Right Use of Power
I would like to introduce you to our herd leader, Desperado. While he came with the name Desperado, I often call him “my King of Diamonds”. A diamond has many facets, and so too, does my relationship with this guy.
Desperado came to live with us because he could no longer be ridden. He is a big black quarter horse gelding, with two rear white socks and a broken stripe on his face that ends with a diamond shape on his nose. So he acquired the nickname, “King of Diamonds”!
Desperado quickly took the position as herd leader with our donkey, Lucy, becoming his best friend. The job as herd leader is a big responsibility, ensuring the safety and connection of the herd. All was going well with the new adjustment of herd dynamics, we now had six horses and two donkeys. I often described being out with them all as having time in the Pasture of Peace.
Growing the Herd
Then we added two new herd members, Santiago and Dexter. Initially, introducing new members can be a little stormy, but this usually settles in as everyone finds their unique position in the herd. However, these additions turned into a storm that didn’t pass. Soon, the effect was being felt by the two and four-legged members of my family.
Desperado’s leadership turned mean. He dominated others. But, in particular, he relentlessly chased our new member, Santiago (who happened to be my riding horse). Determined that he wouldn’t join the herd, his rejection became extreme, and Santiago began to run from him. He avoided all contact with Desperado, even jumping the fence to find refuge at our neighbor, Vickie’s place.
It was clear that Desperado was misusing his power, and this deeply upset me. But, it also disturbed the rest of my family. We were all starting to question if we had made a mistake by bringing Desperado into our family. It seemed that peace might never return to our pasture. The situation was becoming a significant problem.
Santiago was my riding horse, and Desperado’s aggression triggered the overprotective mother in me. Clarity on the situation wasn’t presenting, and my family became fixed that Desperado was just a Big Bully. They began to feel that he wasn’t going to fit into our family. I realized that I could stay in the fight of the situation, or I could look at it as an opportunity and find a way through.
So, it was time to see from a deeper perspective. I gathered the family and expressed that Desperado was presenting us with the opportunity of coming to a greater understanding of the right use of power as a leader.
I asked everyone to peel off the projection of what they had decided he was. We each had to find within ourselves the shadow aspects or stories around leadership and power. Now, looking at life situations this way is not comfortable. But, for me, I have found that it is the best way for me to take full responsibility for my life and challenges.
The change after this family conversation was remarkable. My emotional commitment to the circumstances and awareness was affirmed, and the energy of the situation lightened somewhat. I continued by holding space for all the uncomfortable emotions that would surface because of Desperado’s behavior. Instead of making it all about Desperado, I made it about me and my journey towards leadership and right use of power.
Awareness choice and commitment are powerful transformative tools. My choice to experience and hold all my nasty emotions and thoughts continued to shift the dynamic in the herd. I was in complete awe bearing witness to the energetic shifts only by me owning my experience in thought and emotion fully.
Desperado’s aggressiveness began to soften, and a current of love for him began to rise in me. As my love for him grew, his extreme behavior began to dissipate. Soon they were all living together with more ease. It’s not that there was harmony, but intense aggression waned.
Today I am so crazy in love with him, his eyes have become endless pools that take me into curious discovery around power and leadership. Now I want to be like him (most of the time). There are occasions when he gets grumpy and misuses his power, but hey don’t we all have days like that? He is teaching me to be so embodied with presence, that the energy of my field can invite or dispel whatever I choose.
Paying Attention to Our Stories
I learned so much from this stormy experience. To sum up my lessons for you it would be this: Our stories are incredibly powerful. They create our reality, and once we have an awareness of them, we have the power to transform them or let them go. The intensity of our emotions and thoughts make an experience more significant (for the good or bad) learning to become present and hold our experience entirely changes everything.
I will never look at a negative experience from one side only..like a diamond there are many facets to view. I will always choose to dive deeper. When we accept our shadow, opposing intensity and separation dissolves. I don’t think we have to love our shadow. We do need to acknowledge it, though. As we learn to hold the multitude of emotions that get presented to us from this process, my experience is always that love shows up deeper and that current of love transforms.
Desperado and Santiago Now
It has been almost 5 years now since Desperado became my teacher. I want to share a picture that helps to emphasize how things have changed with the herd. Here are friends, Desperado, and Santiago grooming each other.
Until next time, may you experience safety and connection so you can dive deep into life’s stormy opportunities.
Blessings from the herd and me,