On February 1, I get back on the Parelli program, starting with a reconditioning plan for Rocky. I’ve already started one for myself. I get a head start because I’ve got further to go than Rocky does!
Michelle Young’s recent post about her life transformation on her Natural Horse Lover blog got me thinking about where I am in my journey and where I say I want to go. When you spend four years spiraling down, how long does it take to climb back up? Longer than it takes to find the center of a Tootsie Roll pop, that’s for sure. Even with horses to help you and the most amazing community of loved ones to support you.
Principle 6: Body language is universal.
In spring 2009, I took a grief-release workshop at Dragonfly Yoga Studio, led by Julie Franklin. We explored modalities such as flower essences, acupressure, mandala art, storytelling, and yoga, each with a focus on acknowledging, experiencing, and releasing grief. I learned where in my body I store the various elements of grief, trauma, and pain.
I finally called my doctor and got prescribed a low dose of Wellbutrin. I had not wanted medication because I’m so sensitive to drugs — everything stronger than ibuprofen seems to give me a bizarre mental or emotional side effect. I also didn’t want anything resembling a pre-existing condition on my Permanent Record.
But Wellbutrin made a difference immediately, like a patronus charm against dementors. Just weeks later, Rocky told an animal communicator that he felt more confident with me than he ever had before, and that the change happened from one day to the next. Guess what day? Expecto patronus, indeed.
Human Responsibility 2: Have an independent seat.
I let that be enough for a year. But in March 2010, I read in the Dragonfly newsletter that Pete of Innerfit Personal Wellness Training would be giving free introductory sessions at the studio. Innerfit is a combination of breath work, full-body strength, flexibility, core intensity, physical therapy, and the Phoenix Rising style of yoga therapy. Mid-session, I decided that instead of despairing about the impossibility of a total life transformation, I would do One Thing: hire Pete to come to the ranch twice a week.
My agreement with myself was that for six months, I would not despair about eating, exercise, jeans, weight, or how great (fit, hot, sexy, energetic…) I used to be. My definition of success would be to keep the appointments unless I was traveling out of town for work, whether I could “do” the session or not.
It’s been nine months. I have muscle tone and the first stirrings of functional fitness, and the Pete sessions continue to be a priority. Sometimes I can only stretch and breathe, which does not feel like a “real” workout. But other times I feel powerful and I surprise myself with my returning strength and athleticism.
Perfectionism is the enemy of progress.
My success in 2009 and 2010 was neither easy nor fast, and yet, it is true success because I persisted and made new life habits. I also know now that I can never again be complacent about, well, anything. Especially life habits.
So how shall I define success in 2011?
- Try one new intensely physical class or activity each month.
- Complete Parelli Level 2.
- Ride Rocky on a trail and, if he enjoys it, in a lake.
I know Rocky’s ready. I think I can be too.