Taking the Reigns on this Horse and Pony Show!



how goes it? are you riding high these days? or is life riding you? ūüôā




Why do we Ride?

have you ever ridden a horse?

i miss riding horses! as a little nugget, i loved riding horses. when i grew up and started traveling, i would take any opportunity to do one of those horse riding tours‚ÄĒJamaica, Costa Rica, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and beyond‚Ķ

i haven’t done it awhile, but it keeps coming up lately. and being in Southern Colorado is making me nostalgic and inspired to ride again.

so i‚Äôve been thinking a lot about horseback riding and how it relates to moving through life…



photo: Dana Ming

Riding Requires Balance.

not only to stay in the saddle, but also to move together with another being in a way that is not too tight and not too loose.

you have to be able to hold onto the reigns, steer in the direction you want to go, but leave enough slack for your trusty companion to make wise decisions about the road to which it is also connected. (and know that if said companion only wants to eat grass all day, you might want to up your communication skills or provide some inspiration.)

it is a metaphor for life and certainly a metaphor for traveling. you can have the best laid plans and try to execute them to perfection, but if you are not open to the infinite amount of unexpected possibilities, you will likely reach Frustration City. the journey will have no room be filled with magic and surprise. alternatively, if you are just going wherever like a feather in the wind without an inner compass, you will be lost, wandering aimlessly without purpose.

it takes a balance of air and earth, openness and grounding. one must be able to take the reigns without holding on too tightly and dominating the experience in an attempt to control.



photo: Jayme Jennings (from team ChickooBanana)

If Caught in a Riptide, Swim with the Current.

it’s like swimming in the ocean of our lives.

in fact, i found out rip tides are actually “rip currents,” as they are not tides. and you are actually supposed to swim parallel to the shore (perpendicular to the rip), which is a bit different than the mantra i learned growing up by the sea. unless you can’t do that. then, flow with it. this article about it is funny:¬†http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/08/19/how-to-escape-a-riptide/

the point is not to panic and resist when something fear-inducing comes at you. as Marie Forleo recently advised on how to have a balance of business drive and inner peace: “Resist Nothing.” and you can even take it a step further and #hugthemoment.

Frank Ostaseski, founder of the Metta Institute, created five precepts as companions on the journey of caring for the dying. the first one is: Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing. “Cultivate a fearless receptivity.”

we never know how it will turn out when we entire into new territory. the best way to deal with a force sweeping you under is to approach the situation from a new angle. when faced with the inevitable, go with the flow.

i applied this way of being in the end of August when plans rolled through the pipeline that would carry me to Italy for a workshop with scientists for the European Commission and then onto India to do more work on my Compassionate Social Action Project. i wanted to nestle back into the swing of Colorado things, but felt called to do this work that felt important. so despite an impending Mercury in Retrograde buffered by two eclipses and contained within the Year of the Fire Monkey in the beginning of September, i decided to go with the last-minute twists and turns that took me to my fate.

i opted to put on my swimmies and consciously go along with the intensity, even though it felt so strong it might overtake me completely.



photo: Jayme Jennings (from team ChickooBanana)

Surrender means Letting Go and Enjoying the Ride.

i want to say that it was like floating the Lazy River at the Waterworks theme park, but that would be a lie. it was more like being on a Tilt-a-Whirl underwater:

will i be denied access to the Joint Research Center (and thus the entire European Commission conference) because i’m American and no one processed my paperwork correctly?

will Jayme and i not be able to fulfill our purpose and get clarity on how to help empower survivors of rape and acid attacks in India? did we risk self-funding this endeavor and will we end up giving up on the whole project because nothing seems to be coming together?

will miscommunications and missed transportations cause us to miss out on going to Dharamsala, as we were called to go? will the chaotic stressful energy of the time overtake us entirely? did i develop narcolepsy in India or contract Dengue Fever???

psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach¬†tells a story of astronauts¬†in the 1950s who were flying¬†rockets way beyond where the laws of thermodynamics apply. the rockets kept crashing. most everyone was, as is expected in the role of a pilot, trying to control the rocket. but one astronaut realized that you wouldn’t crash if you took your hands off the controls completely. “when it’s outside of the realm in which you can manage, you take your hands off the controls.” and we habitually overestimate those things we think we can control, such as others, our bodies and sickness, death, pretty much everything with the exception of our own minds (in that we have the power to train our minds to let go of the wheel.)

and this is the great lesson i learn from going to India over and over again: surrender your ego to the perceived chaos and contradictions, let go of thinking you can control any of it, and you will find sublime and utter magic in the process. as we were leaving,¬†our host and collaborator Bina Ramani said, “This is what foreigners most often learn in India: You can’t force anything here. Everything happens in its own timing.”



photo: Jayme Jennings (from team ChickooBanana)

You and the Horse are One.

i kept hearing about this healer, Nomita, who did amazing reflexology in Delhi. everyone (and literally their mothers) seemed to have an appointment, although they are hard to get. she only sees three clients per day.

so when Bina had to cancel last-minute and i had cleared my schedule to take care of myself before taking flight back to the U.S., i put my swimsuit back on and dove in.

i was technically running late for the appointment because that was how everything went on this trip. my response mechanism had become automatic: accept it and breathe. allow whatever is happening to happen. everything, ultimately, is OK.

turns out, i got there a half hour early because of crossed signals between Bina and Nomita (who thought the appointment was actually a half hour later), and got to spend extra time with the magical healer who mirrored a sage and deeply grounded version of my future self. how many lifetimes it will take to become that wise, i don’t know, but it was as if our souls knew one another on some other level. (no foot pun intended.)

so many transmissions were passed between us, and the biggest takeaway was that “the time for inner work has come.” those that are resistant will struggle through the coming world changes, and those of us that have been doing the work will really start to see the benefits. her prophecy made me even more excited to return to Crestone, spend a couple months in solid practice mode, and then return to India for pilgrimage with members of my Buddhist sangha.

and when i asked her how to find balance between guiding the horse and letting the horse dictate the path, she said, “When you are really in the present moment, you and the horse are one.”

and the reigns? well, those are merely a tool to bring the two together.

right on point, as was the place on my big toe where she lovingly jammed a wooden tool. back to your regularly scheduled inner work program.



and now, this month’s Happiness Tip:

why do kids tend to be so happy and free?

one possible explanation is because they haven’t built up all the¬†defenses, fears, and doubts that we acquire as adults to try and deal with the messiness and pain of this world. they haven’t quite made this world and themselves solid things yet. so, that’s a big bike? i can ride it! what else you got?

anything is possible when everything seems possible.

and then as we grow up, we get told “no,” and we “fail” at certain things, we get more and more self-conscious while society tells us who we are and who we ought to be. how do we get back to that place where the world is pure magic?

i think one of the keys that opens our happiness portal can be found in letting go of the ego that tends to get reified in adulthood, in letting go of our overactive minds that lock that door to pure perception.

in Dharamshala, i saw another healer named Anand at the Body Temple. he does this Ayurvedic Tantric Massage Personalized Healing Magic that is best described by direct experience. (it was awesome.) during the session, my mind was running away like wild horses over the hills. all kinds of crazy thoughts   were rearing up and it occurred to me that Anand might be able to read my mind through my body. that felt embarrassing and i also wanted to stop thinking and be receptive to the experience. so i practiced a little meditation that i sometimes do when i feel myself caught up in my mind, emotions or otherwise feeling overwhelmed with what is going on around me.

~ The Letting Go Meditation ~
it’s very simple:

Breathe In: Say (in your head) “Let”
Breathe Out:¬†Say (in your head) “Go”
Breathe In: Say (in your head) “Let”
Breathe Out:¬†Say (in your head) “Go”
Breathe In: Say (in your head) “Let”
Breathe Out:¬†Say (in your head) “Go”

do this three times and see how you feel. if whatever what nagging you has loosened up, carry on. if not, keep doing it while you¬†visualize it in your mind’s eye. keep letting go until you reach an open pasture where you and your horse¬†self¬†can graze a little.

so i did The Letting Go Meditation while Anand was doing his thing. i kept coming back to it whenever i got all wrapped up in nonsense. and do you know what he said to me after the session?


“I feel some tightness in your ascending colon, which indicates difficulty in letting go. Does this mean anything to you?”

all i could do was laugh and say “yes.”¬†i will tell you two things:

1. i entered a whole new realm of healing and happiness during that experience.
2. be careful what you think because in one way or another, people can sense it.



How Do You Choose to Ride Through Life?

do you have situations or experiences in your life that you feel like are out of your control? where you feel the need to control others or get wrapped up inside the swirl of a runaway mind who is galloping away from the present moment, to protect you from being open to a world that is so utterly unpredictable?

and do you have any practices that allow you to reopen to the innocence of childhood, take your hands off the controls, or come back to your senses and a sense of presence?

it is truly one of the great joys of my life to hear from you. i would love to hear your thoughts on balance, control, on letting go and being present during bumpy rides. or horse stories! or anything, really. you can share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post. you never know how sharing your experiences and insights may be of great help and support to others.




Riding Off Into the Sunset.

i will be announcing a brand new project very soon! it involves many more travels that synthesize so many things i care about in the world. i could not be more inspired and excited to share it with you. so please stay tuned for the Pilgrimage Project of world healing proportions!

i will be doing the first public announcement about the Pilgrimage Project on Facebook Live Sunday 10/16 11AM (Mountain Time)! that’s 1PM for you east coasters and various other time zones between and beyond. i would be so thrilled to see you there‚ÄĒi am nervous to talk about something i care so much about! so your presence would certainly be most welcome. it will be happening via¬†my Lobsterbird page:¬†https://www.facebook.com/lobsterbird. so please sign up to receive notifications for that page and join me when i go Live!

yay for connection and interaction!





if you enjoy these transmissions from Sophi space, you can become an official patron through my new Patreon page: patreon.com/lobsterbird

thank you to you generous souls who have boosted me up into the saddle already — you allow me to keep doing work filled with care.



you can also show support by sharing this post with anyone who you think might enjoy it or sharing it on social media for new friends to find. even commenting on the blog is an important action. none of it goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

i thank you so incredibly much for your time, attention, presence and the many ways in which you are a great support.

i hope to hear from you soon and wish you happy trails!!

xxSophi~the Lobsterbird~~




this is a monthly update to you kindred spirits who i share news with about spirit quests and creative writing. if you want art news, i have a special newsletter for that. you can sign up here and i’d be happy to update ya!




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