By: Deb Kitchenmaster

Have you ever received from a horse? I have had the absolute pleasure to be able to help out and work with horses recently. I work a desk job during the week, so getting out to do some old-fashion, manual labor on the weekend feels really good. Especially when it’s with horses!

I usually like going out to help with the horses when I’m in a bit of a funk. Not knowing what else to do, I tell myself, “You know what. I’m going to go see the horses; they usually help me out.” One week I had a lot of stress and worry in my world at the time. Anything from dealing with legal matters, changing jobs/careers, finances, etc. I was thinking I wasn’t doing enough to be productive, and well, just feeling that sense of satisfaction with myself. I figured if I was just able to DO more, I would feel so much
better. Little did I know that the more I did, the less I felt better with myself and about everything, but I kept moving forward and saw the horses.

As I was there mucking stalls and saying ‘Hi’ to all the horses, there came a time where we needed to take the horses out of their stalls one by one to get the Bobcat lift in there to help rake up the stalls. So, I took the horses out one by one so we could do that easily. Eventually, it came to one stall that had two horses in it, Chip and Tootsie. I took the two horses out and to the front of the barn; we hung out there for a while since their stall was one of the largest there. As I was standing there with the horses, they just kept moving and being very antsy. I started to get annoyed that the horses just weren’t being still, and started to feel a little embarrassed that I wasn’t able to keep the horses settled while they were outside their stall.

After 15-20 minutes of restlessness, I asked them a question. I asked, “Hey! What do I need to DO for you guys to settle down and just hang out with me?” Chip looked at me, and what went through my head was, “There is nothing else you need to DO, what about try receiving?” Right there I stopped what I had been choosing to do up to that point — all the ‘DOing’ I’d been trying to…well, DO! I looked back at him and said, “You’re right, I’ll try receiving.” So I stood there, placed my hand on him, took a deep breath in and out, and got real present with them. I started to notice the nature around us, and the earth beneath our feet/hooves. And to the best of my ability, I just received — from the horses, from the trees, from the earth, and most of all from me!

As Chip looked at me, I got the sense that I’d been doing the best d___ job I could be doing up until that point. It was time to put the hustle-and-bustle down and receive from everything that was there waiting to contribute to me. I knew right there that everything that had been going on in my world was going to be just fine. As I started to just be with that, the horses calmed down and were just hanging out with me. Through this one weekend, the horses showed me that the ‘satisfactory feeling’ I’d been searching for didn’t come from DOing something, it came from receiving everything.

-Michael Barranco