This year is what I am commonly referring to it as “my transitional adventure”. Since Auld Lang Syne was sung at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, the year has been fixated on necessary less than pleasant events. The unanswered questions of the yesterdays combined with the flashbacks and repressed memories equal a concoction of true heartache and pain. Going through such a transition was essential, and more than due, as this year has finally granted me the sound mindset to heal. I just did not know it would be a journey that would continue from one winter to the next …
I read once that in order to find bliss, it’s not what you do, it’s a feeling you embrace. The article went further on to suggest that you must remember a time in your life that gave you such feelings in which you wish to know again – feelings such as joy, peace of mind, uplifting grace, connection, harmony, contentment. Once you remember the time, try not to focus on the actual events, but what your feelings were in that time and space. You see, it’s not necessarily the people we are with, or the activity we are doing (although that is part of it!)– It’s more so the emotions we felt during those moments that we seek out again, and again. Example: Thrill seekers – it’s not the actual routine of jumping out of an airplane or the twists and turns of a rollercoaster – it’s the adrenaline rush they seek.
After I read this article I meditated on feelings I have been seeking. I tried to remember a time when I was content, carefree. A time where I felt peace, complete, and whole. A time where I was driven, focused, and enthusiastic. I searched for this moment and through grace I found it – a time when all of those feelings were felt was when I was a child and took horseback riding lessons. On a horse I was connected with the spiritual realm; my soul was calm, my harbored emotions of sadness were washed away. I took that memory and ran with it … literally! I called up a dear friend, packed my bag and set off … to spend a day in nature, riding a horse.
I thought it would be easy – like riding a bike right? You never forget … but oh how I was wrong! After the twenty minutes of stepping in horse droppings and slip sliding in the mud trying to catch the charger, I then found myself afraid to go near her. The questions kept spitting out of my mouth, not on how to ride, but how I could prevent from getting hurt!
“Will she bite? Has she ever bitten? What is her kicking ratio? What do you mean horses can kick to the side? What kind of crazy S$%t is that??! Stay close to block the blow you say? Are you crazy??!! Am I? What was I thinking …. Get in the saddle? Is there a local bar and hospital close? Any chance next door to one another??? Okay, fine, fine, on the horse I go …..”
You have to love the irony of it all: My transitional year involves me letting go of the past and moving forward – riding into the sunset, if you will. And yet, here I am, terrified to climb up and start the journey. Leaving me to wonder if riding a horse was symbolic in the sense that as much as I wanted to “ride” (let go) I was afraid to (move on). Riding a horse was meant to serve the purpose to gather that inner strength, grip tight to the “reigns” of life and allow them to direct me … but now I stood, silent, nervous … desperately wanting to ride but scared to get hurt … desperately wanting to let go of the past but scared to move on.
When you have not ridden in awhile, and to get used to your horse, they put you in a fenced in arena first so that you get acquainted with the horse and become comfortable riding. Once I was in the saddle, the arena was where I chose to stay – Fenced in and safe became my motto! … but as I tend to do, I became adventurous and thought, “this is not so bad, maybe taking a walk outside the arena grounds could be just as easy.”
Twenty minutes later, three close attempts of “unwillingly abandoning ship” and one major panic attack we were heading back to the safe zone. However, that walk outside did something for me – it gave me my sense of determination back. I fought back through the nerves and fear. I was to find that inner strength and empowerment, spiritual connection and peace, those horses gave me as a child – I was certain of it! I was determined to overcome the hurdles, the setbacks, and the loss of breath and ride.
I switched gears and whoooooa nellied the horse. We sat there, Girlfriend and me, and I spoke to her like I was speaking to an old friend. Explained to her why I was there - trying to get back to that place where I remember true bliss, true contentment, and it was when I was on a horse, in nature - clearing my mind, cleansing my soul. I begged her for help. Not just in how to ride again without the clinging of fear, but help on how I let go and move on – how I could cleanse the toxins and find my place. What I wanted from that day was more than an afternoon riding experience; it was a reconnection with myself.
And there it was. Clarity. Peace.
I do not fully understand, but that horse had heard every word I had spoken to her. Like a whisper I could almost hear her speak back to me – baby steps, just take baby steps. So the rest of the afternoon I spent the day on a horse, just riding in an arena and discovering my first step to letting go and moving on - its baby steps that you must take.
That night around 1am, I found the release I was desperately seeking since that champagne toast the night we rang in the New Year. Out of nowhere emotions and tears, bottled up for so long, fell ... out of shock they fell harder ... I sobbed to God ... what do I do now? Where do I go from here?
The next morning in church, a video clip was shown – through the inspirational music the words appeared:
"How do we walk out our God given purpose and destiny...?"
The the words slowly came on the screen ...
"One step at a time”
I took that as a sign. I have been riding every weekend since. I’m still sorting out the letting go and moving on … but at least now I have initiated the permission to allow myself to just trot at a slow and steady pace. It’s not a marathon and only you will know when you are ready to saddle up and ride. You cannot let fear prevent you or detour you. You have it in you; life is not meant to be lived in fear of your past or fear of the unexpected, or fear of the yet to come. It’s meant to be lived one step at a time, and at the pace you are comfortable with undertaking. It’s not easy, each day has its moments of impatience, but I try to remember that whisper …Baby steps … Baby steps … Eventually I am certain to ride into the sunset, letting the wind cover up the path in which I came from and finding a fresh conduit home. Until then, the arena will do just fine ...