Growing up one of my favorite books was Black Beauty. I imagined myself conquering the world as I galloped on a horse! The dream, however, was thwarted by reality- – my body responded with asthma, itching, sneezing, and very red eyes. Turned out that I was a mess around horses, cats, and hay. My ten-year-old self closed the book and steered away from the Beast.
I’m now at an age where I get to choose my consequences. When Rachel invited me to enter an arena with a Horse my internal self-laughed aloud- It felt like the most outrageous, incongruous invitation! But as my life is meandering, curiosity and wonder grew. I wanted to find out how her invitation would reveal parts of me well hidden by fear and supposition. If my eyes got red and itchy- well, a small price for the mystery of stepping towards a Horse.
There are no words to describe the moment when I walked into the ring toward Budder. Under the masterful direction of Valerie and Rachel, I was handed a brush and encouraged to begin to groom Budder’s coat. My heart was pounding but indeed a dialogue with a 2000-pound beast began–moment to moment to moment- stroke after stroke after stroke. After a while I lay the brush down and, hands trembling, I began to feel the silk and warmth of Budder. He watched me with careful stillness as though asking- am I safe with you? As the minutes wore on I realized there was between us just my truth, my courage and vulnerability and above all, my awe. I could not be anything more or less than who I was. Ultimately, I began to understand that in order for him to stay, I needed to know that I was enough and that he needed me to be in charge.
I write this now after spending a Sunday of progression with this beautiful exhilarating Program provided by Kairos Center for Change and ACCT Naturally. I am a teacher and when I woke on Monday morning to go back into my life, I felt there had been an inexpressible shift in me. When I approach my college students (I teach acting and Voice) I realized that in my charge, they were asking no more or less of me than Budder – They were asking to be seen and safe. I saw Budder’s eyes as I looked into theirs. I felt the calmest and, dare I say, the presence of myself differently. There was nothing to prove, there was only an opportunity.