Friday, September 2, 2016

The Struggle to Understand

Riding isn't precisely a spiritual endeavor but I sort of think it can't help the parallels it holds to a spiritual life: we seek balance, we seek connection, and we seek fluidity.

Balance in our transitions between movements, connection in our bodies and in our minds, fluidity in the way we execute.

Expression in how we accomplish movements.

Tell me you can't see both sides of this: balance in going from walk to trot and balance in leaving work and coming home to care for the homestead. Connection in the bridle, connection with our friends and family.

The other week I wrote about how the adult amateur is a powerhouse - to go out and deal with the other world and to still have the time and energy to step into this LITERAL arena -

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Perhaps learning to train and ride horses is an accelerated hothouse of spiritual learnings for me but only a quiet hobby to you. This too, is important for me. To not project my dreams and desires onto the horse, onto my students, to learn to buckle down and influence the only thing I can truly influence: myself.

I am learning with the horse that if I stay truly stable and centered, the chatter stills and we can focus on the most important improvements. I am learning with my life that if I am clear and unobstructed in my communications, we can accomplish our goals together more efficiently.
A rabbi once told me that God hides the truth from us and expects us to use our minds, the reason that God gifted us at our birth to uncover the truth. I find it fascinating that we have this itch in us to make sense of what is probably, ultimately, unsensible. It’s the pilgrimage, it’s the struggle to understand, that transforms us.  It’s not the answer. 
 And while "God" isn't in my daily vocabulary, it allows me to find meaning to say to myself "the truth is hidden beneath the chatter and spin and never-ending to-do list. I don't think I'll ever grasp at the 'truth', but it's the struggle to understand that transforms us."


  1. Oh man, I love this post. Both of those quotes really spoke to me today <3

  2. I love the T. Roosevelt quote. I couldn't agree more!