Facing fears by asking for help

Those of you who know me know that I have a tendency to be a little stubborn. I come by it honestly as there is a long and strong stubborn streak that runs in my family. It’s like a superpower and when it’s used for good it is unbeatable and creates some amazing results, but when it’s used for evil it can be pretty destructive (almost always destructive for myself as opposed to other people).

I’ve been having issues with my horse as many of you know. But in truth I’ve been having issues with myself not my horse. It’s been a year since I fell off and although I’ve been on him a few times, I’ve not really enjoyed it and basically been scared shitless. It has come to the point where I need to face my fear or get rid of my horse.

I don’t like giving up on things. That’s part of my stubborn streak. However, in the last few years I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not just better but essential that I walk away from certain things.

I have a friend who has stepped up and is helping me with my Drishti issue. He likes my horse and he’s known me my whole life, and he’s kindly jumped in and given me a hand starting to get my confidence back. He came out today and rode my horse so I could see that Drishti isn’t some crazed beast, but rather a horse with energy who has had a year off. 98.654% of the issues I’m having are because I spent too much time in my head getting freaked out.

But horses are my passion and I’ve waited years to have one back in my life. I got to the point where I had to ask myself what I wanted more – to not be afraid or to ride.

I want to ride.

So today after my friend rode my horse, I rode my horse. Not elegantly or well. In fact it took me about 10 minutes to force myself to get on, and then he had to lunge me – so I felt like I was safely on a leash – before he let us go free in the ring. But we did it. And I made myself ride until I no longer felt like I was going to crap my pants or throw up (I’m so elegant).

Everything I know about being brave I’ve learned on the back of a horse. The back of a horse then can’t be the one place I fear to be. It just can’t. Asking for help was the only way I could begin to face this fear. The problem with being stubborn is often I don’t ask for help when I need it. I’m slowly learning that we need each other to get through this life, and if we don’t ask for help people usually don’t know that we need it.

And so the journey begins. Being brave enough to ride will make me brave enough to continue to face whatever life throws at me. It’s my passion, but it’s also my greatest learning tool. That is a huge step on my happiness journey.

Here he is going cowboy style while I watch

The next stage is allowing him to help me.

And finally trying on my own while he watches.

None of this could have happened if I’d stubbornly plowed ahead myself and not asked for and allowed for help.


A silhouette of hope

This photo that I took this morning seems to express how I am feeling right now. Some dark, some shadows, rays of light, and a beautiful horse. Because everything hopeful in my life should include a horse. 

I am in a period of great uncertainty where I am having to rely heavily on my faith and trust that every blind step I am taking is one that will lead to a happier life. 

Moments like this one with the horse give me great joy and happiness. I feel my soul calm and am able to breathe deeply and find strength to face the things that cause me fear. 

My happiness moment was this great moment of peace in the morning. It was enhanced by great moments of love and support given to me throughout the day. These came in many different forms:  words of encouragement, super duper help with child care and taxi servicing to lessons (from my awesome cousin), kind smiles, feelings of love, and the grounding of home. 

The warmth that I get from looking at this photo is one I know I will return to many times to find peace. 


In the heart where the memories are

When I was a kid, Pony Club wasn’t for the faint of heart. You can tell just by the “high quality” of the trailers in the background of my photo that we were all a little more rough and tumble back then. I think that’s part of why those years were some of the best of my life. They weren’t always fun (sometimes they were downright terrifying), but they absolutely shaped me into the person that I am now.

I tended to be more timid as a child (a trait I still am working on to this day) and when the other kids were excited to race their ponies over the biggest and scariest jumps I was always at the back of the pack hoping something would happen so I wouldn’t have to do it. And yet, always so happy when I did.

Part of the reason for being afraid was that I was younger than a lot of the other kids, part of it was just my nature. However, those big kids seemed to follow the rule “leave no man behind ” (or blubbering child as the case may be) and there was no way I was going to be able to bypass any of the jumps out on the cross country course.

I remember sitting on my pony Snowflake, crying my eyes out because I was so scared, and my cousin (in the photo with me) racing by on her horse yelling to stop being such a coward and to get in and join them. Then, the next girl tearing by, whose last name was Coward yelling that they’d better find a better name to call me since she was going over the jump. Not wanting to look like a total wimp, and not wanting to get left behind I sucked up all the courage I had and raced after them. And of course, ended up having the time of my life.

Being able to find courage when facing a terrifying situation is something that has helped me immensely in my adult life. Not turning away from something I wanted to do, or being afraid to join the fun was also an important life lesson I learned.

I remember watching her flying around the cross country course, smiling from ear to ear, hanging on for dear life aboard her horse Monkey (well named considering how they were together) and knowing that soon my turn was coming. Just about everything I know about having to dig deep and then soar I learned with this girl out in these fields.  

You just never know where your path is going to take you in life, or how chapters are going to be written in your book. This incredibly strong, funny, amazing, brave, fierce woman has had most of her memories stolen from her by one of those cruel twists of fate. It’s horrible at any age, but she is just too young and too full of life.

I went to visit her today, for the first time in about a year and a half. I was touched to the core of my being that she remembered who I was, and thrilled that there is still some of her old spunk shining through her eyes. That spunk that propelled me through much of my childhood.

These memories are precious. They are ones that I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life.

My aunt picked me up to go in to town and visit my cousin (well really she’s a second cousin, and my mom and her dad are first cousins – but it’s all the same to me) I was touched that she would bring me in.  I’m sure a lot of it was to make sure I wasn’t uncomfortable and that the visit went smoothly. We ended up having a wonderful visit. I also hadn’t seen her in a year and a half, and it had been many years gone by before that. We visited a little about old times, but mostly it was about things now – family, life in general, some about my cousin.  We did a lot of laughing. Full out, head back, laughing. That was my happiness moment for the day, new memories and old memories all being stored in the heart.