Exploring what matters most
Exploring what we are
Exploring our why
What is the meaning...? Part Two: A State of Being
I just wrapped up my second session of horse therapy, this time with art therapy included.
It's also my last day in Sedona before I head out for week three of my personal retreat in Flagstaff.
I've taken a month "off" from my regular life/flow to abruptly stop the current I was on and jump into a different stream.
Don't forget, though, that we are where we are... meaning, everywhere you go, you take you with you.
But this change of scenery and pace, the slowness and quiet, the countless neighborhood birds and thunderstorms over the mountains... it's therapy.
I did, quite effectively, get out of that previous current and find a different state of being.
Art Therapy, Horse Therapy
Today in art therapy, we explored two feelings that came to me while we meditated before beginning: "joy" and "lost."
I've been wondering...
What's at the core of all of this, of everything... what is our ultimate tether? The center of centers? The thing we know most and anchor into so that it holds and sustains us throughout our life journey?
I've thought I've known. I've been quite sure and it worked for a long while. Self-love and self-compassion were the tethers I relied on. Quieting the mind in meditation, too.
But they aren't it in full.
My takeaway today is about being.
Let it Get Disorganized and Out of Sorts
We started with a pour painting where I intermingled the colors of yellow and blue, representing the feelings of joy and lost. I first prepared the canvas with white paint (I chose white over black); the facilitator, Penny, commented it was a bit clumpy, but it would be fine.
I then poured yellow and blue paint into a small cup however I saw fit... layering them, spiraling them together, yellow, blue, blue, yellow, yellow. I made sure to use more yellow because, obviously, who wouldn't want more joy and less of the feeling of lost?
Afterward, I poured the paint from the cup onto the canvas. Of course, my first thought was that I hoped I did it "right"... whatever that means. I let that go and just kept pouring, allowing the paint to get a bit disorganized and out of sorts.
After the little cup was empty, we watched how the paint began to spread across the canvas.
A State of Being Where it All Exists
The first thing I noticed was how the colors were bleeding together into a light green. These two feelings I held as quite separate in my being - joy, lost - were coming together, and in fact, had no bounds or boundaries. They were not a single thing and could never be separated. As I watched the green hue widen across the canvas, it steadied me in the present moment. Curious about how it would unfold, I felt a lightness growing in me.
We talked about the shapes I was seeing. I could clearly make out the side profile of a small skeletal figure and a larger one behind it. A story unfolded about my time in utero... a time for my mother of great joy and great loss. Interesting.
Eventually it was time to pick up the canvas and tilt it in whatever ways I wanted to slough off the excess paint and reveal the final design. There was so much yellow and tinges of green- very little blue was left. Curiously, though, a glob of white paint emerged and slid down to reveal a brilliant little patch of purplish-blue streaks in the center of the canvas.
As we looked at the finished design, I first saw a tree... and it was beautiful. It was a state of being.
It showed how feelings coexist, how they all matter, how they support one another. The feeling of "lost" wasn't something to be rejected.
And right there in the center, there was this beautiful core that came through, completely untouched by the other color pattern.
What could that be?
What new thing was coming to be amidst this yellow and green?
Being is What Matters Most
After the painting, we went out to see the horses. I remembered how the first time I met them I was distracted with all of that fear I talked about in the last post.
I didn't feel any of that. I was so much more me, at ease.
Both horses were under a tree this time, mostly still, swatting off flies periodically-
a good representation of how I had been connecting with being more present, still, here.
We went under the tree to meet them. It was uneventful. And I liked that.
We were just standing there, just all in a state of being together.
Eventually the younger, less secure horse came a bit closer to me. You could tell she was unsure. Penny asked me what I was picking up on from her and what I thought she needed.
She was trying to get a read on me.
She needed to know who I was so she could relax.
She was teaching me that, in order for her to feel safe and comfortable, I had to be my authentic self. Otherwise, there was a lack of coherence between who I was energetically and who I was trying to be. Horses know the difference.
As soon as I identified this and it clicked for me, she clearly shifted into ease and walked up to me.
Mind you, I didn't have to do anything.
I just shifted into a more coherent state of being through my awareness.
All at once, she taught me alignment, self-trust, who I truly was... and the incredible importance of those very things if you want to live authentically.
...how little actually mattered if we didn't get that right!
...how being in those ways matters the most because of what it calls into our lives.
...how what comes to us when we aren't in that level of alignment isn't the right fit.
...how what comes to us when we ARE in that level of alignment is true.
What a blessing these horses are, what wise teachers.
Read Part One: FEAR
Read Part Three: NOW
Dr. Cailin O'Hara is a passionate provider, mentor, and forever student of life here to translate her experiences into hope, wisdom and light.