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Reconnection and Horses

How my journey of reconnecting to my indigenous roots became a huge component to my way with horses

In a forum not too long ago, there was a comment that mentioned that the the effortless connection shared between horse and human was incomparable to a fluid dance between two partners, and that people were delusional, that the real world wasn't like the movie Avatar, and that that was a fantasy. My heart immediately sank. So seldom is indigenous knowledge part of these conversations, and statements like this make that so obvious to me.

Ever since I was little, I knew that I experienced life differently than most people. My journey of reconnecting began before I was even aware of what that even meant. Because honestly, I was never disconnected, but rather conditioned to forget, but some things are so powerful that try as many did, I would always remember. Often labeled as too sensitive, my sensitivity made me aware of many things that most people seemed to overlook in this modern world. The biggest and most important of these things is the interconnectedness of all life and our ability to tap into that connection. I could always connect and feel everything. The vibration of the ground, the power of water, the breath of trees and the emotion of wind. They were a part of me and I them. And I often wondered why I was the strange one for being connected to what we are, and they were seen as "normal" for disconnecting from the earth. It just didn't make sense to me.

When I broke away and was able to go on my own path of discovery in my very early 20's, I began to learn how to truly tap into this connection, to the medicine that the earth abundantly provides. So much of this journey has been more so an unlearning of the colonial ways to allow myself to truly tap into everything that I am... a healer, a warrior. I reached out to Taino/arawak native communities to learn more about my ancestors and whatever native culture was not taken from us. I got as many books as I could and read all of them at least once. I began teaching myself some of our native language. The more I broke down, the more I chiseled away, the more I have been able to come into my own indescribable power. In my earlier stages of reconnection, I had no clue how to put what I felt into words. and honestly there are still few words in the english language that can even touch on describing it.

But when the movie Avatar came out, I couldn't help but tear up. I felt seen, and for the first time I felt that what I've always felt had been portrayed. While yes it is a fictional movie about a planet that to my knowledge doesn't exist, the acknowledgement of the connection native people have to all living things and the earth was very much so real and portrayed in a very obvious way of the Na'Vi physically connecting to trees, the ground, each other and animals. We do the same. Though it may not be obvious to those who don't know how to look, it is very much so real.

I'm sure that if I took the time to really sit here and remember when the first time was that I was able to tap into this connection and medicine, that I could. But I feel compelled to talk about one special instance of connection that has had a really big impact on me in more recent years. One Summer, I went down to Charleston and on my way back home, stopped to visit the Angel Oak. For those of you who are not familiar, she is an old live oak tree thought to be over 400 years old, a wise elder who has been around for generations. Before even getting close to her I could feel her, her energy powerful and unyielding. The closer I got, the stronger she felt, and I was in absolute awe. I crouched down to one of her many sprawling and winding branches and touched her. Then she truly let me in and I was hit with an overwhelming wave of emotion. Surrounded by people, I couldn't compose myself and just stayed there crouched with her crying. She shared with me her pain, hurt and sorrow and it was HEAVY. It was hard to not feel overwhelmed by what she had to say and what she let me in on. We shared it together, and at the end I couldn't help but smile as she shared with me something else... that despite all of the pain, she was happy. Happy that now instead of being a place of pain, people gathered and stood in awe of her beauty while children laughed and played in her branches.

Sure you can read that and think me crazy, but I know better than to allow myself to fall into that trap ever again. I will not see myself through colonized eyes and think that such an intense and beautiful moment that another living being shared with me was all in my head, it happens far too often for it to just be happenstance. But I will leave it at that and let you interpret that in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. So what does this have to do with horses? EVERYTHING

When you strip away restriction and allow yourself to be open to all living things, so much becomes so clear. In sharing this medicine, my love Mandi taught me so much, and continues to teach me to this day even though she is no longer here. Both mine and her connection to the earth opened up so much for me. Though I've always been an animal person, with her I had the ability to learn on an intimate level how to tap into this medicine. Not just in "working" with her, but all horses as I allowed myself to open up in a way that I was able to feel what they needed, what hurt and how, what made them happy and how to help them become the best and happiest versions of themselves. And while I still can't quite put it into words, this wisdom is something that will stay with me forever, is indescribably special and I am eternally grateful.

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