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Lions Roar : July 2013
63 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 I DO THINGS LIKE gallop alone on my horse in grizzly bear and mountain lion territory. You’d think I was a live-in-the-moment, head-to-the-Big- Sky Montana girl, free and clear. And sometimes I am, though the truth is, it all scares me. But there was one day when I saw my way through that fear. It was after my father died. I’d lived in the ICU with him for a month helping him die. There was no rushing that. When I returned to Montana, I went straight to my horse. I wanted to ride him to the river. To let the water wash away the spiritual scum I felt coating me from the hos- pital, funeral, and closet cleaning. Yet there was a problem with this agenda. My horse was terrified of water. For years, I’d tried to change that. I’d done every- thing from driving him into the river with his herd to floating carrots in the water. Nothing worked until that day when agenda became intention, and I knew deeply that I had to go slowly. That day, all goals surrendered. I was simply in the moment of my grief and wanting the healing to begin. I made reins out of the halter rope. Jumped on him bareback. Headed to the river. What is there to fear when you’ve watched your father take his last breath? I didn’t think fear or fight or speed. I simply went step by step, intention by intention, surrender by surrender. We walked to the river. I cast my fear into the pool of the present moment, and he did too. Without pausing, he stepped into the water with me on his back. And we spent the afternoon swimming that river. Free. — LAURA MUNSON is the author of This Is Not the Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness. PHOTOBYHEIDILONG