I believe God speaks to us in the spaces. In the moments of stillness. In the moments of connection. I find all too often people are not comfortable enough, trusting enough, or perhaps present enough, to listen to the guidance that comes to us in these moments. And too often I’ve been one of those people.
Two summers ago, I had one such moment and a chance to live my life a little differently. It was quite an extended moment, actually. And dare I say, it was a defining moment that has inspired me to find the courage to stand firm on my intuitive gifts.
My friend Kelly and I had been on the phone that day, talking about some training in equine massage that I was contemplating doing.
And he said, “I think my heart would explode if I could work with horses.”
Our friendship is such that we don’t let each other get away with powerful phrases like that. So I asked him what was going on.
He shared that he has always loved horses. Working on them was not within the scope of his license as a New York massage therapist. He had thought about taking a course in animal communication instead. Finances stood in the way. He never explored it.
I knew this wasn’t about money though. A statement like that is never about money. It’s about the soul remembering what it came here to do. But what happened next defied any measure of logic. Let me say first, it’s not like I’ve never done something like this before, but I’ve certainly never done it with this kind of connection, clarity, and velocity.
I said to Kelly, “I’m feeling a horse running toward me. I feel it running right into my chest. It rips my heart open. There is a gaping hole inside. And then the horse fills that hole. And then there’s a pause. I feel you now becoming the horse. And I feel you and the horse, as one, tearing out of the gate. The horse transforms you.”
The information kept coming, equally as fast: “You’re going to work with rescue horses. You’re going to heal the horses. But there’s something else. Your work with the horses is going to heal you.”
There was a pause in the information and I waited to see if there was more. Then I got this: “And you will heal these horses so they can work with kids who have special needs, kids who need healing. So you will be the healer who heals the horse. But the horse is the healer who heals you. And you free this horse so it can then heal children.”
Then I said, “You need to volunteer somewhere where there are horses. Forget about money and the animal communication classes. That will come. For now volunteer. You need to just be around horses. Look on Eastern Long Island. Somewhere around Riverhead.”
Then I paused. Nothing else was coming. Except this: “I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do when you get there. But Spirit will lead you.”
I paused and furrowed my brow because what I got next seemed crazy. But I said it anyway.
“And don’t be surprised if you meet a horse named Spirit.”
Here I was, in Colorado, 1,800 miles away from New York, where I had lived most of my life. I hadn’t been back home in ten years. I had no clue there was a rescue barn there. Yet I knew in the center of my being that somehow there was one. Exactly there.
What happened next was surreal. Kelly texted me in less than five minutes. He sent me the link to a rescue barn. It was not in Riverhead, but in Manorville, one town over.
The name of the rescue barn? Spirit’s Promise.
It was named after their first rescue horse: Spirit.
Spirit’s Promise doesn’t just rescue horses that have been abused and neglected. Once rehabilitated, these horses go on to work in their equine therapy program, helping humans heal. The horses work with people who have experienced various emotional wounds. Among them: cancer survivors, survivors of trauma and sexual abuse, and those who have been harmed by bullying. The horses are there to be healed. And then the horses become the healers.
What Kelly told me shortly after learning all this provided an added layer of validation for both of us. A few weeks prior, Kelly’s friend Danny had sent him a video link about an animal communicator and a leopard named Diabolo, who was sent to a wild life rescue facility. Danny told Kelly this was the work he needed to be doing, that he had this gift. No one in the rescue facility could handle Diabolo and so an animal communicator was brought in to determine what was distressing the wild cat. Through her work with Diabolo, the animal communicator learned that the leopard desired respect and wanted to be renamed. Diabolo’s wish? To be renamed Spirit.
And so when I had told Kelly not to be surprised if there was a horse named Spirit, he paid attention. When he found the actual barn called Spirit’s Promise one town over from where I told him to look for it, he knew this was important enough to investigate.
He called Spirit’s Promise and learned there was a caretaker’s day scheduled in two weeks. He signed himself and his daughter up. He immediately resonated with Marisa Striano Charles, owner of Spirit’s Promise. His story of how he found the rescue barn captivated her. Kelly described a magical day working with the horses, bonding with and learning from them. Kelly’s own spirit certainly needed to meet the Spirit.
But I was curious about something. The information I received that day began while I was sitting in my clinic, setting acupuncture needles in myself. The last bit of the conversation about finding the horse named Spirit happened on my short ride home, just down the hill from my office. This was not the first time I had received information for Kelly at that exact place on my drive home. Some months before, in that same location, I had a visual impression of Kelly scattering rose quartz crystals on the ground. I called him and asked why I might be seeing this. He texted me a picture of a piece of rose quartz, the size of a softball. He had just been meditating with it.
So I had asked Kelly if the name of the street meant anything. He said it didn’t. It took me a while to put it together. Since childhood, Kelly’s spirit guide has been the bear, the Native American symbol of courage. At the bottom of this hill is a creek. And that creek so happens to be called Bear Creek. Wild bear had once been hunted on this land. It is literally bear land.
Some days later, I told Kelly he needed to look for animal communication classes in his area. He called me back to tell me he found one. The school so happened to be named “Two Bears.” We both suspected it was the one. Kelly was sure he needed training. Danny and I were pretty sure he didn’t. Then a few months ago, I knew he didn’t.
My friend Jean’s Yorkshire Terrier, Fiona, was dying of liver disease. Fiona had been perfectly healthy and then suddenly turned jaundiced. The disease came from nowhere and progressed rapidly. There wasn’t much time left. Jean wanted to know what Fiona needed to be more comfortable in her last few weeks.
The animal communicator Jean had contacted was unable to communicate with Fiona. The reading didn’t really unfold. I asked Jean if she was open to me asking Kelly if he could try. She agreed.
Kelly was hesitant, but tried anyway. He felt he didn’t get much of a connection. But he was clear on this much. Fiona told him that she felt like she “wasn’t the princess anymore.” Kelly was solid on that, but he thought this was virtually useless information.
What Kelly didn’t know is that Fiona’s full name was Princess Fiona. She was literally Jean’s princess, her first Yorkie. Only months before, Jean had gotten a fourth Yorkie, a puppy named Duke. And Fiona suddenly found herself feeling lost in the crowd. Jean knew what needed to be done: Fiona needed to be showered with love during those last weeks to know she would always be Jean’s princess. Such a simple and short message held tremendous healing.
It’s been quite a ride since I learned about Spirit’s Promise. There was healing in the message for Kelly that day; I could hear it in his voice. But there was healing for me in that message too. And validation…
Spirit speaks to us. Spirit is a powerful guide. Spirit , I believe, is love. And that Spirit — that love — wants to put us on the path of our destiny — back on the path to the Divine.
But that message was not just about one word. It was not just about Spirit. Spirit was found at a place called Spirit’s Promise.
Spirit offers a promise: Follow me. Trust me. Let me lead you. I promise, I won’t abandon you. Let’s take this ride together; I will lead you to blessings you can’t even imagine.
I have revisited this experience for over a year now, sitting with what I believe was a mini-miracle. A beautiful gift from God, shared between two friends. And shared beyond us too. The story has touched so many. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Marisa Striano Charles on the phone. We both say we feel like we’ve known each other from another time. She feels the same way about Kelly. When I feel a little off course and when I need to deepen my connection to Spirit, I wear the wrist band that Marisa sent me, the one that bears her website name: www. SpiritsPromiseRescue.org. It serves as a reminder of the promise of Spirit and the many mystical ways in which God communicates and validates His love for each of us.
©2016 Maria Grace Mandarino