Updated: Mar 6
One of my favorite authors and poets is Yung Pueblo. Today I’m drawn to his words:
If I am always wanting
I have little time for being
Only in being
Can I feel real peace
Unlike humans with thoughts and words bouncing around our heads, animals are always present. They react in each moment to what is unfolding rather than anticipating and ruminating over the twenty-five different ways a conversation tomorrow might (or might not) go. They don’t sit around comparing their nest to their neighbor’s nest and wishing they had a bigger one. They don’t wonder how their life might be different if they’d only chosen to partner up with the first squirrel that they chased in treetops.
This past weekend I spent time with some horses, who are one of my animal guides. Horses are perpetually monitoring the sounds and movements of their environment while grazing or swatting away a fly. In the rare moments they’re spooked, they quickly realize there is no threat and immediately resume whatever they were doing as if nothing just happened.
Their natural state is a peaceful one. In fact, the organization HeartMath has done studies on horses' ability to calm humans simply through entrainment. Entrainment occurs when the stronger, regulated and more powerful oscillating field causes the weaker, more chaotic oscillating field to synchronize with it. If the horse has a regulated autonomic nervous system, its body is producing the more powerful coherent rhythms that cause our body’s rhythms to entrain with theirs.
I’ve been around horses that remind me to get present and in my body by a simple nibble to my foot or head-knock to my core. As if to say, “Hey, where’d you go? Get back here now.” When I do, they let out a sigh and resume their peaceful and present routines.
So how do we realign ourselves when we’re wanting in our minds?
My favorite way is to simply go out in nature and tune into it. I go for a walk and take it all in through my senses. I go through each one and spend time identifying different aspects.
What colors and shapes do I see? What small details can I notice if I pay attention and get closer?
What sounds do I hear? What’s near me? What’s far away?
I feel the different textures of the leaves, tree trunks, grass and maybe a feather on the ground, and ask myself to describe the physical sensation of it. I pay attention to the temperature and how it feels on my skin.
What do I smell? What does bark smell like if I were to describe it to someone? What do I notice in the fragrance between different flowers?
In this embodiment of presence, I cannot help but feel peace. I come back to myself and my own true nature. I realize I lack nothing and am abundant in everything.
And above all, I’m safe. In this moment, and what I’ve realized is every moment, I’m safe.
Like a horse that was spooked, any thoughts to the contrary are simply not true and an illusion, and so I can resume my metaphorical grazing as if nothing ever happened…because it didn’t. It was all in my mind.
May you be. May you feel peace.