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Horse Heart Connection

Expanding horse-human communication.

LEAP for Success

Leadership Success with LEAP

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The kids and the horses are happy to be together again out on the Chief Joseph Foundation Appaloosas land this year. Students for Success Tribal Youth Program has continued the Lapwai Equine Assisted Program now in its third summer. Equine Assisted Educator, Linda Kingsbury from Horse Heart Connection, Agnes Weaskus from Students for Success, and Donna Henry from NMPH Behavioral Health work as a team to bring LEAP opportunities to the kids. We are fortunate to have the continued support of two parents Shane and Jo Auginaush as volunteers out in the field.

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Our LEAP missions is: Lapwai Equine Assisted Program provides experiential learning activities with Appaloosa horses for building self-respect, effective communication, leadership skills, and restoring Nez Perce horse heritage for the well-being of the tribe, the horses, the land, and the community.

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EAL (Equine Assisted Learning) programs are a holistic approach to health promotion. LEAP is a culture based model of resiliency. Each morning we include the best tribal practices of offering prayer, passing the talking stick in a talking circle, and learning about the Appaloosas. We honor the spirit of the horse and its ability to lead us on the right path.

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The kids are learning to care for the horses with grooming, understanding horse communication, and making time for solo and group Join-up. We practice the basics of putting the rope halter and lead rope on, leading, backing up, and walking the horse around obstacles. This strengthens the horse’s bond with the kids to enhance trust while riding. To make it easier on the horse and to practice the old ways, we do bit-less riding. This also encourages the rider’s ability to use effective hand rein and leg cues to communicate with the horse.

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We all want to say a big thank you to CJ, an 8 years old gelding with Leopard markings. He has been our star this year, standing close by when we are in our talking circles, practicing group join-up, and being calm and fun for riding. Thanks again to Chief Joseph Foundation for letting us be out with the horses this year.

LEAP Nez Perce Tribal Newspaper Article Spring 2014

For the Love of Horses

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As the rhythms of nature change their beat, we are anticipating the return of our time out with the horses. This year we are offering more opportunities for you and your kids to strengthen your connection to the land and your cultural heritage with the Appaloosa horses. LEAP (Lapwai Equine Assisted Program) focuses on developing a healing relationship with the horses by seeing them as our teachers. Through observing the nonverbal communication of the horses and their natural leadership style, we can learn to build a mutually respectful relationships that helps us to gain confidence in ourselves and feel safe around horses. We learn to understand our own connection to the natural world within us and understand what our feelings, thoughts, and body sensations are communicating to us. We learn to listen to the natural world around us, what the wind and the birds and the sun and the water are teaching us today. Horses can help us renew our curiosity for life. They support us in being process oriented focusing on each step we take along our path. Developing a keen awareness and connection to the present moment helps us to make healthy choices in our own lives. When we look at horses in the open field, we see them grazing most of the time. This is one of the ways they teach us about the simple joy of living in the present moment.

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Beginning May 7 we will be working with the Chief Joseph Foundation Appaloosa Horses, offering afterschool groups for kids K-5 on Wednesdays from 3:30-5:30 and for teens on Fridays from 1:30-3:30 beginning May 8. For adults we are offering a Healing with Horses Circle on Wednesdays from 1:00-3:00 beginning May 7. To accommodate working families, we are offering family sessions on some Saturday afternoons by appointment. We invite you to call 208-843-7244 for Donna Henry at Behavioral Health to register for LEAP group sessions or individual and family sessions.

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This year we are also expanding our work by being out with the Nez Perce Tribal Horses for Saturday morning sessions in the Sweetwater Pasture beginning April 26 throughout the spring and summer. We have a progressive series of 8 sessions planned. This Tribal Youth Program is for kids ages 12-17. You can register for this Tribal Youth Program by calling Agnes Weaskus at Students for Success at 208-621-4611.

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All of our programs are free of charge to participants and open to the community. Since many of you may not have the time or land to take care of your own horses, our programs give you the opportunity to be with horses and connect to your ancestral roots.

Written by Linda Kingsbury, LEAP Coordinator and Equine Facilitated Learning Instructor.

LEAP Nez Perce Tribal NewsPaper Article October 2013

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The first year of bringing an Equine Facilitated Learning style of being with horses to the Nez Perce community has been a great success. Many lives have been touched by the heart of the horses through LEAP (Lapwai Equine Assisted Program). So far we have brought over 68 different people from ages 6 years old to community Seniors out for sessions with the horses. We have also given presentations to the High School Equine Science class and the Boys and Girls Club. We have had displays and pictures of the horse program activities at the Women’s Health Fair, Powwows, Lapwai Days, LCSC Educational Summit, and YCEA achievement night, exposing more people to the program. We plan to have a display at the upcoming Veterans Stand Down at the Casino October 10.

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Last month in the newspaper, you learned about the benefits of the Equine Facilitated Learning way of being with horses. Now, I wanted to take some time here to offer proper thanks and gratitude for all who have made the behavioral health horse program possible this year. I want to start with a big heartfelt thank you to Donna Henry for working as a team with me since the beginning of this program idea. She suggested that we work with Chief Jospeh Foundation horses since she was familiar with them over her sixteen years of going on the Chief Joseph National Trial Ride. The program would not have happened without her gracious collaboration.

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We say Qeci ‘yew ‘yew to our Appaloosa horse teachers; Rusty, Oscar, Nike, Bodie, Tiger, Dream Girl, Nicky, Skipper, Red Rocket, Reno, and Sally for teaching us and showing us the way. We also want to extend a thank you to all the people who supported us in making the program a success this year. Bonnie Ewing and family for their cooperation and care with the horses and facility, Russ Spencer for sharing his familiarity with the land and previous CJF programs which helped with initial logistics, JR Spencer for mowing the field, and CJF board members for helping with a cleanup and setting up the round pen and water trough. Also thanks to Kim Cannon from Land Services, Kristy Kuehfuss and all the Behavioral Health staff for their moral support. It was a pleasure being with all the students, parents, and relatives who participated in LEAP sessions. Thank you everyone for being open to becoming horse-like and embracing this way of being with horses that heals the hearts of both humans and horses. We also send a big thank the to Nimiipuu Health for dedicating funds from the Meth and Suicide Prevention Grant to LEAP and to the Nez Perce Tribe for sharing grant funding from the Tribal Educational Fund towards the Behavioral Health Equine Facilitated Learning programs.

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We wrap up our sessions out on the land with the horses October 18 this year and will resume in the spring of 2014. This fall and winter we are offering visual and experiential presentations of LEAP Behavioral Health horse program for your class, community meeting, or event. In the Eponaquest model of team building, there are Leadership Training opportunities available inside without horses. These skills are easily transferable into your workplace and family life as well.

LEAP Nez Perce Tribal Newspaper Q&A 2013

Who are you and what is your job title? My name is Linda Kingsbury and horses are my medicine. I am an Equine Facilitated Learning Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning for the Behavioral Health horse program called LEAP (Lapwai Equine Assisted Program.)

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As a child growing up in New England I learned to have a love for the natural world from my Grandmothers. Now I live in Moscow Idaho where I’ve had a Holistic Health consultation practice since 1994. My work teaching natural medicine, local edible and medicinal plant use, and earth wisdom connections is expanding to helping people heal through the way of the horse.

It was my own health crisis that brought me to working with horses. I was feeling stuck and needed a new approach to move forward, so I asked for asked for guidance. Horses began showing up in my dreamtime and I was curious about what I saw. I started reading and researching about horse therapies. For more than two years I studied in Arizona to complete my EFL (Equine Facilitated Learning) certifications with EponaQuest Worldwide and PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). I call my EFL business Horse Heart Connection because of my heart-felt experiences with horses. I am sharing this “miracle” ability of horses as healers, because they can bring connection, peace, and the relief of receiving unconditional acceptance to all who encounter them. My sister’s horses have been a source of comfort and stability for my son Jake who is an Iraq war veteran.

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How long has the program been in our community? My experience developing prevention programs in the personal growth and addictions field blended with my EFL training prepared me to bring this innovative way of being with horses to the community. Since March 2013 I have been developing and co-facilitating this personal development horse program in coordination with Donna Henry and Behavioral Health staff. Our horse teachers are eleven Appaloosas owned by the Chief Joseph Foundation.

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What did you offer this year? The NMPH Behavioral Health horse program focuses on personal growth, emotional skills, and social development through interactions with horses. We treat the horses as partners in learning by expanding horse-human communication gently and safely. The program is open to the whole community and transportation is provided out to the horses when needed. Participants learn through listening, observation, hands on grooming with the horses, longeing, natural horsemanship skills as well as, guided riding activities. There is a focus on self-regulation of emotional responses with increased mind-body-emotional-spiritual awareness in the present moment.

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How many students, adults were involved? So far we have had over 60 different students and adults involved in individual, group, or family sessions out with the horses. We also have given presentations to the High School Equine Science class, Boys and Girls Club, and the Senior Citizens. We have had displays and pictures of the program activities at the Women’s Health Fair, Powwows, Lapwai Days, LCSC Educational Summit, and YCEA achievement night, exposing many people to the program.

What did the students/adults learn from the program? Participants learn from the wisdom of the earth and the horses. They open their senses to nature, for example noticing how they feel and hear the wind in that moment, even noticing which direction it is coming from. Developing natural sensitivities through nature connection and the bodies multiple ways of learning is important in this technological age where many people spend most of their time inside around computers or televisions.

People who attend LEAP learn to work well as a team. They learn to listen and build trust in themselves and each other. They learn to ask for help in a safe and supportive environment. They learn to relax and enjoy time with the horses in their twelve acre home. They learn to express gratitude.

Ten youth and two adults from the Youth Cultural Enrichment Academy came out to the Behavioral Health horse program in July. They learned about the emotional and health benefits of being with horses in this type of Equine Assisted Activities. They had great fun expressing their creativity by decorating the horses with water-based paint during their last summer session.

There is scientific evidence now about the healing effects of being around horses. These include lowering blood pressure, reducing stress cortisol hormones, and boosting Oxytocin, the bond and befriend hormone. Oxytocin increases feelings of curiosity, optimism, and creativity and can improve motivation to learn. So you can see this program is a great benefit to the health of the community on many levels.

What’s coming up next? We’ll continue with afterschool groups for kids from 3:30-5:30 on Wednesdays for teen guys, Thursday for teen girls, and Fridays for kids K-5. Each group is open to 8 students for optimal learning.  In September we also start a 6 week program for Veterans on Wednesdays from 1:00-3:00. We will continue with individual and family sessions by appointment. LEAP will offer sessions through October 2013, then resume in the springtime in April, 2014 when the weather is ready. We are also collecting stories from the Senior Citizens and other community members who have a story to share about how horses have been a positive influence in their lives.

We want to express our gratitude to Chief Joseph Foundation for allowing us to work with their Appaloosas and conduct the program on their land. We want to thank the Nimiipuu Health and the Nez Perce Tribe for funding LEAP Lapwai Equine Assisted Program. We also want to extend a thank you to all the people who supported us in making the program a success this year.

Lapwai Equine Assisted Program Tribal Paper Article June 201

Join us to learn with the Horses

Lapwai Equine Assisted Program for Life Enrichment

Perhaps you’ve seen the LEAP flyers posted around town, in the newspaper, or you visited our booth at the Women’s Wellness Fair at the Clearwater Casino in May. If you are curious to learn more about this horse program or how you and your family can participate in the Lapwai Equine Assisted Program, read on.

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Nimiipuu Health Behavioral Health started LEAP as a way to expand life enrichment services for the community. Our afterschool program began in May with an adolescent girls group. As well as lots of smiles, the comments we have received from participants include, “We love it”, and “Its great to be with the horses again.” Our Equine Assisted groups for Parent/Guardian and younger kids, and a group for young men are planned to start in June.

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We practice a variety of activities, starting out with simple observation, understanding non verbal communication, establishing safe and healthy boundaries, then expanding to hands on work with the horses, and supported riding activities. There is an emphasis on enjoying being outside learning from nature, the horses and each other. Expressive arts and creativity are part of this learning model for positive social change.

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The program is offered free of charge and transportation will be provided from Nimiipuu Behavioral Health office to the horse location. Our outdoor classroom is in Spalding with the Chief Joseph Foundation Appaloosa horses. LEAP is a compliment to the other great cultural, horsemanship, and riding programs available in the community. Our session’s focus on horse guided human transformation. Opportunities to succeed are created within a positive present moment focused experiential learning model. Our team consists of Counselors, an Equine Facilitated Learning Instructor, the kids, and of course the horses. We create a supportive environment where a therapeutic alliance develops between the all of the participants. Horses are treated as equal partners in the process.

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Scientific evidence now confirms the healing effects of being with horses. As well as lowering blood pressure, and reducing stress cortisol hormones, horses help us form strong relationships built on mutual respect and understanding. Being around horses increases feelings of curiosity, optimism, and creativity. They can also help us to be motivated and improve our ability to learn. Healthy communication, emotional expression, and relationship skills are developed through horse heart connections. All of what is learned with the horses is transferrable to the rest of our lives at home, school, and in the community. Close interaction with horses promotes mental, emotional, and relational balance. Participants have the opportunity to develop inner strength, leadership, cooperation, and community-mindedness. Join in the fun.

This article was written by LEAP co-facilitator by Linda Kingsbury, PhD, who is an accredited EponaQuest™ Equine Facilitated Learning Instructor and Equine Specialist for Mental Health and Learning. She is a member of PATH Professional Associated for Therapeutic Horsemanship, Appaloosa Horse Club, and CADCA Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America. 

Listen to the Horse

Listen to the Horse

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It’s been a month since we met on a windy winter’s Sunday at A Wild Purple Ranch and Retreat west of Tucson to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Horse. I extended my stay in Arizona specifically to attend this event organized by Qyuun and Dee from Institute for the Shamanic Arts in Tucson. This sacred space in the desert developed by Artist Nancy Newton created the perfect location for our transformational day.
We began by walking the labyrinth of the land following the stone edged paths. Our hearts drew us to her creative sanctuaries along our way out to the fire pit. Gathering dried bits of desert plants created a deeper connection to the land. I felt one with the women who had gone before me gathering twigs in the past to heat their homes and warm their food, the women of wisdom who had supported my time in the desert over the past few years. I made an offering for each piece of this fuel for our fire of transformation. As the fire was being built, I led a chorus of Brooke Medicine Eagle’s fire song, Grandfather Fire Rising Higher from her CD Gathering:The Sacred Breath.
Corona and Bella were perfect horse companions for our drumming journeys. The sound of their hooves and the drum beats created a stairway to heaven with each breath. This buoyant path allowed me the flexibility to move between heaven and earth. I was given a glimpse of heaven. My path was not to stay there, but to bring the light back to create a vibrant life on earth. With horse as my companion I could do this with courage, confidence, and comfort.
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Later in the day we moved to a larger arena where Corona and Bella walked curiously around us as we drummed. They made the rounds with each of us as we sat in the open arena. Being in this circle of love was truly a horse heart connection experience.
I shared several circle songs including a new adaptation of my own song “Listen to the Earth” that came through to me in 1994 when I first moved to Idaho. The 2014 version in honor of the horses is:
Listen to the Horse
©Linda Kingsbury

Listen to the Horse
Listen to the Horse
Listen to the Horse
Find your way home.

Follow what she says
Follow what she says
Follow what she says
Bring yourself back home.

Home to the Earth
Home to the Earth
Home to the Earth
Place of your birth.

As you listen to the horse, may your heart expand and your life be filled with joy, success, and a sense of belonging.

Dolphin Light Adventures on the Big Island of Hawaii

Being in Hawaii Consciously

Connecting with Fire-Water-Earth-Air

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Spending time in the Hawaiian Islands is a great way to deepen your connection to the elements of fire, water, earth, and air within and around you. Daily immersion in tropical paradise restores your personal rhythm and creates the foundation for soul renewal. Your dreams become clearer and senses are fine-tuned to the cycles of beauty and harmony. Curiosity and creativity blooms. There is time to reconnect to your personal rhythm. Passion for your life is restored.

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Every time I visit the Hawaiian Islands, I want to stay there. As I come and go over the years I realize the potency that the Big Island gives me to restore my joy. My playful inner child emerges as I walk along the waters edge feeling the sand surround my toes. Sometimes I dip my hands in the ocean water simply so I can lick the salty taste on my fingers. It is a sort of homecoming to the sea. Some of my best childhood memories are those spent along the oceans edge with my Grandma and Grandpa Barker at their homes in Newport Rhode Island and Boca Raton Florida.

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One of my favorites was an early morning walk with Grandpa Barker on Lido Beach on the West Coast of Florida. It was 1976 and we were amongst the sea gulls and pelicans as early morning beachcombers. We walked gathering seashells to show Grandma as she sat in her low to the ground canvas stripped chair waiting to see the treasures we’d bring back. During our Hawaiian adventures we make time for art from the heart as an expression of our inner story.

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Refection time needed to absorb the emotion of each experienced is honored. Rather than a holiday where you hurry up and jump from one tourist attraction to another, we focus on being in the present moment. We honor the visible and also go deeper into the unseen tuning into the energy of the place and the people who created it.

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Integration time in the shade at a traditional fishing grounds after the first dolphin swim. Turtles nest nearby and families play happily in this sacred space.

CONNECTING TO FIRE

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We begin our island adventure by offering prayers and respect to Goddess Pele.  Expressing Gratitude at the beginning sets a foundation for being in the flow connected to the highest and best for all. It connects us to right use of our fire energy.

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Synchronistic events will bless us each day. Our sense of joy and spontaneity expands. When we live with honor and respect for all creation, all of life benefits. Whether you make it to the caldera or simply make an offering where the lava flow meets the ocean, Pele hears your prayers guiding you as great mystery unfolds.

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The first time I felt Pele’s energy was visiting friends near Pahoa in 2006. We hopped into a Land Rover and fled into the dark of the night across the southern volcano flow.  There were no street signs, no lights, as we drove bumping along into the unknown. I surrendered to the vulnerability and trusted the process.  The truck stopped abruptly and there was silence all around us. When I stepped onto the earth below I felt a warm sensation coming through my shoes.  This virgin land where the lava flow meets the sea had an ancient eerie feeling to it. Untouched by many human thoughts, I felt lots of openness and space between my own thoughts. The stars above were so clear and radiant. I fell into a gentle trance as I flowed with this primal energy. After a time of silence the words “Mother Earth restores herself in silence”, came from my mouth out loud into the open night. I was in awe to be at this moment of creation where the hot lava cooled as it fell into the ocean then formed into earth. The earth is always in motion recreating herself on Hawaii and she can help us restore free flow in our lives.

Pele teaches us about using our powers of creation in a good way. We learn how to use our vitality to support our body. Our unique creativity energy flourishes. During a Dolphin Light Adventure, you will have a chance to bring forward the island colors that have touched you by creating a silk scarf at sunset one night. After a snorkeling experience immersing you with colorful tropical fish and turtles, we sit on water’s edge for a creative expressive arts experience.

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The sun and stars are our fiery companions in the sky. When we allow the warmth of the sun to deeply penetrate our bones and be absorbed into the bone marrow, we literally are feeding our soul. Beautiful sunsets are an everyday experience on the islands. A time when the fiery sun looks like it is swallowed by the watery ocean. At night the stars and moon shine brightly guiding our dreams.

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CONNECTING TO WATER

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We balance the energies of fire by getting into the ocean everyday. Some researcher believe humans are descendants of water mammals rather than land mammals. Being in the fluidity of the ocean, the amniotic fluid of our birth restores our water connection.   You’ll believe this when you experience dolphin heart connection and the join up than can easily happen when they swim nearby and turn to you for eye to eye contact.

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The dolphins teach us about belonging. Through entrainment we sync up with the dolphins through conscious breathing and purposeful fluid movement. The water is a great place to be aware of where our physical body patterns may be stuck in bound flow and where we experience free flow. Dolphins live in free flow and can teach us how to live that way. Wild dolphins are free to communicate through time and space through sonar and sound vibration. Our clairvoyant abilities improve when we are with other beings who communicate through energy vibration.

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Miraculous healings have occurred throughout time by humans just being in the water where dolphins can freely share their healing pulses and frequencies. Their range of sound, with their clicks and whistles, goes far beyond what our human ears can hear. They have the ability to use laser-like precision and direct the sounds to the parts of our bodies that need it the most. We don’t have to tell them what is needed, they already know.

During my first dolphin swim in Key West in 1998, I noticed improvements in my overall health. The dolphins gave my son the emotional boost and confidence that he needed to complete his senior year of high school and prepare for the next step of his life.

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Dolphins use their whole brain more. I notice my creativity, dream recall, and positivity increase each time I swim with them in the open ocean. Spectral healing occurs when the light of the sun gets refracted in the water.

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Swimming under sunny skies in the changing blue waters off the west coast of Hawaii is deeply moving and healing. Great joy bubbles up from being there in the water.  Being in the natural flow of rise and fall of the ocean is hypnotic.

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Looking for whale tales or dolphin fins is a fun game that keeps us alert. The boat will stop and put in the microphone so that we can hear the whales singing. I listened to a recent recording as I was writing this, and some of the tones sounded like my Siberian Husky Sasha howling into the wind.

CONNECTING TO EARTH

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Restoration of your earth energies anchors your spirit in your physical body. The moment you step off the plane you’ll feel the warm island breezes and the comfort of tropical air. You’ll sense the magnetic primal pulse of the island as it is growing and recreating itself. Its healing vibration are palpable. Each day there will be time for nature connection and inner reflection. We make time to be still and feel the life force moving all around us through the lush jungle plants, the cool blue waters, the with the tropical breeze.

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We share a sense of connectedness and oneness in this jungle home. This restores our sense of community with all creation. Being part of something bigger than ourselves restore balance within and around us. The colors, and sounds, and scents of unique new plants tantalize our curiosity. Truly a feast of God’s miraculous diversity.

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The west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, where we spend most of our retreat time, presents a rich matrix of past and present. I feel it weaving a safety net for my soul to integrate previous experiences and to provide clear direction for the future. I make time to pause and to enjoy each moment, each breath, each step creating life anew.

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Life is so colorful, sensuous, and alive in the jungle.  The crawling creatures, to the plants themselves, to the birds that nest and feed there. When we walk and meditate in this harmonious ecosystem the sense of oneness permeates us. The veil between dimensional realms seems thinner on the Islands. Sometimes I feel the ancient Menehune and their playful actions amongst the old stones walls.

CONNECTING TO AIR

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The soft rustling sound of island breeze in the palm trees lulls me into deep meditation. This brings clearing to my air element, my mind.  Then I am open to receive new thoughts that come across the water. There is room for breathing into my voice of wisdom.

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During our retreats we create sacred space and hold the light during daily meditation, reflection and journaling sessions. You will be soothed by the sound of the ocean, the jungle birds, and laughter. This enhances your clairvoyance and communication with your spirit guides and elemental teachers.

You may even find yourself returning home more dolphin-like. Some people point out when my laugh sounds like a dolphin. The joy from being with wild dolphins is certainly contagious.

We will spend time at sacred historic sites basking in the wisdom contained there. Many of us have spent years personally and professionally healing our histories, delving into our unconscious, and learning what is nourishing for our own personal ecology. Now its time to join with light-hearted people to enjoy life and share our visions. During the retreat our spiritual insights are put into motion. We are supported for personal expression and living our truth in the moment.

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Awareness in action with the fire, water, earth, and air energies of the islands will integrate your soul’s wisdom and benefit the planet. When you are ready to explore these possibilities and the potential of living island magic with conscious individuals we look forward to seeing you in Hawaii.

Our next adventures are planned for April 2015, To receive discounts you’ll want to register by January 31, 2015. Visit www.HorseHeartConnection.com and click on to learn how you can join us in island paradise.

Sacred Space + Supportive People + Horses = Shared Success for All

Linda Grace

I recently attended a Zen Mind Zen Horse Workshop with author and brain surgeon Dr. Allan Hamilton and his psychotherapist wife Jane at Rancho Bosque in Tuscon, Arizona. One night they gave us the homework to find a personal spiritual principal and to demonstrate that with our horses the next day.

My idea was about the life-sustaining benefits of creating safe places for shared success to occur.  It has been my experience in being with horses that when I acknowledge my own successful moments that I am happy and can notice and support the success of others. I am also able to accept and feel the encouragement from others when I am feeling good myself. Feelings of trust arise and a sense of harmony and belonging develops. Deep healing occurs on a soul level and authentic community is possible. Blending this concept with the present moment step-by-step Zen way of being led to the above simple equation. During the drive in to the ranch that morning I had a vision of how to bring each step of my idea into action with the people and the horses. Here’s how I integrated it in class, on that new moon of November 2013.

Sacred Space can be created simply by breathing deeply and consciously in the present moment. This opens up our senses to the natural world within and around us on a deeper level allowing harmony to be experienced.

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When I finished grooming Mahto, Dr. Hamilton asked if I would share my presentation first. I said yes, and went to retrieve the items to fulfill my vision. The class gathered in a circle in the arena. I shared the first step of my vision, which was for people to bring their horses into the circle. I arranged the floral batik cloth on the desert floor and set the Tibetan brass bowl on it. Then I went to get Mahto.

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Jane held Mahto as I stepped to the center of the circle surrounded by horses and horse lovers. I picked up the Tibetan bowl and took a big breath in followed by a grounding exhale. When the timing was right, I struck the bowl with the padded mallet and a comforting resonance vibrated from the singing bowl for all to hear.  Next I thanked the wind and called everyone’s attention to the clouds moving above us. We noticed the temperature of the air, the heat of the sun, and honored the previous night’s rain. We gave thanks to the Catalina Mountains that stood to the north, desert trees, horses, and ancestors who made it all possible.

+ Supportive People. Next, I walked clockwise inside the circle and tapped the bowl in front of each person’s heart. The horses stood quietly, some gently curious receiving the sound vibrations along with their human partners.

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When light-hearted humans gather and support each other with unconditional acceptance and support for where there are in their lives at the moment, hearts open and minds expand. Everyone strives to be the best they can be starting from where they are. After a spiritual gathering we all go back to the rest of our lives as better people with inspiration to share.

+ Horses. Our big four legged companions are extraordinary teachers and healers at this time on the planet. They help us develop our sensitive, intuitive, and compassionate natures in a grounded way.  They can teach us how to get along in a group, how to set healthy boundaries, and how to relax and enjoy life.

Once the sound sharing walk around the inside of the circle was complete, I remembered the next step in the sequence of my vision.  It was for all of us to walk in a circle with our horses.

As we walked we sang the song:

We are one with the Spirit, We are one with the horse.

We are one with the Spirit, We are one with the horse.

We are one with the Spirit We are one with the horse.

And they’ll know we’re horse people by our love, by our love,

and they’ll know that we’re horse people by our love.

=  Shared Success by All. The heart felt movement of people and horses was profound as if we were resurrecting ancient memories in this circle ceremony. With each step, a feeling of joy and peace filled the arena and was held by the trees and surrounding mountains, as if they were thankful for this great remembering. The procession came to a stop once we were back where we started. Quiet smiles radiated from peoples hearts and faces as the horses calmly stood by.

Gratitude was shared with Dr. and Jane Hamilton by offering a braid of sweet grass from the Coeur d’ Alene Indians in north Idaho. This was all part of the simple ritual that I created to celebrate my spiritual formula in action. By reading this you are all part of the formula too: Sacred Space + Supportive Humans + Horses = Shared Success for All.

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May your success and joy multiple with each step you take.

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The word Malama arrived into my consciousness as I walked in the gentle rain of an afternoon storm while I was on the island of Maui. Inspired to do an online search to find out more about this melodically curious word, I found Mālama. It was described as to take care of, tend, attend, care for, preserve, protect at MalamaLearningCenter.org. I also found reference to the Kings Trail-Malama Petroglyph Trail on the Big Island, where unbeknownst to me at the time, I would be visiting in the days ahead. I tucked this information between the cracks of my mind to be tended like a germinating seed, trusting its readiness to emerge in fruition when the timing was right.

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When the usually night swimming Manarays appeared on the way out to the morning dolphin swim, I knew this would be a special day. With awe, we watched their graceful black forms silhouetted against the muted aqua waters from above on the boat. Once invited, I slipped into their magical home, the coolness of the silky smooth waters seeping into the layer between my skin and the wetsuit. Merging with the same water that touched their skin, I felt included in the rhythms of their hypnotic dance. These dark angels of the sea with their impressive twelve foot wing span floated by in virtual silence as they glided through the water. Their baleen mouths, as big as the opening atop a basketball hoop, open sharing their secrets of living in the depths. Caressing the water effortlessly with their wings, arcing around and swimming back towards us as if they were consciously creating endless streams of connection. I was intrigued by their inaudible communication, unity, and harmony with their environment.

Back on land, I was feeling content with the morning surprises and satisfied with the usual post dolphin swim fresh fish midday meal at the nearby marina restaurant. As Sharon and I contemplated which direction to take for the afternoon adventure, I recalled the message being tapped into me by the rainwater, a few days earlier. It Perhaps those same rain drops that penetrated the crown of my head under the Maui rainbow, were also absorbed into the ocean where I encountered the manarays along the Kohala coast, and also rolled off the parched pahohoe lava flow a few miles away, drawing us to go north towards the Malama Trail. I was opening to the unity of nature guiding me along my way, the journey unfolding one step at a time.

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Between the Waikoloa shopping center parking lot and the Malama trail, I read several signs warning about the heat along the trail and the importance of wearing sturdy shoes. At first I was concerned since all I had was my croc flip-flops, but I decided to go ahead anyways since I felt Spirit led.

Sacred sounds rode in on scorching heat waves of tropical afternoon island winds. Stirred by ancestral wisdom imprinted in the grooves of etched lava rock carvings. The message clear and distinct in the penetrating heat as if it was being baked and pressed into shapes of English language letters by the breath of Pele. Words spoken to me rhythmically through the form of an elder Hawaiian Kahuna wearing his white tapas robe and good luck Ti leaves headdress. Steadied by his walking stick, as if it alone was holding him there. As I sat resting in the field of Malama petroglyphs, he stood behind me pausing in the deafening heat to be sure that I heard the words clearly enough to take action on them. “Let each step inform the next,” he spoke softly. This became my mantra as I walked upon the sacred ground.

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Perhaps those same words were drummed deep into the volcanic rocks by the hooves of earlier horses and mules who toted humans and cargo along this portion of the thirty two mile Kings Trail. History says that those who rode the trail often slept, since the ledges of rocks on either side of the grooved trail provided discipline for the horse’s feet moving them forward one step at a time. Humans trusting horses, horses trusting humans, for certain letting each step inform the next.

This section of the trail between the rising volcano to the east and the cool crisp ocean to the west was a gathering and resting spot for generations. Feeling like it was an honor for me to be there, I treated my time as if it were an extended prayer. With reverence I followed the pace of my breath and my body with a compassionate heart. Footsteps rhythmic and consistent like a mantra being sung to keep my mind focused on being open to the power of the present moment.

Upon my last step along the path, I turned and waved goodbye to the Spirit Elder who has joined me for that afternoon’s education. I was thankful in the beginning that I was still enough to listen and hear, thankful in the middle for the experience and the opportunity to be an environmental steward by picking up trash that had blown into the trail area, and thankful at the end for being sensitive to the wind, and the water, and the sun, and the stones for teaching me and showing me the way.

When you let each step inform the next, synchronicities unfold in unison with your soul path. It is precisely the breathing in of the scents and sounds and sensations of the present moment that carry you forward with the impulse of all creation. May you find peace, poise, and power as you walk along your sacred path letting each step inform the next.

We invite you to walk the Malama trail with us during our Dolphin Light Retreat November 11-14, 2013 on the Big Island of Hawaii. Visit www.HorseHeartConnection.com for more information and to register.

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