In one of my favorite new books, Zen Mind, Zen Horse, author Allan J. Hamilton, MD calls horsemanship “a journey of compassionate awareness.” Wow. Coming off our recent Dust Off Your Dreams Retreat, these words ring especially true, and Dr. Hamilton’s book hits the nail on its proverbial noggin.
So how do we get to that “holy ground” with our horse? Dr. Hamilton offers us the specifics; it’s up to each of us to figure out how to get there from wherever we are right now. These include:
• Clearing the mind
• Making your intention clear
• Being responsible for your own energy
• Being present
• Honoring relationship
• Stop trying to make things happen
It never ceases to amaze me how working with horses brings to light the same exact things we are trying to achieve in our human existence and relationships. Or, as Dr. Hamilton says in his recent webinar at myhorse.com (click here to listen!) that in a human setting, like a retreat (owwwww!) or classroom or lecture or book, it’s hard really know what these things mean, “but it all becomes crystal clear when you’re working with a horse.”
Check out this interview with Dr. Hamilton and see what bubbles up for you about the spiritual practices and lessons we discover when we interact with our horses.
What has your horse taught you in these areas? How have you taken these lessons into your human “herd”? What advice do you have for others trying to incorporate a little more equine energy into their inner human existence?
“Most of us are taught to image our life as a journey, a linear movement from one moment to the next,” says Linda McDermott. “The implication is that we know where we’re going and move purposely toward a destination or goal. Many women, however, experience their journeys as interrupted, distracted, even derailed by competing needs of others, including children, significant other, aging parents, unexpected career changes, etc.”
Often, Linda tells us, a more helpful image for women is a patchwork quilt.
“Some of the prettiest quilts are those with seemingly random “patches” all connected by a few common colors and threads,” Linda says. “This retreat is your opportunity to step back, pull out some of your favorite colors, textures and threads, and see what else you might like to add as the next few “patches” of your life.”
I don’t know about you, but this whole concept makes me feel a whole lot better about my own checkered past — and I can’t wait to see what Linda’s journaling and guided meditation exercises will bring to my eager awareness about “the thing of beauty” my “big picture” is becoming with each patchy experience. When take a moment to step back and think of your life without judgment — as just patches of time and experiences that are all just part of a unique work of art, it becomes much easier to imagine what other “patches” you might like to add.
Linda will be one of the key presenters at the upcoming Dust off Your Dreams Women’s Retreat at the Wildcatter Ranch Resort and Spa in Graham Texas April 13-15. If you haven’t signed up already, there’s still time — click here to claim one of only 10 spots left for the weekend that will change the way you look at your life, your dreams and your part in filling in those remaining “squares” with ideas, experiences and accomplishments that are now just dreams still tucked away on your “someday” shelf.
Click here to order the book that started it all! (Free book included with retreat registration)
Want to know more about The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses? Click here to view book trailer!
Hooked on Reality TV? Midlife Horses are the ultimate “reality channel.”
Looking for motivation? Check. Sense of accomplishment? Check. Fitness? Check. Need to clear your mind and learn to “stay in the moment.” Yep, because if you don’t, you’re gonna be eating dirt. Horses don’t suffer cell phones. (Ask me how I know this.)
Got fear? They’ll find it. Got sadness? They’ll soothe it. Doubts, anxieties, insecurities? One by one they’ll shine the light of awareness on them and stand with you as these and other personal midlife bugaboos dissipate like smoke from a worn-out campfire. Need a good laugh? Oh, yeah. A good cry? Plenty of that, too.
These are just a few among the many programs you’ll discover when you tune in to the reality of midlife horses. In my soon-to-be released book, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses: Finding Meaning, Magic and Mastery in the Second Half of Life (Trafalgar Square Books, 2011), we explore the cultural phenomenon of the nearly seven million American women now turning to horses to soothe and rejuvenate their midlife souls as they chart a new course into a future of their own choosing.
As the book, which its publisher classifies as a “tongue-in-cheek account that is a little bit memoir, a little more self-help, a whole lot practical guidebook, and all heart,” The Smart Women’s Guide to Midlife Horses examines: the whole midlife cornucopia of self-examination, why spending time with horses is especially helpful to women at this time, decision making when it comes to making this life altering journey, the challenge of finding time for a horse, getting fit for horsemanship, options for equine companionship beyond buying and boarding, things to do, places to go, how to find the help you need, how to find the resources you need to learn what you need to know, and much much more.
And beyond just a book (and its soon forthcoming e-book version), I’ve also created an online hub of information and sharing that includes this blog, a dedicated Facebook community, a YouTube channel to play host to our moments of triumph, flashes of insight, and maybe a little bit of just plain silliness, and even a spot on Flickr to go an view our favorite photos (you send ’em in and I’ll post ’em!) along with a caption that tells your midlife horse story. So here it is. Your official invitation to come be part of the Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses community, with all the discussions, debates, friendship, laughter, and camaraderie midlife horses can inspire.
We’re all in this together — and while this is a journey of each individual soul, it provides sustenance and encouragement to know there’s good company on this trail — and for what it’s worth, I’m here to help you connect with each other!
Pre-order your copy today of The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses: Finding Meaning, Magic and Mastery in the Second Half of Life (Trafalgar Square Books, 2011) at www.horseandriderbooks.com (Click on the link, http://bit.ly/jqrt4s to download a sample chapter!)