Thursday, November 18, 2010

Embracing the Darkness

I’ve been trying to embrace the darkness. Instead of hating that it gets dark before I even set my foot out the door to come home, I have been trying to make good use of the change, such as spending time hibernating at home with my husband, and taking the opportunity to spend undemanding time snuggling and grooming my horses. As I was enjoying my beautiful Lucy tonight and combing the massive amount of burrs out of this normally quite prim pony’s tail (it’s usually Bucky I have to worry about- I’m pretty sure he ROLLS in them...), I was reminded of why I often call her my Wild Indian Pony. I’m not sure what she loves more, greeting me with a sweet nuzzle to the neck and resting her head on my shoulder, or leading a wild bucking and running frenzy across the field with her friends when I come to catch her .

She is rather interesting in the herd as well, though by nature she often seems passive, she also never lets any of the boys push her around if she doesn’t want to. Her quiet place in the herd can quickly turn into a nasty face to protect her space. She has been interesting as my partner as well. She has shown up as a firm and opinionated teacher, yet also an obedient and willing partner.

Lucy has a swirl at the curve of her neck where a brown spot and a white spot meet. It creates a perfect symbol of what I have discovered her personality to be. It is a graceful brown and white yin-yang.

The Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang refers to the opposite forces of nature which, as they act in turn, give rise to the other. It speaks of balance and interdependence. It comes from observation of the cycles and patterns of the universe and earth, and the symbol itself is actually a picture of the charted cycle of the winter and summer solstices.

In western thought, we often think of this philosophy as the balance between good and bad. In fact we Americans are obsessed with ideas of good and evil. Look at our favorite stories, our religions, and even our penal system. However, this philosophy does not speak of what is good or bad, merely what is opposite, yet interdependent. It does not weigh whether the yin is better than the yang. I cannot pretend to be any type of expert on this subject, but what I have gathered are that the yin and yang are three things: It is change, It is natural, and because it is natural, it has ease.

In looking at our own nature, we can see the lights and the darks. All too often, however, we are prone to judge them. As I have sat with my clients at work this week I have seen the darkness in their nature come to a head until it turns into a reflection of light. I have seen hate expressed until it turns to love, and back to hate again, for the hope of love in the future. The cycles of our emotions and relationships need these interdependent opposites. Our anger and hate and hurt is all a part of our bodies and brains working on being healthy and whole. Our sicknesses and so-called faults are all a part of us expressing who we were created to be.

It is simple, easy, and natural for Lucy to be a wild pony one minute and a golden angel the next. It can also be simple, easy, and natural for us to accept who we are and who others are in all our holy and unholy forms. This is the cycle of change. The summer can only come if winter has taken it away first. We can only love and accept ourselves if we allow ourselves to embrace our darkness first.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fear Itself

In honor of the Halloween season, I am currently working on scaring the crap out of myself. Its not an easy job; it takes a lot of thought. A lot of morbid, tense, irrational thought. Lucky for me, I have a good deal of practice. In case you are looking for guidance in how to totally work yourself up emotionally, here’s the how to: First, It’s always a good idea to work on developing fear in the places that you would most like to not have it, such as regarding something you love the most, or really enjoy doing. After all, what good is being afraid if it doesn’t affect your life much? Once you have determined the most unsuitable area of your life to create anxiety, then, try to think about the worst thing that could possibly happen. We can get really creative here. For example, have you ever thought while driving down the road at night that some little kids will just run out if front of your car, and then you squash them? That’s pretty scary. How about thinking about coming home to your house burnt to the ground, all your kittens and guinea pigs crispy inside? Classic fear right there. Like I said, you have to be creative. My personal favorite is to think about all the crazy things that could happen while driving a horse trailer. I’ve got a whole beautiful list!

Another extremely valuable tactic to use to raise your fear and anxiety levels is to think about a time that something relatively scary happened to you, such as a car accident, or someone getting sick or hurt, and then make a blank generalization across the board that such things are always in the wings waiting for you. Its helpful to exaggerate them a bit, and really obsess about the danger out there lurking. I like to think about past car accidents that I have been involved in (which have all been very minor), and then imagine how gory they could actually be. Here’s a good tip: think about what COULD have happened....Lots of material to work with there. The bigger and more often you can get yourself to have these obsessive scary thoughts, the more scared you will be! And that IS what we are going for, now ISN’T it? (moooaaa-aaa-aaa)

And finally, if you really want to allow your fear to take hold of your life, let it keep you from doing what you love! After all, you wouldn’t want everyone in the entire town to obsessively talk about that little fumble you made in your speech, and therefore shun you from any all all social events for the rest of your life. You absolutely would NOT want to LIVE if that girl didn’t really like you, besides, she would probably throw her entire dinner plate right in your face (oh, the horror!), and most likely slit your tires and get her crazy girlfriends (who just happen to have access to medical supplies) to put some whacked out drugs in your lunch! You may want to give up driving, for sure, and relationships..... If fact you should probably never leave your house at all, I mean, who else will save the guinea pigs from roasting? Whatever you do, do not, I repeat DO NOT follow your dreams!!!

Remember, YOU are in control of your fear. They say the greatest fear is fear itself. I know that if you try hard enough, and with these tips, you can be successful at creating a truly outstanding level of anxiety, paranoia, and good old-fashioned fear in your life. Hope you hate it!!