When I was young I was a lot like our puppy, ZuZu, full of life, vibrating, sprinting towards friends, and jumping or bowing to invite play. As I watch ZuZu interact with Rosie and they wrestle each other on the floor, I can feel my heart swell, and I touch a memory of that time in my life.
Sometimes I want to go back there. I want to be that innocent, playful, and alive. Sometimes I do touch that vibration, and I experience joy.
Just the other day I had one of those moments with a horse, Luke, a mustang at Stillwater Ranch. Bobbi, my horse whisper partner in our Find Your Mojo in Montana workshop, was giving me a spring refresher riding lesson.
Though I have found my mojo and ease with creating relationships with the horses on the ground, I am still new to riding. Plus, I had taken most of the winter off to play on the mountain skiing.
This day everything with the horses felt a touch awkward. However, instead of being rattled by my nerves and fears, I took a breath, acknowledged my anxiousness and bowed to my four-legged friends. They gathered around and pushed at me a bit, reminding I needed to be grounded in me, not focused on them.
That’s really all they wanted – me to show up.
I moved through the pasture greeting each of my friends.
I felt calmer and ready to make my way to Luke, to see if he wanted to ride.
Setting up to ride was the next huddle. I struggled because I didn’t remember all the steps to getting the soft saddle on and the side-pull harness set up right. In all worries about getting the buckles, straps, and blanket just right, I was totally disconnected from myself and Luke, and he let me know it.
Luke bobbed his big head and was mouthing at me. Finally, I got the message, took a breath, and slowed down.
Once up on Luke, I struggled to find my balance. I started to get overly focused on the techniques I had learned, trying to assume a certain command in my role as leader. But Luke wasn’t interested. For a while it seemed more of a power struggle than a dance.
I had to catch myself and remind myself what I love about working with horses.
I may want to have a great relationship with them, but first I must get into a great relationship with me!
I’ve had to accept that I’m not naturally smooth and graceful. No. I am a bit rougher on the edges. More made up of lines, scars, and rust – than silk, sweet, and smooth.
But I haven’t always been willing to accept my lines, scars, and rust. I wanted to look good.
So yes, I started out innocent, and somewhere along the way I made a decision to protect that child by creating barriers, walls, and defenses. My armor saved me from feeling pain, loss, and giving up entirely.
What I recognize now is I’ve became a bit over identified with the armor, and lost my connection to my little girl inside, Susie (as I was called through my earliest years).
I have done lots of work to breakdown those barriers between me and the world around me. What’s left are those lines, scars and rust.
When I accept myself – including lines, scars and rust – something special happens. Maybe it’s cracks that let the light and music back in. When I’m with the horses the music comes.
So, once I finally relaxed and settled into riding and dancing with Luke…
once I stopped trying to prove anything and just be me…
I heard my music playing and suddenly Luke’s joined in.
It was a magical moment.
This was the first time I’d heard the music while riding.
Yes, I regularly hear the music of the horses when I coach in the round pen or walk into the pasture with them. It’s what I love about working with the horses.
They call, and all they’re asking is for me to show up – not perfect, not powerful – just present!
What a lovely song.
Until we meet again,
P.S. Why not join us for Find Your Mojo in Montana and see if you can hear the music of the horses?