You know that “What if fall... but oh darling what if you fly” quote that’s been floating around the internet? At times that quote felt inspirational but as of late it’s been annoying the hell out of me.
One thing I learned somewhere along the path of through social work school and becoming an equine assisted therapy facilitator is to be aware when something bothers me and ask myself why. This allows me to look inside myself and figure out the true source of my anger/fear/frustration and deal with it accordingly. I have found this to be an invaluable tool in my personal development…it means no longer being a victim of my emotions but instead learning from them.
Full disclosure here…there are times I am fully aware I need to explore a reaction to figure out what is really going on but I purposely avoid it because, let’s face it…being honest with yourself and figuring out your truths is both difficult and scary. Also, having the answers means you have to do something about it which is often even more difficult and downright terrifying.
In addition to my recent annoyance with the “what if you fly” quote, I have been struggling in two other areas of my life and sure enough, when I think on it, all three appear to be related. I’m going to share these struggles with you for two reasons: 1) I hope putting this out there will help me move forward; and 2) I believe it could potentially help you as well.
So, here goes:
I haven’t ridden my horse in months which is both shocking and sad to me. I have a variety of excuses, some of which are at least semi-valid. The primary two being lack of time during foaling season (January-June = if it doesn’t happen in the foaling barn, it doesn’t happen to me) and the fact I have no saddle that fits my horse. It is well past June now and I have plenty of time to ride Farletta. I still am saddleless though.
Ready and waiting... don’t need a saddle to ride but I also haven’t ridden bareback since before the serious fall I had from Farletta in 2007. I have come close on a few occasions to talking myself into trying bareback again. I even recently took a picture of Farletta as I stood on the tailgate of my truck in mounting position with the lyrics “wishing and hoping and planning and praying…” running through my head.
I still haven’t been on her (What if I fall?).
What if I fall indeed. Lots of people fall off their horse. I have on several occasions. Usually it is no big deal. You dust of your pants and your pride and get back in the saddle. In the morning, you wake up a little stiff and sore but hey, that’s life, right? The key word here is usually. When I fell off Farletta in 2007 I broke 7 ribs, partially collapsed one lung, tore my hip flexor and damaged my rotator cuff (OUCH!). It’s not so much a question of what if I fall but more, what if I fall like that again. It terrifies me and as a result, I’m stuck, hovering above my horse’s waiting, willing back; unable to make a move.
As I continue to grapple with this riding problem I see a very definite parallel in another area of my life – my memoir. I’ve been working on it for a few years. I want to publish it someday soon (like last summer) but for some reason I keep getting stuck. I have been very close to putting out the proposal to publishers but I somehow can’t seem to find the time or motivation to do the hour or two of polishing the proposal needs to be ready to go. Why is that?
In both situations, fear is blocking me. With Farletta and riding bareback (currently my only riding option) it is fear of falling. I suppose it is the same with the memoir…I pour may heart and soul and a few deep, dark secrets into the pages of my memoir and send it out there only to receive rejection letters (you suck, don’t quit your day job, by the way…your life is bizarre…have you considered taking up residence in a psych ward?).
So there it is, all laid out. Fear. Fear of failure, fear of getting hurt. Normal, right? Now I know and I am better prepared to move forward because of my awareness. I challenge you to look the things in your life that aren’t serving you (What makes you angry? What are you avoiding? Why are you procrastinating?) and make an honest, personal evaluation. Ask yourself “Why does this make me so angry?” (hint: the answer is not as simple as “because it’s stupid” or something similar -- ask yourself why you feel that way, the deeper you go, the more you learn).
Now I think I’ll go talk to Farletta about going for a little ride. I think if I can move past that, perhaps I can also move forward on the book proposal. I might fall but more likely than not, if I keep at it, eventually I’ll fly.
Cheryl L. Eriksen, MSW, Equine Enthusiast, EAGALA groupie and writer of interesting, educational and entertaining blog posts!