OFF AND ON

WHY THIS?  I am going through old stuff and came across this poem.

RIDING LESSON

I learned two things from an early riding teacher.

He held a nervous filly in one hand and gestured

with the other, saying “Listen.

Keep one leg on one side; ,the other leg on the other side,

and your mind in the middle.”

He turned and mounted.

She took two steps, then left

the ground, I thought for good.

But she came down hard, humped

her back, swallowed her neck,

and threw her rider as you’d

throw a rock. He rose, brushed

his pants and caught his breath,

and said, “See that’s the way

to do it. When you see

they’re gonna throw you, get off.”

Henry Taylor

Thought this picture also appropriate to the topic.

It was posted on a lawyer’s web page. I have lost the web page.  Know somewhere, I will be forgiven.

My most painful injuries have come from trying to hang on in face of the inevitable. Getting off when you see you’re going to be thrown is an important life lesson. Gambler’s know the importance of when to hold and when to fold.

I also laughed at  the poem because as a parent, teacher, and aging do-gooder, I often spout quick words of wisdom hoping to help. All my professional life, I’ve been told to listen more than I talk. All my professional life, I’ve been taught to speak in “I messages” and not to give advice.

What do I spend lots of time doing?

Professionally and personally, I often speak at least as much as I listen, I frequently often deliver “you-should-messages.” Moreover, you have probably noticed, I am not above telling others what to do. So like the riding instructor described above, I am good at telling, less good at doing. Most of us are. We are people being people.

None of us is perfect. Parents don’ always speak so children will listen; good friends hurt good friends; professors profess untruths; teachers never learn all they need to know; the best of preachers stray from the  straight and narrow; doctors make mistakes; and, given enough time, scientific theories are usually proved wrong. People are people.

Another good lesson taught by my riding instructors was to get back up on the horse that threw you. Of course, if in the course of the fall you had been seriously injured, that wasn’t good advice. Generally,however, when you are thrown, getting back on the horse that threw you works to strengthen you.

STAYING STRONG TIPS

Tip one: Whenever life throws you, think of the times you were able to get back on.  Recognize your strength, gather it and go on. You may not get back on that particular horse, and that is okay, but do go on.

Tip two: If  you still feel diminished by some of the times life has thrown you,  remind yourself of the other times you have overcome.  You’ve made it up and kept moving forward or you wouldn’t be here reading this.

Tip three: Remind yourself that despite the myth “we can do anything we set our minds to doing” luck is part of life.

As I write this I cannot help but think of Superman Christopher Reeves’ fall.  His horse refused the jump, Reeves fell and broke his neck.  I fell once when my horse refused a jump.  I sailed over the fence.  I also held onto the reins for some reason and  not what you are to do when thrown.  Holding on meant I smacked my wrist against the fence and broke it.   It also meant I landed mostly on my feet.  I was lucky.

Reeves was not.  He died at the age of 51 probably as the result of an allegic reaction to an antibiotic. Bad luck.  Moreover, his wife died two years later of lung cancer.  Bad luck for her and for their children.

Life does not respect movie stars, people of wealth, supermen.  Death comes eventually to all.

Tip four: Live now.  Now is really all we have. As the saying go that is why it is called “the present.”  The young in particular live in the future, and that is understandable, but unfortunate.  And, of course, too many of us live in the past, and far to many in the unhappy “Would have, should have” memories of the past.

To combat these to very human tendencies, when your mind worries about the future or berates your self for past mistakes, taking a calming breath and then repeated the slogan, “Living Now” helps many.

Tip five: Plan for the future.  Living now does not mean heedless let life lead you here and there.  Think about what matters, set goals, move toward them.

Tip six: Do what you can with what you have been given. That is all any  person can do. After his accident, Reeves used his money to fund research designed to allow those with spinal cord injuries to live a normal life.  He sought a cure.  Some were sceptical, but he believed as to I that in time cure will be possible.  His foundation lives on.  A cure has not been found yet, but advances have been made because of his efforts.

Tip seven: Look for lessons.  I am not one to believe bad things happen for the purpose of teaching us one or another lesson.  When I hear people say that, I get cranky.

I do believe we can learn from the bad things that happen.   

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Be kind to  me,  like this post or share. If you didn’t like it tell me why. You might convince me I am wrong.

Click here for my free Ebook: The 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training Exercises. Being kind helps many,  you included.

Stay strong, life is often painful, but if you are luck it is just as often wonderful.

Katherine

POEM CREDIT: Poem from Copyright (C) 1975, 1992 by Henry Taylor. First published in An Afternoon of Pocket Billiards, University of Utah Press, 1975; in print now in The Horse Show at Midnight and An Afternoon of Pocket Billiards, Louisiana State University Press, 1992. Used with the permission of Henry Taylor

2 responses to “OFF AND ON

  1. I like that last one, Practice Kindness. Something we should all do.

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