“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Aesop
Thanksgiving represents different things to different people. For some, it’s a time of gathering. For others, it kicks off a spending spree. It’s a chance to honestly review our country’s true history. It may be a significant reminder of the season, or of anniversaries, or memorials. It’s often nostalgic. The sights, the smells, the sounds…they take us back in a heartbeat.
For me, it’s literal: Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. Simple as that. Every day can be Thanksgiving. Right now, in November 2020, it is so important to acknowledge the gifts we receive...even when times are hard.
As I sit here this morning, I think of my life as its own microcosm, and I sense its place within an infinite universe. How amazing, that our own lives can be so important to us, and that we can feel such vast and dynamic emotions, and yet…we are such tiny specks! We view the world through our extremely limited experiences, but somehow we are capable of empathizing with others. Wow.
I often think about how lucky I am, to live freely, as a woman, in this part of the world, and in this day in age…making my own choices, forging a path, having a say…with a roof over my head, water to drink, food to eat, access to medical care, the ability to communicate, support of my family, a network of friends, and of course the love of my beautiful animals.
I am thankful for this life. Is it always good? No. Sometimes it feels horrible. But today, you and I, we are lucky to be here.
Horses allow me to bring peace to my life and to those around me. They have given me the greatest gift of all, in that.
They require us to be present in the moment, in our bodies, and in our lives. They respond to aggression and violence, yes. But they will not connect without stillness and kindness. They remind us that communication requires safety, that respect requires reciprocation, and that love requires vulnerability.
They teach me these lessons every single day. I make mistakes and I learn through their forgiveness.
They instill in me a constantly evolving vocabulary, and they give me permission to share it with others. The people I meet take it to their horses, or translate it and give it back to me, distilled. We witness each others’ experiences and we carry them into our interactions with other animals…or, with other humans!
These encounters live in our hearts forever. They become more beautifully complex with us. As we grow, they take on new meanings, until they inform our very way of being.
We can look to the horses as teachers. We can humble ourselves to their lessons:
We can be genuine. We can be kind. We can be fair.
We can be available. We can be accountable.
We can ask for help. We can forgive.
We can be peaceful.
We can love. We can receive love.
We can give thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving, to all of you, and to your perfect animals!