I once did an Equine Therapy session with Kelly Wendorf in Santa Fe. In Equine Therapy, the client interacts with horses. The therapist interprets the behavior of the horses to provide insight into various aspects of the client.
I have a checkered past with horses. When I was five, I was in a pony-ride stampede. A couple of years later, I went to a Dude Ranch where my horse tried to scrape me off against a tree. Many years later, my dog trainer’s fat miniature horse tried to kick me.
So I went into Kelly’s corral with a bit of trepidation. Her horses are big – enormous hooves and gnashing teeth. They were eating and I didn’t want to disturb them.
The horses ignored me and I wasn’t sure if they liked me.
It seemed logical to pretend to be brave and calm. But Kelly said that horses do not respond well to inauthenticity. “Just breathe and be who you are,” she said. “Whatever arises within you, allow it to be.”
In other words, she was urging me to practice something that I preach: welcome and befriend the forsaken parts of yourself.
In that coral, under the big sky, I allowed all of me to be – the feeling that I “should” be brave, the desire to “fake it,” fear of failure… and my joy. I witnessed these sacred aspects of myself and befriended all of them.
Within minutes, the biggest horse stopped eating. He looked at me. Decided I was safe. Strolled over to where I was standing. He gazed into my eyes and let me stroke the side of his neck. Then he shook his mane and returned to his meal.
Was it a coincidence that the invitation I extended to myself was also an invitation to another living being?
I don’t think it was a coincidence. When we befriend ourselves, we befriend everyone. It makes sense, since we’re all One.
Meditate – See what arises within you. Allow it and befriend it.
Practice – Throughout the day, see what arises. Allow and befriend.
Advanced Practice – Silently allow and befriend others, even the most forsaken. To allow and befriend others is to allow and befriend the self.