Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hatred

"I have decided to stick to love....Hate is too great a burden to bear."
~Martin Luther King Jr.

I'm extremely sad by the hate our country has embraced. The pictures, memes, videos and unchecked statistics that now plague social media sickens me.

Those that know me can attest that I don't offend easily. Growing up sarcasm was my second language. But there is a difference between offensive and damaging.

Hatred for a culture or group of people based on fear and minimal knowledge makes us no better than any other bigoted, cruel, and small-minded group in our history.

I remember after 9/11 a woman who was like a member of the family at the time had to stop wearing her head covering in public because she was afraid for her safety. She had to fear her own life because a few people did a horrible act. If we, as Americans, had that same issue every time someone did something evil we would never leave our homes.

I have friends that I dearly love of every race, religion, sexual orientation and ethnic background and when I see HATE towards any of them it makes me ashamed and simply sad. Sad for the person doing it and sad that we can so easily still accept it as just an "opinion" and not what it is, a soft form of violence.

I beg everyone before you post your next anti-whatever post, video with misguided facts, or meme you believe to be innocuous, really look at it, research it, know all of the details, not just the radical information you think might be true. Think about who you know that may be affected by such statements, who will YOU hurt by it. Do you want to be that person?

Are you that person?

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it's opposite."
~Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What You Can Learn from a Horse

"I want a ride that is comfy and fast. And you just can't beat the gas mileage or upholstery of a horse."
~Jarod Kintz, Seriously Delirious, but not at all serious

My daughter is a bit of a perfectionist. For the last year, she has started to take English riding lessons. As my trainer says, "There is no better sport for a perfectionist because there will never be perfect."

And that is only one of many lessons horses and the ever challenging sport of riding them can teach you.  What other sport are you trying to decipher the mood, ability and general sanity of an animal that weighs over a thousand pounds? Maybe camel racing but I've not seen that much in this area.

I've had a long list of horses in my 30 years of riding.

My first pony, Mystic, taught me that I couldn't ride. Every time I got on her ended with me flying off in some way. Taking her to a new trainer and actually learning how to ride saved us both in the sport. She later became the prize pony at a school in Maryland.

My first horse, Echo/Canterbury Tales, taught me about competition. We were an amazing team and could often win. She taught me to be dedicated, hard working, a good sport, and forgiving. Unfortunately, she also taught me about heartbreak when she had to retire at a very early age.

My third horse, Pippi Longstocking, taught me patience. She was a young ex-racehorse I bought for $800. I learned how to take a horse and polish her into something talented and show-worthy. I proved that a diamond in the rough could shine like the fancier versions.

My fourth horse, Whoopie/Sister Act, was tragic. She was an amazingly talented mare I bought as a baby who was easy to train and wonderful to work with. Personal health circumstances resulted in leasing her out for awhile. She came back to me a broken version of herself that I could never repair. I will never lease another horse I own.

That lead to my William/Sandpiper, who was simply given to me by his owner. He would never be a fancy show horse, with back issues that made him flip-flop behind (I used to say he was like those dinosaurs that had a brain in their head and in their tail) and a funny jump to the left on occasion. He taught me that the best horses are the ones that become family. Those special animals that seem to sense you. When he died I learned the meaning of losing a piece of yourself.

My next horse, Stewie, who I only had briefly, was my first ever humbling experience. He taught me fear which in all of my years I had never had before. He was beautiful, powerful, and the biggest cream puff ever to have four hooves. He was afraid of his own shadow. I never knew if a bike, a lawn chair, a cone that was moved or a jump that fell over would send him in a tailspin (all things that had actually sent him in a tailspin). He was the sweetest boy, but I could never relax because he could never relax.

Because of him I feel like I appreciate my present girl, Buena Vista, all of the more. She is very young so I can draw from my patience, taking her training slow as she grows. Her personality has already made her feel like a forever member of the family, she is so quiet and easy she acts like an old soul in a young body. She has the potential to compete someday and I can only hope, avoids teaching me more lessons in heartbreak (these horses are so fragile at times it's a wonder they can do what they do).

But as no rider is ever perfect neither is there ever a perfect horse. So we learn, practice, work, succeed, fail, cry, laugh, love and sometimes hate. We break our banks, our bones, and our hearts. If these animals get inside you, it becomes the hardest, craziest, most time consuming and most rewarding thing you will ever do.

And you will never stop learning.

"In riding a horse, we borrow freedom."
~Helen Thompson






Sunday, November 8, 2015

Off Balance

"My point is, life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows, The pina and colada."
~Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously......I'm Kidding

How often do you feel off balance? Something is pushing you to the side and making life a struggle to get back on the tightrope.

Balance is a common coaching area. Balancing work, kids, chores, health and exercise can be a constant Jenga wall, one false move and everything crumbles.

Keeping balance takes energy, creativity, and planning. I often hear, "I just don't have time." And that can very well be true. A person does need to sleep on occasion. But more often than not if we really look at our schedules we can prioritize our time.

Maybe it's less television, internet searching, youtube watching or game playing that can give us more time to plan healthier meals, get more exercise, spend more time with family or do something creative and progressive for ourselves.

Balance.

I try to eat healthy, but I have my occasional onion ring craving. I exercise regularly, but I absolutely have my "just don't feel like it" days. I can carry myself professionally and still swear like an Eddie Murphy stand-up routine with my friends (sorry mom). I can work hard, play hard, and enjoy both. I can devote my time to my kids and yet breathe a small sigh of relief on the occasions they decide to briefly see their dad.

Balance.

So that is a huge part of my job, helping people find their balance. Whether it's an 18-year-old student or a middle-aged man or woman simply always fighting that gravitational pull.

Which way is gravity pulling you?

"Life seems so am/pm. But really it's not as balanced as all that."
~Jarod Kintz, A Zebra is the Piano of the animal Kingdom