The Calm Amid the ChaosOct 18, 2023
It was a sunny spring day and my horses Breeze & Isabella were out grazing in the field. I was close by in the barn when I heard a thunderous commotion. I recognized the sound of galloping hooves and smiled. They both loved careening around, especially in each other’s company. I continued on with my chores until I realized the sound of hooves pounding on the ground had gone on longer than usual.
I arrived at the field to investigate and quickly realized by their snorts and high tails that their adrenaline was pumping in full force. It can be quite a sight to witness one horse, never mind two, in full instinctual flight mode. I called to them from the gate but they kept galloping, unaware of my presence. With each stride they took their energy climbed, as they each fed of the others adrenaline as well as their own. It was clear what they needed, so I decided to take action.
I entered the field and walked into the middle in silence. There I stood, feeling my feet on the earth, allowing senses to pull me deeply into the present moment. Rather than allowing my body to respond to the intensity of the galloping horses, I used my breath to calm my heart rate and my nervous system. I found my own peace within the chaos that surrounded me.
Moments after entering this deep, wordless state of presence I was flanked by two snorting horses. Their bodies finally still, their nervous systems synchronizing with mine, their world began to slow down to match my own. By finding my own inner calm within that moment, I had created a safe space for Breeze and Isabella to do the same.
When so many things around us seem to be swirling outside our control, it is easy to allow ourselves to be swept up in the chaos of fear and emotion. We have forgotten how interconnected we are and it can be hard to decipher if the underlying anxiety we feel is our own or if we are sensing into the overwhelming emotions of the world around us.
Like Breeze and Isabella, our world needs leaders who are calm amid the chaos. We need to be our own calm, as the world whirls around us.
How do we do that? It’s simpler than you may think.
Mindfulness helps us to track our inner life, to make friends with and eventually influence the thoughts, emotions and body sensations within us. It is a daily practice we can incorporate into all aspects of our life, and is not limited to seated meditation. In fact, I learned to be mindful through working with horses long before I started a daily meditation practice. The great part is, the more we practice being mindful, the more present, resilient and grounded we become.