Friday, February 6, 2009

HiHo Silver; Away !

Some of you personally know HiHo a little. Others might remember reading about him.

HiHo is about two and a half years old as of this writing. He's a smallish bull camel, a little quirky, very intelligent and chronically lacking good boundaries and social skills. He's the kind of camel who, anywhere else, might be sold and re-sold, and sooner or later put down. He can be difficult, and we have to be careful with him. With no bad intent, he simply has very little in the way of "brakes" and can't be counted on to respect boundaries, whether human or camel... He's our very own little mad-man! and a great teacher....

In a wild herd a camel like HiHo would probably be ostracized by the herd because of his inability to fit in and be a viable member. His aberrant behaviors would be a disturbance to the herd's equanimity and a lure for potential predators. If he didn't come around somewhat they'd sooner or later send him off.

Ever since HiHo came to live in the Sacred Camel Gardens we've served him in a variety of ways, employing various training approaches and remedial practices, all of which have been beneficial. He nevertheless remains somewhat aberrant, and maybe always will. My promise to him is that he will have a life here, and will never be sold. We will take care of him.

Some months ago I found that if I worked his soft upper and lower palates he would quickly calm down and connect with me. This was progressing well for a while, until his tendencies found a way "around" the good effects that the palate work was having. I was a bit disappointed by this as his mouth had become a good place to warm up cold fingers! HiHo always manages to find a way around all the training approaches I introduce. He keeps developing new ways to reassert his "uniqueness". His wild sense of humor and his will to stand as he is, are irrepressible!

Techniques and methods fly in the wind with him, and he has drawn me to the simplicity of "only relationship". And this is proving to be increasingly effective, something he doesn't push against or try to get around.

All I do now is stand with him and say out loud, with real feeling, "I love you. I love and appreciate you. I love and respect you. You are perfect the way you are. No need to change, ever. I love you. I love you. I love you." And as I stroke him all over he just soaks it up, becoming still and respectful of me in a way no other approach has brought forward. He can still get up to some tricks, but with the respect and love being expressed and appreciated in both directions we can communicate. It's a fine line. If my attention wanders the connection gets broken and the old HiHo reappears, reminding me to mind myself and be present with him in love. This process is serving me too, teaching me to let go and be in the moment, and more and more in feeling...

When we connect I feel his massive energy informing my own experience of being human and alive. What I'm coming to value most about HiHo is his level of unconcern. He's just not worried about very much at all. He doesn't even put much stock in food or water. The only fundamental thing I need him to learn is this matter of respecting the personal space of others, which he is only willing to do when he feels that I am completely respecting him... and he knows the difference.

As soon as put my hand on him, with real feeling, and say, "I love you and respect you," he becomes respectful. It's a moment to moment thing, alive and fresh every time, and not something I can control with my mind or body, or with equipment. It's 100% in the feeling.


Help of Herd Elders

An interesting process is unfolding in the rearing of our younger camels. I often work with, play and relate to our young calves within the herd, out in the larger pasture. I learn a lot about all the camels this way, and what I do with one is observed by all. Sometimes I get input and help from one of the observers.

Our ten month old calf named, "Barack O'Mama", by Adi Da, is always coming forward to interact with me. The others, "Not-Two Mama" and "Green Smoothy" are more shy, generally, though they are coming along in their own time. So far I've mostly interacted with Barack while the other calves look on, and learn.

When I play with Barack her energy, sooner or later, starts getting large and boisterous. I like this because she's not intimidated by me. We wrestle a bit, and run around, with her rearing up, cavorting, and bucking. I try to let her feel big and powerful, because it's in this space that she learns the most and develops a deeper trust of me as I guide and shape her interactions.

Always at a certain point either Peaceful Baba or Everest will come into our space and send Barack away when they feel she’s getting too out of hand. If the older camels don’t do this I will guide the calf through and calm her energy down, or send her away, showing her what I will and won't allow. But these older male camels often choose to do it for me. I think they are certainly being careful to keep me safe. They have this quality, especially Peaceful. But they are also taking care of, and guiding, their own; teaching the young ones appropriate behaviour.

In the midst of their guidance, and mine, Barack O'Mama, the bouncy baby camel, is learning her place within the herd and with people. Sometimes when she's playing with me she simply has to only catch sight of Peaceful watching us and she'll calm herself down enough so that he doesn't come over. So she's getting the lessons...

I'm extremely fortunate and grateful in knowing these camels, and becoming an integral part of their lives and culture, and learning first hand from them.

As our inter-species learning process develops we are slowly realizing a unique approach toward camels and horses, specifically. In time this process may be referred to as, "Da Camuus Equus" -- the gift of equality in relationship, between humans and camels, and horses, via ever deepening meditative communion with the Living Divine in each moment. This will not be a training method, or technique. It will simply become the pure enjoyment of relationship, understanding and communication, recognizing all forms within One Form, which is Love.

Da Fear-No-More, the Sacred Camel & Horse Gardens and Da Camuus Equus are only about this integration of all beings into one diverse sacred culture where all are equal at Heart.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sacred Camel & Horse Retreats 2009

Our Sacred Camel and Horse Retreats provide time and space for you to 'drop out' and deepen, in feeling, amid gentle Bactrian camels, horses and other non-humans living their true nature.

At the Sacred Camel & Horse Gardens of Fear-No-More Zoo, Sanctuary is already present. We welcome you to refresh, let go and reconnect with life's purpose. Integral to this process are the animals who live in natural Divine Contemplation, wordlessly drawing us to do likewise.

Scheduled retreat months are warm and sunny so these are camping retreats - in tents or under stars! (Housing with amenities is available if required.) Your campsite, beside the camel herd, is near a beautiful swimming lake. Delicious vegetarian gourmet meals will be served throughout. Healing massages will be available. The days are full, evenings are rich and retreat guides are knowledgeable and supportive. A weekend with our family of camels, humans and horses will move and inspire you for years to come.

(info & updates on 2009 retreats will be posted here)
Fear-No-More Zoo (material here provides fuller context for these retreats)

Retreat Fees: (deposit due upon registration)

Retreatant with Google Mama & Barack O'Mama

Award -- $000 + (at discretion of management)
Discount -- $200 (all Fear-No-More Zoo monthly supporters)
Standard -- $300 (all others, members and / or public)
Groups -- $ negotiable (family, friends, 'corporate', birthdays, etc -- can be tailored)

Registration Info:
(Participant limit 10 max and 2 min. Age limit 102 max and 10 min)

Write first to confirm space. A release waiver will then be sent to you for return with 50% deposit. Once registered you will be forwarded :-
1. travel directions
2. list of what to bring
3. retreat materials and daily schedule
4. preparation reading list.

See retreat dates below.

postal: Fear-No-More Zoo, 12040 Seigler Springs Road, Middletown, CA 95461 USA
phone: (707) 355-0638

2009 Retreat Dates to choose from:

MAY Friday 22 7pm > Sunday 24 5pm
JUNE Friday 26 7pm > Sunday 28 5pm
JULY Friday 24 7pm > Sunday 26 5pm
AUG Friday 21 7pm > Sunday 23 5pm
SEPT Friday 25 7pm > Sunday 27 5pm
OCT Friday 16 7pm > Sunday 18 5pm
NOV Friday 20 7pm > Sunday 22 4pm

In service,