Still from the 2011 documentary Buck, about the life and work of horse trainer Buck Brannaman.
I ended up taking all of last week off blogging. It was restful and necessary and a smart thing to do, but it was also one of the hardest things I’ve done lately, because it triggered a lot of guilt and anxiety and fear, based on the beliefs that I’ve come to hold about being useful, and being a hard worker, and being productive.
To be honest, it’s been difficult to re-frame my thinking about my public writing and my creativity. I go through my days anxious and brittle, afraid I’m making the wrong choices, afraid of what people are thinking of me, afraid of not being enough. I eat too much chocolate and junk food. I feel defeated and incapable of helping myself. I’m like a crazed animal, tortured for so long that the wounded part of me can’t be reached, can’t be calmed.
There’s an image I can’t get out of my mind. It’s from a dream that I had several months ago. In this dream, a woman mutilates the front paws of her cat, and I – a bystander to this horrific torture in the dream – start sobbing and screaming at her, “What have you done to your cat?! What have you done to your cat?!” At the time, it seemed very clear to me that I was abusing myself in exactly the same way that this dream woman was abusing her beloved animal. And I’m still doing it.
I watched a documentary on Netflix this week called Buck, about horse trainer Buck Brannaman, who was the inspiration for the lead character in the book The Horse Whisperer, and the 1998 movie by the same name. The film is so lovely – there are many scenes of Buck leading horse workshops across America, and his demeanor and his techniques are so humane, so gentle yet compelling, so full of connection to the soul of the animal, that I started weeping many times while I was watching the movie.
I need to find the part of myself that can be that patient, that understanding, and that non-judgmental with my tender animal soul. I believe it’s possible. I don’t think I’m past saving (like one unfortunate, brain-damaged stud horse in the movie). But this may take some time…
Is there an aspect of yourself or your life that needs a “whisperer”?
Watch the trailer for the documentary Buck, below.