Are You Being Busy or Effective?


I can't swim. I can't swim because I don't trust the water to support me. I can't dance. Know why? Because I can't trust the music to carry me. I can't play the piano either even though I took lessons for nine years because Mom made me. So did my brother and sister. We finished the piano lessons when we finished high school. It was an honor to be the final pianist at your last recital. Both my siblings are older than me and they both were the "grand finale" at their last recitals. Our mother was very proud of them. 

When I got the list at my last recital I was eleven spots away from the last one to play. There was a seventh grade kid who was closer to the bottom than me. I may have been eleven spots from the bottom but I still had time to sneak out of the First Presbyterian Church in Johnson City, TN where the recitals were held and go down to the Mecca Bar for a beer before it was my time to play. Mom wasn't quite as proud of me as she was of Jo and Phillip. 

I know the rules for swimming. I took lessons for that too. Still can't swim. I know the rules/steps for some dances. Still can't dance. I know the rules for playing the piano. Still can't play. 

Why can't I do these things? It's because I don't have an appropriate FEEL for them. Why don't I have an appropriate feel? Because I don't trust them. I have an abundance of respect for them. So much so that it goes beyond respect and all the way to fear. Two different times I had to be pulled off the bottom of the pool. When I try to swim fear causes me to try to control the water. I try to follow the rules for swimming but the rules with no feel doesn't work. I can't trust enough to relinquish control and gain true control and real safety in deep water. 

Relinquishing control doesn't mean doing nothing. Doing nothing has the same outcome as doing too much. (Think about old school horsemanship compared to the horsemanship being sold to most people today.) In deep water I get way too busy doing way too much without being the least bit effective. The more I do the deeper into trouble I get. 

When it comes to me and deep water the trust and respect are way out of balance. The "key" is missing and causes me to confuse busy-ness with effectiveness and all feel is lost. 

I see lots of people working hard and doing the very best they can to have a healthy and safe relationship with their horse, but too many rules and too many mindless exercise routines are getting in the way of their effectiveness. When we can learn that this allusive thing called feel lies just on the other side of relinquishing control, we will find the real control and safety we desire to have with our horses.