It is my last week as a working student in RVA. 5 wonderful weeks filled with so many experiences and adventures lay behind me. There are so many things in my head which want to be written down but as it is my last week here it feels right to write about the lessons I got about a very important subject. Lessons about time.
Always when I look back at what I have learned I try to find a common denominator which connects all the different lessons the horses have given me. In my first blog entry the common denominator was food, in my second leadership and in my last one acceptance. When I look at my notes and read all those tangled thoughts and observations which I have collected over a week or two it does not seem like there are any common grounds at all. But when I look closer and take time to examine all these lessons, I can always find a matching point. And finding one single word which fits as a headline helps me to bring order into the mess in my head. It is like a clean-up in a room; finding different things on the ground and putting those who share a common subject together into a drawer. And after the clean-up it is so much easier to find your things next time you are looking for it. You only need to open you drawer and there you go. This is what I do by writing blog entries. I fill new drawers.
So, there is the working-student-wardrobe in my head and three of four drawers are already filled. And yes, today is the day to fill the last one. It is time. So, let us begin.
We live in a world where it seems like nobody has time. People seem to do not like anything about being slow. On a mission to not lose time, people have invented bicycles as walking was not fast enough. Cars followed and then Airplanes. People used to cook by themselves and today they have machines which do this job for them and there are many more examples. We grow up in a world without time and we naturally follow the example the people around us give us. Sooner or later we are in the same shoes and chase time without ever catching it.
I also used to be like that. I wanted to flee time, be as fast as I can regarding to my achievements. But even though I filled my days with long to-do lists and managed to work those lists off it felt like there was no day, no time, and like I didn’t do anything at the end of the day. It is paradox. The more I was concentrated on not losing time the more it felt like I was losing it. I was doing more than time actually allowed. I was always thinking of the next, while I was still in the moment before.
When I was going to School, the horses have always been like an island in the rough sea for me. In a day of thousands of things which had to be done, opening the gate to the horse’s field carried me into another world. For horses time doesn’t exist. And this missing of time creates and energy of calmness around horses. A feeling of peace and immortality.
Especially the horses here in RVA seem to be masters in keeping the secret about time. The secret about how to save time, which I have been trying to solve for a long time.
We often think we must speed up in order to save time but Shoni prove me the opposite. I remember my first week here in RVA when I slowly got to know all the horses. The only horse I couldn’t see through after my first week was Shoni. It was like he was hiding behind a shell. He was rather keeping distance to me while the others more and more started to interact with me. When I wrote my first blog entry it was really easy for me to write about Elena, Kadoo and Magic. But it was pretty difficult to write about Shoni as he hadn’t revealed any character trait by then. But now I could probably fill a whole page with information about Shoni. He began with observing me out of a safe distance and now after five weeks he comes to me to rest or to say hello. He just needed time. He needed me to give him space to take the first steps.
In my second week here I tried to take Shoni on little walks every now and then. But as Shoni was always under tension when I took him out, I decided to stop “training” him and now I am so glad that I have followed my inner voice which was telling me to slow down. After I made this decision, I just spent time sharing territory with him from the distance he would like me to keep. He needed me to leave him alone to make sure that I don’t take control over him. He needed to be the one who initiated the relationship. If I would have been the one, he would have acted disconnected and passive while being with me as he would have felt like he had no choice to be or not to be with me. He needed to be left alone in order to build up self-confidence.
Slowing down instead of doing more training to gain trust, just stepping back and staying to what I could do with him brought me to what I wanted to do first, without force and facing resistance. Slowing down, being present, focusing on what I can do and just taking small steps, turned out to be the key for saving time, even though it sounds controversial.
Shoni taught me that you can not pull grass to make it grow faster, it needs as much time as it needs. If I would not have given Shoni time and continued the training instead, I would have pulled out the blade of grass and thus lose his trust. Planting a new seed and waiting until the grass grows again would take much more time than just being patient and giving the grass or trust in this case time to grow naturally.
I learned that problems often get solved by themselves if we just give time.
I also asked myself why I wanted to be so fast. My goal is to dance with horses at liberty and I figured out that this goal will just be a little moment and the way to it will be very long, so why not enjoying the way rather than rushing through it, only to reach a feeling which will not last longer than a few minutes? Everything will come by its time and I finally found a way to let go and to concentrate and fall in love with what is. For me now it is all about connection and not about performing. I said goodbye to the trainer’s mind voice in my head which was knocking on the door from time to time reminding me to think of performance.
“In the part of the world I life in, I regularly see people more interested in reaching their dreams as a way of self-fulfillment instead of receiving self-fulfillment from the journey and milking the moment and each lovely step for all its worth. Approaching life in the moment in this way is where life gets rich”- Carolyn Resnick
Even though time does not play a role and doesn’t seem to exist in the world of horses, everything is still changing. Everything will find its end will eventually make space for something new. That was the last lesson Magic has given to me when she died. That day Stina led all the other horses to her corpse to give them the chance to say goodbye. After they said goodbye, they just returned to their favorite spot of grass to keep on grazing. This showed me again that it is always about to keep going. To turn over a page in our book of life and o begin a new chapter. To fill drawers with experiences and close them when it is time. And now it is finally time for me to close the fourth drawer of my working-student-time-wardrobe. But you know what? It is not over. It has just been the beginning of a wonderful lifelong journey.
Thank you Stina, Shoni, Elena, Magic, Moonlight, Jack, Spirit, Kadoo and all the wonderful people in RVA who made my time unforgettable.
Thank you Zoe, it’s been wonderful to have you here and we miss you already – wish you all the best and hope to see you someday soon again.
Kind regards Stina
What an amazing experience and such lovely lessons.
Zoe, its been so good to have you here, glad you bring home many new lessons to a kinder and more connected way of being with horses and other being. Keep in touch!