Thursday, February 18, 2016

Stop Talking, You're In Church

"Kim. Stop talking."

You'd be surprised by how often my trainers Betty and Angelica say this to me.

"Kim. You're overanalyzing."
"Kim. Be quiet and ride"
"Kim. Shhh. Go home and sleep." (This last was after I unloaded the horse from the trailer after our 12-hour-drive. I was running on fumes, and consequently running my mouth.)

I process most things through words. I talk a lot. I especially tend to talk when I'm learning something new--I want to get it all into words so that I can remember it, so it can stay in my brain. This drives Angelica and Betty nuts. Angelica once put me on a strict limit of ten questions per hour. She wasn't kidding. We kept track. It was a hard day.

On the other hand, I'm slowly coming around to their point (all along I assumed they had one; they're the best teachers I've ever had). This week, as I've said, has been a breakthrough, and it was one that involved no words at all, mostly because Angelica wouldn't allow me to say anything.

"Shush," she said, at the start, the very start, of our breakthrough. "No talking. You're in church, you don't talk in church." After that, whenever I started to say anything, she'd say, "You're in church!" and I'd stop.

And then I learned to listen, not just with my ears, but with my hands, balance, elbows (oh Lord, especially my elbows). I listened with my body instead of my brain.

This is a huge change. I've spent my whole life being mostly inside my brain, and only vaguely aware of what was happening with my body. Trust me, it was safer that way. A year and a half of yoga has gotten me a lot more aware of my physical self, and a lot more comfortable about it, and although I've always tried hard to master the physical act of riding I'm beginning to think that I approached it way too much from an intellectual side. Which would be like me.

Today I went cross country schooling. Today I was not practicing my churchy dressage moves. However, it turned out I was still better tuned in. When Sarah (that's my horse) stalled coming out of the water, I got her moving forward again faster and more easily than I would have done before this week. I'm not talking. I'm being.

I'm in church.