Moses the mule, 39 years old, was strong and determined to carry on no matter what. But on June 30 Moses surrendered –it was time. His body was weak and tired, and ready to let go.
Moses was rescued four years ago by Suzi Cloutier, director of Zeb’s Wish Equine Sanctuary in Sandy, Oregon and brought to live at the sanctuary. There was much evidence that his life before the sanctuary had been really hard, and that he had suffered from years of abuse and neglect. His terror of being touched was enough to make him fall over shaking if there was no escape. During the past few months, as his body declined, his heart grew in strength, and this boy that lived so many years on sheer force of will, finally began to trust the people that loved him so much.
His transition was gentle and beautiful and he had us with him through the entire process reminding him how deeply loved he was. With a body so thin, frail, and failing, we helped Moses finish this life here and release this body and its story. On that day he trusted. We held him in love, together as a family. As he let go, our touch was the last thing he felt before being taken up into the arms of All That Is.
Moses touched so many people’s hearts and he shone as a teacher and healer to many.
“What existed on the outside of Moses – scars, impaired vision, horrible teeth, untrimmed feet because of his fear of the farrier, bad hips – we could work with, using special feeds and medications, deeper bedding, and special fencing. But what lived inside his heart was the deepest kind of wound that only Moses could heal. We focused only on our relationship with him. What a tremendous learning to let go of our ‘ideas’ of what he should look like, act like, be like, and let him simply be – Moses. He taught us patience, compassion, trust, and acceptance.”
“While I’ve seen ‘lovable’ aspects of myself in horses along the way, Mo the mule was the first within whom I saw the darker, ‘unwanted’ parts. His PTSD made it difficult to accept touch. When we finally connected without touch, it was like a train of love had run me over. I could feel the immense beauty and wisdom of this boy in every fiber of my being. It was like bathing in glorious, knowing sunlight.
While I thought I already understood this, Mo made it 10,000 times more clear to me that the ‘unwanted’ parts of us are catalysts for wisdom and compassion. His ‘issues’ were difficult to deal with from day to day, but they taught everyone around him so much and it deepened his own experience. I am grateful for the trust he placed in us all to take care of him. In the end, we all learned so, so much from him. What a teacher you are, Mo.”
Lindsay Jones, Zeb’s Wish Volunteer, Hand to Heart Equine Massage
As for me, I see myself like Moses; stoic, carrying on, determined, independent – in the sense that I had to learn at an early age to take care of my emotional and mental needs – to depend and rely on myself for strength, courage, and support. And like Moses, I keep carrying on even when I really need to be true to myself and make changes to ease my way and be more caring and loving with myself. He reminded me that it is important to take care of myself, to ask myself every day, “How can I ease my way today? How can I be compassionate and loving with myself?” But more importantly, he taught me that I too can accept support and love without feeling afraid and distrustful. He helped me to stand tall and not be afraid to show who I am, even when it means I may be judged or belittled.
On the day Moses crossed over, we honored and acknowledged each other as we shared a beautiful Reiki session for about 90 minutes before the vet arrived. For the first time, he wanted me to stand close to him and put my hands on him. He was so quiet, relaxed, and peaceful during the session. His sweet face and innocent eyes have always touched my heart and that day he looked at me with wisdom and understanding – offering comfort when he sensed my sadness.
We stood together in silence listening to the sounds of the wind and birds, watching the trees dance, taking in the beauty and magic of life. If my awareness drifted, he reminded me with a glance to BE in each moment, to let myself see, sense, and take in and experience the Presence of Life. The moments when I was in the Presence were the moments when the connection and my sense of oneness were strong and clear. I felt an intimacy with existence and an intimacy of connection with Moses and what he was showing me. There is deep beauty in this place; it’s vivid, alive, and full of vitality and peace. There is no fear of death and no fear of life. These moments and the Presence remain with me because Moses continues to remind me to be in the Presence of Life day-to-day and especially during Reiki sessions so that I am more open to heart connection and expansiveness, compassion, wisdom, healing, beauty and joy, and the magic of our world and of my life.
We buried him on the property with his favorite hay, flowers, and other favorite things to eat, including blackberry leaves which he really loved to munch. Of course, he will always be with us in spirit and I can see him munching away, able to eat as much as he wants, the blindness gone, his coat shiny and beautiful again, and a big smile on his face. Thank you, Moses. I love you with every part of my being.
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