What a Rambler Taught Me About LifeOne of the most memorable and valuable lessons I’ve learned in life was imparted to me by Rambler. Now, you might be thinking this is a story about a countryside vagrant, or perhaps an incessant talker. It is nothing of the kind. You see, Rambler was a horse. And I feel should share with you some background details before proceeding to tell you more about Rambler’s gift to me.
Dressage Whip Lost, Serenity FoundA horse lover since I was a child, I spent many years pursuing those oneness moments in the equestrian sport of Dressage. My last horse, a Morgan gelding named Baron, was my final competition partner. In his younger days, Baron worked hard, excelled quickly, and we spent several years training and competing together. As time passed however, it became apparent that the physical demands of the discipline were too much for his body, and I decided it was finally time to retire both he and myself from the sport altogether. That year, I sold all of my dressage-related tack and clothing, save for one dressage whip. The dressage whip was not something I needed to keep - I only kept it as the whip had a pretty, gold braided handle and I thought it would be a nice memento for all those years dedicated to dressage.
Not long after Baron's retirement, I had the opportunity to live in Sedona, Arizona. So, Baron, my dog and I moved out west. One of the great things about Sedona is the magnificent hiking and riding trails. While living there, Baron and I had the pleasure of taking part in many magnificent trails rides. I always carried my old dressage whip along, just because.
One early spring day, several of my friends and I decided to take a 2+ hour ride around some of the prettiest rock formations you've ever seen. It was a gorgeous day, and we enjoyed one of the best rides any of us could remember. The ride was approximately 7-8 miles of semi-rugged terrain and stunning scenery. It wasn't until we arrived back at the ranch that I looked down and realized that I had *lost* my treasured memento dressage whip somewhere on that long trail. There was no point looking for it either ... the whip was dark in color, and the trail had been lined almost continuously by dark-colored branches and brush. “Oh Well,” I thought, “it must finally be time to completely put this part of my life behind me.” I moved on and didn't think about the whip again.
About 2 weeks later, I was hiking with my dog early one morning. The trail we were traversing was about 2 miles long, and over-lapped the horse trail at one point for about 100 yards. My dog and I were climbing a steep grade and were about 15 minutes into the walk. At the time my mind was obsessing about the latest drama stories from the horse ranch. (The ranch could be drama-central on any given week.) I recall thinking about this drama non-stop, over and over again, until about halfway up the hill. That's when it hit me -- “their drama” had become “my drama!” The thought struck me so suddenly that my mimd literally stopped. Then I became aware of the fact that even though I had been hiking for over 15 minutes already, I could not remember any of the trail - had not even seen it in fact. My mind had been too busy.
I recalled Eckhart Tolle's book, “The Power of Now,” and took several deep breaths. I turned my attention inward and focused on the moment: “ ... left foot forward ... right foot forward ... gaze at the scenery on the right ... gaze at the scenery on the left.” As I looked left, my gaze lowered to the bushes near the ground. And there - sticking up out of the middle of the first bush that my gaze fell upon, was the dressage whip that I had lost on the horse trail two weeks earlier!!!
I've lost count of how many "Ah-ha" moments this fun little story has initiated for me. Though I not longer have horses, and currently reside in Ohio, I still have the dressage whip. It is a nice reminder of what can happen during "moments of presence." Of course, when it's time for the whip to leave again, that's okay too... :-)
What Horses Teach Us
- When you are tense, let me teach you to relax.
- When you are short sighted, let me teach you to see.
- When you are short tempered, let me teach you to be patient.
- When you are quick to react, let me teach you to be thoughtful.
- When you are angry, let me teach you to be serene.
- When you feel superior, let me teach you to be respectful.
- When you are self-absorbed, let me teach you to think of greater things.
- When you are arrogant, let me teach you humility.
- When you are lonely, let me be your companion.
- When you are tired, let me carry the load.
- When you need to learn, let me teach you.
- After all, I am your horse.
And now for the TRUE story......
- When you are tense, let me teach you that there are dragons in the forest and we need to leave NOW!
- When you are short-sighted, let me teach you to figure out where exactly in the 40 acres I am hiding.
- When you are short-tempered, let me teach you how to slog around the pasture for an hour before you can catch me.
- When you are quick to react, let me teach you that herbivores kick MUCH faster than omnivores.
- When you are angry, let me teach you how well I can stand on my hind feet, because I don’t FEEL like cantering on my right lead today, that’s why.
- When you are worried, let me entertain you with my mystery lameness, GI complaint and skin disease.
- When you feel superior, let me teach you that, mostly, you are the maid service.
- When you are self-absorbed, let me teach you to PAY ATTENTION. I told you about those dragons in the forest.
- When you are arrogant, let me teach you what 1000 lbs. of yipee-yahoo-gotta-go horse can do when suitably inspired.
- When you are lonely, let me be your companion. Let’s do lunch. Breakfast and dinner sound good, too.
- When you are tired, don’t forget about the 300 lbs of grain that needs to be unloaded.
- When you are feeling financially secure, let me teach you the meaning of “veterinary services”.
- Author unknown