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!
A unique 48 hours living with the feeling that I have been somehow still separated from all of me. So like many other things in my life I have been paying attention, looking around at the circumstances and allowing life to show me the mirror of my inner conflict. Which has caused an interesting stream of information to cover my buffet of life, much of this bringing up feelings, stories and situation I had been so extremely sure I had dealt with and laid them to rest till last night’s freshmen football game and the introduction to a new interested male into my life.
My horses as per usual keying me into different faucets of the scenarios before they actually came about, starting with the typical interest of another via an old internet dating site I occasionally decide to peruse. When I do, allows my ad to evidently become more current to catch the eye of the newest seekers, shown by interesting mail in my email folder, to where I went on line, read their profile, aware of the groan in my gut, and then answered it anyway. As several other things were of interest, and flirting is fun, so I sent off a quick reply. Then spent the next few hours in this place of unknown fear, as all of the hidden concerns about where I am currently at in my life, and how that might appear to another reached out and got my full attention. I was amazed, dumbfounded, and fascinated there was this much reaction to a simple query, but there it was. So I waited, felt, fretted, then talked myself into sanity of the fact that I can only deal with something when I know it exists. So I did with a few simple emails, each time checking with myself, with each word I typed, then I would send, receive and process each step accordingly.
Which led to last night’s first home game for my youngest son’s freshmen team and an interesting meeting with my older sister. We were catching up on the summer, and the her last class reunion as she told the story of one of her friend’s and how she was finally, officially, out in the open, dating the guy that everyone knew she had a thing for (evidently in my sister’s circle) so was now seeing. My entire system jumping to full alert, my mind going back to my life in high school and college, over the two guys I had such great friendship, love and admiration for…yet they did not fit my parents standards, curriculum and goals for me. So I walked away, did otherwise, always surprised when either’s picture shows up and the intense desire to know “What if?” now almost 40 years later.
So imagine my complete surprise to find one of them in my dreams, telling me he is in Mexico, he has been just now able to decide to find me, but has been kept away because he is so many things not on the list of the “right guy”. I woke up sort of puzzled as to why now, I have not dreamed of him so specifically, ever to my recollection. I went about today wondering what gives. To have several circumstances with the horses being wishy washy, finally getting them and the rider on trakc. Have several items owed for, but I do what’s right, allowing the one to pay to walk away and not ask for services rendered today. I know they will be back tomorrow, I just am so uncomfortable asking for my money, right now, today. I take this feeling of inadequacy back with me to drive, thinking and feeling for resolution…but nothing.
I come home and start looking for something to distract me, anything else other than worry for the answer which is not yet coming. Finally two internet games later, I find a game that is fast, different, and intriguing enough to fully engage my mind. I allow the answers to appear; How can another give to me if I cannot and will not give to myself. I have not allowed myself to explore the venue of relationships with another in almost three years. Because I have been successfully attracting those that fit a totally made up list over what sounded good. Based on height, occupation, mustaches, physique and the like…none of it really deep down true or what truly matters.
It’s all based on outside perception. Not a sense of feeling, the ability to know, the snapping to of my intuition to full attention, as all of my senses become aware. My very being knowing him, this long time easy feeling of friendship, this person who gets me, and I him. I do know the feeling. I have managed to do an entirely fantastic job of turning off each and every faucet that would allow me to function as all of me in this respect. I have separated myself from my biggest fan, lover, and friend…ME! I so apologize to myself for thinking I owed it to anyone to be untrue and disloyal to the most important being any one of us has the glory to know, honor and love.
Batten down the hatches, full speed ahead… I am allowing and honoring my right to have whatever and whoever it is I damn well please! 😀