I have been exploring the topic of Self-Love recently, what that concept means, and how it shows up in my life personally. As I often do, I looked to my horses to explore what insights their way of being in the world could help me better understand mine.
As I stood watching my herd in the pasture and reflecting on how they experience and express Self-Love, their world felt so distant from my own. It was almost like a disconnect. The answer didn’t flow easily to me because I can’t relate to their way of being in the world, which is a world without ego. Without social constructs, and judgments. Without analytical, thinking thoughts. Without second guesses, and self-doubt. I knew the answer wasn’t going to come from watching their interactions, but by interacting with them.
“That’s it!”, I thought. I have come to a higher place of Self-Love, in part through my interactions with horses! It is through living a life with horses I have cultivated character and traits that I genuinely love about myself. Because of the horses, I have a great deal of self-reliance, responsibility, patience, confidence, empathy, sensitivity, physical health, humility, and a soulful connection to nature. I value and love these characteristics about myself and therefore I have actualized Self-Love. That was it!
But that wasn’t it. And I realized that, as I stood among them later that day. Standing there with them and truly feeling their presence and feeling that connection of Oneness, I realized those “characteristics” were actually conditions. I am able to experience self-love only under specific conditions. Should any one of those conditions fall through, maybe I behave irresponsibly, or lose my patience, does my self-love remain fully intact? Not usually. My ego would never allow that.
It was then that I realized the very thing that caused this initial disconnect – the idea that they aren’t burdened by the judgments and conditioning of the ego – this is the very thing that allows me to feel Self-Love in their presence. It is when I am in a place of flow, of inter-connectedness, of Oneness, that I am able to tap into the wellspring of absolute and unconditional love that is available to all of us, all of the time. It is in that place outside of ego and conditions. It is in that place of being and of breath. And I know it may be difficult to get to that place some days, but I found this sweet little shortcut in my pasture if you ever want to take it.
With love and support for you on your journey,