Episode 155: Abandoning hopes and dreams.
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”
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Stacy Westfall: Hi, I’m Stacy Westfall, and I’m here to teach you how to understand, enjoy, and successfully train your own horses. In this season of the podcast, I’m discussing life coaching principles and how they apply to the time that you spend with your horse. And right now, I’m in the middle of practicing this stuff myself, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect. To start the podcast out I’d like to read a quote. Here it is: “The graveyard is the richest place on Earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” When I read that quote, the line that jumps out to me is, “too afraid”. And then I like that it gets more specific and it adds the places. It says all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream. Often, if you pause and look at what really holds you back from going after the things that you want a lot of times you’ll find that you’re avoiding an unpleasant emotion. As I sit here recording this podcast I want to use a different word than unpleasant. I want to say that unpleasant isn’t strong enough because right now I’m in the middle of feeling a lot of these negative emotions because I’ve decided to sign up for a big horse show. And in the middle of dealing with these emotions that I’d rather avoid I noticed that I want to make them a bigger deal. I want to call them bad. I want to call them hard. And when I look back through my last few days of my journal before I was recording this, I looked up words that I’d written down like “pressure” and “tension”. Rushed, worried, nervous. And yes, these are some of the wonderful emotions I’m feeling because I’ve signed up to go show at the AQHA World Show and part of my brain is very uncomfortable with stretching my comfort zone. Here’s an interesting thought. One of the biggest differences I have seen in my life between doing something I’ve never done before and doing something I’ve done before. And done it many times is that if I’ve done it very many times at this point, I’m really aware of the discomfort that could be there. So let me say it a different way. If I’m trying something new, there’s a discomfort in the newness, but I’m often forgiving to myself because it’s new and I also am not aware of some of the discomfort that could be there. But if I go do something I have done before, especially for me, something like going to horse shows where I’ve done it quite a bit. I am very aware of all the discomfort that could be there in detail. And right now, if I’m not careful, my mind wants to bring up every unpleasant experience I’ve ever had going to a horse show, every mistake I’ve ever made, things people have said, and every possible problem that could go wrong that even though it hasn’t gone wrong yet, it could. These are the things my brain wants to tell me as I’m preparing, all because somewhere inside my brain it wants to keep me safe by having me play small. I love that the quote says, “all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream”. Because sometimes it’s the first step that contains the fear and other times we recognize that that fear can come up anywhere along the line. This is the point in the podcast where someone listening is likely to be thinking, if you’re feeling pressure, tension, rushed, worried, nervous, why on earth would you sign up to go do that? And the short answer I have is, for growth. Because inside of opportunities like this, there is so much room for growth and learning. Now, another reason I love challenging myself with the horses is because it also, for me, makes the contrast so much easier for me to see. For example, imagine if I had all of these feelings in a different situation. So let’s imagine that I worked for a company that required me to go participate in a conference and that participation in the conference brought up all the same negative emotions I just listed. It would be really easy for me in that situation to blame those negative emotions on my employer or on the event or basically something outside myself. But I think it’s really interesting in this situation. I love learning from my horses. I love having experiences with my horses. I signed myself up for this horse show and I can watch my brain freaking out and offering me all these negative thoughts, and I’m experiencing all these negative emotions. And I just find it fascinating that I can love something so much and experience negative emotion. Now, I’m still convinced someone who’s listening might be thinking, yes, you could have these experiences, but what if you just skip the horse show and you just, you know, went for a trail ride? You don’t have to push that hard, you don’t have to go there. And what is interesting about that line of thinking, because I have thought that before and I have done it before, is that it implies two things. First, it implies that I shouldn’t be feeling negative emotions. And second, it implies that there’s somewhere I could go where I could avoid negative emotions. And in my life, I have not found either of these to be true. I personally think that the negative emotion is the contrast to the positive emotion. It’s like hot is the contrast to cold. And so of course, we’re going to have both. And I have also found that when I try to live my life in a way that avoids negative emotion, I end up living in a way that feels like hiding. And for me, I know that hiding feels like wanting to do something but pulling back and being unwilling to take the risks. And what’s really interesting because I’ve done this before, what’s really interesting is in my experience is if you hide long enough in the beginning, it kind of feels good. When you withdraw, it feels a little safe, it feels a little easy. But I’ve done it before to the point where I’ve hidden long enough that then I started to realize that that longing to do something, that longing that I’m not fulfilling actually becomes the negative emotion that I’m trying so hard to run away from by not doing the thing which is why I love the quote, “The graveyard is the richest place on Earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” Thanks for listening, and I’ll talk to you again when I get back from the show.
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