Waking up on the day after the recent election was hard. Frankly, I felt that I had been punched in the stomach and hit over the head with a two by four. All day this darkness followed me around and all efforts to self soothe were non productive; as a last ditch effort I headed to the barn where I ride to visit the horses which always makes me feel more peaceful and more in tune with my inner emotions.
Unlike election day, which was mild and pleasant, this day dawned cold, windy, and gray as if winter had suddenly announced itself as a harbinger of what is to come. When I got to the barn it was all closed up and dark, no horses quietly grazing in the fields, no equine heads jauntily poking out of the dutch doors. Inside it was eerily still as I went around to each stall and found one horse after another standing quietly, head bowed, as if grieving a troublesome loss. When I got to the stall of the small Arabian that I ride the most, I stopped, slid open the stall latch and stepped inside. Cosmos seemed preoccupied and after quickly acknowledging my presence with a half hearted head butt he resumed his head hanging with what I detected as a strange mixture of sadness and anxiety. Gently rubbing his withers, I felt a tear slide down my cheek and a great surge of complex emotions rise up from my gut and into my heart. As an artist I tend to be a reflective person, maybe a bit too contemplative for my own good, but I have spent many years earnestly trying to iron out the flaws in my own character, sometimes successfully and often times not so much. But here I was, a twisted ball of emotions with no where else to go and an urgent need to ground myself; for this I had come to the horse.
Yes, I wanted things to be different, but mostly I wanted to understand why and what had upset me so much and how I could move through these feelings and present my best self to the world despite them. Like I have been taught by some wise spiritual leaders, I place my right hand on my gut and my left hand on Cosmos’ belly and try to discern the rumblings within. Maybe because I am a woman, maybe because I am a recent widow, maybe because I have experienced intimidation and bullying from men that I have loved in my past, I now feel that I am vulnerable and exposed, like being out in the elements without food or shelter. For some of you who lived through and remember the sixties, there may be an element of understanding of this predicament; for many of you who are newly outliers or innocents or outside of the mainstream in any way this is a familiar place, a very scary place to be without some kind of support or protection from predators, very much like being an equine who as a prey animal has no defense but to run like hell.
After identifying fear as part of my turmoil, I turn to the sadness. In yoga we use the salutation Namaste which represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. This gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.” I feel the tears and the sadness rising up again into my throat as I place my right hand on my heart and my left on Cosmos’ heart and listen. Today we have a new leader, a new person stepping into the parental role of guidance and care for all of us and not once has he acknowledged my soul or the light that all of our souls can emanate into the world. Not once. For this I grieve, not only for myself, but for the innocents, nature, animals, and the earth itself.
I need some time with this darkness. I need to feel the sadness. Eventually, at some point, I will fall in line and do what I have to do to help this new leader succeed because it is in the best interest of myself, my country, and all those who I have mentioned above to do so. But that does not mean that I do not mourn. That does not mean that I will not remember the things he said about women, minorities, the disabled, and the planet itself.
I throw my arms around Cosmos and bury my head in his mane; I shed my tears in that dark barn on a grey bitter day. I promise him that I will protect him from all predators because that is what a leader promises to ALL his followers. I just wish he had not said those things. It would be a lot easier if he had just not said them.