The Story of the Horse, the Monkey and the Bird

Here’s a little backstory first:

I used this story as an introduction to my 2015 Managing Stress by Making Room For You presentation at the Ontario Bar Association. Part of me felt it was too “out there” to share with a large number of lawyers (what if they thought I was a flake?), and the wiser part of me knew that it would resonate powerfully with at least a few people. I wrestled with this disagreement inside myself and actually got a very bad headache for several days as a result. Finally, while practicing yoga, I came to the realization that I wanted to make my experience fun, otherwise what was the point? I didn’t have to do this presentation. It was a choice.   So, I was also going to choose to make it fun…and powerful in the process. Luckily the wiser part of me won.

I hope you enjoy the story:

This is the story of the horse, the monkey and the bird. I took them all to Texas with me to a coaches’ conference back in 2010. In fact, I take them everywhere with me. They are me. The represent my mind (the monkey), my body (the horse) and my spirit (the bird).   They really came to life for me while I was on the treadmill at about 6 am one morning during this conference. I had had a very sleepless night.  I felt like a very tired horse on the treadmill. I was on the treadmill to try to calm my mind, which had been having a grand old time all night cooking up all sorts of ideas, prompted by the richness of the conference thus far.  I really felt like I had a restless monkey inside my head, an image offered to us at an earlier conference, in Montreal, by a Buddhist monk named Matthieu Ricard.   I had often felt in the past that my mind as pulling my body along behind it, with no regard for how my body might feel.   So, as I plodded along on the treadmill, I wondered where my spirit was in all this. At my best I often feel like I am flying — my spirit must be a bird.  So my spirit is a bird, one which is tethered to the horse.   My spirit was really trying to soar, as it loves to do at these conferences, but the monkey had been busy running all over the horse, covering her ears, hanging from her nostrils, doing all sorts of gymnastics, so my bird was being held down kind of low– Then all of the sudden the horse had a surge of energy, the monkey was calmed enough to hold on tightly and actually ride. This allowed the magic to happen:  we – I was flying! The bird

I saw this winged horse in the window of a store in New York City a few months after my story came to be.

I saw this winged horse in the window of a store in New York City a few months after my story came to be. It has some interesting reflections in it…

had become part of the horse and the horse had beautiful strong wings. I was aloft floating high above the treadmill and oh so grateful for that brief moment of clarity & total alignment. I cried in deep gratitude.  I wanted more of that. I have tried for more of that ever since.

And now, I want that for you too. I want that for all of us. The world needs us to be whole: mind, body and spirit together…. to unleash our whole selves and to contribute to the world from that place. This is what I mean by Making Room For You.

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