happiness

And canter

It may sound stupid but after 20 years off of riding and then a big wreck a couple of years ago I’ve been scared to canter.

One of my favorite childhood memories is galloping across a field at the ranch praying my horse didn’t trip in a gopher hole. Even a couple of years ago I was cantering around in one of the fields with my Drishti. that feeling of freedom – there’s nothing like it.

There is that saying that you need to get back on your horse as soon as you fall off. There’s a reason for that. I did get on about a month after, but it was over a year before I could really ride again. Too long to let fears sit.

But the great thing about being human is that not only do we hurt, but we also have an amazing ability to heal. When placed in a safe, loving environment where you can trust and depend on those around you, it’s possible to heal from almost everything.

And so I cantered.

Not well, not elegantly, but I did it. And I’ll do it again. And every time I do it I will be stronger and better. Sometimes it won’t be graceful, sometimes it won’t feel like I know what I’m doing. But I’ll keep doing it. Because that’s how we keep healing.

I thought I was broken, but I think actually we are unbreakable. Sometimes we just need help to heal.

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happiness

(Don’t) stop and collect yourself

I had a riding lesson today. I was tired, I had a crappy night sleep and I’ve got lots on my mind, but horses are my therapy and I knew I needed the healing time.

I was having a hard time holding him properly in the trot. On one transition I felt totally unbalanced, and basically like I was riding like a sack of crap. I tried to right it, felt myself getting off balance, it felt sloppy, I was annoyed with myself that it wasn’t going how I wanted, so I pulled him back to a walk.

My instructor got after me see, you dropped him and he fell into a walk. I said no, I’d felt like it was all falling apart, I couldn’t get it together, so I asked him for the walk so I could stop and get myself together.

She said you don’t get to stop to get it together, you need to get it together while you keep going. YOU ARE NOT A NOVICE AT THIS. The only way to actually get where you want to go is to keep pushing ahead.

And I was like

You have no idea how badly I needed to hear that.

My horse may be my therapy, but my instructor is like my life coach.

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happiness

Leg on

Because I never know where life is going to take me, for the last couple of months I’ve been taking dressage lessons. That was always on the bottom of riding disciplines I wanted to learn, and to my surprise I freaking love it.

But I’ve been having a really hard time with leg aids. Or to put it in simple English, i can’t make the damn horse move. It’s been driving nuts that I can’t seem to get my leg to understand how to move in a way that my horse understands. But no matter how hard I worked at it I wasn’t getting results.

Well today, by trying less hard and feeling the process, I was finally to understand how to make the damn go button work. I was so excited. It sounds like such a simple little thing, but it was a difficult thing for me to understand.

Like with most things, once I just surrendered and allowed to feel, I was able to get it.

I’m feeling quite accomplished.

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happiness

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.

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Evening therapy

You know it’s funny, it seems like when life is in crisis I forget all my coping skills.

My dad and I used to talk about this on our walks along the ridge. He said that prayer and meditation were so important for him in the good times because they stored up love and hope that carried him through the bad times when he maybe wasn’t as consistent at his spiritual practice.

I feel the same way.

But I’ve been back out with my guy who brings balance and love to my life.

He’s my SUV – spiritual utility vehicle

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happiness

Feeding my soul

I’ve been really stressed out and run down lately. It’s due in part to the things I need to sort out for mom’s estate – there are lots of things that the government needs because of the extra care she was getting. I’m so grateful for all that care – it allowed her to spend more time at home, and gave her a lot of comfort and peace – so the work is totally worth it. It is just sad work, I’m not really accepting well the fact that both mom and dad are gone. I think it’s just a lot to absorb, and so much has happened the last 3 years.

Added to that is the chore of getting my things ready for taxes. It is emotionally draining as I’ve had to go back and pay my lawyer again to show the thousands of dollars that I have spent in attempts to have Mr. X follow the court order for support. He is now almost $40,000 behind in payments and to say that has had a huge impact on our lives is no joke. It’s hard on me, it’s hard on the kids – it’s exhausting.

I have realized that I’ve been so stressed out that I haven’t been looking after my soul properly lately. I need my Drishti, I need the peace he brings me, I need to be spending more time with him. He is a big part of what feeds my soul and recharges me so that I have the strength to carry on. I can’t make Mr. X follow the court order or be a decent human, I can’t bring my parents back – but I can go riding and free my soul even for a little while.

I really can only be responsible for my own happiness, my own freedom, and my own life choices. I need to be making ones that are good for my soul, for my family, for my heart.

Thank God for this horse.

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It’s what makes me happy

Today was one of those days that was just so good. We need more days that bring peace to our hearts and smiles to our faces.

We spent the day in Olds at 4H multi-judging – it’s something so far out of my comfort zone and experience – yet the more my kids get involved in 4H the more I love it. I’m so happy they get to have these experiences, and we have such an awesome club. The adults get along, the kids get along, and the fact that most of us are related is a huge bonus. One thing about coming from such a large family is we have lots of extended cousins that we don’t know very well and things like this allows us to deepen those relationships. I love it.

The girl had softball evaluations after that – and softball is what makes her heart sing. I loved watching her hit the ball and run bases and do the other exercises they laid out for the kids. When she got in the car after she said it’s what makes me the happiest of all – playing ball – and we all need that thing that makes our spirit feel free.

We finished the day with a family birthday party at the Hall. I love the family, the community and our Hall and I love that we get to be part of people coming together to share and celebrate.

There are always ups and downs and bumps in the road- but when the sunshines in my heart on days like this it outshines any darkness that may be lurking. Life is good.

AND it was a year ago today I met my heart horse – I love him to the depths of my soul.

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