Riding in the Right Direction: A story about Control

Yesterday I had a beautiful experience riding horses in the mountains of Asturias. I used to ride when I was a little girl so it connects me to something very special. It’s a strange sensation of doing something that feels familiar to me but very unfamiliar all at once.

Riding a horse always makes me think about how to relax and focus your energy on what’s important. To not overthink the part you play, to relinquish control and to connect with your companion. It sounds a little cheesy but when you are breathing that much fresh air and looking at so much beauty, your mind goes all big picture, you can’t help but think about the human experience and what matters.

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In the middle of our adventure, my cool, girl horse (not unlike myself in that she had dark hair, was a little stubborn and grumpy when thirsty) decided to follow a rogue horse that had come along for the ride up a secret slightly unsafe looking) path.

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I wanted to take control back of the situation and instead of moving her back onto the right path using the reins, my instinct was to pull them so tight I didn’t give her any room to manoeuvre, it was knee jerk and it wasn’t logical.

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As soon as the leader of our group said to me, “Jessica do you see what you are doing there” it was so clear. I was holding on so tight I wasn’t given her any space. My fear of losing control, made me try to take so much control back there was no room for me to let her get back on her path.

I started thinking of all the times I’ve seen my clients do something similar. Times when they’ve tried to take back control of their situation by pulling life so tight there’s no room for them to get it back on the right path, times when their knee jerk reaction, the illusion of taking control had steered them wrong.

The truth is we are never really in control of life, there are times where we feel we have more, times when we feel there is less, but it’s just the part we believe we have not what we actually do. As soon as I let go, released my control and steered her back in the right direction she was off, I took back the only control I could actually have which was my thinking.

Instead of fearing losing control, I started whispering to her, “I trust you, you do this every day, you know what you are doing”. You might say it was Horse Hypnosis, but actually it was more for my benefit because I then had a relaxed feeling of having taken back control. Instead of fighting against the tide, I decided to relax and roll with it.

The illusion of control is not control. Give up the heavy hand on the rein, release and accept. You can choose to let go, you can choose your thinking and it is a huge step back towards pulling the reins into the right direction.

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