Unless…..(continued from the blog post “Breaking, Starting, Training, and Stress”) the pain that is being experienced is seen through a different perspective. What about looking at the pain as being something that is to be moved through rather than just experienced? What about considering that pain is just part of the process of growing, learning, and healing? That yes, pain is uncomfortable and can seem devastating, and yet we experience some level of pain every day in our lives. So what if we can change our perception on how we look at pain and the changes and healing that comes from pain?
This is where I trainer I worked with comes into play. I was at a place in my life that I had lost all my confidence in myself, both personally and professionally. Not a good place to be in life when your livelihood depends on working with people and horses on a daily basis and I was struggling to train my very own horse who was 3 at the time. I had been working with him on starting him to ride and I thought I was doing “okay” with the process until I started actually working on riding him. He spun me off almost instantaneously 2 times and before I knew what hit me I was on the ground with him looking at me like, “you have no idea what you are doing anymore?” It was at that moment that I realized I had lost my confidence in my abilities in myself and that this horse looking at me on the ground was right. Now it took me some time to set my ego aside and realize that, plain and simply, I needed help and that asking for help was not necessarily a “bad” thing. I realized I was stuck in the process of starting this horse, which meant I was stuck in my life as well. So after a couple of weeks, trying to figure out how to “fix” my problem by all the ways I knew, which did not include asking for help from a fellow horse trainer (as my ego was still too big at that time), I found myself all out of “options”, except for the one that I needed the most. After a couple more weeks of avoiding the option that would turn out to be the best option, I finally accepted the fact that I needed to put aside my ego (which is not a bad thing) and reach out for help from a fellow trainer. And through this experience of working with a fellow trainer I learned not only important lessons about my life but life in general.
So as we started working together to get my horse ridable and get my confidence back, or at least some of it back, the journey through self-discovery, growth, learning, and healing was very profound and something that I needed more desperately than I ever knew. As the months passed, I was slowly getting my confidence back and starting to feel like maybe I did actually know something about training and starting horses. Now you need to know that the starting process with this horse had it’s challenges and at times the process looked down right ugly, though it was never abusive. The horse and I just butted heads a lot because of being stuck in our life’s own muck. So, one day when the horse and I were butting heads especially hard and things were getting pretty uncomfortable for me, my fellow trainer stopped me and told me a story from his past. He told me that one-day he was working with a horse in the round pen and things were “getting ugly.” He and the horse were butting heads big time. With dust flying in the round pen, a boarder client came up to the round pen and started scolding him for being “so mean and cruel to the horse.” My fellow trainer stopped for a moment to let the dust settle and then address the boarder client in a calm and nonchalant way. He stated to her, “ Ma’am, I would rather see this horse miserable for a day than miserable for the rest of his life.” And with that he went back to working with the horse. The boarder client just stood there for a moment and then walked off.
I stood there processing what my fellow trainer had just said and I realized, in that moment, how many times in my life I thought I was avoiding pain and uncomfortable things, when in reality, I was just creating more pain in my life. In essence, I was unconsciously choosing to be miserable rather than just face the pain of the situation, accept it, and then work moving through it. And that is when I decided to choose to accept that life is pain, however, I do have choices on how I deal with the pain. So, that means I may be miserable for the “moment” but I would rather be miserable for themoment than miserable for the rest of my life. And this has been one of the greatest lessons I have learned from my horse and from my fellow trainer. And for that I am very grateful. I am also grateful that I found the courage to put aside my ego and ask for help. Asking for help was the best thing I did for my life and myself. And I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.
Namaste, my friend.