After I took this photo, when I stared into the shadows, I saw what appeared to be the image of a person riding a horse, a jumper. Of course, within photographs or paintings, I see what most resonates with me. Art is painfully introspective, indeed.
My whole life, I rode hunter/jumpers. Later, I did it professionally (and always rather obsessively, I might add), and it's still deep, deep within my spirit -- the farms, the fields, the students, the horses, the sound of the farrier pulling down the drive, the exact weight of one bale of hay, the look and feel of the land at dusk. I don't think I'll ever shake it; the life and times with these four-legged creatures are ingrained in every ounce of little me. And I know that this part of my life will continue to call out to me, as it has since I was eight years old.
Don't we all have scenes, loves, memories that beckon us? I believe that as human beings, we are drawn to certain environments and other people who will best teach us life lessons about our soul's purpose.
In 2008, I took a break from the horse world and since then, there have been many times when I've taken small farm jobs and considered getting back into it full force, but each time I return to the barns, I realize that over the years, like everything else, the horse world has drastically changed, and I have changed as well. Some farms maintain the "old school," family-like, inclusive feel, but they're few and far between.
My best memories include the five years when I worked with a boss who pretty much allowed me to make most of the farm decisions, especially when he was out of town showing. He "gave me the reins," so to speak. He knew that I was already hard on myself, that no extra encouragement was necessary. And he also wanted what was best for me; he was constantly giving me new horses, new projects, keeping my world interesting, giving me encouragement, plans, and goals. As a result, an environment of trust, respect, and commitment grew. Of course, there were challenges, tests, and difficulties but overall, there was a spirit of working calm. I believe that most people blossom when a boss allows them the freedom to explore his/her individual talents. As in film and television, it's all about the genius casting. Both in the horse world and in other fields, I haven't been able to duplicate this fit in my job search. Yet.
Perhaps someday, I'll be able to simply ride for fun or have my own small farm, one where I can make the decisions. Deep down, I suppose I have childlike dreams of this. Or perhaps I won't ever do it again -- nope, not at all. No matter. See, it isn't really about the outsides -- the jobs, the "uniforms," whatever the role may be. It's about me learning about me. And over time, in the guise of the horse world, I learned about winning, losing, teaching, working with numerous diverse clients, managing employees, being an employee, and finally, how I wished to be treated then, and how I wish to be treated now -- with respect, integrity, and truth. And this is what I wish for the others. And this is what I wish for the beautiful beasts.
Whether I ride or don't ride, I carry these lessons with me, and it is all good, all right. I am not hell-bent on much these days, other than the desire to feel love, give love, and emit peace. There is nothing wrong with being Champion at the horse show. It's a "hell yes" celebration of hard work and passion. There is nothing wrong with winning. Winning is badass. But what comes next? Dinner. Don't forget to feed the hay and grain, to take care of the creatures. And when succeeding, if I look around and see who is still there close to me, I know who supports me in becoming my best. And I remind myself to try to make each and every one of them smile, because they are the people who got me there.
Soul mates celebrate our wins, and when we lose, they support us on the journey back. These are the ones who make us want to grow into our full, true selves. Or as Oprah put it, "That's true love when you want to be better for the other person." It isn't a competition. We're all equal riders on a journey to wholeness.