Every day in our life's journey holds its own special treasures, if we have eyes to see...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Resolution

Okay. I know I'm already too late to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. But in one way, I don't mind, because there's something that bugs me about the practice of setting apart one day out of the year to be something I have equal reason to be the other 364 days (thankful). In spite of this pet peeve, the truth is that I could be a whole lot more mindful of the many blessings in my life.

The news is so full of catastrophe, cruelty, and chaos that it is easy to begin to view the world through a darkened lens. But every day, all over the earth, people--regular people whom the media will never mention--love, laugh, and live with honor. Flowers still bloom. Cats still purr. Babies still grin their toothless grins. Beautiful realities, these, and I know which viewpoint I want to focus on. To quote Bill Johnson, I want to "Celebrate who people are, rather than stumble over who they are not."

I got to thinking about this in regards to my journey with Honor. Not that long ago, I had become so focused on what he was not that I could not see what he was. But once I began to look for the good in him, he has continued to amaze me with how quickly he learns and how willing he is to try whatever I ask him to do. I never saw these strengths when I was concerened about his busy feet and his lack of ground manners.

He is the same horse.

I just have different eyes.

This next year, I want to walk with a greater awareness of the things that are right, whether it's in the world, my community, or my circle of family and friends. And you know, I have a feeling that if I can look with this deeper sight, come next Thanksgiving, I'll have an even longer list of blessings to count :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pondering Peace

Where is everybody???
This windy morning I turned Journey out to pasture and put Honor in the corral so that I could come out and work with him later. What I didn't plan on was him working himself up into a first-class tizzy over the fact that he couldn't see where the other horses were. Round and round and round he went, trotting, head tossing, and generally stirring himself up. By the time I made it back out there, he was one distracted horse. So I started out with some de-sensitizing exercises--flipping the end of the lead rope all over head, legs, etc. Added some yeilding exercises--backing, one-rein stops (from the ground) and that type of thing. What I found fascinating was that as I gave him something else to think about, he became progressively calmer, forgetting his preoccupation with being left alone, he settled down and focused on what we were doing together to such a degree that when I took his halter off at the end of the session, he had become calm and relaxed.


I've been thinking about peace lately--specifically the contrast between peace within and peace without. Outer peace is a many-faceted thing. I can create it in my enviornment. Well, sort of. But because it often depends on elements I cannot control (such as other people, the economy, or the weather), it is also a fleeting and fragile thing. Yet I have spent so much time and energy in my life trying to force exterior peace to exist.

And, I wonder--is it truly peace if I must control people and circumstances in order to create it? Honor, for all his running back and forth neighing and carrying on, wasn't able to cause the separating fence to dissolve, hence restoring his peace. In fact, the harder he tried to alter outside circumstances, the less peace he found.

The correlation is painfully obvious. I have wasted huge amounts of time and effort in that same pursuit. Hmmm. How much more effective it would be to bend my efforts toward cultivating peace within myself than trying to get others to behave in ways that create it around me.
Toots demonstrates inner peace in the midst of outer chaos.
(While I aspire to this, I hope to maintain consciousness at the same time).

My new goal? To walk in the ways which make for peace. Inside peace. I'm a bit perplexed as to how to do that, though intellectually I know some of the elements. (This will undoubtedly give me food for future posts). All I can say right now is that it's a pity I've spent so little of my life getting good at caretaking  peace within myself. However, I'm not overly bummed about it because I have confidence that not only will the Prince of Peace give me assistance in my endeavors, but surely it must be easier to try to control one mind and heart--mine!--than to control everyone else.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cogitations on a State of Wimpiness

Rosie waits for feed
A cold, foggy drizzle wrapped the Missouri hills in gray earlier this week, at least in my neck of the woods. The land may be thankful for a good drink, but in me the chilly rain set off a whole different reaction. So I let Journey out with Honor, gave our milk cow (Rosie) and pony (Ginger) their feed, and hurried my muddy boots back to the house, all the while consoling myself that I had too much to do  to spend time working with a horse. But the truth of the matter is that I was feeling definitely wimpy.

What? Leaving so soon?
When did I become such a comfort lover, I asked myself? I suppose it crept upon me as slowly and inexorably as have the passing years, and now I find  myself at a place where mere weather can suck courage and vision out of my heart, reducing me to a house-dwelling, woodstove-hugging shadow of my usual self.
This is not okay with me. For one thing, horses need consistency. If I let rain, cold, or wind keep me from working with Honor on a regular basis, I may never reach the point where we ride off into the sunset together.

But what really scares me is that I would give up so easily on a dream. It's not like becoming a long distance rider is my ultimate goal. I have other things I care about more. It's the fact that what should be no contest is a very real issue. One rainy morning and I'm inches away from breaking open my stash of corn candy, picking up a book, and hibernating until spring.

Seriously? It's not even winter yet!

The sweeter the dream, the higher the price we must pay to attain it. If in the face of pain, fear, or weariness, I let comfort be my guide, will I have what it takes to fight for the things that really matter to me?  I may be more than half-way through my earthly journey, but this I do know: I don't want to slow down now. If anything, I want to take the experiences I've accrued so far and apply them in such a way as to enable me to run faster. Harder. Wiser. More passionately. With joy.

I write this in a warm and quiet room with a cup of coffee at hand. I have yet to encounter any disturbances in my day. Comfortable and safe, I ponder these things, and I pray for strength. For resolve. And for a pair of insultated coveralls in which I can meet the next chilly morning :-)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Concerning Titles

I've been pondering the title I've given this blog: Journey with Honor. The simple weight of that phrase never fails to sitr my heart with desire that I would not merely live--survive, as it were--but live with intent to honor and value those whose lives touch mine in this earthly journey. That said, I am hindered by the fact that I often do not know how to actually walk it out. I suspect it is much more simple than I make it and more profound than I know.

But the title is about more than just living intentionally. You see, we have a horse named Journey.

Journey is a Morgan/Cob cross, and what can I say? She is the ideal horse is many ways. She's safe, wonderful to ride (especially in the woods), and has a classic beauty I love. Calm, alert, willing, and with her Morgan breeding, she loves to trot--once you have convinced her that you really and truly want her to move.

The rest of the time, she seems perfectly content to eat and doze her life away.


                                                      And then we have Honor.

He's a gorgeous red dun Quarterhorse/Arab cross (a "Quarab"). If looks the horse doth make, then I probably wouldn't be writing about him in this blog. Suffice it to say, true to his Arab lineage, he is smart, quick on his feet, and ready to be the one in charge if he's not convinced someone else is.

To tell the truth, I wasn't at all sure I was up to Honor. Maybe I'd just stick with Journey.

She is safe. Known. I can arrive at my destination unscathed, unchallenged, and not having to deal with unpleasant episodes where I must insist on respect. This prospect had--and still has--appeal. In fact, I had pretty much decided to sell Honor--the onery thing--but even as I made up flyers and posted ads, I couldn't help but notice the parable playing out right in my own field.

Living? We all do that. To live in such a way as to show honor to others and ourselves--that is a whole different animal, as they say. How do I want to finish this race, this earthly journey of mine? Safe, or satisfied? Do I want to merely journey, content to avoid pain, or do I want to focus on honoring others, respecting their worth, intentionally enjoying who they are rather than trying to re-make them into someone more like me? Honor can be scary. It's not always given in return, for one thing, and there's the chance of failure. And yet--as others much wiser than I have said, better to try and to fail, than never to try at all.

This is what I thought about today as I worked with Honor. I can always sell him. But if I will work with him, invest some time and build a relationship with him, this horse can go places Journey will never take me. That, in a nutshell, is what my journey with Honor is all about. I expect a few scares, bumps, and hot, dusty, miserable days along the way. But the glimmers of far greater glory and far greater pleasure are calling me from the safety of the familiar and into the realm of promise.

However, I definitely plan on wearing my riding helmet!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Musings, horse happenings, and other odds and ends of life.

The idea of writing a blog has niggled and nagged at me ever since I learned what it meant. Web log. Weblog. Blog. Not the prettiest name I've ever heard, and certainly not one I would have chosen. But then, no one asked me. Now that the word doesn't rattle my lyrical sensibilities quite as badly (due to the fact that the world is innundated with more blogs than a garden with a potato bug infestation), I've decided add yet one more to cyberspace.

So why would a relatively sane, very busy writer, wife, mom, and caretaker of various animals, flower gardens, and relationships even consider adding to the information overload or taking on another activity which by its very nature must be maintained if it is to survive,? As close as I can figure, here are my reasons: So much happens in day-to-day life--mostly small events, intense in their sweetness or their struggle. Many of these no one knows about or gets to enjoy. I find myself wishing to share odd moments on the off chance that others might relate, appreciate, or be encouraged in their own journeys.

Mine is not a famous or exciting lilfe, yet it is challenging, interesting, and emmminently satisfying (at least to me). Perhaps that fact, more than any other, is sufficient reason to start this blog: I belong to the rank and file of the world: those of whom the media has never heard nor likely ever will. I want people to know they matter even if they aren't famous, and that they are incredibly valuable. I want to encourage them to see the beauty in their lives, and to experience their hidden moments with new joy (things I'm trying to learn how to do myself, BTW!).

That, and I am undertaking to train our 8-year-old Quarab (Quarter horse/Arab cross) gelding, Honor, with the intent of turning him from "expensive lawn ornament" (a direct quote from my amazingly tolerant husband) into a trail horse I feel safe to ride. I half suspect a corollary, and expect to learn much more than how to turn a semi-onery animal into a one I feel in sync with. This, too, leads me to consider blogging. Call it self-therapy, but writing works that way for me--I experience, I go on about that experience, and when I read back over my words, I begin to understand.

Thus I embark, wondering what tomorrow holds and where our journeys will take us...