This article first appeared on Elephant Journal, but a friend requested I share it here. The result of this experience, over three years ago now, still gives me a great amount of peace and when I am in need of a tool for grounding I return to the experience. When I do I connect to my inner wisdom – it’s called Spirit.
The struggle we go through as human beings is ever present in my mind as I am accepted into the program at Vista Caballo Innovation Ranch in Dove Creek, Colorado.
Vista Caballo is a 160-acre self-directed personal and leadership development experiential center for those wanting to become their best selves. I had heard amazing stories about Vista Caballo before I arrived. All of the graduates of the program spoke of the life changing experience that they had there, so I went full of anticipation for the same.
At the time I went I was stuck. I needed answers. I was smack dab in the middle of a mid-life adjustment. I had closed my successful publishing company, gotten a divorce and moved across the country. I’d created a thrill list (that sounded better than bucket list to me) and was furiously working on that. I’d just learned to fly a plane and was settled into co-ed life at Arizona State University.
Still, something was missing. Peace, joy and true calm – understanding of my place on the planet – eluded me.
Sure, I had “worked” most of my life on striving towards those elusive things. I’ve practiced yoga for over thirty+ years, which keeps me healthy, grounded and feeling blissful. I’m a Buddhist, an ever-evolving study which resonates with my sensibilities. Workshops, retreats, therapy — you name it, I’ve worked it. Still, something escaped my understanding and acceptance. The something was elusive and frustrating.
The work at Vista Caballo is unique to everyone who goes, so it is impossible to write about. I can share, though, part of my experience.
One of my goals was clearly identified by the ranch’s facilitator, Lisa Arie: I needed to learn how to trust my intuition. This was a skill I don’t think I ever developed. Some have it as a child and lose it. I never had it. Don’t misunderstand; of course I knew what intuition was, but yet not in the definition that I presently understand.
As I was deep into the work on day two of my three day one-on-one experience, I learned what it meant to find, listen to and dwell in the understanding that has been with me. The following is my experience:
As far back as I can remember I would see an old Native American woman on a white horse in my dreams. While awake, usually in Shavasana at the end of my yoga practice, I would see her slowly riding towards me. I never spoke to her. She would always come my direction and sit regally atop her horse and patiently wait.
Why did I never speak to her? She had a calm presence, but I did not even attempt a conversation.
Working with Hakomi (one of the four horses on the ranch) in the safe guidance of Lisa, I saw her approach me and all of my vulnerability and fears came colliding into my consciousness. So much so that I thought I was going to throw up. Lisa suggested I go with that and the old woman on the horse moved closer to me.
Her name popped into my head: Spirit. It’s as if I had always known that. As she moved even closer I looked into her face. This was the first time in over forty years that she had been close enough for me to really see her.
It was me.
The old lady on the horse was me! Imagine, I’m on a horse witnessing myself in the same position, almost like a mirror into another consciousness. I had been seeing this wise old woman my whole life and never spoke to her.
Spirit is my intuition and my guide. She dwells in my open heart and consciousness and I exist in a state of understanding that I Am. The I Am that had eluded me my whole life.
The I Am that I now dwell in is full of peace and calm and joy. Of course I’m still a seeker, but with new eyes.
Have you had a life-shifting experience you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it.