A friend posted something on Facebook recently, that made me smile to myself. It was one of these inspirational posters / quotes, along the lines, of always having an open mind to experience adventure, because you never know when the next awesome thing will come along. Now, this is something that I am very much open to, believe whole heartily, and everyone knows I’m always ready for adventure, but it was who posted it that made me smile. This particular person is open to adventure, BUT, only when it’s neat, tidy, clean and in a ribbon bedecked, safe little box. Adventure? Yes, but… A long while ago, three friends (including me) went on a trip together. Friend A had planned a day’s outing. Great, I said. Friend B, said, ummm… No. It wasn’t in her comfort zone, it wasn’t the kind of thing that she wanted to do. Which did cause a whole pile of friction. And the problem came about, because although she pushes for adventure, she has a whole lot of Yes, but…
We’re all different – how boring would the world be if we were all the same, carbon copies of each other? But, we need to be aware of our differences. Everyone has a comfort zone, a stretch zone, a learning zone and a panic, out of control zone. This lady I’m talking about? Well, her comfort zone is her town, her regular coffee shops, restaurants, cinema, shopping malls, office. Easy peasy. Her stretch zone would be travelling to a different country, trying a new yoga or Pilates class, something a little out of the norm. Learning zone – something a bit bigger, maybe travelling to a new country alone, or taking a pottery weekend course. And her out of control, panic zone, her “yes, but” zone is along the lines of scuba diving, skydiving, camping, something that has her saying “yes to adventure, but NO”. Now, I’m a bit weird, we all know that. There is only one, particular thing that would have me saying, ummmm, No. (And no, we’re not going there right now!) But ANYTHING else, if it is morally, ethically, legally ok, I’m game. A couple of things may begin to push my buttons – scuba diving through a very tight shipwreck where my tank has to be manoeuvred through – oh yes, that’s a challenge. Being a passenger on the back of a motor bike – yes, I have doubts. I’ll still say, yes, let’s go.
I did a challenge a few years back called the Cherry Challenge. I can’t remember all of the details, but it was along the lines of a lady had been clearing her Grandmother’s house and found her stash of treasures – soaps, lotions, potions, wines and chocolates that had been given to her as gifts, that she had put aside and saved for a special occasion. And, saved them for so long that she had died and not enjoyed them. This lady thought no, life is for the living, and so, every single day she does something that she has never done before. Most days it’s something small, like buy a new flavour of teabags or jam. Go to a new coffee shop, order a latte instead of a cappuccino. Take your packed lunch out to the park, drive a new route to the supermarket. These baby challenges are well within the reach of 99% of people and don’t cost a lot either. Maybe once a month, she’ll drive to a neighbouring town, or take a new hiking trail she wanted to try. As long as it is all something she has never done. When we did it, we found all sorts of really random things to do, even walking home from work backwards, surfing on a tea tray down the stairs, and eating dinner blind folded. Of course, there are some big challenges too, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is a good stretch. And, learning to scuba dive was another big one for me. And, what may challenge one person won’t challenge another. Going to a new coffee shop instead of your regular can be a big step for some, where travelling alone to a new country is another day in the office for me. (I highly recommend the cherry challenge for everyone; it definitely adds some flavour to life!)
And why is this relevant to a horse blog? Well, what I do is not mainstream. It’s thinking a long way out of the box for many people. Where is your breath going? How are the water hoses? Is your horse on a balance beam? These are all very normal questions you’ll hear during one of my sessions. And, many riders are very open to the new way of thinking. But, my most challenging riders are those who say “Yes, but….”
Can you imagine that your horse has two long water hoses running from his hocks, up his back legs, over his pelvis, under the saddle, up his neck, and that the movement of his muscles is similar to water travelling through the hoses, and we need to pick his back up? Yes…. But….. I want to get his head down.
Can you feel how adding power to your core, and having your alignment is going to make you more stable, so allowing an independent seat? Yes…. But….. Can’t you just make my hands still?
Yes, I know what your lessons are about, I know it’s not mainstream, and I know I’m going to be asked to think out of the box….. But, I don’t think I can.
Some people are ready to go on a big adventure and challenge their thinking, others, they just want a lesson where they are told to sit up straight, use more leg and make their horse rounder. I want new thinking, yes, but… I’m not that brave.
Adventures are scary places, letting your dragon (fear) out of its box is not always easy, but that knife edge of scary / uncomfortable / uneasy / challenge, that is where the learning and growth happens. You need to jump off the cliff to find your wings…