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  • Writer's pictureSarah Rivera

It's Personal

When I first started this journey in Equine Assisted Learning, I was so excited to jump in and make a positive impact on the women who walk into my arena. I love watching their faces as they make discoveries, complete a task successfully or have a moment of true connection with one of the horses. That's where I get my passion for this kind of work. It doesn't matter that I'm a one-woman-show trying to figure out how in the heck to run a business. These moments are what I strive for.

Now, I'm realizing the impact of this work in my own life in big and small ways. For example, I noticed my horse responded better the slower I moved. Today, I catch myself moving slower as I go about daily tasks. I'm learning to be more fully present in the moment as I go through my day. Being mindful around the horses has bled over into life at home and I find I'm not as anxious about things as I use to be. Hurray for progress!

There's freedom in letting go of what I can't control and being focused and engaged in what I can. It takes that weight off my shoulders that creeps up and settles there. It's been there for so long, I didn't even realize how heavy it was. This has been the first time since I was in middle school that my life has actually slowed down. Looking back, I can see all the stress, tension, anxiety and busyness that had not only filled my mind, but my heart and body as well.

I've had to do a lot of thinking about what it means to align my head, heart and body. For me, I'm in the process of trying to make some changes in each area. For example, I spend too much time watching the news. Want to feel discouraged and deflated? Just keep a steady diet of news feeds. I'm working on cutting it back, and I've got to confess, it's not easy. As they say, "Fear sells." Recently, I've come to the conclusion that the human mind is just not capable of processing all the information available to us to consume. I've tried to keep up and stay current, but between Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, TickTock, SnapChat and all the rest, I think it's time to tap out. I need time to hear my own thoughts and space for my mind to wander instead of processing a constant stream of input.

The weight and anxiety has also taken a physical toll on my body. I'm a pull-yourself-up-by-your-boot-straps kind of gal. I would regularly ignore what my body was trying to tell me all in the name of "getting things done". It's cost me. That constant stress and go, go, go has worn me down. It honestly has taken a few years to get this idea through my head, but our bodies do speak to us if we'll stop and listen. Mine has been telling me to slow down for a while now. The good news is that I've finally stopped to take the steps to care for myself. Again, more progress!

And that's the point. Progress. It's different and it's personal for each of us. I don't think we every really arrive; not in this lifetime at least. In the horse world, they say that there is no such thing as a perfect training method, just progress. It's true for life as well. I'm never going to have it all figure out and that's just fine. As long as I'm still taking steps forward, I'm living as a better version of myself than who I was in the past. There's no one else to compare myself with other than who I was yesterday. Today, I'm working towards who I want to be tomorrow.

I know there will be times when chaos returns and life will get busy. But I also know, I do have some control of how much I'm willing to allow into my life. Obviously not everything is in my power. As they say, "Life happens". However, I want to be more conscious about being intentional with my time on this earth.

And so, I'll be spending some of that time just brushing my horse and sharing the space together. I don't even have to say a word to have a conversation between us. She accepts me and my flaws and has been both friend and teacher. We'll be here together; ready to share what we know with the women who walk into the arena.

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