I sat up on the vaulting horse, fighting tears. A little voice inside me was crying, “I can’t do this, it’s no use!” My riding instructor read my desperate face and smiled encouragingly. “Let’s try again,” she said, gently.
At the age of 65, learning to ride a horse is not easy. Especially if you, like me, have memories of a clumsy childhood, taunted by other children and even parents. During my first lesson, I loved being on the horse, moving with its cadence. But mounting and dismounting had been a real challenge and I had misgivings about the whole thing. The instructor decided to help me master this part first.
After maybe 10 mounts and dismounts, I suddenly got the trick of keeping my feet back and down, keeping my arms straight, and shifting my weight. I swung my leg up and over effortlessly. An elated instructor gave me the high-five. After a few more practice runs on the vaulting horse, I was ready for the real thing. Mounting and dismounting went like a dream. The next day, I went out and bought myself riding breeches.
When we run up against a real challenge, there is always a moment that we want to walk away. There is always a little voice inside, whispering, “It’s no use, don’t even try.” Scolding the voice, pushing it away, usually doesn’t help. We end up angry, frustrated, sometimes even damaged.
Gentle patience is needed. I have found this true of everything: the relationship that isn’t working, the painting that doesn’t seem to be working, the text of a blog that doesn’t sound right, trying to build a new website with WordPress. Take a deep breath, take a short break, think about what you might be doing wrong, and go back to it. Be as kind and patient with yourself as you would wish others to be with you.
And yes, I am facing another challenge as well. In preparation of the appearance of my new book, Passage of the Stork, this coming spring, I decided to build a new website. It will integrate both this blog and the information on my present website. It means mastering the intricacies of WordPress and calls for patience and gentle persistence. The changeover will be announced on the blog as soon as I’m finished.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Roosen