So I came across this book mentioned a few times in the last months and finally I figured the universe had mentioned it enough times that perhaps I had better read it.
And it was interesting reading. In the forward Ella speaks about how for many people this was the thing that made them take the first step… it was a very revelational book for them and I can understand that, and I am very glad for those people. For me it wasn’t a book that sat me back on my arse… and I have read quite a few that had… I think for me it was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. I was already well on my way along the journey that this book discusses, in fact I would say I was already stepping into the void of ‘Must’ in the days before I read it, and I think that in another month I probably would have made the steps that I have made since reading the book.
However the book came across my path for a reason, so I guess I did need it. I will never know what would have happened had I not read it, or what would have happened had I read it at a different time. But since reading it this is what I have done in the last few days, and I felt the need to share it with you, maybe it will benefit you, whoever is reading this, in some way!
So this is the beginning of living my life through understanding ‘should’ and ‘must’, it will be interesting to see how it plays out!
These are my “Must’s”
For most that know me this might sound obvious. Riding is actually my job, but sometimes I do get distracted by other things, like my blog or even things that are ‘should’s’ – like book work!
However I have realised my whole life hangs off my riding. It nourishes my mind, my body, my soul and my bank account.
If I don’t ride everything stops… hence why it is at the top of the list of my ‘Musts’.
So over the last few months I have realised something else. Whilst I have come to the conclusion that riding is the center of my world, and my world is always better when I am riding, there are things that stop me from riding, riding well and riding with enjoyment. The biggest one is exhaustion; both the mental and physical variety.
So when I was brainstorming the hierarchy of my ‘Must’s’ I was tempted to put ‘Rest’ as a sole supporter and the second most important thing after riding, then Yoga and Meditation together on the third rung, but I didn’t as I have realised ‘Rest’ for me comes in many forms. Firstly there is the obvious one: Sleep, which I have realised is much improved for me when I am regularly meditating and moving. So with that one point alone I can’t separate rest in the form of sleep from my yoga or my meditation – so these three form the support system for my number 1.
Mental clarity is necessary for a settled body and mind – both when I am awake and asleep. Everyone knows what it is like to be overwhelmed… and so very often our own mind is responsible for this feeling. So my meditation is just as necessary for me to support my riding in a way that helps me navigate the mental chatter that very often draws me away from riding, it helps me sleep and just navigate my life in a way that is a lot less stressful than how I used navigate it.
The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master – Robin S Sharma
For me yoga also helps with both the physical and the mental aspects to my riding. Physically most people would assume for the strength and flexibility aspect, which is true, but the third one for me is the body awareness that yoga brings to the table. Something that I had not really heard discussed therefore didn’t expect to occur, but it is a magical thing and something grossly under valued I think. Body awareness also has strong connection to mindfulness (of which meditation is the formal practice) so again with these three the links are strong and interconnected – each one supports the other and when combined with an active riding practice – I feel amazingly alive, strong, purposeful and effective.
I simply get a great sense of fulfilment from sharing my work with the world. I have recently started more regularly writing in this blog and also vlogging, and have realised that doing these things really does bring a sense of satisfaction to me, I feel like I am giving something back to the world. Ideally I would like to think sharing my world and my work helps some other people out, but I also know it again is a feedback loop that helps me process my inner world. It helps me clarify my journey and the work I do with the horses.
Explore this world
Having grown up in a world where how many working hours you put in to each day was the measuring stick of success I resisted taking time off to ‘do stuff’. But again when I go ‘do stuff’ away from my regular day to day it really refreshes and energises me and I find putting distance between myself and my riding actually brings me closer to it and closer to my inner world.
Enjoy this world and the people in it
This one is closely related to ‘Explore this world’ but more about taking the time to just rest in the world, whether it be taking the time to have a cuppa with a friend, dinner with a group, or see my favorite band. If I don’t do these things I know I end up resenting my commitment to my riding, and again when I do do them I always walk away feeling refreshed and more focused.
Now as far as time allocation goes the first 4 are pretty much everyday things. My riding/yoga/meditation and rest are intrinsically linked and when I honour them everything else tends to fall into place.
Express/Explore and Enjoy happen on the days allocated as ‘Must’ days but only after I have honoured my commitment to the first four and after answering any truly urgent ‘Should’s’ that arise and can’t wait until the allocated ‘Should’ day.
My ‘Should’s’ happen on the days allocated, and fit around the first four ‘Must’s’.
Of course this is not a totally concrete system, there will be be times where everything gets turned on its head, but the idea is to sail as close to this course on a daily and weekly basis as I can.
It will be interesting to see what happens. Like I said I was already very much on this journey, but this is the first week that I have really committed to the change… so we will see what happens.