My daughters and I have taken horse-back riding at a number of different stables over the years. There is such a variety of instructions that it can get confusing: reins up high, reins at your hips, ankles down, ankles out. But one instruction has been universal: to turn your horse, first face the direction you want to go. Face it with your eyes, your head, and your entire upper body, and the horse will respond. Please excuse the metaphor, but I’ve noticed that the world seems to work a lot like a good horse. Once you’ve figured out what direction you want to go, face it and you will inevitably start moving toward it.
That’s not as easy as it sounds. On the one hand, many of us are just floating along a current and feel that if we can just put out all the necessary little fires of our days, we have earned a good night’s rest. These currents push and pull us in all different directions, and after a while, we find a comfortable-ish rhythm with them. We may complain to our friends that we are tired, bored, frustrated, but we wake up the next day and let the currents take us where they will. Watching the giant horse I was riding moving in every direction but the one I was supposed to be going I remember a trainer once yelling across the arena at me, “Where are you going?!”
Panicked, I screamed back “I don’t know!!!”
“Well, where is your belly pointed? …what are you looking at?”
If we dream of writing a book, starting a business, waking up early, losing weight, quitting a bad habit, developing a good one, we just need to check what we’re looking at. Are we facing the right direction for that dream to happen? Or are we making lofty weight loss plans in our mind while polishing off that pie? Are our hearts dreaming of going back to school while we press “Next Episode” on Netflix? Are we promising ourselves that we will begin the project when all the stars have aligned? The stars are waiting for us.
This isn’t something new, Ben Franklin reminded us that God helps those that help themselves. The Qur’an encourages: God does not change the condition of a people/person until they change what is within themselves.
Within themselves. Not our surroundings, but ourselves.
I recently finished reading The War of Art. If you have three hours and want to change your life, please check it out. Steven Pressfield makes mincemeat of the Resistance we all face when confronting the life we want to be living. I will go into a further review of this book in another post, but today I want to leave you with this awe-inspiring image:
When we sit down and do our (life’s) work, power concentrates around us … we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
When we make a start … angel midwives congregate around us … as we give birth to ourselves, our genius” (S. Pressfield, War of Art)