Sunday, January 24, 2016

Get out of the way, You!

Or, rather, me. There's a Facebook meme going around that says "You Are Far Too Smart To Be In Your Own Way." Being too smart or more like thinking I am has kept me in my way my whole life.

I have a busy mind. We have established that in many a previous blog. It's what has me up, right now in the wee hours of the morning, tap tapping away on this blog installment.

You guys know I had a wreck coming off Royal end of September 2015. Fractured both bones in my wrist, strained ligaments in my knee. (That doesn't sound serious, at least not to me but turned out to be more so.) The fracture healed super (thanks to Thrive right? Orthopedic surgeon could not believe all the new bone he had to chop through when it became apparent a surgery was necessary to save the day). My wrist bones twisted inside the cast. That turns out to be a bad thing.

Fast forward as I am super sick of that whole subject, I'm now two weeks back to work and a week into losing the transitional brace and getting back into what I think of as my real life. I'm not cleared to ride and ya know, after not laying a hand on the ponies for almost three months, I'm good with that. I can do groundwork though! WOOHOO! Pony time, here we come!!

Yesterday was my day to go to the barn. A Saturday. I glanced at the forecast. Deep cold causes me a lot of discomfort right now but hey, mid thirties is totally doable! You should have seen Axel's face as I am pulling on layers. He knows what barn clothes look like and there was one ecstatic blue border collie racing around the house in mad delight.

Me too. My heart was racing with anticipation. What were they going to be like, Royal and Huck? Not that it mattered. Thanks to Peter, I can take the horse that shows up and help them be the horse they really want to be.

Greg pulls them up out of the icy pasture. The last thing we want is for me to go skidding and ruin the day with more damage before it even starts! Royal is easy to catch. Huckleberry would have liked to opt out but it was more trouble than it was worth. I think I am going to like that about him.

Into the indoor arena we go. I pull the halters to let them just roam around the dry unfrozen ground, roll, do whatever. They sniff suspiciously at all things and look a little like the feral beasts I had expected them to be. In a few minutes I approach. Nah, they quietly begin to wander away. I pick up my flag lightly and help them leave (can I tell you the one I bought from Trina and Peter is a WHOLE lot easier to use and better balanced than the cheaper fiberglass jobbie? Well worth the bucks.)

I don't ask hard, just let them know they need to move and to go in the direction I choose. When one looks to peel off I lightly shake the flag and the appointed horse falls back in line. So cool how horses pick up on energy. The one I am not directing at might be three feet away, be it Royal or Huck, was unaffected.

Breathing in horse. I am standing in the arena with my boys and my good dog. When Royal looks my way I dramatically release pressure by turning and walking away. He knows this game, faces up and stays put. Huckleberry keeps going. I move him around until he looks at me too. Give him the same release, he faces up and waits.

I approach each horse, extend my hand, see if they want to reach back. Nope, not yet. Royal is content to stand (fat boy) but he blows me off. Huckleberry is not quite ready and warily shifts back. It's subtle and I see it and quietly ask him to move off.

We do this a few times, both directions, pick up the pace to a trot for just a little. They are out of shape, thick heavy coats. The last thing I want is to come on strong, get them upset. We are getting to know each other again.

I doubt it takes ten minutes and they are following me like big shaggy dogs. I want to get photos because I am glowing hard that they chose to be with me. I didn't run them to death, they were not out of options. I simply rewarded the try, released them and made myself a good place to be.

After this, it's halter time and what do you guys still know? Royal "everything, what did you expect?" Huckleberry "Not a dime more than I did when you put me up which wasn't much but I remember  all of it." Something really to be said for putting them up on a good note. There's a lot of reasons why but I am very glad I sucked it up and rode the rest of the clinic. None of us have a lot of baggage . . .

That's a lesson I am learning in many different areas, in case you were wondering what any of this has to do with getting out of my own way. In this post, the horse stuff came first, now the philosophy. People also want to be recognized for try, want release of pressure and they want me to be a good safe place to be in order to want to hang out. You probably already know I am better at this with horses but my people skills are improving.

Wanting community and affiliation is a basic human need. Those of us who will tell you we don't need people around us are lying through our teeth and maybe mostly to ourselves. Once upon a time I tried to pick and choose the people who entered my life. I tried to hold on to them after it was time for them to move on. I have come to learn that while I absolutely will not tolerate chronically toxic (to me) people, there has to be a lot of elasticity if a relationship is going to have staying power.

I have a lot of gratitude for the community that has grown up around me. The Riding Center is the warmest least drama afflicted barn I have ever known. Greg goes out of his way for us in a thousand different ways. I have developed appreciation for my team mates at Pacific Life. Life is too short to be somewhere you hate. There are things I would rather do than sit at a desk 9 hours a day but they pay me well to do so and the company is congenial. My Le-vel/Thrive family? Wow. Who knew.

Getting out of my own way means surrender of ego. It means thinking through my emotional reactions and keeping that 24 hour window before I respond when I'm upset firmly in place. I still can't always do this but it's a whole lot better when I do.

Then there is the whole allowing myself to succeed. That's probably subject for another entire blog. Helping others succeed and realizing how their self doubt is nothing but myth and stuff they see in the mirror teaches me that about myself. Why not us?

I am not a big one on setting goals. I have sabotaged myself so much and broken my own heart many times over. Right now, I am working a day at a time. The success I have experienced both in my corporate job and Le-vel has been incredibly cool and opened doors for me to get to know some really wonderful people. It's already gone so much further in both than I had any idea it would the best I can do is not limit my vision with what I can see from here.

It's a new dawn, a new day. The future is looking bright, good thing I got shades . . .