Dec 172011

Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth; It’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened. – Pema Chodron

In this time of darkness as winter approaches, the solstice coming with a promise that light will follow, I bring my contemplations into my values and desires for a more compassionate and peaceful world.  As Ven. Chodron suggests in her quote, peace is something of value, and in our world that we create, we find peace not only in what is good and easy but in what we harbor within our fears and frustrations as well.

What does peace mean to me? I came up with this list while typing this reflection, finding this moment in time to list a few thoughts on where I find peace. As I reflect, I come to see that moments of peace can truly be moments of joy and happiness that come to me from my world, while others require me to find peace within myself so that I can, with all of my intention, impact a more positive world outside myself. Here is my list on finding those feelings of peace…

  • I notice a physical discomfort, pain or uncomfortable feeling within my body. Breathing deeply into the feeling, releasing the tension that accompanies the discomfort, I find peace in the release.
  • As I attend to a client’s horse to trim their feet, I find the calm and concentration amongst the sometimes chaotic, incongruent words and actions taking place around me and the horse.
  • Attending a community meeting of disparate people coming together for a common cause, finding like-minded congruency in thought and action despite our differences of opinion.
  • Watching horses grazing in the pasture, friends and foe, making peace within their community while enjoying the time together in complete accord.
  • Finding mutual need for closeness when waking in the middle of the night to find my cat snuggled within my arms in the cold of a winter night.
  • Reading a quote from a spiritual tradition that moves me into introspection and awareness and then taking this awareness into my world.
  • Smelling the cold frosty air as I inhale my first breath upon walking outside to feed my horses as I realize the importance of the preciousness of each moment in my life.
  • Experiencing the authentic excitement and joy of my dogs as they greet me in the morning and as they realize I am still here in their world with them.
  • Finding connection with friends and foe in authentic expressions of joy and love following a moment of conflicting emotions.
  • Being, just Being, in comfort and discomfort is peace.

Can you make a list where you find peace for yourself and then share it with the world?

Much love, and peace


Dec 112011

My afternoon contemplation as I watch out over my horses, sitting on a rock in their grassy pasture watching and waiting for what I will see and feel. I walk around to the top of the hillock in the pasture where 5 of my horses are calmly grazing, enjoying a late fall munch on the short grasses.

Mountain lions, bear, dear, wild turkeys, we cohabitate with them and a multitude of other wild mammals, birds, insects, amphibians, and reptiles at our home in the forest along with our domestics; dogs, cats and of course horses, lots of pretty horses.  Sometimes the predators kill one of our own (I no longer keep goats). But that is life in nature and is that, which draws me close to the earth, close to the life that the earth sets forth, and the life the earth takes away. The horses know all about this by their instinct and their very nature, and I am witness to an adventure that takes place while I stand watching in contemplation over their domain.

My mustang Gracie is grazing at the bottom of the hill with 3 other horses, her daughter Isabella, Mikey and Prima my friends Peruvian Paso’s who live with my herd. I’m standing at the top of the hill in the pasture where the rest of the herd is calmly grazing. A feeling of peace engulfs me.

I am suddenly alerted as Gracie throw up her head and stares out into the forest in rapt attention. Her body is taut, ready for flight. She snorts; she stands in deep focus with all of her energy attending to a sound, a smell, or a spook that she saw in the forest. Mikey, Prima and Isabella become alert, as their heads pop up and they stare in the direction of Gracie’s focus. But, Gracie is the leader of this spook and they count on her to make a decision so they wait in anticipation for her direction.

My heart quickens, I catch my breath, my body goes taut like Gracie’s. Gracie’s emotional energy of fear is contagious. Her energy excites my alertness, my impulse is to take a solid stance and keep a safe distance, be ready for what will happen if they break into a gallop to flee. My thinking mind tells me there is no danger present, but the energy of a horse alerted is palpable, even 100 or more feet away as I am standing I sense its beauty and its power. My body feels alive, ready to run if needed, ready to jump away out of danger, eager to experience the rush of adrenaline.

Suddenly Mikey and Prima break to the right, moving quickly down the fence in their animated gait. Gracie rears and then lunges forward at full flight gallop pushing the Peruvian Paso’s with her speed up the hill to safety. Isabella takes flight following not far from her mothers flank, and in observing Isabella, the feelings coursing through my body move to pure joy, melding with Isabella’s as she powers her body gracefully up the hill. My body feels the raw energy coming from the horses as they gallop, the ground is shaking from their hooves hitting the ground. What a feeling of aliveness and adventure I am experiencing as the horses are running to where I are standing to offer them the safety of my presence and the presence of their herd mates.

Gracie comes to a sudden halt directly in front of me. She looks over my head, eyes down the hill toward the spook, still taut, still alert, breathing hard from fright not flight. I breathe …  deep breath … another … in through my nose, out through my nose and mouth … quiet inhalation taking in the fear … audible exhalation as I breath out peace. Our noses touch… our breath combines … Gracie settles, her breathing starts to match my slow calming breaths, she lowers her head, looks me in the eye, she softens, and I know she is now fine and she knows she is now safe.