Forward is “my word” for 2021. I’ve discovered that contemplating, reflecting, and choosing a word for the year helps guide and support me and my work. This simple practice of picking a word offers an anchor that grounds my intention. Interestingly, once I select a word, I find it appearing over and over again. Have you ever been shopping for something like a new car and magically you start noticing “your” car everywhere? Or maybe it’s time for new gutters for the house and now nearly every house has gutters the same color and style you are considering? Our intention draws attention.
Forward represents movement to me. In positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, research on happiness, wisdom traditions, and neuroscience worlds (plus other theories and practices), we learn that what you feed grows. For those of us in the equine world, even the slightest lean (physical shift) into a scary wash rack or horse-eating trailer is a positive result when you are asking a frightened horse to move. A lean is progress towards the goal from my horse partner, so I reward them in hopes that they will move more in the direction I desire the next time we try. Horses offer many lessons about reinforcing the behaviors we want in order to get more of it. My draft mare and soul horse, Tigger, trained me very well to give her scratches before she left her stall each morning. She’d drop her huge head and wait – 1,800 pounds of huggable, immovable, furry, horse. Most days this action brought me pure joy and a moment of being in the present. Then there were the times when I was running late and “had” to get horses out NOW. My tardiness did not matter one iota to this gentle giant. To get her forward movement, I would be required to take the time to let her know I loved her – even briefly – before those dinnerplate-sized feet were going to cross the doorway out of her stall. What a gift she gave me – a required time to pause, even if I didn’t want to or didn’t think it was the priority at the time.
In a COVID world, and looking ahead to a post-pandemic reality, movement can represent a lot of different things. No doubt this strange time has shifted perspectives and things that were previously deemed “normal” have changed in some way. This time of reduced freedoms may have opened your eyes to something or someone that you now realize is not worth your energy. The opposite may also be true; you now recognize new places, new opportunities, and dreams where you want to focus and grow. One thing is for certain, each of us has had our regular patterns of behavior interrupted. Awareness is an invitation for change.
Author and marketing Guru, Seth Godin, recently released his new book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work. This little masterpiece is filled with gems that encourage forward movement. He eloquently provides insights into human limitations and the stories we tell ourselves which can create barriers to living into our whole self – our possibilities. His wisdom reveals and sheds light on what many of us already know to be true, that we can be our own worst enemy AND we can make the choice to be our own best champion – through practice and shipping the work.
I’ll let you in on a little secret…even writing this blog was a practice in shipping the work and moving forward. Kerul’s first email inviting me to be part of the First Nature Ranch’s blogging family came months ago. I genuinely loved and appreciated the offer. What stopped me from jumping into this task right away? The same “brain rats” that can get in the way of other healing and healthy practices. Pick something, my friends, and lean forward or take a small step into the dark, scary, and horse-eating trailer. You’ll be glad you did because the next time you move forward, the path forward will be a tad easier and feel just a little bit more familiar.
Dr. Tracy Weber creates opportunities for personal growth and professional development in partnership with equines. She brings a wide range of experiences and expertise, to get a taste check out her TedxSVSU, “Horse Wisdom for the Human World” on YouTube. She has recently created the Kaleidoscopian Card Deck as at tool to enrich dialogue through powerful images, inviting prompts, and chakra themed cards. Find out more at drtractyweber.com
Thanks for posting on the website’s blog, Tracy!