How to take a step back and reboot.
We all experience those times in our life and with our horses when things begin breaking down and all of a sudden it feels like things are going to hell in a handbasket. Tensions and stressors keep piling up and before we know it the wires are crossed, something is disconnected and backfiring and we’re asking ourselves how did we get here?
For me it always seems to be a slow burn to ignition. One not so good ride, one tantrum thrown while lunging, catching problems the next day, consistent attitude and mare stares. Next thing I know, my horse and I are staring each other down, paused after a fight, frustrated and huffing and I'm asking myself how the hell did we get here?
It happens to the best of us, in any kind of relationship, with our horses, spouse, kids, friends. Sometimes it’s only a matter of days in the making and sometimes it’s months, or even years. A gradual disconnection that leads us more and more into our heads and further away from our hearts. That energetic disconnection may at first be subtle to us, but to our highly attuned horses it’s noticeable and super confusing and frustrating for them. We disconnect in our relationships in two ways: externally and internally.
Our lives get busy and stressful and we get caught up in our external circumstances. We let our emotions and struggles carry over into our relationships without even knowing it. I think we can all relate to finding ourself thinking about our idiot boss and bad day while we're out for a ride and not even noticing what's really going on around us. Physically we’re there but we're not even paying attention to our horse or feeling his energy. The lack of attention is clear and heartbreaking. We need to energetically check our baggage at the barn door before we let it get in the way of our riding and before it causes a breakdown in communication and trust.
But the second kind of disconnection is more damaging… the kind that comes from the inside of a relationship. The things that build up without us even noticing at first. The small insults or brush offs. Being too busy for our partner. Expecting to receive more than we are giving. Going through the paces and moving too fast without checking in on our horse. Focusing so much on the goals and next rodeo date instead of feeling into our riding level. Forgetting that connection and trust are built with time and commitment not simply gifted to us.
Sometimes these breakdowns happen and they are just a season of our life. But the important thing is becoming aware and conscious of the issues and seeing where we went wrong, because relationships are always a two way street.
So how do we fix it? How do we reconnect after the breakdown and get back to the love, connection and understanding season again? And how do we stay there?
We start by taking a breath, pausing and readjusting our perspective. It’s okay that you got to this point, we’re all human (and equine). We make mistakes, we say the wrong things, we push too hard, we ignore what we shouldn’t have ignored. Our beautiful relationships and partnerships can be restored. Start by committing to a revamp. Sometimes you need to go back to basics and peel back the layers in any relationship and just sit with it. Sit with the current energy. Not the where-we’ve-been, or where-we’re-going energy, but the here and now. Can you face it? Can you face the place you’re at in your life, with your horse, in your relationships. Can you accept this point and make the changes needed? We’re asking ourselves “how did we get here?” But the more important question is why ARE we here. The universe always gives us lessons for a reason. What are we meant to learn from this? How can we refocus and rekindle the fire?
To answer those questions we’ve gotta get real honest with ourselves and see our own faults and errors. How many times did we miscommunicate? How many times did we push our horse or partner from a place of ego and greed and allow our own motives to be more important than them. Could we have noticed the signs or listened better. Did we cause pain that we didn’t know we were causing? There could be a million reasons that brought us here to this moment, to this breakdown, this frustration. But that is in the past now and it’s time to release and move forward.
We do this by reflecting deeply and honestly and owning up to it all. Owning up to our mistakes, the hurt we may have caused, the neglecting of our partner, and the neglecting of ourselves. Only then can we start to course correct and rebuild. We have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to admit our mistakes, to look at our errors. The beauty in this is that we now get to find new and exciting ways to build up our partnerships, we get to find the passion again and give from our hearts again. We get to love deeper and go farther, and ride with an even deeper presence than ever before.
We owe our horses and the people in our lives, true accountability and vulnerability. When we can give them that, we will always be forgiven, and the door will be opened wide with the potential and capacity for deeper connection, understanding and personal growth. See the breakdowns as a gift, not a curse. They wake us up and help us remember how amazing our horses and loved ones are and to never take them for granted.