Weekly RoundUp: Aug 24-20 2020

Writing and expressing creatively has been a big intention for me this year. Starting now I am setting the intention to do weekly blog updates. When I started this blog almost a decade ago it was exactly that. A weekly excursion into my weekly reflections. I’m not sure when or why I was drawn away from those regular posts, but over the years my posts became more and more philosophical and sporadic. Until now where I find it hard to sit down and write (here) unless I feel some purpose behind it.

Along with all of that gradual change of course was the introduction of more “immediate” short format social media’s like instagram and facebook- where of course I still do regular posts. Through many of those years I was also managing multiple businesses and projects, which made my capacity for creative outlet personally quite limited.

I find myself now in the midst of a personal refocus that has been evolving over the past couple years. It’s not that my life has gained interesting factors, its simply that I am now able to be much more present to enjoy each interesting moment.

The concept of giving myself space and time has been a theme of many of the sporadic posts I’ve written over the past years, so any regular followers will probably have sensed that theme. With these weekly posts I hope to also share the seemingly minute moments that happen through a week that culminate in the larger evolutions. As I’ve slowed the pace of my life down to feel and experience all that, I now have the presence to begin writing to those details once again.

This past week was full of the usual busyness yet held a theme of preparation. September will be a fast forward month full of transition. Transitions I feel I’ve been preparing for for probably longer than I was aware. Coming up first is another professional transition out of my downtown space and into first a small, shared space clinic in the River Heights area of the city. So today’s project remains to be moving out of my downtown space completely and figuring out where to store the furnishings I am keeping from there in our currently apartment interim to my next professional move mid month into a second, unfurnished exclusive space at the historic St Norbert Arts Centre. Amongst these professional transitions, my parter and I take possession of our first home mid month. Meaning we are slowly unlayering our life in the apartment and putting it into boxes for that move.

As I began packing parts of our home space at the beginning of this week- I realized the ritual that comes with packing. Never before in my 5+ moves as an adult have I experienced this level of foreignness preparing for a physical move. Perhaps it’s the idea that we are moving into a space with the intention of settling there longer term, relative to the casuality of apartment lifestyle. Or perhaps it’s because I am leaving the first apartment that has truly felt like my home. Uprooting young roots to transplant them in new soil.

The whole theme of the past few months for me has been recognizing safety in stability. This season of pandemic lifestyle has forced a quite welcome shift towards being home. Normally the summer’s especially find me blowing on the wind (which is usually westward) for work and exploration. This seasons began with heavy travel restrictions and precautions that shone light on the decompression needed for my mind and body, only to be found this time in staying put. Now I’m feeling a resistance to the idea of out of province travel. A feeling I’m sure will pass when the time is right, yet still foreign for me in many ways.

Alongside the preparing for physical transitions that was begun this week, I also continued my preparations for a professional foray into the realm of course teaching. Through my RideWell business I am running my inaugural “RideWell Method” certification, conveniently the weekend prior to our possession date on the new house. This is my first real attempt at teaching my internal thought process to others- and while I’m excited, perhaps the word “trepidatious” is more appropriate.

Mid-week I had a great riding lesson on project horse (and my personal love affair) Benjamin. Not only has the months of work I’ve been putting into him really starting to shine through, he’s turning into the horse we all knew he could be one day. Physically he’s eye-grabbing, now not simply because of his height but also because of his condition, and his movement capacity and mental capacity is filling out just as quickly.

By the end of the week I was ready for a couple days off. I still have to remind myself that days off are just as valuable as endless work. Friday eve and Saturday were spent simply being, binge watching The Walking Dead and playing Settlers of Catan online with my partner. While parts of my brain still trend towards the survivalistic mentality of those fighting to live in TWD, I’m welcoming the steady reassurance of other voices in my mind reminding me that in order to do the work, I have to permit space to rest and leave space for the magic to happen.

Leaving conscious space has been where I’ve found my creativity. Something I’ve been working to pass onto many clients lately as well. The concept of not being able to “force” change, creativity, release or flow. The very nature of those things cannot come with force. Force implies tension or active effort. Sometimes the things we want or need the most only become possible when we allow them to be. The hustle is effective when you’re on a certain wavelength and want to maintain, but outside of that – hustling forwards unconsciously only rushes us past moments of magic.

Things I’m grateful for reflecting on this past week: the clients that have supported my businesses for the long run (whether in recurring bookings or referrals), landlords that are tenant minded, the crispness returning to the late summer air and cool evenings.

What I’ve been reading this week:

Plains of Passage, Jane Auel

Centered Riding, Sally Swift

My intentions for the upcoming week:

I will be present for the good in the new.

I am dedicated to preparing with focus and presence.

I am ready and open for what this next phase in life holds.

My card pull this week included the daughter of swords, eight of cups and eight of pentacles. My take on these cards pulled together was one of opportunity and many moons of preparation coming together. It’s hard not to feel the sense of anticipation in the world right now. Change is coming, and in many ways has arrived. For some this is triggering, but the beauty always lies within the wound. The jewel within the lotus (as the Tibetan script tattoo I got almost four years ago to the date suggests). Collectively and individually, we are stepping into a new season. How are you feeling?

I’ve just been handed my morning coffee by G, so I suppose now is a good time to log off and enjoy the morning. What are you grateful for this past week? What are you most looking forwards to in the coming week? What intentions do you have as you step into the new week, and new season?

That familiar-unfamiliar feeling

What a week! Classes are done finally and now it’s just wading through the 5 exams this month until I can shift my focus completely to work and riding (and my spring course..)!

Today I dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on my new summer job. This job will keep me in the city for the summer. While there is a certain amount of excitement about the job itself, and the experience it will give me, there is also a feeling quite similar to one I had frequently while overseas. The being outside of your comfort zone and growing up type feeling. Something new, something exciting, something maybe a little bit scary? It seems ridiculous to compare the two- staying in the city for the summer, somewhere already pretty familiar to travelling across the world, alone. But, is the first summer I will spend away (away is dramatic- its only an hour) from home. It seems to be eliciting some homesickness-like vibes.

So much of this past year has been about putting myself outside of my comfort zone- taking on the unfamiliar and the scary- and finding out where it takes me. That unfamiliarity is almost normal. Its starting to seem that just when I get used to one thing, I find a new challenge to take on. That’s what pursuing higher education is about though, right? Sometimes its not even an unfamiliar challenge that pops up- it quite often is something familiar to me, a challenge I have dealt with and worked through already, but presented in a new way. Demanding that I re-look at how I faced it before and develop a new game plan for how to deal with it now.

Those who know me best know that I love taking on a challenge. Which is why, although the unfamiliarity of stepping outside of that comfort zone is usually terrifying, I have been consciously making the effort to do it more and more. I can’t lie, it is completely exhausting, deflating, and runs me down some of the time. However, the changes I have noticed in myself as a student, friend, athlete, young professional, etc etc, show what that effort is providing me with. I am able to set goals and work towards them with confidence, even if the road along the way isn’t one I’ve travelled before.

Everyday is a new adventure, yadda yadda.

That got deep fast.

Apparently there are lots of things floating around in my head right now.

To summarize, summer job= staying in the city= mixed feelings.

I’ve had two rides on the grey beast since moving him to McMullans for some spring butt kicking. He has been¬†exceptional both times. Tonight consisted of about 45 minutes of bending, and transition. His transitions are so so nice (miraculously) even now after the winter off- that is- until about the 30 minute mark when the energy levels start to dwindle. When we started our hack today he was floating around the ring in great balance, bending around my leg like nobody’s business. But as we continued to work- the whole floating thing went down the spectrum a bit, and he relied a little bit more my hands instead of carrying himself. It was good to spend a bit longer with him tonight, to see where we are at in terms of lateral work and general flat work. Fitness wise, he is way above my expectations. The biggest thing for the next little while is going to be reminding him how to balance himself, and getting some fluidity/impulsion back into his trot. And of course reminding my body what it is like to be in the saddle on a regular basis!

So you have a distracted horse.

It’s a challenge we all face (well those of you who ride, anyway). Especially this time of year. Even more so if your horse is coming off 8 months of pasture time. Thankfully this awesome weather is providing lots of opportunities to get out there and re-focus your pony on the most important thing: what you’re telling (asking) them to do.

The past few rides for me have gone along these lines..

1. Pleasant warm up with Mom in the ring playing with Felix.

2. Me being amazed at how well my horse is listening and responding.

3. Feeling like a champ.

4. Other horses leave the ring.

5. Suddenly I become of little importance.

6. Awesome feeling vanishes.

7. The next 45 minutes are spent competing for focus.

This is to be expected. My horse literally hasn’t left the pasture since last August. Who can blame him for being a tad bit herd bound. I’m noticing huge similarities between the horse I bought 5 years ago, the wild eyed 6 yr old who pranced for the first half hour every ride, regardless, and the horse I’ve been working with for the past few weeks. Although, he’s definitely still got some of his discipline. Deep, deep down. It’s very apparent when he’s surrounded by his friends and I’m riding. As soon as you take him out of his comfort zone, though..

Luckily, I’ve learnt how to deal with this. Way back in the day during our trial period with Mr. Willard, I attended a dressage clinic at Pine Ridge. It was a solo lesson, and the Willard I was on was in no way happy about this. I was pretty nervous myself, to be honest. But- what happened over the next hour that day was amazing. By the end of the clinic, he was completely focused on me and not worried about anything else. When we left the ring we had spectators coming up and telling us how amazing the whole process was to watch. I’ll probably never forget that day- as it was the first time we’d seen the potential Will has. What was the magic trick? Constant stimulation. Never letting him take his attention off of me. Even if it meant walking two steps, stopping, walking, stopping, walking, backing up, trotting, stopping, etc. Every time he even thought about taking his focus away, I was responsible for bringing it back. Always questioning him, asking for something. It could be the simplest idea. Like a walk to halt transition. Any kind of transition really. A pivot. A change of direction. Walking in squares, spirals, circles, triangles, you name it. Constant change. A major clue as to where your horse’s focus is? The ears. If they’re pricked forward, he definitely is not concerned about what the small human on his back is doing. Having one ear cocked to the side, or slightly backwards is a positive sign you’re getting somewhere. You can tell a lot from the ears. Another thing I’ve learned over the years working with Will, and similar horses, is that sometimes you just gotta give them a chill out period. After 15 minutes of you constantly picking at them, who can blame them for getting a little annoyed. A few minutes of loose rein time can go a long way, especially with ADHD horses. It also gives you as a rider a chance to relax, too. Because, trust me, rides like this are not always the most fun. It’s also important to know when to push, and when to call it a day. If you’ve won a battle, and your horse is listening to you- doing what you ask, then maybe it’s time to give them a pat and move on. There’s no sense pushing it too far, and opening up a new war that ends up lasting another hour. That’s hard on you and the horse. Be okay with small victories!

Riding isn’t just a physical act; it’s a mind game- 110% of the time. Horses are smart (even though I’ve often found myself muttering the words stupid, ignorant, idiotic when having a frustrating ride), and they can read you like a book. ¬†They will find ways to challenge you and try to take the easy way out, at least some of the time. While every horse is different, they will be stubborn, pushy, full of attitude, and be complete asshats- as much as they will be cute, full of heart, compassion, and talent. As Charlene likes to say, “Horses keep us humble”. They can bring out the best in us, if we have the patience to work for it. Nothing worth having comes easy, right?