You hear stories of great racehorses digging deep within; harnessing the courage and strength to break away from the pack and win a race. History celebrates these moments of grand triumph as these stories are retold time and again, some even becoming legends.
I want to share a story about a racehorse with just as much courage and strength. However this story happens years after his final race, far away from the cheering crowds and winner’s circle. It happens in my backyard, surrounded by a small herd of horses and a few of us lucky to witness this moment of courage and strength.
This horse retired seven years ago at the ripe age of 8, earning modest winnings with the physical ailments to show for it. Considered one of the “lucky” ones, he was awarded a life in a stall rather than being sent to auction and possibly to slaughter. His most basic physical needs were attended over the years, but not much else was done for him.
Alki is one of several rescued racehorses at Fire Horse Ranch from After The Homestretch Arizona horse rescue. At first glance one sees a handsome bay gelding, but his eyes tell a different story. After he first arrived we gave him time to settle, hoping he’d relax and leave his past behind. He did to an extent, but his interactions with us and the other horses were guarded. His physical ailments were addressed, as well as many Reiki sessions to work on deeper levels. Each Reiki session seemed to help, yet I could always sense when we hit that boundary that no one was allowed to go past.
Last Sunday, at our monthly Animal Reiki Share at FHR several of us made the rounds and worked with the horses. During my time with Alki he slowly began to soften. Just a bit a first, and then relaxed deeper and deeper until we again hit that stoic, invisible boundary. Only this time, something different happened. Before I realized it a sudden burst of heavy, sad emotion moved up from my heart, creating a lump in my throat, causing tears to uncontrollably flow down my cheeks. Martha and Jenn, who were standing nearby working with other horses, also experienced what they described as a heavy wave of emotion washing over them.
As suddenly as it started it was over. We looked at each other trying to make sense of what just happened and then we noticed Alki. He stood relaxed with a soft look and feel to him. There was a feeling of peace coming from him that none of us had ever experienced with him. Instantly we knew he had found the courage to release some of the heavy emotion and energy he’d been carrying with him for so many years.
How many of us carry such emotional burdens within us? The burdens of thoughts, beliefs, experiences, and emotions we’ve collected over the years, tightly stored behind our own barriers; weighing heavily on us as we silently carry them within our heart and soul. How do these things keep us tied to the past and stuck? How would releasing them free us and create space within to embrace love and joy?
Can we dig deep and find the courage and strength to release these things within us like Alki? It does take courage to release and let go of things we’ve carried so long they seem to be part of us. When released, it can even feel like we’ve lost part of ourselves because we’ve used these things as excuses and shields to keep the world out and disconnect us from our own heart and spirit.
Alki is one of my hero’s. He dug deep, harnessed the courage and strength to break away from his past and race forward towards healing, love, and a life of happiness. To me this is a story worthy of re-telling until it becomes a legend. A story we can all embrace, copying this chapter into our own lives.
It takes courage to trust the process, to listen to your heart and embrace love, joy and happiness in a space that was previously closed. It takes strength to move forward and break the patterns and chains that held you in the past. To blaze new trails built on the truth and power of your authentic self. It takes faith in YOU to break free of the pack and run with wild abandon into a life of empowerment that is rightfully yours.
How do you find this courage and strength?
- Surround yourself with people and experiences that support you, just like the place Alki has found. It may mean leaving what you know, but once you’ve created the space and opportunity in your life for new people and experiences you’ll wonder why you waited.
- Trust in yourself. This may be a new experience so allow some wiggle room as you learn to listen to the voice within. It may take some practice.
- Be clear in your intent. Never lose sight of your finish line. Others around you may try to box you in, cut you off, or steer you off track. Again, never lose sight of your finish line – it is uniquely yours.
Is it time to write another chapter in your story – one worthy of re-telling until it becomes a legend?