The older I get the more I understand the notion that our passion, whatever it may be, is our teacher. That it’s through what we love that we learn who we are and how to be in the world.
You only need to look at all the “everything I ever needed to know I learned from …”-type books out there and you get the idea. While many are written in jest, I submit to you that hardly a truer word was spoken.
I believe this is because what we love or are passionate about speaks a special language that communicates with our hearts.
Whether it’s golf, travel, music, horses — whatever! — or a combination thereof, what we are born to love, if we love it with an open heart and pure intent, teaches us who we are and helps us to grow.
I’m not saying this means the lessons are easy, nor am I suggesting that learning through our passion comes without its heartaches and pitfalls.
But I know from personal experience that even in the darkest of moments, if we can keep an open and positive attitude, our lives can change for the better. We will be stronger; we will thrive, we will chart a course to our dreams we never imagined possible.
Our passion helps us to stay focused on the positive. To borrow from horse vernacular, it’s easier to get back in the saddle of life when you’re passionate about something that moves you.
In my almost 40 years as an equestrian I’ve been thrown off horses more times than I care to remember, but I’ve always been able to climb back on. Could I do this if I wasn’t passionate about horses? Likely not. The fact is, horses are as vital to my wellbeing as the air I breathe. And I’m not the first horse person to say that either.
I tried to give up horses once, on purpose. In my late 20s, a miserable time for a variety of reasons, I figured it was time to let a “childish” thing go. For four years I wouldn’t even look at a horse. And then my grandmother died. It was a wake-up call. A week after the funeral I was sitting in the stands at the Calgary Stampede surrounded by horses and cowboy culture and realized what a terrible depression I had allowed myself to slip into because I had denied myself access to a really important part of who I am.
Mine is a small family and my grandmother was important to me. So I made up my mind on-the-spot that I would honour her memory by pulling my life together and making it meaningful. Part of this included embracing, again, my passion for the horse. But I would do it differently and with all my heart.
Two weeks later I was riding again. Six months after that I quit corporate life and began my journey of self-discovery through the way of the horse, interning at a riding school and hunter/jumper barn while working toward my coaching certification. (I like to say I went in a marshmallow and came out toasted … ) Four years after that my unhealthy marriage was finally put out of its misery. Three years later I met my knight in shining armour and four years hence, enter Shakespeare … a horse to call my own.
I feel that when your passion is as important to you as the air you breathe you know you’ve found the path to self-knowledge. People will help, and hinder, you along the way, but both will teach you about yourself — about your strength, endurance, stamina, character, tenacity, etc — all with your passion as the catalyst for change.
Horses have saved me more than once. Horses have indeed been the catalyst for positive, and painful, change in my life. Because I’ve been able to pay attention, especially in the last few years with Bear, I am a better person for these experiences.
The saying goes “when the student is ready the teacher will appear.” Bear has opened my eyes to what’s possible. He has opened the door for me to train with Olympic-calibre trainers and helped me to find a confidence that had been sorely missing from my life. As mentioned in a previous blog, he made me look in the mirror and taught me I could change.
And the bottom line is, he’s so beautiful in spirit I want to be better for him, because he deserves the very best I have to give.
I know this blog has probably meandered a bit, but it’s from my heart.
Think about what you are passionate about and how it has changed your life, and tell me about it. It’s who and what we love that defines us and our world. Let’s build a better world together through our passion for life.
Nurture what you love …