When you open your life to the rest of our world, it can be daunting. It is easy to become hypersensitive to the violence and suffering around us. Maybe you cannot tolerate the extreme violence of many movies and TV shows, or even the news reports on the radio. Favorite murder mysteries may no longer be interesting, or at least must be taken in small doses and avoided just before bedtime. Emotions may run high on all accounts.
It is important to honor such sensitivities without allowing them to shut down the awakening heart and mind. Instead of stifling sorrow and pain, it is important to allow feelings to be expressed in ways that their energies are brought to bear in creative forms. Then they essentially will energize your life path instead of divert you onto the side roads of avoidance and fear.
Joining with others in some kind of supportive community is important for this reason too. One way to express such feelings and to engage with a supportive community is to playfully explore how these new perspectives can enhance your own life. You can play the following interactive game to widen your personal world toward global citizenship.
- Widen your perspective on important issues in your life.
- Challenge your tendency to disconnect from nature.
- Recognize your fundamental connection to the natural world.
- Enlist new players in your mythic story.
Preparation and Equipment
Choose an area large enough for groups of four to sit comfortably together in a circle facing one another.
Time: One hour
Choose an event in your recent past that challenged or upset you, something rich that still offers some emotional charge for you but that you feel comfortable sharing with others. One person will ring a bell, or use another signal, to designate two-minute intervals. It will help for the leader to give instructions for each step only when undertaking that step, rather than summarize the whole activity from the beginning.
1. From your own point of view, describe the situation to the rest of the group of four. All individuals in the group take two-minute turns, describing their own situations from their unique points of view.
2. After everyone has taken one turn, describe the same situation from the viewpoint of someone who was in the situation with you, someone who either opposed you or had a different experience of the situation than you did. Do this using "I" language, speaking as though you were telling your opponent's version of the same situation. Again, after two minutes, switch to the next person in the group, and allow that person to tell his or her story from the opponent's perspective.
3. Then take turns describing the same situation from the perspective of an animal as if it had been present at the time of the incident. Maybe an animal actually was present, but if not, then try imagining the situation from the perspective of a fly or an ant. Now imagine that a horse happens along and watches the event. Imagining as vividly as you can how the horse's perspective on the situation would differ from that of any human, speak as if you actually were that horse. Take a moment to step into the mind of this other nonhuman way of seeing your human event.
4. Imagine one of your descendants some 150 years from now looking back on this situation. Imagine that it is your great-great-grandchild who lives in another country, in another part of our world, an entirely different culture. What is this person's opinion of your decisions about this event and your resolution of this situation? How would your decisions about this situation affect this descendant for good or ill? Speaking in that descendant's voice, tell how your actions have made a difference in his or her world.
Take a few moments to discuss among the group the insights and discoveries you have made.
Riding into Your Mythic Life: Transformational Adventures with the Horse
by Patricia Broersma.
Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. ©2007/2008. www.newworldlibrary.com or 800/972-6657 ext. 52.
About the Author
A certified therapeutic riding instructor, Patricia Broersma has founded and directed therapeutic riding programs in San Antonio, Texas, and Ashland, Oregon. She has been a certified instructor with North American Riding for the Handicapped (NAHRA) since 1977. She is currently president of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association. She lives in Ashland, Oregon. Her website is www.trishbroersma.com.