Feel, Timing, and Balance – an Ode to “Free Time”

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So uh…what should we do now?

As October nears its end and the sleet, snow, and wind move in, my work load has begun slowing.  After a spring, summer, and fall of working sunup to sundown, often seven days a week (a workload those with a farm, animals, or children know well), I find myself stumbling into an elusive little thing called “free time.”

In the evening when the horses are ridden, the barn is swept, the cat’s fed, the lessons are cancelled (nobody wants to ride in the snow like me, apparantly…hehe), and my herd is munching contentedly on flakes of hay, seemingly oblivious to the wind and sleet blowing up their butts, I find myself wondering, what should I do?

Oh yeah…live a real, normal life for a little bit! (Is there really such a thing?)

Giving your all to something you’re passionate about is important.  More people should do it, instead of numbly going through their 9 to 5 jobs waiting to come home.  Maybe that’s ignorant talk on my part, as I’m sure not everyone can just throw away their boring day jobs and dedicate their lives to underwater basket weaving, or going to clown school, or whatever it is that makes them really tick…But, I do think everyone deserves to have a passion (are there people out there who seriously have NO passion? I do not want to know these people), and deserves to spend some time developing their passion. I’m incredibly blessed to have been able to do what I’m passionate about for real money (not a lot of money, but it’s real money, as opposed to fake money or no money).  Sometimes I can’t believe I get to do this as my job, and satisfying the wishes of 6 year old me has been truly a dream come true.

But, I’m exhausted right now from doing way too much of what I love.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

So I find myself turning in a little, reconnecting with friends and family (are you guys still there? Sorry I kinda disappeared for a few seasons…) on the snowy days, the horridly windy days, the rainy days, heck even a sunny day deserves to be taken off from time to time.  At times in my pursuit to find the ultimate “feel, timing, and balance” in my horsemanship, I forgot about it in my life.  We need balance between work and play, and some down time should be on every horseman and woman’s “to do” list to rejuvinate our stressed muscles and minds so we can go back after the weekend and keep giving our horses and students our all.  A cranky or over-tired teacher and rider is no help to anyone, so here I am trying to follow my own advice.  (And what am I doing? Writing a horsey article…but I swear I WILL relax after this!)

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These horses are smarter than me – enjoying some much needed down time to reset their minds and soak on what they’ve learned, while I work in the background. Maybe they’re thinking something like, “I wonder why those silly humans always feel the need to be so busy?”

When I was in Spain last spring, I went to school (Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre..yeah, that’s a mouthful) every day bright eyed and bushy tailed, eager to learn, but was horrified at 2 pm when siesta began and they practically kicked me out.  What on earth does everyone in Spain do from 2 pm to 5 pm?? What am I supposed to do, just sit around eating, drinking wine, relaxing, socializing, having FUN?  I will admit I got used to it, and eventually loved it.  And every day that I went back to school I was more than eager, and very rested.

So while I am not going to cut out of work at 2 pm every day, I WILL promise to try to take more time off here and there.  Not just as a reward for working hard, but to keep practicing what I study in horsemanship and to translate that to the rest of my life – Feel, Timing, and Balance.  That really sums it up for everything we strive for, and I can’t think of any better way to describe it.

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