I keep writing that experiences have the potential to teach us something about ourselves, others, and life in general. It only demands that we be present at the moment and be open to what is taking place. It sounds simple but is not, only because most people are not in the present. Instead, they are distracted… living in yesterdays and tomorrows. A common mistake made in living one’s life.
When I worked with kids and staff from the late forties to the 70s, I had no choice except to be as present as possible. I needed to be in the moment, ready to answer the needs and problems of those I was responsible for as they arose. People and events kept me present, not because I disciplined myself to be present, but my responsibilities demanded that I be present, ready, and able for others. This meant that any unusual happening or call to action captured my full attention. Following is an actual experience. What took place could not have happened, and yet it did…
It was a beautiful Sunday in July, mid-1950s, and for some strange reason, I decided to drive to our Day Camp, “Purple Sage,” located in Malibu Canyon, and go for a horseback ride. It was a rare desire since I frequently rode a horse around camp, checking on the kids and activities when it was in session. In any case, I felt compelled to go to camp and take a Sunday ride. When I arrived at the corral, a horse I had never ridden came over and nuzzled me as if to say, “I’ve been waiting for you; let’s go for a ride.” It was Strawberry (A Strawberry Rhone) with a gentle reputation, round back, an easy ride. She decided for me, and in any event, the horse I usually rode paid no attention to me, so Strawberry was my ride. Her round back made it easy for me to ride her bareback with only a hackamore around her nose—no bridle or saddle. How much sweeter a ride can there be?
We crossed into fields owned by Bob Hope and began a gentle ride which soon became a full-out run, and suddenly in that exact moment, it was not me, and it was not 1950. In that instant, I became a warrior attacking a village in the steppes of Asia. At full speed, we hit a gopher hole, and Strawberry and I tumbled forward. When I got up, Strawberry knelt, waiting for me to mount. Slowly and in deep thought, we headed back to the corral. Crazy as it seems, I was sure it happened, and I was equally sure the horse felt it too.
I am in the now———-Maybe not but possible———Is real always real?