~Horse Guided Healing~


On July 6, I had an unfortunate accident at the Martial Arts Dojo where I tripped while skipping and landed on the side of my foot. It was a hard and akward fall, resulting in two breaks in my fifth metatarsal bone. The recovery time is estimated at approximately 3 months.

Now, four days later, this physical immobilization has become a great teacher for me, arriving at a time when "slowing down" was the last thing on my "agenda". With our grand opening planned for a mere 6 weeks away (not anymore...and that is okay!), so many thoughts and feelings have been flowing through my mind and body as I find it difficult to even do the regular day to day activities like walking or cooking. As we all know, there is our "plan" and then there is THE PLAN. A bigger plan for which, when it interrupts "our plans", we need to allow and sway with the organic ebb and flow.

For the most part, with minor human mind-stuff popping in the picture, I am embracing THE PLAN with an open heart. This short time, which I know is only the tip of the iceberg of revelation, has revealed so much beauty in the love that surrounds me...and confirmed (AGAIN!) for me just how incredible the wisdom of horses is. It is not that I didn't already know this, having experienced healing with horses as well as witnessing the impact of horse wisdom on our clients and guests, but in this case of such physical vulnerability, it has been magnified in every way possible.

The morning after the incident, with Kevin's help, I went out to sit on a chair by the fence with the herd. Both mares, Penny and Isa, stood close by me, fully engaged and holding space for my transition into this healing process. Without any words or touch, I felt so supported by their attentiveness and the energetic envelope they formed around me. It was the beginning of the opening to receiving nurture and care from others, which has not always been easy for me, as I am the primary caregiver on the farm. And it goes even deeper. Being independent since the age of 15, I have conditioned myself to be strong and self-sufficient, finding great difficulty in asking for help from others. Well, apparently that is not part of THE PLAN. The mares created an opening for me where I felt so comfortable being held and nurtured, really setting the pace for what was to follow as my period of rest and asking for help begins.

Yesterday, when I made my morning hobble to the herd to check in after morning yoga and meditation in bed (another new variation to my routine!) something quite interesting happened with Snickers.

It was the 3rd morning after the injury and it was beginning to really settle in that this would be my physical situation for the next few months, though I do believe in healing miracles :) My husband and son are truly doing all they can to maintain the status quo on the farm but it was not like the way I do things (in the attachment of my mind's eye), my leg under the cast was feeling hot and itchy and it was my first time, so far, feeling frustrated. I acknowledged the feeling and returned to my centre, realizing that if we were going to move through this experience with any amount of harmony and grace, I had to be grateful for their efforts, release my attachments, and simple by present in the moment, relaxed and surrendering to what is.

Snickers affirmed this for me.

I was standing at the fence and he comes over and is standing with me poking around at my face, as he often does. I embraced his playfulness, as it was just the lighthearted vibration I needed to experience in my body. All of a sudden, he began aggressively pawing at the fence. Then he suddenly stopped, became totally soft for a few minutes, and then raised his head and begin pawing aggressively again. So much so, that I actually took a step back so that his hoof did not hit my inured leg. It was so odd, because then he dropped his head and became soft again. Kevin and I both looked at each other...almost reading each other's minds.

In this life we live with the herd, it is very clear when one is "being a horse" and when one is "being a teacher". If Snickers pawing was a "being a horse" moment, it would be a sign of some sort of frustration or impatience. It would be odd for him to just go to a full softness and then return to full frustration in an instant.

Kevin and I both acknowledged that this was a teaching moment, without a doubt. I felt like he wanted me to feel, in my body, the energy that accompanied my two options of how to approach my new physical situation. His pawing hoof was directly aligned with my broken foot and when he dropped his head into softness, it was directly aligned with my heart. I got the message and agreed with my horse teacher that YES, I definitely preferred the feeling in my body when there was softness and surrender. Frustration and impatience could not serve my healing process, in any way.

I thanked him and hobbled back to the house to read with my son and return to rest.

This morning, another incredible experience occurred with Malachi.

I typically put the horses fly masks on in the morning and take them off in the evening. Since the injury, we have been just trying to settle into a new routine with Kevin and my amazing neighbour, Sarah, working together to care for all of the animals, gardens, manure management etc...so we have not put fly masks on in a few days since the injury.

I check their eyes and legs every morning from over the fence and this morning, Malachi had a small scratch on his eye causing it to water and attract the flies.

I am absolutely forbidden from entering the paddock for the next few weeks so I had to somehow communicate with Malachi to come to the gate so I could put on his mask, as nobody was around to help.

I held up the mask to show him and called his name. He began to walk toward me but got sidetracked by a patch of grass and we lost the connection.

I tried and tried calling his name, making kissing sounds etc. I don't give the horses treats by hand so I didn't want to bring a bucket out (how would I even get it there? and if I asked Kevin to grab it, all of the other horses would just follow making it more difficult for me to navigate over the fence.

Something in my body told me to sing.

So I did.

There was a song I used to sing to Malachi all the time at the beginning of our adventure when he was hard to catch. He had always associated being "caught" with being ridden and he was not fond of that due to a sore back and a number of unbalanced riders on the trail and ill fitting saddles.

I remembered how this song would always, without fail, bring our energy to a connection and allow me to enter his space with the halter.

"Wild horses, I want to be like you. Throwing caution to the wind, I'll run free too. Wish I could recklessly love like I'm longing to....I wanna run with the wild horses, run with the wild horses...." (Natasha Bedingfield - Wild Horses).

His head popped up, ears perked and, in an instant, he walked right to me, unwavered by the grass below.

I gently cleaned his eye with my finger tips and, with a slight unsteadiness, reached out and placed the fly mask over his face. He stood completely still. We remained in silent connection for quite some time until the pins and needles in my foot told me it was time, again, to elevate the foot and rest.

I hobbled away with affirmation that we are all so seamlessly interconnected and our universal language is love. Through a tender circle of care and service to each other, we could diminish suffering and embrace each moment of joy and sorrow equally and in the same manner.

The unconditional love and completely selfless wisdom of these magnificent beasts makes no wonder why they have partnered with humans for so many thousands of years. They so deeply want us to listen. They so deeply want to help heal mankind. All we need to do is honor them as teachers and listen....

There are a couple of sayings that stand out for me in all of this:

"When you are ready to be the student, every one is a teacher."

"There is a reason why God made our mouths able to close, but our ears stay open."

Despite my immobility, for which I know could be so much worse...I am grateful for this time of reflection and connection and all that the horses (and humans!) continue to teach me with every embrace.

I may not be physically able to "run with the wild horses, throwing caution to the wind", BUT their wisdom has opened the gate for my spirit to "run free too!"

For now, it is time to elevate and rest...as I connect deeper to my self and my family through their love and tender care.

I close my eyes at night with dreams of wild horses and wake up each morning excited to see the herd, and listen to their stories of wisdom, grace and healing, as they hold space for the deepening connection to all the love and beauty that surrounds us.

~~I want to also honor that July 7 was Isa's birthday! She turned 13 :) She was happy to be grazing all day long and we even caught her laying down in the middle of the field without a care in the world while the rest of the herd grazed around her. She usually only lays when no one is looking...though we do see her lay down more and more as she gets more comfortable here on the farm and within her herd. Happy Birthday Beautiful!~~

With much love from the farm,

Fotini

UPDATE August 16, 2016

Hello friends!

I just WALKED in from Orangeville Hospital where I was given doctor's permission to remove the cast for good!

The amazing part of it all was that when the Doctor first saw me walk in, he was asking questions and reminding me that this was a "high risk" break and may take months to heal. When he pulled up the xray that I had taken in Diagnostic Imaging just a few minutes prior, he was surprised. He said, other than one small mend (which could take years to fully join up), I was fully healed! WOW!

I must say that I am so thankful for the love and support I received from my family and friends. This allowed me to go through the days (and weeks!) knowing that I was cared for. BUT I also honor my sadhana (spiritual practice) for I feel that this practice helped me to surrender to what is....in order to truly create the space in my body for healing. I rarely felt stress or upset. I was truly present with the experience and I know that this had a huge impact on my body's ability to heal.

The horses held space for this and continued to tip toe around me, while serving as a constant reminder of remaining present in the moment, the power of the breath, and the profound wisdom held in the stillness of silence and surrender.

And, I thank YOU for your love and support, healing thoughts and prayers <3

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