The horse's pasture to the East...

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Some years are more challenging than others. This has been one of those "Million Little Things" kinds of years. I'm not going to list all the woe-is-me stuff. That's dwelling on the negative. I don't want to go in that direction. 

I do have to admit that I let it get to me. Shouldn't have, but there you are. I got stuck. Yup...couldn't move forward, couldn't even move backwards. Sideways would have been nice. Heck, at one point I would have taken any direction offered. 

I'm not very good at waiting in line. I have to talk myself in to it. I get bored, frustrated and start thinking about things to get people moving, or at least just get them out of my way. 

Sound familiar? That's my Left Brain Extrovert side. If I were a horse, I'd love cows! In fact I do love cows, but more for their gentle nature than the opportunity to move them around. 

And that's my Left Brain Introvert side. I'm an artist by profession, a designer, an illustrator, whatever it takes to pay the bills. Like most artists I keep several balls in the air at once to keep my head above water. I'm a lone wolf. I love the quiet, those times during the day when all I can hear is my own breathing.

But this year I've been a deer in the head lights, frozen and barely breathing. Sheesh. I've been making myself crazy with it. Yup. I've gone tharn. Couldn't move, feet stuck, neck tense. You've got it right if you're thinking Left Brain Introvert. 

It's been months of "Don't touch me, don't even look at me!" Lucky and I have had a lot in common this year. 

This morning I was hiding out, down here in my lovely, messy studio sneaking around on Facebook, lurking in the background, when a Parelli Friend of mine popped up and said " Hey, Nancy, how are you?" AACK! Busted!

It was Petra Christensen, Two Star Parelli Professional. I'd told her earlier in the year about some of the woe-is-me's. She saw my name pop up as "on Facebook" so she messaged me. There was no way to hide so I took a deep breath and told her just how stuck I was. Frozen is more like it!

We "talked" back and forth about what was going on, some possible strategies to use and then I said " OK. I'll give it a go and send you a video." 

Whew! Talk about going Right Brain Extrovert! I tidied up my studio before I went upstairs, swept the hall way before I made it to the stair case, stopped to fold laundry and scrub the laundry room floor where Joe, my ancient cocker spaniel, had lost it during the night ... and that was just the first fifteen minutes. I was in full blown "RUN FOR IT! ASK QUESTIONS LATER." mode. 

I put the dishes up and cleaned the kitchen, dusted and vacuumed, made the bed, scrubbed the bathroom and went out to do the same to the barn. When I run for it, at least I get lots of things done!

Except I was using all of that frantic activity to put off what I really wanted to do, what I needed to do, what I promised Petra I would do. I had to break the ice, get the runners unstuck and go out there with Lucky and Apache and begin the scary, leg shaking, fingernail biting job of just being with them. 

Uh huh. Going out in the field and hanging ten with my "boys" looked mighty BIG to me, Rocky Mountain high. So I decided to do my own Approach and Retreat on myself. Butterflies flying? Step back out of the gate and wait. Breath. Take a step forward when all the tension is gone. 

I didn't time it. A clock would have added to the fear. I was there long enough, just working myself up to sitting on the chair in the middle of the field, that they finished eating all of the hay in their slow bags. The sun had moved around behind me by the time I was out there and they were off at the back of the field. Sitting down felt good! 

What a gorgeous day to make a breakthrough! I sat there and reconnected with the Earth, grew roots through the bottoms of my feet and enjoyed the quiet. Things have greened up a tiny bit since we had some rain this past week. I rested my eyes on all the tiny, new bits of grass and waited.

It took quite a while before the "boys" acknowledged me. I sat, and I waited. They came closer by degrees ... and I sat, and I waited. " Ahhhh ... I could get used to this. The sky is perfect today!" And I sat, and I waited.

I wasn't watching the clock. I was just being. It was a place I hadn't been in a long time. 

And then Lucky came up to me and offered to play! I'd carried a cone out with me and set it up about fifteen feet away. I'd forgotten it was there. I wasn't tharn anymore. I'd forgotten how nice it was to be in their field, just enjoying the breeze and quiet. I was ready and Lucky knew it! Talk about calling a teacher and having them come just when you need them!

Petra this morning and Lucky in the afternoon. It just doesn't get any better than that! I didn't leave my little stool. I'd decided it was Home Base. I sat on it, stood on it and kept my foot touching it. And we played! Lucky, my LBI/RBI came to me from six acres away and we played! He even did Circles around me, his least favorite game. And he stood next to me while I stood on top of my stool and let me lean on him and over him. 

Lucky was teaching me. He said, in so many horse words, "Nancy, we were always here, waiting for you. And we haven't forgotten how to play with you either. Glad you're back!"

The hardest part was stopping. He was so excited, and so was I for that matter, that both of us were chortling! He said " Wuh uh uhhhhh huh!" and I said " You are awesome!" 

Lucky helped me to step out of the shade, in to the open again. 

We, all of us, walked back to the barn together. Apache was part of this too. He did something that was very hard for him to do, LBE that he is. He waited politely. 

I'm sitting here, still dirty and all over horse smelly, and smiling! Today I took my first tiny baby steps back on to the path. 

I am, ever yours ... at last!, Nancy, smiling BIG TIME!