I am writing this letter on the way home from Portland Oregon, where it feels distinctly more seasonal than it does in LA. The leaves are ochre and russet and the air is crisp. There is also something rather spooky about Portland in my opinion and apparently it does have a number of haunted locations. It was considered the most dangerous port city in the world at the beginning of the 20th Century. A fitting place to be in the run up to Halloween.
I have had a pretty magical stay. It began with a coaching session at Wild Horse Mountain Ranch in the beautiful Oregon countryside. In Oregon, over 4000 wild horses run free and at Wild Horse Ranch they rescue, adopt and train mustangs. The philosophy at the ranch is to train “with” the horses through wisdom and respect, rather than forcing them to submit (which is the traditional way - to “break” a horse). You are taught to tune in to your intuition; to “feel” what the horse is willing to do and communicate with it in a non-verbal way. Sounds pretty “out there” and improbable, does it not?! I chose to work with River, a handsome chestnut mustang with whom I fell instantly in love. He reminded me of a sweet, gentle horse I used to ride as a teenager when I jumped bare back. River allowed me walk up to him and pet him straight away. I tickled his ears . . . we bonded . . . The test would be whether I would be able to convince him to come to me from across the other side of the enclosure without using any sound at all. Initially I stood across from him and felt pretty helpless - I flapped my arms a bit and looked at him with my best puppy dog eyes. Nothing. The panic began to rise. Everyone was looking at me. I was supposed to be “the horse person” in my group - as the only one who had ridden regularly. And nothing was happening. My coach gave me a quick pep-talk. He had taught us that if our request was ignored we needed to "increase our level of commitment". I'm not totally sure what he said; it's a bit of a blur but I think it was something along the lines of “Stop thinking about what you want River to do and just imagine what it would be like to be him, receiving the love that you are sending to him, along with the invitation to come over to you. Project that out to him in your mind”. I got very still, calm and centered and imagined what it would feel like to be River, so big and powerful and muscular, receiving this loving invitation from a human. I projected that out to him in my mind. Then I dropped any attachment to the outcome. At that moment he walked over to me! So incredible. Totally like magic. And this, my friends, is how they “train” horses at Wild Horse Mountain Ranch. It sounds impossible, and yet, I got to pet and love on three different horses who, once totally wild, now choose to hang out with the humans who are kind to them. I learned something that morning about non-attachment, congruency and connection that was truly magical.
I also spent four days with my fellow students in the last hours of our six month Master Coaching program. Yes, I am now a Master Coach!!!!!! Coaching can be a lonely business. So it was a real gift to spend these few days together. It included a graduation ceremony and delicious dinner where not only did we eat incredible food, but we exchanged deeply personal, thoughtful gifts and words. It struck me, as I was hearing these loving, life affirming thoughts from my peers/friends, that we don’t say these things enough to the people closest to us. Unlike horses, most of them aren't mind-readers. How often do you tell your partner, parent or child what you love and admire about them, in detail, and offer them words of encouragement around their hopes and dreams? It’s free and it feels so good - both ways!
Anyway, this is a bit of a ramble. I guess what I want to say is that real unconditional love - whether for an animal, a friend, a colleague, a family member - really can be magical in it’s ability to connect and transform.
Who do you love most in your life?
Is your level of commitment towards them where it should be on a daily basis?
What do you admire most about them?
What is your wish for them?
Now go and tell them - face to face, on the phone, by text, email, however you can.
But do it now!...
Sending you love and fulfillment,