Resolving to Live Whole Heartedly

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 is the year of the horse. Not to put any pressure on anybody, but I’m pretty sure that means amazing things are coming our way in the equestrian community this year. Specifically in Eventing, I predict it to be the year that we really start to see an inkling of results to come for Team USA on the international scene, and as a community we will start to feel rejuvenated and inspired. At least, I hope so, anyway.

As for personal resolutions for the new year, they always seem to fall short of the expectations. We always think to ourselves, “This¬†will be the year that I’ll finally lose that weight/stop eating junk food/stop cursing so much/spend more time with the family/have more self confidence/get that job I want.” However, I think as humans we are sometimes a little too focused on the outcome, the end game, the last jump on course. This year, I resolve to be more invested in the journey, and the process of learning in all aspects of my life.

The first step, at least for my part, is to admit to myself that I have weaknesses, and embrace them instead of hiding them in the closet. On the “horse” side of my brain, I understand this completely. If I’m having a problem with my riding or one of my horses, I go take a lesson and I expose the issue fully so that my coach can assess the situation and hopefully help me rectify the problem. In my personal life….not so much! I like to pretend that I’m on top of everything, and through that I tend to stay in my comfort zone so that I can maintain the illusion. I prefer to appear like I’m in control of my life, which is quite clearly a ridiculous thing to even ponder. Resolution number one: accept that you’re not in control, expose yourself as a regular human being, and work on being more readily vulnerable.

My second resolution is not as much theoretical, but rather more experience related. In the same vein of accepting vulnerability, I want 2014 to be a year where I force myself out of my comfort zone, my known world of horses and horse people. In years past, this idea has seemed to me as a sign of lesser dedication to my sport and lifestyle, but I’ve steadily realized that it makes for a very limited world view if you never step outside one community. This means I want to learn about other sports, other hobbies, and I want to spend energy investing in experiences with other people, and not just on horseback.

A friend of mine recently sent me this TED Talk, and while they might have been sending me a not so subtle cue, I found the video to be revelatory. Brene Brown speaks to the idea of vulnerability, and how to almost harness it for a greater connection to humankind. At one point, she says, “In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really be seen”. When interacting with horses, this is simple because they don’t operate with masks and illusions but instead they are honest all the time. People, however, are far more complex and paradoxical.

Brene speaks to the idea of people living “whole-heartedly through a deep sense of worthiness” in her speech below, and this is my final resolution. Yes, I have yearly goals and destinations and tangible objectives in mind for 2014, but moreover I want to work on living whole-heartedly. I know that I can work my fingers to the bone, and I know that I can succeed through grit and determination and patience, but what I don’t know could fill a football stadium, and I’m working on being OK with that.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/iCvmsMzlF7o[/youtube]

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