Opening the gates

One of my favourite childhood memories is of grabbing my horse and heading off through the fields for the day. It wasn’t until I started learning about meditation and the importance of connecting to Source (or God, or Nature) that I realized that this is what I was doing as a kid. Riding has always been a very spiritual activity for me and I have been blessed to have been able to ride for miles and miles in quiet freedom with the companionship of a beloved pony.

I haven’t come across a lot of really difficult gates in my adulthood – either they’ve made them easier to open or I’m not heading into difficult fields, I’m certainly not venturing as far on horseback as I used to. But, when I was a kid there were some incredibly difficult gates. I’m sure part of it was my age and size, but a larger part of it was those gates were made from insanely tight barbed wire – they were made to stay closed. Once in a while I’d be lucky enough to come across one that had a stick wrapped around the wire for extra pull – or I’d get really lucky and it would have that metal snap that went over the top. But, often I’d be stuck at some gate that was just barbed wire wrapped around a pole.

They were so hard to open. I’d stand there with my patient pony beside me pulling and struggling at the gate. Harder yet was when it would open and we would go through, because closing those tight gates was so much harder than opening them ever was.

For some reason it never occurred to me to just not go through the gates. I was busy exploring the ranch and if there were places I needed to go, then I needed to get to them.

Today when I was driving into town I saw a man come out from one of the fields where they are shooting a movie. He was standing at the gate trying in vain to close it. He didn’t have the technique down at all – the posts and wire were only half way up as he was trying to snap the gate closed – and I knew he was going to be there for a while. As I drove past he turned and looked at me with a face of frustration and impatience. I actually thought of stopping to help him, but there were a few other men standing around and I figured surely one of them would help him out. I was late for kid pickup, and things have changed just enough that I’m not comfortable stopping on back roads to help strangers the way I once was.

It made me think though, as I continued to drive to town, how much time I used to spend struggling with those gates. I would have been out all by myself, and have opened the gate so there was no option but to close it. I had been well-trained in the rule that if you come across a closed gate you alway, always, close it after you go through.

I am grateful for that part of me that felt like quitting was never an option. When I come into struggles in life now I think back to how I was as a child and I used to just keep moving ahead. Even if it seemed impossible, if I had a goal in mind I just kept working at it until I reached it. I think about it now as I’m on the quest to be the best me  which has involved stripping myself down and looking at the deepest and darkest parts of my soul. Walking away from that is also not an option. I can’t turn away from that anymore than I could have turned away and left one of those gates open. There’s certain tasks that need to be completed.

Sunrises seem to be my happiness scene these days. I started the day off looking at this:

The sun rising over the barn where I spent so many hours of my childhood. There are bits of all of my family’s souls in this building my grandfather built. It brings me constant happiness to be able to look out my kitchen window and see the barn. My happiness moment today was watching the barn be awoken by the sun this morning.


That Dharma Thing

I firmly believe we all have those things that we shine at. Things that we must do, that bring us joy, that make our soul sing because we know that we are doing what it is that we were put here to do. 

Some people know what that thing is from an early age and have the faith, the support, and the courage to do it no matter what obstacles are thrown in their path. Others of us are plagued with self doubt and fear and it takes us a bit longer to get on that path. 

If I could have a life redo I would go back in time to those moments where I wanted to follow a dream and I listened to the negative voices either from others or from inside my head who told me that I shouldn’t. The voices that said I wasn’t good enough, not deserving, or that the dream I had wasn’t ever going to be a reality. 

The first thing I would do is not listen to the voices that made me give up riding. Should it have mattered that I was being told that I would never make a living at it (I could have), that it would never give me a secure future (nothing about my future so far has been secure anyway even though I gave up and tried to take the safe path), that I needed to find a real job and grow up? Had I had the kind of self esteem I now wish for myself  and for my kids I would have never heard the external doubts and I would not have had the internal ones. 

Somehow I took all those messages and decided that my value as a human was based on what career path I would take and the amount of money we could produce. So I took a career that I didn’t really want and when I gave it up to be a full time mom (which I love) I became devalued again because I wasn’t doing something that was producing money. Forget all of the things that I actually do as a mom, there is no value to that. So then I struggled with the strong feeling that I was doing what I was meant to do, but also held the false belief that it had no value. 

Today we went out for a long ride through the fields. It just brings peace to my soul. I have a confidence when riding that I am just now learning to bring to the rest of my life. On a horse you need to be confident enough to have faith in what you are doing, and stay humble enough to know that you are a part of a team – and that the other half of your team is much bigger and stronger than you – you must work together through whatever comes up. A good way to walk through life. With humble confidence. With the knowledge that I am following my dharma. That I am good enough just because I am me and that I know I’m doing the right thing because I feel it in the depths of my soul. 

That is happiness. 

Here is a photobomb of happiness. Johnny the horse having a moment of FOMO (fear of missing out) and peeking through the fence as I took a picture of my niece. She rode today with Jenna and me, and it was so heart warming to see those girls giggling and enjoying their horses in the same fields I used to spend hours in as a child. Pretty sweet for me to enjoy this time on Princess the boy horse. 



An afternoon ride 

As a kid I used to ride all over the ranch in the summer months. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with my sister, usually joined by Buster the dog. 

When I first learned about yoga and meditation I realized that I had been connecting with the Source every time I jumped on my horse and headed off. Riding has always been a very spiritual activity for me, something that has always calmed my anxiety and grounded me in nature. It’s something I need to do in order to be the best version of myself. 

Today I got to ride with Jenna and my niece. It wasn’t long or far (those clouds in the background had us heading home before we got rained on) but it was soul cleansing. My happiness moment.