Being balanced, or aware or practicing mindfulness does not mean being happy all the time. It doesn't mean ignoring the things that make us sad, or feel bad. It means facing them and learning from them. We release what we no longer need.
Healing is not linear. As with everything, we need time and repetition to successfully reach a balanced state of mind where we can fully observe and enjoy life.
In the last few decades, we as humans have taught ourselves to disconnect from that inner peace. Everything revolves around busy schedules, keeping up appearances on Social Media or having a job that's expected of you but that you don't really like.
Bringing back even a small piece of that inner calmness takes lots of time and practice. I like to call it "Mindful Living". To me it means to be aware of all that is happening around you, observe and at the end of the day let go what doesn't serve you. Learn about what you like and dislike, and don't be hard on yourself when you fall back into old patterns. Learn to like and eventually love yourself, even the parts you don't like.
"Have no fear of perfection, you"ll never reach it"
When I open my eyes in the morning, I practice gratitude for everything that I have planned and may encounter during this day.
I begin my morning ritual (routines keep me very grounded and calm) and try to do everything with purpose (make breakfast, brush my teeth).
On my way to the horses I might listen to the radio, sing along (my throat chakra gets shut down easily so I practice opening up my throat a lot in the morning), put on my playlist or an audiobook. Whatever I feel like listening to that particular morning, the point is: I try to listen to myself.
When I start working the horses, I feel calm, relaxed, alert and my mind is open. If I encounter a nervous horse, I will know it before I've even reached their stall. Some breathing work from a distance (by me) alone will almost always help "break the ice" because I've shown the horse that I am aware of his anxiety (nervous, unsure about the future).
When haltering, leading, tying, grooming and saddling the horse I remain in this energetic flow of a positive state of mind. I always look for the right outcome and the right answers and I practice being patient and respectful all the time.
So before I have even really "trained" the horse, a lot has already happened. There's a foundation of trust, respect and mutual fondness just because of the energetic conversations we've had, where I showed the horse that I hear them and will listen to them.
Everything that you practice in life will eventually become a skill. The more often you do it, the easier it will become. Not just training or being around your horse, the quality of your own life will increase dramatically as well.
I have worked with a lot of anxious horses, that all benefited greatly from me doing nothing. From me being balanced, being aware, breathing and being patient. It's an inviting energy to a horse, even if they show major behavioral problems like aggression. To them it's a natural state of being, something they are naturally attracted to.
Every horse needs a leader, but to earn that title we have to be able to provide more than just food, shelter and companionship. Horses thrive under the right leadership because there is a foundation (memory) of respect, trust and love. Being anxious about the future is not or no longer necessary, as long as we can remain being mindful.
"The human possesses the one thing that means more to the horse than anything else: peace and comfort." - Buck Brannaman