Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It works if you work it, so work it, your worth it......

Look into the circle, chin aligned with chest, outside rein, bump bump bump, outside leg, squeeze, inside leg squeeze, use your seat, more seat, ONE two THREE four ONE two THREE four, relax that left arm, outside leg, no LEG.... not heel, outside rein, bump bump bump, ONE two THREE four ONE two THREE four, more seat, stretch your spine, chin over chest, look into the circle, inside rein....bump bump bump,  inside LEG, more, more, ok, good, nice, use that seat, ONE two THREE four, outside leg, no...LEG, Stand up, Sit down, thumbnails forward, don't cross the line, outside rein, outside rein, OUTSIDE REIN, LEG, LEG, SEAT, SEAT....ONE two THREE four......

Ever dared to have a dressage lesson? This ain't no trail ride baby! This is WORK! I could just keep riding my horse how I was riding her. We were doing perfectly fine, lovely in fact. But I saw what was missing, and it was time to take it to the next level.

As my legs started to get frustrated and my fingers got confused, I remembered how I got up at six am several mornings a week to clean horse stalls for this, because as my teacher so cleverly quoted, “Anything worth doing is hard work.” And as I finally got to rest my horse, and my legs, and seat and brain, I got present to how this feeling was not uncommon for me in my current place in life.

I am currently in a transformational leadership program which has me blowing the lid off of who I have known myself to be and what I think I am capable of. And it looks alot like a dressage lesson.

Share yourself, be in integrity, create a powerful context, be bold, be BOLD, be vivid, be the cause, clean your house, clean your car, show up on time, show up on time, get it all done, restore integrity, play a big game, share, share, share vividly, be BOLD, make a difference, no MAKE a difference, powerful context, BIG game, face yourself...in the mirror, be excited, be MORE excited, be GREAT, breakdown, be the cause, breakthrough,share, share, share......

It’s intensity, caused by intentionality. And I COULD just keep living my life how I was living it. It was perfectly fine, lovely in fact. But something was missing, and it was time to blow up “fine”.

Because anything worth doing is hard work. Or, said another way, work hard at anything worth doing, and soon the work only appears as worth.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Higher Standards

One of the greatest things that I love about horses is that a horse knows what you know and knows what you don’t know, and a wise horse that is committed to it’s job in life will not let it’s human get away with less than what it knows.  A lesson from these beings is  one of the most valuable things about a partnership, being an opportunity for one partner to hold the other accountable in the relationship. Accountability for our best is how we learn and grow.

I had spent a pretty peaceful winter with my Lucy. I had been learning a lot about the ability to be soft and effective, and had not so much has carried a stick with me in playing on the ground with her in months. We had gotten increasingly connected in our work using energy, conversations about space, intention, and clear mental pictures. All something I think that both her and I were very happy with. Soft effective communication and partnership is very exciting!

Last week there was a lovely warm day, one of the first of its kind, and I got inspired by spring. I decided it would be fun for Lucy and I to up our game a bit from over the winter, and work on some fancier things. I carried my stick for this. We worked on going one direction, and all went beautifully, in fact it was some of the most fancy, controlled movement, I have ever gotten from her. Very exciting! We went the other direction then, and as it is with animals with bilateral vision, one side is generally different from the other. It was a little more difficult for her to step under herself with her left hind leg, and I gently encouraged her to do so by touching her hip with my stick. Now keep in mind, this was a kind, encouraging touch, not unlike I typically would ask her to do something. It was very soft and light.

But up in the air she went, and out like a rocket. Kicking, bucking and tearing around in that circle, tossing her head, followed by more bucks and a high tailed gallop. Typically just an easy word will bring her down from any upset, but not this time. Lucy was acting like she had clearly had it. After we got settled back down again, I began to laugh at my pretty girl and the ruckus that my little tap had caused. It felt like she was saying to me in a huff, “I can't believe you would do that! You know you don't need to do that!”

I recently began an intensive leadership program, and even knowing the benefits that I would get from the program, I went into my decision kicking and screaming. As I sat in my first weekend and got present to what was really there for me to be, I realized that I had resisted stepping forward into my leadership in my life because then people might expect that from me. We shrink from being the person in life that we secretly know lies like a little gem inside of us. This is a thing to be examined.

I knew as I sat there that in just being there I had already stepped in, and that excellence does not occur from sitting on the sidelines accepting status quo. The good news is that the people with me will hold me accountable, and stand up for me to be the leader that I have said I would, just like my beautiful horse won’t stand for me to be less of a horseman than she knows me to be.

What areas of your life do you know that there are to step into, but haven’t been allowing yourself to for fear of what incredible things you might accomplish, or might amazing things you could be? Don’t be limited by what you think you should be or by what you have been already. Once growth happens, you can never go back.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Peace of Mind

I went to the pasture today after a long time gone. I missed my ponies. As I was just standing there enjoying their presence I became aware of how quiet it was. This seemed strange and abnormal to me.  The pasture is usually a peaceful place that I can find solace. But this was not the usual kind of quiet. There were still birds and cars and noises. Then I realized that the quiet was in my head.

It’s been a long time since I’ve put my lessons down on paper, or screen that is.  The past year has been like nothing that I have ever thought that I would experience. I’ve had the heartbreak of my life, my world turned upside down, and then found an amazing educational program that has begun to show me the answers to the questions of my humanity that I have held for as long as I can remember. That’s the short version.

The lessons I have been getting from my life and my horses this past year have been way too intense to formulate into words. They have been immense lessons which I am sure will someday make their way from my cerebral cortex into my spoken language. But it seems like the dust is beginning to settle, and once again, I can see more clearly the lessons in the communication that I am receiving from my beautiful  equine friends.

As I am standing there in that peaceful moment in the pasture today, realizing that the quiet was in my head, I got a glimpse of what it must be like to be a horse. I realized that there were only two things in that moment that existed. Action, and Communication. There were no thoughts, opinions, rackets, and other forms of blah blah blah. Just Action and Communication.

Its tough to get out of my head sometimes. Well, really most of the time. I often think that if I simply wrote down all the stories in my head, I could be a very successful teen fiction author. There’s lots of drama up there. It can be fun sometimes, but it doesn’t work for a real life. Turns out that the only things that contribute to a real life are Action and Communication.

It would be great to be a horse and have it all come so naturally. But as humans, what comes most naturally to us is thinking, and over thinking, and making up stuff, and processing it, and worrying, and stressing, and making up more stuff, and making that stuff mean something. It can be very noisy. But the good news that is the more that we get out of our heads and into communication, or into action, the quieter it can become.