In truth each day is a universe in which
we are tangled in the light of stars.
HORSES - Jim Harrison
Happy Summer!! I have just returned from a perfectly wonderful summer week where I was immersed with horses and art, friendship and family. It was exactly what I needed, being in nature, connecting with my loved ones and being with horses.
During the week I was able to attend an amazing workshop combining the expressive arts and equine therapy for releasing and responding to trauma. The workshop entailed learning many different practices to ground our nervous systems through art making and being with horses.
Ancient wisdom and recent research has shown that experiences such as meditation, art making, bilateral-stimulation and being in nature help us self regulate by calming our nervous systems and releasing stress and trauma. We have also learned that being near horses lowers our heart rate. Being in proximity to horses and interacting with them naturally slows us down, we attune to them and as we slow they respond. Human heart rates vary between 60-100 beats per minute while horses heart rates are around 28-40 beats per minute. No wonder so many of us are drawn horses! I know for myself after a day at the barn I am always deeply refreshed and renewed.
During the workshop, one of the most beautiful practices I participated in was doing Qigong in a pasture with five horses and a mule! Qigong involves moving meditation, coordinating slow-flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and a calm meditative state of mind. Being with the horses, doing Qigong and being outside on a beautiful summer day was a powerful and moving experience.
I created Qigong horse (image at the left) in the field after our movement practice, incorporating elements of Qigong, using circular, rhythmic movements with both hands.
All the materials that I used to create her were from nature, she was painted with a crow feathers (one in each hand) and the paint was mixed natural earth pigments (minerals such as mica and red ochre) with egg white and walnut oil to create a tempera type paint. She was also created on site, in view of the horses and pasture.
In Jim Harrisons poem, Horses, he says, "In truth each day is a universe in which we are tangled in the light of stars." I hope that his words and this site inspire you to spend time in the natural world this summer, whatever that means for you. Perhaps to pull over to the side of the road and allow yourself to breathe in this light filled season. Perhaps to spend time with animals or anyone that brings you close to your heart, your creativity, your friends and family.