Really, there’s just no other way to put it.
I understand in some cases a little bit of fear is good. It keeps you grounded and on your toes. It helps you maintain a higher level of caution that can prevent things from going terribly wrong. But fear can’t be so strong it keeps us from trying something new in the first place. If it’s that strong and we pass on new opportunities, we’re not just playing it safe—we’re missing out on an incredible chance for growth and happiness.
I can’t help but wonder how many wonderful things we miss in life because we’re afraid of getting hurt physically, emotionally, or financially.
I’m questioning this because of where this summer has led me. A lot of things have changed. A mere week after being asked to write a speech on resilience, of all things, I stumbled onto an emotional roller coaster of bad luck and difficulty. A lot of things that had been going right fell apart, a lot of hard work was destroyed, and I lost a few family members to the inevitability of old age.
I know for the most part we’re still fortunate. The kids are healthy and happy, my husband and I are still together after 7 years of marriage, we have a roof over our heads, and for the first time we are relatively stable financially—but when depression threatens to consume you for the umpteenth time and you don’t deal well with stress, it feels like an all out war within your own soul and it’s hard to stay focused on the positives.
Turns out that when you think you know something about a topic such as resilience, God puts you to the test again, just to make sure you REALLY know what you’re talking about when you step up to share your personal insights with other people.
Which brings me to my dilemma with fear. I’ve always managed to find my way out of the darkness of depression—to grab onto that one shimmer, that one spark that leads me back into the world of hope and possibility—only that spark often seems very impractical to my rational mind (not to mention to the people around me).
This is where intuition and listening to my heart become more than just a word of advice—this is where I have to silence the fear and trust that inner voice—put it into action and walk the talk.
What is my intuition telling me this time?
Lease a Horse.
Yeah, I know, where did that come from, right? I’ve gone from an obsession with interior design, to sustainable living, to letterpress, to photography, to graphic design, marketing, branding, holistic health, writing my memoir—and now—there’s horses.
I’ve learned over the years that my spark of hope comes directly from the exhilaration of learning something new. Maybe it seems fickle to some, crazy to others—but it’s the way my mind works.
I often get ideas for something I really want to pursue using my existing experience and talents (like my idea for The Compassionate Home I just wrote about not that long ago), but something in the universe steps up to say, “Hold on there! You’re not ready for that yet even if it is a good idea. First you need to learn a little more about patience, emotional fitness, and confidence. And I think you can learn that through horses.”
“What? What the heck do horses have to do with anything?” I question. Up to this point they’ve been an experience from the past, an infatuation that has remained on the peripheral edge of my interests.
“Just wait, you’ll see. Maybe it doesn’t make a lot of sense right now, but it will,” that inner voice responds.
I have to remember each new passion I stumble upon offers an essential insight, growth, new knowledge, and an experience that I wouldn’t trade anything for if I had it to do all over again.
I will admit, though, sometimes I get frustrated because I don’t know where all this is taking me. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but for the most part, I know I have to go along for the ride. I’m confident whatever skills and experiences I’m developing are bringing me closer to something incredibly amazing. One day it will all come together.
This time around, though, fear is really raring it’s ugly head. When I switch my interests there’s always a little bit of fear: fear of failure, fear of what people will think, fear of financial difficulties. But for the most part, everything I’ve done before this has been relatively safe.
Now, as I get deeper into the equine world, the financial risk is still there like always, but there’s a new risk—a very real physical risk. Horses can be downright dangerous if you aren’t experienced and completely at ease in their presence. And it takes a lot of time, work, and patience to get there.
My practical mind tells me I’m crazy for wanting to lease a horse.
“You realize you don’t really know what you’re doing yet?” it speaks up. “And you could get hurt—your body isn’t what it used to be. You don’t even have health insurance!” it reminds me. “You should be looking for a job with benefits, not a horse!”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Impractical. Unrealistic. Not the right time. Those darn “shoulds.”
I know, I know.
But I can’t ignore what my soul is asking.
It’s asking me to find a horse because my heart needs the companionship of an equine friend to help me through this next fall and winter, to finish writing my memoir, to avoid falling back into a heap of depression as I pass yet another anniversary since my mother’s suicide.
It tells me I need to work on building a relationship with these animals because it is the only way I can learn to control my emotions. Whereas an emotional outburst in front of my husband and kids makes for strained relationships, an emotional outburst in front of a 1200 lb animal can have very severe consequences. There seems to be a lot of incentive in the presence of a horse to learn to keep my cool.
Plus, horses not only keep me calm, they keep me centered—living in the here and now, aware of every movement and breath I take—not in the past where I have the sadness of my mother’s mental illness to remember, or the future where I worry about our finances and all the what ifs. What little time I’ve spent with horses over the last two months has already helped me gain new perspectives on life that I don’t know how I could have come about in any other way. As a result my soul is asking for more, and it’s really hard to ignore that request when it speaks so loudly.
So, when I think about fear, I have to acknowledge that it’s there—maybe it’s even there for good reason. If I let it dictate my decisions, however, I will stop living.
Playing it safe, locked away inside my house isn’t going to get me anywhere. And in terms of what people think—oh well. Maybe it doesn’t seem practical or make any sense to anyone looking in on the outside, but something about it makes sense to me on the inside and I won’t know what that is until I allow myself to move forward with it, to explore it, to be open to whatever it may bring.
Those are my thoughts for the moment. I don’t know where I’m going or what exactly I’m doing, but if you’re interested, I hope you’ll follow along for the ride!
Wishing you health and happiness,
~ DarceyThe above image associated with this post is of Cleo, my equine partner from a wellness class held at Loroge Equestrian Center. This class focuses on the ground work techniques of natural horsemanship that help women who have suffered from trauma and/or abuse cultivate confidence and find their “voice”. It’s been an incredible experience working with these horses
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|When Everything Changes ~ Go With the Flow|
|When Everything Changes ~ Go With the Flow|