It's raining, it's pouring, and there are puddles and mud everywhere. So, no work with horses is likely today - instead here are some thoughts I've been having.
Here's something I found this morning in one of the books I'm reading: "When you have learned compassion for yourself, compassion for others is automatic." How often are we sabotaged in our interactions with others - people and animals - due to that interior, nagging, critical voice, that says that we don't have the skill or ability to accomplish something, or that says what we're doing isn't, and can't be, good enough? I know that interior voice surely affects me - and it's hard to pay attention to what your horse is doing or trying to say to you when you're listening to that negative voice. I know for me, a lot of the times when I'm frustrated with my work with my horses - which can turn quickly into frustration with the horses themselves - it's really because I'm failing to treat myself with compassion. I think, in order to be effective in my work with horses, I have to truly "be there" with the horse - this to me is what compassion really is - sensing and perceiving all the subtle things that happen in the interaction, the conversation - and if I'm having a conversation instead with my negative interior voice, it can block the ability to have a conversation with the horse. I also believe that, to the extent we can stop the internal stream of self-criticism, the more clearly we can evaluate what we're doing and its effectiveness, and then, without emotion, make the adjustments necessary to improve the interaction. At least that's how it seems to me.
To me there's an element of honesty involved as well. Have you ever been tempted to "make nice" on your blog - to omit some of the bad stuff that happens, or present a rosier picture? I know I'm tempted, particularly when I find what I have to say embarrassing. Or conversely, are you likely to beat up on yourself and express that interior self-critical voice? So far I've mostly been able to be honest about the ups and downs I experience in my work with horses - I only know what I know, and have been able to accomplish what I've accomplished, and that's the truth. I think that nagging, self-critical internal voice can also motivate us to present a face to the world that isn't the real thing. Sure, I need to know more, or sometimes work in more effective ways, but I'm bringing what I have to the table, right now. I think it has to be the real me that is with the horse for our interaction to be effective - the horse can tell if the real you has showed up or if it's some sort of facade. Horses don't have facades - what they present to you is the real horse - and I think they're deeply suspicious of people who are pretending to be something they aren't. I have to be willing to engage with the horse, honest face to honest face, with the abilities and limitations I have, and I have to remember that I bring my whole life, and my whole self, to my work with horses.