Energy, Discipline, Spirit

Managing people, like training horses or parenting, is all about harnessing energy and teaching discipline, while preserving spirit. The best managers, like the best trainers, possess a remarkable capacity for empathy and their high expectations are never lowered by sympathy.

I have no doubt that there is a marvelous spirit resident within each and every person on earth, a spirit that must be properly clothed to highlight its finer qualities. The connection to spirit (not the spirit itself!) can be broken by overly severe discipline or conversely, by the absence of discipline.

A broken man, like a broken horse, has lost the connection to the spirit that animates him. The spirit is still there, as is the form until death, but the flow of life, energy and passion between the two is reduced to a trickle.

Nurturing or restoring that connection is my life’s work. Whether working with people or horses, my great hope is that the spirit of the one with whom I am privileged to associate at any given point in time is allowed to be magnified into dignified expression. Dignity requires control and restraint, both of which are the product of discipline.

The uncontrolled expression of spirit is doomed to burn out its vehicle expression. The overly-controlled expression of spirit is muted and impotent, dull and uninspiring. There is a golden mean in expression, a flowing state in which body, mind and heart are aligned and poised to give birth to brilliance. And that mean is available to every single person on earth.

Whether I’m managing, riding or simply being a father, inspiring that brilliance is one of my central concerns.

What about you? What concerns do you fill your heart with before you look into the eyes and thereby the soul of another, regardless of their individual story, of your history with them or with how you feel at the moment?

15 thoughts on “Energy, Discipline, Spirit

  1. Ricardo B.

    That is one of the most special of privileges in life, to look into the eyes of another, feel their very soul and exchange the highest levels of truth one is capable of which the situation permits. There is no question as to the nature of who we are as this occurs, connecting with realities far beyond the mundane where inspiration can be found to open up the realms of possibility in anything.


  2. Joshua

    Love how this puts the responsibility right where it should rest…with us. Particularly the “Filling of our heart” part, for it indicates the necessity of having a heart “Prepared” prior to going into any circumstance. Increasingly the Self-Mastery being sought, points to the necessity of “Stillness of heart and mind”.
    Greatly appreciate this, thanks.


  3. Jordan

    Gregg- how well you are able to weave together your thoughts day to day, week to week and month to month remarkably shows the true essence of life; the flow of life, which unencumbered, provides a nurturing environment for growth and learning. Today I connected your thoughts about letting the spirit shine with developing a “why.” If there is no overriding, greater purpose inspiring your daily choices, most certainly that tie between spirit and self will become nothing but a frayed and damaged thread. This will result in either the overexhaustion of the physical body by inefficiently and aimlessly using your passion and energy or a dullness and lack of vitality due to lack of connection with the spirit. When your why is established your physical body is anchored in alignment with the desires and potential of the spirit. It’s all about flow… Thank you again for your reminders!


  4. Thank you for bringing to light the golden mean of expression. As this is acknowledged a sweet spot in living is found. Here is the experience of peace and a presence that emanates an influence that brightens and enlivens the world.


    1. Gregg Hake

      Acknowledgement is the first step, but it must be proven in personal experience if it is to mean anything. Thanks for your comment, Dr. Steve!


  5. Rebecca Ledet

    I would say connecting is something that is important to me when I look into the eyes of another. I would like whoever I come in contact with to know that they have been heard, understood and respected. If I could inspire another person to see the beauty in life (regardless of all of the ugliness) and to in turn inspire others because of that?…. sublime!


  6. Lady Leo

    Thanks for this vivid description it’s enlivening itself. “There is a golden mean in expression, a flowing state in which body, mind and heart are aligned and poised to give birth to brilliance. … inspiring that brilliance is one of my central concerns.”
    I frequently think how the commandment to “love one another” can seem impossible in view of some of the actions and antics of people but this post describes a way in which it’s possible.


  7. Lara

    Thank you for your stewardship of that precious expression of spirit. Through your words this morning I am reminded of my capacity to love and to acknowledge that spirit in others without judgement. Circumstances can overcome my focus at times and your blog shines the light, so I can adjust my perspective. Thank you.


  8. Colin

    I really try to strike this balance between living the “golden mean” of expression and going too far to one of the extremes. That has actually been something I have been thinking about for a long time: how there is usually a happy medium between any two extremes, and when you get out of balance there is a problem. You can take that principle to as small or as large a scope as you wish, and I have yet to find a contradiction to it.


  9. Donna

    Great post! I completely agree as this my life’s work, too. You asked the question:

    “What concerns do you fill your heart with before you look into the eyes and thereby the soul of another, regardless of their individual story, of your history with them or with how you feel at the moment?”

    My concern is to listen deeply, to the one I’m privledged to be with, through an open heart mind and body.


    1. Gregg Hake

      Listening is one of the primary pathways of empathy. I’m sure that you would agree that you can listen with your eyes, your ears and your heart if you are still enough and if you’ve dedicated your life to serving others.


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