Yesterday morning, I had an opportunity to spend a couple of hours with my amazing horse, G. This was my first early morning ride this spring (appropriately timed on the first day after the spring equinox).
You see, I am a morning person by nature, but because of winter weather, my work schedule, and other time demands over the past few months, I have been getting to the barn later in the afternoon when my energy level can be less than optimal.
Well, the beautiful morning weather and the need for social distancing created the perfect opportunity to get to the barn bright and early when the dew was still on the grass, G was quietly munching hay, and the air was cool and crisp.
I was in heaven to say the least.
As I was playing with G (we do lots of play and positive reinforcement training), it occurred to me that so much of our interactions involve curiosity and possibility. For example, when he starts playing with something or seeks information through curious behavior, he is rewarded handsomely with treats.
I have worked with other horses who have experienced more fear based training and they may not play or seek out new possibilities.
Their behavior is structured to prevent negative reinforcement or punishment.
These horses operate from a place of fear, whereas horses like G, who have been rewarded for being playful, working from a place of curiosity and possibility, look for ways to interact that will give him the reward that he is seeking.
Sometimes the actual horse behaviors (standing quietly when asked, moving over with slight pressure to their sides, etc.) may appear the same to an observer.
However, the mindset of the horse and the way the horse views the world and his situation is quite different.
So, I ask you as you are dealing with everything surrounding COVID-19,
“Are you responding from a place of fear or one of curiosity and possibility?”
Fear language looks like this (you fill in the blanks for yourself):
If I can’t _______________, then _________________.
If I lose ____________________, then I won’t be able to __________________.
Curiosity and Possibility language looks like this (you fill in the blanks):
Since I can’t ________________________, it may give me time to ________________.
Without the burden of _______________, I can explore ways to do ______________.
So, ask yourself how you want to approach the current situation that we find ourselves in today. Right now, everything may hinge on the decisions and choices we make in this moment.
I know that everyone is rushing around to fill the voids made by social distancing, but ask yourself this “Do I really need to fill every minute with something?”
Could this be our opportunity to take stock of what is really important to us?
I challenge you to grab a cup of lemon balm tea (great for calming the nervous system) and take a good hard look at your core values. Spending time on activities that align with your values will help you feel grounded and centered. Letting go of the “I should” thoughts and behaviors will give you time to focus on activities that make your heart happy. If I can support you in any way, please REACH OUT and let me know.
Be Well, Julie & G