My Time at Zapata Ranch
This last week I have been at the lovely Zapata Ranch in Mosca Colorado at the "Women and Horses in the West" retreat led by Dr. Bonney McDonald, English Professor at West Texas A&M.
The rich landscape teeming with life in its myriad forms is intoxicating at times. From the element of strong winds to the choral sound of birds singing their song of harmonic joy, I have been immersed in this natural world’s true expression. It has provided a time to be still and notice details while experiencing the "whole" as well. It has been a time to drink in the beauty that can be deafening and overwhelming at times. I have slowed down. To "see"and immerse in nature I have realized my mind must slow down to the pace of the ant’s work day. And as that happens, much of what is locked in the cupboards of my inner life gets unlocked; Emotions, ideas, awareness, sounds too busy to hear, visionary exploration. I have loved being able to see the tiniest of bugs flying, beautiful birds travelling through air with intention and grace, to ride on the back of my horse Cheyenne as we travel together deepening our unspoken connection, and hear the song of creation’s unfolding tapestry weaving her strands of love through my breath and being.
I believe we all need to spend time in the natural world for our health and well being. I believe we need to connect to the plants, animals, and minerals and to know our relationship to every other thing. This is what a Medicine Wheel or Circle of Life is – a symbol or map of Life and our interconnection to every other living thing. I believe this heals the loneliness we experience because of our disconnection to the natural world.
While here at Zapata I have been able to see many species of the animal world. The joy it brings to see an animal in its natural habitat is exhilarating and peaceful. I feel I belong to the weaving as I witness the bison herd, our ancient brethren, grazing and moving around, making their sounds, knowing we both have beating hearts that are meant to be here in this moment – connecting our lives with the intimacy of this time and place. I am moved and changed because of this. The hawk and owl in their respective trees show us the freedom of flight in their domain of the sky and the stark raving beauty of their essence.
It is captivating to experience the sun coming up over the mountain range with the layers of earth pulsing with her pink warmth and beauty. I have loved being able to capture these moments of awakening with my camera but most of all just being in the ripening of the day.
I invite you to spend time in the natural world. I invite you to ask the question when encountering an animal in the wild: who are you? What do you need? This question could be asked in any of our relationships to invite an openness and newness even when and especially when we think we KNOW the other. I believe it is essential to our true happiness and peace to connect to the animal world, the plants who give life, and the minerals that hold our earth together. Allow your spirit to enter this place of departure from the busyness of Life. It is much more fun to live within the mystery and discover something new everyday! I invite you to take the time to practice “seeing".
I have immense gratitude for this beautiful biosphere and every place I have been that has helped me slow down, breathe deeper, and notice what is going on around me.
I also have a huge amount of gratitude to Bonney McDonald for her visionary inspiration to gather women and ignite our feminine community with passion for literary exploration, newness and growth.
Have a Soulful Sunday!