It's been a long time since I found an activity, call it a distraction if you will, that has allowed me to live in the moment. This week I rediscovered one.
I know. It seems like we do a lot of living in the moment, what with all of our travels and doings, but, in fact, I feel like my mind is seldom really settled. I'm thinking about what needs to be done, what's not being done, what I might do better, what I've not done as well as I would have liked. I think about being torn between the wishes of my differing children. I think about hopes and dreams, shoulda-beens and coulda-beens, the future, the past, the possibilities.
My mind doesn't usually take a break.
Yesterday, a friend and I enjoyed a day of self pampering (thanks, Dad) at a local spa. We had a lovely soak in a hot tub, then went our separate ways for massages before rejoining for lunch. Just two adults, acting like adults, speaking like adults, relaxing like adults. No interruptions from our everyday lives.
Even as I enjoyed the massage, however, I couldn't get my mind to just relax. I forced myself to listen to the music, to try to focus on the massage. I even TOLD myself to relax. I'm sure all of that was fine and good, but my mind was not clear.
But it had been. Just that morning.
So, what is it that does it for me? Horseback riding. And playing an instrument sometimes, but horseback riding without a doubt.
I've begun sharing a lease on a lovely horse this past week. The first thing I learned was that, while I rode quite a bit as a kid, I'm not a good horsewoman. I have a LOT to learn. This horse knows more than I've ever learned about how to behave as a horse-and-rider team. We've been working on our communication skills; she's taught me a lot this week.
And yesterday, for the first time in I don't know how long, I enjoyed a complete mental break during, of all times, our morning ride. It's not that I wasn't paying attention. I did see the morning hawks roosting and soaring. I heard them calling, saw the cows watching our every move. I watched the morning mist clear. But I was so focused on communicating with her and enjoying all that was around us that I don't take the time to think about anything else. (Plus, if I lose focus, she knows it, and she becomes confused, and I lose footing and that's NEVER good in the saddle.)
I found the same held true on today's arena session, still better yet than any ride we've had together so far.
Thanks, Dad, for the day of pampering. J and I both really appreciated it.
Thanks, Mom, for helping to provide an outlet that really allows me to clear my head (and get exercise to boot)! :)
Photo courtesy Daniel Johnson under Creative Commons license.
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