Last year, Dan and I went horseback riding. Our guide ran the ranch and had been riding since she was a kid. She was riding a horse in training bareback.
Before we even made it to the trail, our guide’s horse got spooked and threw her off. I was amazed at how skillfully she landed the fall. She knew exactly what to do. She didn’t try to fight or break the fall. Instead, she leaned into the fall and positioned herself to hit the ground square on her back with her weight evenly distributed. It was a hard fall!
Our guide didn’t seem the least bit phased. She got up and went to her horse. She spoke softly and gently while stroking him, assuring him that everything was OK. She also made it lovingly clear that she was confident and in control of the situation and that they were going to continue with the ride. It all happened within a matter of minutes and then we were off on our ride.
I remember turning to Dan in awe after watching our guide handle the whole situation. She didn’t flinch. She was prepared and she knew just what to do.
Getting Up After a Fall
Recently I wrote about getting back on the horse. I was using the phrase in the figurative sense. Then I remembered this experience of watching someone physically get thrown from a horse and watching her literally get back on the horse. My mind started making connections.
My life is constantly filled with opportunities to get back on the horse. For a very long time, I didn’t anticipate my natural ebbs and flows and was completely caught off guard when I felt thrown to the ground. Throw in my perfectionism and it was quite the mess.
I would “lay” there next to the horse throwing a tantrum, trying to figure it all out and beating myself up to the max for getting thrown or falling off. I would use all of my energy on this and had nothing left to climb back up. Worse still was that I often forgot that I had the power and choice to stand and climb back up in the first place.
I missed a lot of trail rides this way. I missed a lot of life this way.
I think anticipation is half the battle for me. Just like when my babies were learning to walk, I knew they would fall A LOT! I counted on it and was there to help them get back up when they needed it.
Now I work on being that loving, nurturing, helpful parent to myself, to the baby and little girl inside of me. Without living as Eeyore, I try to realistically anticipate that there will be times when I feel completely thrown from the horse. Sometimes its easy to get right back up. While other times, laying on the ground looking up at the horse, it seems an insurmountable task to simply stand up let alone climb back on.
This is when I try to emulate our trail guide, speaking softly and gently, assuring myself that everything will be OK. I try to let my little girl inside know that I love her and I am by her side and that she can lean on me, I will help her get back up. I am the coach, the cheerleader, the parent letting her know that I believe in her and we can continue the ride together.