Grace, Acceptance and Unconditional Love

Written By Guest Author: Susan Jackson

A horse’s wisdom cannot be fully conveyed in words, yet it can be touched through felt experience.  As we take our time as humans to practice growing our awareness of ourselves, and our lives, horses continue to provide unfiltered presence and space for us to receive what we need.  From where I stand, this is a gift.  One, which is best received and payed forward as we begin to remember more and more of our own innate joy and wholeness.

While words won’t quite match my exact experience that I’d like to share with you today, I will do my best to offer a part of my story that gifted me more depth in Grace, Acceptance of Myself, and Unconditional Love.  

This past August, I journeyed to Heffley Creek British Columbia, to Epona Rise Retreat Center.  There I spent 5 undefinable days at a Horse Medicine Leadership Retreat hosted by two of my mentors, Hillary Schneider and Schelli Whitehouse.  On one of our final days on retreat, as we sat in circle held within a stunning mountainous valley and green rolling hills, a grey mare named Tareena approached our group.  We sat and observed as she visited some of the women in the circle.  Spending time, silently yet powerfully, and delivering her intended message for each woman.  When she arrived at me, her presence hit me like a freight train; powerful, with an energy beyond my comprehension and control.  She stood with me for a long time, subtly shifting the position of her body, her legs, and her head while remaining fully present.  It felt like she was fully committed to being present with me as long as it took for me to drop into the resonance of whatever I needed to discover within myself, in her presence.  The whole time she stood, her enormous equine heart was centered in my direction.  At times her head and neck draping over mine.  There was lots to feel.  

This picture is her and I together for a moment in time.  I have been asked several times if I was praying.  Well, I guess that depends on how you define prayer.  If prayer is a connection with something greater than you then yes, this was a moment of prayer.  A moment of deep listening; of unspoken words, memories, recognition of false-self beliefs, and pure unbridled connection to a deeper me.  There were indeed moments of uncontrollable tears (pictured here), joyful smiles and personal ah-has.

The flood gates opened at the felt experience of my own Wholeness.  I recall the words “I am complete.” arising and the qualities of expansion, clear, light, and steady to meet it.  What I received in the presence of Tareena was that I was worthy of Unconditional Love. The kind of Love that comes with acceptance.  And there I was with her, held in harmony and non-judgement of my foibles, all of the impossible standards that I hold myself to, the harsh tones that I often take with myself when something, anything, is not “just right.” All of this was accepted with Love and Grace.  It was all okay.  I was okay.  There is no perfect me, and “I am worthy of Love just as I am.”  

“I am worthy of Love.”  

Love is not based on conditions nor is it something that we earn, as many of our societal norms and personal narratives would lead us to believe.  My time with Tareena was nothing short of a first hand, felt experience, with Love, Grace and Acceptance.  Contained within this wisdom message was that our self-worth is worth the journey to be rediscovered.  Self worth never really leaves us, it just takes some practice remembering it; remembering that we are all deserving of Unconditional Love and Acceptance.  How can we begin to accept others as they are if we are not in practice of accepting ourselves?  

So, with Kindness and Love I challenge my narratives, our narratives, about our worth, about earning Love and Acceptance.  If you feel at times the insatiable nudge of curiosity to explore the more of what’s there beneath and within your personal narrative and how you view yourself, then let’s go exploring.  Let’s examine together the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves.  What if nothing is “wrong” with us?  What if we could remember more and more of our own wholeness?  What if we could see the full value of our being, for ourselves and for others?  What if we were not alone on our journeys?  What if we could begin to strengthen our muscle of Forgiveness and to practice Kind Acceptance of where we are now?  What if we could nurture our relationship with ourselves more deeply and in doing so, see it directly effect our relationship with others?  What if we claimed our responsibility for what author Toko-pa Turner calls “remembering ourselves home?”

If by chance these words stirred something within you, as it did within me on this beautiful day in B.C. with Tareena, lets journey together, dear one, lets choose our next logical step and move into our next moments with an intention to be Kind to ourselves, and to choose actions that reflect that Kindness.  Let’s approach our own self development not from a place of “I need to be fixed” or “there is something wrong with me” but from “I’m willing to remember my wholeness.”  And for shits and giggles let’s take it one breath at a time.  Remembering that our foibles are just as much in need of our Unconditional Love and Acceptance as everything else.  

If you are still with me at this point, thank you for taking this walk with me through part of my own experience of shared Horse Wisdom and allowing my personal experience to meld with your own.  As we now transition to the next part of our day or evening, let’s do so with an invitation of Great Love and Acceptance.  Breathe and notice.  Feel your breath as it is.  Feel your heart; it beats in this moment unconditionally for you.  Perhaps even take a moment to sit with Tareena and feel what her energy says to you.  Trust that you will receive what you need to and let’s journey onward with a little more Love and Kindness for ourselves.

With Unconditional Love,

Susan & Tareena

Listen to Susan’s meditation on Grace, Acceptance, and Unconditional Love:

Special thanks to Hillary Schneider at Epona Rise Retreat Center for sharing your herd and your land, and to all the other women present with me for holding the space for this experience.  With humble gratitude I am thankful to Tareena, and all the horses, that have touched my soul in unspeakable ways and continue to be a part of my journey back to more and more wholeness and joy.  

Immense gratitude to Leanne and Rachel for inviting me to share as a guest on Equifinality.  You are dear to my heart and path and are beyond words awesome!

More about Susan: Susan is an awareness teacher and mentor with a diverse toolkit for self support and discovery.  Her approach is grounded in embodied and integrated experiences and practices that are part of every day functional living.  Some of which include yoga, mindfulness, meditation, breath, and equine supported learning to inform our felt experiences and activate our agency of choice.  Her support for others is built around growing better relationships with ourselves and nurturing self responsibility through awareness.  And as we do so, remembering our way back to our innate joy, wholeness, and belonging.  To connect with Susan or learn more please click here.  

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