Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Horse With No Name

Every man is divinity in disguise.
It is God playing the fool.

“I See You” by MJohnson; © 2009
Now I’ve been up close and personal with some animals—dogs, cats, monkeys, raccoons, bears, even some endangered species like the lynx and bobcat that visit my land—but never a the middle of the road...on a dark and snowy night.
I suppose stranger things have happened.
‘Twas the night before the night before Christmas, and I was on my way home from a holiday musical extravaganza sponsored by the Unity Church of Boulder.
With a new moon rising and snow clouds hanging low in the sky, visibility was limited as I wound my way up the familiar stretch of Boulder Canyon toward my home. Sticking close to the canyon wall, slowly, I drove through the snow, all the while contemplating the meaning of “Unity.” What does it really mean—this concept of oneness?
Suddenly, out of nowhere, I came upon a horse running wildly back-and-forth across the narrow, two-lane road, sliding as she maneuvered uphill in the snow. The unexpected sight of her scared me half to death; she was scared, too. So I stopped and turned on my hazard lights, not sure what to do next, but this much I knew: Boulder Canyon is no place for a horse, especially at night when it’s snowing.
For a brief moment I watched her and, she, looking over her shoulder, watched me. And then I did the only thing I could think of to do: I rolled down my window and talked to her.
“Don’t be scared . . . I’m not going to hurt you,” I said softly. “Please, you have to get out of the road before you cause an accident.”
She stopped running, eyeing me suspiciously.
“Please, come here . . . you have to get out of the road,” I pleaded.
Slowly, she turned and walked toward me.
“Come here, girl, I’m not going to hurt you. I want to help you,” I continued, coaxing her with promises of safety while holding out my hand to her through the open window.
She approached my car, towering high above it, and lowered her head to meet me at eye level. As I reached out to touch the side of her face I saw something in her eyes that changed me. In that moment, I caught a glimpse of her spirit and I understood with acute awareness what I had only intellectualized until then—that the same life force that moved through her flowed through me. The same vital energy that animated her form, gave life to mine, albeit in different packages.
It was as if time stood still for me and that horse on the canyon. I whispered, “I see you.”
Just then a car came barreling around the corner and slammed on the brakes. My new friend freaked out and started running around my car. She had no bridle or halter to grab, so there was little I could do but work out a plan with the man in the car behind me to get the horse out of the road. We agreed—he would stay with the horse and warn oncoming cars with flashing lights, and I would drive the remaining three miles up the canyon and get the local police to help us.
The rest of the story played out like a scene from The Andy Griffith Show. I ran into the police station and exclaimed with excitement: “There’s a horse in the middle of the canyon.” To which the officer replied, “Yeah, what does the horse look like?”
What? So I described the horse and told them of the man I had left behind on the canyon waiting for help, and I discovered that the officers knew the horse—or at least they knew the horse’s owner—and they followed me out to remedy the situation. The horse was rescued. Crisis averted. It was surreal.
Later, as I pulled into my driveway, I couldn’t shake the intensity of my experience with that horse—the moment of connection with her living spirit. What a precious gift to see and truly understand the essence of the Law of One, which reminds us that we are all unique expressions of the same Creative Source, interconnected with everyone and everything else. Call that Source whatever you like—God, Allah, Great Spirit, Creator, the “Big C”—it matters not, because there is only One from which all things flow.
You are at once a beating heart
and a single heartbeat in the body called humanity.
~Dr. Wayne Dyer
Oneness is a concept emphasized by many, and has been, perhaps, one of the toughest ideas for me to wrap my mind around. It is simple enough in theory to say that we’re all one, but when I see my neighbor in his yard shoveling snow and I’m standing across the street in my own yard—physically separate from him—it’s hard to make the connection. It is especially challenging for me to find the common thread when I look at the most repulsive of criminal offenders—rapists, murderers and child molesters—for it is here that I am most keen to distinguish myself in every conceivable way. It’s even more difficult to conceptualize my oneness with the creek flowing through my back yard or the horse in the middle of the canyon, particularly when I consider the differences in our physical constitutions.
To grasp this concept requires that we open our minds and see beyond our physical limitations. Analogies help. For instance, if I pour wine from a bottle into your glass, what do you have? A glass of wine—the same wine that’s still in the bottle, only now a portion of it has been transferred to another container. The same is true of me, the horse and the vital energy that flows through us, bringing our “containers” to life. True, our containers are quite different and come with unique bells and whistles—in that way, we’re definitely not the same—but we come from One, which makes us all related in a wonderfully abstract way.
Spiritual teachers and mystics across time have urged us to consider that what we do to one we do to all; that we cannot hurt another without also, in some way, hurting ourselves. And while many of us may find it easy to extend that thought pattern and courtesy to a handful of people we're close to—our immediate family and loved ones—how often do we reach out to help strangers or animals or the environment in the spirit of unity and oneness?
And so this was my Gift of the Magi—wisdom and recognition shared between a girl and a horse on a dark canyon road—and now I pass it on to you.
As we begin a new year, may you discover the peace that comes with understanding your connection to the One.


TR Hughes said...

How truly amazing that experience must have been for you! I feel the connection from human to animal morphing into union of one spirit just having read your post. I absolutely agree with your perspective on your encounter. What a blessing for you both (horse). It is the moments like that in life I think that make us step back and look at the larger consciousness of our very existence. We are all one. All creatures, all life. We share the same energy as the tulips and the trees, birds and the bears...light, wind, and rain. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. You have touched my heart today.

Melissa Johnson said...

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! Anyone who has ever looked into the eyes of their beloved pet knows this, but sometimes we forget the deeper truth of our connection to one and all.

Theresa said...

Oh my gosh! What a story and what a thought provoking way of looking at our "source". Thanks for helping the horse, and thanks for sharing your beautiful insight.

Montana said...

Oh God, Melissa. So beautiful. I am sobbing -- tears of joy.
I feel she was "sent" to you, that maybe your "Light" called out to herto let her know, just as she let YOU know, that she, too, is part of the One ...
Your writing is beautiful, Melissa, but it is your heart that makes me cry ... what a beautiful soul you are ... Wow! You scooped me out on this one ... I've got nothing left...

Dave said...

Thank you so much for sending this amazing story! I have shared it with a bunch of folks today. Happy New Year!

Yes We Can!

Take Care.

Janet said...

I LOVE the horse story. You are the best! Your writing is absolutely beautiful and whenever I read something you have written it seems to be just what I
needed to hear. Keep writing!

Melissa Johnson said...

Wow! Thanks to all of you for reading. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and inspiration from this story. I find it interesting that the deeper I go within myself in search of meaning in life, the more I find myself sharing experiences like this with the world around me -- animals and people. It's magical!

Dan said...

Where did you find this Law of One? I've read things about oneness, but I've never heard it described like you do in your article. I like it. I get it. Very creative and inspiring.

Jessica said...

I LOVED your story, have brought me to such emotion! I have tears in my eyes just feeling your inspirational experience! I am truly blessed to have you as my friend :) Thank you for such a beautiful story~

Melissa Johnson said...

Hi again. I wanted to respond to Dan's question about where the Law of One came from--I created it, or codified it (as I did with all the other laws I write about here), based on my understanding of the underlying principles. Thanks for asking. And thanks to everyone for reading and writing.

Flora said...

This is truly lovely, Melissa. And demonstrates all that is spiritual - our day to day experiences, sifted through a filter of meditation, plus heart added = spiritual insight. It brings to mind the scripture in which Jesus said, "In as much as you do it to the least of these my bretheren, you do it unto Me." Love, MOM

Karl Mason said...

Leave it to you to run into one of Grandpa's war buddies! That was a beautiful telling of an encounter that most people would be too busy to breathe in and experience. It's a great reminder to keep our eyes and hearts open to the life that'a all around us.
With much love, Uncle K

Lyndra said...

Hi Melissa! I just read your story in the Angel Animals newsletter. I was especially touched by your description of looking into the eyes of the horse and seeing the same life force that emanates through you! Thanks for sharing!

I very quickly scanned your website & blog and you appear to be someone who aspires to live a life you love in integrity with your values! I admire that!

FYI, I have a website at

Happy New Year!
Best wishes!

Katherine B said...

Hi Melissa,

I just discovered your website and blog thanks to the weekly email I receive from Angel Animals. LOVE your perspective and the wonderful way you pull it all together in your writing. I look forward to reading more about your "out of the box" explorations & experiences.

My best "out of the box" experience was when I rode my horse across Spain & Portugal .... alone .... from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic .... in 2001. It was a GRAND adventure!

Best to you & yours,
Katherine Santa Ynez, CA
(just outside Santa Barbara)

Linda Anderson said...

Hi Melissa--I just read the blog you wrote for January 1, 2009 called "A Horse with No Name." It would be ideal as an entry in our Angel Animals Story of the
Week online newsletter. This is a free publication that goes to thousands of people around the world who love animals. You can read previous newsletters at and click on archived newsletters. Could you
get back to us about this request ASAP? Thanks! Linda

Jenna said...

Very important that you managed to help this horse... then I could re-read the story and enjoy the oneness of it all. :)But I absolutely adore this story. I was soothed by a mountain goat on the side of the Grand Canyon once. I was quaking in my flip flops -with no sense of balance and nobody around to help when the goat slid down from up above to stop RIGHT THERE beside of me, with calmness in his little eyes. He casually took a mouth full of briars and chewed - which made me laugh - and calm down. After I relaxed (and breathed a little), he slid on down and I climbed that stupid mountain - and got out of my predicament (sp?). Animals and people DO need each other. We are connected. It's a heartlaw, I think. :) Thanks, Melissa. Happy New Year. -Jenna