Monday, February 29, 2016

to Sleep Perchance to Dream

Restorative rest. The herd had encircled him... The sentinel was on duty. It's the same anytime any horse lies down. The herd gathers and guards. The sentinel watches and listens. Horses need REM sleep and cannot get it standing up. But on the ground they are more vulnerable to predators, so most horses will not lie down unless guarded by the herd. One of the many reasons why nature never intended horses to live in isolation... (50) // Joe Camp, The Soul of a Horse

Until fairly recently I could reliably be counted on to fall asleep within the first half hour of any movie watched with friends, in a home or at a theater... It was a running joke in our Big Kids' Movie Club from Summer 2014. I have seen the beginnings of so many movies. Un the company of friends, with comfy sprawling arrangements and dim lighting and a belly full of salty crunchies... I would, I could, lie down in safety. I'd fight For wakefulness sometimes and the movies were good! but heavyliddedness would overcome me like a long hemorrhaging deficit gobbles up new income, new lifeblood. Replenish.

Ah yes, I am learning to, coming to, lie down in safety, sleep in belovedness. Tethered to the tree fort. Swaddled. Safe. Sabbath rest.

Made for this. "Being domestic [does not] negate the claustrophobia and stress he lives with on some level, caused by feeling trapped, unable to flee, alone, and bored. Never mind how willing he might be to go into the stall either because he has always been forced to or because he knows that is where the food is" (60).
First Mover. "Much of the survival drive is wrapped up in the instinct to be safe, which means being part of the herd, understanding the language of the herd, and understanding the social order of the herd. Every herd, no matter how large or small, has a distinct pecking order. All determined by who moves who, thus who respects who, which translates into who feels safe with who as their leader" (65).

I've been reading this book from Nausicaa, and hanging out with horses. The instinct to flee, to fly, to survive, to test security and belonging, Am I better off with you than I am on my own? is an old, old friend to me. Coming to see in myself how those who are preyed upon seek the safety of a herd, how they achieve calm, helps me to tune into true safety and belonging and cease from my flight, and tell all my sheepish strugglin' scaredy friends, hey. HEY! Hey, we are okay now:

We are the people of His pasture, and the [dumb prone-to-wandering-off-and-dying prey animals] of His hand. Not slaves of the whip and bit and bridle; not enslaved but safekept. Loved. He gathers them in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd... he goes before them, they follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I Am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. Come to me, weary and heavy-laden, I will give you rest.

And how did He know? How could He lead them... He himself was the Paschal Lamb.

He who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

The total liberty of consent. The scandalous freedom of submitting to headship. "You want your horse to come because he or she wants to be with you. And when you begin by giving the horse the choice to be with you, and when you learn to communicate from the horse's end of the lead rope, creating that willing relationship is totally doable. It is never too late to begin again... I don't treat horses like puppies. I treat them like partners. Junior partners, of whom I expect great things... Because for the horse, to acknowledge and respect a leader is to feel safe. This is deeply rooted in their nature. And feeling safe means survival. Which makes the leader the source of emotional comfort. Is it any wonder, then, that they work harder for a good leader? Don't we all?" (68).

Pin your ears.
Lick and chew.
Be loved.
Be led.
Come to Me.
Follow Me.
I laid down My life for you.

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