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Meta, baby.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

–SYLVIA PLATH

I found this quote on Pinterest recently, and it’s my new mantra whenever I feel like, “Meh, well I wouldn’t be any good at that so I guess I’ll just skip it.” My last post (did you notice?? It was only 2 days ago!!) mentioned my penchant for perfectionism and perfectionism is ALL ABOUT self-doubt. Because when can we ever be perfect? We can’t! So if we hold ourselves to an outcome which is inherently impossible–the state of being perfect, or creating something perfect, or doing something perfectly–then we will never get started in the first place.

In fact, perfectionism is more than self-doubt. It’s meta-self-doubt. It’s self-denial. With perfectionism, it’s not a matter of doubt about whether we’ll fail; it’s a given.

Somehow, with training Luna I am not like this. I’m riding by the seat of my pants–the suede-covered ass of my full seat riding pants, that is–and by the love of horses and the fascination with horsemanship. I don’t claim to necessarily know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it anyway. Training Luna is a bright spot of continuity in an otherwise fitful 5th decade of life. It’s a bright spot which lures me as a moth to flame, keeping me determinedly plugging away at something I am learning by doing.

While elusive, this goal of a creating a useful three day event horse out of a barely broke race horse is far from impossible. It’s been done countless times by countless trainers and amateurs for as long as racing has existed, I’m sure. For all those horses who wash out at the track–they’re simply not fast enough amongst their cohort–their stark options (should they be lucky enough to finish racing without permanent injury) are learn another trade, or kick the dust. Of course, there are varying degrees to which their new trade is mastered–but see? Here I go towards wanting to make my horse the best POSSIBLE three day eventing horse she can be.

For me, my goal is to be able to take her Novice level. That is “my Rolex,” as a fabulous coach once expressed it for me. We each have a personal definition of what would be our pinnacle achievement in this sport.

So while my aspirations are high, I still don’t seek perfection. I’m spared being a perfectionist in training Luna by . . . Luna. Working with a horse, one can’t be imprisoned by a personal agenda of, for example, perfectionism. Training a horse is not just about our agenda. It’s about the horse’s agenda also, and about us gaining enough skill in communication with a separate species that we can start to bring disparate agendas together.

Here’s the horse agenda: stand in a pasture and eat grass. Avoid trouble. Ideally, get left completely alone by anything even remotely resembling a predator, especially the dominant earthly predator which is human.

I’ll write oodles more in other entries about aligning my agenda (ride at this speed in this direction over these obstacles) with Luna’s (peace out and grass) but for now, there’s something I’d like to point out: I almost didn’t write this entry. I doubted it would be any good. But I stared self-doubt in its beady little eyes and created something anyway. Not even close to perfect, but done, and done.

‘Til next time, fair reader. 🙂

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