Shambhala Sun | July 2013
In the Zone
Four sports enthusiasts put their practice into play. Here's LAURA MUNSON on riding. You'll find the other three stories — MELVIN MCCLEOD on skiing, LIZ MARTIN on golfing, and JAIMAL YOGIS on surfing — inside our July magazine.
I do things like gallop alone on my horse in grizzly bear and mountain lion territory. You’d think I
was a live-in-the-moment, head-to-the-Big-Sky Montana girl, free and clear.
And sometimes I am, though the truth is, it all scares me.
But there was one day when I saw my way through that fear.
It was after my father died. I’d lived in the ICU with him for a month helping
him die. There was no rushing that. When I returned to Montana, I went straight to my horse. I wanted to ride
him to the river. To let the water wash away the spiritual scum I felt coating
me from the hospital, funeral, and closet cleaning. Yet there was a problem
with this agenda. My horse was terrified of water.
For years, I’d tried to change that. I’d done everything
from driving him into the river with his herd to floating carrots in the water.
Nothing worked until that day when agenda became intention, and I knew deeply that I had to go slowly. That day, all goals
surrendered. I was simply in the moment of my grief and wanting the healing to
I made reins out of the halter rope. Jumped on him bareback. Headed to the river. What is there to fear when you’ve watched your father take
his last breath? I didn’t think fear or fight or speed. I simply went step by
step, intention by intention, surrender by surrender. We walked to the river. I
cast my fear into the pool of the present moment, and he did too. Without
pausing, he stepped into the water with me on his back. And we spent the
afternoon swimming that river. Free.
—Laura Munson is the author of This Is Not the Story You
Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness.
Photo: Heidi Long