The Science of Happiness. Register Today
   
 

The Horse Boy

By Linda Graham | October 27, 2009 | 1 comment

Please give your heart and soul a treat and see the documentary film The Horse Boy, now opening in theaters nationwide. (See http://www.horseboymovie.com for a list of upcoming screenings.) I recently saw the film at the Mill Valley Film Festival and can't recommend it highly enough.

The film documents a family's journey to Mongolia in search of a way to heal their son, Rowan, who has been diagnosed with autism. They travel to Mongolia to ride horses–because even sitting on a horse calms Rowan's tantrums, which can last up to four hours–and to visit remote shamans, whose healing rituals actually do open up Rowan's capacities to connect with other human beings again. The film mostly chronicles the family's journey, but it also includes interviews with leading scientists studying autism, and these interviews help transform our view of autism from a disease to a different way of perceiving and participating in the world.

What impressed me most about the film was the deep love the parents have for their son, and their unwavering commitment to his healing. Rowan's father, Rupert Isaacson, is a lifelong lover of horses and a journalist who had researched shamanic healing among the Bushmen in the Kalihari Desert in Botswana. Rowan's mother, Kristin Neff, is a professor of psychology at the University of Texas who has done pioneering work on the concept of "self-compassion."

Rupert Isaacson was present for a Q&A at the screening of the film that I saw, and he added many details about their journey. He also discussed how scientists are now thinking that the warmth, touch, and movement of riding a horse releases oxytocin, the "love hormone," and that the rocking motion of riding on a horse helps re-balance the brain and open the way for quantum leaps in healing.

The Horse Boy is transformative for viewers as well as for its subjects. It opens our hearts to the healing powers of love and compassion; it opens our minds to the importance of different ways of being in the world.

Linda Graham, MFT, publishes an e-newsletter, Healing and Awakening into Aliveness and Wholeness, archived at www.lindagraham-mft.com.

Tracker Pixel for Entry
 
 
 
About The Author

Linda Graham, MFT, is the author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being. Subscribe to her newsletter and learn more about her work at http://www.lindagraham-mft.com.

  

Like this article?

Here's what you can do:

Donate
 
  
 

THE HORSE BOY, both the documentary and the book,
are extremely inspirational – seeing the world through
autism and how significantly interaction with horses
has improved Rowan’s fits is something short of
miraculous. If you liked the film, it is now out on DVD
from Zeitgeist Films. If you didn’t get a chance to
check it out, consider saving it to your Netflix or
Blockbuster queue!

Asha P | 11:59 am, May 7, 2010 | Link

 
blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Most...

  
  

Greater Good Events

Self-Compassion & the Cultivation of Happiness with Kristin Neff
International House, UC Berkeley campus
November 7, 2014


Self-Compassion & the Cultivation of Happiness with Kristin Neff

This day-long seminar led by self-compassion pioneer Kristin Neff, will offer strategies for cultivating self-compassion, boosting happiness, and reducing stress in yourself and others.


» ALL EVENTS
 
 

Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!

» TAKE A QUIZ
 

Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.

Watch
 

Greater Good Resources

 
 
» MORE STUDIES
 
 
» MORE ORGS
 

Book of the Week

Whistling Vivaldi By Claude M. Steele Steele offers studies and stories that show how stereotypes can affect group members' lives in subtle but powerful ways, especially when it comes to academic performance.

» READ MORE
 
Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.

Sponsors

The Quality of Life Foundation logo Special thanks to

The Quality of Life Foundation for its support of the Greater Good Science Center

 
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

thnx advertisement