"I admire my brother very much and it’s not because of what he does for a living. That part is hardly relevant. It’s how he is in the world.
"CG is another story entirely. It’s too much to go into here but a lot of years ago (it is now officially a lot of years) she decided she wanted to ride horses again. Given her life choices this didn’t exactly fit within the lines and there wasn’t an easy answer. There could be a lot of talking about it or even more easily a lot of talking about why not but that isn’t what happened. What happened is that CG started riding horses again in a really huge and incredibly empowering way. Seriously. And she didn’t have the answers either. She still doesn’t have the answers to how she’s going to get to what’s next. Sometimes she doesn’t even know what’s next, there’s just a what’s next because of how and who she’s being. CG is in a constant state of growth, movement and what’s possible. And people, here’s the most important part of all. This is effing earth shattering if you can actually let it in:
"The Contrary Goddess did not have the authority or necessarily agreement to do or cause any of this. She just reached for it. Period. End of story.
"I’m pointing this out because it is a way to live in the world. I might just as well tell my brother’s story or even part of mine or talk about what Elizabeth is doing right now and how we’re getting there (and how we have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what comes next or how we’re going to do it or how we might be crazy and how people look at us and blah fucking blah). CG’s is a really good story.
And so you see, the title of my post (and hers). Which could also be, How does one get somewhere? It could also be, How does anyone get anywhere? And it could also be, Wherever you go, there you are. Except we're talking about not just floundering around aimlessly, and not just treading water, and not just failing. I say not just failing because failing is what we do all the time and you better be able to look at it in some other way but at the same time, calling a failure a win is stupid. Or counterproductive. Or something.
Like debt. Never say never, but debt is still bad. If you have to "swing" something, you can't afford it. Like school is the most inefficient way to learn anything so if you go to school and accrue that debt, it better be for something other than learning. Usually it is for being smallerized -- you know, the peg made to fit the hole. Like if a man is trying to smallerize you, walk, do not pass go, do not collect $200, walk away. Power runs in a lot of directions and encompasses a lot of things so pay attention.
So what I was saying was about committed action, and getting somewhere. I'll tell you up front that a lot of the time you don't know where that is, not really. But something inside you does, actually. And so you do it. And it goes somewhere, maybe somewhere you never dreamed of, and maybe somewhere that you did or did NOT dare to dream of.
My riding, and my riding for Buck is an example of that. There are tons of examples of that throughout this blog. Another example, and honestly I don't know if the fuller story is on the blog or not, is us homesteading entire, finding this land, building the house I'm sitting in. Who knew? We certainly didn't, not these details. But we did. Kids are like that, at least well parented kids I think. You know (as a parent) that the kid is calling himself into existence, but how it turns out, shockingly beautiful, heart aching too. There it is, its own thing. And maybe you are riding a raindrop, or maybe you are watching a bird fly, but there is an element of committed action and there is an element of letting go, no control, or as I have said, opening the hand.
To not do whatever it is that makes your heart sing (if indeed you have something -- I'm not entirely convinced everyone does, but I'm certainly not convinced that everyone doesn't, and I'm pretty darn convinced that even those that don't sing, hum) is sad. Tragic even. And we know these people -- people who, when they touch, even see at a distance, that which they love, they cry, or rage. And to some extent, who doesn't but I know that longing means I have to move toward it. When something scares you, move closer, stay longer. Don't cry and say "impossible". At least not for very long.
The other side is the expectation part, and it is the part I think that causes the avoidance of the heart singing thing to begin with. Let's take Alecto's Elizabeth, a dancer: She could be in the ABT or she could be a dance teacher for pre-schoolers in SW VA. The best dancer I ever knew personally was just that, the latter, a dance teacher. Is one "success" and one "failure"? Take my own dreams at that age: the Olympics. Maybe I just wasn't good enough, that's a most likely possibility. And almost certainly, I didn't want to live the life that one has to live to get there, the pressures, the compromises that absolutely will be made if one gets there. (well, at a young age I probably would have lived anything and compromised anything to get there but I didn't know what and in old age I'm glad I didn't) I didn't know until much much later that there was another possible success, or a hundred million other possible successes. What I think causes the avoidance is the fear of failure, or the surety of it, when "success" is defined so narrowly. When I was that age, I was afraid of mediocrity, I thought only those hyper sorts of goals would keep me out of that. Even a good bit later, as a student, I made a 4.0 and not out of joy either, but fear. But that is not where "excellence" is.
Gardens and bread and cheese, and horses for that matter, are great because they tell you right away and without prejudice if you failed or succeeded but without the competition. So where I am now with horses (and I got there through this life that this family has lived on this farm) is seeking excellence with the horse, himself. And it isn't a narrow thing, really. I mean, you can chase it, but it is about improving the self, not the thing. It is Robert Lundberg's idea of, one cut and good enough. The Dorrance/Hunt thing of setting it up and letting the horse find it -- you improve how you set it up; there is no need to improve the horse. Of course, the horse does improve. Like the bread (mostly) improves the more you make it.
Excellence is internal. But it will show externally. But if it IS internal, whether it shows externally at the Olympics or in the back field doesn't matter.