Life Lessons from Itchy the Horse

I went horseback riding for the first time in 20 years this weekend with my dear friend Shawna DeGrange at Cloverleaf Ranch. I knew I would write a blog post about it because, well, I write blog posts about pretty much everything that happens in my life. And let’s be real: riding a horse, there’s so many metaphors for life. It’s a life-spirit writer’s dream!

I didn’t fall off the horse and get back on again. I didn’t have a profound spiritual connection with the animal I was riding (although I enjoyed getting to know her and we had a great time).

My horse-riding “aha” was simple: Look where you want to go.

Before we started the trail ride, my friend gave me a refresher in the arena. She said the first step to getting the horse to move was to look in the direction you want to go. Sometimes, that’s enough. It seems crazy, she said, but it’s true. And she was right. Just by turning my head my horse started walking.

It was so simple and straightforward a lesson, and one I’ve heard again and again. In yoga we say energy follows focus. Where you put your attention, energy will flow. The first step to reaching a goal, achieving a dream, developing a new skill, creating something in your life is to look in the direction of where you want to go. Don’t focus on where you are now, focus on where you want to go, the person you want to become, the life you want to live.

But I’ve never experienced such a clear connection between what you put your attention toward and the immediate, almost inescapable movement toward it. The moment you set your sight on something, whether you consciously take action or not, you set something in motion. The wheels of the universe start turning.

As we were practicing in the arena, my friend further emphasized the point. She instructed: “To turn the horse, the first step is to look where you want to go. Don’t look at the bushes the horse is galloping toward, look towards the clear path you want him to take.”

When you are off-course, don’t focus on how crappy your situation is or all the bad things left to befall you if you continue in that direction. All it will do continue to move you in that direction. To course-correct, turn your head and look where you want to go.

Going after a dream, achieving something new, making a big change – it requires single-minded focus and attention on what you want. The easiest way to do that? Have a vision, even if it’s vague of where you want to be headed. Download my free visualization and journal to create your own vision of your ideal day that you look towards.