Its 7am at the Royal Palms Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona as I wake up to the sound of birds singing and the warm dessert sun on my cheek. It’s not like a traditional day in my world as I would have already jumped out of bed, threw on my sweats and headed straight to the kitchen, put on coffee, and then to my desk to start yet another day in the life.
Today was in some way different, I felt a sort of surrender, a feeling that hadn’t come over me in quite some time and yet still there tugging at me was the life I left temporarily behind. Upon leaving my home in the tiny village of Newcastle, Ontario Canada I had felt pushed to my limits. I left a very busy state of mind and a winter that just didn’t want to let go, however somehow just the thought of leaving it all and heading to the hot Arizona sun had given me permission to let it all go.
There is a knock at the door and my partner Timm answered it… It was my colleague Kyle inviting us to join him for breakfast before we head out on day one of our itinerary with The Divine Destination Collection. At this point a slight anxiety comes over me as we were headed to Hunkapi Programs Inc., a horse ranch that uses horses to create positive change and awareness. Here we were to experience a guided session by Terra Schaad, Licensed Counselor, Coach, and Daring Life Enthusiast on how horses are used in equine therapy and were also to lead a group of “in need” children through their first therapeutic riding session. With my head filled with thoughts, judgments and fears, and my heart calling to be broke open, I packed up a bag and left to experience the day.
As we rode the bus towards Hunkapi I was in a sort of twilight state, faintly overhearing the conversations amongst me, while feeling the sensation of wanting to let go. For years I had been on a journey toward finding myself and shepherding others to do the same, but there was something about this time, this journey, that felt very different and I was about to experience why…
The bus came to a stop, the doors opened and as I step foot on the dessert sand my whole body tingled and suddenly I felt like a little boy again, a sense of excitement with slight caution came over me but I was eager to explore. The Divine Destination Collection Girls graciously met us at the entrance with everything we needed for our experience and then introduced us to the luminous Terra Schaad, whose fearless teachings and openness will be etched in my heart for an eternity.
Terra led the group through an opening exercise where we tapped our entire bodies from head to toe to bring our minds into present moment awareness, we then introduced ourselves to the group, identifying a little about ourselves and our intent for the morning. My intent was to let go of fear, allow myself to be guided by love and make a conscious effort to live in the moment.
Then into the corral we went, were the horses were free to roam about. was tied together with my assigned partner, with a harness in one hand. Our instructions: to capture a horse, put the harness around its neck and bring it back to the gates. My first reaction was fear, I resisted going through the gates and into the corral but because I was tied to my partner, I didn’t have much of a choice. So let go it was! My partner and I quickly rushed across the corral as we watch our group trying to harness their horses, most of them gracefully trotting right towards them and surrendering to be harnessed.
Our horse, named Zippy, was big, healthy and powerful and was resisting being “captured” by the few who tried. He seemed to have his site focused on getting to my partner and I. He trotted right over and stood in front of us and with a little resistance he patiently waited while I struggled to put his harness on with one hand. The thought “did we choose the horse or did the horse choose us?” entered my mind.
This horse was my mirror, as we stood in the center of the corral listening to Terra’s Equine wisdom and her instructions on the procedure once the “in need” children arrived, he couldn’t stand still and kept pushing me to lead him away. He had a little case of ADD, which is something that is all too familiar to me and gave me a little chuckle. This is when something came over me, I suddenly realized why I was there…I was to own my power, however slightly still afraid as the horse appeared to be way bigger and more powerful than me. I felt a voice screaming in my head… “It’s time Shayne, stop being afraid, step into the light and own your power”
Due to a very abusive past, being severely bullied as a child and having job after job with “power tripping” bosses. My idea was that power was something I wanted to run away from, however this time was different. My perception of power had shifted, from something dark that I wanted to run away from, to something so light I wanted to step into it and bask in its glory, and I did! I grabbed a hold of the rains, conquered my fear and took control. This was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. So liberating in fact that when I was asked to speak nothing but cleansing tears of joy streamed down my face and that very moment I felt real presence, I experienced my true self. The horse surrendered and ended up massaging my back with his snout!
I stood there grounded in love and light with my hair standing on end and as I turned around…the children were arriving. I saw their sweet little souls standing there, little mirrors of us all and then looked around at The Divine Destination Collection Group and saw their eyes well with tears, their shoulders sink and a sense of sadness moved momentarily through the air. In my mind’s eye I believe we were all looking across the corral at these “in need” children, who were all under 5 years old and “homeless”, and feeling a sense of pity, as if because they were “homeless” they were lacking something and man were we in for a wide awakening!
As we moved across the corral towards the children I briefly looked around to see which child I wanted to work with and was quickly reminded of my intent, “let go” and when I did the child choose me. Definitely a moment of divinity, synchronicity, act of “God” or however you choose to see it, because this child was me…shy at first, a little ADD but so full of love and with a tiny little bit of encouragement was ready to take on the horse experience for himself, maybe a little too eagerly for my fearful heart, as I don’t have children of my own. I held his little hand and off to the corral we went. It felt like a homecoming, my heart was open, I had claimed my power and was ready to teach this little guy a thing or two about horses, power, and what it felt like to be loved and cared for however, he was the one who taught me. My judgment of this whole experience was, that this poor little “homeless” child would be meek, afraid and lacking the love and support that he needed in order to experience the life he was supposed to, but what I experienced was the opposite.
That little boy showed me the meaning of the richest life you could ever imagine. Not a life with things, surround by human’s that were genetically tied, but through his little eyes I seen a life that was surrendered to what was, that truly embraced the present moment, loved with an open heart and fearlessly ran in the direction of his dreams. He owned that corral, he owned that horse and he most definitely was surrendered to having the most joyous experience he could, free from judgment.
As we closed the day and said goodbye to the little angels, we once again formed a circle and shared our experiences. I witnessed a group of highly “successful” professional men and women open their hearts bigger than ever before and with cleansing tears share their experiences one by one. Every one of their experiences was a mirror, a reflection of what I had experienced and for a moment I felt as if we were all one. I turned around, looked into my life partner Timm’s eyes and embraced him as if we were meeting again for this first time, but this time lighter, freer and experiencing this divine moment with a more vivid perception.
If we can let go of judgments, both of ourselves and others, let go of fear and open our hearts, we will realize that everything is a reflection of ourselves, that every experience is happening for our highest good and that we’re only ever being walked home.