By Lori Hanson
How often do you really connect with somebody or something? When you make a solid connection you know it and it feels good all over. Now let me clarify that I’m not talking about a romantic connection, although it is full of warm fuzzies too. But what I’m referring to is making a connection that is so deep because you are totally in that moment–tuned in, fully present and absorbed.
It takes practice to get to the point of being fully engaged and in the moment. For most people this is difficult because they are caught up in the next moment and what they’re going to do, or need to do, or pissed about the last moment and stewing about what already happened. Learning to live in and stay in the moment you’re in is one of the critical keys to calming the chaos and reducing stress.
This is something I practice when Sasha and I go for our morning walks. On the weekends we have two routes we take that are longer. It takes us an hour, but we walk down a couple of country roads near our house and visit the neighborhood. What’s cool about our path is we encounter all kinds of animals.
One of Sasha’s favorite things is to go see the horses that are close by. One barn has five horses that are very friendly, but we can’t get close to them because a ravine is between us. On the other side is a home with alpaca’s and horses, one of which is a gorgeous Clydesdale (best known for their Budweiser ad appearances). We always stop and talk to them so they know us.
In full disclosure, my affinity for horses started years ago. Growing up, in the “formative” years we lived on 5 1/2 acres just outside Columbus, Ohio. We had horses and used to ride them in the fifteen acre field next to our house. What I loved best was riding bare-back (no saddle) and sometimes without a halter either. It breeds a special connection between you and this incredible animal. I love animals and always have. I have my favorites, but part of what I love about animals is their purity of spirit and communication. So for me, this is a great place to practice being in the moment and making a connection.
This morning was extra special. After a short conversation with the five horses on one farm that were busy eating breakfast we walked a few feet farther to visit with the alpacas and horses on the other side. I called to them and got all three horses to come fairly close s to us. They all stood there ears forward tuned in and listening intently as I talked to them. Then even Sasha who is usually jumping about in excitement, sat and watched them.
I was totally absorbed in that moment, in awe of the size of the incredible Clydesdale and how proudly he walked. I pegged one horse as the impish playful one and the third seemed pretty shy. We must have stood there for about seven minutes. Nothing else mattered but what was happening in that moment. We made a heart to heart connection.
Animals are a great place to start. But just being in nature will bring you the same benefits. Or taking five minutes when you get up or before you go to bed. Be still, listen, be in only the current moment…observe, be fully present and watch what happens.
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