Before you begin reading this, you have to try a “horse breath”. If you feel silly, that’s probably a good thing. First, take a deep breath in through your nose. Now relax all your muscles especially that furrowed brow, tight jaw, and tense shoulders. Finally, release your breath through your mouth and let your loose lips flap about, making sort of a low-powered motor sound.
Feels good, doesn’t it? The only difference between us doing that exercise and a horse engaging in that behavior is that I bet you’re still thinking about whatever was bothering you before you relaxed your muscles through “horse breath”. You can relax your muscles quite well, but can you relax your mind with such ease?
The latest admiration I have for the horses, is their ability to let go of whatever it is that was bothering them. Whether it was a scuffle between two mares with lots of squealing and kicking, or a surprise visit from a loose tarp the wind blew in (remember, if you’re a horse that tarp is not a tarp – it’s a terrifying swamp monster that WILL eat you alive), they are able to get over it and get on with it. They’ve all but forgotten about what happened and they’re already moving on to the next thing.
The two mares that nearly killed each other? They’re now running side by side, shaking their heads and kicking up their heels in what I’m convinced should be Webster’s new definition of freedom. Certainly there’s not an ounce of anger, resentment, or even rivalry between them. And the pony who had a nasty run-in with the tarp? Yeah, she’s standing right on top of that tarp to reach the hay it’s covering. Sure, it was scary at first, but after a few short snorts and a closer look, conquering that tarp-monster was more than worth it for the bounty of hay that lay beneath.
Oh if only I could release and let go of negative thoughts the way my equine friends do! I imagine I’d be a much happier person, or at least be a more well-rested person. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I’d even say I’m happy a good 80% of the time. Not bad. But I’m still working at it. With the help of the horses and the lessons they teach, I’m learning to release my negative thoughts a little sooner, find the good in all situations, and I’m learning that letting go feels good.
Even if it’s done one little horse breath at a time.