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Living the Spark



There has probably been a time in your life – possibly more than one occasion – when a serendipitous collection of circumstances ignited a spark of acute awareness of what comes next. And if you had followed that spark, had lived it like a horse as unpremeditatedly as it had occurred, what would have happened? Do you know or did you allow the spark to die? And if you had another chance, would you live the spark? Would you dare?

One of the definitions of a spark provided by the Oxford online dictionary is ‘a sense of liveliness and excitement’ as in ‘their was a spark between them at their first meeting’. Paraphrased, this sentence could be interpreted to mean that there was an awareness of the other, of being alive to the possibilities of interaction with each other. Such an awareness is intense, so much so that it is akin to knowing. And it is immediate and unpremeditated: in the moment and devoid of rationale, at least initially.

Michael Bevilacqua training collection on the ground

Michael Bevilacqua training collection on the ground

So what is this spark and why might you even consider living it? Michael Bevilacqua uses the term, ‘unexplainable awareness’ to describe the concept of intuition. He cites the example of a nagging feeling, which most humans have probably experienced on at least one occasion: ‘A situation may appear to our eyes and brain as normal or good, yet for some reason there is a funny feeling inside of us telling us otherwise’. Looking back on his own life he writes, ‘There were so many times with horses that I made a decision or understood something regarding the horse without being able to explain it.’ He concludes that ‘With intuition, questions come after the answer’ (Beyond the Dream Horse, p. 175).

As we approach the end of the year, I look back on the earth-moving changes that have occurred in my life and that of the woman with whom I share it. Since December 2010 we have undergone a physical, mental and emotional dislocation which has take us from one side of the world to the other, has caused me to question everything I have taken for granted, and has almost sent Vicki and myself on separate paths.

In circumstances such as these it is easy to get lost, to be overwhelmed by it all and to surrender to self-pity and apathy. Perhaps I would have had it not been for a series of sparks that seemed to light the way like beacons marking the passage to a safe harbour for a boat caught in a midnight storm. In past posts I have mentioned some of these sparks, such as my awareness and use of the numerous opportunities that facilitated our move from Australia and our settlement (and that of our horse and dog) in Holland. I have also alluded to my awareness of the circumstances which militated against our planned sojourn at Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling’s Akedah school in Denmark.

Once it became clear that we would not be spending a year on the island of Lyø, I was so eager to find an alternative ‘solution’, that I researched and planned, and pushed and shoved to the point where I was in danger of burying the very awareness that had induced me to give up the life we had in Australia in order to find the new way that I was seeking. Fortunately, there have been people – those around me

Part of the beauty of Lyø

Part of the beauty of Lyø

and those who came to me as email correspondents and blog commentators or in the form of books, articles and videos – urging me to look to myself and to find within me the answers that I sought. There has also been a very special sensitive horse insisting that I do the same or experience my short-sightedness reflected in her response.

If there has been a single, important lesson that I have learned over the past year, it has been a growing awareness and appreciation of the totally irrational sense (as in ‘it makes sense’) of living the spark, of becoming sensitive to my intuition and allowing it to guide my life. Initially, it is a bit like leaping into the dark. Increasingly though, it is becoming akin to leaping into the light. There is no questioning at the outset, just an awareness of what is and what comes next. The explanations and rational side of things comes later. And as each leap occurs and is subsequently shown to be appropriate, the darkness yields to light and I find myself growing in the confidence that helps to live the spark.

And almost biblically, so it came to pass again. Dubu had just died and the decision of what comes next in our lives – which we had so emphatically managed to postpone while our old pup was still alive – suddenly reared its head again. This time though I was confident enough to wait until a spark occurred. And, lo and behold, it has. And again, we have our horse to thank for it. Thank you, Anaïs. Thank you, my princess!

As I mentioned in my previous post (Of Horses, Humans, Dogs and Joy), Anaïs was most resolute in her refusal to be trucked back home after visiting the holistic veterinary clinic for the second time. Vicki concluded that we had a trailer-loading problem and consequently went in search of someone who could help us resolve it. Extensive online research yielded a number of names.

One of those was Petra Vlasblom, a woman who runs a horse and human (not just horses) training centre called 2Moons. The name is that of her horse, a creature that first put her into hospital on at least two occasions, and that then helped her to change herself, her attitude and her approach to such an extent that 2Moons went from being a dangerous brute to a treasured companion. Along the way Petra received assistance from various people. One of those was Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, with whom she trained on and off from 2005 to 2007 (including a one-year course). The essentials seem to have stuck and it was her approach that drew us instinctively before we obtained details of her horse-related education. I have told her that I want to learn everything she has to teach. The spark has struck again.

Petra Vlasblom and 2Moons

Petra Vlasblom and 2Moons

Petra’s approach coupled with a healthy absence of ego has helped her build a booming business through which she is helping a growing number of people, predominantly in the Netherlands but also in Belgium, Germany and France. Given the extent of her activities, we are amazed that we had not come across her before. Clearly, she is drawing new clients mainly through word of mouth rather than the internet.

After attending two lengthy information evenings given by Petra for prospective clients, Vicki and I have signed up for a three-year course with her starting with a two-week tailored course at her centre in France in January. I am particularly excited by the prospect of this new direction, because it actually promises to be a continuation of the one we set out to pursue a year ago but is not prisoner to the dark energy which we encountered on the island of Lyø in June. In addition, it will be bolstered by our commitment to continue our own physical and spiritual development in a more structured and disciplined manner. I have started taijiquan (tai chi chuan) and Eckhart Tolle’s Practising the Power of Now is a source of inspiration that is constantly to hand.

Our contact with Anaïs is much closer and subtle than it is used to be. Clearly our mare approves of the change in us. I am sincerely grateful to all those of you who have helped me personally in this respect as well as those published writers who continue to be a source of inspiration in my pursuit of a horse-friendly approach in my dealings with horses (and consequently also humans), namely, Imke Spilker, Michael Bevilacqua and Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling (especially through his book, The Horse Seeks Me). Without all of you I would not yet be committed to living the spark as fully as I am.


Season’s greetings

As the festive season gets underway and millions of people around the world find it within themselves to do what would arguably liberate the world if they were to do it every day, Vicki and I would like to share a poem with you which, in a quiet moment of reflection, may assume the contours that you recognise of a spark within yourself. If you do, may you find the strength within yourself to live the spark.

You will find the poem here.

Best wishes to all of you. May the festive season bring you all the loving that you are capable of receiving and giving!

5 Responses to “Living the Spark”

  1. alexia says:

    Congratulations on finding the next steps for your life, steps that give you blessed spark and joy of living! Season’s greeting to you and yours !

  2. Nora says:

    Dankjewel voor al jullie blogs en nu je seasons greetings. Dus voorlopig zijn jullie based in Holland, en komen er nu veel boeiender dingen op jullie pad. Enjoy every minute. Who knows what 2012 will bring! All the best, love, NORA

  3. Laraine says:

    Hello to your from OZ wishing you all the Blessings of the season and a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year and may the path that you are on be the one to help your soul soar.
    Loved the poem so profound and applies to us two legged people as well.

  4. Initially, it is a bit like leaping into the dark. Increasingly though, it is becoming akin to leaping into the light.

    dear andrew, reading your latest blog again after having been fed a most delicious meal prepared by one of my dearest friends this evening, i came across above lines and they sort of caught my eye….perhaps my fall into the dark will turn into a fall into the light……..!!!!!!!!!!xg

  5. Susan Van Wagoner says:

    I love the idea of leaping into the light! There is joyous intention in that. Thank you, Andrew and Vicky for sharing your adventure. I am looking forward to your insights in 2012. Happy New year to all!