I walk away from my house with its endless to-do lists….orthodontist appointments to make, meals to cook, dishes to wash. Hunted by the business of life, I walk out to the barn and pasture. I put my predator ego on the very same hook that I take a rope from and I stop. I always stop. I try to find that part of me that is timeless, that part of me that is right on time. Right here, exactly in this moment. I melt. I breathe. I find silence. Sometimes I'm a hot mess and I don't find it and my horses notice and I screw something up. But they forgive me. If I adjust myself they settle. They are always on time. I'm the one needing to slow down, always.
What is my mission with these horses? Why have I completely given every extra dollar and moment of my crazy, busy, full life to them? All I know is I don't have a choice. I need them. I need them to change me, to challenge me. I need them to teach me to become the woman I was born to be. They are my true north. They are my door to God. They hold me accountable to all my bullshit. They are my mirror that I can't ever craft an arrogant argument to counter. As I said in my introduction, my mission is to become their dream human. I don't need to compete. I do not need ribbons or a human following of any sort. I just need to allow myself to learn and adjust for the horses, with the horses.
It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst,
if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
This passage has been my guiding light for many years. I strive to be the (wo)man in the arena, not the one on the sidelines. This is were I come from. Blood, sweat, dust, broken ribs, I ride through it. As I get older I find that, although stubborn grit has served me well, true bad assery is not about hardening but softening. My mission is to allow the hardship and sorrows of life to transform me into someone softer not harder. This is resilience. This is strength. Daring greatly is just as much about submission as conquering. I find myself in the space between what was and what will be. It's a threshold I'm completely uncomfortable with. That is ok. I seek honest intimacy and truth. Hard perfectionism and superficial grit is the enemy of that. My work, my art, my horsemanship will never be about the arrival. It will always be about the journey. I want to lose my sense of desperation. I want all clawing at the dream to cease. But I also don't want to drop the beat. I want to ride hard (with soft hands), love thoroughly, laugh like an ass and really use up and wear out this life of mine.