• vslachman

This Precious Moment

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Things have not been going well in my experience . . . In fact, not only is nothing going right, but increasingly things seem to be going wrong.

Of course Dorian is always my steady north star. Being in his presence is a gift I had no idea I was receiving when our life together began. So I'm often pulled to the barn even in the worst of weather or moods, or life challenges . . . it's always instructive, uplifting, and centering.

"We are all travelers on this journey, whirling and dancing in the eddies of infinity. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other--to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment."

As our country contends with a pandemic, with brutality, death, protests, and violence, it seems I've taken that chaos into my own experience. Rather than stopping to meet, to love, to share, I've felt lately as if the life structures around me are all falling down.

I doubt I'm alone in this.

Best friends.

Dorian and Simon are out of the flow of that destruction, which is why they're such a source of solace. Horses remind us there is another way to live, another place to live in thought, in awareness . . . .

But the "meeting" my daughter spoke about in the quote above, is a two-way street. And last weekend, I got another great lesson about how much my state of being impacts others.

Dorian and Ace don't get along. Ace is also and off-the-track Thoroughbred and he and Anne are an enormously accomplished team, winning blue ribbons in eventing and dressage. When Dorian and Ace get close, they paw and strike out at each other and sometimes there's a little screeching involved. It could get dangerous for them both.

Anne and Ace

I've solved that sort of problem with another horse when the owner and her horse took a few long rides with me and Dorian--that resulted in a more friendly relationship between the two horses.

So last weekend Anne and I saddled up and rode out to the back trails together. The two boys started out being very well behaved under saddle, and so we talked and made our way down to the creek.

I wasn't feeling any peace. Looking back, it was a state I'd brought to the barn, and evidently hadn't gotten rid of because as Anne and I rode along, Dorian became extremely nervous. He was picking up on my anxiousness. As we rode on, he became even more nervous, jagging to the left or right, tossing his head, and agitatedly rushing forward.

The experience was so different from the ride just the day before, with Lily, below.

I had to hold Dorian on a very tight rein, while trying to feign calmness and chat amicably with Anne. The whole picture was, more or less, what my life had become . . . trying to put on a smile while inwardly feeling anxiously despairing about the disaster my life had seemed to become. Like Dorian, I found myself rushing forward this way and that, trying to carve out a new direction that would remedy the situation.

Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study not too long ago where they had a group of people who had never meditated do a small meditation each day for 8 weeks. They did a brain scan on each subject before the study started and after it ended. The results were as follows: the gray matter in the area of the brain devoted to self-awareness and compassion increased, while in the area of the brain devoted to stress, the gray matter decreased.

Meeting together in serenity. Calm and peaceful.

Calm, centered, peace-filled, non-directive letting go results in genuine self-awareness and compassion--for oneself as well as for others, I think. For me, that state also results in a trust and buoyancy of thought that isn't able to be pulled down by events or challenges.

So back to our trail ride.

I didn't get the message Dorian was sending me. I should have excused myself and taken him back to the barn, settled myself, and if I couldn't do that, I should have let him out with his best friend to graze contentedly, and left. What I should not have done was continue to inflict my angst on him.

Yet I made him cross the creek into the damp and bug-filled woods, which had grown up with weeds around his legs . . . he was miserable. He balked and complained, pleading with me to turn around. When he started stomping his back feet angrily, i finally gave in.

Back over the creek we went, and into the walnut grove where things grew worse. I hopped off his back and took a look to see if a horse fly had bitten him, or if there was another reason for his odd and uncharacteristic behavior.

Finally, after realizing things were not going to get better, Anne and I headed back to the barn. I unsaddled Dorian while Anne took Ace for some cantering work in the big arena.

I walked Dorian down the road a bit, apologizing to him, taking some deep breaths, stopping to just put my hands on him and feel his presence. His eye softened, he turned to me and even nuzzled me a little. What a generous heart he has.

When Dorian trusts me, he feels safe enough to explore scary things!

On the way home, I did some soul-searching. I wasn't doing anyone any good by giving in to the dire, fraught picture of my own life prospects or to the one presented us every night on the news. I realized how much I'd given in to the fears our country is facing and to the suggestion that the walls of my life were falling down around me.

They aren't. I saw that. I have everything I need at the moment, and I can be grateful for that. I can wait patiently for the right idea to form and the right way forward to open up.

What's true for me has to be true for all of us, no matter the challenges we face. We can wait patiently, compassionately, bravely, and wisely for the way forward to open up. We can prevail, as individuals and as a country.

We can come together in love, not in actions born out of fear that results in hatred and violence. We can heal even this terrifying pandemic.

Dorian meeting the beautiful Apple.

If we'll just be calm and quiet enough, we will prevail. I'm committing myself to knowing that the present and the future is ours to make. Let's do it with compassion for ourselves and for every single one we meet or hold in thought. That's how we'll go forward on this journey . . . not anxiously alone, feigning that all is well, but meeting together at this precious moment to love and share, help and heal . . . together.

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