Staying open

12 05 2022
Moments after arrival

There will be misunderstandings, hasty judgements, inaccurate and incomplete assessments. There will be attempts to manipulate and undermine. There will be those who rage against you. Those who seem to want to bring you down onto your knees with your nose on the ground in the dust. You will be wounded. You will find it hard to breathe through the pain, the unfairness of it all. You will feel hard and closed.

Many times when the world has felt cruel and unfair, I have fought against it. Only later, sometimes years later, have I seen how I learned important lessons in growing up. Those I needed to stand up against were those who taught me who I am. They taught me what I can withstand and what I need to know.

As adults, we think we’re grown as soon as we get our driving licences. We take to the road of life, confidently. Having passed our test, we know what we are doing. Approaching our junction we repeat our mantra: mirror, signal, manoeuvre. Or, look, indicate your direction, follow through.

The big mistake is to think that just because we are playing by the rules of the road, others will too. This is one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn. Others don’t have to play fair just because you do.

When we are in dark times, naturally we have blinkered vision. We can’t see what’s ahead because we just need to keep going often through gritted teeth.

The past few weeks have been tough. At short notice, we moved our horses and all our equipment and all that is familiar to pastures new. We worked long hours to achieve this and we worked together as team. We have settled now at a beautiful farm and for the first time in a while it feels as if the darkness has lifted and there is the feeling of wonder, lightness and ease.

Watching the ponies take in their new surroundings today, I see that the lightness was there all along. It was hidden behind the clouds of uncertainty. Watching them test their new ground, and with gentle curiosity meet the goats sharing the field, I felt a surge of happiness. The ponies appeared in my dreams last night, close to the horses and this seemed like a blessing of sorts, a good omen to light the way ahead.

Whenever I doubt there is enough goodness in the world, whenever I start to manufacture stories of darkness and condemnation I forget that these stories are a way of making sense of the incomprehensible. They are a child’s drawing of the world: goodies shining on one side, baddies glowering on the other. Reality is more subtle. The horses know this because they live beyond labels, beyond reason, beyond judgement. They live in a space that is more real, fine-tuned and sensitive than we will ever know.

Watching the horses I sense there are still so many lessons to learn. I sense new horizons, new connections and possibilities. I sense there is time to go into winter slowly, to find a new way of being together in community. I sense they are leading us to work even more closely together and the dream was showing me that. Side by side, flank to flank, heart to heart.

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