Tuesday, November 8, 2016

spiraling in(ward)

'Tis the season ...

This past weekend it was time to winterize the garden (even though it still feels like late summer here) and I find myself marveling at another year under the belt (or on the belly - yes, the menopausal marsupial pouch is emerging). I can't shake the feeling of my life as a spiritual strip-tease in the sense of I am paring away the inessentials to steep myself in what makes a difference, what keeps me in connection with Self and Source.

Obviously, chatter is not high on my "keep" list.

I am popping in to say I am deep in my trenches. All energy is being funneled towards my spiral inward.  What has been supporting me: this circle of lunar lovelies (The Journey Inward) ... astrological guidance and insights from a dear friend and gifted teacher Kristina Wingeier ...a community holding me accountable to daily practice and radiant living (Fierce Grace Collective) and my daily measures (how do I fill my own basket?) which include drawing, painting, cooking, prayer, meditation, time in nature, hands busy with crafts or cradling cups of tea, cuddles under the covers as my girl and I watch cooking shows or nature series ... you get the point. Daily living celebrated but also peppered with curses as I beam my hip against the concrete counter top or fumble with the settings on the dishwasher (how do I override the timer setting that I inadvertently triggered?) or search for my misplaced mailbox key (how did it end up in the trash?)

The week of my birthday I traveled to Northern California for a self-proclaimed goddess retreat. Go figure, the one week of rain coincided with my visit. Well. No matter, two goddesses will have fun wet or dry and I gratefully offered myself to some much welcomed pampering in the form of good food, hot beverages, belly-aching laugh binges and soul-nourishing discussions that sparked some deep aha's.  Oh, and hours of couch lounging watching Six Feet Under. I had forgotten how utterly brilliant and insightful this series was/is. Am eagerly awaiting season two to arrive at the library so I can binge some more.  

flexing our shero muscles; with Kristina Wingeier

While on retreat, we journeyed up the coast for a one day workshop/introduction to Equine Guided Education.  Yes, this is a process where the horse is the coach/guide! My kind of teacher :)  I had an inkling of what might happen, but I also knew (and craved) the experience of having to find my way through feeling and being. I want to shift out of so much thinking (lordy, am I good at thinking thinking thinking) and discover what lurks beneath all those busy thinky thoughts. What really is driving me right now? I keep flashing on "connection" but what does that really mean? What am I holding back from in myself and in my life?  

EGE_Promo, Achille Bigliardi from achille bigliardi on Vimeo.

The day was an introduction to the process and I was able to try both round pen technique (going in and asking the horse for guidance on my questions which really are my confusions) and a leading exercise. I admit, I felt crazy stepping into a muddy, wet ring (another rainy day) with a horse and speaking out loud to her and the group my questions, my ideas, my ill-formed declaration of purpose. What do I really care about? What contribution or legacy do I wish to create, nurture and grow? It was awkward trying to find words when I came to the workshop with the belief that I am lost. And crazier still to struggle with language when what blocks me is my robust and busy mind.  

Cliched statements of belief or purpose fall especially flat when spoken to a horse in the rain. I learned a bit about my habits ... the disconnect between what I say and what I believe. My body language, manner of speaking, and the horse's reaction showed me where the true horseshit was to be found. Later on I realized much of my time in the pen was spent desperately posturing for that horse's approvalLike me! Tell me I am okay!  Of course, as long as I don't feel that way about myself, the horse isn't going to either. It is all about coherence for the horses, and this horse showed me my inner and outer realities do not line up I walked out of the pen still confused, not having dug deep enough down to discover the raw and real source of my imbalance. 

The next exercise was to lead a horse out in the field while clearly one's purpose or inner conviction/now-truth.  I admit, I was thinking to myself "I know how to lead horses! This will be easy." Ha! In a clear and steady voice I stated my truth and stepped forward only to feel the horse statue-still and unyielding. Feeling that first edge of resistance, all my resolve and confidence crumbled. Inside my head, the voices were scrambling, shouting, and panicked. I turned back to look at the horse and without connecting with myself, attempted to move her forward

all images of me with the horses by Kristina Wingeier

Again, she would not budge. Apparently, my body language mirrored my own doubts which the horse clearly understood. I wasn't connected to my own truth so much as I was grasping onto a resolve to make this happen. So when it didn't, I could feel everything inside me freeze up. I honestly don't remember the shift. I just breathed. Let go of the voices screaming inside me, lifted my heart and stepped forward. This time when I felt the resistance on the rope, I did not back away. I leaned forward, held on and decided "I want to move on." And then the horse began to walk.

As we made our way in a circle, I could feel the lead line taunt between us and for a moment I worried "It shouldn't be this way." But I also realized if I started thinking, all would be lost. I had to keep moving. To think would lead to becoming stuck again.  And I want to move forward into my life. So I kept walking and the horse followed. Eventually, I was aware of walking with my heart leading, belly soft and it was then that I felt the lead line slacken, the horse and I moving together in harmony.

It all happened so fast, I am still unraveling the experience. Believe in myself. Drop into the body, lead with my heart.  Step firmly and confidently into the Now.  Decide, then act. Quit second-guessing myself. The only one I have to convince is myself. There was a lot of talk about leadership that day. What it boils down to is relationship. I learned that the first horse, Lily - the one whose approval I sought - was the mother of the horse I led in the second exercise. In my own life, my mother never offered me guidance; she only  offered support and encouragement. The challenge has been and continues to be trusting in myself.

I understand now I was holding back in the round pen. I joked that I didn't want to step in the mud or muck. How true. Don't let things be messy, don't be difficult, don't release the confusion and frustration. Move towards the light, stay out of the mud.  Well, Life began in the primordial sludge, didn't it? 

The other piece I am chewing over is the rift between knowing and believing. I keep circling back to my need to KNOW ...  what should I do with my life? Underneath that is my assumption that there exists a single (and correct) answer for me to discover. But what I learned from Tiponi is it matters little the what of my work, my life. What matters is the way I show up for my life. Listening today to an interview with Kundalini Yogi  Snatam Kaur I heard what the horses were trying to teach me: it is about listening and being fully present in myself. It understanding my inner vibration moves out into the world ... what is the state of that vibration? Is it clean, clear, uplifting, and loving

How well am I tending to my heart? That is the key to understanding how I can best tend to my life, how I can offer myself to the world.


  1. Oh, thank you so much for the reminder! Lead with the heart, and the rest will follow... what a wonderful and appropriate metaphor for life! I'm trying to remind myself of this daily, too. I get so stuck in my own mind and thoughts and fears that I forget that my heart leads me to where I need to be at any moment in time.

    Hugs and gratitude for your insight, as ever!

    1. more than ever, we need to keep dropping into our hearts and then lifting them up, moving forward. Big hugs back! Such strange times ... all I can do is drop into the space of my heart ... xo