Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On being 'grounded' or a lack thereof

Rite of Passage
I guess I’ve been properly initiated into equestrianism after being chucked off the back of a perfectly good riding horse, over the top of her head, and onto the ground. Although skilled equestrians would say 'come tell me your horse story after falling off a half-dozen times' I find the event to be a rite-of-passage or sorts, so I’m rather proud of it. Finally - the dreaded fall has happened! One of the spectators closeby said I looked like I was 'diving off the high dive' before I tumbled to the ground. Another said that I had learned a valuable lesson to be present and in my body while on the horse – especially valuable as nothing was broken.

To my own recollection, midway through the flight I felt my lowerback over-arch and when I landed on the ground I curled up in child's pose, hoping Angelbella (she has such an unassuming name, doesn't she?) wouldn't then walk on me. As I lay in child’s pose, I felt my lower back muscles relaxing a bit and then I knew I was OK.

Today I’m still getting around rather slowly with a stiff back, but am glad to finally have gotten the dreaded horse fall out of the way – even if it’s the first of many. Good thing I’ve got yoga to gently stretch my tense back muscles!

Obama vs. the Bubba effect
Originally, I was going to start this blog entry with something about how removed I felt from the news – whether that began 6 years ago when we got rid of our television or more recently our life in the high desert. However, having watched the presidential debate last week at someone’s house, I woke up early the next morning with worries about how my candidate (Obama) had performed and how he was perceived by folks ‘on the fence’. (how can any one be on the fence at this point?) Anyways, I quickly got caught up in how serious Obama looked. Sure, he had been getting guff from his supporters who said he needed to be more 'tough' against the opposition. But instead of thinking about the content of the debate, I became afraid that Obama looked too much like the ‘angry black man’ that some white Americans are afraid of. Or maybe he was too smart. Or that he didn’t look enough like the average American voter.

I seem to remember that after the Bush debates (I forget which set), folks said they thought Bush had done better because he 'seemed nicer'. Political pundits analyzed that voters tend to select someone that ‘looks more like them or a neighbor or relative - or Bubba - someone that they knew back in school and liked'. Not that he's educated or qualified, but that he’s 'the kind of person that they'd like to get a drink with at a bar'.


At this point I might be irritating folks who are not voting for Obama, and for this I apologize. I actually think McCain is an alright guy, but not for President and not against Obama.

Perhaps I should stay away from television altogether, as I can see how riled up I get, and really with no purpose. It’s just wasted energy, and let’s face it, there’s not an infinite supply of renewal energy in my body, so I’ll try to stuff it back in the bottle. I hope to be more centered and grounded in my next blog entry since it’s not been healthy for my lower back!

Or maybe I'll catch the VP debate this week....


Sunday, September 14, 2008


When I was in the tenth grade, I remember my algebra teacher snapping his fingers and clapping his hands while saying to me ‘Jessica, the action is up here’ and pointing to the chalk board where he was busy creating calculations for us to memorize. Meanwhile, I was looking out the window mesmerized by the flying snow that had just begun. I am still overcome with that same amazement here when I watch the sunsets, the oncoming storms, the mountains and rolling desert lands. When in the company of all this simple and pure beauty, one hardly needs to meditate.

I find that it becomes a lot easier to find your truth when being in nature. I like the phrase that I heard somewhere – ‘the only guru is God’, and for me God is found in it’s most clear form in nature.

A lot of people who come to the ranch have lost contact with their center and so they come here to do the work to again become connected with their truth - who they are. We refer to this way of living as authentic and congruent. A lot of the symptoms of incongruence that people come here to deal with are created by stuffing one's truth in order to create 'harmony', albeit superficial, within community. Whether it’s eating disorders, alcohol abuse, lack of boundaries, stress, busyness, health issues – these are all linked with incongruence or a stuffing of one’s truth.

While here, folks again connect with what is right for them. It’s the work with the horses, the community and the land here that support their transformation. The next step comes when going back into their previous lives with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers and remaining embodied and empowered in their truth, instead of dropping back into their false-self. When in community and dealing with others who are disconnected – folks who are needy on both sides of the scale either with big egos or in their small self – it can be difficult to maintain one’s center. Creating harmony and community means understanding where folks are coming from and to better understand their perspective, sometimes we take on their stuff and over time think it is ours. Again, losing our center.

Though I never met the woman who co-founded the Buffalo Woman Ranch, Charlie McGuire, I imagine that she was good at holding onto her center in the midst of conflict and creating community. This takes a special kind of strength. From some of the stories I have heard, it also created some strife as she did not buy into or try and calm others’ neediness or egos. This at times created conflict as you can imagine, but it was her theory that if they got mad about her interaction with them, that was their problem. People either really appreciated her honesty and authenticity, or they were offended and felt bruised. She was able to create a large community by being congruent and inspired others to become empowered, as well. Finding your center here (or wherever you go to get centered) and then making it stick in community and especially during conflict with others is definitely where the rubber meets the road. The best advice we have to do this is to stay present, in your body, listen to your body's messages (these are pure signals), and be true to who you are and what you stand for. When you are being present and true to yourself, you are always in good company.