Gratitude Meditation: Pay It Forward

Would you be willing to risk your life?…

Would you be willing to risk your horse’s life?…

…to lead more than 100 horses to safety, including pregnant mares and foals, knowing that you and your horse would have to swim part of the way? Knowing that all previous attempts have failed and that 19 horses have died already?

Would you?

(my apologies to those who have already seen this video, but it is so moving that I feel it should get another airing – photo: Peter DeJong / Wyoming News)

A post appeared on a Friesian horse forum, asking if anyone was willing to undertake the rescue of more than 100 horses that are stranded on an island in Holland due to flooding in very bad weather.  It was urgent, the horses had been stuck for a few days and were getting weaker. The post stipulated that only people with horses that are not in the least afraid of water should apply.

Six very brave women with six very brave horses agreed to attempt a rescue.

Here is their story (make sure you have a tissue/hanky to hand):

There is so much to be grateful for here, I do not even know where to start! I am so grateful that the rescue attempt was successful, I am so grateful for the bravery of these 6 women, I am so grateful for Norma Miedema, who persevered against the odds and against advice to ensure the horses’ safety. I am grateful for the people who fed the horses until they could be rescued, for the teams who set up the escape route, for the vets that treated the horses on the island and once they got to dry land…and I am so grateful that this story made it onto my computer, for my friend Kim Walness for sharing it with me, for everyone who worked together to spread the word, even to the composer whose music was used for the video. (Vangelis’ Conquest of Paradise).

On difficult days, when it is not easy to find something to be thankful for, I think of stories like the one above and it reminds me that there is always, always, always something to be grateful for. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”  If we are willing to look for things to be thankful for, we will find them, even if we have to look on youtube. “Remember, whatever you focus upon, increases. . . . When you focus on the things you need, you’ll find those needs increasing. If you concentrate your thoughts on what you don’t have, you will soon be concentrating on other things that you had forgotten you don’t have–and feel worse! If you set your mind on loss, you are more likely to lose. But a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life,” said Andy Andrews. Remember this, especially on days that you can not find something to be grateful for.

On this day then, let us be grateful for heroes. The 6 women I mentioned above are heroes of mine. They amaze me, they inspire me, they motivate me, they make me feel humble. Today, the 11th Of November is Armistice Day. it commemorates of the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, in France, and the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I. On this day, let us be grateful for the heroes of WW1, of WW2 and of the wars that followed…we are grateful for the sacrifices they made (and still make) for us and we will not forget.

Do you have a hero (or heroes)? Have you ever (assuming they are still alive) thanked them for inspiring you?

My heroes are my horses – for completely changing the lives of so many of our retreat guests for the better, during our Mindfulness and Meditation Retreats with Horses here in the south of France.

Pay it forward. Did you know that there is a Pay it Forward day? It is the 28th of April and next year the organisers aim to inspire over 10 million acts of kindness around the world on the day. Pay it Forward Day promotes the concept of selfless giving for just one day a year, but every day can be Pay it Forward Day! Find out more from the Pay it Forward Foundation at

The Pay It Forward Foundation is a non-profit organisation, established in September of 2000 by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Catherine is the author of the 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, on which the motion picture Pay It Forward, starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, is based. We each have the opportunity every day to show someone kindness. No matter where we live, we can show kindness to others in our community. Sometimes it’s buying coffee for the next person in line, sometimes it is donating time to a charity, sometimes it is a smile or a kind word at the right moment. Each act of kindness makes our world a better place. If you need ideas, have a look at this:

Kindness is contagious! Have you caught the bug yet?

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