Equus Yoga's New Teacher
This is Belle. I fell in love. I bought her at an Extreme Mustang Makeover. She was a 100 day trained wild mustang. I was not planning on buying a horse. But, I fell in love. She took my heart the first time her eyes met mine and I knew. She left her hay pile in her stall and walked over to me and put her head in my arms.
The hours that followed the actual 'doing' of this purchase were some of the more stress filled moments of my life. "Buying a horse you did not know?" It takes me weeks to buy a pair of boots, between all my research and trying them on, making sure they fit, checking all other options. But really I had been doing that with horse shopping for the last 20 years I just wasn't active about it. So when I met Belle, even though she wasn't the picture that I had in mind, I knew that she was the one who I had been waiting for.
After hours of turmoil, to buy or not to buy, sick to my stomach, when do I tell my husband? countless conversations to try to get more of a sense of this horse, a quick 'test ride'.....Even at the moment the horse was going to bidding I still wasn't sure if I was actually going to put my number up and bid. When I did put my number up, bidding quickly reached my limit. And Thankfully, I was out. Phew, obviously it was not meant to be. And then only in the moment that seemed like it could stretch on for eternity, but be in a split second, a random stranger angel sat down beside me in the moment of truth during the auction and said she would give me 200 dollars towards that horse. I honestly did not know what to think as the auctioneer is looking at me waiting for my response to up my bit or close. I looked back at this face that I had never seen before and saw her beauty and depth and honesty, I put my hand up again. In the eternity that was split seconds, Belle was mine. That was the beginning of our love story. I grow more and more smitten every moment I am with this horse. She is truth, she is honesty, she just is. It forces me to be the same. She is wild at heart. She will always be wild at heart. She was a 100 day horse when I got her. We are learning about one another, in the moment. It doesn't get anymore mindful or yogic than that. I have yet another new teacher in my life. And if I am being anything other than pure, she will let me know.
A Meditation on Being:
Illness Brings Stillness, Injury brings Consciousness
This is one of the faces that has helped me heal over the last few years. The injuries that I have faced, have stopped me in my tracks, brought deep anxiety at my doorstep, unwavering headaches, memory problems, and that was just the mental piece. The physical piece also stopped me in my tracks, except for being able to put one foot in front of the other, literally. I had a severe concussion, whiplash, cracked tailbone and a torn rotator cuff. This face and being, Coqui, was also the reason I suffered the concussion in the first place, but the one who helped me heal from it, and on a deeper level helped bring me to this other layer of Being that I had not yet experienced. She is one of my healers and because of this, has helped me be a greater teacher, more patient mother and a more mindful, compassionate human.
This creature found me. She was wild on the beaches and living under the porch of a cottage we rented in Vieques PR. How I got her home is another story, but we fell in love. She flew to Boston three weeks later with her best buddy from the streets. The transition was rocky to say the least. She was also not used to being on a leash, so walking on one was not her favorite thing. Pooping at the end of one was humiliating at best and most times did not happen. So, being diligent and wanting to make sure she had her BM for the day, I found one spot up the street that she would go. Long and the short, taking her to this spot, I slipped and fell on the ice on the driveway and suffered the above injuries.
The weeks and months that followed were some of the darkest and stress filled times that I have experienced. Being a full time mother to two small children, trying to grow a business and navigate teaching art and yoga simultaneously felt overwhelming. Daily tasks were monumental. Checkbook balancing was taken away from my hands. Often my days would end in tears, with a glazed look across my face. I could often not compute a question that was asked of me. So one foot in front of the other was not an exaggeration. This way of being, also brought the present moment to a snails pace for me. The moment that I would try to 'think', about my day or what I had to do next; it didn't matter if it was to 'get the milk', if I 'thought' I had to get the milk....it hurt. If I just 'got' the milk and was present along the way, my head was fine. This injury was forcing me to be still, and mindful. But to truly articulate the discrepancies between now and otherwise. Present in each and every moment, otherwise, pain was instantaneous, or cumulative. As I did begin to heal, I could only handle so much thinking time, which was a reminder to be right where I was.
We are all very busy. Being busy has become a trait that is revered. How busy are you? How much can you get done in one day? And then this child here, and that child there, and then, and then, and then.....I'm not sure who this serves, if it is done in haste and a desire to receive accolades for 'busyness'. And yet, sometimes these things have to get done and we are busy, honestly busy. In this case, we have a choice in each moment, these tasks can be done with stress, or with ease. Illness has forced me to choose ease. Illness has stopped me in my tracks to force 'stillness' into my being. Injury- pain because of movement, brings mindfulness. When my footsteps were too heavy or fast, it hurt my head. I had to slow it down so much that I had to feel my feet meet the earth. Every step. All day long. Or it I lifted my arm at a certain angle, there was pain, I had to use my other arm to open doors...how many times I instantly went to use the injured body part, but mindfulness had to come into play. I had to speak with care. I moved slower, I felt deeper. If people and things had to race bye me, so be it. The color and smell of the lilacs were never so pungent. This face of Coqui's was never so dear, as I traced the black around her eyes, and felt her soft fur.
Healing lasted years, because I was not 'getting' my lesson. I would feel really good and say 'yes, I can race around again..." apparent'y there were other plans for me, so there were more than one head bonk. My son's bunk bed, my daughter body checking my head when she jumped up, there were at least 5 mini bonks that set me back for months at a time. For me, these last few years of 'forced mindfulness' has been one of my greatest teachers. My multiple injuries has led me down the road of how to be a better yoga teacher and meet the needs of all the different shapes/sizes and past injuries that meet me on their mat each week. It has slowed my teaching style down, and in turn as allowed me to share the moments between the postures with my students. How many moments do we miss? There is so much juice left in that lime, in that moment, in that color, in that bird song, in cooking dinner while cutting vegetables. In my personal life, it is forced me into balance, and realize when I choose to do something, I can do it with ease, without haste or rushing. Most of all, it has gifted me this level of awareness and consciousness and helped me to be aware of what I bring to the people and animals around me. It has forced me to be responsible for the energy that I bring to everyone/thing. Especially my wilds. Coqui and Belle. As in addition to illness and injury bringing stillness and mindfulness to each moment, my wilds remind me in each and every interaction if I am present or not and if my energy that I am presenting is congruent to the energy on the inside. Because there are no secrets with them. And when working with an animal that outweighs you and survival is the first thing on their mind, being present is the biggest gift you can give yourself and to those around you.