A recent article in the United States Hunter Jumper Association "In Stride" magazine is titled "Make Mindfulness a Tool in Your Grooming Box". For those less familar with the world of horses, grooming is the practice of brushing, cleaning and checking horses. This is a task that is often rushed through, many horse people are hurrying to ride, or move on to the next item on their daily agenda. Thus the mutual benefits of the act of grooming are lost.
The article, written by Michelle Bloch, sums up the value of taking your time with the process of grooming. As I digested the material, it became crystal clear that this piece could be about ANY act that we habitually rush through. Jenny Susser, Ph.D. of Ocala, Florida, a clinical health psychologist, points out that when we are rushing through tasks - buzzing through things, getting things done - we are not tuned in to ourselves....or our horses, or to anything for that matter. The opportunity to be mindful, to slow yourself down, is easily missed in the swirl of our daily activities. Our brains are hardwired to perform routine tasks with the least amount of energy, so many of us go through the day in a constant state of "mindlessness". Ellen Langer, Ph.D., a social psychologist and author of 11 books and more than 200 research articles on mindfulness, said in a 2018 issue of the Harvard Gazette, "Being in the present is a very easy thing that comes about by noticing new things. If you notice new things, you come to see you didn't know the thing you thought you knew as well as you thought you knew it." For the horse lovers amoung us, this segways nicely in to time with our horses. Horses respond SUPER well to us when we mindfully stay in the moment with them. So do people. Any good relationship comes from two way communication. If you have ever been in a friendship with someone who does not listen to you, you can relate to not being heard..whether you have two or four legs, mindful communication matters. Cooper's Crossroad Farming For Resilience program kicked started a seven week program for a year around, private school this week. The staff, partnered with horses, deliver the message of courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion to the participants throughout the course. The tool of mindfulness .....whether in a grooming box, or in a life, is one that facilitators and staff practice and teach. Mindfulness can be difficult to practice. Of that there is no doubt. One trick I have learned to help me stay in the moment, or being mindful, is to pick something I REALLY love to do. Then I promise myself that when I am doing that thing, I am ALL IN. I practice "putting away" the stuff that I may be fretting about just prior to doing the activity. Then I give myself permission to BE THERE. Whatever the chosen experience, this trick allows me to sink in to the joy of the activity. To feel the fun. Mind, body and spirit. Sounds SO EASY. Consider taking time this week to: 1) Pick an activity you really love to do. 2) Put away fustrations, schedules, time frames, agendas, etc., prior to engaging in the activity. 3) Give yourself permission to BE THERE. 4) And sink in to the joy. Enjoy the long, lazy days of summer. I am so grateful they are here. All the best, Christina