It was a little hard to have a productive therapy session with the high pitched screaming and thunk of hooves hitting the boards that was coming from the barn. Smoke, the handsome black horse that had come to the farm about three months ago had been steadily making his presence known to the herd, and the gelding in the stall next to him was getting an earful. Though the aura of terror in the stalls was irritating, I could understand his point. Horses have dominance conversations all the time. It's just that it seemed to be gettin worse, rather than resolving. So I was thankful when it was time for Smoke to go out to the field, with his pasturemate Buddy, who he had been getting along with nicely. As I turned Smoke loose in the night and fumbled with Buddy's halter, I was nearly knocked over by a blast of black hide and hair flying towards the innocent paint horse. And before I could regroup, it happened again. I was on my toes the third time around, however, and after the two were successfully turned out, the drama appeared over as quickly as it started. A couple days later, Smoke gave a lovely therapeutic riding lesson, like a trustworthy mount with a true calling.
I have been finding myself the victim of a dark horse lately. It rears it's ugly head mostly when I am alone. It sounds like grumbling, complaining, anger, greed. It assumes something negative before anything is present. The dark horse has a very limited focus, and generally feeds itself. And then, just when I an afraid it will swallow me up, something happens, and the dark horse is brought out into the light. It gets held up to reality. To connection, to feedback, to a smile and truth. And shakes out its mane and it simmers down.
So I wonder at myself and this dark horse I have. How does one navigate between the waves of dark and light that show up? How can you tell the difference between the horse in the stall next to you that you just met, and the one you've been friends with for weeks, and not attack the wrong one?
Wait and see.
Night turns into day. Shadows turn into evidence. Hold your dark horse up to the light, you might find him warm and happy in the sun, ready to nuzzle your chest and lick your hand. Maybe just hold those thoughts for a while and see if they change. Our problem often is that we believe everything we think. Have you ever noticed that you tend to think the same things over and over? Same gripes, complaints and problems? Brains are very programmable, but we often don't pay any attention to what we are programming. We don't leave any room for creative process in our thoughts. No room for possibility.
Taking your dark horse to the light might look different for everyone. It might mean sharing your feelings with a trusted friend. It might mean excersizing to get out of your head. It might mean therapy, or just taking a break. Once the light has cracked in, make room with it. Create. And know that the dark horse will come again. You just may know better than to believe it this time.