Overheard in a pasture one day while nearby, a beautiful paint horse cries out for his herdmate:
Wise woman: What do you want?
Me: More time
WW: Why would more time help?
Me: Then I could accomplish everything I’m supposed to do.
WW: Isn’t that the problem. You’re always trying to do what others expect you to do, what’s acceptable and legitimate?
Me: Yes, I’ve always played by the rules, colored in the lines, stayed away from trouble.
WW: Why does that make you sad?
Me: Because it feels like I’ve been lying to myself and I hate lying.
WW: Then what’s the truth?
Me: I’m okay helping people for nothing, I’m okay giving of my time and it’s okay to say no and to be satisfied with myself. I’m okay with the way I am
WW: So, what do you want?
Me: I want to simplify my life to one or two things that I love to do, give my all to what I do best and share my gifts with whomever is willing to partake of them. And to spend time with those who love me and love life. And to spend time with the horses who show me how to simplify. (That was a very long answer)
WW: What is your favorite way to enjoy the late afternoon?
Me: With my horses, especially when I could ride Chanty to the river, on the beach and in the park at sunset.
WW: Why did you stop writing?
Me: Because it feels like I’m expected to write more-something wise and wonderful. I think I read and listen to people who are wise and wonderful and then repeat what they say. I don’t think I come up with anything original. I think I learn and repeat well-I know it and then I explain it to others. Is that the same as being wise? Is everyone’s life a copycat version of someone else’s? My bio sounds like a million others. Am I unique? Am I trying to be someone that everyone will like and accept
WW: How do the horses do it?
Me: Do what?
WW: Live life as a unique individual without “copycatting” other horses?
Me: I guess they have to learn from other horses in their herd how to behave and how to handle certain circumstances and deal with danger and stress.
WW: Well, if horses can’t talk or read, how do they do that?
Me: By watching, repeating a successful behavior, learning from their mistakes. And by following the lead of a more experienced, knowledgeable horse.
WW: Isn’t that “copycatting”?
Me: Yes, I guess it is, in a way. But they have their own personalities and express themselves through the individual traits that they alone possess
WW: You mean, like humans?
Me: Okay, I get it. I’m not a copycat, I’m just expressing what I’ve learned and experienced through my own individual stamp, my own recipe, with my own flare!
WW: Why do you care about what you say or do or write?
Me: I fear judgment about doing things correctly. Even my handwriting is the Catholic school trademark script of my youth, when it was graded and I’d always get an A.
WW: What’s wrong with doing high quality work?
Me: Nothing, but am I doing it for the approval of others to appear legitimate and acceptable, or am I doing it for me?
WW: Why do you believe that only good work comes from someone who is educated and scholarly?
Me: I don’t. I know that others less educated or scholarly can do good work, but I feel I’m not qualified to do good work unless I’m extremely well prepared.
WW: What would happen if you weren’t prepared?
Me: I might fail, look stupid, have people talk about me and make me feel bad about myself.
WW: Do horses feel that way when they make a mistake?
Me: I don’t know
WW: Well, do you think the fear of failure stops them from doing something?
Me: No, it’s fear of dying (which is what failure feels like sometimes). In some ways, they overreact to things that don’t seem to demand quite the dramatic response.
WW: Does that sound familiar?
Me: Yes, but it’s hard to break a habit.
WW: How do you break it?
Me: By repeating behavior that works and saying words that give me reason to believe that I WILL SURVIVE! It might be uncomfortable for a short time, but that’s okay.
WW: Same as horses?
WW: Sounds like you’re learning. What’s next?
Me: Simplify and stick it out there for everyone to share. Do what makes ME feel energized and fulfilled Don’t worry about how much time there is! Each moment can be as many years of time as I want. I just gained 20 years of my youth spending time with you.
WW: What was your horse doing this whole time?
Me: Learning that he can survive without his mate for two hours. It was uncomfortable, but that’s okay.
WW: You are a wise woman!