11.05.30: Deeply Tao

Day two began bright and early with a steamy bright sun. The group gathered again and talked over some of their overnight experiences, dreams, thoughts and impressions. The group was really connecting even stronger on the second morning. Julie opened with a meditation, which was a very interesting thing. I have never really been able to meditate before, and so Julie's guided version was helpful, and I was able to really relax into it and be comfortable. I noticed very quickly that I was getting a warm sensation all over, and it wasn't related to the fact that the morning was warm. The heat that is generated by energetic work is quite interesting, and I am beginning to become familiar with it and understand what it means. I enjoyed the exercise, and I hope that I will be able to find some more resources to continue the practice.
We began the day's discussion exploring the authentic self versus the 'false self' and what kind of things the false self voices. That moved into the Heart-Math Institute and what Heart-Math is and how powerful the heart's electromagnetic field really is. The profound fact is that a horse's Heart Field is even larger than a human's, so large that it has yet to be fully measured at this point. We discussed how this can apply to interactions and that the stronger field will actually influence the weaker or smaller field. This is also some of the source of a 'collective reaction' where a feeling or energy can ripple through a group of people or horses at lightening speed.
We wrapped up the morning discussion and got prepared to set up the second set of exercises with the horses. Anne requested Storm and Tali so Heather and I went into the barn to get halters. Since they were in different pastures Heather and I discussed how we were going to take care of them. I reminded her who Tali was, and sent her into diet group while I headed all the way into the back of 3 to get Storm off of the grass. I could see Tali up in the run-in shed, and kept an eye on Heather as she went to fetch her. By the time I got all the way down into the bottom pasture and then back up the hill again she had Tali waiting for us. We took the horses into the barn and took off the fly masks and sprayed them good with fly spray before heading down into the arena. I put Storm into the round pen in the arena and Heather took Tali into the outside round pen. Anne and Julie switched groups, so my group worked with Julie and Storm and Heather and the other half worked with Anne and Tali.
By the time I got to the group after the horses were settled, Julie had already gone over the Heart's Desire exercise and Amy was the first person to volunteer. She and Julie headed to the other side of the round pen near the gate where Julie guided her through the body scan preparations. Jim came down to the arena to take photos, and as he walked up a four foot black snake startled out from under a barrel lying just outside the arena. It headed into the arena, and slipped into the shade of the round pen panels. It followed the shadow around the pen, and was headed towards the far side. Storm was standing near the gate, with Julie and Amy outside the gate by a few feet. The snake slipped around in the narrow shadow of the panels and came within a few feet of Storm when he stomped his foot, presumably at the flies. The snake jumped back, and he looked down with curious interest, not afraid of worried in the least. He slipped into posture 3 just standing there, ready to leap backwards if something happened. The snake scooted away from the round pen, but was heading straight for the shade of Amy and Julie's shadows. Knowing how profound the preparation experience can be, we reluctantly let them know that the snake was there behind them. They both turned and were rather interested to see the snake, and not in the least bit worried. I was relieved (I should have known the moment would be just the way it was meant to be!) and when they stepped to the side, the snake skirted around them and into the shade of the trees a few feet beyond. They resumed their preparations, and then Amy entered the round pen. The amazing thing was that the snake stopped just inside the shadow still within the arena and watched until Amy was within the round pen with Storm before it slithered off into the grass and down into the trees. Amy stood with Storm just inside the gate and for a moment paused in a relaxed posture with his eyes half closed, but there was something about that moment that I knew he wasn't asleep. The two began to interact and she rubbed his nose, and he gently bumped her in the gut, it was a distinctive nudge with purpose, but totally gentle at the same time. The two had a few more moments together before she chose to come out and debrief with the group.
The experience was beautiful, and she shared that the snake was just an affirmation that she needed to pay more attention to the signs that were around her. Julie also noted that the snake and Storm interacted together, and then the snake waited until Amy was within the round pen before leaving, effectively being present for her as she made the transition into the round pen. The gentle nudge that Storm gave her was really profound, Julie pointed out that it was like he was reminding her that she needed to stay in her gut. I noted his relaxed but yet not sleeping posture in the beginning, and Julie agreed that it was quite interesting.
Rachel was the next one to go, and this time there were no extra critters. Rachel entered the round pen, and Storm would not leave the whip alone that she was holding in case she needed to set a boundary. Julie had to advise her to put it down, and when she did he began to gently touch her hands left, then right, then left, then right. He touched her gently on her hips, one then the other and back again. Julie looked up at me and in awe commented that he was balancing her. Rachel spent a few more minutes with Storm before coming out of the round pen to rejoin the group. Rachel explained her feelings and the group gave her feedback that the experience was beautiful. Julie mentioned Storm's alternating touches and said that it was like he was stitching her together and drawing her left and right, masculine and feminine together again. Julie also pointed out that Storm had resumed the same posture that he had with Amy, and seemed to be doing some preparation work before actually getting to work on the person.
Marie went next, and she began in the round pen standing still with him, and there was something a bit awkward about her stance and the way that he was standing with her. There was some tension in her posture, and after a minute Julie suggested that Maria might want to remember what they had talked about in her body scan preparations, and Maria finally got the connection that she needed to be moving. Moving is what she was interested in when she worked through her body scan, and the fact that she wasn't doing what she really wanted to was showing up in her posture and the energy of the moment. When Julie suggested she start moving, the tension completely disappeared. Maria began moving away from Storm and he began to flow smoothly behind her. The two moved around the round pen together for a while trading energy and movement. It was beautiful to watch the two of them moving together as a pair in the round pen. When Maria was finished she returned to the group and talked over her experience. She explained that her desire was to move with Storm, and connect, and the fact that she began the exercise standing still was very apparent that she was doing the 'wrong thing' and not following what she desired to do. Her experience was very different from the first two, but it was also authentic and perfect for her energy and thus Storm responded. The fact that he understands the intent and knows how to connect with each individual is amazing. Janice was the last person to go, and her exercise was similar to Maria's, she moved around and she and Storm flowed together almost dancing together. It was beautiful just as Maria's was, but different in her own way.
We were all pretty hot by that time and so we decided to take a break and eat lunch. Heather and I took care of the horses and getting them put away before heading up to eat. As I was getting ready to grab a bite, Julie and I ended up talking and she told me just how profound the moments at the beginning of Amy and Rachel's sessions were. Julie said that she realized that Storm was actually preparing the space and working energy before he went to work on each one of them. She said that she had never seen a horse do that before to that degree. He was accessing something that many horses aren't able to do at all. I wasn't surprised, really, he is just that special. It is definitely something that I want to work to explore more in the future.
As I was grabbing a bite to eat Sheila came to me and said that she did some research on the phrases that she and Amy came up with. She researched both the song, Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow, that Amy heard, and the phrase that she heard, Oh God, Where Art Thou, and found out some really interesting information. The phrase was part of a Mormon writing, and the author was in prison, and being persecuted for his views, and was writing about being concerned about God protecting the people that he was away from while he was in prison. He happened to be a horse person. The song was also written by a man that was under a bit of persecution for writing it, though Sheila wasn't sure if he was or wasn't a horseman. However, the song is very long and has strong connections to creatures and the earth. I also realized thinking back that it was pointed out that the position that Storm was in within the shed was between two horses (I think it was guessed that it might have been Audrey and Piper, though I am also wondering if it might have been Winston, he wasn't in the pasture for the morning exercise, and so the group wouldn't have been as familiar with him and he is often Storm's companion, and is second in the herd below Storm), that position is a rather apostle position, or one can even go further and reference the Holy Trinity. These things were quite profound, and it is going to take some time and study to learn more about all the connections and more to the layers of Storm.
We wrapped up with a little bit of debrief before getting set up to do the final exercise. The group was going to paint horses. They had paints to use and since there were 8 people, they were going to pair up and each person would take a side of a horse to paint. Then they would walk together with the horse as a sort of journey walk to really deeply embody the artwork and connect with the horse. Heather and I made the treks out to get the horses and eventually we had all four together and the pairs began painting. It was amazing to see the symbols and artwork that each person chose to place on the horse. Julie had given out a sheet that had rune symbols as well as some other ancient symbols, but she did not explain them, but instead allowed each person to use whatever moved them in the moment. Each pair took their time, and then when they were finished they began to take their walks around the arena with the horses. I was able to keep the camera down there and take photos of all the painted horses and partners. It was quite a beautiful and profound experience.
The group headed back up to the trees, and we put the horses in their stalls for the time being so that we could debrief with the group. Each person went through and explained their symbols and what prompted them to use the ones that they chose, and then Julie explained some of the symbolism and meanings behind the images that we were unfamiliar with. Some of the connections were very profound, and really made a lot of sense for the individual and that specific horse. We wrapped up the afternoon and then Heather and Maria and I got set scrubbing paint off of the horses since we couldn't really leave it on them for fear that their owners would not be pleased.
The weekend was intense and amazing, and it will take a while to process everything that has really happened. I look forward to the insights that come out of all of this in the future.
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11.06.04: Alpha Horse Leadership