Mary Corning horse trail course water crossing

Natural Progression

“Natural Progression”, these words have been a pillar of my study with Grace. Letting go of force, no matter how gentle it is, has been a life-changing exploration. Even my thoughts have pressure in them. Don’t take my word for it. Try it and see.
 
Everyone has thoughts of “next”, lists of to-dos, what ifs, if only, and striving to be. Just for one moment… drop the thoughts.
 
It can be done. In fact it’s much easier than we realize. Just for a brief experiment, let the thoughts go.
 
We have endless thoughts throughout the day that we don’t pack with us. We let go of them with no trouble. What thought did you think at 10:48 yesterday morning? They’re gone!
 
As we drop the thoughts, we can feel our whole body soften—the jaw unclenches, the shoulders drop and the breathing settles.
 
Less than a minute of this will prove my point. It doesn’t take time for recognition. Just a brief glimpse is enough to show yourself the contrast.
 
Now that you’ve seen for yourself how good it feels to let go of the “next” anything, consider how the environment is also quieted. It’s as if the whole world can feel a greater space. And none more than our horses.
 
My teacher said, “Can you do less?”
 
I have studied this question for over 3 decades. It’s more profound than I ever imagined.
 
When I come to my horse ( or any counterpart) with a presentation without expectation it creates opportunity for all.
 
 

Presentation, without expectation, creates opportunity

 
This is a subtlety that has paramount affects. Case in point…
 
I presented my horse Grace with a large challenge. Crossing water is of itself an advanced move for a young or inexperienced horse. Horses are naturally skeptical of changing environments. It is in their nature to be keenly aware of all things changing. A rushing creek creates an obstacle that is not only challenging to cross, but also sensory abundant.

Mary Corning and Grace

In the forest, our water crossings are typically steep, muddy, the water is loud, the forest is a confined space with limited vision, and it’s a new area that has not been checked out. In this case my horse was also away from her herd-mates. Combining all of these with asking my horse, to have faith in me to cross rushing water is quite a challenging opportunity.
 
If my thoughts are on an agenda or a set opinion of what has to take place, they will add undue pressure psychologically to an already highly stimulated situation. When I stay open minded and still make my presentation, then this sense of openness is welcoming to the horse. All the other sensory perceptions are full. When she looks to me I want her to feel, sense and know there is an open space here.
 
I feel this is extremely overlooked in the majority of human communication.
 
How we feel, and what we judge to be right and wrong, or our opinions about any given subject, hold strong energy that absolutely alters the environment. And any sensitive being, be at a horse, a human, a dog, or a wild animal can easily sense this pressure. Especially when the quota for pressure is already high.
 
As an example, I want to share these video clips of two consecutive days, when I presented the challenge for my young horse to cross the creek on our property. I think if you will observe the communication between us, you will see the importance of the open minded influence:
 
Although this is a horse interaction, I feel it’s important for everyone to understand this pivotal nuance. I think it makes healthier lives.
 
When we learn to empty our thoughts, our agendas, our judgments and our opinions life just becomes more pleasant.
 
Natural progression takes place without us. You don’t have to believe me, just look. Today is another day. The seasons change and the grass continues to grow. We don’t have to micromanage and control our lives. This is a very important, and little known subtlety.
 
It’s a little shift that makes a monumental difference to our world.
 
But as I say, don’t believe me. Try it and see.
 
The first day I made the presentation of the creek to Grace, it took 20 minutes total for her to cross. The second day, the stakes were higher. She went into it down the steep incline and heading away from home. The total time for 2 crossings was 4 minutes.
 
If we force things onto another they will learn avoidance. If we applaud their success, they gain courage and confidence. If we make something happen, it will be on us to “make it” happen for evermore.
 
When we allow it to happen, natural progression takes place. And once and for all we are free.
 
Life takes care of life!
 
I invite you to take a look at my book Perfect Practice ~ A Philosophy for Living an Authentic and Transparent Life for additional inspirational reading.
 

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