SINE QUA NON
Many things have stirred in my pulses from the evening where beauty and truth shook the room--that we were all there together rebounding generations of hurt and words, to bear the burden of release, shares a destiny of vision and home. Your eyes, carving light through the dark forgiveness, remember.
I am on a journey with a speaking sky with the bodhisattvas as horses. I lived in England for moons beyond summers and came to the desert to understand the oceans of memory awakening. I have a dream to speak, where the wound is hiding in, as I travel deep in the desert working with horses under blue skies and grandfathering mountains.
The world of horses as sentient guides, has shifted every thread of consciousness for me. I simply had no idea of their wisdom and way. I read the story of a woman's journey and transformation through her horse, Tabula Rasa--she wrote pages about her experiences and then started a study center, known as Eponaquest, to inspire and educate people around the world about the gifts she received from horses. I knew I had to meet Linda Kohanov, after realizing The Tao of Equus, was dharma dancing on my doorstep. The book arrived auspiciously after completing a year-long project and it seemed my 12 years living in London were looking outward.
I drank in the pages of this book, packed two suitcases and made the leap to the desert in Arizona--to become an Equine Facilitated Guide. I had no horse experience, save for a few trail rides and a gallop on the beach in Mexico. After an internship, apprenticeship and complete devotion to learning all I could from these wise creatures, I traveled to the Chiricahua Apache Reservation in New Mexico, to speak about collaboration and destiny. I began to understand the dust of history in this country through Native eyes ~ the broken treaties, historical trauma, the removal of children into boarding schools, the annihilation of life, language, culture and ceremony from the very existence of the sacred.
My reality tumbled down spiked hillsides with this truth and legend. I never read anything about this in my history books. Where was the indigenous perspective? I grew up on the East Coast and never even saw a Native person outside of a portrait in a book or a painting in a museum.
An Apache medicine man advised me to watch a documentary called "We Shall Remain", it was a PBS series of truth-telling--from the arrival of the Mayflower to Wounded Knee, the Cherokee Trail of Tears and Geronimo--the episodes all recorded and shared the story through Native hearts and wisdoms.
The horses and this documentary, disintegrated the universe as I knew it and something rooted in me as purpose to offer something back, if even in a small way, what had been sacrificed.
What our ancestors removed from the indigenous way of life (and is still happening) goes beyond thought, words and consciousness. This is just a small beginning---to offer, as a collaboration, the wisdom of horses, to reclaim the memory, power and resilience of each individual person, that has been desecrated and lost from subjugation and depredation.
Thereafter, I was introduced to a group of tribal elders known as, The 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, who came together in 2004 from around the world, through prophecy. At their round table when they met for the first time, the Yup'ik Grandmother told the story of when she was 9 years old: her grandmother gave her 13 eagle feathers and 13 bundles and said "One day, you will sit on a council of 13 Grandmothers, when this day comes, give them these sacred bundles...". The tears went round the circle as the ancestors sighed. A documentary was created known as The Next Seven Generations, which tells the story of how the grandmothers met and what their vision for the world became as they joined the circle. They remind us to treat the Earth as a sacred site; honor the water--every time you turn the faucet on, or place your hands in water, express gratitude, thanks, forgiveness. Walk gently upon the Earth, awaken to your own threads of connection to humanity, the elements, nature and the Divine, however, you conceive this to be.
By placing indigenous people on "Reservations" and putting them out of the way, taking their land, their culture and their heart and saying it is worthless, has removed "us" (as in the dominant culture) from the wisdoms of the earth and the teachings we could have understood if we had done things another way, instead of conquer.
The horrors I have learned from diving into knowing rivers to understand and offer back, have set me on a path with horses. Did you know there was a government-funded program created to sterilize young women on the reservations across this country without their knowledge? Between 1970 and 1976, 25-50% of Native American women were sterilized; many had various procedures without their consent and they were given total hysterectomies. Organized genocide.
When I met the Grandmothers in Alaska and spoke to them about the dream that horses could reignite the ancestral memory and power of community and purpose, the Cheyenne Grandmother held my hand and told me that I must continue to believe I could make a difference and that the horses were a large part of her People's past. She spoke of creating journey with horses from Fort Reno, Oklahoma, to Lame Deer, Montana, to honour The Cheyenne Exodus Trail of 1878, where her relative, Chief Little Wolf, lead an escape with the elder Chief Dull Knife, and 300 Cheyenne on a 1,500 mile + journey back to their homelands.
When she asked if I could help create this journey with horses to honour the Grandmothers and her council that would be held on the tribe's sacred pow-wow grounds in Lame Deer, that summer of 2012, there was no oxygen left in the room when I said "Yes". I only know there was not one moment of quandary, question or hesitation present in body, mind or person. "No" did not exist in the atmosphere.
From that day forward, I vowed to help fund this journey with every devoted cell...
There is so much more to share and I must thank you, because I have been stumbling over the writer's block or tidal wave, wall or something and writing to you now, in this way, has created a "Niagara" of words tumbling on to the page. I am grateful beyond the sky, Rose and for some reason, all of this felt important to share with you in these moments. Perhaps it is a spark for both of us--strangers connected by threads that root their own history.
If you want to see more of the story, you can visit ~ www.theridehomefilm.com
I promise to write again, though I will say that with all of the challenges we experienced, we were NOT suffering. We were not suffering in the way any indigenous person suffered on this land. We are merely traversing our way through to understand something that is so far out of our grasp. Funny how in our deepest matter-of- fact-selves that what resides is so ephemeral, like a tiny sky in a fishbowl. It is not ours. Where is the "belonging" that we stole away from our brethren who knew the land so well that they heard the songs of existence in their dreams walking? We live that question now in a perpetual state of answering.
My gratitude & sky blessings and warmth of the desert to you Rose, for you have opened the rooftop for my words to breathe and find their way home.