Only just today do i understand why. Writing this first entry after my Mom’s story has proven to be one of the most difficult and challenging transitions of my life. It’s like finally admitting that life does indeed go on….
Oh, and Life has been so unceasingly busy this year. Go Figure. That I have perhaps orchestrated it that way is not lost on me. With no time to pause and reflect, to sit with the pain and emptiness that comes on Sunday mornings when I call her to share… hand frozen on the phone as I remember. When I have to make trips back to the Island on that ferry and the pain crawls in close then as I usually miss a boat and am left with no choice but to sit quietly for 2 hrs surrounded with decades of memories. As randomly as grocery shopping…Chocolate….Lilacs…The screwy hour hand on the clock in my kitchen……my mohair hand knitted mittens.
I have been for the most part able to carry on as if she may soon be coming back….But like her dear Soul Dog, Toby, I have finally begun to get that she is just not coming back.
I had a visit with him last time on the Island, and he was just done waiting and so, off he went off to find her. Another piece of her goes as well for us, and yet, life goes on…
Don’t get me wrong….I love life and understand its ebb and flow and rhythms that color it and shape it and mold it to be always perfect, balanced and natural intellectually and spiritually. But Emotionally?
It hurts like hell and I miss my mom so much it staggers me sometimes.
I will heal. I will allow the pain to come in and pass thru. I will be still enough to feel. I know that she has never left me. I see her in every Red Tailed Hawk that flies so often in my path whenever I am unsure or question…..
This grieving process is a first timer for me and my compassion for those who have lost one so close knows no bounds now…I get it. Hiding in buckets of work is what we Travers’s like to do, and feeling the bad stuff sucks, but better out then in. So I learn a new ability. I feel the tender raw new sensations and the dirty, gritty, rotten old ones as well. The sweet taste of memories running down my face, the empty ache inside that I simply just need to allow myself to surrender to. Odd I suppose that it has taken so long for me to really feel this, but then again, I guess not. I am the past master at not feeling, and well well well…don’t old habits die hard when the chips are down.
The most beautiful thing about all this though? The only thing I need to do is also the hardest thing to do. Feel and feel and feel and feel and feel and then…
and begin again.
The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do. ~Author Unknown
Every now and then a horse shares with me a powerful lesson, yet another piece of the Grand Puzzle of Life….Ok! Ok! That’s EVERY horse, I know, but this is Quill’s gift to me, and handily enough, my gift back to her… Quill came to me as a ‘Fixer-upper’. She is a sporty model, being Anglo-Arab, a little to touchy on the gas with hair trigger steering responses that could get you in the ditch quick as you like. At 12, she was a bit was rusty in spots and needed some good ole TLC. So, she spent her first couple months gaining some weight, having her teeth done and just hanging out, my time still to occupied with other ‘paying’ customers, and she sat on the back shelf for a bit. Very respectful and easy in the pen, sensible, quiet and a bit shy, great ground manners, every inch a Lady. So it was with curiosity, anticipation and a fairly high level of, er……….assumption, that I brushed her off and prepared to ride. Well………. Well Well Well! She shortened in length to 2 feet, grew in height by 4 feet, sounded like a bull elk, and looked like I had just hit her with the full strength cattle prod; eyes pooped out, skin trembling, legs spread askew, hair all on end. Well, huh! I glanced down to see if I had brought out the Killer, Sabre Toothed Saddle Pad, but noooooooo, it was till on it’s shelf, this was just one of those ordinary, smelly wool pads… And so began a long process of back tracking and simply ( simply!) restarting her from ropes on her body( check), bareback ( Huge fear response, no matter how slow and approachy/retreaty I went, bolting off a constant threat..or ejecting me) , ‘sacking out’ (ok), and back to saddling( same electrified cat response). So. Well. By now, I am seriously scratching my head, as colts are WAY easier then this and this horse was supposed to have been ridden lots, and even if she was green, it ought to be ok by now…..huh, huh, huh. what to do what to do……. Well, Fate took a hold, and she was now living in the Big Herd, and decided that 5 days a week work was getting a bit old, and decided to run around for a spell (sticking her tongue out, waggling her hooves behind her ears I swear:) with no intentions whatsoever of being with me. Very INTERESTING Feedback, very interesting.So after do a splendid job of warming herself up, she finally trots over, and and tie her, brush her, tack her ( electric cat!) and get on.( ever been on and electrified cat….hahahaha!) And this my friends, is really where our tale with the moral begins. What did I do when I climbed on that Grey rocket launcher? I took that energy inside, and took that mecate rope in hand and as the cowboys have been known to say.” Give ‘er a good over an’ under” ( GASP!) and lined her out down the road. And Quill? She just threw down that head and trotted out the prettiest long trot you ever did see, blowing and sneezing, smooth and elastic. Gone the tight balled up tiny steps, crawly skin, and rounded up spine. We had a tremendous ride that first day almost a month ago, and now almost a month later, Quill is finding relaxation with me, confidence in herself and rider and although she is not where I would like yet, the change is significant. You see the interesting thing that happened was a place I think alot of folks get stuck in their journey with horses, especially those who LOVE them…:) As you my have noticed, I am all about the allow, give trust first to gain trust, respect is a two way door, etc. and It all fits in here with Quill’s story.
“Confidence can be a self fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability.”
Faith and trust are synonyms of confidence.
What’s perhaps a little different is the order, and being flexible with how we approach things. Its sort of like approaching her fear from the other end, and seing it through to the beginning again. ( That’s the nice thing about not having a ‘program’, I can mess with things to my heart’s content:) You see Quill had no confidence. In Me. In herself. In a mutual relationship. She either had a bad experience/s in the past, was sore ( she had chiro and teeth done, saddle fit checked) or just figured out that if she acted scared, she did not have to engage with folks….and it did not make her feel good to be with us anyway, for her why even want to? Quill had way more Fear then Faith. So, remembering that our horses are never the ones that really chose to be involved with humans and my role in being the leader is to show her what it can feel like, and supporting her with what she needed allowing her to feel basically good about being me. So with all the slow work, all important ‘doing nothing’ , combined with the ground work, it was time to step it up. I had to be the one with Faith enough for both of us. Faith in her ability to trust and Faith in my ability to be a place of comfort, trust relaxation and connection, not to mention stay with her…:) So what happened and still is happening is I am allowing her to build confidence and trust in me by having Alot in her and myself. “Fake it til you make it” so to speak. I am the crutch she needs, and to NOT be there, to Not be focused strong and clear would leave her still lost and scared, feeling she was right and could only depend upon herself. By ALMOST over-exposing her ( and let me tell you, kids, it was a stretch for my confidence!) and really asking a lot of her, emotionally physically and mentally, and being able to be what she needed allowed a huge break thru. By having more Faith then Fear, I was able to ease her over from her place of more Fear then Faith.
In mulling all this over during the last few days, I stumbled upon a terrific saying that said exactly that ( how very odd! *) “Where there is Fear, there is no Faith” Oh BoY! mmmmm yummy! course now I get apply that quote ointment all over my life and horsemanship… And then when I was sitting here compiling my random blathering thoughts for this tale, I found all those great quotes on Confidence and the definition of confidence was a real epiphany for me as well. By the way, when Quill first got the name Quill, Inet thought it was bad…”Like a porcupine quill? Ew! but now, I can see that what it really means is ‘ a very elegant writing tool from the outer wing feather of the swan’ somehow that seems just so appropo… .
Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. And lo, no one was there. ~Author Unknown
Well. I give one last cough and sneeze in the settling dust of the whirlwind Mane Event weekend now behind me and give pause to reflect upon it all……….
First and foremost, I would love to Thank some very special ladies for their help above and beyond….. Joan, Erin and Becca. Becca and Erin have been constants in my life since working with me as very capable apprentices and it seems I have yet to scare them off, and they still amaze me with their dedication…:) And Joan, Erin’s mom has been a source of support and friendship that is deeply appreciated as well. Joan and Erin for all the elbow grease setting up and tearing down, astute decorating tips, food, breaks and dog walking! Becca for the astonishing Scrapbook she pulled together with all those heartfelt and moving testimonials for clients as well as feedback and spring boarding ideas with me. Thank You Girls! Also EC for being such a tolerant pack horse at the end, and being gracious with a tired cowgirl… and of course, Jeanne and girls….for keeping me from sleeping on the sawdust of my trailer by going the extra mile and lending me the grand ole Kustom Koach! :)Without you guys, this whole, impromptu shenanigan would have been sooooooo much more challenging and the belief you have in me is humbling……
Next I would like to say it was an absolute blast!
Seeing old friends, new friends and meeting so many great new folks was just fabulous! This was a big stretch emotionally for me, putting myself out there so much and being proud of what I do, and seeing such positive feedback made it all ok. I have a saying that I like to stick with and it is ” Do something everyday that scares you” and boy, this sure did! It was very last minute and require alot of focus and timing, confidence and belief, and I know the person I was five years ago would never have done it which I find somewhat astounding…..hmmmmm belief in your dreams………
For all of you who stopped and said Hello, chatted and expressed interest in Training or Camps, and swapped tales with me….I sure do appreciate the time you took and your consideration. I love what I do, and am blessed to share it with interested folks like yourselves. I am passionate about ‘Do less, Feel more and be conscious’ I love everything around Feel and bridle horse development. As some of you know, I suddenly become Chatty Cathy about these topics…hahahaha!
So on that happy note, I am leaving you with this great picture of the infinitely patient dogs, who deserve every bite of the extra big welcome home supper they got!
What a team! What a weekend! What a great, great bunch of people we are, us Horse People! What a Life!