Incredible Western Women Series
For those of you just joining us, here’s a little background…
Born in the small town of Colville, WA, I was raised in the Spokane suburbs and moved to rural America with my husband a little over three decades ago. Country life is an amazing place to raise our sons and grandkids. Here on the Colville Reservation, we have lakes, rivers, and creeks to fishing and swim in, hills and mountains to ride horses and hike on, and plenty of space to enjoy family time.
Four generations have grown up and enjoyed this land and all it provides.
I’d like to share rural America with you through the words and photos of incredible western women.
And if you are a western woman or have someone in mind who can share their stories with us, please pass on their name and contact information to me. I’d love to include them on this journey.
So now, let’s open the corral gate and hear from this month’s western woman!
I met Mary through a mutual horse-loving friend. And I’m completely jealous she had gotten to work so closely with the amazing Ray Hunt, a world-renown horseman. I did meet him at a clinic I’d audited years ago, but shoot, to work with him and glean his knowledge, what an honor.
And Mary is an amazing horsewoman herself. I love this definition of patience: Patience is the quality of waiting calmly without complaining. An example of patience is someone standing peacefully in a very long line. To me, this defines Mary Corning to the T.
So without further ado, let’s hear from Mary about the Power of Grace
The sensation of seeing the morning light never dulls. Throughout the turmoil of this past year the sunrise still beckons reverence, the night sky still holds its mysteries and the horse still offers wisdom.
My life with horses offers an endless expansive journey into my own capacity for growth. For thirty years I have traveled this course to uncover the buried treasure of my inheritance…humanity’s inheritance really. I see this inheritance as the capacity to outgrow our self-created limitations of our conditioning.
I have learned a lot about conditioning by studying my own (and others’) reactions in various situations. Nowhere does the truth resonate closer to my heart than in my world with horses. When I am with horses, I am willing to see things differently. I feel the ability to see things differently is a fundamental element needed to transcend a conditioned perspective.
What is a conditioned perspective? And why does it matter?
A conditioned perspective is something that comes from our experience. A reaction combined with a result can form our conditioning. And it does this in subtle, sometimes unconscious ways. For instance, in horses, if a horse pulls back hard enough to break the snap when its tied, it can develop a conditioned response. There’s a good chance that the next time the horse is tied it will try that same amount of force to find a release again. Humans operate in much the same way. We can lose a great deal of our intuitive nature by relying on our conditioning. This understanding can really shift the awareness that can offer us many choices in our life. Human conditioning is also very dualistic, as in, us and them, right and wrong, or good and bad. A broader awareness and the gift of choice is what I aim to reclaim by overcoming my conditioning. I want to see my horse and the world from a true perspective. The first step is to be willing to see things differently.
Now that I am approaching sixty years old, I find myself deeply connected to this new rich life experience. And, wouldn’t you know it, life handed me a brand-new opportunity to work with. I just brought an eight-month-old filly, named Grace into my life and into my heart. The timing of this relationship, in conjunction with my dedicated practice of living from a deeper truth, seems simply divine.
I sense a great opportunity in Grace’s innocence. I see a quality in her willingness to trust life. Grace hasn’t had negative conditioning. This new life and new partnership are a perfect place to observe the mastery of true nature and I won’t take it for granted.
Life is not without pain, struggle, or heartache. But we can see things from a fresh new perspective. I learned to have a “learning frame of mind” from the greatest teacher I ever knew, Ray Hunt. I learned that mistakes are opportunities if we will see them as a way to grow, rather than resist or fear a painful situation. Fear blocks our intuitive nature. It can’t remove it, but it can supersede it. We do not need fear for discernment. I see now, that when I look deeper into my- self, or others, from a state of grace rather than fear I see unity instead of separation. From grace, I see that we all want the same thing. We all want peace. The problem arises when fear promotes force, and fight becomes our conditioned response. I may never live long enough to see humanity make this vital shift of perspective, but I’ll never settle for less in myself. And if my heart is true it will show in the expression of my horse and in my life.
The power of grace is great. And the freedom in realizing it, is the treasure of a life well-lived. This year through fire, flood, and pandemic my life read as a great scripture of surrender and triumph. In this surrender, I became transparent to the transcendent. Doing less and seeing more, the sensations of intensity still rise and fall, though now without my allegiance. I don’t see that it’s my success or my failure but “the process”. This is what life has taught me this year, that truly, I am not living life — life is living me.
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About Mary Corning
Mary Corning changes lives by defining the transformative power of pain. As a mentor, speaker, life consultant, and writer, she clearly and compassionately models this process through her messages and stories. Mary extends her philosophy into her world of horses, where both people and horses benefit from realizing a different way to interpret challenge.