Circumstances have a wonderful way of letting you know if you’re on the right or the wrong track. They provide useful feedback that, thoughtfully reviewed, compels changes in approach or direction and occasionally in underlying orientation.
Those in the habit of bemoaning their circumstances often miss these cues as they are so busy reacting to their appearance. “Why me?” or “Aaargh, not this again…I thought we took care of it last time!” rolls off their tongues rather than “Thank goodness I recognized the signs!” or “I am so thankful to have had the vision to see that a change was needed!” Circumstances are always neutral; it is what you do with them that counts.
One of Germany’s many great horseman, Egon von Neindorff, offered this wise advice in his book The Art of Classical Horsemanship:
The rider should be more grateful when the horse’s natural reactions point out and repeatedly remind him of his shortcomings while simultaneously requiring his further advancement and issuing a warning. In this way, horse and rider are unremittingly educating one another – which is certainly to the advantage of both of them and far better than the other option of continual conflict. So the old motto: “Forward-upward!” will apply doubly on their journey together. And the rider’s acquisition of a proper education that promotes a consequent and consistent love for creation remains all the more valuable – bringing him joy and benefiting the horse!
When you approach the more difficult challenges in life in the attitude of appreciation (even if the only thing for which you can be thankful is that a master in living aka “you” was plunked down in the middle of it), you retain your capacity for critical analysis and creative tinkering. You eliminate the beast that comes roaring out of the sea – your untempered emotions – from the equation and you find yourself remarkably, yet repeatedly in position to bring creative solutions to bear on the problem…no matter how difficult, convoluted or chronic the problem may be.
This approach works with horses, but it just so happens that it works with everything else as well. Give it a try! Oh yes, and don’t forget to let me know how it goes. Forward-upward!