The Tides Of Change: Fatherhood!

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Through my 32 years, I have experienced a few major redirections in which altered my life’s course completely.  These changes reshape one acceptable future for a completely unforeseen path into the void of uncertainty.  While I have been shaping my life to prepare for this moment, now that the void is confronting me once again I can feel the subtle changes happening throughout my entirety.  I feel the oncoming of a tidal wave of drastic change that can only be understood in the wake of it all.  I know my current way of life will never be the same, nor will I ever be who I am today ever again.  Like a horse shedding its winter coat, I too have to let go of my current and former self to adapt to a new environment.  I must become more, I must become better than I ever have been up to this point.  I must become a father!

Turbulent times are ahead in which I hope I am prepared to endure.  There will be many battlegrounds with unidentified enemies that endanger our future, I just hope I am prepared to weather all the silly troubles of the immediate to keep the greater good close to heart and mind.  Please allow me to find clarity in the murkiest of waters so I may keep the end destination within my grasp through all experiences.  This is the journey into the void I must once again confront in order to prove myself worthy of greater responsibility.  

The unknown is the scariest of all places.  The void is the space in which I filter all information through a lens of ineptitude, doubt, and uncertainty for I know not what lies ahead.  What alternatives do I have though?  Perhaps I turn back, maybe run in a different direction, or you know what, maybe I’ll just stay put?  What future awaits me if I were to choose these paths of cowardice, blame, and reliance?  

The void has a way of testing the very essence of my soul.  A space that constantly challenges me to the very center of my being, forcing me to face every doubt I have ever pondered simultaneously.  The process nearly breaks me every time and just when I am ready to declare defeat a small shimmer of hope yet remains no matter how distant.  Do I give in to the doubt, crawling back into the deepest insecurities and mistakes of my past, devoting my self to a “safe and secure” future of mediocrity in which I endlessly suffer into eternity?  Do I give in to the insanity, never taking ownership for my own life and always rely on others to guide me forward in indentured servitude to them?  The fears I have every day are most prevalent in the face of the unknown.  I never know I will survive these tests of life, but that is the known price of admission.      

In these doubts of the moment, there lingers the infinite.  Within the infinite, there resides the longevity of perseverance over time.  With that time, the presence of clarity shines through all the doubt.  The unknown is temporary, time is infinite.  Within the infinite, there remains only persistence to supersede all.  This is what reassures me as I enter the void.  Once my focus is dialed in, the unknown is on the clock; time, effort, and capacity will transcend all.

I enter the void willingly once again, arms wide opened, inviting the interrogation of my soul.  I accept responsibility for my life and the ownership necessary to venture safely through the unknown.  I accept the sacrifices ahead in order to become better, to mature, to refine myself once again.  I will continue to sprint towards the void, for I know that is where my true self may be unveiled.  I welcome this redirection of my life called fatherhood.  Please show me the version of myself I have yet to be acquainted with.  

I am beginning to sense the artful craft of fatherhood ever so slightly creeping through me now.  So obvious the change has become that I can’t pretend to account for the differences of everything else.  I can see where my priorities are transforming in ways I never thought possible or even necessary.   I feel the way in which I view my priorities shifting, but in a way that I would phrase as a welcomed reorganization.  Reorganizing my priories in which all of the most important aspects of my life have now become the second most important. 

Instead of me potentially over obsessing over my other focuses, I except less and move on to more pressing matters.  Matters like preparation for the baby, organization of the household,  and being there to support and comfort baby momma.  I can sense the good coming from this reorganization of priorities and I am very curious to feel the continuous transformation as things progress closer to deliverance.  

I do not know what lurks ahead in the blurry fog of the uncertain future, but I am excited for the opportunity to experience this new venture.  I can’t imagine being any better prepared for this adventure ahead then I am at this time.  For I have an amazing partner who will willingly hash out any tough discussions ahead no matter how many days in a row we must work at it.  I also have the most amazing family and support system of friends one could ever dream of.  Having the ability to raise a child in this mountainous ranch setting feels straight out of a fairy tale and I can’t wait to have a little buddy to experience this amazing life with.  Regardless of whether he likes horses, nature, or any aspect of our lives and what we love, I am just glad to have the ability to raise a child in the country, surrounded by family and those who offer nothing, but support, encouragement, and unwavering love.  

Don’t pretend to know!

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I was recently contacted by a 5th grader asking my perspective on horse abuse so I figured this was the perfect time to finally write this.  Recently there was a case of horse abuse right here in the county and I continue to have many recurring thoughts about it.  Obviously, there are many different types of abuse, but I will speak specifically to the one that took place locally.  Many people saw the video and were ready to crucify the owners, but I think there is a lot more to the story than one moment in the unfolding of an entire lifetime.  

Let me recap the story quick.  Two horse people who were well known for riding their horses into town to visit the local establishments became a kind of iconic representation of the old-time mountain town.  For years they have owned horses and for years they had nothing other than great experiences with their horses. I did not personally know them, but I often saw them and their horses around town.  The horses looked healthy and happy, while the owners were having the time of their life.  The riders loved to show off their horses to the locals and out of towners, it was an all-around benefit to the town.  The horses were a great representation of what mountain town life can be like and they were great spokespeople to the out of towners who really thought they were in the wild west.  A great attraction for the town on top of everything else this area has to offer.  

None the less, one unfortunate event took place that buried them forever.  They attained a new horse and that new horse was not a good fit for them.  The horse wouldn’t leave the barn and primal human nature took over.  They haltered the horse and hitched it to the back of their dually truck to drag it across hard-packed snow.  The most unfortunate event for them was the wife filmed it while using excessive vulgarity through its entirety and then was talked into posting it thinking it was a great representation of “horsemanship.”  The husband was in the truck dragging the horse behind it at I would say 10 mph or so, for about 100 yards.  That is where the video ended.  The video went viral and they were fortunate to get a mere slap on the wrist from the authorities for what happened.  

Just to follow up on what I know of the rest, the wife was fired from her job, the horse was taken to a rescue, and the rest is unknown to me.  They received extreme threats of any and all kinds for the video.  I am not sure if they even live in the area anymore.  I remember seeing the video while thinking they better delete all their social media accounts, change their name, change their phone number, and move out of the country in hopes to survive this. 

Needless to say, based on 1 minute out of their entire life there whole future has been taken away from them.  Now the question, is that really a true representation of the entire situation?  Here are my thoughts on what led to this unfortunate event for all parties involved.  

From this point forward I am mixing a little bit of fact with a lot of assumptions as to how things may have been behind the moment.  In other words, I am merely portraying a thought experiment for people to consider before they may judge another negatively.  The point of this is to make people think a little deeper before they jump to conclusions.  I am not saying its right or wrong, simply outlying a normal life in which any of us could become a victim too on both sides of the spectrum.  We need to be more careful to not be overcome by our primal urges to react at the expense of others because of our own personal shortcomings.  We need to clearly think through the moment and everything leading up to it, otherwise, we should all step back to gather better information before we act.

The first problem that took place was the illusion that all horses were going to be great horses like the horses they’ve been previously exposed to.  These horses had filled in for them by forgiving them for their ineptness.  The horses they had were glorified dude horses that were kind of numb to the world.

Coincidently they were in the market for a new horse so they could retire one of their aging horses.  The wife also wanted to purchase a new horse for her husband’s birthday as a surprise.  She had reached out to me prior to the accident and was wondering what we had for sale here.  I told her the price and of course, it was too much.  I was sure to warn her when a horse is cheap or free it may not be a good fit for what they do and their experience level. Sadly, they didn’t heed my advice.  They received some free horse from a “friend” and the rest is history. 

Lesson one put the money forth for a horse that is right for what you do.  It isn’t about color, height, or any other factor, it’s all about is that horse going to fit your needs and take care of you and others.  Is it going to fit into the living situation you can currently provide for them?  Do they have a good foundation?  When it comes to finding a horse for the average hobbyist rider, these are the questions that should be running through the individual’s mind.  If you can’t afford a horse that is going to be this for you, don’t own a horse until you have a better ability to do it correctly.  Some other options may be taking lessons on foundationally sound horses or leasing a horse that is right for you.   

Think of all the time and money you would have if you weren’t having to care for and ride a horse!  Apply that time and money to your daily life in a matter in which you are refining yourself so that you can have a better quality of life in the future without always suffering to stay afloat.  Sacrifice now so that you can have a better quality future.  This will help ensure that you can buy the correct horse, care for it properly without worrying about expenses to survive, and most importantly be able to spend quality time without any pressures to delude the experience.  Don’t add more to your plate so you have no ability to shape a better future.  

The second problem was getting a horse that was beyond their level of proficiency and not getting the correct help once the problem was perceived.  Now they have received this free horse from someone they would consider a friend, a whole other issue in and of itself, and they have expectations to ride the new horse into town just like any other day with their usual horses.

Thus leading us to the third and final problem that led to horse abuse, expectations.  I imagine they had it in their minds that it was going to be a great moment in which they were going to get to show off their new horse in town and get to tell the reason for getting the new horse.  A birthday gift from his wife, I mean how great was that moment going to be for them?  There is also a piece of ego and need for attention behind this that also led to the issue, which is more of a dissection of the individual then the specific case of horse abuse.  I don’t know enough about them to dare to go into that.

To me one question arises, was this even a conscious case in which they knew what was happening that led to the actions taken at the moment and after?  While I hands down agree that this was a totally inappropriate way of handling the situation in any case, I do still feel this was a very human moment.  A moment in which any of us given the same circumstance would have been highly susceptible to making a terrible mistake.  Given their state at that time and their level of knowledge/experience, they were doomed from the very moment they received that horse.  

Follow me here, living in a mountain town demands a lot out of most people.  They work their whole lives to support their family or survive to witness another birthday underneath their own roof.  That means slaving their life away just to make ends meet.  Working at least one full-time job to afford the mountain life which is highly expensive.  Now add trying to have a hobby and pay for that.  Not to mention almost any mountain hobby is no minor investment to partake in.  Let alone the hobby of riding horses!  

So here are two individuals trying to stay afloat by working all the time and still trying to have a life outside of that chaos, by riding their horses into town to feel like their true selves.  That is who they were at heart, just an average person who wishes their real job was riding for a living, but we all need to come to terms with reality and what is possible given our circumstances.  Two honest people who want to keep a piece of their true self, but don’t have the time or money to invest to become the real horsemen they want to be.  So they find a way and stretch themselves even thinner to fill this void.  Stretching themselves in a way in which they will have to work till the day they die just to be able to experience a little piece of freedom within their realities they are being consumed by.  

Now take all of that and throw in the necessity for them to get a new horse for no money at all because they can’t afford anything else.  On top of that, imagine being exhausted and looking for that one hour in which they get to ride their horses and show off who they really wish they were all the time.  Now add in a spoiled rotten horse created by another human being that is holding them back from that one piece of freedom.  Who would you be in a moment like this?  How would you react if you have struggled your whole life for this one moment and that was taken from you?  To me, this is a true test of any human being.

Who are you when things don’t go as expected and the deck is stacked against you?  Who are you when there is no money, no time, and no capacity of yourself left to handle the most difficult moment of your life?  Is this really their fault?  

Yes and No!  Yes because we all need to take ownership and come to terms with our current reality in order to create and strategically work towards our desired future.  No in the sense these people didn’t have any of the tools necessary to handle a situation like this.  No person has the tools to handle a situation like this unless someone has shown them how to intentionally prepare for a moment like this and how to act at that moment by practicing for it in our daily lives.  These moments are indeed inevitable so we need to be preparing ourselves to recognize and to respond as intentionally as we can at the moment.  

So you tell me, is this abuse or is this just a reflection of how they have been treated their whole life?  One could even argue that they had been conditioned by all of us to take it out on others.  Is it their fault or is it ours?  I feel as if it is mostly our fault for not being able to positively influence more individuals.

We can all do more to try and reach these people before it’s beyond the point of help.  I have to do more to better prepare myself and others to succeed in moments when our life is in the balance and all the odds are against us.  If not you or I, who then are we leaving this up to?  I know I could be doing more, but even than I can’t be the only person trying to do so.  This has to be a choice in which all of us decide for ourselves but to even have a choice this must be brought to our attention.  

Had anyone given them the chance to decide?  We all need help to become more aware, we all need help to try to understand the person across from us, and we all need help to become better.  So before you try to crucify the person across from you, I would hope you would find out the whole story behind the one moment you witnessed.  It shouldn’t be through the social media filters meant to amplify every individual’s most primal tendencies.  The moment should be scrutinized by humanizing the situation in which you could find a scenario in which you yourself could have acted in a similar manner.  

If you honestly or ignorantly believe that could never be you, well then you are definitely living in your own false reality in which you have no right to comment on anyone else’s situation.  You are the type of person who becomes a guard in a concentration camp or the gulag.  For you do not think for yourself nor do you even consider yourself a real human, you let others tell you how to think and what to do without ever questioning it.  You honestly believe that you are better than others so you should have privileges others do not.  Little by little, you are talked into becoming evil by preying on those less fortunate and that is a very human trait in which we are all perceptible too.      

Do you really understand who they were and all the odds against them prior to their demise?  Who would you be if you lived their life and were given the same odds?  These questions terrify me on a daily basis, for the only moment, you know the answer to these questions is in the hind site of the choices you make at the moment.  There is no going back for any of us.  We need to better understand the other’s perspective before we pretend we are better humans than those that were never given a chance.  

That all being said, if a person is given the opportunities to redeem their insufficiencies and repeatedly choose to respond incorrectly than they must be reprimanded.  For if a person doesn’t want to help themself they are truly lost.  There is nothing anyone can do for that individual, but continue to lead by example waiting for them to become aware that they are the only ones in control of their future.       

 

                       

Conclusion to Reflection

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As I finish up the reflection upon the past two years, I figured it would be a good idea to create an overall conclusion to wrap it up. In a brief observatory state, with out going into any diatribes, I wanted to touch on a few common setbacks I see regularly.  The four topics I want to speak on are finding purpose and meaning, having real-time conversations, investing in your self, and settling down a bit.

One of the most common pieces I observe so frequently today is the complete lack of purpose and meaning in life.  All this means is that a person has a life long pursuit in which will continually motivate them to intentionally work towards a better self, life, and impact.  Otherwise, there are only two other ways of living life, no action or blind action.  Neither in which will lead to sustained growth and meaningful results.  Sure a person may succeed through blind action, but most likely at the end of the day, it was for superficial reasons.  How is anyone supposed to survive or thrive through the tough times without a definitive why to guide them?  That’s what real purpose and meaning can give a person, no matter what the pursuit may be or the circumstances they have been dealt.

I’m sure many people would deem this to be the most obvious of observations, the general lack of real connection with others.  All you need to do is go to any public place and all you see are people completely numbing themselves to all of the surroundings.  Whether a person is walking, sitting, or eating you see there face slumped down into their phones.  When you see this, you know that person is completely unaware of all surroundings.  This is just one example, but the bigger issue being people are not connecting on a real level with others.

I am not saying that you should have to go out of your way to chat with everyone you encounter or anything of the sort.  I am just saying, through observation and awareness, that it is actually quite easy to connect with people on a meaningful level if you are opening yourself to it.  To me personally, there is nothing better than the unspoken eye to eye contact moments in which neither has to say a word but both truly appreciate each other for the subtle passing of acknowledgment.  So much can be said without a word and by using our words intentionally we can really form deep bonds with anyone.

What truly astonishes me these days is the ease in which we all can become intellectual geniuses for nothing other than effort.  Internet or library access is all we need to conquer our greatest desires, but yet so few invest in themselves to attain free knowledge.  Yes, there still needs to be proof of action behind the knowledge to show a real understanding, but at the very least educate yourself!  Podcasts, audiobooks, youtube videos, search engines, and many other countless platforms all at the ease of our fingertips being waisted for mind-numbing nothingness.  All it takes is a little guidance and we can all become high-level masters at any discipline, so don’t waste your time checking out.  Invest in yourself by checking in!

The last piece I wanted to touch on was for everyone to just settle down!  Not everything has to be taken so damn personally nor do things have to be figured out right now.  Yes decisions need to be made and everything comes to an end, but why not try to learn from all of it?  Slow down, simplify, and start small with the understanding that, for anything really worthwhile, it takes time to mature.  Conflicts don’t need to be resolved in one conversation.  We all need to appreciate the development of something over time, let go of all the immediate gratification and 24/7 happiness BS.  Forget about all the in the moment dopamine rushes and really focus on the long term.  What are you doing a little of every day to become better in unforeseeable ways in the future?  If you are not thinking like that, I dare say you are really not thinking at all!

With those most common cautionary observations, I must say I am excited to see what is coming in our near and distant future.  Everything is progressing at speeds unfathomable and only exponentially increasing.  It is hard to imagine where the future is leading us all, but the one thing that is in need more than ever is more leaders.  There are so many people completely overwhelmed by everything without any clear way out.  We don’t need more “marketing geniuses” who are taking advantage of others, we need leaders who lead by the example through their day to day life.  That is where the proof is!  It’s not how many followers or likes you have, nor is it creating a false illusion of what your life is like.  No, it is all about the progression of yourself over a long period of time and the positive impact it has had on the surroundings you are in.  That’s it!  We can not leave this to other people, we must take ownership as individuals.  Then and only then, can we come together to significantly impact the greater masses.

In Reflection (2017-2019): Personal Growth

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The most cherished piece of my life during the last two years is the time and space I have been able to allocate towards my own personal growth.  As I think through my life to this point, it all feels like a refined progression of the way that I pursue my own personal growth.  Whatever the discipline may be, doesn’t seem to matter as much as the process of how I continue to grow through it. 

Here is a little secret about personal growth and how I have come to view it.  No matter how much I learn and how much better I may become, I can’t take any credit for it isn’t my own creation.  Yes, my understanding of this experience is unique to the infinite variations of any life, but what comes from my experience is merely the reverberations of many other minds that are far better matured than mine.  The words I use are unique to my own experience, but from all of “my own” thoughts, there is only the culmination of many bits and pieces from others much wiser than I.   

Which how great is that? Nothing we do or say is really new or our own, it’s only a new combination of knowledge from the beginning of time in which we are the fortunate recipients.  With that knowledge, we also need to carefully craft the ways in which we experience ownership, through the actions of a daily discipline, to prove actual attainment of wisdom.   Ownership over knowledge takes a great amount of time and intentional effort before that knowledge can be combined with experiences.  Only then can the ownership of knowledge be joined with actual proof of experience to form wisdom that will transcend the individual and any particular discipline.

 I always find myself thinking back to the time I was able to spend with great masters of many different disciplines.  They all had their own way of saying the same thing but in so many different ways.  Whether it was “I know nothing,” “I have been teaching It wrong for over 50 years,”  or “I should have given this up a long time ago,” all my mentors have very honest feelings of self-doubt in the area of their discipline.  If they didn’t practice daily, the self-doubt would have overcome them long ago.  That’s why they obsess over their life and their discipline.  They have to obsess in order to grow from within so that it eventually takes shape outside of them and through their discipline.  I find It inspiring how honest these disciplinary masters were about how little they knew and how much more they had to learn.  They were always reiterating that there is no easy path, only endless effort in order to feel honestly worthy of the pursuit of self-mastery through their desired disciplines.  All they were trying to do at the end was bring honor and respect to those before them who have paved the way for all of us.   

No matter how great any of us are at one thing or another, we are completely inept at infinitely more.  There is no reason to be angry or cocky about what we may think we know, but merely confidence in the process in which we have dedicated ourselves to one discipline or another.  In the end, it is all just another lesson of how much hard work and intentional effort it takes to really become truly competent at just one aspect of life.  If we pursue that one discipline correctly and with humility, it all leads to one place.  Compassion for oneself, all others, and the human experience we are all trying to sort through.  An experience of which we spend a lifetime of endless hard work backed up against continual overcoming of self-doubt, to achieve a mere sliver of understanding.  An understanding of our human nature and how hard it is to overcome our most basic states in which we all operate during the beginning. 

If we understand ourselves correctly then we can truly connect and relate to all others.  That doesn’t mean pure bliss or a constant state of love or happiness.  It means continual trials and tribulations that we get to challenge ourselves against.  That means civil discourse and many tough conversations in which others are going to attack you on a personal level in your most vulnerable state or weakest moments.  

So who are you when all odds or circumstances are against you?  This is what I am in constant training for through continual personal growth.  The recognition of tough moments and the ability to act as I have projected myself to be in similar situations, whether theoretical or past.    I know I will continue to transcend all others over the consistency at which I work on myself, on a daily basis, over the entirety of my life.  This process will allow me to exponentially surpass those who choose to focus on the superficial or other negative aspects of life it leads to nowhere worthwhile.  In order to refine our life, we must endure these tests in which to overcome the beginning levels of human nature that we all start on our journey to heightened awareness.  Otherwise, we are not worthy to reach refinement, it has to be earned by each individual and no one else can do this for us.     

Embrace the good and more importantly the downright ugly, for the experiences are all the same.  Just another experience for us to prove to ourselves that we are who we think we are or we have attained the actual person we have been trying to become.  That means accepting ownership for whatever the outcome may be and our part in It.  There is always something that we could have personally done better within every experience!        

In Reflection (2017-2019): Ranching

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The one aspect of my life that I continually missed while traveling coast to coast working horses was ranching!  Where ever I was in my travels I always had this trapped feeling or rather a sensation of imprisonment that was in an odd way weighing me down.  How did I choose to deal with this obvious feeling I couldn’t ignore?  My answer at the time; blind and relentless action.  This took shape in the form of more horses, more work, and ultimately no “free” time.  How can you miss something that you have no time to dream about?  

Luckily for me, the mountains are very persistent in their request.  The calling to live and work in the mountains never relented.  Day after day, the known fact continued to steep with more potency until that brief pause in the day would inevitably confront my life.  A little voice synonymous with the ever brewing picturesque daydreams forming in my mind being seamlessly integrated with the perfect sounds of nature playing in the background with subtle whispers in my ears reverberating little phrases and words teasing me with what other life I could or should be living.  This seemed to happen more and more as the days passed, ideologies forcing themselves into any second of free space within my mind.  Eventually, I had to take pause and reflect deeply upon my life and where I wanted to be heading.  Otherwise, I risked completely depleting my life-force trying to resist my own soul, rather than fulfilling its obvious needs.

Looking back now it’s just funny, but at that moment my life was in the balance.  I was literally on track with every part of the life I previously wanted.  The hardest part of it was all over.  I had the reputation, results, horses, clients, notoriety, and more money than I had ever dreamed possible in the horse industry doing what I was doing. As I continued on, I became more empty, even though I “had It all.” The future as it was had nothing but fame, fortune, and success as it has been portrayed through the media outlets as we know them today.  

So why then did I feel more lost and empty than ever?  Could anyone leave everything they worked so hard to create behind for the unknown?  Maybe I just need to suck it up and push harder, ignore my soul by continuing to pile more on my plate?  Oh how trying those times were.  I sure feel the decisions I made at that time were the difference between choosing life and that of literal or metaphorical death. 

Nothing can rival the time spent in nature amongst all of its elements in order to create a more productive setting to maximize the ranches’ efficiency and effectiveness.  The main production on the ranch here being for the horse operation.  Every action taken on the ranch is around simplifying the daily tasks, effectively using every square inch of the property to produce for the horses and the efficiency at which everything is maintained for the future.  This has taken shape in forms such as fencing to expand the perimeter or creation of new pastures, clearing deadfall or thinning out the forested pieces, the never-ending battle to keep the sage off the meadows, building of ponds to create natural watering holes for the horses, and the list goes on to infinity.  

That infinity piece is my favorite!  No matter how hard I work or obsess over ranching, there is always more to be done.  Ranching is a never-ending supply of boredom fulfillment out in the wild.  At any point, if I need to get outside and air out (after some life coach calls, reading, or writing sessions,) all I need to do is step outside the door.  This was the piece of my life I missed most, the ability to step outside and have the infinite source of entertainment at my fingertips.  No money is necessary, no traffic, no planning, just a step outside and I am free.  That doesn’t mean that I am only working, I love to just walk around the property admiring the infinite detail that resonates within everything right in front of me. 

I get to see the mountains slightly different in the way the light hits the peaks and the silhouette of the mountains change with the seasons as snow accumulates or dissipates.  I get to see the imperfections of the snow become smoothed over by the drifting pixies of snow floating across the flats waiting to find a resting place.  I get to watch the shadow play of the trees on the snow-white meadows or the mountains creep ever farther across the vastness of the valleys.  I get to witness the alpine glow of the clear evenings as they creep from low too high.  I get to observe the mysterious clouds display arrays of color I never thought possible twice a day as the sun climbs quickly over the mountains or creeps back down the distant mountains at night.  I get to experience the feeling of grass running through the palms of my hand as I watch the horses graze in the peace of the evening.  I get to do all of this while riding horses and tending to the ranch within each and every day.  

For just a handful of these descriptions above, I am forever grateful for each and every one of the moments I get to continue to witness by just living my life.  The longer I am here, the less distance I have to cover to be enamored in the details of nature.  While nature has so many fluctuations that we deem erratic or unpleasant, It is all so effortlessly fluid in its similarities.  The snow-covered meadows are symmetry to the sand dunes of the dessert or smoothness to the waters of a windless feature.  The endless cycle of being born, growth from infancy to full maturity, from full splendor to withering death, to dormancy, and eventual rebirth upon the season.  Everything we know as humans can always be related back to nature.  

Can you imagine being human without nature?  Could we have even made it this far without the example of the wild?  Nature was the first teacher, mentor, and leader to the human race.  We have been formed by nature and continue to be formed by it.  This is the most humbling piece of getting to spend every day outside, I get to relate my experience back to earth and back to myself.  If I can’t relate my experience through that filter, I know I am in the wrong or way off course.  

I find deep compassion through the earth, through nature, horses, and ranching.  I get to work with the land, with the elements of nature, in order to learn!  I get to make changes through different processes in order to not only create better results on a specific project, but I also do not waste anything from one project to the next.  If I dig drainage ditches and find rocks or have leftover soil, I get to reuse that somewhere else to strengthen a damn or build up a low point.  I get to watch as the sagebrush disappears from the meadows and how the snow reacts with the wind differently without the sage there.  I get to watch the herd of horses change the land and produce better growth through proper grazing and the spreading of their manure back over the land.  I get to use my physical being to create something of deep worth to me and in return, nature continues to guide me towards refinement.  

Nothing happens overnight here, in fact, progress happens so slow here I don’t even notice It.  I just keep coming back day after day, chipping away little by little, until one thing is complete then moving on to the next.  All I know is that at the end of the day when I look out over the land and the horses grazing, that something deep inside me has been fulfilled.    

I don’t believe there is any better teacher for us humans than to be in nature and learn from its ruthlessness.  The real question I find myself thinking though, can we really learn from nature without being taught how to observe, relate, or compare to it?  This doesn’t happen in a day, this happens over years and the exposure to so many different seasons.  Every day is different and every season is different, can I continue to raise my awareness to learn from the infinite lessons and detail that nature exposes me to in my daily life?  I have no idea, but I relish every day I get to try to decipher the endless code of working amongst the land.

I am curious to hear from your perspective on how you may relate your discipline to other sources of experience.  Mine being horsemanship to ranching to life coaching to nature.  To me it’s all the same, it’s singular, it’s universal.  What is it to you?   

In Reflection (2017-2019): Horsemanship

 

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The focus of my pursuit of better horsemanship over the past two years has been all about rediscovery and refinement.  I say rediscovery in the sense of the pure passion I used to have for horsemanship before I made it my sole source of income.  When I refer to refinement, I speak to working horses of my own over longer periods, taking them from start to a more refined state.   

I must first acknowledge my journey up to the past two years by saying how grateful I am to have been able to experience all that I did and make a great living doing it.  Without that exposure to so many different facets of the horse industry and the people within it, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my future as I desire now.  But in life, some times we have to let go of something good for something better!  That in and of itself is a definition of the word refinement as I have come to believe in it at this time of my life.  

The last two years have been so humbling for even having the opportunity to explore refinement in a setting I couldn’t have dreamed up any better.  I mean some people never can make it out of the survival state of being to pursue any desirable future of their own.  Some people have to do everything in their power just to make it through one day.  Other people have to spend every moment of their life working to provide a potentially better future for others.  

Previously, my life with horses was all about short term fixes or starts, never allowing me the ability to actually enjoy the fruits of the long term labors of refinement.  That was the missing link between both in the rediscovery of my love for horsemanship as well as my own personal refinement within my pursuits.  I believe the key to being a balanced horseman is the ability to start, fix, and refine horses both in the short term and in the long term.  

The importance of refinement is only realized through years of dedicated and intentionally focused work.  The love for something isn’t enough, that love needs to be reinforced with proof of action and the results from those actions.  Refinement isn’t anything that anyone else can just give you, it has to be earned from within.  Obviously, we all need mentors to show us what is correct and what is unnecessary, but at the end of the day, it relies solely on the ownership of the individual.  

To refine a horse, one must first be capable of starting the uneducated horse as well as progress them beyond the basics.  One must also have the ability to fix the created problem horses out there.  This allows an individual to understand both the nature of the horse and the nature of the human.  Two similar natures, but portrayed in infinitely different progressions.  A topic for another time.  

Thus leading me back to the enjoyment I so dearly missed, getting to ride refined horses.  The refined horse is the representation of oneself if taken from start to our personal limitations at that time.  The process shows us our faults or represents our understanding to the best of our abilities at that time.  If one can create a refined horse then one truly respects and honors the horse as an equal.  A refined horse is literally the fruits of intentional labor over a lifetime.  There is no other way about it, you can’t just be given a refined horse or purchase one, for the truth will shine right through those illusions.  

Refining horses was the piece of balance missing in my life and from the pursuit of the refinement comes the rediscovery of what horsemanship used to be to me.  From the whole process, an infinite pool of compassion continues to fill within me with each passing year.  By understanding the reality of the importance of the start of a horse and the understanding that bad horses aren’t born, they are created by us.  Therefore leading to not only compassion for horses who are putting up with our infinite ineptitudes but also compassion for the humans who have created the troubled horse.  It wasn’t even their fault, it was the fault of those closest to them who failed to show them the reality of the growth necessary from within to overcome our most basic reflexive human instincts.  In the end, the process shows us the extreme effort, time, and love It takes to create a real refined horse or should I say a refined rendition of ourselves.  To really understand what It means to create refinement, from the start to a state of refinement, it can only be understood by those who have achieved it through one discipline or another.  

In Reflection (2017-2019): Life Coaching

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It has now been over two years and more than 3,000 conversations with people from all over the world.  My pursuit of life coaching was all sparked from one question.  How can I create a more meaningful influence through others?  From that question, unimaginable personal growth has followed in its wake.  Before I get into the actual reflection, let me define a few “terms.”  I say “terms” with skepticism for obvious reasons in this day and time.  This is my life, meaning I live and breathe this to the best of my ability.  I practice what I preach with great intention, crazy concept these days, I know (insert winky face emoji for those who understand.)      

That term life coaching for me is just another way of teaching horsemanship to individuals, only without the horse.  The new opportunity challenges me to relate my own experience with horses to others in a way, they not only understand but see things from a different perspective in order to improve their daily life.  Life coaching continues to challenge me to more positively help influence individuals; regardless of their discipline, circumstances, or environment.  In return, leading me to unforeseen growth I couldn’t attain without this new practice. 

The phrase I use to break down the title of life coach to non-horse people is that I am merely a guide to the path of self-mastery.  That is what any worthy discipline is at the end of the day, isn’t it?   Our ability to grow from within ourselves, in order to more positively influence those around us.  That’s how I think of the phrase self-mastery and therefore my definition for what I consider to be the real pursuit of horsemanship. 

What is horsemanship?  It is the endless pursuit of self-mastery through the discipline of horsemanship!  The only way that can be achieved is through intentional work every day; studying, applying, and reflecting upon our day to day experiences and those of the past.  This allows us to continually adjust our future visions and therefore adapt as we continually progress over time.     

This new avenue of personal learning has really been the most humbling experience.  The exposure to so many individuals’ trials and tribulations continue to lead me to an even deeper appreciation for every facet of my own life.  Therefore, leading me to an even greater sense of compassion for each and every individual’s journey through life.    

Through all the learning and growth I have experienced in the past 2 years, the one overwhelming feeling that persists within me is gratitude.  Gratitude for the opportunity to speak to so many individuals on a real meaningful level, trying to deduce some sense out of this life, without any outside agendas or distractions.  I know how hard It is to trust and believe in other individuals to really open up to, in order to speak honestly to what we have experienced through our own perspectives.  For an individual to tell me their truth is a small miracle within my daily life.  I will never take any one of these conversations for granted, I think it is the most meaningful thing in the world!  

This is where my motivation comes from.  The absolute necessity for me to get better on a personal level so I can better serve others.  It is not even a question, I have to!  If I can’t prove results through the actions of my own life, why should anyone reach out to me in the first place, let alone continue to converse with me?  If I don’t continue to get better, how am I supposed to continue to help others?  I can’t expect others to come to me on any level if I don’t continue to get better myself. 

I couldn’t have grown personally without those individuals who continue to openly converse with me.  The individuals who continue to prove their intention through small positive actions in their daily life.  A final thank you to those who continue to believe in me.  Thinking back to the beginning of this journey, it really brings me to tears that people were willing to let me in their life with complete confidence and trust.  

You are my inspiration, showing me the difficult paths each of you continues to endure through to make things just a bit better.  That first step to positive change is no joke, the literal hardest, so to watch you all continue to break through each barrier with such determination, feeds my soul.  I often wonder who gets more from these conversations and when I do think about it, I sure feel like I should be paying others to chat with me.  Thank you for giving me hope, thank you for feeding my soul, and thank you for continuing to force me to get better alongside you!  

Please, continue to reach out to me and those around you.  I challenge you to really listen in order to ask more meaningful questions to find out others’ real truth.  If you do, you will find yourself in them and them in you.  Then, all that’s left is growth together!  Without a doubt, we need each other for that to happen.