In the horse world we have a whole philosophy based on softening and suppling. Because it is a well known fact that a horse who is tight is a horse who is resistant, unable to learn, and even move in a balanced manner. When a horse holds tension in its body everything is difficult, if not impossible to do. We riders have many different exercises and tricks to help soften and ease the tension out from the horse's body and mind. And if everything goes as planned, and the desired softening is achieved then something magical happens.
That something is called harmony.
A perfect state of oneness and peace, an easiness and lightness that makes you feel as if you can soar up into the never-ending sky.
But. Even horse people know, that most of the time, that place is hard to reach. You're lucky if you get even a couple seconds of softness and lightness during a ride. It is much like life when we strive for some great thing, and spend so much of that time just struggling.
This time of year, when even the weather outside is threatening, we really feel the struggle more acutely and so our desire for lightness is even greater. I tend to sink into anxious state of depression, a place that just feels tight and tense. Muscles I didn't even know I had are tired from tension. How the heck is my horse going to relax if I'm like a block of wood up there? The same goes for my children who take their cues from me. Leo is especially sensitive to my emotions. If I laugh, he giggles hysterically, if I cry, then his heart is breaking. But if I'm tense then he is also, which for him, means he can't walk. He falls. For a while there, things were discouraging, since most of what we do with him revolves around his therapy. It's hard to even know where to start to begin the softening process. But like my mom always used to tell me, the only way to climb the mountain is to take it one step at a time. And if those steps are baby steps, then so be it. So baby step by baby step we are softening and supplying our life, and easing the stress away. Just like with the horses, one little exercise at a time. One breath in, one long one out.
For Leo, it looks something like this:
Leo's fabulous PT suggested a little harness to help him get over his anxiety about falling. It doesn't really do anything except feel snug around his little body and help cushion his falls..and it has a lion on it, what else?!
But.... incredibly, it worked! This morning he was 90% more steady on his feet, and actually initiated walking and wanted to keep going for as long as he could.
All the action shots were too blurry (crap phone camera) but you can get the idea of how it works. It kind of just gives him a hug and makes him feel like there is someone there, all the time.
Don't we all need that feeling? I know I do. My horses do. And so does our Leo man.
So an exercise that we can all try to be softer, light and supple, is most of the time, as simple as giving a hug or telling someone that you're there. And then believing it, when someone says it to you. As you can see, it can make the difference between falling and walking!
Love from the Lion man, and thanks for reading.