Tuesday, February 3, 2015
and this too ... thank you ... (HeartFull living)
Once the door is open, the lessons in HeartFull living just roll right in ...
Yesterday was a snow day and I sheepishly confide: I may be a weather witch.
No, truly ... I've noticed this, ahem, talent of mine. Not so much changing the weather as it is connecting with the possibilities of storm or sunshine and coaxing them in. I wanted snow (we need the moisture) and I silently urged it on. Now we have 10 inches on the ground and more snow in the forecast. All wonderful for a days of shoveling, sledding, building snow tunnels, and communing around hot tea and soup.
Not so fun when one of us goes down ...
What can I say? And this too ... thank you?
Well, that was going to be my newly acquired mantra. That my resolve is being tested right out of the gate seems cruel but I suppose necessary. Like trying on a new pair of boots and determining whether the pinch is due to an off fit or stiff leather.
Last week I donned my well-suited cowgirl boots and headed off to the barn for my second session volunteering as a sidewalker for the equestrian therapeutic riding program. I am scheduled to assist in three session although my first week the third rider had cancelled. So the first two riders I had gotten to know last week.
I say know, but the gift of these sessions is that all matters for me - and I assume for the riders - is this day. The rider's history is unknown to me. I am not told the cause of their injury or their illness; I am informed only of what they need this day. Even that changes as we make our way around the ring, the therapist responding to what is manifesting for the client. While I am directed to give more or less support, to adjust my hand or body position, the therapist also checks in with what I may notice about the rider. Witnessing shifts and changes and adapting moment by moment.
Feeling more relaxed (in terms of what to expect) from my first week, I was happily unprepared for the third rider. We are asked to protect the privacy of the clients, so while I will call her Gaby, that is not her real name. Gaby arrived for her riding session in her wheelchair wearing sparkly tights, gold hoop earrings and a sunbeam smile. Unlike the previous clients who are not vocal, Gaby was cooing with excitement. She spoke in Spanish to her family and softly repeated the therapist's English directions. Up, down, and go sounded like a Pablo Neruda love poem coming from her lips. When she would get confused, she would let slip a shy laugh. If she could have, she would have galloped the horse right out of the ring and into the open fields beyond the barn such was her enthusiasm and joy.
After the session, she returned to her wheelchair. Her therapist then pointed to each volunteer and said our names in turn while Gaby repeated "Lisa ... thank you." The horse was led over and dipping his head down to her lap she felt the warm air from his nostrils tickling her hands, making her erupt into her sparkling laugh. Then stroking his face and gazing into his eyes she repeated over and over "Smokey ... thank you ... thank you ... thank you ..."
That moment has stayed with me all weekend. I keep revisiting the image of a girl with such tenderness in her eyes gently stroking the horse while repeating thank you.
thank you thank you thank you ...
It sounds like a mantra, a love offering made with utter and complete gratitude and awe. It strikes me as the best way to live life with an open and receptive heart. It is what I want to express through HeartFull living. Gratitude, joy, surrender, welcoming, honoring, trusting.
It is easy to say thank you to the things I knowingly want to welcome into my life. Sunshine, an extra day of family time, acts of friendship and being witnessed, understood. It is much harder to welcome that which approaches in a more threatening manner: illness, hardship, struggle, death. But there is always choice, isn't there?
To proceed forward or forge my own path; to dwell in the darkness or to behold the light; to focus upon what is missing or to acknowledge what is; to bash against what I cannot do or embrace what is possible.
On this bitterly cold, winter day I can lift my face to the unexpected beams of sunlight, don sparkle tights, and serve tea in bed to my sick girl.
For all this and all that I have yet to realize: thank you thank you thank you ...
Care to join in on the conversation around HeartFull Living? A truly glittery tights group is forming with special guest contributors ... 50% of the proceeds benefiting the horses in the therapeutic riding program I mentioned above ... all the details can be found HERE.