I saw the movie Buck tonight, a documentary on the inspiring Buck Brannaman, a “horse whisperer”. He was badly beaten as a child, so he knows that force does not invite cooperation, only fear. He learned from his childhood how to create trust.

I am reminded of my own equine therapy, participated in after I finished chemotherapy and was finishing radiation. We worked with energy and intention to direct first another person, and then, after practice and understanding, a horse. We also had an opportunity to be the horse, to feel the direction from our “human” come to us through their body language and intention. Then, we worked with a real horse, and felt the love that pours from a huge, trusting horse heart.

The horse was a direct mirror for our mood. In the movie, it said to never approach a horse after eating a cheeseburger. I had never thought about it, but, of course that makes sense. A horse is a prey animal, a herd animal. If we approach smelling of meat, and hop onto their back, we are like a lion to them. Their response is fear. How do we approach an animal, person, situation calmly enough and with enough awareness to not cause fear?

That is the practice, the reason we pause to feel our own breath, our own heart, to honor what we want and need. We can whisper care and compassion with attention to how we send and receive.