The horse stood still, ignoring me. The ease at which I expected the horse to cooperate with me was long gone. My frustration was growing. There was a lump in my throat that caught me by surprise. I felt tears spring to my eyes. “What’s happening here?” I heard Wyatt say from behind me. I replied exasperated, “The fucking horse won’t lift its hoof for me to clean it!” Calmly and compassionately this former alcoholic who now was a therapist took my hand and asked me how I was feeling. I turned toward him with tears streaming down my face remembering his comments to the group as we prepared for this session. A horse reflects our energy, even the emotions and thoughts you think you are hiding from the world or from yourself. The horse is a mirror.
Am I really that stubborn, angry, in turmoil? I was so sure that all of those negative emotions were hidden from view. This horse showed me that I was only fooling myself. These feelings were bubbling on the surface and I needed to let them go, figure them out and change them.
That was seven years ago. I had healed a lot since then and thought those reactions were gone or at least not as draining as they once were. But as we know, each new situation may uncover deeper meanings and deeper wounds to heal. Recently there have been two occasions where a good friend pointed out my stubbornness and how exhausting I was to deal with when I reacted that way.
I couldn’t seem to let something go. I didn’t see it until yesterday. With Ricky gone, I didn’t want to leave Lucy home alone for 5 days as I headed to my shore house. I decided we were taking the road trip together. I packed the car so all that was left was getting Lucy into the carrier, a job that used to be easier with her than Ricky in the past. She ran from me as soon as she saw the carrier. I knew her first hiding spot would be under my bed. I got on all fours and peered under the bed to be met by two bright green eyes staring back at me. As I went to grab her, she shimmied to the center where I could not grab her. I keep a golf club under my bed, somehow thinking that it may save my life someday! It really gets more use poking at a cat to get it out from under the bed. It did.and she ran out of the room, we continued this cat and mouse game for a while, under a bed, upstairs, downstairs, in and out of rooms. At one point I had her trapped in a bedroom, carrier and golf club nearby, door closed. She wasn’t going to get passed me this time, victory was mine! She kept popping out from under the bed enough to tease me into thinking I could grab her, I thought I was cajoling her. I could feel my frustration mounting, my heart was pounding and tears were stinging my eyes.
“Why must you be a reflection of my stubbornness ?” I yelled. Those words flew out of my mouth without me thinking about them. She stared at me, I stared back unable to see with all the tears. I was exhausted and drained, I couldn’t continue to fight her, she won. I was back with the horse, showing me the stark reality of my hidden emotions. I walked out of the room and went to the kitchen, crying and talking to myself. Lucy played the part of the horse perfectly, a mirror to my emotions.
I now understood how much I must have drained my friend, how sorry I felt that I was that stubborn. I push too hard, I don’t let up. I pick away until there is nothing left to pick. I saw how I could let being stubborn, trying to control can get the best of me and show the worst of me.
I wanted the horse to lift its hoof and Lucy to go into the carrier. With both I needed to let go of trying so hard, of pushing my will on them and instead be open and loving. When I changed my approach both cooperated. Lucy followed me to the kitchen and as she ate a piece of chicken,she let me pick her up and place her in the carrier for our trip. And all those years ago, I let go of the negative emotions and the horse not only lifted a hoof, but nuzzled me and became my buddy.
I just need to let go, a lesson that keeps coming back.