The Way of Change

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

— William Stafford


But start slowly, because direction is more important than speed.
Sit in another chair, on the other side of the table.
Later on, change tables.
When you go out, try to walk on the other side of the street. Then change your route, walk calmly down other streets, observing closely the places you pass by.
Take other buses. Change your wardrobe for a while; give away your old shoes and try to walk barefoot for a few days – even if only at home.
Take off a whole afternoon to stroll about freely, listening to the birds or the noise of the cars.
Open and shut the drawers and doors with your left hand.
Sleep on the other side of the bed. Then try sleeping in other beds.
Watch other TV programs, read other books, live other romances – even if only in your imagination.
Sleep until later. Go to bed earlier.
Learn a new word a day.
Eat a little less, eat a little more, eat differently; choose new seasonings, new colors,
things you have never dared to experiment.
Lunch in other places, go to other restaurants, order another kind of drink
and buy bread at another bakery.
Lunch earlier, have dinner later, or vice-versa.
Try something new every day: a new side, a new method, a new flavor,
a new way, a new pleasure, a new position.
Pick another market, another make of soap, another toothpaste.
Take a bath at different times of the day.
Use pens with different colors.
Go and visit other places.
Love more and more and in different ways. Even when you think that the other will be frightened, suggest what you have always dreamed about doing when you make love.
Change your bag, your wallet, your suitcases, buy new glasses, write other poems.
Open an account in another bank, go to other cinemas, other hairdressers,
other theaters, visit new museums.
Change. And think seriously of finding another job, another activity,
work that is more like what you expect from life, more dignified, more human.
If you cannot find reasons to be free, invent them: be creative.
And grab the chance to take a long, enjoyable trip – preferably without any destination.
Try new things. Change again. Make another change. Experiment something else.
You will certainly know better things and worse things than those you already know, but that does not matter. What matters most is change, movement, dynamism, energy.
Only what is dead does not change – and you are alive.
– Clarice Lispector

Secret Gardens

Keep your secret gardens and your fantasy worlds. Write things on paper every so often. Be curious about the net you live in — digital literacy is our best chance at true freedom. Meet face to face, without your phones every so often. Make your offline time valuable. Read old books. Love things without shame and take time to consider who you are away from all the things in the world trying to tell you who to be.”

The Shadow Knows

“When I was young my mother gave me her favorite books to read.
For every page of light, there was another written in shadows.”
-— Gregory Orr, from “Some Notes on Shadows,” from The Caged Owl: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

“When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness. But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer.” — Jung

“The range of what we think and do
is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice
that we fail to notice
there is little we can do
to change
until we notice
how failing to notice
shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
–R.D. Laing

“Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.” — Carl Gustav Jung

“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” — Plutarch

“The brighter love’s radiance, the darker the shadows we encounter; the more we feel life stirring within us, the more we also feel our dead spots; the more conscious we become, the more clearly we see where we remain unconscious. None of this need dishearten us. For in facing our darkness, we bring to light forgotten parts of our being. In recognizing exactly where we have been unconscious, we become more conscious. And in seeing and feeling the ways we’ve gone dead, we start to revive and kindle our desire to live more expansively.”
— John Welwood

“Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”
— C.S. Lewis

“Where there is much light, the shadow is deep” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten” — Neil Gaiman

“Between the conception
and the creation
between the emotion
and the response
Falls the shadow”
— Joseph Conrad

“With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” — Jung

No matter how fast you run, your shadow keeps up.
Sometimes it’s in front!
Only full overhead sun diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you.
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
I could explain this,
but it will break the glass cover on your heart,
and there’s no fixing that.
You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.
When from that tree feathers and wings sprout on you,
be quieter than a dove.
Don’t even open your mouth for even a coo.
— Rumi


“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”
— Alice Walker (Living By The Word)

Of Love

I have been in love more times than one,
thank the Lord. Sometimes it was lasting
whether active or not. Sometimes
it was all but ephemeral, maybe only
an afternoon, but not less real for that.
They stay in my mind, these beautiful people,
or anyway beautiful people to me, of which
there are so many. You, and you, and you,
whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe
missed. Love, love, love, it was the
core of my life, from which, of course, comes
the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women
and some – now carry my revelation with you –
were trees. Or places. Or music flying above
the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best, the most
loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into
my eyes, every morning. So I imagine
such love of the world – its fervency, its shining, its
innocence and hunger to give of itself – I imagine
this is how it began.

– Mary Oliver

The mysteries of change forever unresolved…

“Often, change doesn’t come trumpeting itself in. It comes in quiet, barely noticed ways. No bolts of lightning and grand entrances here. Just a subtle relaxation into the body. A tiny shift towards where you are. An old belief, an outdated story, seen for what it is. A new path emerging in the darkness. A vague, unspeakable hope dawning in the first light of the day you imagined would never come. Everything the same, everything different, everything always resting in motion, and the mysteries of change forever unresolved.”
– Jeff Foster

Snowman (repost)

UPDATE: There is a snowman movie coming out! They are looking for film and photos of snowman if you have any available! Please contact Pam directly and not me. Thanks!

Docutainment Films is seeking content for the upcoming documentary on Snowman & Harry de Leyer.
If you have film/photos/articles about any of the topics below, please contact Pam Aguilar at email

• Harry de Leyer & The deLeyer Family
• Snowman
• 1950s jumper champions: Andante, Sonora, McLain Street, Australis, Windsor Castle, Sinjon
• National Horse Shows between 1955—1965
• Riders: David Kelley, George Morris, Bobby Burke
• Dutch Crown late 70s
• Horse Shows between 1955—1965
• Jumper classes between 1955—1965

This is a post from April 2006 that I’m reposting, since I was just contacted by Elizabeth Letts who is writing a new book about Snowman!  Elizabeth writes:

I am so pleased and excited to see all of these posts about Snowman and Harry de Leyer.

I am currently working on a new full-length book about Snowman and Harry– it is such an inspirational story that I hope a whole new generation will learn about this wonderful tale. The book is currently titled THE CINDERELLA HORSE and it is coming from Random House in 2011. It is a love affair with Snowman, with horse stories, and with the wonderful world of show jumping in the 1950s and the old National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden…

I would LOVE to hear from anyone who has personal memories of Snowman, including anyone who remembers watching him compete.

Please contact me at

Please contact Elizabeth if you can share any information about Snowman or Harry!!


For one of those days when lately I’ve felt like an old nag myself…

Snowman, 1992 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Inductee

Snowman’s Wikipedia page.

Breyer Horse Model of Snowman

The Abundant Life

The abundant life is within our reach if only we will drink deeply of living water, fill our hearts with love, and create of our lives a masterpiece.

Harry de Leyer was late to the auction on that snowy day in 1956, and all of the good horses had already been sold. The few that remained were old and spent and had been bought by a company that would salvage them.

Harry, the riding master at a girls’ school in New York, was about to leave when one of these horses—an uncared-for, gray gelding with ugly-looking wounds on its legs—caught his eye. The animal still bore the marks that had been made by a heavy work harness, evidence to the hard life he had led. But something about him captured Harry’s attention, so he offered $80 for him.

It was snowing when Harry’s children saw the horse for the first time, and because of the coat of snow on the horse’s back, the children named him “Snowman.”

Harry took good care of the horse, which turned out to be a gentle and reliable friend—a horse the girls liked to ride because he was steady and didn’t startle like some of the others. In fact, Snowman made such rapid improvement that a neighbor purchased him for twice what Harry had originally paid.

But Snowman kept disappearing from the neighbor’s pasture—sometimes ending up in adjoining potato fields, other times back at Harry’s. It appeared that the horse must have jumped over the fences between the properties, but that seemed impossible—Harry had never seen Snowman jump over anything much higher than a fallen log.

But eventually, the neighbor’s patience came to an end, and he insisted Harry take back the horse.

For years, Harry’s great dream had been to produce a champion jumping horse. He’d had moderate success in the past, but in order to compete at the highest levels, he knew he would have to buy a pedigreed horse that had been specifically bred to jump. And that kind of pedigree would cost far more than he could afford.

Snowman was already getting old—he was eight when Harry had purchased him—and he had been badly treated. But, apparently, Snowman wanted to jump, so Harry decided to see what the horse could do.

What Harry saw made him think that maybe his horse had a chance to compete.

In 1958, Harry entered Snowman in his first competition. Snowman stood among the beautifully bred, champion horses, looking very much out of place. Other horse breeders called Snowman a “flea-bitten gray.”

But a wonderful, unbelievable thing happened that day.

Snowman won!

Harry continued to enter Snowman in other competitions, and Snowman continued to win.

Audiences cheered every time Snowman won an event. He became a symbol of how extraordinary an ordinary horse could be. He appeared on television. Stories and books were written about him.

As Snowman continued to win, one buyer offered $100,000 for the old plow horse, but Harry would not sell. In 1958 and 1959, Snowman was named “Horse of the Year.” Eventually, the gray gelding—who had once been marked for sale to a low bidder—was inducted into the show jumping Hall of Fame.
— Rutherford George Montgomery, Snowman (1962)

For many, Snowman was much more than a horse. He became an example of the hidden, untapped potential that lies within each of us.