Mary Corning little things

Focusing on the Little Things

“And with practice, the ecstatic life that is our birthright surfaces through the mist of thought. “
As I rode through my life from one change to another, I gained more and more insight about “the little”.
Focusing on the little things brought about a surprising effect. I began to see everything more clearly. And this clarity transformed my life.
My teacher repeatedly asked ”Can you do less?” This is embedded in my soul.
For decades my purpose of study has been peace. It started with the motivation for peaceful relationships with horses. That was the main area of interest in my life. But as I have said throughout this journey, “Horses are life.”
Learning peace is an essential process for life.
It’s evident in our world of human complexities, that we are stuck in a paradigm of believing war can bring peace. Or that we must fight for what we want. We must cut out the other guy. And in fact, for one to win someone must loose.
The horses pointed out for me that this “us or them” mentality absolutely cannot and will not offer lasting peace. This dualistic dueling is at best manipulation and at worst war.
Manipulation comes from control. Control stems from fear. And peace and fear do not coexist.
So what is the alternative?
What is door #3?
Much of the pain that fear produces is something I call “projection“. We project into some near or distant future the worst case scenario. Projection often catastrophizes.
My mother would say “If you’re going to speculate speculate the positive. What do you have to lose?“
This statement is much more profound than I was ever aware of as a child.
I can speak to the fear-projection from my own experience. There are things that I have done for many years that have not presented a bad experience. Yet, my body still produces a fear response when I do them.
For instance when hauling horses down the road in a trailer, I have always felt a churning in my stomach. I still sense tension in my hands and jaw as I drive my beloved horses in a box out into traffic. I certainly don’t feel like that when I pop in the car and run to town for groceries.
This response to trailering has become a great curriculum for me. I can use it to reeducate my nervous system. We humans often make a habit of fear.
I can feel these nerves even while sitting in a chair in my living room. And therefore I can work them out consciously.
And that is the golden key… “Consciously “.
Habit comes from unconscious repetition of a belief.
We literally take too much for granted. We think, oh I can do this, I’ve done it a thousand times. Then we repeat doing that very thing with a nervous belly. Not correcting the habit. This pattern reinforces the fear and the body responds in high alert.
I feel this unconscious habit of fear is also a vast contributor to physical and mental illness. It also instigates addiction to substances and overall dysfunction in life. We can see it throughout humanity.
Stress is not meant to be a way of life. It’s meant to be temporary.
Conscious awareness is the answer. It’s always available. It actually takes no energy what so ever and it’s free. What could be a better remedy?
To be effective in life is to be present.
As we practice projecting forward (as well as living from some conditioned past) we miss the multitude of experiences happening in this very moment. In other words we are not present.
Do we feel the ground under our feet? Can we sense a subtle breeze on our face? Are there sensations occurring in our body?
Often when I’m nervous, if I am aware, I can consciously unclench my jaw, or slow my breathing down. There’s far more that’s happening when I’m able to do this.
Not only does my body respond but my mind brings its attention back to the here and now. This is crucial.
I can pinpoint my focus to feeling, for instance, the cold of the metal gate latch in my hand. Just noticing this shifts the focus from some habitual “what if?”
As I practice this in my daily life, especially in the little things, I see my body, mind and soul developing a way of noticing what’s right here, right now.
This practice has offered a wealth of positive experiences. And those experiences string together and solidify consistent, effective awareness.
I see things differently and my world changes.
I live a connection within life that is peaceful as well as ecstatic.
Just this morning a friend commented on a photograph she saw of me sitting on my horse. Indeed the surroundings were beautiful and it’s a lovely picture. But this gal said “You look ecstatic“. I smiled that she recognized that sensation in a photo.
I know the essence of life. And this is experienced by being aware of the richness in the moment. It can, indeed be seen and felt by others. Others who are open to essential nature recognize it because it is present within themselves.
This is the realization of true nature, in ourselves and in others. This is where unity and harmony abide. This recognition is also why people flock to sages, prophets, and gurus.
The ecstatic essence is inside all of us. It’s simply a matter of how deeply it’s buried under the habit of fear-projection.
The horses that I know, know this. They too recognize it. They too are drawn to it. Because they are nature.
That said, horses too can become conditioned by fear if led by a control (fear) based curriculum.
This is why the horse world teaches us far more than walk, trot and canter. Horses can show us the way home.
I have come to know the greatest gift that a lifetime can bring. I have come to know that peace is not only inside me, it is actually my nature.
This “how to” is the most simple thing in the world. It’s available, it’s free, it takes no energy, it’s endless and it’s our natural expression.
Perhaps the very fact that no one has the monopoly on it, is also why it’s not more popular. We have to find it for ourselves.
The effort comes when we are presented with trading in our fear for faith. It takes dedication to have the willingness to let go of what the mind wants to repeat. And like any habit, the effort comes initially in the conscious release of the dependency. This can take practice.
At first it seems to take everything we’ve got. But that is just the mind trying to convince us that it couldn’t possibly be this simple. Once over that hurdle the rewards start to pour in.
Stand in the faith of what is—that which is true, and real. And with practice, the ecstatic life that is our birthright surfaces through the mist of thought. It rises to carry us through all life experiences with clarity and awareness.
This is the best news I can share. And I’m happy to stand in testimony.

If this blog resonates with you, please consider reading my book Perfect Practice. You can read an excerpt from the book HERE.

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