These are very strange times. If all you watch is the television “news,” you’re unlikely to be aware of most of it–though Celebrity Scandal of the Hour gets wall-to-wall, excruciatingly detailed coverage. But if you’re plugged into the internet and the social media, you can see that the world is in ferment. People are angry, people are rising up, people are Not Going to Take It Any More–on all sides of the political spectrum.
The peasants (the workers, the serfs, the underclasses) have done this for time out of mind, usually with pitchforks (pikestaffs, muskets, Molotov cocktails). What’s strange now is both how many parts of the world are rising up at once, and how peaceful so many of the uprisings have been. Where there’s been violence, it’s come from the governments or rulers.
Very strange. I won’t say unprecedented, but it’s…unusual.
This is about horses. Really. Getting there. It’s also about yoga, because yoga is about, among many other things, processing the energy of the world around you and finding a balance with the world within. And that’s something horses, as a species, are masters of.
This past week was another Camp Lipizzan, and also another White Horse Yoga session. These have evolved with the people who participate, into a fluid, ongoing, continuously developing and amazing process. The horses are active participants, and have become so accustomed to it that when the group comes in, they perfectly naturally find their places and settle into the groove. Some will even, as you’ll see below, lie down and take a nap during the session. And that, for horses, is a big thing. Major trust and relaxation.
This time our teacher came in in full Warrior mode. These are strange times, but also, in Arizona, angry and disturbing and increasingly unbalanced times. Many of us feel as if the lunatics have seized control of the asylum. It’s fear and hate on parade, complete with Official State Gun.
It was time, in her mind, for some Warrior work. Let’s get grounded, she said. Work on our breathing. Then get into it–“Bring it on!”Let’s put some fire into it.
But this is horse yoga–yoga in the herd, with horses all around us. We have rules for the safety of all involved: Eyes open, be aware of where the horses are at all times, and be ready to move quickly if necessary. It’s understood that you can’t just do this in any random group of horses; this is an established herd of highly intelligent, very people-focused animals, and there are always at least three humans in the group who know and can manage the individual horses if needed.
What invariably happens is that whatever agenda we bring to the session, the horses will have their own ideas–and the results won’t ever be what we expected.
So here we were, all warriored up, with horses grazing around us. Camilla, the Story mare, was very interested in two of the writers who happen to be in the throes of major drafts or rewrites. Pandora, the large and quiet one whom we call the Enlightened Master, was in the circle in a big way. But when the “Bring It On” sequence got going, she very quietly and deliberately went off a little bit, lay down, and had a nap.
Chill, she said. Calm down. Think about things. Go flat for a while–and at that point her ear swiveled toward us. “You watching?” she wanted to know. Then she rolled completely over and got up.
Point taken. Getting mad is all very well, but you get the most done after you calm down and think it over and figure out how to make things happen in constructive ways.
Like Tahrir Square. And the Wisconsin State Capitol. Channel the mad, keep civil, stick with it. Get the job done. And then maybe you can have a rest–but not for too long. There are always predators out there. But the Herd abides.
Want to know more about horses and writing and how they intersect? Here’s where to begin. Questions answered, terms defined, and links, many links, to further investigations. With copious illustrations.
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