"...Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open up your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh..."
My friend Anna sent this Youtube video of "Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson to me yesterday, and I was so honored to know that she would think of me when she heard it. It was perfect. But then I knew it would be. It was from Anna. I love it when someone I care deeply about knows me so well that they can pinpoint a song they think I would love and send it to me. It's especially sweet when the song hits home so accurately. Thank you Anna. I do love it...alot.
Anna's spiritual intuition is no surprise to me. She has a gift for listening deeply for guidance and then bringing ideas together that will bless one another. But I learned just how clear her love, love, love-based intuits were this past summer.
Anna was the head of the Horsemanship program at Adventure Unlimited's Sky Valley Ranch for 3rd through 8th graders. This is the program that our daughters have majored in each summer since they started going to camp. Anna had been their patrol leader the year before, so although she'd had some experience in working with the girls last summer, it had been a year since she'd spent time with them. However, when love and prayer are the compass you use for finding your way, time and frequency play such a small role in informing your decisions. But I am getting ahead of myself...
One of our most loved traditions at Sky Valley is the assigning of horses to each camper a few days into the session. Horsemanship campers arrive at camp and enjoy a few days in the corral working with different horses in our herd, and on the third or fourth night something magical happens.
Campers are told right from the beginning that while they are getting to know a number of different horses...grooming, saddling, early riding lessons...an old squaw, named Listens to the Wind, and her companion, the Old Prospector, are watching to see which horse is the best match for both the horse and rider. Then on that magical night, after all the campers have gone to bed, Listens to the Wind and the Old Prospector wend their way down from high in the mountains with only a lantern to light their path. Camp is dark, and the voices of watchmen (and women) echo through the crisp star-studded night air, "Do you see the light?" "I see the light."
Pajama-clad horsemanship campers are gathered, boys in one location and girls in the loft of Chuckwagon Lodge breathless with anticipation, hope and wonder. Waiting on the upper deck, girls watch as Listens to the Wind is led by the Old Prospector to the lawn beneath them. Silently she delivers the scroll and then gallops off into the night air like the wind, long braids flying out behind her on a horse as fast as the wind she is named after.
The program head then brings the girls into the lodge and reads a message from Listens to the Wind and then reads of the name of each girl and the horse that will be "hers" for the rest of the session. This is the horse she will love, care for, ride, partner with, and eventually enter the rodeo arena on at the end of the session, to race around the barrels, canter through a series of poles, and in the final event ride as fast as they can to the opening of a keyhole, carefully turn around in a small chalked circle (without disturbing the chalk outline) and then race back to the gate...all timed for placement. The rodeo is not just a measure of skill and speed, it is an opportunity to show how well you have developed a partnership with your horse.
But back to that magical night...
I ran into Anna in the office long after campers were asleep, happily dreaming about the new partners, they would re-introduce themselves to early the next morning. I'd been delayed and had missed seeing our girls learn who their horses partners would be for the rest of the summer. She shared with me that Emma had been paired with Ayla, and Clara would be with Remington. I knew both horses, I'd seen work with other campers, and perform in previous years' rodeos. They were both good horses and I was happy that the girls would be working with them.
But I was amazed when Anna shared with me why Listens to the Wind's had paired the girls with their horses. She explained that she had chosen horses that would teach each of the girls something important. She said that in order for Emma to be a good partner for Ayla, she would have to learn to quiet her body. She would have to learn greater stillness and poise. And that Remington would help Clara learn to express more self-confidence and inner strength. They would help the girls discover something necessary and beautiful within themselves so that they could all succeed as partners. As Anna shared these reasons, I was truly dumbstruck. These were exactly the inner qualities that both girls needed to more fully realize, already deep within in themselves, not just to be successful in the rodeo arena, but in school, at home, in their friendships and on the soccer field.
Listens to the Wind had intuited exactly what our girls needed in horse partners and had found just the right match for each of them. She had given them horses that would help them discover these qualities that were so inherent and natural for them to express.
Two weeks later, in a hot dusty rodeo arena the girls and their partners proved, without a doubt, that Listens to the Wind was as wise and intuitive as I'd discovered that magical night when Anna told me what she'd seen in my daughters and how she was going to help them discover it within themselves by giving them wise, strong, and gentle teachers. Listens to the Wind was blessed in having Anna's keen eye as a wonderful, wise, and discerning Program Head.
The greatest gift anyone can give a mother, is to see deep within the beauty of your child (or in my case children) and discern those unrealized, divinely natural gifts that only need to be drawn out from the infinite depths of their divine identity. To help them see themselves more fully as the amazing, wonderful, remarkable children of God you've always seen them to be. This is what it means to really be loved...and everybody wants to be loved. The girls felt loved by Anna. And as their mom there was nothing more wonderful than to have someone love my daughters for who they really were, and who they had to right to more fully be. I'm starting each day with the question, "who will I choose to really love today by helping them plumb more fully the spiritual depths of who they are.
Anna helped Listens to the Wind choose perfect horse partners for our girls...and she chose a perfect song for me.
Thanks Anna for teaching me more about the how of loving....I love you,
Kate Robertson, CS
[photo credit: Dara Glotzbach 2009]