Horses are social animals. They are most comfortable in the safety and community of their herd.
When a horse is removed from the herd by one of us pesky humans for riding or grooming or doctoring, the remaining horses keep watch.
Sometimes they pace the fence line.
Sometimes they call out to their missing friend.
Almost always, they wait until the horse is returned.
It’s a great example of the power of community.
We humans are also social animals.
Like horses, the majority of us feel most comfortable in family groupings, getting together with friends, and living in neighborhoods of one kind or another.
It’s our version of the herd.
Last week I spent a day with two friends – women I’ve known for decades. We’ve been getting together once a month for a while now.
To be with these women- my longtime herd- is one of the most healing things I do for myself.
We have history, shared experience, and similar interests and values.
In many ways we’ve become like an old married couple, where not much surprises us. There is ease in being together.
We know each other’s children and they know us.
We’ve been together at weddings, funerals, births, anniversaries, parties, and the day-to-day events in our lives.
Last week was a busy one for me. I felt as if I were running on a treadmill like one of those little gerbils in a child’s Habitrail.
As the week went on, I grew more stressed, more tired, and frankly worn out.
It was a week of being slightly off the mark. I kept missing appointments, getting places without the one thing I really needed, and forgetting things I usually know.
Through it all, the wise part of me kept suggesting that what I needed was to slow down. Take care of myself. “But I don’t have time,” I countered. “Too much to do.”
Then Friday came like a miracle cure.
I stopped doing and focused on being.
Being nurturing to myself.
Being in my herd.
I felt the stress of the week trickle out of me. I began to breathe more deeply, laugh a little at the silliness of my self-imposed stress, and relax.
Sometimes all it takes is remembering that I am not alone.
We do indeed belong to each other.