bit of a breeze blowing from behind me toward my horse, keeping things especially pleasant. It was pretty amazing for mid-August in Missouri!

I wasn’t thinking about anything much at all, but I gradually became aware that the grasses smelled unusually strong and sweet. I watched as Galahad picked through them to find the tastiest ones, and I could tell them apart by their fragrance. At first I didn’t think much about it, but just wondered why I hadn’t noticed this before. It just seemed so natural. Of course, grass smells wonderful after it’s mowed, but this grass hadn’t been mowed for at least a month. Neither had the adjoining pasture. And the wind was coming from behind me. It did seem a little strange to find myself salivating at the fragrance from the grass that Galahad was most interested in. It smelled kind of like it does in a pastry shop when they’re baking croissants or cookies.

I put him back in his pasture after an hour or so, and headed home in a state of contemplation. As I was driving up the road out of the valley where the ranch is located, I looked at the beautiful trees and foliage and asked God how She/He made things so incredibly beautiful. The realization came that we—Nature and humans—are made for each other, so of course we see it as beautiful when we really look.

The Knowing went on to say that in fact, we are one and the same, we and Nature, and we humans have as much beauty inside us as the trees, rocks, rivers, and animals. We only need to realize that, and begin to see that beauty in each and every one of ourselves—human, animal, plant, mineral…. Then the whole world changes. I had the sudden awareness of that Oneness—it was much like the worldview in the movie “Avatar.” It was a strange, wonderful, and fleeting experience. Wow….

It was only then that I realized what had happened between me and Galahad that morning: My gracious horse had shared his world and his senses with me, and I had, for that brief time, experienced Nature as humans almost never do any longer.

But I believe that it’s our birthright, as children of Nature, as part of Nature, to share experiences with others in this way. This is how our ancestral hunters knew the habits of the Swimmers and the Four-leggeds who were willing to feed us with their bodies; it’s how our ancestral gatherers and healers knew which plants could feed us or heal our illnesses and wounds. We in these days are so isolated and cut off from Nature that most of us no longer even understand that these kinds of experiences are possible. But they are possible, and I believe they are becoming more common.

Let’s pray that enough of us realize our kinship before it’s too late.

 

Cross-posted on The Alchemical Horse.

 

Hawk

Kanapaha-2008_04_09-IMG_0128

Red-Shouldered Hawk, Florida; photo from Wikipedia.

Well, my morning last Sunday was way more exciting than expected: I went out to the barn around 9:30 to get Galahad out. He wasn’t enthusiastic about it, but he let me put his halter on. He was a little balky when I asked him to come out the center pasture gate. That’s unusual for him—he generally loves to come out of the pasture.

This particular morning, though, he told me that there was something scary in the water tank there—not so scary that he wouldn’t go to the tank, but too scary to get a drink. He kept looking and snorting softly, so I went to look, and sure enough, there was something: A red-shouldered hawk, by some misadventure, had gotten stuck in there and nearly drowned.

I took off Galahad’s halter and went to get a small rag to cover the hawk’s head and several towels to wrap him up and soak up some of the water—he was waterlogged, hypothermic, and not moving much at all. I was afraid he was too far gone to save, but I had to try. I told him each step in the process, hoping he could feel my good intentions.

Even sopping wet, the bird weighed almost nothing—amazing. I carried the soggy little bundle over to the barn to find a dear friend of mine who could be counted on not to squeal, go crazy, or insist on unwrapping the hawk. I wasn’t sure quite what to do next.

And the oddest thing: I asked my friend what she thought I should do…and she “just happened” to have the World Bird Sanctuary’s Raptor Center phone number programmed into her phone—she and her husband had needed to call them about a bird just a few days ago. The Center is located about five miles from the barn. So she called and left a message. “Coincidence,” huh?

I kept changing the outer towels without taking the covering off the hawk’s head, and held him on my lap until I could feel his warmth coming through. He never offered to move, except that after half an hour or so he’d flex his feet when I touched them. The huge claws on those powerful yellow feet are amazing. That’s all of the bird that I could see, and I didn’t want to risk upsetting him by looking at him.

I had to get home to teach my Sunday afternoon dreamwork class, and finally, when the Sanctuary didn’t call back right away, I decided to just take him there. So I let him sit (covered with his towel, in Galahad’s feed pan) on the floor of the car until I could get him to the Raptor Center. So fortunate that we have experts so close by! On the drive I played recorded nature sounds to him, and he attempted a faint whistle, but didn’t move.

The volunteers who met me at the Center determined that the bird was apparently uninjured, just chilled and in shock; they put him in a cage with a heat lamp, took my information, and gave me a number where I could call and get updates on his condition. I didn’t take any photos—no time while I was getting him out of the tank, and once at the Raptor Center, it seemed somehow intrusive. Dunno….

What an amazing adventure. Thank you, Galahad for letting me know! I think the credit for this “save” really belongs more to my horse than to me.

I called the Sanctuary this morning for an update for “my” bird: He’s doing well, eating on his own, but may in fact have a fractured coracoid (a bone in his shoulder). That’s something they can’t see from outside, so they’ll feed him up in an indoor cage for a week, then put him in an outdoor flight cage where they can check him out further. Once he’s healed, he can be released.

This part of the story alone would be amazing enough—how often are we given the opportunity to save a magnificent wild creature like this?

But there’s more: I’ve been seeing this particular species of hawk regularly (and not just randomly) for about a year now. There was one sitting in a tree out at the Rescue Ranch one day, for instance, just eyeing me; one flew at windshield level across the highway right in front of my car a couple of months back, close enough for me to see his eye. Up close and personal; they had something to tell me, it seemed.

I shared the story in the class on Sunday, where we were talking about the relational, collaborative nature of the universe. One of my students pointed out that there must be a message for me, and an important one, if this bird was willing to nearly die so that I could really hear him [but see my note, below—this is important!]. So I checked in with him in reverie during the class:

From the porch of my imaginal cabin, I can see Hawk on the ground near the steps. I invite him onto my arm, but then he takes off into the sky with me, magically, on his back. Thrilling, that flight! We land on a lichen-covered branch somewhere in the woods…and suddenly I am Hawk, flying blazingly fast through the air.

Such a feeling of power—I can feel the strength in my pectoral muscles, powering my wings. I feel the physical pride and power of my being, the enormous vision that I possess, the certainty of my ability to find and capture the prey that I need to survive. “Ruthless” is one word that springs into my mind. Ruthless. Discerning. Far-seeing. Ruthless in achieving goals, in taking my prey, my sustenance. Power. Speed and precision.

“Take what you need! Have no doubts!”

Collaboration indeed! If I hadn’t cultivated the willingness and the ability to hear Galahad (and not just see a stubborn horse who didn’t want to leave the pasture), and if Galahad hadn’t understood that I would listen to him, that hawk would be dead now. There is no doubt. I couldn’t see him in the tank; he was tucked under the rim, where I had to go over and actually look into the water to see him.

And if I hadn’t cultivated the ability to interact with the unconscious, non-rational world and receive its messages, this experience would just be an interesting coincidence, a fun story to share with friends, but without higher meaning for me.

Wow……

Unforgettable.

 

[Note: I do not for an instant believe that this hawk was “willing to die” for any reason whatsoever. The way my student stated it is a pretty “New-Age” perspective, and not one that I subscribe to. What I do believe is that there are resonances within the Universe that allow us to perceive certain events as meaningful coincidences—synchronicities—which can enhance our ability to understand ourselves and our lives.]

(Cross-posted from The Alchemical Horse.)

A message from Dad

DadOn the way to see my wonderful chiropractor/energy worker yesterday—this woman is the only one in the last 15 years to give me hope of working through the pain in my jaw—I met another angel. This one came in the form of a homeless woman who stood, huddled against the fierce wind and stinging snow, near the stoplight at the bottom of the freeway off-ramp.

I couldn’t read her sign, but it was obvious that she needed help and was likely asking for money. My initial reaction was two-fold: 1) I wanted to give her the $5 that was all the cash I had in my wallet, and 2) I was afraid the light would change before I managed to fish my wallet out of my back pocket. God forbid that anyone behind me should be inconvenienced by my “charity,” right?

Kindness won out over worry, and I got the wallet out, signaled to the woman, and lowered my window. “Oh, thank you!” she said as I gave her the money. “I’m hoping to get my room tonight!”

“God bless you,” I said. “I’ll keep you in my prayers.”

We locked eyes, and she smiled at me, tentatively. Then the light (which had stayed red for what seemed like a VERY long time) turned green. And for the next few minutes I did pray, fervently, that she be warm and safe that night, and that she be granted whatever she most needs on her journey.

The session with my practitioner went well (if you don’t mind the acupuncture needles she stuck into my neck, arms, and shoulders), as always. Lots of releasing of energy, some lovely/painful massage of sore and stuck points, and even some direct work on the painful jaw area.

Then she said, “I think your father is coming through.”

From our earlier discussions, I knew that she sees or senses my “entourage” of imaginal friends, relatives, and Guides, so it didn’t surprise me too much. We had been talking about some of my earliest memories, trying to find the pre-verbal, psychological roots of the pain in my jaw.

She asked me a little about him, in the way mediums often do: Did he wear a lot of red and yellow? (Yes.) Did he like plaid? (Oh yes.) Then she said this:

“He would like to thank you for stopping for the woman. He’s proud of you and your kindness.”

Oh, wow. I hadn’t mentioned the woman to her, or to anyone—the encounter had just happened, and no one but me and the woman even knew about it. Other than my dad, apparently, and whoever else had been hanging around in imaginal space.

I actually laughed (and cried a bit)—it was like something from one of John Edward’s sessions. It’s what John calls “validation”: where the medium reports something that he or she couldn’t have known about and that would be VERY unlikely to be the result of guesswork.

I don’t absolutely NEED this kind of validation in order to know that these things are the real deal, but it’s sure nice! Thanks, Dad, for coming through!

My practitioner friend went on to talk about other things Dad now appreciates about me that he was never able to verbalize while he was alive. Dad acknowledged how protective I was of him, and how loving…and how he felt that, in life, he might not always have deserved my dedication and kindness.

I’ve written here about my troubled relationship with my dad: Like so many women, I struggled all my life to “earn” Dad’s approval, but never felt like I had it. Two hours before he died, as he sat in his recliner so weak he could scarcely move, he was checking my arithmetic on a list of some purchases I had made for him at Walgreens, lest I be asking for more than I had actually spent. I mean, everyone knows I can’t add, but I do know how to operate a calculator, Dad. Really.

Oh—and one more thing: Last night, doing some video editing in the living room, I turned on the TV “just for company.” I almost never watch anything but PBS, but for some reason I had on the Disney channel and “Mulan,” which I had never seen.

Have you seen it? If so, you’ll know that it’s about a young woman who doesn’t fit society’s expectations for femininity, and who struggles to win her father’s approval and bring “honor” to her family. She goes off to war in her aging father’s place and saves the kingdom…or something like that. I admit I wasn’t paying very close attention. But at the end, she comes home triumphant, and her father tells her how proud he is of her…. I heard that part. And then, in my head, I also heard, “…and you don’t need to work so hard at it.”

Awww…. Thanks, Dad! What a lovely encounter this was. There IS something about hearing things from an “external” source (in this case, in my practitioner/friend’s voice) that you THINK you hear internally. It helps me be sure that I’m not just imagining it. I’ve said before that when you work with imaginal figures (including Guides and friends who’ve passed on), you have to be exceptionally careful that you’re not perceiving something just because you desperately wish it to be so—i.e., that you’re not letting your imagination rule. Not easy…and so it is very comforting to be getting the message in the way I did yesterday.

Comforting, and healing….

Another Encounter with God

Cirrus_clouds2 by Fir0002 Wikimedia commonsI had an amazing experience the other day, driving to meet a friend in Eureka—another “encounter with God.” It’s so hard to describe those experiences—there really aren’t words that capture the feeling…but no matter.

The sky was beautiful as I was driving down the freeway. Had I not been late for my meeting, I would have stopped for a photo. There were little, puffy clouds in the sky, not many—but they looked like they were “melting,” dripping down and being blown away. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. (The photo, from Wikipedia, is only vaguely similar.)

I always say that any time I want to feel closer to God, to the Divine, all I have to do is look up at the clouds. That was never more true than on that drive that day. I’m sure there’s a logical and scientific explanation for those cloud formations, but never mind that—it was such a beautiful and amazing thing to see that it was hard to keep my mind on my driving.

Wonderful! Wonder-full!

So I’m driving down I-44 with my mouth hanging open, saying (actually out loud), “God! This is amazing! How did You do this? How did You make clouds?!”

There is a strong part of me, especially when I’m dealing with the natural world, that’s still child-like, even after 64+ years. At times like this, I’m just filled to overflowing with wonder and delight, and I can’t keep still about it. So I’m driving along just full of joy and wonder and the love of life and gratitude for being alive to experience all this beauty—laughing with gratitude and wonder—and suddenly I “hear” a deep, rumbling, joyful chuckle that burbles up in my mind’s ear. “Why, thank you!” says this huge, indescribable Voice. “I’m glad you like them!”

I really do think it was God.

Can God be delighted when we so appreciate His creations? I guess so…. Jung and the Sufis, at least, believed so.

The Being who responded to me was the Judaeo-Christian sky god, the bearded white guy in the sky, I’m pretty sure. This is the God whom I was raised to believe in. He (and it was a “He” who spoke) is the way that I relate to and perceive God in these moments. I think it’s because at these times I perceive Him as a Being with a somewhat-human form, someOne with whom I can have conversations and a personal relationship—a relationship that comes out in funny ways like this.

It seems a very child-like way to experience God—so simple and uncomplicated. It’s an experience of someOne big and powerful, a real Father-figure, and the entire thing is unquestioned….

It was such a great experience! It’s like God and I shared a chuckle. What a blessing—another moment of God’s grace.

I love that the Divine takes so many forms, and I love that one of those infinite forms will take thought of me, one tiny person out of billions of humans here on this earth, and share a moment of wonder with me.

Wow.

Blissful acceptance

20150506_195945Last night I had an odd but wonderful experience in the middle of the night: I woke up, concerned about the pain in my jaw. It was feeling “hot” and beginning to be spiky, though still not what I would call painful (I expect most people would, though). I lay still, hoping to be able to keep it quiet enough that it wouldn’t go full-blown. As I lay there drifting around, half-awake but aware of what was going on, this showed up:

I feel I’m in a big, finished basement—“my house,” in the dream. There’s a room that’s big enough to dance in, and I’m enjoying a waltz with a casual friend of mine who’s a very good lead. I love to waltz! In this dream, or whatever it was, I realize the joy is in the dance itself, and doesn’t depend so much the person whom I’m dancing with.

Then the odd part starts:

I find myself in a strange, peaceful state of being where I just watch things going on. I watch my emotions, watch or review the events in my life, and am filled with wonder at the way they happened. There are things that in waking life I might wish had happened differently, but in this state of being, there’s no regret associated with any of it. It’s mostly a state of observation, but I’m not “neutral.” This not the Witness—I feel plenty of emotion! But it’s wonderful! I love this life of mine—every bit of it!

For many years, I’ve consciously cultivated the Witness—that state of consciousness where one can observe, without judgement and without emotion, what’s going on. Being able to observe oneself and others without emotion or judgement is enormously helpful in getting through tough times. Though difficult to constellate at first, it gets easier with practice.

This state of awareness was definitely NOT the Witness. It seems related, in the sense that there was no judgement present. But there was strong emotion: an enormous sense of love and compassion and acceptance that’s like nothing I have experienced in my everyday life.

Strange as it felt, I was not asleep, though I was deeply relaxed and had my eyes closed. It was a real, waking state of consciousness, not a dream.

It felt very odd, but very good indeed! I can’t remember exactly what I thought about (though I do remember some things that in my waking life have been HUGE disappointments), but it was all observed with that same sense of loving acceptance. It was not “dispassionate” or emotionally removed in any way. I was there, awake and aware, and it was my life … but I was loving and accepting everything that had happened just as it was.

At one point, a more dreaming moment, I looked out the window and saw snow falling, and said, “Look, it’s snowing!” The joy and pleasure I felt in seeing that cool, wonderful image was immense.

After a while, I drifted off to sleep, with no thought or experience of pain the rest of the night. And when I woke, that blissful feeling was just a memory. There is no way I can conjure up that state of being! Maybe someday I’ll experience it again. I hope so—because it was wonderful!