A unique 28 day program in Equine Facilitated Writing.
28 days of writing/28 ways of the horse – daily wisdom and writing prompts for any writer seeking nourishment and motivation – through nature and the way of the horse, at home.
Make it your own. Shuffle days, repeat days, skip back and forward – it doesn’t matter. (There are seven days in each week section including two ‘rest’ days).
There are no rules.
Just as a horse cannot be rushed to do things, so too do words need time to make their way through us and to the page. A rushed horse raises its head in indignation, refuses our requests and will be wired with adrenaline. Front hooves lock into the earth and the very energy from which life is drawn will shudder to a halt. The spaciousness needed to be with a horse, to write, becomes crowded out by both demand and expectation. Our writer’s potential suffocates and words dam up behind a wall of impatience that humans know well, but horses cannot comprehend.
Patience is more than just a moment-to-moment construct. We will take a long breath and tell ourselves we are now showing patience but with a horse, one breath is only the beginning. Patience lays bare her virtues in a relationship with a horse over months and years – decades if you are fortunate – and writing requires us to give it that same dedication.
There is no value in rushing and impressing a ‘rule’ or action on a horse. Rather we stand alongside them and support the emerging wonder and unique aptitudes that horse has. We are in it forever and there is no rush. They are willing if we let them be.
Writing is an act of gentle patience most of all with ourselves. If we imagine ourselves as horses, as the wild animals of instinct we already are, we can step into a ‘sense of time and space’ that exists without clock time and without fear or hurriedness. Patience helps us coax the best of ourselves to the page, a place where all our worlds converge and our words become meaningful and bright. Patience is forever. Writing is forever more.
TO WRITE: Spend a few minutes writing about what patience feels like in your body.
(C)Lindy Schneider 2017
It is not within a horse’s realm of consciousness to procrastinate. The horse doesn’t stand idly in the paddock wondering when to do something, or second guessing what tomorrow will look like. The horses doesn’t look for obstacles to them doing exactly what they want to do when they seek to do it. In this way they are pure ‘in the moment’ beings and their attention turns in each second to the very thing that is the most important thing to them. Not tomorrow not next week, just now.
It is this purity of intent that makes them trustworthy and honest to their word. If this moment calls them to run, they embrace full expression and run; if the moment takes them to rest, they stand with soft eyes and simply let themselves be
For me this realisation feels like a relief in the depth of my bones. As writers, the pressure we apply to ourselves that we must write at a certain time or produce a certain amount is so often at odds with out creative flow, and certainly an unfathomable concept in the mind of the horse. What if, instead, we practise horse ways and become more attuned to our own needs in the moment? If when the idea or inspiration first sparks in our hearts, we simply focus on that moment and take up our pens. Not tomorrow, or in our next planned writing session but in that very moment that we are taken by the words. Leave that conversation, stop making lunch, pull over in the car. If we let words come when they need to we are opening to a stream, a rushing wellspring of possibility – all made available to us moment by moment, breath by breath. A horse knows what it is to follow feeling to guide their worlds, let’s follow our own feelings to guide our words.
TO WRITE: Spend a few minutes to write yourself a permission slip for ‘nothing to do today’.
Horses have no concept of busyness. If you tried to explain it to them they would simply turn and walk away. In fact, that’s exactly how they respond when we approach them with busy minds, or in a state of heightened action. Modern life means many of us are living in highly anxious states – constantly high levels of adrenaline is a modus operandus and mostly we’re too busy to even notice.
Horses interpret this adrenaline as reason to experience fear – our busyness actually makes them feel unsafe – no wonder they leave.
One of the first casualties of busyness is our creativity. Clutter in the mind obscures the radiance of our own hearts and our words will find it hard to make themselves heard
To cultivate a state of non-busyness is to open the pathways to our muse – to the sense of freedom and flow that makes our words rich and real. We cannot write in our fullest potential without the clarity of this openness. Busyness is a blockage that only we can truly manage.
Creativity and spaciousness go hand in hand and if we look to our equine companions we can easily see an example of what the optimal level of activity might be for ourselves. In a world that measures personal success by busyness it can be difficult to unplug from the myth but if we are able to slow into a space of conserving our energy and our time for our creative pursuits then we may just be set free so that we can step into the places that nourish us most.
TO WRITE: Spend a few minutes doing nothing, every opportunity you get, Period. Forever…
The mare who is my heartsong came to me as a scared young girl, harshly trained and fearful of putting a step wrong. It’s taken hours of patient loving and reassurance to soften her edges and build a faithful relationship with her. I had it in my head that for her to feel safe I should walk her through terrain first before I rode her and this had become ingrained in my way with her.
Today I realised it showed my lack of faith in her. So, I rode a new paddock, alone, with the intention of trusting how we are together. And I realised it takes just a little step like this each day to achieve the miracles we seek.
I think it’s like this with writing too. We sit in places of our own limits – constructed carefully and for the right reason but forgetting that boundaries are also restrictions. What would it be like to have faith in ourselves and faith in our words? To evidence that faith in tiny increments by each day asking a little more of our relationship with our words. You can’t help but reach a destination and it may well be your wildest dream.
TO WRITE: Spend a few minutes, or as long as you can, writing about something you’d never write about usually – perhaps even something dark, or outside your comfort zone. When you feel an edge, push past it by writing one more sentence. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write.