Thomas Merton wrote, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harm.” When our resilience is low it is often because we are focused on one area of our lives and putting all of our energy in one place. This usually involves some stressful event, work, or a collection of things that are draining are emotional and physical energy. What ends up happening is we are not counter balanced in other areas of our life-the things that are soothing, the slow easy going and nourishing things.
I have heard of amazing yoga teachers that change the focus of their classes each week. One week the emphasis on the class will be intense and the next week the class is doing laughing yoga and doing headstands against the wall like when you were in grade school. Other times, the yoga class is gentle and the poses are held so long it is like slow motion; soothing and elastic.
I don’t remember ever taking a riding lesson when we weren’t being serious and concentrating on a specific focus. Riding is similar to yoga. It is all about balance-when we stretch one side of the horse’s body, we must stretch the other side or the horse’s muscles will be out of whack. When we are energetic one day, we must be calm another day. However, in our modern lives we don’t always get this. We get overwhelmed. We run on empty or we run on caffeine and sugar induced adrenaline highs long past the point where every fiber of our body is telling us to calm down, take a break, and rest. We tell ourselves we can’ slow down just yet, but we will when we get the chance once the barn is clean, as soon as this horse show is over, after the busy season, etc. etc. etc. Does this sound familiar?
I am sure most of us have experienced what it’s like to finally get a day off because our body finally said, ENOUGH, and we came down with some sort of crud. Many of us know what it is like to spend our vacation feeling so exhausted that we have to have a few days off to recover from our vacation. And for us horse owners, our ponies usually get put on the back burner and the thing we work so hard to afford is the thing we don’t get enough of and that means you are completely out of balance. Just like in yoga, our minds need times of activity and times of calm. We need to feel inspired and totally unplugged at different times. It is like an elastic band-if you keep it taut all the time it will eventually snap. However, if you stretch and release it will last a long time.
So, what can we do to stay balanced? And in turn, will allow us more time to ride and spend time with our horses?
First, think about what you are doing to stay busy that you could drop right now? Be honest with yourself – do the stalls need to be washed down every day? Do you need to go to another horse show? How many calls do you make, text messages or emails do you write that make no real contribution to getting balanced and spending time with your horse?
What would you do with an extra hour a day? Here is a suggestion: Ride your horse or just spend some quiet time with him or her feeding treats, talking, and brushing.
What would you do if you ONLY had one hour a day? (This will help you get super focused on what’s really important to you and your horse time.)
Imagine you’re looking back one year from now. What would you regret not doing more or less of?
Once you have the answers to these questions, list 3 things you are absolutely GOING TO DO in the next 7 days to get more balance in your life which in turn will allow you more quality time with your horse. It could be doing less housework, or eating out for dinner once per week so that you’ve some extra time.
Theory is great but if you don’t put some of it into action it is all for nothing – and nothing won’t change without action. So choose 3 things, put them into action, commit to them and regain your equilibrium. This will ultimately result in a happier horse and a happier you!
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