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The Ripple Effects of Namaste

Namaste by Kim McElroy

Often when I am commissioned to create a Soul Essence Portrait for a horse and their person, it takes on a life of its own beyond their personal story. The portrait becomes a work of art that means something to another, or many others. Horses have a beautiful way of guiding us on transformative journeys. The creation and sharing of Mel's portrait created a ripple effect that allowed me, and others, to experience the joy of connection

How Mel taught me about divine greetings

Melisande or “Mel” for short, was an Arabian mare dearly loved by her owner Sharon, who offered her a home in retirement after her many homes and many years spent as a show horse gathering glory for her previous owners. With Sharon she had a chance to be herself, and find out who that self was.

When the toll taken on Mel’s body from her years of service made it clear she was ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge, Sharon helped her make that choice with dignity and ease.

A year later, Sharon asked me to paint Mel’s spirit in an Essential Soul Essence Portrait. Sharon decided that rather than asking me to create a lifelike portrait, she wanted me to create a work of art that expressed Mel's essence. Just as Sharon had allowed Mel to make her wishes known in life, in the portrait, she once again invited Mel to speak for herself.


The inspiration for Namaste

Usually, when I begin the process of beginning a Soul Essence Portrait, I do a meditation to ask for the message from the horse. Mel didn’t need to wait for my prompt. One morning as I was awakening from sleep, I felt the presence of a horse. In my mind’s eye, she galloped up to me and I saw hoof prints in the dirt, and then I realized it was Mel because I had been thinking about her portrait.

I asked if there was something she could share for her soul essence portrait as a message for Sharon. I then saw an image of Mel and Sharon facing each other. In between them was a bowl. They seemed to be engaged in a ceremony of sharing the bowl with each of them sipping from it. I envisioned a big, shining brass gong. Then the perspective of the vision changed to where Mel was facing me as if I was Sharon drinking from the bowl with her. Mel’s deep eyes were looking at me-as-Sharon with compassion and love. I saw a purple shawl around Mel’s shoulders. It denoted her as a wise teacher and at the same time I felt that everything Sharon saw in her, she also saw in Sharon.

This reminded me of the concept of namaste. The traditional greeting of namaste is a gesture of placing the hands together and bowing in greeting to one another. It can simply mean hello, but in Hinduism, it also has a spiritual import reflecting the belief that "the divine and self is same in you and me", and connotes "I bow to the divine in you". - Wikipedia 

In discussing this with a friend and healer, I learned that in the Japanese tradition, the roles of Master/Student are also called “Teacher/Learner”. The Master and the Student are considered to have the same wisdom. The master learns as much from the student, as the student does from the master. The feeling was that if Sharon was to look at this portrait of Mel, she and Mel would be looking at each other and each would be saying/feeling the same thing ,"You are my Teacher. "

The group poem inspired by Namaste

I shared 'Namaste' with fans of my Inspirations emails, and I invited them to participate in a “group poetry” experience by sharing their thoughts on what the message of the painting of 'Namaste' was about. A flood of emails began pouring into my inbox. The responses were so meaningful and so universal, that I was inspired to create a series of illustrated pages shown below with the words from participants worldwide which formed an inspiring message of the profound gifts that horses offer us.

The ripple effect ~ Namaste inspiring children

The inspiration of 'Namaste' continued when I received an email from a fan and friend from Portugal named Ian Rowcliffe. Ian taught the English language to children in the presence of his horses as the motivation and inspiration to learn language in a new way, by expressing contextual and complex feelings and thoughts rather than merely route learning. Ian praised the group poem I had posted and he asked my permission to use the poem in his teaching. He later sent a web link to share what 'Namaste' had inspired. I watched with tears in my eyes as I beheld Portuguese children reading the poem aloud to the horses! I couldn’t imagine a more profound way for me to hear that poem out loud.

All of these beautiful layers of meaning were inspired by a horse named Melisande, whose name means “animal strength.”

Continuing the ripples

Another profound event happened. After posting 'Namaste' online, I received this message from a woman named Kristin.

Hello, My name is Kristin Bauer. I came across your website as I searched for the horse I owned as a young girl, an Arabian mare named Melisande. I found your article about Mel and her owner Sharon with the photograph and I believe after years of searching, I finally found her. It was 24 years ago, when I was 14 years old, that my family made the decision to find Meli (as we called her) a new home. I was entering high school and my schedule was very busy. Plus, living in the Chicago suburbs made it difficult to keep a horse. We had her boarded at a farm about 45 minutes away but it was very expensive and she wasn’t getting the attention she deserved. We thought we found a forever home for her and did not sell her but gave her to a family with an Arabian ranch in Utah. The ranch owner had a young daughter and he said that Meli would be her horse. We asked him to contact us if he ever chose to not keep Meli but unfortunately he was not a man of his word. He bred Meli and sold her while she was in foal within a year of having her which I discovered later records of the Arabian horse registry. 14 years ago I started my search to find her or news of her. My greatest fear was that she fell into the hands of someone who didn’t treat her well. I would love to get in contact with her last owner, Sharon. I believe that she must have loved Meli/Mel very much since she asked you to paint her for her. If you can please put us in contact, I would really appreciate it."

I was able to connect Kristin and Sharon so they could share memories and photos of the mare they both had loved.

The horse as a guide

As we reflect on the profound impact that horses can have on our healing journeys, we are reminded of the boundless potential that lies within us to create a ripple effect of love, compassion, and transformation. By embracing the sacred energy of the horse, we open ourselves up to the possibility of touching the hearts of all beings who cross our paths, and in doing so, we become conduits for the healing and upliftment of the world around us. It is my hope that the stories and reflections shared in this post have inspired you to tap into the profound wisdom of the horse and the transformative power of namaste.

The Group Poem of Namaste.

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I will add another special memory of Namaste. A lovely friend who is a gifted medical intuitive healer came to the John Two Hawks Horse Spirit gathering at the Lincoln Theatre. Kim had her art on display and my friend took home a print of Namaste and was so deeply moved as Mel looks like her childhood mare. This remarkable woman really helped me to overcome health challenges and when I went to her office, she had an alter of sacred objects set up and Namaste was framed in the center of it all---just lovely...

Replying to

Oh that is so lovely, thank you, Connie 💗


Jun 03, 2023

So beautiful, Kim. Thank you. Karen

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