Today I went to see Annie. It's been almost a month since my last visit due to all the usual excuses. Still, as I entered the barn she nickered when I said, hi. She's so forgiving. I love her so much. There's my girl! All beautiful, despite a neglected mane that clearly could use a good pull.
After giving her a big hug and rubbing her face and neck, I put on her halter and lead her out of her stall so that I could muck it out. For this purpose I put her in the small paddock at the back of the barn so that she's close by in case she gets nervous.
Horses are herd animals. Being out all alone can make them a bit anxious. Annie's comfy in what we call the "gravel" paddock, gravel because there's not much grass in there. I can keep a close eye on her and she can hear me and her pals inside.
When I was up by the manure spreader dumping Annie's stall muck, I could see her start to roll in a patch of mud in the center of the gravel. It made me laugh as I fumbled to capture the moment on my phone. Happiness just filled me up!
In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin quotes a commenter to her blog who wrote:
"I would name the natural world as a spiritual teacher... Western culture assumes that only a human can teach spirituality, but in Indigenous worldview, any creature, any natural element can be a teacher. We can learn a lot if we learn to listen to and observe the natural world."
While I was reading Eckhart Tolle's wonderful book, The Power of Now, it tickled me every time he mentioned his cat, which was often! How great is it that he collaborated with illustrator Patrick McDonnel to create Gaurdians of Being?
"When you pet a dog or listen to a cat purring, thinking may subside for a moment and a space of stillness arises within you, a doorway into Being." ~Eckhart Tolle
Annie, and my dog, I can't forget him, have taught me as much about living in the moment as any one person, maybe more. To find gratitude in small things like a patch of mud in the paddock, appreciate how all of my senses work in harmony, the smell of sweaty horse, leather and barn, the sight of a big sky full of heavy rain clouds about to burst, letting go of the high-tech stress of the world to focus on lifting a pitchfork full of manure...
Having Annie in my life invites me to take part in all of this just by being and I am so much the better for it.
Thank you, Annie. Namaste, sweet baby girl.
Do you have your own animal guru? A cat or bird? Gerbil, alpaca? Please tell us about your special animal and how he/she makes a difference in your life and peace of mind. Just click on the comment tab below. :)