Yesterday morning, the end of my transformative week of guest teaching Pilates at Rancho La Puerta, I hiked up the mesmerizing Mount Kuchumaa as I have the past three years at the fitness resort. But yesterday was different. Hiking alone with my friend and colleague Barbara Stamis instead of with the group of guests made the experience a unique, solitary and more contemplative one.
Three quarters of the way in, we suddenly noticed a pack of four wild horses on the mountain trail less than 50 feet in front of us. We stopped, spellbound and captivated by the sight. Fear quickly set in – how might wild animals act upon discovering us? What if they gallop in our direction on this narrow path of steep mountain where we can’t step aside?
But the fear soon turned to awe and gratitude for the chance to witness this rare moment. These majestic creatures had paused to graze and peer out across the vast expanse of Mexican landscape beyond, as if they were in fact reflecting and meditating. In this dreamlike moment, I felt like Helen Mirren in the film The Queen where she unexpectedly discovers an elegant deer on her property and is forever changed by its breathtaking beauty and all it represents.
Just as suddenly as we had discovered the horses in our presence, they galloped away without warning, exhibiting their grace and power. That fleeting minute of connection with these bewildering animals was a metaphor for my entire visit this year. This visit was so entrenched in discoveries from fear morphing into untapped potential. Discoveries only possibly from my willingness to surrender. To let go of ego and ingrained beliefs I’d mistakenly held as truths. To let go of habits and patterns. To allow myself to be present and open in order to find and exhibit my own grace, power and potential.
Releasing the grip allows for new ideas, experiences and opportunities to enter. I know this. I teach this. But I sometimes forget it when it applies to myself. And this week I remembered it and experienced it yet again, just as I will throughout my life again and again for ongoing self-actualization.
Releasing that grip and creating space in my mind, my schedule and my world around me this week opened the curtains for clarity to stream in and paved the path for wild horses to run past.