The Journey Manifesto: pt 1 'The 5 Values of the Alliance'

Apr 12, 2023



One of the great paradoxes of being human is that every moment of life presents a crossroads. One direction is toward fear, and one direction is toward love. Fear and love are two forces that guide us, but only one can truly lead us to joy and connection. Choosing love means embracing the paradox of holding dark times in the light of love. The light of love reveals the dichotomy of life and allows us to balance the elements to find harmony. In contrast, fear and darkness have no paradox because there is nothing to see!


It is natural for the mind to be consumed by fear and confusion, it is an instinctual survival response. It is a great system that helps keep us alive, but it is not meant to rule our lives. A great servant, but a cruel master! The horse naturally lives in the space between thoughts, in the light of love. As prey animals, they are very quick to respond to threats, or perceptions of threats, but they don't choose to stay there. In fact, the horse is naturally fearful of the confusion of fear and darkness of the mind, particularly in the absence of threat. 


When we choose love, we gain the ability to hold the darkness of our lives in a new light. Love allows us to see the beauty in our imperfections and the struggles that we face. We can embrace our fears and overcome them, allowing us to live with courage and authenticity. This is the natural way of being for the horse. 


We must always remember the power of love and the choice we have in every moment to embrace it. With love, we can find balance, clarity, and harmony even in the darkest of times. The horse is a reminder that this choice is within us all, and it is up to us to embrace it.


"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr.



Choosing love requires us to approach life with a sense of curiosity. It is the opposite of being reactive from a sense of ego. It is the opposite of having a 'fixed' mindset. It involves having a Beginner's Mind, as taught by Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki. When we cultivate a sense of curiosity, we become open to new experiences and ideas, which can lead to a greater sense of gratitude – the great antidote to anything that darkens the mind.


Curiosity is also the love language of horses. Horses are naturally curious, and when we approach them with an open mind, we connect with them on a deeper level. By speaking their language, we can form a bond and learn from them in profound ways.


Choosing love and curiosity also means recognizing the importance of connection. When we approach others with an open heart and mind, we can create deeper connections and relationships. By embracing curiosity, we can learn from each other, share our experiences, and create a more compassionate world.


Curiosity is the doorway toward choosing love. It allows us to approach life with an open mind and heart, to be grateful for what we have, and to build deeper connections with those around us. The horse is a reminder of the power of curiosity and how it can help us approach life with an open mind, and to choose love every day, and in every moment.


"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." - Socrates




Integrity is the cornerstone of purposeful horsemanship. It requires the alignment of our thoughts, words, and actions. It brings peace to our soul and establishes an aura of trust around us. The horse is the epitome of integrity and honesty, demonstrating this principle at the highest level.


As it has been said, "the horse never lies". When we approach them with congruent thoughts and actions, the horse naturally trusts us, allowing for a deep connection to form. The horse is a master teacher of integrity, as it models this principle in all that it does.


Integrity also has the power to create coherence within ourselves. When we are in a state of congruence, our heart, brain, and gut are all in alignment, creating a sense of harmony and balance within us. This sense of coherence can lead to greater clarity and purpose in life. Horses are naturally attracted to coherence because it is a symbol of safety as well. When horsemanship begins within, coherence forms within, and then coherence is possible without, between us and our horse, through the magic of the 'horse-field.'d


Choosing integrity requires a willingness to be honest with ourselves and others, even when it is difficult. It means living in alignment with our values and principles, even when it is not convenient. This requires enormous courage, choosing love, and leaning into a state of perpetual curiosity (hence the values ecosystem presented here!) 


The horse teaches us that integrity is not just a principle, but a way of being. It is the key to forming deep connections with others and creating a sense of coherence within ourselves, and between us and the horse. The way of integrity is the way of harmony, the way of harmony is the way to connect with horses.


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou




Courage is the key to unlocking our true selves, and it starts with vulnerability. Embracing vulnerability means showing up and being seen, as Brene Brown so eloquently puts it. In a world that often values conformity over authenticity, choosing to be loving, kind, empathetic, and real takes real bravery. Pursuing our passions and following our dreams also requires us to dig deep and find that inner courage.


Yet, there is an even greater challenge we face: removing the masks we wear to protect ourselves and to fit in with the crowd. This is where true courage lies - in showing our true selves to the world, flaws and all. It is this kind of courage that creates leaders whom horses are willing to trust and follow. When we stand strong in our integrity and embrace our true selves, we become a magnet for horses.


But what is it that draws horses to these courageous individuals? It is the energy of authenticity and vulnerability that radiates from them. Horses have a natural ability to sense when someone is being genuine, and they respond to that authenticity with trust and respect. By having the courage to be vulnerable, we create a space for deep connections to form with horses and with other people.


The essence of courage is being true to ourselves and standing strong in our integrity. Let us embrace vulnerability as a powerful tool for growth and connection. And let us strive to be the kind of person that horses - and people - are naturally drawn to.


“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort” -Brene Brown




Grace is the foundation upon which our values of love, curiosity, integrity, and courage can truly flourish. It is a spiritual concept that is not tied to any particular religion, but rather is an innate quality within us all. Grace is the unmerited, undeserved, and unconditional love and favor shown to us by a higher power, the natural world, and the universe itself.


Knowing we are worthy of such love and grace, without doing, earning, or even 'deserving' it, reveals our true worth. We must first learn to receive love, and love ourselves, before we can extend it to others. This allows us to live in a state of compassion, humility, and gratitude, accepting ourselves and others as imperfect beings who are still worthy of love and respect.


In the world of horses, grace is ever-present. Horses live in a perpetual state of grace, without judgment or expectation. When we allow ourselves to step into grace and love ourselves as we are, we become attuned to the horse's language and culture. We become better equipped to communicate with them on a deeper level, and to forge meaningful connections that can transform our lives.


Lean into grace as we navigate our own personal growth journeys. Let us be open to receiving and extending love, and to accepting ourselves and others with compassion, humility, and gratitude. When we do this, we open ourselves up to a world of infinite possibilities with the horse, and we manifest a life of purpose, joy, and fulfillment.


“Once you experience being loved when you are unworthy, being forgiven when you did something wrong, that moves you into non-dual thinking. You move from what I call meritocracy, quid pro quo thinking, to the huge ocean of grace, where you stop counting or calculating.” -Richard Rohr