Ever since I watched the film ‘Field of Dreams’ many years ago, the line “build it and he will come” has stuck in my mind, except for me it’s always been “Build and THEY will come” which I think is the classic way the line is misquoted! Somehow though, for me, that was always how it stuck in my mind and often when I’m at the field with the herd or snuggled with dogs on the sofa, the words will pop into my head and hover there for a bit like a little reminder of something I don’t know I’ve forgotten, before fading into the magical places of my unconscious.
Over the last ten years or so, I have been working hard to create and promote The Free Spirit Ponies Project, trying more ways than I can remember to ‘get the word out there’ and enable people and horses to live together in a kinder, gentler way. For most of that time, I have had limited success and all of the good ideas I had seemed to stumble slightly and never quite make it to the impressive impact I’d originally envisioned for them. Every time it happens, I get a little disappointed and frustrated as we all would trying to help something we love and care deeply about grow and flourish.
The really crazy thing is, I think I’ve discovered the problem and the irony is the real solution was there all the time, working away quietly as it was meant to, right under my nose! You see, for many years I kept seeing or imagining The Free Spirit Ponies Project as a ‘thing’, someTHING that existed and that I could ‘package up’ and effectively ‘sell’ to those I was trying to reach. I believed it was the courses and the workshops and the books and the ‘giving of knowledge’ and all those other things I’ve tried to put out there into the world and in some ways, yes, those THINGS are all part of it, of course they are but I was missing the ‘bigger picture’, the essence or heart of what The Free Spirit Ponies Project really is! The stupid thing is it’s exactly what I wrote about perhaps a decade ago.
What I have been doing is trying to ‘sell’ the interactive accessories without giving people the main product for which those accessories were meant, the amazing salad dressing without the salad….the beautiful wrapping paper without the gift……..
The words “Build it and they will come” and the ever increasing number of ‘images’ that have been appearing in my mind supposedly randomly weren’t random at all. The herd ‘calling’ to people….friends and family…. and communicating with people so that they asked to visit were not random events. The peace and joy on the faces of those who meet and interact with the herd, those who simply ‘be’ with whoever chooses to share space with them or share touch, healing or dreams with them, with no agenda, no ‘programme’, ‘course content’ or ‘workshop outline’ . These are not random little moments of pleasure. THIS is what The Free Spirit Ponies Project is! It is a PLACE not a THING. It is where the herd are, connected with nature and the energy of that connectedness. It is the magic that is created in that space where the herd welcome someone into their embrace and all else disappears. It is connected souls meeting, breathing, healing each other if needed and loving each other for simply being who they are.
It is a space of sanctuary for all, people and animals alike, without agenda. A place where peace and awareness can grow without restriction, where connection with nature can be re-established and all beings can find themselves and become whole again. One of our herd, now in spirit, talked about ‘soul retrieval’ in a communication we had not so long ago and I finally think I understand what she was referring to because I have now seen it and felt it, not just for myself but for members of the herd and for some of the people who have visited. That is not an ‘accessory’ I can package up and take to people, they need to experience it and feel it with every fibre of their being.
For all this time, I have been looking in the ‘wrong place’ quite literally for the answers I needed and all the time, they were there quietly happening despite my distraction and frustration. The most humbling part of this realisation though is that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the herd. I have been misinterpreting my ‘role’ as taking the message out there, trying to ‘bottle up and distribute’ what they wanted to say and while that is still part of the ‘accessory package’ the truth is in fact that all I really needed to do was create a space in which the magic could happen, send out the invitations and step back and let it be – well…and maybe provide the odd cuppa!
I now know what (at least in a feeling sense) The Free Spirit Ponies Project is. It is a place where all are welcome to spend time; sitting beneath the trees, listening to the breeze whispering through the branches; standing with one of the herd, breathing together and connecting; sitting reading a book in the shade with bare feet on the grass; enveloped in the smells of the herb garden or lost in the sounds of willow branches swaying and birds singing. It is a place where souls can reconnect with the wisdom and heartbeat of the earth, a place to be without fear or judgement and without agenda, learning to hear their own heart and the voice of earth around them. It is a space for people to think, write, listen, sing, dance or simply be still and rejuvenate….whatever they need and it is a space for nature, the herd and any other animals who find their way to our family to live, grow, thrive and be who they truly are and it is a space for us to share with each other. It is a small sanctuary in what can be a sometimes crazy, often frustrating, occasionally heart-breaking world and it is a glimpse of what can be and what could be……and what is, if only we stopped for a moment and opened our hearts.