“… in every moment we are carried perfectly by a generosity larger than we can fathom that exceeds the boundaries of imagination
That spreads our shoulders wide and clothes them in the skin of cranes
Shirts of blue gray feathers born to the wind that stretch our arms wide wind coming NorthSouthEastWest, saying
Accept an invitation. Fly.”
(From ‘The Crane Wife)
I’m living in my car because I need to believe I am capable of accepting an invitation. Because I need to escape patterns of scarcity culture that keep me falling away from dreams.
When this June draws to a close, I will get in my gypsy-caravan-car and drive 36 hours to Elgin, Texas to do an apprenticeship with Rupert Isaacon and Iliane Lorenz, who do amazing work with autistic kids and horses. Using experiential methods developed by Rupert while working with his own autistic son (and a Mongolian journey documented in his book ‘The Horse Boy’ and a full length film of the same name), Horse Boy Method combines classical dressage, backriding, rule based games, academic lessons, tricks, and sensory work carried by a spirit of engagement, spontaneity, creativity and joy that is opening connection and communication, activating learning centres in the brain, and transforming the lives of autists and their families.
I’ve worked with horses since I was 7, and pursued a career as a trainer and rider through my late teens and early 20’s. Disillusioned by the world of equestrian sport, I began to explore alternative ways of relating to horses. I completed a certification to do Equine Guided Learning in 2010, but something still seemed to be awry: I missed the synergy of the human body moving with a horse’s, and the precise level of subtlety that elevated fine riding onto a spiritual plane. It seemed that by interacting with horses on the ground, we were missing an important piece of their magic. Almost a year ago I was ‘adopted’ by a large red gelding named Dublin, who has partnered with me in exploring ways of integrating some of the EFL concepts into my riding, and then sharing them with the kids we are teaching to ride through my business, Mountain Horse School. At the same time I began working as an assistant to an Autistic boy at a Waldorf School, which has been a wonderful and challenging experience, challenging mostly because I feel I was forcing the boy I am working with to fit into a ‘normal’ box rather than meeting him where he is. When I had another look at Rupert and Iliane’s Horse Boy Work, it was like the continental plates underneath my life- that deep end ancient bedrock that recognizes truths our rational minds can’t explain- began to move. There was so much synthesis of so many elements of my life, a coming together of so many of the paths I’ve pursued. I started looking at certifications and ways I integrate some of their work into my own practice. There was a certification in Ontario in May, but I figured that if I was going to go to Ontario to get certified, I might as well go as far as Texas and go right to source. Then I started looking at their working student program, and got in touch with Iliane to see if they had any openings for the summer. They did. I submitted their 10 page application, a riding video, 4 references, and waited.
“Looks good so far” Iliane wrote. And then, a few days later: “Get ready for a hot summer in Texas.”
I was in.
The next question was how I was going to make it happen. My job as Special Needs Assistant is long in satisfaction, but short on financial reward. I had no savings. It seemed impossible that I would be able to free myself from having to work for the summer- never mind paying the working student fee and travel expenses there and back. But as Goethe’s famous quote reminds us:
“...the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too… Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
So aside from the obvious considerations like saving a few months rent and gas money, I made my moving into my car a ceremony. A closing of the gates on the world of ‘could nots’. A red flag waving. Saying not rebellion, but courage. Not belief in scarcity, but belief in abundance. Begin. By living smaller there were less complications, less drama. My world has become entirely self-contained and focused. And while I don’t see that extreme of independence being sustainable over the long term (as humans are more tribally motivated and innately tied to the collective then we are willing to admit), it is an excellent place from which to balance, to still myself so I can proceed in collection towards the horizon, the still point of the moving world on which focus rests, and leads the eye, which leads the rest of the body.
Accept an invitation. Fly…