Category Archives: Attitude
Ahh… the simple question of a child. The ten year old at lessons yesterday so intent on getting right the timing with her horse, stopped suddenly in tears of frustration. “I’m so stupid!! She’s not even trying to listen to me and do what I say. We are never going to get this right, I don’t even know why we come here. Stupid horse, stupid heat, stupid ground. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Ms Cat why do you even come out here with us?” Tears rolling down her face, in the 96 degree weather on a hot Thursday afternoon in Texas.
With only attempting one new move, a tiny shift in her posture to re-learn after my noticing her growth spurt of the last few weeks. After taking the time to adjust her stirrups and explain how it would help her sit and feel better. I told her “just takes a little while to get used to”. Watching her face as I demonstrated how those 2” of adjustment were now going to allow her to be able to sit deeper in the saddle, to feel her horse up under her. She would no longer be crouched forward in trying to keep her stirrups in place caused by her growing legs adjusting to fit in the saddle, instead of adjusting the saddle to fit her.
All the excitement of “hope” that this would be the cure-all for the problems found in the last few weeks since her previous lesson, showing in her face after the adjustments were completed. She proceeded to walk through the simple warm-ups she has been learning, to see if the little mare was following her feel. Listening, turning and moving together easily and smoother than minutes before.
Smiling from ear to ear she moved into the trot… for it all to seem to come apart. The horse dropping in to turn, the small hands trying to compensate with all of the thoughts running through her mind of “what it was she thought she understood she was trying to do”. By the third attempt all of the tears, frustration and indignation surfaced from all the time her mother said she had been working on it at home. They came boiling to the surface in the tirade that ended in the needed to be answered question.
I let the tirade run its course. Looked at her and asked “Why do you think I am still out here with you?”
She reached down petting her horse and apologizing to her for being so darn stupid and mad. Then looking at me, took her hand made it into the letter L (I use here to symbolize learning) held it at the front of her head and said “Because you love helping us to learn! You care about having fun. Fun for me, my horse, for you and that we are comfortable, confident and safe!”
And… I queried? “Baby steps!” Suddenly her face lit up as she remembered, “Ms Cat this is what practice is for, so I can learn it slowly, for it to become easy for me and her. I don’t have to get it perfect, just improve a teeny, tiny, bit, have fun, be safe and breathe!”
I then asked her “What do you think is wrong?” As she sat there thinking for her answer. I watched as the tension was released in first her fingers, then her body as she became more relaxed in the saddle. The mare’s head dipped, the reins became soft, with a cocked her hind foot as calmness returned.
“I don’t know… can you explain it to me better?” I thought about the maneuvers she was making and where I saw the improvement might be made, and then I asked her to explain what she thought she was trying to do. Listening as I heard her explanation, aware of her understanding what she thought I was saying, verses what I was intending for her to do. Aware of the discrepancy in words, I immediately switching to my physical mode of teaching, by allowing her to see and really “feel” the movement of the horse step by step in the best position for this mare’s physique and her young rider. Mimicking with my body the movement of the horse in the correct position with hindquarters engaged and the frustrating feel of the horse when dropping to turn, causing the hind legs stepping out, with no collection. To have the thrill of within just a few simple, really slow steps, she was getting her body in sync with the little mare at a walk, then an extended walk, to finally one simple circled trot to the right, then to the left with both moving together, upright and connected, all smiles and scratches for her mare.
The Wayne Dyer’s quote “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!” came up a lot this last week. Reading questions and concerns on a few horse sites I belong to from so many owners and riders who in learning new ways are having the same disconnection of words to physical action seen with this student earlier. When she allowed her emotions to come boiling up, and thankfully flowing out of her body for relief. Instead of the learned habit many experience in “feeling not good, pretty, successful, happy, rich etc… enough”. Many asking for help… to find tons of advice and suggestions. Not aware of how much their “not enough” feelings about what they are attempting are the limiting factor. The negative self talk, then internalizing the feelings into walls of doubt that seem impossible to overcome. Aware also of how many words there are out there to describe a movement, a place, a desire, a need… the words are only as capable as the feeling of possible or not possible as the understanding behind them.
In assisting my clients and their animals I’ve learned to listen to the question asked and the feeling accompanying it is. Slowing things down, hearing what they think, how they feel and what is the thing inside so tangled as to be creating this confusion of “I need the whole thing now!” Not the fun and joy of feeling the music in learning and creating their own dance. Teaching for me is awareness, breathing, learning and fun along with others on this journey!
“Explanations usually come along with intuitive messages on a “need to know basis.” When the bigger, more important messages need to surface, they will, so pay attention! Listen with your heart. We now know that the heart has many more neurons than it would need just for circulation of blood. By following through on your everyday hunches, you are actually taking test drives, virtually honing in on your listening skills. These skills will serve you well. Everyone is apparently somewhat psychic, but many people just have flabby psychic muscles.
Learning to listen to your inner dialog tones and strengthens this muscle. The more you use your intuition the better you get at it. When we choose to ignore our gut instincts, we are only hurting ourselves. The holistic or wholistic movement is about healing this problem.
Listening to your intuition is the essence of art and creativity and soulful living. Intuition is what you use to find the purpose of your life and your place in the world. Once you awaken your inner guide by unlocking the wisdom of your subconscious mind, you already know what to do.”
Perfectly timed morning email message to allow me to know “I Am” learning to listen to the guidance from within me as I made my way through my morning tasks, finding with each step I am taking a softening of how I did and now will be viewing and living my life. Aware of how I am choosing new words to describe things that before I “always” used terms about my work, chores, and jobs that defined my life in a feeling of have to, must, and some absurd time schedule to get things done, now, immediately, quickly and efficiently so that the job would be done right and I could mark it off as complete to get on to the next thing on the list.
There is no real joy I now find in doing that. Though I did have the satisfaction of completion and accomplishment… but not the reveling in each moment as when the water trough fills and I espied Charlie stopping in his eating to stop and look to see what I was watching.
The world responding to me, what I am vibrating out, how I am breathing… I can tell by how peacefully he looks, checks back in with me and then grabs another mouthful of hay as the water just starts to overflow from his trough and I kink the hose to move down to the next pen.
These simple things that I so relish now in the steps of early morning feeding, which before I had been pushing myself to get done in this old habit or belief of an accomplishment done, trumped the joy in each step or new thing observed in completing the task at hand. Hearing the words I have spoken a thousand times to my students “a quarter inch improvement’ will slowly and surely build the steps to mastering their connection with a horse. Fluidness comes from being in the moment, sensing, feeling, flowing, and accomplishing without having to stop, think, fumble, and then take a breath with any movement forward in our awkwardness to get “it” right so we fit in to the ideal mold we have stuck in our head.
Once again aware of how much I have been actually talking to myself when I teach others… just not listening to what I was saying. The blessing being is I am enjoying the fruits of my awakening as I realize I knew the right answers all along for me… just with no belief or confidence in my own connection that the still small voice from within was God answering me. I did not “use” to believe in my own worthiness to have, much less be allowed a direct connection. Still small steps, ah hah moments, deep breaths of awareness, learning to be aware if I am smiling, truly enjoying each moment… and loving the progress!
Sleep: add another blanket, last night’s was creamy ivory soft, fuzzy, fluffy, just enough to hold in the extra warmth. 30 degrees here in Texas
Waking: tend to self’s needs first, let water get hot, add slithery soap to a scruffy wash cloth, make lots of foamy lather, rub briskly on every part of the skin. Scrub my shampoo into cascades of foam, feeling the roots of every lock of hair. Allow the water to cascade off the foam in thorough streams of warmth. Big fuzzy purple towels, one for the body and one for the hair, enjoying all the other nuances in taking care of myself to the perfection of wonderment I am
Driving: start truck and while it is idling, make two brimming cups of chocolaty mint, milk and a little coffee, handing the smaller one to my son and enjoying my drink as I drive into work. Start my bus, enjoying small talk as it warms up, to then pick up and drop off my 3 students.
Truck not firing: have bus mechanics right there to figure it out, give me ride to store to pick up cat and dog food. Spying and purchasing perfect new wall calendar with horses marked down to $2.50. New mechanic helper discovering my horse training asks for card for friend who is having problems starting a new 3 yr old.
Great mornings: choosing the mood that sets the day.
Great challenge: coming in to blog on whatever is going on, to allow mind to organize and see exactly where one is at and how or what one can do to move forward, even a tiny little step.