If I had to answer the question, “What is your calling?” the closest response I could give – hook up and find that connection. It seems like in our society today we keep trying to find ways to separate, yet through internet access, cell phones, blackberries, etc., we appear to be more in touch with each other than ever before. True, technologically speaking, but can we talk to our children? Do we know how our elderly mother or father is feeling when they’re facing assisted living care? Or, what is going on with me? I can’t seem to be able to connect with my feelings or express myself. I’m too busy. This is complex and I don’t claim to know what’s happening here. I just want to present it to you.
If you’ve ever been around horses, you’ve probably heard the names of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. They are pioneers in horse training and animal communication – horse whisperers – who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and seeing in action. When you watch them work with a horse in a round pen, you’ll see something beautiful happening in the dance between man and animal.
There’s a broken link being reconnected where the horse, in his struggles to trust the human again, slowly yields, stops and turns facing the man. This is what is called “hooking up”. You can see it in the horse’s eyes when he makes that choice and looks to the human for help and guidance. It is the beginning of a relationship of give and take, learning from each other and is beautiful to see.
How can we translate this to us? How can we hook up to our husband or wife, our children, co-workers, friends and be truly present with them, plugged into what they’re saying and doing?
Growing up with my parents and sister in a small town southeast of Philadelphia, I learned early that I was living in a home where there was very little communication.
There was much disharmony and mistrust and arguments to the point I wondered if they knew I even existed. This went on throughout their whole lifetime and somehow I always wanted to find a way to help them reconcile with each other. I never knew the root of their issues only the evidence.
When I married and moved out to Colorado, I kept in touch regularly and went back for visits. Each time I went back, I would think, “Maybe, this is the time I can get them to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk where they would consider each other’s feelings and talk it out.” In 1985, my mother died suddenly in her sleep and I flew back to help my Dad and sister.
The arrangements were in disarray in that they had made no preparations and had no money. Dad was a mess, my sister and I were heart broken losing our mother and the opportunity to help them reconnect lost forever. After the burial, I flew back to Colorado and I can remember sitting on the plane still in shock and emotionally numb. I kept asking, “Why?” “Why did they have such a life of arguing and fighting and poverty?” “Why couldn’t they change or see past it?” I couldn’t get over it. It kept rolling over and over in my mind that it seemed like such a waste.
When I got home and went to bed that evening, I still couldn’t shake this and, when I finally fell asleep, I had a vivid dream. I could see my mother with steel cables coiled around her from head to toe. Off to the side, I could see a hand holding a pair of clippers. The hand moved toward my mother and cut each of the cables until she was totally free. I remembered this dream the next day when I awoke and it helped bring closure and peace.
We often are so stuck in our beliefs and how we think things should be. We’re hurt and can’t get past the pain, like my mother. Her trying to control the situation and acting out the pain only made it worse and ruined what life they could have had together.
Are you holding onto something so tight you’re willing to give up your life for it – unable to yield like the horse and consider another way? I learned a big lesson that day – one of compassion. We don’t know what each other’s feeling or the pain but if we can gently give guidance and help point to healing and trust – like the horse whisperer – what a new world this would be.
Where is the human whisperer? There are people out there for you and me: a close friend, relative or someone in your church, who have gentle compassion and can direct us safely to a place where we can trust again and connect to our relationships and a healthy life. We just need to be willing to yield and hook up.
From the kitchen table – Pat