I’ve just returned from a trip to New Mexico, my most favorite place on earth. The great wide expanses give my soul room to breathe. Each evening the Milky Way makes an unobstructed entrance, providing truly awe-inspiring star gazing opportunities. Red clay and sandstone trails offer up ancient pottery sherds from ancient inhabitants. Sacredness permeates the land.
And, New Mexico is horseback riding country. Those who know me well also know that I never pass up a chance to ride.
Opportunity knocked on our second day. We were just returning to the barn after a glorious, brisk 2+ hour ride through the Cibola National Forest when it happened.
My horse spooked, and I was thrown—hard. Surprisingly I only have bruises and aches, though my pride took a big hit. And I admit that I had a few moments where I truly was scared.
Believing, as I do, that everything happens for a reason, I spent some time reflecting on this incident. My first thought was, I guiltily admit, “What did I do wrong?” I should have been more careful, should have done something differently, should have stayed on my horse. And then I realized I was “shoulding” all over myself.
Wrong lesson. So, I delved deeper for the meaning.
What really had been going on? I was tired, thinking beyond the current moment and ignoring the subtle cues from Bro, my horse. I was on autopilot, certain he would know the routine. I forgot that my horse, while domesticated, is not without wildness. I had taken for granted that I no longer needed to have an active role in an unpredictable situation. I had been making numerous assumptions, wasn’t being fully present, and had ceded my power.
And, ultimately I realized that I had been jolted out of my complacency. Couldn’t I have learned that lesson without so much…ouchiness?
Your call to action:
Where are you merrily riding along, ignoring subtle cues from your surroundings? How does autopilot creep into your day? What assumptions are giving you a false sense of security?