Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Relaxed? I Don't Think So

Okay, so yesterday, I finished the barn chores, grabbed a book and a chair and sat down in the pasture with my horses. They came over to investigate immediately. I paid attention to each of them and then motioned for them to move out of my space and let me be. Siete wandered off to eat grass, but Silk stuck her belly right in front of my nose because she wanted me to scratch her.

I finally had to take a small stick and motion with it to keep her out about five feet away from me. Silk stood, hanging her head, watching me sadly. Needless to say, it made me feel like I wanted to get up and do something with her -- groom her or play with her. I stayed in my chair and opened my book. It was impossible for me to read while Silk was staring at me with that hangdog expression. I looked around and noticed all the things that I still needed to do in the barn and the pasture-- like scrubbing the fence and clearing the drainage ditches to the corral. Then, I began to worry about Siete. She was standing with her back leg cocked while she grazed. It wa s the same foot that had the abscess. I wondered if it was not healed yet. I reminded myself that horses stand like this all the time when they are relaxed. Why couldn’t I relax?

Silk decided that she wanted to drink water out of the big bucket in the corral, so she was trying to stretch her neck in between the fence rails to reach it. She couldn’t, and I ended up getting up, filling a small bucket with water and holding it for her to drink. She drained the bucket twice. Smart horse, she knows that I always want her to drink water so it was a surefire way to get my attention.

As soon as I sat down in my chair again, my mother came out, waving the cordless phone in her hand. I gave up, dragged the chair out of the pasture and didn’t stop moving until I fell into bed last night. So much for quiet contemplation!


billie said...

Well, don't give up trying!

AnnL said...

YOU SCRUB YOUR FENCE?! Boy, do I feel completely inadequate. Sigh. I have wood fence, so it doesn't need scrubbing, but I can't keep up with all the manure the 4 horses output, forget about finding time to scrub the fence!

You need to learn to just be. And, just being means not even reading. Next time, take the chair out and try it for just 5 minutes. No goals other than to be in the present, right here and now. You don't NEED to DO anything for those 5 minutes. Try the 5 minutes for a week or so, then up it to 10 minutes. Really, that's all I need to center myself; ground myself to my spirit at the start of the day.


Victoria Cummings said...

Yes, you're both right - This morning, I did some yoga. I'm usually pretty good at just "being" and meditating, but there's too much gnawing at me right now to be able to sit still. My fence has those flexible vinyl slats and they are turning green with moss. Easier than having to paint, but still not one of my favorite tasks. I think that sitting for an hour was way too ambitious - I'll start with 5 minutes like you suggest.

Carolynn said...

I agree with Annl. To sit in quiet contemplation means to allow things to enter your mental space and then quietly and without judgement, allow them to flow back out. So, go ahead and notice the fence, then release the thought and allow yourself to notice the dust motes dancing in the air and allow that to flow away from you, as well.

Much easier said than done. People devote their whole lives to mastering it.

It's also okay to abandon the quiet meditation mandate and scratch your horses' belly if that's what makes you happy in that moment. I think the whole idea is to release yourself from any obligation, self-imposed or otherwise.


LJB said...

I am reminded of something I've heard Mark Rashid say: we get good at what we practice.

So, you practice busy-ness a lot and are really good at it. You practice being relaxed and quiet in the presence of your horses very little, so you're not so good at it. Not yet, at least. *g*

I have trouble 'doing nothing' so I replace that idea with something I can 'do' while aiming for doing nothing: remembering my breath. And scanning my body for tight muscles I can release.

Sometimes I even play around with visualizing how big my breath is, so for example when I'm riding (and remember to think about this) I breathe deep enough to feel like I'm breathing for me and my horse. Or I breathe in the whole arena, and exhale the whole arena.

Somewhere in that, I start feeling like my horse(s) and I are part of one great big movement of air. Then I start playing with influencing the direction of this big movement of air, and the speed... Rusty is particularly receptive to when I do this.

I'm listening to a CD book in which the narrative voice is that of an adult man who defines himself as "slow", not retarded because his "number" is 76. Anyway, I hear his voice in my head as he says: "That's cool!" That's how I feel when it flowing with Rusty like that. "That's cool!"

Grey Horse Matters said...

You sound like me, I always think I will have time to relax and read a book or just hang out and enjoy the day, but then reality rears its ugly head. I too notice the fence needs washing, the weeds need pulling, the dogs need a bath, the rug needs vacuuming, there are just endless jobs that never get done because of time constraints. If you do find a way to just be in the moment, I could use a lesson on how to do it. I envy the people who can let it all go and enjoy their surroundings without thinking of the million and one things that need to be done.

billie said...

I totally missed the part about scrubbing the fence, which shows exactly where I am with that sort of task right now. Complete denial!

Maybe Silk was intervening to get you to stop reading and just sit there.

Janet Roper said...

Oh jeez, that's just the worst when you have all this nagging things running through your mind and you can't kick back. Hope those 'mosquito' thoughts go away and leave you in peace.

deejbrown said...

If you were not there, those jobs would still need doing. Or not. We set ourselves up. You are right; all we have to do is breathe (and pay taxes).