The very best gift that my Mysore practice left me with was:
The goal is just to get on the mat everyday. You could do just one sun salutation, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you step onto the mat.
For years, ‘getting on the mat’, meant going to the beach in the morning or evening for meditation and maybe some light yoga. That is not available to me here and it has taken me over a year to adjust. It has taken me over a year to let go of a multitude of expectations, idealisms, and attachments, accept the state of life (and the world) as it is, and adjust. I have slowed. I have learned it will get done…it might just take some time. And that is okay. And, best, I have discovered (re?discovered) all that true to my heart because I am needing to fight for it in a far different manner than my previous MO.
When I was a horse trainer I brought the horse (that I was training) out every day with a goal and I would drive for it no matter what. Nowhere in my vocabulary was, hey let’s just get out, who cares what happens. This ethic became prevalent as I changed careers, took on some pretty tremendous projects, and pushed myself beyond where I thought my glass ceiling was. Until I go to the point where full paralysis had set in because I did not feel I could meet any goal at all. I started to call myself Icarus – much in the way that Seth Godin depicts the dangers of both the ambition of flying high as well as low in his 2012 The Icarus Deception. Out of exhaustion and/or fear I simply ‘ducked out’.
That has persisted for nearly 5 years. And, not so oddly to me, working with our ponies seems to be a puzzle piece of (symptom or method I am not sure) finding a way to build better wings.
I started getting Josie out recently. Nothing about it is perfect. No perfectly roomed arena, no crossties, not much more than when I used to “steal” the horses out of the backfield and jump on and ride. And she loves it. As in Mysore, we are starting with short practices and building as our relationship strengthens. She is a fast study though so I am interested to see how this flow evolves.
Day One – took her out – lunged well (trotting) to the left soso to the right. Day Two – threw on surcingle lunged well (trotting) in both directions. Today – through on bridle over the halter, she wasn’t so into trotting. I said – that’s okay we are out here. Good enough. Let’s try something different. Got both directions with lunge threaded over the headstall. Got a little ‘bit in the top corner of the mouth – pressure at “girth” and a little sidestep and forward… both directions.
We then visited some people… walked all the way down to the new gate fairly peaceably. AND in true post-working form I let her go and she ran straight back to the herd bucking and farting the whole way.
If you are a horse person you probably can tell it’s been a great three days. We just got a fully trained pregnant mare on the farm and she was the first one I took out… before all this. Then I met an old-timer (caught his horse he says, ‘like magic’) that gave me some reminders. I knew Josie was already jealous of the attention the new horse got. I can use that as my excuse for putting all this off for so long.
Or – I could say my expectation had been so high it just took me a good year to get on the mat. Shame on me.
If I get Josie out tomorrow (actually I have to get Dolly the trained mare out first bc when I put Josie away she just about broke down the gate bugging me to get her out too) – and she just wants to walk around – maybe lunge a circle once in each direction…. well that is just fine. We will find something else fun to do. Still, we will be on the mat.
Oh – And I have also recalled that there are approximately 101 uses for bailing twine.