These are my friend Judit Kovacs' beautiful Hungarian Furioso-North Star mares. Judit is pictured here between them, holding them on the last day of the year in Hungary, 2014. This was her "Happy New Year" photo to friends that year.
"In the picture at the left is my mare, Carmen," wrote Judit recently,"who is full of inner fire, . . and was 24 years-old then and still full of temperament and to the right is her daughter, Csellengő, who was 19 then. Csellengő means "the little one who is hanging out" because when she was a foal and I rode her mother she always ran away into woods and I had to call her loudly --and so her mother had to whinny. Then after having waited for a long time at the end she followed us."
"She followed us . . . " Judit's words are haunting because she recently had to put these beautiful mares down, the mother following the daughter into the great, dark unknown.
"After darkness comes the light.” Cornelius Nepos
The child follows the mother, and then years later, the mother follows the daughter.
This haunts me and yet there's a quiet dignity present, too. An acceptance, dignity, and trust in them both and in Judit that I envy. A joy I envy. Maybe that's why these losses touch us so deeply. Horses are so fully themselves without artifice that when they leave us, a part of us follows.
Or maybe we yearn to follow . . . an aspect of our inner selves turning continually to them until, by necessity, we have to let go.
"We shift ourselves not in sweeping pivots but in movements so tiny they are hardly perceptible, even in our own view . . . piece by piece, we no longer even look like ourselves." Alicia Keys.
I think that yearning and sense of loss is so profound because horses are powerful touchstones of authenticity and such willing partners in our journey into ourselves. Our world calls for conformity in such subtle and alluring ways that the quietly powerful attraction our horses exert is a call to our deepest selves we can't ignore.
Which is to say, who among us has the courage or alertness to continually be present to ourselves as ourselves? To be in a place of eternal stillness, where simply being true to ourselves is enough?
Slowing down my mind--being still--and tuning into my heart's intuitive feelings is what Dorian calls me to do. And since 80% of our internal communication goes from the heart to the cranial brain while only 20% travels the other way, I'm trying more and more to learn how to be heart-centered--for me, understanding what that even means is sometimes challenging.
But being in touch with our intuitive, heart center has far-reaching benefits, including physiological and emotional health and improving our overall well being. (You can find more about that here.) In fact, the benefits are quite similar to the ones I noted in my post Shinrin Yoku which, in part, talks about the benefits of being in the natural world.
For me, Judit's photo and my own experiences with Dorian call to the deepest aspect of myself, one that exists in a quiet world we're always in the midst of--as potential, if nothing else. For me, it's a nearly physical pressure I feel so palpably it can't be ignored.
Studies noted by the Heart Math Institute report that a horse's heart electromagnetic field is five times more powerful than our own. And while ours generally extends to around six feet, a horse's electromagnetic field can extend up to twenty-seven feet.
The focus on our heart has implications I've noted elsewhere showing that in the presence of horses, our heart-rate variability becomes coherent, which accounts for how centered, calm, and present we feel when we're with our horses.
That place, that person, is who I tune into in Dorian's presence. I can see that, too, in Judit's photo. Carmen and Csellengo's spiritual, radiating majesty and Judit's presence in that reality is fully present.
Judit tells me her mares served so many people in her equine-assisted practice, for ten years helping Judit in coaching and teaching those who came for healing and progress in Hungary, a world away from me.
And yet they aren't so terribly far away from me, are they, any more than Carmen and Csellengo are far from Juidt. It's a matter of perspective, I think, as is so much of our experience.
No they aren't physically present, but they also aren't completely absent. In our quietest moments, in that stillness we must tune into in order to truly listen and see and feel the vastness of the universe's possibilities, we can step through into a great unknown that's not full of the darkness of death, but one full of the unending presence of what overcomes our sorrow, and the darkness we all too often accept as fact.
As spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy reminds me: “Listen to the inner light; it will guide you. Listen to the inner peace; it will feed you. Listen to the inner love; it will transform you.”
Tuning in. Tuning in. Tuning in.