Time Passing

Written by © Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi, 2017

Is time passing by or am I passing time?

The storm beats on my window pain. The little lambs in the field trying to keep warm next to their mommies, while the vultures wait for the weakest who won’t survive. Electricity out, no phone, I kind of like it. I find the stillness in the storm, the quiet in between the wind’s forceful hand.

Part of me hasn’t slowed down yet and still wants to perform, get things done. The animal part of my body just wants to sit and watch the storm. And so, that is what I find myself doing. A long time goes by, and I haven’t accomplished anything, and it’s ok. Maybe that is the lesson. It is the task at hand. In doing nothing, I am healing my inner self of old stories that I need to ‘get things done’.

I look into the field and reflect upon two of my foundation mares, Sadie and Lacey, who just passed away in the last two weeks. They were both in their early 30s and have been my teachers, friends and comrades for over 25 years. They both passed before the ‘big storms’ came. While their presence is awkwardly missing, I’m thankful that they skipped the storms.

I had numerous conversations with each of them about their time of passing. I hoped that they would do it on their time and thankfully they did. Lacey simply went to sleep one morning and never woke up. Just ten days later, the day before the big ‘pineapple express’ was planning to descend upon us, we found Sadie down and unable to get up. Casey and I sat with her on and off all day and into the evening. We reflected on a time now past, a time when Lacey and Sadie tutored young riders, 4Hrs, went in parades and shows, and taught me how to understand the power of EGE (Equine Guided Education). I passed time with Sadie going into the next world, imagining her and Lacey meeting at Blackie’s pasture, or rather their own new pasture which Lacey herself chose. I saw her in the winds over the rest of the herd. Lottie came and gave Sadie a kiss. Sadie whinnied to me from time to time. So sweet, like the whisperings of my wise grandmother.

I asked her if she wanted to tell me anything. Her breath silent, the wild raspberries tangling around us in the moist field as she answered in wordless form. Her message floating on tiny water molecules floating in and out of time and space. It’s hard for me to put into words what she said. But I awoke in the morning to no electricity and no phone. My thoughts rambling between Lacey, Sadie and my mom (who had a stroke two days before Lacey died and who is now in a rehab facility far, far away). I drifted between feelings of guilt that I cannot protect them, I cannot save them, and remembering Sadie’s sage advice that I should take nothing personally, not even death.

I thought about my years with the Strozzi Institute only to be erased as a co-founder, as if I never existed. I remembered my friends and students in my earlier years of EGE who no longer speak to me for unknown reasons. I felt the pain of abandonment, the old wound from childhood at not being ‘enough’. Sadie’s message rang in my ears, ‘let go of your sentimentality,” she said. “Be your animal self who knows no time. Remember the timelessness of being. Be with the storm.”

I followed her whisperings and went outside into the storm to breath in the moisture and the energy of change. Everything was so alive. The colors of Usnea moss glistened like the florescent announcement of transformation. Why does the moss only inhabit some trees and not others? I looked across the forest and the aqua green moss had woven an intricate tapestry of color carefully and symmetrically placed across the forest’s image, like a master painter. I saw its purposeful beauty and relished in its thoughtfulness. I thanked the grand father fir who looked like a giant Christmas tree decorated with hanging Usnea, bringing forward images of Lord Gandolf himself.

The words of Joseph Campbell came to me, “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we are seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences will have resonances within our innermost being and reality.” When I first heard those words, I knew they were profound and I knew I wasn’t sure I liked them. Joseph Campbell spent his life’s work in pursuit of ‘the meaning of life’ and near the end of his life he said that the ‘meaning of life’ doesn’t really matter? I’m all about meaning and purpose. That is my reality. And yet, I feel like he’s right. It’s not so much about being on purpose as it is about living the experience, embracing the moment by moment of ‘time passing’ and the vibrant brush strokes of Usnea. I thank the storm for coming and I thank the storm for passing. I thank myself for slowing down enough to pass the time gifted by the storm. I thank my mother, Sadie and Lacey for passing time with me.

Is time passing you by or are you passing time?

River As Metaphor

Written by © Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi, 2017

The river is with me every day, She has my attention. I ask River, “What do you want me to see?”My friend was taken by the river two years ago. His son lost a father. His wife lost a lover.  The river is moving very fast now. I think of his wife, my dear friend, who is going back in for breast cancer surgery a second time. I wonder what to say. I have no words. I imagine her as light as a feather floating on the swiftly moving water, allowing the river to hold her up as she floats on the top. Her body soft and relaxed, her mind free of pain and suffering and old hurts.
    The medicine woman goes into the forest and sits by the beginning of the river.  The water trickles quietly as it meanders past ferns and fairy mushrooms at its mini shores. The medicine woman asks the silent forest surrounding her, “What can I do?”     “There is nothing ‘to do’. It is the wrong question, dear one.” The small woman invisible in the expansive wildness around her, listened silently.
    “Follow the river.” Whispered grandmother tree as little drops of water fell from the bright green moss of her moist trunk into the not yet tiny stream.The medicine woman ponders the river. Her attention wanders, curiously hearing the river’s story.    The river has no beginning and no end. The drop of water from the moss comes from the upper canopy of leaves that comes from the rain that comes from the clouds that comes from the sea. The spring in the ground comes from the earth, which comes form the rain, which comes from the clouds, which comes from the sea. The water drops and the spring together become a tiny body of moving water which meets other springs, which form creeks, which flow consistently down hill to meet yet other springs and creeks and streams. The streams gain momentum as they head ever persistently towards to the sea. Their flow creates whirls of new energy and throws tiny drops of water into the air as they twist and gurgle through fallen branches, pebbles, rocks and dark earthen clays.

The streams meet other streams and become rivers whose main intent is to return the water to the sea.

The medicine woman has a vision. She sees people standing by the shores of the now muddy river, full of fallen trees and a stray boat here and there. The people are angry. They are yelling at other people on the other side of the river. They are pointing fingers and hurling profanities at each other, across the river’s width. Their words fall into the river and make her waters muddy and full of silt. The people on one side of the river are so focused on the people on the other side, they don’t notice that the river is getting bigger and feircer. Her power gaining as the people on the shore continue to shout and blame each other. The people do not notice the soils under their feet falling into the river.      The river is tempted to take a few people in her embrace as she tries to get their attention. She wishes the people would stop focusing on consuming themselves with fear and judgment. Even the young woman who has lost herself in her sorrows, crying tears into the river, judging herself for not being good enough. She invites the people to see the intricate relationship of each water drop working together to change the shape of the river, the sea, the rain clouds and the breath of the trees. But the people are not listening.

Meanwhile, the man made dams upstream are weak, threatening to take out whole cities of people. The rains pummeling randomly yet ever so purposefully, forcing earth to move, trees to fall, people to drown. You cannot fight the river. You cannot will the rains nor would you want to. And as quickly as the storm comes, it passes and the river becomes peaceful again. Her movements become more graceful, less fierce. People flock to her shores and envy the sparkles on the surface of her deep presence.
    The medicine woman allows herself to become the water drop falling from the wet moss of the Grandmother tree. She is the medicine of the water itself. She allows that stream to carry her down river towards the sea. She can hear the whales in the distance welcoming her arrival. She does not resist as the water accelerates moving quickly now through a challenge course of obstacles.
The river simply moves around or plows through whatever is in its way. She follows suit, her ‘one water drop self’ buoyant and graceful as she skips and bobs. Other water drops meet her as the rain greets the now swollen river. Together they move the sand at the shores of the sea to make room for more water to feed the sea.  The sea is the beginning and the sea is the end. The sea holds all of our wishes and forgives many of our failings.

    If we do not listen, if we become too self possessed, whether it be self damnation, or outer accusations of blame and wrongful intent, we lose our medicine, our ability to heal, our ability to be in balance, to be the ‘one little drop of water’ that contributes to either an angry torrent of water breaking dams or sparkling drops of glory.

How does the interior river within you flow?