I was standing in the desert, nearly naked. My eyes were closed, my feet sturdy on the ground. Moonlight abundantly rained on both the beautiful, barren land, and myself. I felt my body. I felt the desert. I felt alive.
It had only been about 4 months since I had started working in wilderness therapy in the West Desert of Utah. I had blossomed. The program was everything I was looking for; great people, time in the wilderness, mentoring, and primitive skills.
This one particular August night, I had decided to go do some meditation/prayer/quiet time (whatever you want to call it) alone. During my time alone, I felt this energy flow through me. I felt gratitude, joy, and such connection to all things wild. At this moment I dedicated my life to the pursuit of learning ancestral knowledge and teaching nature connection to other people. With this statement spoken to the universe, I again felt a surge of energy through my entire body. Satisfied with my affirmation, I went to sleep.
In the middle of the night I suddenly awoke out of my slumber to the noise of something moving outside of my shelter. I initially thought it was a student, walking around and being sneaky, but when I looked outside of my tarp shelter, my jaw dropped. There, not twenty feet in front of me, was a horse. Our field in Utah was one of the last places on Earth where wild horses still roamed free, and here was one, in our camp, and stomping around. The all black horse seemed to be displaying its power, stomping its hooves, and moving in tight circles. At its back the full moon lit up its silhouette and dust flew all around. I woke my co-staff to make sure it was real. We both sat there in awe and admired the beauty and power of this beautiful animal. And as quickly as it came in, it left our camp.
The next morning, we checked the horse’s tracks. It, unshod, came from a nearby sagebrush field, walked into camp, did its dance, and then walked back the way it came. Its tracks confirmed that it was a strange visit indeed.
Later that week, I asked around my program if anyone had ever experienced anything quite like that. Even after asking dozens of people all of whom had had hundreds of days in the same field, none of them had ever heard or experienced anything like that. To this day, that was the most magical moment I have ever experienced, and I still can’t believe it happened.
The only thing that partly explains my horse experience is the idea of the universe responding to my energy. Just hours before this once in a lifetime thing happened, I dedicated my life to the Earth and felt so connected to all living things. The horse came to me to tell me “message received”. I know this is “out-there” thinking, but really, what are those odds? 1 in a million? Probably closer to 1 in a billion.
After many more weeks in the desert I have witnessed other odd experiences that occur during extremely powerful moments in people’s lives. And I am a firm believer that the universe/nature/existence/god/ whatever you seem fit to call it, is responding to our actions.
Quantum physics teaches us about the observer effect. Basically, our observation, our no-effort, just-look-at-the-damn-thing-energy, changes the way sub-atomic particles act. Other studies show our thoughts can effect living things as well, which makes sense because we are all cut from the same material (protons, neutrons, electrons etc.) If we apply these two ideas, it isn’t that far of a stretch to believe that our mindset and energy can effect the way the universe responds to us.
I know a lot of scientific minds will refute this claim with vigor, I don’t blame you, I was once the same way, and I respect your truth. However, I choose to believe that the universe responds to my energy and I respond to it. In my universe, nature is always communicating with me and I am always learning from it. Our mindset creates our universe and truth, and I am so grateful for moments like these.